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February 25, 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

Facebook, Twitter highlight security steps for users in Ukraine

Reuters | February 25, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta, Twitter

Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) has set up a special operations center to monitor the conflict in Ukraine, and it launched a feature so users in the country can lock their social media profiles for security, a company official said in Twitter posts on Thursday.

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) on Wednesday posted tips on how users can secure their accounts against hacking, make sure their tweets are private and deactivate their accounts. The company tweeted the safety tips in English, Russian and Ukrainian.

Both social media platforms are often used by political activists and researchers to disseminate information during times of crisis. The Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday also raised concerns about the spread of disinformation about the conflict on social media.

With one click, users in Ukraine can lock their profile to prevent users who are not their friends from downloading or sharing their profile picture, or seeing posts on their timeline, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, said on Twitter.

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Facebook must protect content moderators in Kenya

Standard Media | February 24, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

A decade and a half ago, Facebook and Twitter were viewed as game changers that enhanced freedom of expression and access to information and political participation.

World events such as the Arab Spring and the recent Sudan Revolution relied on social media for online solidarity and mobilisation. However, it has since emerged that these platforms are cesspools of misinformation, online harassment, bullying, hate speech, and terrorism recruitment.

They have been linked to undermining democracies in the USA, UK, Kenya, and Nigeria, fanning genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and fanning ethnic tension in Ethiopia.

The bullying and harassment have caused a rise in negative body image and self-esteem issues and suicide and self-harm, especially among young girls and minorities.

After many scandals, incidents, and studies regarding how social media platforms negatively affect societies, they have been pressured to deploy measures to counter problematic speech and practices in their platforms.

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TikTok is full of alleged scam artists pretending to be real advertisers

MorningBrew | February 24, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

Sean Winterhalter wanted a treadmill. His young son and a global pandemic made it hard to get to the gym, so he was in the market for exercise equipment he could use at home.

He started noticing a TikTok ad for a seemingly discounted slim treadmill called the Treadly in November, but it wasn’t until after the holidays that he clicked on it. He made the purchase through PayPal and was swiftly sent a receipt bearing a language he didn’t recognize. He didn’t know who he paid, but he knew it wasn’t Treadly, a US-based company.

He later made a video on TikTok detailing his plight with the hashtag #didigetscammed.

“Did TikTok scam me?” he asked his viewers. Well, somebody did.

Alleged scam artists are running ads and posing as real brands on TikTok, offering ludicrous deals to swindle unsuspecting users. Alongside suspicious-looking ads for Treadly, Marketing Brew saw questionable ads for L.L. Bean, Le Creuset, Bowflex, and Wayfair.

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Computer-security researchers aim to prevent tech abuse

Cronell Chronicals | February 24, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Researchers at Cornell Tech have created a new approach to helping survivors of domestic abuse stop assailants from hacking into their devices and social media to surveil, harass and hurt them.

The model focuses on “continuity of care,” so clients experience a seamless relationship with one volunteer tech consultant over time, similar to a health care setting. It matches survivors with consultants who understand their needs and establish trust, offers survivors multiple ways to safely communicate with consultants, and securely stores their tech abuse history and concerns.

“Personal data management in tech abuse is a complex thing that can’t always be ‘solved’ in a single half-hour visit,” said Emily Tseng, M.S. ’19, a doctoral student and lead author on a paper about the model. “Most of the approaches that exist in tech support are limited by a one-size-fits-all protocol more akin to an emergency room than a primary care provider.”

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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

UK wants to squeeze freedom of reach to take on internet trolls

TechCrunch | February 25, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

The UK government has announced (yet) more additions to its expansive and controversial plan to regulate online content — aka the Online Safety Bill.

It says the latest package of measures to be added to the draft are intended to protect web users from anonymous trolling.

The Bill has far broader aims as a whole, comprising a sweeping content moderation regime targeted at explicitly illegal content but also ‘legal but harmful’ stuff — with a claimed focused of protecting children from a range of online harms, from cyberbullying and pro-suicide content to exposure to pornography.

Critics, meanwhile, say the legislation will kill free speech and isolate the UK, creating splinternet Britain, while also piling major legal risk and cost on doing digital business in the UK. (Unless you happen to be part of the club of ‘safety tech’ firms offering to sell services to help platforms with their compliance of course.)

In recent months, two parliamentary committees have scrutinized the draft legislation. One called for a sharper focus on illegal content, while another warned the government’s approach is both a risk to online expression and unlikely to be robust enough to address safety concerns — so it’s fair to say that ministers are under pressure to make revisions.

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A deep dive into proposed online content regulations

The Daily Star | February 25, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

It all started when a public interest litigation was filed in the summer of 2020, alleging infringement of constitutional rights due to the government's failure to regulate content in over-the-top (OTT) media services. Subsequently, consistent with a High Court directive issued in January 2021, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting started drafting frameworks to regulate online content. A preliminary draft of the regulation— titled Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Regulation for Digital, Social Media and Over-The-Top Platforms, 2021—was recently made available by the BTRC for public comment.

Broadly speaking, the draft regulation appears to have been substantially copied from India's Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Unfortunately, such cut-and-paste exercise is problematic for a number of reasons—not least because it fails to reflect on the underlying policy considerations or to account for the differences in the regulatory environment. It also pre-empts an authentic rule-making effort driven by local issues and considerations. All in all, it stands in stark contrast with the draft policy prepared by the information ministry, and vacuously incorporates such requirements as traceability, local registration and content moderation, with no safe harbour provision.

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Online Safety Bill: Allow social media users to block anonymous users and opt out of harmful content, say MPs

Inews | February 25, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Social media users will be given the power to block others who have failed to verify their identity and to opt out of seeing harmful content under new changes to online safety legislation.

MPs hope the new measures added to the Online Safety Bill will combat anonymous abuse on platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and give users greater control over the types of content they’re exposed to.