Twitter Abruptly Changes Hacked-Materials Policy After Blocking Biden Story

from ars technica Twitter has changed its policy on sharing hacked materials after facing criticism of its decision to block users from tweeting links to a New York Post article that contained Hunter Biden emails allegedly retrieved from a computer left at a repair shop. On Wednesday, Twitter said it blocked links to the Post story because it included private information and violated Twitter’s hacked materials policy, which prohibits sharing links to or images of hacked content. But on late Thursday night, Twitter legal executive Vijaya Gadde wrote in a thread that the company has “decided to make changes to […]

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Here’s What Facebook Is Doing To Ramp Up Groups (And Fight Their Misuse)

from Fast Company I’m not sure when it happened. But at some point in the last couple of years, my use of Facebook in its most familiar form—posting on my wall and those of other members—has dwindled. Instead, I spend most of my time in Facebook groups devoted to a variety of my interests, from old cartoons to e-bikes. There’s no question which Facebook groups are the best. They’re the ones that are managed by administrators and moderators who care enough to have a strong point of view that manifests itself in how they cultivate conversation. That includes how they […]

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Mark Zuckerberg Is the Most Powerful Unelected Man in America

from NYTs On Thursday, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the company’s “New Steps to Protect the U.S. Elections.” They include blocking new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day and attaching labels to posts containing misinformation, specifically related to the coronavirus and posts from politicians declaring victory before all the results are counted. One can — and many will — debate just how effective these measures will be at preventing election night chaos during a pandemic. (So far Facebook’s “misleading post” labels are vague to the point of causing additional confusion for voters. Similarly, blocking new […]

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We Can Have Social Media As We Know It, Or We Can Have Democracy

from Fast Company In early September, President Trump retweeted a video allegedly showing an “black lives matter/antifa” activist pushing a woman into a subway car. The video is nearly a year old, and the man in question was mentally ill and had no connection to either group. As a researcher studying social media, propaganda, and politics in 2016, I thought I’d seen it all. At the time, while working at University of Oxford, I was in the thick of analyzing Twitter bot campaigns pushing #Proleave messaging during Brexit. As a research fellow at Google’s thinktank Jigsaw that same year, I […]

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How Wikipedia’s Volunteers Became The Web’s Best Weapon Against Misinformation

from Fast Company For a few minutes near the end of his first presidential debate, Mike Bloomberg was dead. At 9:38 p.m. Eastern time, a Wikipedia user named DQUACK02 added some text to the Wikipedia page for the former Democratic presidential candidate and New York City mayor: “death_date   = {{Death date and age|2020|02|19|1942|02|14}}; |death_place  = [[Las Vegas, Nevada]], U.S.; |death_cause = [[Getting stabbed by Warren, Biden and Sanders]].” Within three minutes, another user named Cgmusselman had reverted the page back. By then the inevitable screenshots and joke tweets had already begun to spread. It was an obvious hoax, and […]

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PSA: You Can Now Clear Your Facebook History, Disconnecting Apps And Websites

from Fast Times After a delay caused by a court case last year, you’ll now be able to clear your Facebook history – or, more precisely, force Facebook to forget everything it knows about your off-Facebook activity thanks to connections with apps and websites… Facebook first promised the feature back in 2018. In a post on the platform today, Mark Zuckerberg noted: “You’ll be able to see information about the apps and websites you’ve interacted with, and you’ll be able to clear this information from your account. You’ll even be able to turn off having this information stored with your […]

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Facebook’s Oversight Board Bylaws: For Once, Moving Slowly

from Lawfare As America’s longest-serving member of Congress once said, “I’ll let you write the substance … and you let me write the procedure, and I’ll screw you every time.” This wisecrack explains why the newly released bylaws for Facebook’s Oversight Board are important. Facebook announced in 2018 that it would be setting up the board as an independent institution to review the company’s decisions about what is or is not allowed on its services. Last year, Facebook released its global consultation report and final charter for the board. As I wrote at the time, those documents were high level […]

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Nothing Lasts Forever— Not Even On The Internet.

from NYTs Social media is broken. It has poisoned the way we communicate with each other and undermined the democratic process. Many of us just want to get away from it, but we can’t imagine a world without it. Though we talk about reforming and regulating it, “fixing” it, those of us who grew up on the internet know there’s no such thing as a social network that lasts forever. Facebook and Twitter are slowly imploding. And before they’re finally dead, we need to think about what the future will be like after social media so we can prepare for […]

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It’s Time to Push Tech Forward, and Rebuild What It Broke

from Wired In 1904, a group of Canadian workers began the hard slog of constructing the world’s longest bridge, across the Saint Lawrence River just south of the city of Quebec. It was a wildly ambitious project. And it wasn’t just for the Quebecois: Railroads were revolutionizing commerce and communications, and the bridge would connect people and allow trains to run from New Brunswick in the east to Winnipeg in the west. The river was 190 feet deep at the center, and ice piled high above the water’s surface in the winter. Nothing about the bridge’s construction would be easy. […]

