Social Media

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook states that withdrawal from EU is possible if data sharing with US servers will not be allowed
Facebook states that withdrawal from EU is possible if data sharing with US servers will not be allowed
Credit: unsplash.com / Thought Catalog

Following an announcement of Facebook Ireland's head of data protection Yvonne Cunnane, it is not clear how the company "could continue to provide the Facebook and Instagram services in the EU" following a preliminary order to stop the data transfer of European customers to servers based in the United States.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) had voiced concerns over possible surveillance of the data by the United States government.

Technology • Internet & Web
Whistleblower alleges Facebook of ignoring global political manipulation
Whistleblower alleges Facebook of ignoring global political manipulation
Credit: unsplash.com / Alex Haney

According to a 6,600-word memo that has been obtained by BuzzFeed News, a former Facebook data scientist accuses Facebook of ignoring political manipulation on a global scale.

In the memo, Sophie Zhang gives "concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion".

One of the examples given is that 672,000 fake accounts have been removed that globally manipulated the narrative during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zhang also stated that she has "personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I’ve lost count".

Politics • Asian
Pakistan has banned datings apps Tinder and Grindr over ‘immoral’ content
Pakistan has banned datings apps Tinder and Grindr over ‘immoral’ content
Credit: unsplash.com / Kon Karampelas

Pakistan has blocked access to multiple dating apps, including Tinder and Grindr, in a bid to restrict "immoral" and "indecent" content.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said it issued notices to the management of Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout and SayHi, seeking the removal of dating services on those platforms.

Technology • Internet & Web
Nearly half of Twitter accounts pushing to reopen America may be bots
Nearly half of Twitter accounts pushing to reopen America may be bots
Credit: unsplash.com / Brett Jordan

There has been a huge upswell of Twitter bot activity since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, amplifying medical disinformation and the push to reopen America.

Across US and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events, the level of bot involvement is normally between 10 and 20%, according to Kathleen M. Carley and her team at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity.

In a new study, the researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing Covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America.

Politics • American • US
Trump tweets that mail drop boxes are a "voter security disaster"
Trump tweets that mail drop boxes are a "voter security disaster"
Credit: @realDonaldTrump via twitter

On Sunday, President Trump claimed on Twitter that mail drop boxes for voting were a "voter security disaster" and that they were "not Covid sanitized."

"So now the Democrats are using Mail Drop Boxes, which are a voter security disaster. Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times. Also, who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas? They are not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!," so Trump's full tweet.

Twitter has since placed a "public interest notice" on the tweet "for violating our Civic Integrity Policy for making misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting."

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook states that they have removed 7 million posts with false information about Covid-19
Facebook states that they have removed 7 million posts with false information about Covid-19
Credit: Screenshot Transparency Report

In its sixth Community Standards Enforcement Report, Facebook has released data showing that the platform has removed seven million posts that contained false information about the Covid-19 pandemic, a cure or the virus itself.

In addition, 22,5 million posts have been removed on the grounds of hate speech and 8,7 million which are in connection to extremist organizations.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook removes QAnon conspiracy group
Truck with a bumper sticker referring to QAnon.
Truck with a bumper sticker referring to QAnon. Credit: XPlayer2x (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook has deleted the Official Q/Qanon group with nearly 200,000 members. The group was dedicated to sharing and discussing QAnon conspiracy theories.

According to a spokeswoman for Facebook, the company removed the group for "repeatedly posting content that violated our policies."

Last month both Twitter and TikTok also cracked down on QAnon content.

Politics • American • US
Trump signs executive order banning business between U.S. citizens and TikTok from in 45 days on
Trump signs executive order banning business between U.S. citizens and TikTok from in 45 days on
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Logo TikTok

The president of the United States Donald Trump has followed through with his announcement to make a move against the social media application TikTok with the help of an executive order. In the signed executive order, Trump outlaws all transactions between ByteDance, which is the parent company of TikTok, and citizens of the United States. The reason for that are national security concerns according to Trump.

The outlined transaction ban in the executive order will become effective in 45 days and most likely prevent the application from being downloaded or updated.

Politics • American • US
US Senate bans TikTok from phones owned by government
US Senate bans TikTok from phones owned by government
Credit: Solen Feyissa (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a unanimous decision, the senate of the United States has decided that the social media app TikTok will be banned from all government-owned devices.

This step comes after President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to ban the app for everyone in the United States.

Politics • American • US
Facebook deletes a post by Trump campaign for "spreading misinformation"
Facebook deletes a post by Trump campaign for "spreading misinformation"
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

Facebook has deleted a video shared by the Trump campaign for violating its policy against spreading misinformation about Covid-19. The video, a segment of an interview with Fox News, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that children were "virtually immune" to the novel Coronavirus and pressed to reopen schools. It was the first post by the Trump campaign that was deleted by Facebook.

Technology • Internet & Web
Snapchat to test new TikTok-like music feature
Snapchat Logo Illustration
Snapchat Logo Illustration Credit: unsplash.com/Morning Brew

Multimedia messaging app Snapchat has announced a new feature that will let users add songs to their video posts, similar to TikTok. Snapchat has made a licensing deal with Warner Music, Universal Music Publishing Group and other music industry companies to offer a "robust and curated catalog of music."

"We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves. Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that helps capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends," so a Snapchat spokesperson.

