Emerging Media

Uganda Moves to Impose Gossip Tax on Facebook, WhatsApp

Uganda Moves to Impose Gossip Tax on Facebook, WhatsApp

The Ugandan parliament recently passed a law that imposes a controversial tax on the usage of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Twitter. The law, which was supported by President Yoweri Museveni, seeks to discourage the use of social media as it encourages the spread of gossip according to the government. The law, which will take effect on July 1, will impose 200 shilling or $0.05 a day on app users. However, many doubt that the government will be able to implement it effectively. The president, who pushed for the law, nevertheless said that internet data should not be […]

Papua New Guinea bans Facebook for One Month

Papua New Guinea bans Facebook for One Month

Papua New Guinea’s communication minister Sam Basil revealed this week that it will be blocking Facebook for up to a month while it tries to identify accounts posting pornography and fake news. The government says that the month-long ban will be spent analyzing how Facebook is being used to  breach the country’s 2016 cyber-crime law. Basil even said that the country could develop its own social network as an alternative to Facebook by gathering local developers to make a site that is more conducive for the social networking needs of Papua New Guineans.   Source: BBC

Tencent Drops Investment in Content Startup After Criticisms

Tencent Drops Investment in Content Startup After Criticisms

Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings recently withdrew its investment of 30 million yuan from a content startup named Chaping which had been slammed for plagiarism and copyright issues. Tencent said that Chaping had already agreed to return the investment voluntarily after it was found that the companies did not match values. Chaping said that it will seek to grow independently and learn from its mistakes, as well as take on more responsibility in the field of copyright and protection of original content. Tencent likewise vowed to continue to respect and protect original content by putting enhanced measures in place.   […]

YouTube Stars Criticize Platform’s Algorithm

YouTube Stars Criticize Platform’s Algorithm

Some of the most popular YouTube content creators criticized the company this week for an unannounced change in the platform’s algorithm which affected the order videos appeared in users’ subscription feeds. It is said that YouTube had rolled out an experiment on a limited number of users that changed their subscription feed from a chronological list to one that showed first the videos that users “want to watch”. Tech vlogger Marques Brownlee called the change “a business move” while Sean McLoughlin aka Jacksepticeye said that viewers used the subscription tab mainly to avoid such algorithmic behavior. Video-maker Gary C also […]

WeChat Removes US “Sugar Daddy” Dating Website

WeChat Removes US “Sugar Daddy” Dating Website

WeChat dropped from its platform this week a US-founded “sugar daddy” website called SeekingArrangement which caught the attention of state media due to its rapidly rising popularity. The dating platform is often used by young women and rich older men to connect in a money-for-love arrangement. However, Chinese authorities began investigating it as a possible avenue of prostitution after it became the top most downloaded free social networking app for iOS users in China. The move, which highlights the mounting censorship and regulatory pressure on social media websites in China, is expected to cut off SeekingArrangement user-acquisition channel to WeChat’s […]

Russian Watchdog to Check Facebook, WhatsApp’s Compliance

Russian Watchdog to Check Facebook, WhatsApp’s Compliance

It was reported last Thursday that Russian state telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor will be checking by December whether Facebook and Whatsapp are complying with the country’s laws. Rokomnadzor head Alexander Zharov says that they can move to block Facebook unless it follows laws that require websites and tech companies to store the personal data of Russian citizens on Russian servers. Zharov says that they will make a decision only after the getting the results of the checks. Source: Reuters

Socially Conscious Firms Sell, Rethink Facebook Holdings

Socially Conscious Firms Sell, Rethink Facebook Holdings

A number of socially conscious investment firms are reportedly dumping or rethinking their Facebook holdings, prompted by the social network company’s unsatisfactory response to the privacy and data protection issues it had recently been involved in. On its plan to sell 111,000 Facebook shares, Domini Fund’s Adam Kanzer said that the tech giant’s problems were founded on a lack of sufficient attention to consumer privacy and data security, compounded by inadequate governance. Meanwhile, Emma Doner from April Eaton Vance Corp unit Calvert Research and Management said that Facebook’s lax controls meant that  the company had clearly violated users’ fundamental right […]

EU to Live Stream Zuckerberg Hearing

EU to Live Stream Zuckerberg Hearing

It was announced in a European Parliament meeting last Monday that the hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be broadcasted via a live web stream. Parliament President Antonio Tajani said in a tweet that it was “great news” that Zuckerberg had agreed to publicly stream the discussion. In response, a Facebook spokesperson said that they were looking forward to doing the live-streamed meeting. Zuckerberg will be meeting with Tajani and European Parliament leaders in Brussels from 6:15 p.m. (12.15 p.m. ET/1615 GMT) on Tuesday. Source: Reuters

FTC Pressured by Advocacy Group to Break Up Facebook

FTC Pressured by Advocacy Group to Break Up Facebook

A campaign called Freedom from Facebook was recently formed by eight groups which are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to break up the tech giant into smaller companies. Groups including Demand Progress, Citizens Against Monopoly, Content Creators Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, MoveOn, Mpower Change, Open Markets Institute, and SumOfUs implored the agency to separate Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp from its parent company. Reports say the group has launched a six-figure ad campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote their website.   Source: Bleeping Computer

US Senate Votes in Favor of Net Neutrality

US Senate Votes in Favor of Net Neutrality

The US Senate voted in favor of retaining the Obama-era open internet rules last Wednesday. The move, which seeks to overturn the FCC’s decision, is said to have a slim chance of approval in the House of Representatives of the White House. Three Republicans, John Kennedy, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, and two independents, were seen voting with 47 Democrats to reverse the Trump administration’s decision. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer reasoned out that the internet should be treated like the public good that it is. Schumer pointed out that water companies or phone companies are not allowed to discriminate […]

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