Social Networks

Technology • Internet & Web
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
Credit: WhatsApp

WhatsApp added a new feature that makes it easier for users to verify whether the assertions made in forwarded messages they have received on the app are true. The new feature, called "Search the Web" works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.

"Search the web" is being rolled out starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

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
Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Slack, Microsoft Teams (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The complaint details Microsoft’s illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law. Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the actual cost to enterprise customers.

Business • Economy
LinkedIn to cut 960 jobs globally
LinkedIn to cut 960 jobs globally
Credit: Greg Bulla

Microsoft's professional networking site LinkedIn has said it plans to cut 6% of its global workforce as the Covid-19 pandemic is having a sustained impact on demand for its recruitment products. Nine hundred sixty jobs will be cut across sales and hiring divisions of the group globally.

LinkedIn said employees affected by its job cuts would be informed this week, and they will start receiving invitations in the next few hours to meetings to learn more about next steps.

Technology • Internet & Web
Tinder starts testing video dates
Tinder Face to Face screenshots
Tinder Face to Face screenshots Credit: Tinder

Tinder announced Wednesday that it has begun testing the ‘Face to Face’ chat feature in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Vietnam, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Peru and Chile.

In a press release, Tinder says: "We recently surveyed our members in the US, and half of them have had video dates with a match off Tinder in the past month. Not only that, but 40 percent of Gen Z members wanted to continue using video as a way to decide whether to meet IRL in the future - even once their favorite date spot is open again"

The new feature was promised as a way Tinder evolves its business in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Facebook removes accounts linked to Bolsonaro's family
Screenshot of a post by one of the accounts
Screenshot of a post by one of the accounts Credit: Facebook Reproduction

Facebook announced Wednesday the removal of 35 accounts, 14 Pages, 1 Group and 38 Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in Brazil. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, Facebook investigation found links to individuals associated with the Social Liberal Party and some of the employees of the offices of Anderson Moraes, Alana Passos, Eduardo Bolsonaro, Flavio Bolsonaro and Jair Bolsonaro.

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.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook's content oversight board won't launch until 'late fall'
Members of the Oversight Board
Members of the Oversight Board Credit: Facebook (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook has announced that the Oversight Board will not launch until “late fall,”. The Oversight Board is supposed to be an independent body that the social networking platform has started to reconsider some of its most crucial content decisions.

In a tweet, the board stated: "We understand many people are eager for the Board to officially begin our task of providing independent oversight of Facebook’s content decisions. We share this urgency, but the Board won’t be operational until late Fall."

Critics point out that the new timeline implies the new Oversight Board will not be effective during the U.S. presidential campaign and elections.

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo states that the United States are considering to ban TikTok
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo states that the United States are considering to ban TikTok
Credit: unsplash.com / Kon Karampelas

During an interview at Fox News, Laura Ingraham asked the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if the Trump Administration is considering to ban Chinese social media apps such as TikTok. Pompeo stated that "With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura" and that he doesn't "want to get out in front of the President, but it's something we're looking at". He also stated security concerns with TikTok and suggested that people should only install the app on their phones if they want their "private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party".

Regional News • Asia • China
Tik Tok will exit Hong Kong following new security law
Tik Tok will exit Hong Kong following new security law
Credit: Kon Karampelas

TikTok plans to pull out of the Hong Kong market after China imposed a new security law on the city that gives authorities sweeping new powers, raising concerns about data privacy.

A spokesman for the company told BBC: "In light of recent events, we've decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,".

Other companies including Google, Facebook, Telegram and Twitter have suspended processing government access requests for user data in Hong Kong.

Business • Media & Advertising
Lego, Pepsi, Mars Inc. and others joining the #StopHateForProfit movement
Lego, Pepsi, Mars Inc. and others joining the #StopHateForProfit movement
Credit: Stop Hate For Profit

More and more companies are joining the #StopHateForProfit movement to boycott Facebook over its hate speech policies. Over the past days, numerous brands have announced they would stop advertising on Facebook platforms, including Lego, Pepsi, Henkel, Volkswagen Group, Target, Chobani, Vans, Puma and Mars Inc.

Technology • Internet & Web
Youtube bans six "supremacist" channels over hate speech including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke
Youtube bans six "supremacist" channels over hate speech including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke
Credit: unsplash.com / Christian Wiediger

YouTube has banned six channels of known YouTubers including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and Richard Spender over hate speech. According to YouTube the channels linked to off-platform hate content and made claims of inferiority about a protected group. In an official statement, the company said that they "have terminated over 25,000 channels for violating our hate speech policies" since updating their "guidelines to better address supremacist content".

