Social Media

PMs Move to Fine Companies Likened to Chinese Censorship

United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed fines for tech companies who fail to do ‘enough’ to combat extremist material sparked concerns of a China-like censorship. Independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Max Hill QC pressed that fines should not be imposed on internet companies as it will be difficult to quantify exactly how much they need to do in order to not be fined. He added that the government needs to bring in tech companies to work on their side instead of threatening them with fines. Source: The Guardian

Facebook Algorithm Updates to Restrict a Small Amount of Spammers

Social media giant Facebook announced on Friday that it rolled out an algorithm update for its news feed to curb the influence of users who are known to regularly share or post links to fake websites, sensationalist content, and click bait articles. Facebook Inc said the update should lessen the reach of a small group of users that it has identified. These users routinely share massive amounts of “low-quality” public posts everyday to spam people’s feeds. The company added that the said group is only around 0.1 percent of people who share around 50 or more posts per day. The […]

Silicon Valley May Not Be Equipped to Counter Terrorism Online

  Tech companies Microsoft, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook announced on Monday that they are joining forces to fight extremism on their platforms. However, this involves privatizing counter-terrorism measures and making it the responsibility of tech firms. As a result, potentially underpaid and undertrained moderators are expected to do police work along with the help of artificial intelligence programmed to catch potentially dangerous content. Extremists like the Islamic State have been using platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to recruit members, spread propaganda, and hate speech. Policy makers around the globe have begun demanding more effective ways of removing extremist material from social […]

Twitter Users May Soon be Able to Tag ‘Fake News’

Social media platform Twitter is mulling over a feature that would allow users report false, misleading, or offensive content. In a report from the Washington Post, the feature is ‘still in prototype phase’ and a release date has not been finalized. Users will be able to flag hateful or fake content similar to the platform’s current spam reporting section. The process has progressed slowly due to concerns that users may “abuse” the system using mass reporting for otherwise non-hateful content. A collection of studies from the Oxford University reported that Twitter and Facebook were heavily used to sway public opinion with […]

Germany Approves 50m Euro Fine for Delinquent Social Media Companies

Germany’s Parliament Members voted to approve the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law before the Bundestag’s summer break. Starting October, social media sites that have more than 2 million users in Germany such as YouTube and Facebook, will only be given 24 hours to remove hateful speech or posts with criminal content. If a tech company is unable to comply, they could face a 5 million to 50 million euro fine, depending on the weight of the offence. Human rights advocates have criticized the bill, stating that the short time limit that can result to censorship as social media companies might choose to […]

Instagram Pushes Back Against Mean and Harassing Comments Using AI

Instagram has introduced an AI that will filter offensive, mean, and harassing comments online. Text classification engine, Deep Text, was first used by Facebook and Instagram to identify and remove spam. With the success of that program, the same engine is now being used to classify negative comments into segments like racism, bullying or sexual harassment. Once the system is live, it should result in hateful comments disappearing from user’s walls. Source: Tech Crunch

Canada Supreme Court Rules They can Force Google to Remove Worldwide Results

The Canadian Supreme Court has issued a decision on Google search results that has been criticized by civil liberties groups for possibly setting a precedent for internet censorship. In a 7-2, the Court ruled that any court in the country can issue an injunction to remove the results worldwide when it is needed to guarantee the injunction’s effectiveness. In the judgment, the court also said that the Internet has no borders, and that its natural habitat is global. Google has not replied to requests for comment. Source: The Guardian

Facebook Cracks Down on Hate Speech

Social media giant Facebook has been deleting as much as 66,000 hate speech related posts a week. The company defined hate speech as any attack made on people based on race, sexual orientation and other characteristics, and that they heavily rely on user generated reports that are in turn, reviewed by their employees to weed out said posts. With a team of approximately 4,500 workers solely designated to reviewing posts and online content, Facebook says it plans on hiring 3,000 more in the coming year. Source: US News