top of page

February 24, 2022 T&S Newsletter

Early Warning | Policy & Regulations | Good News | 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

Parler Subpoenas Twitter in Ongoing Case Against Amazon Web Services, Inc. Regarding Anti-Competitive Practices

Yahoo Finance | Feb 23, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter, Amazon

Parler, primarily known for its viewpoint-neutral free speech social media platform, filed a subpoena requesting documents regarding Twitter's alleged collusion with Amazon Web Services resulting in Parler's deplatforming and removal from APP stores on January 10, 2021.

"Parler will continue to fight against Big Tech companies like Amazon Web Services and Twitter that attempt to stifle innovation and free speech through anticompetitive practices. We will continue to stand against cancel culture and the mob mentality," said George Farmer, CEO of Parler.

The subpoena (Case #21-2-02856-6 SEA), issued by Superior Court for the State of Washington King County in Parler LLC vs Amazon Web Services Inc., requests the following:

Twitter's response to government and/or Congressional subpoenas issued in 2021 relating to the 2020 presidential election; former President Donald Trump; the January 6 Capitol Protest; Parler; Content Moderation; and/or the incitement of violence.

Read more

Tech on high alert for Russia's Ukraine disinformation offensive

Axios | Feb 24, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

In a way, this will be a test for American social media companies if things really escalate," said Bret Schafer, senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund's Alliance for Securing Democracy.

Social media firms say they are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine but so far, companies like Meta, Twitter and YouTube have yet to publicly introduced any new policies tailored to it.

"Some of the things they've done (in the past) like labeling, or some of the 'think-before-you-share' type interventions, have not been applied to this crisis in particular," said Nina Jankowicz, global fellow at the Wilson Center specializing in disinformation and democracy.

Russia is no stranger to social media manipulation, and sharpened its skills ahead of the 2016 U.S. election, said Simon Miles, assistant professor at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy.

"That told [Russia] a lot about the power of this tool," he said. 'What we will probably see is them trying to use social media tools to sow as much panic and chaos from Ukraine as they possibly can."

Read more

All Social Media Will Need to Moderate Content

CEI | Feb 23, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Roughly a year after being booted off the most popular social media networks, former President Trump launched his own digital platform last weekend, Truth Social. The service touts itself as being a politically neutral online space.

As outrage about the content moderation decisions of “Big Tech” grows on the right, the potential for the success of an alternative social media network grows. Having competing platforms with varied policies is a superior market solution to government regulation, so Truth Social’s debut is a welcome development. But to be successful, the upstart must avail itself of the same content moderation privileges that today’s market leaders use on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Previous attempts to fill the need for a conservative-friendly digital platform have failed in part because they adopted a “content wild west” approach. While talk of not moderating at all may be good marketing for some frustrated users, it doesn’t make much sense once things are up and running. Just ask Gettr. So instead of denying the need for any content moderation, new alternative platforms chould embrace content curation and implement rules with which conservatives are likely to agree.

Read more

Facebook whistleblower calls for review of Ireland’s data watchdog

Silicon Republic | Feb 23, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said Ireland should learn from the criticism against its Data Protection Commission (DPC) and launch an independent investigation.

Speaking at a Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting on online disinformation and media literacy, Haugen said the DPC is “widely considered” to have stepped back in its responsibilities in enforcing GDPR.

“The tech companies on your shores have, once again, got away with it,” Haugen said. “As you create an independent, robust and effective online safety regulator, you must launch an independent review into the DPC so that it too can start to enforce the law thoroughly and boldly.”

Ireland’s role in policing Big Tech on data protection has faced scrutiny, with a great of deal of that placed on the DPC. Last December, the regulator was accused by Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems of improperly lobbying other EU regulators to allow Facebook to bypass user consent requirements for ad-related data collection. The DPC later rejected those accusations.

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

The metaverse is the world's strongest argument for social media Regulation

The Hill | Feb 23, 2022

Company Listed: Meta Facebook

The challenge of policing the metaverse illustrates the need for government to regulate social media.

The metaverse refers to an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment where users, appearing as life-like avatars, can interact in three-dimensional spaces that mimic the real world. Mark Zuckerberg is so sure that the metaverse eventually will eclipse existing social media platforms that he changed the name of his company from Facebook to Meta Platforms and is spending $10 billion this year alone to develop VR headsets, software and content.

In addition to a host of technological hurdles, the metaverse presents new questions about the rules governing what users say and do online and how the rules will be enforced. Already there are reports of abuse. Meta acknowledged in December that a woman beta-testing Horizon World, the company’s early-version VR space, had complained that her avatar had been groped by another user.

Read more

No Instagram or TikTok Without Parental Consent

WSJ | Feb 23, 2022

Company Listed: Instagram, Tiktok

In the real world, a teenager can’t go on a school field trip or join the volleyball team without a parent’s permission. The virtual world is a different story. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube offer teens a steady scroll of sexual images and videos—not to mention a proliferating range of antisocial identities—without parents’ knowledge, consent or protection.

Big Tech operates under a law that was designed before the age of social media and makes it hard for parents to control their kids’ online activity. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or Coppa, was passed in 1998 for an internet that is now a distant memory. Today, with a click or swipe, children can sign up for highly addictive social apps and games that expose them to everything from semipornographic images to online conversations with strangers. Parents don’t know when their kids are entering these dangerous digital playgrounds and can’t supervise them once they do.

Read more

Leading law firm issues Facebook letter of complaint over 'anti-Palestinian bias'

MiddleeastMonitor | Feb 23, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

Leading law firm Bindmans LLP has sent a formal letter of complaint to Facebook over its "anti-Palestinian bias." Instructed by the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), the London based firm demanded explanation for the "systematic" and "far-reaching" censorship of content and accounts related to Palestine.

The complaint was also sent to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression. It requests an urgent review of, and explanation for, the decisions made by Facebook, which was rebranded last October as Meta Inc, to suspend accounts and posts which are affiliated to Palestinian news agencies, commentators and journalists.

Monday's letter of complaint to Facebook is the second in nine months sent by Bindmans LLP to the social media giant. A previous communication submitted in May 2021 was made on behalf of five journalists and news agencies in Palestine. Facebook is said to have interfered with their accounts and/or posts and was accused of breaching their fundamental right to freedom of expression as well as its own Corporate Human Rights Policy.

Read more

Google Prevails with Section 230 Defense in App-Related Hate Speech Suit

LawStreetMedia | Feb 23, 2022

Company Listed: Google

Former United States Ambassador Marc Ginsberg and an anti-terrorism organization he created, Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW), have lost their case against Google LLC which alleged that the company was liable for failing to enforce its own app developer guidelines and policies. Last week’s opinion by Judge Beth Labson Freeman found Google immune from suit under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA).

According to the opinion, Ginsberg “has had a notable career in public service and in the public eye.” Among other accomplishments, he served as the first Jewish ambassador to an Arab nation, Morocco. Ginsberg reportedly created CWS to prevent terrorist and extremist groups from using social media platforms to further their agendas.

The plaintiffs’ revised complaint alleged that the app “Telegram,” offered for download on the Google Play Store, does not comply with Google’s developer guidelines and is used to transmit racist speech and incite violence against Jewish people and people of color that violates California law. The filing stated claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Read more