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March 09, 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.

Trafficking and Child Exploitation Online: The Growing Responsibilities of Entities Operating Online Platforms

Jdsupra | Mar 8, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook Meta, Social Media

The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari today in Doe v. Facebook, effectively passing on its opportunity to address the scope of Section 230, the provision in the Communications Decency Act that provides immunity to web platforms for conduct, including potentially illegal conduct, perpetrated online. But regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, change is likely coming. Congress aggressively is pursuing amendments to Section 230, and lower courts have begun to question the blanket protections previously given to online platforms.

Criticism of Section 230 has escalated in recent years, and legislators, legal experts, and even industry leaders have called for it to be either amended or repealed. The evidence shows that even well-intentioned online platforms may be used to traffic human beings, entice children for illegal activity, and trade child pornography. There are growing calls for those who manage our online environments to take responsibility for reasonable steps to protect their users. Especially with respect to these criminal activities, website hosts may soon have affirmative legal duties to change their platforms. These duties may eventually arise from a U.S. Supreme Court reinterpretation of Section 230, but are likely to come from congressional action and lower courts decisions.

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Google’s Jigsaw Unit Open Sources Code for Harassment Manager Tool in Partnership with Twitter, Thomson Reuters Foundation

BakersField | Mar 09, 2022

Company Listed: Google

Today, Google’s Jigsaw unit has announced the open sourcing of Harassment Manager, a web application that allows users to document and manage online abuse targeted at them on platforms online, beginning with Twitter. As a first implementation partner, Thomson Reuters Foundation will make the tool available to journalists within its network in June of 2022.

Gender-based online violence is a global threat, and ultimately silences important voices from online conversations. Research from Jigsaw and the Economist Intelligence Unit, and from other organizations in this space including IWMF, ICFJ and UNESCO, shows that women in general, and female journalists in particular are most at risk: 70% of female journalists receive threats and harassment online, and more than 40% of those female journalists stopped reporting a story as a result. Users who experience online harassment navigate an unmanageably large volume of toxic content, creating barriers to documentation and making it difficult to access resources or lean on support networks.

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TikTok's short video format pushes users down misinformation rabbit holes about the Russia-Ukraine war, researchers say

BusinessInsider | Mar 08, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

Could you tell the difference between a scene of Russian troops dropping bombs on a Ukrainian city and footage taken from a video game with a generic explosion soundtrack?

Many people can't, if share counts on social media are anything to go by.

@tombradabbc More misleading images on #social #media after Russia’s #invasion of #Ukraine - here’s some to be wary of #russia #learn #fake #real #russian #putin ♬ original sound - Tom Brada

The constantly refreshing nature of social apps means it's difficult to quantify misinformation during a fast-moving event such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

For experts monitoring social media, TikTok is emerging as particularly problematic.

A video purporting to be footage of Russian missiles in Ukraine was actually taken from the video game Arma III, racking up over 6.2 million views before it was taken down. Similar clips were shared to Facebook and Twitter but garnered fewer views before removal.

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US prosecutors launch an investigation into the effects of TikTok on the health of minors | Technology

CodeList | Mar 8, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

A bipartisan group of attorneys general from several US states announced last Wednesday that they had decided to open an investigation into the impact of the popular Chinese social networking app TikTok on young Americans. Attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont are seeking to learn what methods TikTok uses to keep people on the social network as long as possible. They also seek to determine the potential damage and its effects on both children and young people.

News of the investigation came just a day after President Joe Biden called, during his annual State of the Union address, for greater accountability for tech platforms “for the national experiment they are conducting on our children for profit.” . Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to tighten regulation of social media. In a fact sheet, the White House said Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget would propose spending $5 million on research into the impact of social media on mental health.

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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

Government strengthens internet safety laws to tackle scams and fraud

News Medical | Mar 8, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Social media sites and search engines will be forced to stamp out fraudsters and scammers on their platforms as the government strengthens its pioneering internet safety laws.

The move comes as the government also launches a consultation as part of a wider overhaul of how online advertising is regulated in the UK, including proposals to improve transparency and accountability and tackle harmful, fraudulent and misleading adverts.

Together the measures aim to boost people's trust and confidence in being online by making sure the UK's rules and regulations keep pace with rapid advances in technology.

A new legal duty will be added to the Online Safety Bill requiring the largest and most popular social media platforms and search engines to prevent paid-for fraudulent adverts appearing on their services.

The change will improve protections for internet users from the potentially devastating impact of fake ads, including where criminals impersonate celebrities or companies to steal people's personal data, peddle dodgy financial investments or break into bank accounts.

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EU governments call on online platform to scale up fact-checking efforts

Euractiv | Mar 8, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

EU governments gathered in France for an informal meeting on Tuesday (8 March) to discuss how to counter online disinformation from the Kremlin, following the Russian aggression of Ukraine almost two weeks ago. Representatives from Google, YouTube, Meta and Twitter were invited to the discussion.

The battles initiated by Russia in the current conflict are raging not only on the ground but also on the Internet”, reads the unanimously adopted joint statement, which urges platforms not to become vendors of disinformation.

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, online platforms have tried to contain Russian war propaganda by taking down the accounts of state-controlled media Russia Today and Sputnik, which were eventually hit by an EU ban on 2 March.

At a press conference, French digital minister Cédric O said they had a frank discussion with the large content platform, stressing that even though the platforms made some efforts already, it was now a question of “putting pressure on the platforms to do even more”.

EU ministers explicitly made two requests. First, platforms should respond more quickly to requests made by governments when they report “fake news” or an account of dubious origin. Second, platforms are asked to increase their moderation teams in all languages.

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Canada’s revived internet regulation bill still overlooks TikTok and YouTube, critics warn

The Star | Mar 8, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Proposed legislation that was reintroduced last month to regulate online streaming giants in Canada still largely overlooks online content creators, experts say, and could have a chilling effect on one of the country’s most successful talent pools.

Bill C-11 was introduced in early February as a successor to C-10, a contentious piece of legislation that sought to update Canada’s Broadcasting Act and bring streaming platforms like Netflix and Crave under the same regulations already applied to traditional television and radio broadcasters.

But critics say the bill’s broadness and muddy safeguards are reigniting concerns that its regulations could apply to platforms featuring user-generated content, such as TikTok and YouTube.

There’s no distinction in the bill to differentiate the two,” said Scott Benzie, managing director of Digital First Canada, an advocacy group for online creators.

The problem really arises when they bring in platforms that rely on user-generated content, because the regulations that they want to apply doesn’t just affect the platforms, it affects the users.”

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TikTok children’s privacy lawsuit can proceed, says UK High Court

TechCrunch | Mar 8, 2022