top of page

February 22, 2022 T&S Newsletter

Early Warning | Policy & Regulations | Jobs & Careers | T&S FAQs

Subscribe to the newsletter here

T&S Early Warning News

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

Russian disinformation frenzy seeds groundwork for Ukraine invasion

Axios | Feb 22, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter

Russia is testing its agility at weaponizing state media to win backing at home, in occupied territories in eastern Ukraine and with sympathizers abroad for a war of aggression.

The big picture: State media has pivoted from accusing the West of hysterical warnings about a non-existent invasion to pumping out minute-by-minute coverage of the tensions.

Zoom in: NewsGuard, a misinformation tech firm, identified three of the most common false narratives being propagated by Russian state media like RT, Sputnik News., and TASS:

The West staged a coup in 2014 to overthrow the Ukrainian government

Ukrainian politics is dominated by Nazi ideology

Ethnic Russians in Ukraine's Donbas region have been subjected to genocide

Social media platforms have been on high alert for Russian disinformation that would violate their policies but have less control over private messaging, where some propaganda efforts have moved to avoid detection.

A Twitter spokesperson notes: "As we do around major global events, our safety and integrity teams are monitoring for potential risks associated with conflicts to protect the health of the platform."

Read more

Parents At Garvy Elementary School Want Employee Fired Over Vaccine Comments On Facebook: ‘She Has Lost The Trust Of Parents’

BlockClubChicago | Feb 22, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

Parents at a Far Northwest Side elementary school want an employee to be fired after she posted comments about students’ vaccination status on Facebook.

In January, an employee at John W. Garvy Elementary School, 5225 N. Oak Park Ave., whose children attend the school, got into an argument on Facebook with other moms about non-vaccinated children having to quarantine when someone in their class tested positive for COVID-19, said parent Tammy Grabowski, who is also in the group.

I know who is vaccinated and who is not because I have access to that information,” posted the school employee, according to screenshots shared with Block Club.

She went on to write that the majority of kids with COVID-19 at the school at the time were vaccinated, but that asking unvaccinated children to quarantine was not fair.

Grabowski, whose second-grade child has attended Garvy since kindergarten, said she was upset by the comment and that the employee was bragging she had access to private records. She also posted anti-vaccine and anti-COVID posts in the same Garvy moms group, Grabowski said.

Read more

Snapchat unveils real-time location sharing

FoxBusiness | Feb 22, 2022

Company Listed: Snapchat

Since 2017, Snapchat users have been able to share their location via the Snap Map. However, they have had to keep the social media platform's app open in order for their location to be updated prior to the new Live Location tool.

This new tool will give Snapchatters the option to share their real-time location with a close friend even while their app is closed," the company said in a blog post. "With this new buddy system, Snapchatters can throw their phone in their pocket and head out the door, feeling confident that the people they trust most are looking out for them while they're on the move."

The Live Location tool can only be used by individuals who have mutually added each other as friends on the app. In addition, the feature can only be utilized for a limited amount of time and sharing can be paused at any time.

Snap developed the Live Location tool based on feedback from the community. The company's research found that 78% of its users in the U.S. would not hesitate to share their location on Snap Map.

Read more

Spotify's Joe Rogan saga spotlights podcast moderation challenges

Reuters | Feb 22, 2022

Company Listed: Spotify

At an ad industry conference in New York this month, one of the key architects of Spotify's (SPOT.N) podcasting strategy outlined what she saw as the biggest challenge facing platforms: how to moderate content.

Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff, the television veteran who had helped bring U.S. podcaster Joe Rogan and other top talent to Spotify, had been asked about the backlash to COVID-19 misinformation spread on his podcast as Neil Young and other artists yanked their music in protest. She said companies faced a "dilemma of moderation versus censorship" and there was "no silver bullet."

Content moderation has been a thorny challenge for online platforms. While social media companies like Meta's Facebook (FB.O) and Twitter (TWTR.N) have faced pressure to be more transparent over moderation and ramp up investment in human and artificial intelligence review systems, podcasting has often flown under the radar.

The backlash over "The Joe Rogan Experience" which Spotify licensed in a more than $100 million exclusive deal in 2020, heightens scrutiny on Spotify's overall approach to moderation as it evolves from a music streaming service to a podcast giant and investor in original content, industry professionals and researchers said.

Read more

Echo chambers on social media spreading COVID - 19 vaccine misinformation

The Hindu | Feb 21, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Misinformation on social media contributes to vaccine hesitancy and creates a false image of benefits and disadvantages concerning the jabs, according to a study.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named vaccine hesitancy as one of the greatest threats to global health.

"Where vaccine supporters often refer to news media and science sites when sharing knowledge about vaccines on Twitter, we can see that profiles belonging to anti-vaccine profiles far more often share links to YouTube videos and to sites that are known to spread fake news and conspiracy theories," said Bjarke Monsted from Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Vaccine opponents’ profiles often link to commercial sites that sell alternative health products. This is surprising given that vaccine hesitancy often stems from a fear of financial conflicts of interest,” Mr. Monsted said.

Previous research, Mr. Monsted said, has shown that people who earn a fortune from the sale of alternative health products globally are responsible for vacce misinformation.

Read more

T&S Policies & Regulations

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

Compare and review T&S Policies for dozens of companies here

Tencent Denies It Faces Chinese Regulatory Restrictions

Pymnts | Feb 22, 2022

Company Listed: Tencent

Tencent has said it isn’t facing a major regulatory crackdown, refuting online speculation, according to a Monday (Feb. 21) report from Bloomberg.

The company issued an “unusually aggressive” response to said speculation, with Zhang Jun, its head of public relations, saying nothing was going on.

Ask me next time, at least that’s more legit. And I’m not afraid of going on record,” Zhang said on his semi-public WeChat feed, per Bloomberg.

According to the report, Zhang was poking fun at a post citing an anonymous employee of Tencent, which, before its removal, had been shared a lot on social media.

The post also hinted at another big step in the regulatory crackdown against the internet, with new rules possibly being put in place regarding violence in video games, player spending and concepts like anime and religion.

A screenshot of the alleged new gaming curbs caused a ruckus on the internet. Wang Guanran, an analyst with Citic Securities, clarified that he originally posted the content last year, but he hadn’t posted anything that day.

Chinese tech shares have seen a precipitous drop over fears that Beijing might debut new restrictions for the private enterprise. Traders were pointing to everything from regulatory warnings about metaverse scams to gaming industry restrictions. The report noted that Tencent is a leader in the metaverse development.

Read more

UK Online Safety Bill will set a strong precedent for regulating content

Verdict | Feb 22, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Digital platforms might soon be required to proactively remove ‘legal but harmful content’ following radical government-backed amendments to the UK Online Safety Bill. This would mark the first attempt by a democratic country to revise the existing liability exemption regime, which ensures that online platforms cannot be held liable for the content that their users post on their platforms.

The bill is the result of three years of discussion around the Online Harms white paper published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) in 2019, with the aim of creating “a system of accountability and oversight for tech companies beyond self-regulation.” A first draft of the bill, which was published in May last year, put a ‘duty of care’ on large social websites to remove harmful or illegal content and protect children. But it was largely left up to the tech giants themselves to police, with oversight from media regulator Ofcom.

The revised version of the bill will give Ofcom the power to force internet platforms like Meta and Google to use technology to proactively seek out and remove both illegal content—like terrorism propaganda and child sexual exploitation—and legal content that the government decides is harmful to children.