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The Guy Who Wrote Facebook’s Content Rules Says Its Politician Hate Speech Exemption Is ‘Cowardice’

from Wired Last Tuesday, Facebook vice president Nick Clegg announced that Facebook was going to give politicians more leeway than other users in using offensive speech, and their assertions would not be fact-checked. That set Dave Willner over the edge. Two nights later, Willner posted a long explanation—on Facebook, of course—attacking the policy. The 35-year-old tech worker described the social network’s new stance as “foolish, wrong, and a significant betrayal of the original democratizing ideals of Facebook.” That essay is notable not just for its well-argued points but for who wrote it: Dave Willner is Facebook’s former head of content […]

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Tiktok Is China’s Next Big Weapon

from Axios Chinese social media is largely impenetrable for most in the West — just check out their memes — but Sino tech giants have their eye on owning the U.S. market, evidenced by the rise of TikTok. Why it matters: While the video-based app simply seems like a benign platform for Gen Zers to make and share funny memes, it’s could become a Chinese vacuum for coveted American data. It has made its top creators into bona fide celebrities, as evidenced by a look at YouTube’s annual VidCon by The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz. Between the lines: TikTok’s “parent company, ByteDance, recently […]

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Inside The Bizarre World of Internet Trolls and Propagandists

from TED Journalist Andrew Marantz spent three years embedded in the world of internet trolls and social media propagandists, seeking out the people who are propelling fringe talking points into the heart of conversation online and trying to understand how they’re making their ideas spread. Go down the rabbit hole of online propaganda and misinformation — and learn we can start to make the internet less toxic. ? More here.

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The Only Way To Rein In Big Tech Is To Treat Them As A Public Service

from The Guardian After years of praising their virtues, governments across the world are belatedly waking up to the problems posed by big tech. From India and Australia to France and America – and now the UK, with its report from the Digital Competition Expert Panel – politicians have been reckoning with how to mitigate the harms of the world’s largest technology platforms. And they all seem to arrive at the same answer: competition is the magic mechanism that will somehow tame the giants, unleash innovation and fix our digital world. But what if competition is the problem rather than […]

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Newly Public Documents Paint Picture Of Facebook’s Ruthlessness

from Axios Facebook documents released Wednesday portray the social giant as considering aggressive routes to squeeze more revenue out of user data, giving major companies extra access to data and undermining competitors. Why it matters: While much of what’s in the documents was already reported, together they provide a rare window into one of the world’s most influential companies and reveal how Facebook’s executives were ruthlessly focused on growing their service — while downplaying risks to user privacy. More here.

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‘I Don’t Really Want to Work for Facebook.’ So Say Some Computer Science Students.

from NYTs A job at Facebook sounds pretty plum. The interns make around $8,000 a month, and an entry-level software engineer makes about $140,000 a year. The food is free. There’s a walking trail with indigenous plants and a juice bar. But the tone among highly sought-after computer scientists about the social network is changing. On a recent night at the University of California, Berkeley, as a group of young engineers gathered to show off their tech skills, many said they would avoid taking jobs at the social network. “I’ve heard a lot of employees who work there don’t even […]

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Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis

from NYTs Sheryl Sandberg was seething. Inside Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, top executives gathered in the glass-walled conference room of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It was September 2017, more than a year after Facebook engineers discovered suspicious Russia-linked activity on its site, an early warning of the Kremlin campaign to disrupt the 2016 American election. Congressional and federal investigators were closing in on evidence that would implicate the company. But it wasn’t the looming disaster at Facebook that angered Ms. Sandberg. It was the social network’s security chief, Alex Stamos, who had informed company board members the day before […]

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EU Warns Facebook It Faces Sanctions Over ‘Misleading’ T&Cs

from The Guardian Brussels has warned Facebook it will face sanctions unless it changes what the European commission calls its “misleading” terms and conditions. The EU commissioner in charge of consumer protection, Vera Jourová, said she had run out of patience with the social network after nearly two years of discussions aimed at giving Facebook’s European users more information about how their data is used. “I will not hide the fact that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years,” Jourová told reporters. “Progress is not enough for me, I want to […]

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‘Fake News’ Is Sparking an AI Arms Race

from Popular Mechanics In 2018 the California-based company FireEye tipped Facebook and Google off to a network of fake social media accounts from Iran that was conducting campaigns to influence people in the United States. In response, Google and Facebook, using backend data to determine that a branch of the Iranian government was responsible, removed dozens of YouTube channels, a score of Google+ accounts and a handful of blogs. Lee Foster, manager of information operations at FireEye, was at the forefront of the firms’ investigation. “Right now, you know something’s automated just by the sheer volume of content pushing out,” […]

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This Is What Recruiters Look For On Your Social Media Accounts

from Fast Company Recruiters and hiring managers sifting through your social media accounts before giving you a call is nothing new, but their vetting process might be more rigorous–and idiosyncratic–than you think. When it comes to scoping out candidates with an ideal social media presence, here’s what recruiters are actually looking for when they scope you out. EQUAL PARTS ATTITUDE AND APTITUDE Ariel Lopez, founder and CEO of career platform 2020Shift, says employers tend to look for a 50/50 split between “attitude” and “aptitude” when scanning job seekers’ social accounts. “Someone that has the skills but someone that I like […]

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Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

from NYTs Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently. There’s a lot of dark stuff. In one corner, you have the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election with digital propaganda. In another, a rash of repugnant videos on YouTube, with children being mock-abused, cartoon characters bizarrely committing suicide on the kids’ channel and a popular vlogger recording a body […]

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