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January 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.

Donald Trump's 'Free Speech' Site Will Use Big-Tech Artificial Intelligence to Censor Posts

NewsWeek | Jan 24

Company Listed: Social Media

Former President Donald Trump has said that his "free speech" social network Truth Social will "stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech," but the site will use Silicon Valley artificial intelligence (AI) to censor posts on its network.

Truth Social will launch on Presidents Day (February 22) and use AI software developed by Hive, a tech company based in San Francisco, California. The cloud-based AI will be automated to help Truth Social detect and censor images, videos, audio and text content that violate the site's policies, Fox Business reported.

Particularly, the AI will help eliminate "sexually-explicit content, and posts that include violence, bullying, hate speech, and spam," Hive co-founder and CEO Kevin Guo told the aforementioned news outlet. Guo said his company's AI will not try to "censor any political talk," calling the above content "universal core concepts" of speech which should be prohibited on social networks.

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23ABC tests Bakersfield residents on social media's misinformation policies

Turnto23| Jan 25, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

National News Literacy Week aims to inspire news consumers, educators, and students to practice news literacy and to strengthen trust in news media.

23ABC spoke to Bakersfield residents about fighting falsehoods on social media and how much they know about these platforms’ misinformation policies.

Some residents thought it would be Reddit, others thought Twitter, and then lastly Facebook.

Third time’s a charm for this question, according to Facebook’s policies, speech from politicians and opinions are not eligible to be fact-checked.

Facebook claims it would leave people less informed about what their local elected officials are saying and leave politicians less accountable for their words.

Our approach is grounded in Facebook's fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, especially in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is the most scrutinized speech there is. Just as critically, by limiting political speech we would leave people less informed about what their elected officials are saying and leave politicians less accountable for their words.”

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Herefordshire school could suspend pupils over TikTok trend

Hereford Times| Jan 24, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

Dr Rob Patterson, the executive headteacher at Wigmore High School, said students could be suspended if they are found to be involved in sharing defamatory posts on the app, where users can share videos up to three minutes in length.

A number of trends emerge on the app over time, from baked beans being thrown at cars and houses, to more innocent activities like dancing.

It was in November when schools across the UK first started speaking out about the trend, which sees students slate teachers and make derogatory comments.

Dr Patterson said he had rarely had to deal with problems on social media, but he had information that a small number of pupils from the school had been involved.

In a letter to parents on Friday, he said it was "the latest craze sweeping the UK" and was "the vile practice of making defamatory posts about members of school staff on TikTok".

He asked parents to speak to their children about the issue and making sure they are not posting content or following any such accounts.

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ZoomerMedia announces acquisition of blogTO

FinancialPost | Jan 24, 2022

Company Listed: Zoomer Media

ZoomerMedia Limited (“ZoomerMedia”) (TSXV: ZUM) announces that it has acquired all of the shares of Freshdaily Inc. (“Freshdaily”) , owner and publisher of blogTO, the leading digital source for local Toronto news, culture, restaurant reviews, event listings, and all the best the city has to offer. The acquisition provides ZoomerMedia a local audience that is unrivaled in terms of online and social media reach and engagement.

“Thus far we have been edging our analog radio, TV, and magazine products and audiences into the digital domain,” says ZoomerMedia Founder and CEO Moses Znaimer . “In aggregate our digital properties today deliver over 50 million page views a year. This acquisition will add 350 million+ such views (and growing rapidly) and is also intended to kickstart a suite of new, mobile-friendly, digital offerings that we will soon announce.”

“I’m a known believer in the local. Zoomer Radio and Classical FM already bring local news and life to the older demo. blogTO does that for the younger cohorts. Together they make a complete offering, for the public as well as the advertiser.”

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T&S Policies & Regulations

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

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The Privacy Boom Is Going to Change Everything

CoinDesk | Jan 24, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Early this month, Hayley Tsukuyama was talking to an American legislator about digital privacy. It’s one of the main topics of concern for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), where she works as a legislative activist.

The unnamed legislator was eager not just to learn more about threats to privacy, but to share a disturbing story.

The lawmaker had recently heard that Target, by using data gathered about the shopping habits of a teenage customer, had determined that she was pregnant. Target then sent flyers and coupons for maternity goods to the girl’s home – where her parents were shocked to learn the joyful news from a massive corporate retailer.

To many, this will sound more unlucky than strange. For better or worse, we’ve gotten used to both massive, omnipresent data gathering and the swirl of uncanny targeted advertising from social media companies, online retailers and assorted attention merchants.

But here’s the most notable thing about the Target story that so scandalized that lawmaker: It happened a full decade ago.

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Executives at tech firms that don't protect the vulnerable from 'online harms' could be jailed under new rules

DailyMail | Jan 25, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

Social media bosses could be jailed if they fail to cooperate with regulators on protecting the vulnerable online, under updated legislation.

An earlier version of the Online Safety Bill, published last year, said tech firms could be fined huge amounts – potentially running into billions of pounds – if they failed to abide by a duty of care.

But ministers had avoided making bosses personally responsible for company failings.

Now, however, senior managers will face prosecution for breaking the duty of care.

It is understood Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries will outline the more draconian law in the next few weeks, amid growing concern that companies such as YouTube and Facebook are failing to take down harmful content.

The legislation is dubbed the Nick Clegg law, as the former deputy prime minister is now vice president for global affairs and communications at Facebook.

Children's charities and worried families have long campaigned for social media firms to be prosecuted if they fail to crack down on self-harm material.

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UK’s Online Safety Bill falls short on protecting speech and tackling harms, warns committee

TechCrunch | Jan 24, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Another U.K. parliamentary committee has weighed in on the government’s controversial plan to regulate internet content with a broadbrush focus on “safety”.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, warned in detailed report today that it has “urgent concerns” the draft legislation “neither adequately protects freedom of expression nor is clear and robust enough to tackle the various types of illegal and harmful content on user-to-user and search services”.

Among the committee’s myriad worries are how fuzzily the bill defines different types of harms, such as illegal content — and designations of harms — with MPs calling out the government’s failure to include more detail in the bill itself, making it harder to judge impact as key components (like Codes of Practice) will follow via secondary legislation so aren’t yet on the table.

That general vagueness, combined with the complexities related to the choice for a “duty of care” approach — which the report notes in fact breaks down into several specific duties (vis-à-vis illegal content; content that poses a risk to children; and, for a subset of high risk P2P services, content that poses a risk to adults) — means the proposed framework may not be able to achieve the sought for “comprehensive safety regime”, in the committee’s view.

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