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May 17, 2022 T&S Newsletter

Early Warning | Policy & Regulations | 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.

Only 22 saw the Buffalo shooting live. Millions have seen it since.

Washington Post | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Twitch, Facebook, Streamable

Tech companies have vowed to remove killers’ first-person footage of massacres. But extremists and the morbidly curious have used the Internet to ensure a video of haunting brutality stays online.

Live-streamed from a camera mounted on the Buffalo gunman’s helmet, the video is hauntingly gruesome — a first-person view as he fires a rifle into 10 people, some of them crawling on the supermarket floor. When he discovers a light-skinned man hiding in a checkout aisle, the gunman spares him, saying, “Sorry.”

It is exactly the kind of horrific terrorist video that the world’s biggest tech companies have vowed to block. But two days after the shooting, the footage was still widely available online — just as the gunman had hoped, according to a screed he wrote beforehand, bringing more attention to his racist cause.

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Teens are flocking to new photo-sharing apps. Are they safe?

Washington Post | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

After downloading the photo-sharing app Locket Widget, 23-year-old Amalu Susan Santhosh and her high-school-aged cousins have all but abandoned their group text.

Locket lets them view photos from one another right on their iPhone home screens without opening an app or typing a message.

“We might be too busy to text each other, but we wanted something where we could share everyday moments,” the Durham, N.C.-based student said. Another plus: She never gets friend requests from strangers demanding nudes like she does on Snapchat, Santhosh added.

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Should you worry about data from your period-tracking app being used against you?

Modern Health | May 17, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

It’s estimated that millions of people in the U.S. use period-tracking apps to plan ahead, track when they are ovulating, and monitor other health effects. The apps can help signal when a period is late.

After Politico published on May 2 a draft opinion from the Supreme Court indicating that Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that guarantees the constitutional right to an abortion, would be overturned, people turned to social media. They were expressing concerns about the privacy of this information — especially for people who live in states with strict limits on abortion — and how it might be used against them.

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Twitch Pulls Shooting Vid Quickly, But Facebook And Streamable Reuploads Reached Millions

Yahoo | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch said it removed a livestream of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York over the weekend within two minutes of it going live. But that response time was not enough to stop recordings of the footage from spreading to other online platforms, like Facebook, where links to the heinous act remained accessible for hours. This once again raises questions about how much social media companies are really invested in moderating harmful content.

The May 14 mass shooting, seemingly part of a white supremacist attack that killed 10 people, wounded three others, and is being investigated as a hate crime, was livestreamed via the account “jimboboiii” to roughly 20 other users, based on screenshots of the now deleted Twitch channel. The channel’s only previous broadcast was reportedly a “test” to make sure the streaming setup worked. While the gunman seemingly discussed his plans on Discord and possibly other social media platforms months ahead of time, it’s unclear who the viewing accounts were, nor how they knew to tune into the unknown Twitch channel right when it went live.

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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

After Roe v. Wade cat email gaffe, Sony and Insomniac plan donations

Washington Post | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media, Sony

Last week, PlayStation President Jim Ryan sent employees an email asking them to “respect differences of opinion” around abortion rights in light of the leaked Supreme Court opinion surrounding Roe v. Wade, stressing that “we owe it to each other and to PlayStation’s millions of users to respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities,” and concluding the missive with several paragraphs about Ryan’s cats’ birthdays. Employees were not pleased with the lighthearted response, according to a Bloomberg report about the email.

Following that gaffe, Insomniac, the Sony subsidiary behind “Ratchet and Clank” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” plans to donate $50,000 to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP), according to an internal email sent May 13 from Insomniac CEO Ted Price viewed by The Washington Post. Sony will match the donation, along with donations from individual Insomniac employees if they make them via the company’s PlayStation Cares program. In addition, Sony now plans to formulate an initiative to provide financial assistance to employees who might have to travel to different states to receive reproductive care. Insomniac will aid in formulating that policy.

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Europol gears up to collect big data on European citizens after MEPs vote to expand policing power

Computer Weekly | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

The European Parliament has voted to give Europol wide powers to collect and process data on individuals, including people not suspected of any crime, in a move that significantly widens the power of the European police agency.

MEPs voted on 4 May to widen the mandate of Europol to collect personal data from tech companies, including telecoms and internet suppliers and social media firms, and to collect and analyze data from countries outside the European Union (EU).

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Why the Texas Social Media Law is a Menace to Freedom of Speech

Reason | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter, Social Media

In December, federal district court Judge Robert Pitman ruled against HB 20, Texas' sweeping new social media law that bars social media firms from engaging in almost any moderation of the content that can appear on their sites. Not only are they forbidden to completely exclude content they disapprove of; they are also not allowed to treat it differently on the site (such as by flagging it as possibly unreliable "misinformation" or reducing its prominence relative to other speech on the same platform).

Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a 2-1 ruling imposing a stay on the injunction against enforcement of the law issued by the trial court. The Fifth Circuit ruling is purely procedural, and is not accompanied by any opinion explaining the court's reasoning. So it's hard to say whether the stay is based on purely technical procedural considerations, or signals that the majority believes the law is actually constitutional.

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Google warns Ottawa’s Online News Act would ‘break’ its search engine

The Globe and Mail | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Google

Google is ramping up its opposition to the federal government’s Online News Act, warning the proposed new law would “break” its popular search engine.

Google Canada vice-president and managing director Sabrina Geremia released a detailed criticism of the bill Monday in an online post, stating the bill as currently drafted would likely make Canada’s news industry worse off and would hurt Canadians’ ability to find quality information.

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Texan free for all points to a digital wild west

The Times | May 16, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Hooray for Texas. In a way. As in, hooray for Texas for being absolutely, entirely and one hundred percent wrong. Because isn’t it sometimes incredibly useful when people are?

This is about social media regulation. Sorry. It’s important, though. We have our own Online Safety Bill looming and concern about it is growing. Partly, this is because the bill rests within the bailiwick of the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, which is about as reassuring as the flying of your jumbo jet resting within the bailiwick of your hamster. Or, perhaps, of Nadine Dorries.

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T&S Careers & Jobs

T&S jobs posted recently, often within the last 24 hours, looking for top talent.