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February 14, 2022 T&S Newsletter

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T&S Early Warning News

Get ahead of new stories that are impacting the T&S industry.

Plans for age checks on porn sites ‘a privacy minefield’, campaigners warn

The Guardian | Feb 13, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Plans to make pornography websites carry out age checks are a “privacy minefield” thatcould lead to a digital ID system for accessing the internet, privacy campaigners have warned.

Ministers confirmed this week that social media sites hosting large amounts of pornographic material, such as Twitter and Reddit, would also have to work under the same age-verification rules as adult content sites. It means the sites would have to introduce systems to remove adult material in the UK, or introduce age checks to determine whether users are over 18.

The proposed changes to the online safety bill were targeted primarily at commercial pornography publishers, but privacy groups have warned that the move could establish the principle of age-gating across the internet.

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YouTube cashes in with advertisements on Covid misinformation videos

The Times | Feb 14, 2022

Company Listed: Youtube

YouTube is profiting from conspiracy videos about Sir Keir Starmer, Covid-19 vaccines, 5G and misogyny, a Times investigation reveals.

The internet giant and film-makers are making money from charity, bank and telephone advertisements that appear when the videos are viewed. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is using an algorithm to serve up adverts from organisations including Amnesty, Vodafone, Disney and HelloFresh, the meal-kit provider, alongside disturbing content.

A video that went viral on the site about Starmer in the days before he was ambushed by an angry mob outside the Commons has sparked concerns from the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

The video, which has been viewed more than 150,000 times, comprises footage of prime minister’s questions.

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Meta's threat to leave Europe hints at waning big tech influence

ZdNet | Feb 14,2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

Meta, formerly Facebook, made headlines last week for "threatening" to pull its services out of Europe. The threat, slotted into the company's annual 10-K filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, said it "would likely" pull Facebook and Instagram from the region if a new EU-US transatlantic data transfer framework could not be formed.

The threat was made in response to the US-EU Safe Harbour and Privacy Shield agreements being struck down by the European Court of Justice in recent years. The court struck down those agreements as it found US laws did not offer enough data protection safeguards to meet European standards, making it illegal for companies to gather data about European citizens and transfer it to US shores for analysis and sale to advertisers.

This isn't the first time Meta has made threats to leave a particular market. Last year, Meta temporarily blocked people and publishers in Australia from sharing news as part of a scare tactic to make the Australian government amend its media bargaining code. Among Meta's fellow big tech brethren, Google similarly threatened to pull Search from Australia under similar motives, while Apple said last year it could leave the UK due to patent concerns.

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US tech giant faces Russian fines | Feb 11, 2022

Company Listed: Youtube

American tech giant Google is set to be handed a fine after Russian officials determined it was in violation of the country’s anti-trust laws, in connection with its video sharing and social media website YouTube.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) posted the news on its website on Thursday, writing that a case brought against Google last April had concluded that the tech firm had breached antitrust law by arbitrarily deleting content on YouTube, which is the second-most visited website in the world, after Google itself.

The statement reads, “the Service determined that the rules connected with formulating, suspending, and blocking accounts and content circulation of YouTube users are opaque, subjective, and unpredictable. This leads to the sudden blocking and deletion of accounts without warning or foundation. The Russian FAS determined that such behavior infringes on the interests of users and restricts competition in related markets.”

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Government Hospitals in Nigeria to Offer Free DNA test from June 2022

Topic: Health Misinformation

Location: Nigeria, Africa

Company Listed: Facebook

Summary: As of Friday, February 11, 2022, a Health-related misinformation story on Facebook was circulating on several social media platforms including Twitter and Whatsapp suggesting the Nigerian Government will be offering Free DNA tests starting in June 2022.

The claim as seen with a breaking news headline has so far generated 26 likes and comments.

According to the Facebook user, the claim emanated from the Health Minister for Nigeria.

Evidence: This is the screenshot as seen on Facebook


The Facebook post includes the following URL:

Investigations carried out showed that the information provided by the Facebook user is false and misleading.

Further checks proved that the claim is false. The Minister of State for Health Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora debunked the message in an interview made by Daily independent and punch.

According to the Minister of State for Health in an interview conducted in Abuja, Nigeria, on the 26th of January 2022, he said; ‘’This is a false claim. ‘’At no point did I or the minister say this. The claims about free DNA tests are not true.”

Keywords: Nigeria, DNA, Dr Olurunnimbe Mamora, Free DNA Test from June 2022, Punch, Daily independent, Minister of Health, Minister of State for Health

T&S Policies & Regulations

Regulatory news and policy decisions impacting the T&S ecosystem.

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The ‘new’ offences added to the online safety bill are not really new – and could continue to fail victims of online abuse

CanadianInquirer | Feb 13, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

The UK government has recently revealed more detail about its ambitious plans to become the “safest place in the world to go online” by way of the online safety bill.

The draft bill is currently being reviewed by the government following a report by the joint committee, with the bill expected to go before parliament in the coming months.

Among a range of measures, the online safety bill is set to include three “new” criminal offences to prohibit the sending of harmful communication, genuinely threatening messages and false information.

But this sorts of behaviour is already prohibited by law. So what’s to say including them in the online safety bill is going to protect people subject to online abuse?

Under section 127(1) of the Communications Act 2003, it’s an offence to send a communication which is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing. The Act has not been without fault. Vague terms such as “grossly offensive”, which is not clearly defined, have led to some obscure outcomes.

For instance, a person received a fine for posting an image on Snapchat of two police officers where he had drawn penises on their heads. In another case, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to prosecute a footballer for sending a homophobic tweet about divers Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield. The tweet was considered offensive, but not so grossly offensive that the criminal law should intervene.