The new feature will launch first for users in Australia and New Zealand, and later this fall in Canada and the United States.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Madonna Instagram's post about hydroxychloroquine flagged for sharing 'False Information'
Madonna Instagram's post about hydroxychloroquine flagged for sharing 'False Information'
Credit: Madonna (Instagram)

Instagram flagged on Tuesday a video posted by Madonna as "False Information". The video, about hydroxychloroquine being a cure for Covid-19, spread the same misinformation as a clip that was previously taken down from Twitter after President Donald Trump shared it.

“This woman is my hero,” Madonna wrote in her post. “Thank you Stella Immanuel.”

The post, now deleted, appeared to Instagram users blurred with a warning over the video: "False Information.".

Technology • Internet & Web
Auditors report that Facebook failed civil rights audit over hate speech and misinformation
Auditors report that Facebook failed civil rights audit over hate speech and misinformation
Credit: Joshua Hoehne

The lawyers and civil rights experts Laura Murphy and Megan Cacace have conducted and published a 100-page civil rights audit analyzing how Facebook treats hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

The report states that "it is important to acknowledge that the Civil Rights Audit was a substantive and voluntary process and that the company used the process to listen, plan and deliver on various consequential changes that will help advance the civil rights of its users".

Though the auditors state that Facebook failed "to grasp the urgency" of the problems which will have "direct and consequential implications" on the presidential elections of the United States in November adding that "Facebook has a long road ahead on its civil rights journey".

Technology • Internet & Web
Instagram enables 'Pinned Comments' feature to all users
Instagram's pinned comments
Instagram's pinned comments Credit: Vishal Shah (Twitter Reproduction)

Vishal Shah, Instagram's VP of product, announced all users can now pin up to three comments on their posts. The new feature allows users to "better manage the tone of the conversation".

The company started testing pinned comments back in May, alongside the ability to delete comments in bulk and choose who can tag and mention you on specific posts.

Business • Media & Advertising
Ford, Adidas and Clorox join social media advertising boycott
Ford, Adidas and Clorox join social media advertising boycott
Credit: Image Composition: Pendect; Images via Unsplash

Ford, Adidas and Clorox have joined a growing list of companies pausing social media advertising to take action against hate speech. Ford will not advertise on either Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter in the U.S. for the next 30 days. Clorox is pausing advertising globally on all Facebook-owned platforms until the end of the year, Adidas through July.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitch temporarily suspends Donald Trump
Twitch temporarily suspends Donald Trump
Credit: Screenshot Twitch by Pendect @ash

According to the independent eSports and gaming journalist Rod Breslau (alias "Slasher), Twitch has suspended the president of the United States providing him with the statement that "Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch. In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream".

Technology • Internet & Web
Reddit has banned the pro-Trump subreddit "r/The_Donald"
Reddit has banned the pro-Trump subreddit "r/The_Donald"
Credit: Illustration: Pendect

Reddit has deleted r/The_Donald, a popular and controversial subreddit devoted to Donald Trump with over 790,000 members. Reddit Co-Founder and CEO Steve Huffman said that r/The_Donald had consistently violated the community and content policies by harassing others with hate speech. The social networking platform is also banning another 2,000 communities from all different political spectrums, including the subreddit of the left-wing podcast "Chapo Trap House".

Reddit has further introduced new content policies and developed a new enforcement plan to tackle critical issues. The post stated that "no community should be used as a weapon," and that "communities and users that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned."

Business • Media & Advertising
Starbucks to pause social media advertising over hate speech
Starbucks store
Starbucks store Credit: unsplash.com/TR

Starbucks has announced to halt advertising on "all social media platforms", though the company is not joining the #StopHateForProfit boycott campaign. The coffeehouse chain further stated it would hold "discussions internally and with media partners and civil rights organizations to stop the spread of hate speech" but would continue to post on social media platforms without paid promotion.

"We believe in bringing communities together, both in person and online, and we stand against hate speech," so the company in a statement on Sunday. "We believe more must be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities, and we believe both business leaders and policy makers need to come together to affect real change."

Technology • Internet & Web
Coca-Cola joins "Stop Hate For Profit" campaign and pauses all social media advertising
Coca-Cola joins "Stop Hate For Profit" campaign and pauses all social media advertising
Credit: Matthew Bellemare (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The Coca-Cola Company has announced that they'll join the ongoing "Stop Hate For Profit" campaign where companies stop advertising on Facebook over the missing moderation of hate speech.

Coca-Cola will not only pause the advertisements on Facebook but across all social media platforms globally. The pause will at least go for 30 days and start July 1st. The Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey has also demanded "greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners".

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook to add labels to "problematic content" from public figures
Facebook to add labels to "problematic content" from public figures
Credit: unsplash.com/Alex Haney

Facebook will start to add labels to posts from public figures if the content is violating the platform's policies but won't remove posts as they might be deemed "newsworthy". This move comes weeks after Zuckerberg criticised Twitter for adding labels to policy-violating tweets of politicians and other public figures. In response to Facebook's inaction on hate speech, many high-profile advertisers started boycotting the social network and pulling their ads.

In a post to his Facebook account, Mark Zuckerberg announced the policy change, stating: "We will soon start labeling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. We'll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what's acceptable in our society -- but we'll add a prompt to tell people that the content they're sharing may violate our policies."

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook blocks article from "The Guardian" and bans users through automated anti-nudity system

The social media network has blocked a link of the British daily newspaper "The Guardian" on the grounds of nudity because the preview image of the article contained a historical photo of Aboriginal men in chains even though it did not show naked people. Facebook took down the post of at least one user and multiple are reporting that they are unable to share the link even after a Facebook spokesperson apologized for the "mistake" made by an automated system.