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March 21, 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.

Brazil Lifts Its Ban on Telegram After Two Days

NYTimes | Mar 20, 2022

Company Listed: Telegram, Social Media

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, election officials and federal police have been trying to get a response from Telegram, the fast-growing messaging app, for months. It turned out, all they had to do was ban it.

On Friday, Brazil’s Supreme Court blocked Telegram in the country because the company behind the app had been ignoring the court’s orders.

Then, suddenly, Telegram’s chief executive responded — with a pedestrian excuse: his company had missed the court’s emails. “I apologize to the Brazilian Supreme Court for our negligence,” said the executive, Pavel Durov.

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Australia to make Big Tech hand over misinformation data

Reuters | Mar 21, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Australia’s media regulator will be able to force internet companies to provide internal data about how they have handled misinformation and disinformation, the latest measure by the country’s government to crack down on Big Tech.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will also be able to enforce an internet industry code on uncooperative platforms, the federal government said on Monday, joining governments around the world seeking to reduce the spread of harmful falsehoods online.

The planned laws are a response to an ACMA report that found four-fifths of Australian adults had experienced misinformation about COVID-19 and 76% thought online platforms should do more to cut the amount of false and misleading content shared online.

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Harassment and abuse in three dimensions, the dark side of the Metaverse

SBS | Mar 20, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

In 1993, freelance journalist Julian Dibbell penned an essay that would set the stage for conversations about the limits of free speech, consent and abuse in digital communities.

The piece, “A Rape in Cyberspace,” chronicled the aftermath of a "cyber rape" by a player in a text-based game called LambdaMOO.

The player, 'Mr Bungle', had taken control of other players’ avatars and programmed them to graphically describe sexual acts.

In a chat room and virtual world populated by early adopters of the internet, avatars congregated to discuss the emotional trauma it had caused them and what the consequence should be for Mr Bungle’s actions.

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Social media giants allow hate speech against Russia but silence Israel's critics

Middle East Eye | Mar 18, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Silicon Valley has rammed through a series of changes over the past few days at dizzying speed, making explicit what should already have been obvious: Social media firms have rapidly become little more than propaganda arms of the United States and its allies.

That role has been increasingly difficult to conceal as western politicians and traditional media outlets have whipped up anti-Russia hysteria over the past three weeks, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The most blatant change was a sharp about-turn by Facebook in its policy on hate speech and incitement. Leaked emails to content moderators seen last week by Reuters indicated that Meta, the rebranded company behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, would allow threats of violence against Russians and death threats directed at Russian President Vladimir Putin on its platforms.

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Doctors fighting racial health disparities face threats, harassment

NBC News | Mar 20, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Dr. Aletha Maybank joined the American Medical Association as its first chief health equity officer in 2019, determined to fight racial disparities in medicine.

That work grew more urgent in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic exposed deadly inequities in health care, and as George Floyd’s murder turned the country’s attention to the pervasiveness of systemic racism. The AMA issued a statement decrying racism as an urgent threat to public health, and Maybank focused on the organization’s efforts to “dismantle racist and discriminatory policies and practices across all of health care.” That included supporting training for medical workers on implicit bias, as well as advocating for solutions to problems that had not traditionally been a focus for the organization, such as housing inequities and police violence.

But by the fall of 2021, these equity initiatives were facing growing pushback from pundits, think-tank researchers and doctors — both liberal and conservative — who contended that the medical organization had overstepped its mission of supporting health care professionals and was now embracing a “woke” ideology. And out of public view, that backlash was turning vicious — particularly for Maybank.

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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

Let’s enforce age-gate rules to secure children on the internet

Live mint | Mar 21, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Peter Steiner’s famous cartoon in the New Yorker about online anonymity—that on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog—becomes devastating in the context of digital inscrutability for kids. When nobody knows who is under 13, tweens can compare themselves with thinfluencers on Instagram, 5-year-olds can broadcast to hundreds of adults on streaming platforms, and children can wander into a strip club in the metaverse, according to a grim BBC News investigation published recently. Most popular social media firms including ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok and Meta Platforms Inc’s Instagram have an age minimum of 13, but none of them does much to keep kids off its systems beyond asking for a date of birth.

That’s why it is encouraging to see an array of new children’s codes proposed by legislators across Europe, Australia and also in the US, aimed at making the internet safer for kids. If they work, online apps will be forced to offer alternative versions for children.

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Facebook Parent Sued Over Scam Ads by Australian Regulator

The Wall Street Journal | Mar 18, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook

An Australian regulator is suing Meta Platforms Inc., accusing it of not doing enough to remove scam ads from Facebook that featured public figures promoting cryptocurrency, deepening the social media giant’s legal troubles over the issue.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged in federal court that the scam ads were still being displayed on Facebook even after public figures around the world complained that their names and images were being used without consent. One of them, Andrew Forrest, the chairman and largest shareholder of major iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., has filed litigation against Meta in Australian and American courts over similar fake ads.

Meta said it has cooperated with the regulator’s investigation so far and intends to defend itself in court. The company says it uses technology to detect and block scam ads and tries to get ahead of scammers’ attempts to evade its detection systems.

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Tech leaders could face jail time and big fines under UK's Online Safety Bill

Euro news | Mar 18, 2022

Company Listed: Google, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok

Tech bosses would face criminal prosecution if they fail to comply with proposed UK rules aimed at ensuring people are safe online.

The UK government on Thursday unveiled in Parliament its ambitious but controversial Online Safety Bill - draft legislation that would give regulators wide-ranging powers to crack down on digital and social media companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.