Social Media

Tech Giants and News Organizations Join in ‘Trust Project’

Tech Giants and News Organizations Join in ‘Trust Project’

Last Thursday, the biggest names in the tech industry pledged their participation in the “Trust Project”, an initiative that aims to counter online misinformation. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter has agreed to join with around 75 news organizations to label news stories which pass ethical and transparency standards, so that consumers can know at a glance if a news item comes from a credible source. Participants of the project have also agreed to uphold transparency on funding, disclosure of the organization’s mission, labeling of factual and opinion articles, and providing details on journalists and how they conduct their reporting. Source: […]

Twitter Removes Verification on White Supremacist Accounts

Twitter Removes Verification on White Supremacist Accounts

Twitter has recently un-verified the accounts of known white supremacists Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler who were involved in the Charlottesville protest that resulted in a fatality. Last Wednesday, Twitter disclosed that its verification status was usually equated as an endorsement. Yesterday however, the site announced that it will no longer be accepting public submissions while it reviews its policies. The platform’s new rules now take into consideration “behaviors on and off Twitter”, which include promotion of hate, violence, or making threats to individuals based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or religion.   Source: TechCrunch

EU Court Adviser: Privacy Activist Cannot File Class Action Against Facebook Ireland

EU Court Adviser: Privacy Activist Cannot File Class Action Against Facebook Ireland

Last Tuesday, EU Advocate General Michal Bobek said that privacy activist Max Schrems cannot file a class action suit against Facebook Ireland in an Austrian court. He is, however, entitled to sue the company in his own country only on his behalf. Bobek added that consumers would just choose the country where the court would most likely be in their favor, if the suit is to continue as a class action. Schrems is alleging that Facebook had violated privacy rules and is demanding $576 in damages for each of the 25,000 signatories in his lawsuit. Source: Reuters

Google Expands Scope of “Extremist” Videos Banned on YouTube

Google Expands Scope of “Extremist” Videos Banned on YouTube

Last Monday, YouTube revealed that in the last few months, Google has quietly been removing “extremist” videos that do not depict hate or violence from the platform. The major policy shift is said to have been prompted by pressure from governments and human rights groups which say that the propaganda being spread by the said videos are radicalizing viewers and may have contributed to recent terror attacks. YouTube says that the new policy will not affect news or educational videos about terrorism. However, experts note that terrorists may attempt to overlay extremist commentary on such videos to get around censorship. […]

EU Seeking Feedback for Strategy on Fake News

EU Seeking Feedback for Strategy on Fake News

Last Monday, the EU Commission and the EU Executive announced that they are seeking input from the media, online platforms and its citizens on the matter of fake news through a public consultation.   In a statement, Commission VP Frans Timmermans said that they would like to provide EU citizens with tools to identify fake news and improve online trust in the face of overwhelming information and misinformation. Concerns over misinformation have increased after news on Russian meddling in the most recent presidential elections in the US and France. Academic groups, online platforms, civil society organisations and the media have […]

New YouTube Policy Will Allow Users to Flag Inappropriate Content Targeting Kids

New YouTube Policy Will Allow Users to Flag Inappropriate Content Targeting Kids

YouTube recently announced that it will be implementing a new policy in its main app to age-restrict bizarre and disturbing videos that target kids. One such content shows a popular cartoon character named Peppa Pig drinking bleach and getting her teeth violently yanked out by a dentist. The new policy will also allow users to flag the inappropriate content as well. YouTube said that this should add an extra layer of protection and help weed out offensive content from the main app before they populate the Kids app. Source: TechCrunch

Malaysia Pushes for Better Understanding of Cyber Bullying

Malaysia Pushes for Better Understanding of Cyber Bullying

Malaysia has recently launched a nationwide survey under the Digi Telecommunications (Digi) DigiSAFE programme to get better insights into cyber bullying. According to the organizers of the programme, the aim is to use these insights to rigorously address the problem at school level and tighten resiliency strategies. Christian Thrane, Digi’s chief strategy and corporate affairs officer, says the programme has not only created awareness on the issue, but they were also able to gain valuable input from students in 460 schools around the country on their online usage and behavior patterns, as well as knowledge of cyber-safety. Source: Mis-Asia

Top UK Security Official Call on Social Media Companies to Block Militant Content

Top UK Security Official Call on Social Media Companies to Block Militant Content

Home Secretary Amber Rudd recently urged social media companies to come up with automated systems that would identify and block violent militant content before it gets published. Speaking at Washington think tank New America last Thursday, she said that the authorities are now locked in an “online arms race” with militants, which is why in addition to pursuing the development of artificial intelligence systems that can intercept the content, tech companies should look for more ways to address the problem. Rudd added that the Islamic State militant group is now struggling to get their content online, according to evidence held […]

Twitter Suspends Account Verification After Criticisms for Verifying White Supremacist

Twitter Suspends Account Verification After Criticisms for Verifying White Supremacist

Twitter announced yesterday that it will be pausing account verifications until it sorts out policy issues regarding the status. The social media giant was prompted to rethink its rules on the matter due to criticisms it had received when it verified the account of Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Charlottesville white supremacist rally which had left one protester dead. Kessler deleted his account after receiving flak for insulting the slain protester, but soon returned and was verified only 26 days after Twitter’s denouncement of online abuse and hate. In a tweet, Twitter’s support team said that verification is meant […]

Russian Regulator to Monitor Facebook Closely for Compliance with Law

Russian Regulator to Monitor Facebook Closely for Compliance with Law

Last Wednesday, Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor said that it will be checking if Facebook had been complying with Russian law. The watchdog had already threatened Facebook with a ban last September, telling it that it had to store the data of Russian citizens in servers within the country. Now, the regulator has officially stated that it will be closely supervising the administration of Facebook and its processing of Russian users’ personal information. Critics, however, considered it as just another attack on social media as the country’s government seeks to gain more control over the Internet.   Source: Reuters