Technology • Internet & Web
Companies boycott Facebook as advertising platform over failure to moderate posts
Companies boycott Facebook as advertising platform over failure to moderate posts
Credit: Logo Verizon

Verizon has joined companies like Ben & Jerry's, North Face, Pangolia and others in boycotting Facebook and Instagram as a marketing platform. With more and more companies joining in "Stop the Hate for Profit", the campaign is gathering momentum. The companies have voiced concerns over Facebook's policies and inaction regarding the handling of posts with hateful language, namely posts from the United States President Donald Trump.

Technology • Internet & Web
WhatsApp rolled out digital payment solution to users in Brazil
Screenshots of WhatsApp Pay in Brazil
Screenshots of WhatsApp Pay in Brazil Credit: WhatsApp

After testing a beta version in India, WhatsApp rolled out a system across Brazil on Monday that allows users to send money to individuals or local businesses within a chat, attaching payments as they would a photo or video.

The messaging application has more than 120 millions in the country, and small businesses already use WhatsApp as a marketing tool to answer questions or send catalogs.

“Payments on WhatsApp are beginning to roll out to people across Brazil beginning today and we look forward to bringing it to everyone as we go forward,” the company said in the post.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter removes China-linked accounts spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and Hong Kong
Twitter removes China-linked accounts spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and Hong Kong
Credit: Sara Kurfeß

Twitter suspended 23,750 accounts that were posting pro-Beijing narratives, and another 150,000 dedicated to retweeting and amplifying those messages.

According to Twitter: "Despite the volume, the core 23,750 accounts we are publishing to the archive were largely caught early and failed to achieve considerable traction on the service, typically holding low follower accounts and low engagement. Of the approximately 150,000 amplifier accounts, the majority had little to no follower counts either and were strategically designed to artificially inflate impression metrics and engage with the core accounts."

Sports • Soccer
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli fined and suspended over Covid-19 post
Dele Alli
Dele Alli Credit: Tomasz Baranowski (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Football Association suspended for one match the Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli over an old Snapchat post about coronavirus that resurfaced recently.

The video posted by Alli showed him in an airport lounge wearing a face mask before focusing on a man of Asian appearance, and then finally zooming in on a bottle of antiseptic handwash.

The midfielder also received a £50,000 fine and ordered to undertake an education course.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter puts fact-checking label on tweets linking 5G with Covid-19
Graffiti against 5G
Graffiti against 5G Credit: MHM55 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Twitter is adding labels on tweets that wrongly link the spread of the Covid-19 with 5G mobile networks.

The label reads, “Get the facts on Covid-19”. After clicking on the message, users see a document titled “No 5G isn’t causing coronavirus” that collects sources debunking claims with links to pages like the BBC and Snopes.

Technology • Internet & Web
Snapchat removes Trump from discover section
Snapchat on iPhone
Snapchat on iPhone Credit: Thought Catalog

The parent company Snap has removed Donald Trump's account from the Discover section on the social media app Snapchat.

In a statement, the company said the "Racial violence and injustice have no place in our society, and we stand together with all who seek peace, love, equality, and justice in America" and that Trump promotes "racial violence and injustice".

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian Senate to vote new law criminalising the usage of fake accounts in social networks
Brazilian Senate session
Brazilian Senate session Credit: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado

Brazil's Senate is going to vote today a new law to criminalise the usage of fake accounts and bots on social networks.

The proposal, presented by senator Alessandro Vieira and representatives Felipe Rigoni and Tabata Amaral, establishes that platforms face sanctions if they don’t provide transparent reports, do not label bots, or don’t highlight corrections coming from independent fact-checkers.

Expressing concerns about the proposal, Flávia Lefèvre, a counselor of the Brazilian internet steering committee, stated: “All counsellors are overly concerned with this proposal. It could compromise one of the principles that are in the decalogue of the internet and in article 14 of [Brazil’s internet bill of rights], which is the non-liability of the network provider. This is a principle that guarantees freedom of expression and prevents censorship”.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump signs executive order aimed at social media companies
Donald J. Trump participates in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in the East Room of the White House.
Donald J. Trump participates in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at limiting the legal protection enjoyed by social media companies. the executive order comes two days after Twitter labelled two of his tweets "potentially misleading".

Twitter criticised the executive order on a statement late Thursday: "This EO is a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law. #Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values. Attempts to unilaterally erode it threatens the future of online speech and Internet freedoms."