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January 28, 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 gives up on digital payments ambitions with Diem asset sale

IrishTimes | Jan 27, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

The Facebook-led Diem cryptocurrency project is preparing to sell its assets, as the social media giant admits defeat in its once-sprawling digital payments ambitions.

The Diem Association, which was launched by Facebook in 2019 and is supported by 25 businesses and non-profit groups, is planning to wind down, according to several people familiar with the discussions.

One person said the buyer of its technology was California-based Silvergate Bank, for $200 million (€180 million). That deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Diem and Silvergate declined to comment. Facebook, which recently renamed its parent company Meta, did not respond to a request for comment.

Meta has been seeking revenue sources to power its future growth. The Silicon Valley group has been stung by recent scandals over content moderation and privacy, contributing to a drop in popularity for its main social networking products Facebook and Instagram, a trend that threatens its $85 billion-a-year ad-based business model.

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Will Trump’s startup play by Big Tech's rules? Other conservative apps do

NBCNews | Jan 28, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

A former adviser to then-President Donald Trump, Miller is the CEO of Gettr, a Twitter-like social media platform that has gained momentum in recent months after an inauspicious start last July. In the first 10 days of 2022, it’s estimated that over 700,000 users downloaded the “free speech” app, according to Sensor Tower data, after podcaster Joe Rogan announced he’d created a profile on the platform.

That growth has made Gettr one of the most successful entrants in a new genre of social media platforms targeted at Republicans that have gained traction in recent years. And with Trump’s much-anticipated social media platform, Truth Social, scheduled for launch in February, Miller said he expects growth to accelerate — and possibly move beyond conservatives, despite the app adding another “free speech” space into the mix.

“I think anything that helps pull more people off the sidelines, and get back up with these alternative social media platforms, will only make all of ours bigger and better,” Miller said of Trump’s soon-to-be app.

“I tell my Democrat friends all the time, it’s a matter of when, not if, the pendulum swings back the other way, and you have a reason to be upset with Big Tech,” he added.

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Former Minneapolis City Council member accused of violating social media ethics rules

StartTribune | Jan 27, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Former Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham may have violated the city's ethics code when he deleted an official Facebook post in August.

The original post discussed a Fourth Ward auto body shop allegedly violating its business license, and critical comments flooded in. Many defended the small business while others blasted Cunningham's response to crime in the community. One commenter employed a racial slur that is a variation of the n-word, and called North Side high schools "pointless."

Testifying before the city's Ethical Practices Board on Tuesday, Cunningham said he deleted the post when he believed the forum had become volatile and a potential liability for the city.

Cunningham, who was elected to the Fourth Ward seat in 2017, left the council at the end of 2021 after losing the November election.

The city's social media policy states that posts made on council members' official Facebook pages are public records and city property. Software called ArchiveSocial automatically copies content posted to city social media pages and indicates whenever something in the archive is no longer publicly available. Policy violations are referred to the ethics board.

Jordan Gilgenbach, the city's digital communications coordinator, testified that in the past he was not notified when a social media post disappeared and did not report each potential violation of the social media policy to the ethics board. He said that as far as he knew, Cunningham had not violated the social media policy before, but in this case members of the public complained.

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Anti-Vaxxers Are Funding Their Movement With Instagram Stories And Link Stickers

Mashable | Jan 27, 2022

Company Listed: Instagram

With so many online platforms prohibiting anti-vaccination misinformation, how are anti-vaxxers funding their dangerous movement?

Instagram Stories is one major outlet, according to a new report from Media Matters.

The report uncovered "dozens of examples of users" weaponizing the Facebook-owned platform's Stories feature to sell products, promote events, and even funnel Instagram users to their alternative social media platforms, where they are less likely to get banned.

One specific feature the Media Matters' report focuses on are "link stickers," which Instagram rolled out to all of its users late last year.

Link stickers provide users with the ability to add a link to a third-party website to their Stories content. For years, Instagram avoided allowing off-platform links, aside from the one link it allowed users to add to their profile page. Link stickers finally provided users with this function, as well as giving anti-vaxxers a way to profit off of their accounts.

According to Instagram's terms of service, the platform will remove an account's ability to post link stickers if they "repeatedly share things like hate speech and misinformation, or other content that violates our Community Guidelines.”

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No meeting with Robredo or her team, Meta says of suspended lawyer's conspiracy claim

PhilStar | Jan 28, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, did not have a meeting with Vice President Leni Robredo or her team for the removal of accounts supportive of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, contrary to an ubstantiated claim of a suspended lawyer running for senator.

"No one from Meta has recently met with the vice president or her team, or made any agreement to remove political content from our platforms,” a Meta spokesperson told in an email on Friday.

A source in the Robredo campaign also told reporters that no such meeting happened.

Larry Gadon, who is running for senator under Marcos’ ticket, claimed on Thursday that Robredo’s camp met with Facebook officials supposedly to remove or suspend accounts of supporters of Marcos and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. He claimed to have a source in "Facebook Philippines" who told him about the alleged meeting.

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Small town police in Alabama are patrolling Facebook and threatening to arrest people who post negative comments about them

DailyMail | Jan 27, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta

The chief of police of a small Alabama town has been forced to resign after allegations that his force was pulling over people who criticized them on Facebook, and stopping people for spurious traffic violations to fill their coffers.

Mike Jones, chief of Brookside police, 10 miles northwest of Birmingham, resigned on Wednesday.

The lieutenant governor of Alabama, Will Ainsworth, has requested an audit of the police force and town - home to 1,300 people.

Brookside has only one retail store and a volunteer fire department, but at least one police officer for every 144 people. By 2020, the police force made half its revenue from fines and forfeitures, according to local media.

The issues with the police have been going on for several years, and ensnared multiple local residents.

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Mothers Sue Instagram, Snapchat Over Daughters' Social Media Addiction, Mental Health

NBCBay Area | Jan 28, 2022

Company Listed: Instagram, Snapchat

Is social media on its way to court? Two lawsuits have been filed by parents, claiming Instagram and Snapchat contributed to severe anxiety in young people, and in one case, the death of a young girl.

Legal analysts told NBC Bay Area Thursday that these cases could set precedents if they get to court. Precedents set when it comes to responsibility, both how responsible parents are for their children, but also how responsible social media companies are for the content on their sites, and how that content gets passed around.

In the case of Tammy Rodriguez of Connecticut came to a tragic end, her 11-year old daughter Selena committed suicide after Rodriguez said, she developed an addiction to Instagram and Snapchat.

Mathew Bergman, founder of the 'Social Media Victims Law Center,' is handling Rodriguez’s case, along with that of Brittney Doffing of Oregon, who said her 14 year old developed an eating disorder and ran away from home several times after being harassed on Instagram and Snapchat.

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