T&S Early Warning News
Get ahead of new stories that are impacting the T&S industry.
Craig Kelly rebukes Google and Facebook for removal of his content at social media inquiry
The Guardian | Jan 20, 2022
Company Listed: Google, Facebook meta, Social Media
United Australia party leader Craig Kelly has used a parliamentary inquiry on social media and online safety to take Google and Facebook to task over the removal of his party’s videos from YouTube and his ban from Facebook for pushing unproven treatments for Covid-19.
United Australia Party has spent close to $5m advertising its videos on YouTube since Kelly became leader of the party in August, accounting for about 98% of all political ad spend on YouTube in Australia during that time. YouTube has not banned the account or ceased taking money from the party, but it has removed a number of the party’s videos for allegedly violating its community guidelines.
Kelly was also banned from Facebook and Instagram last year for posts promoting unproven Covid-19 treatments such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
In a parliamentary committee hearing on Thursday, the member for Hughes questioned Google, Facebook and TikTok mainly using examples of each of these services taking action against content he or his party had posted.
He questioned why a speech he had given in parliament was removed from YouTube, and he had “countless examples” where content had been removed.
Facebook critics call for release of India human rights review
Reuters | Jan 20, 2022
Company Listed: Facebook Meta
Facebook critics on Wednesday called on the world's largest social network to release a human rights impact assessment it commissioned in 2020 to investigate hate speech on its platforms in India.
The social media company, which is now called Meta (FB.O), faces increasing scrutiny over its handling of abuses on its services, particularly after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal documents showing its struggles monitoring problematic content in countries where it was most likely to cause harm. read more
In a letter sent to the company this month and made public Wednesday, rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and India Civil Watch International urged Facebook to release the report.
Gare Smith, partner and chair of global business and human rights practice at the U.S. law firm Foley Hoag, which Facebook commissioned to carry out the assessment, said: "Such projects are complex, particularly in a country as diverse and large as India."
Microsoft is bigger than Google, Amazon and Facebook. But now lawmakers treat it like an ally in antitrust battles
The Washington Post | Jan 20, 2022
CompanyListed: Google, Amazon, Facebook Meta
When Google announced in 2019 that it would acquire Fitbit for $2 billion, lawmakers didn’t hide their frustration.
“By attempting this deal at this moment, Google is signaling that it will continue to flex and expand its power despite this immense scrutiny,” Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said in a statement the same day the deal was announced.
But more than 24 hours after Microsoft announced its plans to purchase Activision for nearly $70 billion, aggressive trustbusters in Congress were uncharacteristically quiet. Core sponsors of antitrust legislation targeting the tech industry, including Cicilline, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) did not immediately comment to The Washington Post on the deal.
The silence underscores how Microsoft has carved out a distinct reputation among policymakers, distancing itself from the political scrutiny embroiling its top competitors in Washington. As Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google were marshaling their Washington resources to beat back competition legislation up for debate on Capitol Hill this week, Microsoft smoothly announced one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the tech industry. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
HOW TO SUPPORT A GLOBALLY CONNECTED COUNTER-DISINFORMATION NETWORK
Warontherocks.com | Jan 21, 2022
Company Listed: Social Media
From undermining democracy to inciting genocide, the global dangers of disinformation on social media are now well known. But despite countless calls for better legal regulation or intensified content moderation, the efforts of governments and social media companies to combat this threat have proven either woefully inadequate or dangerous to democratic practice.
The problem is that we have been looking for the solution in the wrong place. Civil society, not governments or social media companies, can best diminish disinformation. But these civil society organizations need equipping, and their tools need sharpening. A powerful, networked disinformation threat should be met with a powerful, networked response. This means more data access, more training, and a more entrepreneurial approach to support groups around the world that are already on the front lines. By providing this support, ideally in a more coordinated fashion, donors and research organizations can help make these groups even more powerful in their response.
While Americans often point to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election as the moment social media disinformation became a problem, the rest of the world was already worried. Political disinformation has impacted elections in every region. Hate speech has led to violence and genocide in Burma, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and elsewhere. Authoritarian states’ systems of propaganda have amplified conspiracy theories about the pandemic and encouraged intimidation of Western scholars.
New powers for online safety body begin
7News | Jan 21, 2022
Company Listed: Social Media, Twitter
New online safety measures to protect Australians on the internet will come into force this weekend, giving the national regulator more powers to take action against abuse.
From Sunday, the eSafety commissioner will be able to compel tech companies to consistently report how they are responding to online harm.
The timeframe within which platforms are required to respond to a 'take down' notice from the commissioner will be cut to 24 hours.
The changes come in to place as the federal government investigates further potential online safety measures.
It wants to introduce laws that would force social media platforms to take down offending posts and, in some circumstances, reveal the identity of anonymous posters.
But social media companies want the government to see the effect of the eSafety commissioner's new powers in addressing online abuse before introducing further measures.
This group of tech firms just signed up to a safer metaverse
TechnologyReview | Jan 21, 2022
Company Listed: Social Media
The internet can feel like a bottomless pit of the worst aspects of humanity. So far, there’s little indication that the metaverse—an envisioned virtual digital world where we work, play, and live—will be much better. As I reported last month, a beta tester in Meta’s virtual social platform, Horizon Worlds, has already complained of being groped.
