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March 03, 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

As social media giants fail to stop misinformation, can citizens save the day?

Crikey | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

The invasion of Ukraine has triggered an evolution in so-called fact-checking. Once a journalistic exercise in pointing out political lies, it is now a whole online movement, focused on discrediting and removing all misinformation from the internet -- a mammoth task.

As misinformation about the invasion floods social media accounts, everyone from international papers and citizen journalists have joined the fight. But does it work?

The social media giants have given a huge platform to misinformation in recent years. Twitter's record on allowing misinformation to be published is particularly bad. Its "trust and safety" team usually only flags high-profile examples of misinformation (like some of Donald Trump’s tweets), but it has limited resources dedicated to the more insidious forms of mistruths which lurk in the less exposed corners of the platform. They announced a fact-check tool called Birdwatch last year, which would allow users to flag and discredit misinformation. But it's currently only available in the US, and reports suggest it hasn't gained any traction.

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U.S. states probing TikTok's effects on young people

Reuters | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok


March 2 (Reuters) - Eight states, including California and Massachusetts, announced on Wednesday that they had launched a bipartisan, nationwide probe of TikTok, focusing on whether the popular video-sharing app causes physical or mental health harm to young people.


The probe will also look at what the company knew about its role in perpetuating those harms.

"The investigation focuses, among other things, on the methods and techniques utilized by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's office said in a statement.

TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, said in a statement that it "focused on the safety of younger users" and limits features by age.

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Spotify closes its office in Russia in response to attack on Ukraine

Reuters | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Spotify, Meta Facebook, Google


Spotify (SPOT.N) said on Wednesday it has closed its office in Russia indefinitely in response to what the audio streaming platform described as Moscow's "unprovoked attack on Ukraine."


Since July 2021, Russian legislation signed by President Vladimir Putin has obliged foreign social media companies with more than 500,000 daily users to open local offices or be subject to restrictions as severe as outright bans.


Ahead of the March deadline, only a few companies, including Spotify, had complied.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last week, which Moscow calls a “special operation,” Western governments have urged companies to push back on Putin in any way possible.

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Woman Shares 'Scary' Texts From Dating App 'Psycho' in Viral Video

NewsWeek | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok


One woman claimed in a now-viral video that she received a barrage of unsettling texts from a "psycho" she met online after canceling their first date.

The video was posted to TikTok on Monday by Alyssa Rose (@xolyssarosexo), who wrote: "PSA...Be careful of strangers and listen to your gut!!!" So far, the post has received more than 4 million views and thousands of comments from viewers who said that the man's messages were "scary."

Additionally, many women commented on the video to say that they've experienced the same behavior from men they've met online.


"Met him on a dating app and texted for five days," read the text overlay at the beginning of Rose's video. "Wasn't feeling well and canceled...this is what happened."

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Twitter Transparency Report Discloses Impact on Member Accounts

SecrhEngine Journal | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter


Twitter's transparency report shows that their proactive approach to moderation is responsible for vast majority of account suspensions


Twitter issued it’s six-month Transparency Report revealing what countries are making the most information requests, Twitter revealed facts about policing members for rule violations and a surprising trend in accounts that violate the rules.

One of the goals that Twitter stated was to protect the Open Internet.


The Open Internet is a reference to Twitter’s position against burdensome regulation from governments around the world. These regulations can seek to put limits on what kinds of information could be published on Twitter.

The idea of the Open Internet thus is one of a global standard of free speech, a right to privacy and fairness.

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Connecticut joins nationwide probe into TikTok’s risk to children

Stamford Advocate | Mar 02, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok


Attorney General William Tong announced Wednesday Connecticut is joining other states in a nationwide investigation into TikTok to see if the popular social media application violated consumer protection laws that put the public at risk.


Tong and other officials allege the application promotes its platform to children and young adults “while use is associated with physical and mental health harms,” he said in a statement.


“I have had multiple conversations with TikTok leaders where I have made it clear that the reckless viral challenges that proliferate on their platform are dangerous and need to stop,” Tong said.


Tong said he appreciates that the platform has “made efforts to remove some of the harmful content from their site, but whatever they have been doing just is not enough to protect our kids.”

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Australian social media probe sees big gap in Meta's application of community standards

ZDNet | Mar 03, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media, Meta


Liberal MP Lucy Wicks, chair of Australia's social media and online safety parliamentary committee, on Wednesday afternoon criticised digital platforms for touting "very strong community standards policies" despite various instances of users not being protected by those standards.


"My concern is that I see very strong community standard policies, or hateful content policies or 'insert name of keep the community safe' policies from various platforms. I almost can't fault them but I find a very big gap with the application of them," she told Meta, who appeared before the committee for questioning.


Wicks' comments were made in light of 15 female Australian politicians, including herself, being the targets of abusive online comments that were left online for weeks and only taken down following law enforcement intervention.

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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

Facebook’s vaccine misinformation policy reduces anti-vax information

EurekaAlert | Mar 02, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook


Following years of growing vaccine opposition and several outbreaks of measles--a vaccine-preventable disease--Facebook established in 2019 its first policy to stop the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Researchers at the George Washington University wondered if the new policies actually worked to stop the spread of misinformation. Jiayan Gu, PhD student along with Lorien Abroms, Professor of Prevention and Community Health and their colleagues created a new paradigm for evaluation of the policy. The team found that Facebook’s policy did reduce people’s interactions with vaccine misinformation.


“There is a growing consensus that health misinformation on social media platforms presents a critical challenge for public health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Abroms said. “While new policies by social media companies are an important first step to stopping the spread of misinformation, it is also necessary to rigorously evaluate these policies to ensure they are effective.”


Gu, Abroms and their team identified l72 anti- and pro-vaccine Facebook Pages and collected posts from these Pages six months before and after the policy went into effect. The study found that Facebook’s March 2019 vaccine misinformation policy moderately curtailed the number of “likes” of anti- vaccine content on Pages on its platform.

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Twitter Wants to Reinvent Itself, by Merging the Old With the New

NewYork Times | Mar 02, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter


In 2008, the handful of employees working for Twitter reached an impasse. Some were focused on preparing for a surge of new users to their social media platform. But one developer argued for another approach: T