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May 27, 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 young gunmen turn toward new social networks, old safeguards fail

Washington Post | May 26, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Before two 18-year-old men allegedly killed 31 people in separate shootings over the past two weeks, they turned to a variety of social media apps to share troubling private messages.

Both men — one killed by authorities in Uvalde, Tex., and the other charged in the Buffalo shooting — used a combination of disappearing-video app Snapchat, Instagram direct messages, chat app Discord and social app Yubo to meet people and share their violent plans with acquaintances. In Buffalo, the suspect also used the video streaming platform Twitch to publicize his deadly attack.

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Could social media firm Meta have alerted authorities about the Texas shooter?

Euro News | May 26, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

It’s emerged that the Texas shooter sent messages on Facebook of his intentions to shoot up a school, just before carrying out his attack.

On Tuesday, An 18-year-old gunman opened fire on a classroom at a Texas elementary school in Tuesday, killing at least 19 children and two teachers in the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade.

Before heading to the school, Ramos also shot his grandmother with two military-style rifles he had purchased on his birthday.

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TikTok’s Amber Heard Hate Machine

NY Times | May 26, 2022

Company Listed: TikTok

I did not follow the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard - it followed me.

A few weeks ago, images from the courtroom began to saturate my social media feeds. Platforms that fed me soothing cake decoration tutorials and "Sopranos"-themed therapy memes now served up regular dispatches from the proceedings, all filtered through the glorification of Depp and mockery of Heard. Heard blows her nose during her testimony, and a TikTok appears accusing her of snorting cocaine on the stand. Depp adjusts a phone cord near Camille Vasquez, his attorney, and the gesture is replayed in slow motion and exalted as a chivalrous deed. Heard's attorneys introduce a series of violent text messages between the couple, and a TikToker films herself absorbing Depp's words with panting, orgiastic reverence.

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How Facebook has become a hub of fake propaganda misinformation due to millions of fake profiles without any verification control in 2022

Inventiva | May 26, 2022

Company Listed: Facebook

When it comes to distributing fake news, Facebook is the worst offender. It’s even worse than Google. It’s even worse than Twitter. And it’s even worse than webmail services like AOL, Yahoo!, and Gmail.

According to a new study published in Nature: Human Behavior, this is the case.

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, a team of academics led by Princeton University’s Andrew Guess monitored the internet usage of over 3000 Americans. They discovered that Facebook was the referrer site for untrustworthy news sources 15% of the time. On the other hand, Facebook only led users to authoritative news sources 6% of the time.

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T&S Policies & Regulations

Regulatory news and policy decisions impacting the T&S ecosystem.

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Clearview AI fined for breaching UK data protection laws

Verdict | May 25, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

The UK Information Commissioner Office (ICO) recently fined Clearview AI just over GBP7.5 million ($9.4 million) for breaching UK data protection laws. Clearview AI’s facial recognition law enforcement platform includes over 20 billion facial images scraped from public websites, including social media. Public bodies then use this database to identify potential suspects using facial recognition technology.

Operating within the loopholes in data protection laws is common practice for global tech companies, but it is not sustainable. Clearview has been found in clear breach of data protection policies in the UK and EU, despite its objection to the charges. Global AI regulation and standards are needed more than ever to protect personal data in globally operating AI systems.

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Guns Are Banned on Facebook, but Sellers Find a Way

Washington Post | May 26, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Close to 70% of American adults use Facebook. They peruse the pages of old school friends, browse cooking videos and click on titillating news headlines. Once in a while, they will also stumble across a video of a live shooting or buy a semi-automatic rifle with relative ease.

The pattern of mass shootings in the US, highlighted in the past two weeks with massacres in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, has roots in political, cultural and structural issues, but the contribution of social media ,and Facebook in particular, to violence in the country shouldn’t be ignored.

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Opinion: Texas' new social media law affects all of us

CNN | May 25, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that a Texas law, which allows residents to sue social media companies for "censoring" what they post, could go into effect. The state law, referred to as HB 20, makes it illegal for large social networks like Facebook and Twitter to "block, ban, remove, de-platform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to, or otherwise discriminate against expression."

This law leaves social media companies with three choices, all of which are unacceptable: They can remove toxic content like misinformation and hate speech and get tied up in bottomless, costly lawsuits. They can let their platforms turn into cesspools of hate and misinformation and watch people stop using them altogether. Or they can just stop offering their services in Texas, which also exposes them to potential liability since the law makes it illegal for social media platforms to discriminate against Texans based on their location.

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Florida and Texas’ ‘Free Speech’ Social Media Laws Would Require Sites to Host Mass Shooting Videos

Yahoo | May 26, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Texas has joined Florida among states with the largest school shootings in American history. Both states are governed by conservatives who insist that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct.

But if either state took the First Amendment half as seriously, they wouldn't be attacking the constitutional rights of social media sites to remove content that helps cause mass shootings.

The more people can watch the live streams of such shootings, the more children will die. Nearly every social media site bans the distribution of such videos and tries to stop their spread as quickly as possible. They also ban glorification of such shootings, denial that these tragedies ever occurred, and harassment of victims’ families.