Tiffany Xingyu Wang feels she has a solution. In August 2020—more than a year before Facebook announced it would change its name to Meta and shift its focus from its flagship social media platform to plans for its own metaverse—Wang launched the nonprofit Oasis Consortium, a group of game firms and online companies that envisions “an ethical internet where future generations trust they can interact, co-create, and exist free from online hate and toxicity.”
How? Wang thinks that Oasis can ensure a safer, better metaverse by helping tech companies self-regulate.
Earlier this month, Oasis released its User Safety Standards, a set of guidelines that include hiring a trust and safety officer, employing content moderation, and integrating the latest research in fighting toxicity. Companies that join the consortium pledge to work toward these goals.
Twitter loses appeal in French online hate speech case
NewsTrust | Jan 21, 2022
Company Listed: Twitter
Twitter must disclose details on what it does to tackle hate speech online in France, the Paris appeals court ruled on Thursday, handing a win to advocacy groups that say the social network does not do enough to clamp down on hateful content.
The verdict upheld a decision by a lower court that ordered Twitter to provide details on the number, nationality, localisation, and spoken language of people it employs to moderate content on the French version of the platform.
The appeals court said it confirmed in full the first ruling and said Twitter should pay 1,500 euros in damages to each of six plaintiffs, a copy of the ruling seen by Reuters showed,
The lower court decision also included the obligation for Twitter to disclose any contractual, administrative, commercial and technical documents that would help determine the financial and human means it has put in place to fight hate speech online in France.
"Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the people using our platform," A Twitter spokesperson said in response to a request for comment.
Ilana Soskin, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, advocacy group J'Accuse! (I Accuse!), said Twitter "could not defy French law and make fun of everyone".
Instagram testing feature that lets creators charge subscription fees
ABC News | Jan 21, 2022
Company Listed: Instagram
A small handful of Instagram content creators can now directly charge followers a monthly subscription fee for exclusive content and benefits in the latest shakeup to impact the ever-evolving digital creator economy.
Instagram's parent company Meta announced the news in a company blog post, saying it is part of an effort to help enable creators to make a living through its platforms. Meta-owned Facebook launched a similar subscriptions service in 2020 and is now rolling the service out as a test on Instagram after positive feedback from Facebook content creators.
Meta previously said it would not collect any fees from creators on Facebook Subscription purchases until 2023 at the earliest, and said this will also apply to Instagram Subscriptions.
"With Instagram Subscriptions, creators can develop deeper connections with their most engaged followers and grow their recurring monthly income by giving subscribers access to exclusive content and benefits, all within the same platform where they interact with them already," Meta stated.
Unique mis/disinformation spreading on social media.
Misleading Information Against France Soldiers Caught Disguising as Al-Shabaab Terrorist in Mali
Topic: Religious Misinformation
Location: Nigeria, Africa
Date: January 20, 2022
Company Listed: Facebook
Summary: As of Thursday, January 20, 2022, a religious associated misinformation story was going viral on Facebook in Nigeria. According to a Facebook user named Sheikh Elzakzaky (a prominent Shi’a Muslim leader in Nigeria), soldiers from Mali caught soldiers from France disguised as Al-Shabaab terrorists (a Somalia-based terrorist group active in East Africa).
Sheikh Elzakzaky told his followers that “all sort of thuggery comes from the West” and this is the result of something the West wants to gain from countries around the world.
The post was written in the local dialect of northern Nigeria (Hausa). The post has so far gained 828 views, 31 shares and 10 comments.
Evidence: This is a screenshot from the video as seen on Facebook.
Facts: Upon investigation, the claim is found to be false and misleading. Soldiers from France did not disguise themselves as Al-Shabaab terrorists and were not arrested/apprehended by soldiers in Mali.
Further investigations on the video using Google reverse image search and Tineye.com revealed that the video originated in Haiti and was recorded after the apprehension of suspected murderers of the Haitian president in July 2021.
Keywords: ‘’Al-Shabaab’’, ‘’Terrorist’’, ‘’Soldiers’’, ‘’Sheikh Elzakzaky’’, ‘’Hausa’’, ‘’Jihadist’’, ‘’thuggery’’, ‘’Fundamentalist’’, ‘’soldiers from France disguising as Al-Shabaab terrorist’’
T&S Policies & Regulations
Regulatory news and policy decisions impacting the T&S ecosystem.
Who will regulate the regulators? Big Tech and their influence on government policy
NationalPost | Jan 21, 2022
Company Listed: Amazon, Google, Facebook Meta
Amazon, Google and Facebook are just some of the corporate giants that have taken over the tech space. While it seems like technology has come to regulate people’s everyday lives, the question now being asked is who gets to regulate the tech industry?
The assumption is that regulators are unbiased and qualified individuals that care deeply about consumer safety, but that may not always be the case. According to findings from a new pilot research project, there are often revolving doors between staff in private and public sectors that can leave consumers vulnerable to what is known as “regulatory capture.”
