Social Media

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Twitter Changes Policies on Hate and Violence

Twitter Changes Policies on Hate and Violence

Last Monday, Twitter said that it will be updating rules regarding hateful and abusive behavior as the company crafts new policies aimed at reducing violence and harassment on its platform. Twitter said that it will now be looking at accounts connected to groups which espouse or glorify violence, but may exempt certain groups which are involved in peaceful resolution. The company added that a single tweet will not warrant expulsion from the service, but the user will be required to delete the offending tweet. Twitter also announced recently that hate symbols and imagery such as Nazi symbolism (swastika) will be […]

French Children Under 16 Now Need Parental Approval for Facebook Account

French Children Under 16 Now Need Parental Approval for Facebook Account

Last Wednesday, a draft legislation which requires French children under 16 to seek parental approval to create a Facebook account was submitted to the Parliament for approval. In presenting the outlines of a data privacy bill which includes the requirement, Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet revealed that such children who wish to get on Facebook or any similar social networks would have to confirm that they obtained parental approval by ticking a box which amounts to a declaration governed by law. However, some observers have noted that it is not clear how enforceable the process will be. Source: FirstPost

Facebook Introduces Messaging App for Kids Under 13

Facebook Introduces Messaging App for Kids Under 13

Last Monday, Facebook launched Messenger Kids, a version of the messenger app aimed at children under 13. The new communications app is seen as an effort to win over younger children in the face of tight competition against platforms such as Snapchat. Facebook currently requires all users to be over 13, and the standalone app promises to give parents control over how their kids use messaging apps and what kind of content they send over them. Facebook says that it developed the app with consultation from over 1,200 parents and experts in the field of child development. Source: Reuters

NCA: Child Exploitation via Live Streaming an Immediate Threat

NCA: Child Exploitation via Live Streaming an Immediate Threat

The UK’s National Crime Agency recently warned that live streaming is increasingly being used by sex offenders to abuse children online. Law enforcement says that it had identified 345 vulnerable children and arrested 192 people, 30% involving streaming, blackmail and grooming within just one week. Authorities pointed out that abusers thrive on the immediacy provided by live streaming and called on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to act on the evolving threat against children online. Source: BBC

Australian Regulator to Probe Facebook & Google for Disruption of Traditional Media

Australian Regulator to Probe Facebook & Google for Disruption of Traditional Media

Last Monday, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said that the regulator will be investigating Facebook and Google over the disruption it had allegedly caused for traditional media. Sims said that the probe seeks to fully understand the influence of the platforms and determine whether they are causing detriment to media content creators, advertisers, and consumers. The move is part of a number of media reforms prompted by job cuts and declining profits in the news industry. Source: CNBC

Facebook Suspends Racial Group Ad Targeting Feature  

Facebook Suspends Racial Group Ad Targeting Feature  

Facebook said last Wednesday that it has temporarily stopped a feature that allows advertisers to exclude racial groups when targeting ads. In a letter to Congressional Black Caucus, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that the company will be taking steps to after it had reportedly failed to block discriminatory ads. It is considered illegal to publish certain types of ads that show preference to a particular race, religion, sex or certain classifications under US law. Sandberg added that the option will remain suspended until the company can ensure that it will not be used inappropriately.   Source: Reuters