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June 21, 2022 T&S Newsletter

Early Warning | Policy & Regulations | Good News | Jobs & Careers | T&S FAQs

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T&S Early Warning News

Get ahead of new stories that are impacting the T&S industry.

Lawmakers urge Google to fix abortion searches suggesting ‘fake clinics’

Washington Post | June 18, 2022

Company Listed: Google

U.S. lawmakers are questioning Google over how the company’s search engine shows users in certain states inaccurate results about abortion services by diverting them to “fake clinics” that don’t provide the procedure and dissuade people from ending a pregnancy.

In a letter sent Friday to Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, 20 Democratic members of Congress and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) urged the company to quickly rectify the search accuracy issue, noting it comes as a U.S. Supreme Court decision due later this month could overturn the right to an abortion established in Roe v. Wade.

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Leaked Audio Suggests China Had Access to US TikTok Data | June 20, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

Despite TikTok denying keeping private data outside of China, a new investigation has found that US data was routinely accessed by employees in Bejing.

The investigation, which relied on leaked recordings of more than 80 internal TikTok meetings, suggests the engineers had access to the user between September 2021 and January of this year.

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Social media platform accesses users’ personal data

Tech HQ | June 20, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

Late last week, Buzzfeed News “broke” the story that they had procured access to leaked audio from over 80 internal TikTok meetings, revealing that ByteDance employees in China had repeatedly accessed non-public data of US TikTok users. The audio reportedly contained at least 14 references from nine different TikTok employees — recorded in circumstances ranging from meetings with company leaders and consultants, to all-hands presentations with the TikTok policy team — in a period between September 2021 and January this year, at least. The audio files are allegedly corroborated by screenshots and other documentation.

Ever since Donald Trump’s tenure as President of the United States, Chinese technology companies have been fighting an uphill battle against allegations, and subsequent legal rulings against them, of spying on US user data and sharing them with Beijing. Trump paid particular attention to Chinese tech juggernauts like telecommunications leader Huawei and ByteDance’s TikTok, which in 2020 overtook Facebook to establish itself as the most popular social media platform globally.

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Facebook Enables Anti-Abortion Clinics to Collect Highly Sensitive Info on Would-Be Patients

Truthout | June 20, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook

Facebook is collecting ultra-sensitive personal data about abortion seekers and enabling anti-abortion organizations to use that data as a tool to target and influence people online, in violation of its own policies and promises.

In the wake of a leaked Supreme Court opinion signaling the likely end of nationwide abortion protections, privacy experts are sounding alarms about all the ways people’s data trails could be used against them if some states criminalize abortion.

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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

Google’s data plans in Saudi will risk lives

DT Next | June 21, 2022

Company Listed: Google

Saudi Arabia doesn’t exactly have a positive track record when it comes to digital espionage.

In 2018, the country’s government reportedly used the notorious spy software Pegasus on devices belonging to the family of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident who was killed that year in a gruesome assassination allegedly orchestrated by the government.

In 2019, two former Saudi employees of Twitter in the US were charged with using the popular social media platform to unmask critics of the Saudi government.

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Meta Implements New Policies to Protect Consumers and Businesses from Fraudulent Reviews

Social Media Today | June 20, 2022

Company Listed: Meta

eCommerce brands take note – today, Meta is launching a new Community Feedback Policy in the US, which will provide more specific parameters on what’s allowed within customer reviews and feedback published in the app.

The new policy has been created ‘to ensure that reviews are based on real purchasing experiences’, while also keeping fraudulent and offensive feedback out of view. In other words, Meta’s now implementing new processes to detect false and misleading reviews, to limit the scope of those using reviews as a weapon, and to stop people from trying to scam the system with false positive feedback.

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The EU’s Proposed Online Political Advertising Law is a Good Start, But Needs Revising

Data Innovation | June 21, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

The European Commission proposed a new law in November 2021 to regulate online political advertising. The Commission plans to create a harmonized regulatory framework to govern rules around transparency disclosures and audience targeting for ads likely to influence political debates. The proposal is now with the European Parliament, where the Internal Market Committee is currently writing its draft report on the law.

There are three main issues that European policymakers should pay attention to as they negotiate regulations for online political advertising. First, the definition of what counts as a political ad should not encompass purely commercial marketing campaigns, which are already subject to a raft of regulations. Second, lawmakers should properly distribute responsibilities for disclosures and transparency among the different participants involved in online advertising, and not hold advertising platforms responsible for false information provided by their clients. Third, the law should not place excessive constraints on the ability of advertisers or online advertising platforms to target messages to relevant audiences in a cost-effective manner—the very feature that makes targeted online advertising useful.

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Singapore joins other places with laws regulating online content

Business Times | June 21, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

VIDEO “challenges” which ask viewers to film themselves doing dangerous acts can go viral rapidly through social media platform algorithms and user interest, and lead to injuries and deaths.

Terrorist acts captured on videos through live-streaming can have their impact exacerbated when these clips are reshared online.

These were examples given by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) on Monday (June 20) of how harmful online content can be amplified on social media services, which are the focus of proposed rules to enhance online safety for users.

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T&S Good News

Some of the good news in the T&S industry that