“When public policy is enacted in the interest of private industry, rather than in the public interest, that’s regulatory capture,” states the website for the Regulatory Capture Lab, which is aimed at revealing how decision-making works in Canada.
Even as the federal government starts to establish guidelines surrounding tech, conflicts of interest and revolving private to public career cycles have led experts like Jim Balsillie, the founder of the Center for Digital Rights and a collaborator on the Regulatory Capture Lab, to question whether Canadians are at top of mind in decision-making.
Google vs Publishers: Government regulation the only way out?
Exchange4Media | Jan 21, 2022
Company Listed: Google
Even as the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation against Google for alleged abuse of dominant position in the digital advertising market, experts believe that the government intervention is the only way out for publishers to get their fair share of digital ad revenue from the search engine giant.
The CCI order came on a complaint filed by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) which has alleged that Google is denying publishers their fair share of revenue by parting only 10-15% of the digital advertising revenue with the news websites.
According to a digital media expert, the Indian government should take a cue from governments in Australia, and France besides the European Union that have mandated Google to compensate the publishers for their news content.
No private player will be able to do anything unless the government says that this is creating a monopoly and the country is also losing out on taxation. If that doesn't happen, nothing will happen. Australia has asked Google and Facebook to share ad revenue with news providers," the expert said, requesting not to be named.
The expert noted that the second problem in India is the cheap pricing of digital ad inventory by Google, which makes any revenue share arrangement with publishers irrelevant. "The issue in India is the low pricing that has happened because of the dominance of one player. To grow its market share, Google has priced the inventory to a level where even if they share revenue, there is nothing much to share. For example, even if they share 50% of the revenue, 50% of a small amount is a very small amount," he added.
T&S Careers & Jobs
T&S jobs posted recently, often within the last 24 hours, looking for top talent.
Zocdoc | Anywhere
Posted: Jan 21, 2022
Are a passionate operator, who can bridge the gap between strategy and execution
Thrive in entrepreneurial settings where creativity and grit are required
Can identify opportunities and quickly notify the right people with proper urgency
Personally motivated by seeing your work make an impact on the world, but are okay with not being in the spotlight
Are comfortable working in varying levels of ambiguity in the course of a single day
Are confident in engaging courageously in difficult conversations
JBA International | Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posted: Jan 21, 2022
You must be detail-oriented, visual, and self-motivated
Education: B.A./B.S. in Communications, Media Studies, Journalism, Economics, Business, or related fields
3-5 years experience in trust and safety or related fields (must have experience in UGC moderation and managing external moderation partners)
Experience working with moderation vendors, contractors, and BPOs
Strong proficiency with technology: Experience using Zendesk or other helpdesk software, SharePoint, MS Office, etc
Proficiency in Excel and/or SQL, and experience preparing reports
Genesis10 | Omaha, NE, USA
Posted: Jan 21, 2022
2+ years of experience with Ad's review, Ads Targeting, content policy, fraud or anti-abuse operations
Experience of fraud trends in Digital Marketing
Able to work as a W2 employee of Genesis10 (no Corp-to-Corp)
myGwork | San Jose, CA, USA
Posted: Jan 21, 2022
You earned a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or related field
Minimum 7+ years of software development experience
You work with Java, Spring Boot, and Spring MVC
You hold in-depth experience with algorithms, data structures, and performance optimization techniques
You have distributed system architecture design knowledge or experience with high traffic, high concurrency system development
You built, deployed, and supported an enterprise-scale web applications ta ing into account cloud computing and secure development practices
Cloudflare | Raleigh, NC, USA
Posted: Jan 21, 2022
8+ years experience in a Trust & Safety or customer support role at an Internet service provider or hosting provider processing abuse reports and time sensitive escalations
4+ years experience managing a team effectively with a strong desire to help others learn and grow
2 + years experience managing a largely remote team
Experience working with law enforcement and legal requests for customer information
Experience in assessing, analyzing and resolving issues, and distilling into communication
Experience with analytics and experience solving problems using data and providing practical business insights
What is T&S?
Great question (and one the industry hasn’t fully agreed upon). Think of Trust & Safety as the organization that protects social media and Big Tech companies and users from online abuse. As long as users are able to generate content online, time has told us that a minority of these users will create content that is offensive, scandalous, fraudulent, disingenuous, misinformative, hateful, spiteful, and harmful. T&S fights this with flexible policies, resilient operations, and informed detections.
Is T&S interesting?
That depends. If you enjoy stopping bad actors and keeping good people safe, then you’ll love T&S. It requires understanding new technologies and staying on top of breaking issues across society and the world. It also pays Big Tech salaries (no coding skills required).
How do you get into T&S?
That’s the tricky part. The short answer is: not easily. Most T&S orgs are part of Big Tech and (as a result) pay extremely well, so jobs are highly competitive. If you don’t know someone in the industry who can help refer you in, then you can learn more about T&S policies, current events, issues, regulations, and jobs at trustsafetyinstitute.com to improve your hiring chances and start doing meaningful work that helps people.