Social Media

UK May Use Taxes to Pressure Tech Giants to Combat Extremism

UK May Use Taxes to Pressure Tech Giants to Combat Extremism

UK’s security minister Ben Wallace recently mentioned that the government is planning to use taxes to push tech giants like Facebook and Google to come up with better solutions in fighting online extremism. Wallace said that these companies were being uncooperative, in such that they profit off of their users data while the government is forced to spend on de-radicalization programs, surveillance and counter-terrorism measures.   Facebook responded to the criticisms and said that they have already invested millions in technology and staff for the identification and removal of terrorist content. Source: Reuters

Hate Speech Law Takes Effect in Germany

Hate Speech Law Takes Effect in Germany

Germany has begun enforcing the The Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law which is set to penalize social media sites for failure to quickly to remove hate speech, fake news and other illegal material. The law was passed in June 2017 and came into force this October. Websites and online services that fail to remove said material within 24 hours may face fines of up to 50m euro (£44.3m). However, they will be given leeway and may act on complex cases within a week. It is said that the law aims to target Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but is also likely to affect […]

John McAfee Says His Phone was Compromised, Twitter Hacked

John McAfee Says His Phone was Compromised, Twitter Hacked

Cyber security pioneer John McAfee recently issued a statement in response to some of the latest tweets from his account mentioning some lesser-known cryptocurrencies. McAfee says that he was not the one who made the tweets, but a hacker, after compromising his mobile phone. He added that he did not have control over Twitter’s security measures, and that the hacker was able to intercept his authentication code. Incidentally, McAfee is currently working on a device called the “Privacy Phone” which he claims is the world’s most “hack-proof” smartphone, which is set to be released in February. Source: BBC

Twitter Shuts Down Troll Alert Bot

Twitter Shuts Down Troll Alert Bot

Twitter recently blocked a bot which attempted to expose “troll” accounts on its platform. The tool, called Impostor Bot, automatically replies to fake accounts which forge identities and tweets racist ideologies. The troll accounts are said to use stolen images of Jews or Muslims and appear to be non-radical minorities. However, they would then join conversations and post racist or extremist tweets. Using crowd-sourced data from other impersonator accounts, the Impostor Bot would then identify the fake account whenever it tries to engage in a discussion. Developer Yair Rosenberg said that the tool, which was actually doing Twitter’s job of […]

Vietnam Deploys 10,000-strong Cyber Military Force to Police Online Content

Vietnam Deploys 10,000-strong Cyber Military Force to Police Online Content

Vietnam’s one-party government recently unveiled its new military cyber unit composed of 10,000 members. The cyber army, called Force 47, has been formed with the mission to take down sites and blogs deemed to have bad and dangerous content. The unit is already operating in several sectors. Deputy head of the military’s political department Lieutenant General Nguyen Trong Nghia said that it is imperative for them to proactively counter “wrong views”.   However, it seems like Vietnam’s cyber force may only have to power to tame local internet content, as it does not largely silence criticism on global platforms.   […]

Obama Urges Responsible Use of Social Media

Obama Urges Responsible Use of Social Media

In a recent interview with Prince Harry on BBC Radio 4, former US president Barack Obama said that the irresponsible use of social media only serves to spread misinformation and distorts understanding of complex issues. Mr. Obama also said that the internet seems to be leading users to read and listen to things that only reinforce their own biases. He added that the technology must allow diversity of views, instead of balkanizing society. The former president also suggested that face-to-face contact may help counteract extreme views, as things over the internet tend to get oversimplified.   Source: BBC

Putin Says “Some Firms” Need Online Monitoring

Putin Says “Some Firms” Need Online Monitoring

Last Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russian authorities that they needed to monitor the online and social media activities of certain companies during the country’s presidential elections next year. Putin added that the government needs to study how these companies affect Russia’s domestic political life. He also discussed with Russian parliament leaders the new “foreign agents” law which he signed last month. The law will compel foreign media outlets to provide the Russian government a number of details, such as source of funding, if designated as a foreign agent. US media organizations Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice […]

Twitter to Inform Users if Content is Blocked by Local Laws, Court Orders

Twitter to Inform Users if Content is Blocked by Local Laws, Court Orders

Earlier this week, Twitter announced that it will now be informing users if a tweet is withheld due to local laws of legal demands. For example, users in Germany will not be able to see Nazi symbols on the platform. They will instead see a that the tweet has been blocked either in response to a legal demand, or based on local laws. New interstitials will then inform users about Twitter’s policies. Twitter global legal policy director Jeremy Kessel added that they are sharing information on their actions so that the public can better understand how the company deals with […]

Facebook Ditches Disputed Flags, Replaces with Related Articles

Facebook Ditches Disputed Flags, Replaces with Related Articles

Last Thursday, Facebook announced that it will be abandoning its “Disputed Flags” badge which marks dubious news content on a users news feed. The mark, which is a red badge, identifies articles which Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers have determined as inaccurate. The mark will instead be replaced with Related Articles, which are contents from reputable sources. According to Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons, the company found that using strong imagery next to an article may serve to reinforce strongly held beliefs. She added that fewer users shared fake news articles when the Disputed Flags mark was replaced with links to Related […]

Facebook Says Governments Seeking More User Account Data

Facebook Says Governments Seeking More User Account Data

In its recently released Transparency Report, tech giant Facebook revealed that it had gotten around 78,890 data requests for governments around the world in the first half of 2017, which is a 21% increase from 64,279 requests it had gotten in the second half of 2016. The report, which covers the months from January to June 2017, showed that the US government served Facebook with the most number of requests: 32,716 for data from 52,280 accounts. Such requests given to Facebook now outnumber those given to Google, which had only gotten 48,941 requests concerning 83,345 accounts in first half of […]