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September 13, 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.

Anti-vaccine accounts on Instagram are using the link-in-bio loophole to monetize their content and sidestep moderation

Media Matters | September 12, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Scores of anti-vaccine Instagram accounts are using the well-documented link-in-bio loophole to amplify and monetize misinformation against vaccines.

Social media platforms have been hotbeds for anti-vaccine and other medical misinformation throughout the pandemic, facilitating the spread of vaccine hesitancy across the globe. Anti-vaccine accounts of varying sizes and influence have used Instagram to this end, abusing the platform’s features to spread and monetize misinformation. Meanwhile, Instagram’s parent company, Meta, boasts that it removed more than 25 million pieces of COVID-19 misinformation from its platforms and has proposed eliminating its COVID-19 misinformation policies.

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Transportation Sec. Buttigieg targeted with homophobic tweets

Los Angeles Blade | September 12, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

LANSING, Mi – As Pete Buttigieg, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), continues his push for broader adoption of electric vehicle use, he was again targeted with homophobic attacks online.

Meshawn Maddock, co-chair of Michigan’s Republican party, referred to the first openly gay cabinet secretary as a “weak little girl” on Twitter Sunday, as many were honoring those killed 21 years ago in the worst terrorist attack ever perpetrated on American soil.

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Social Media Now Used To Vet Gun Applicants in New York State

Forbes | September 12, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Beginning this month, as part of a comprehensive background check process in the Empire State, residents seeking to carry a concealed handgun will now be required to provide details regarding their social media accounts, which will be reviewed for "character and conduct." The new requirement, which recently took effect in New York, was part of a law passed in July that sought to preserve some limits on firearms after the Supreme Court had ruled that most citizens have a right to carry a handgun for personal protection.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the bill into law in July, and at the time noted that many mass shooters have "telegraphed" their intent to hurt others online.

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Misinformation and propaganda in the authoritarian internet

Security Boulevard | September 13, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

On my sixth birthday, my father gifted me a globe of the world. It is the best birthday present I have ever received. You see, I grew up in a cramped apartment in Baku, Azerbaijan. But even in our small corner of this world on the edge of the Soviet Empire behind the Iron Curtain, when my father and I read Stefan Zweig’s book on Magellan together, I could dream of the vast world beyond. Night by night, we traced our fingers along the boundless oceans of that globe and I marveled at all there was to see beyond the confines of the Soviet world.

Ondrej Vlcek and I both grew up under the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. We read the same propaganda in our history textbooks, and learned never to trust the misinformation spewed at us. The Evil Empire was built on a castle of lies: even as children, both of us could see that. Our shared childhood experiences provided a strong basis for our conversation in Paris, at the 6th VivaTech conference in June 2022. In the context of the current war in Ukraine and increased authoritarian aggression against free and open discourse on the internet, Ondrej and I felt it was more important than ever to warn our European audience about the dangers of current new propaganda networks.

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From block to blue ticks: How China became big business for Twitter

Reuters | September 13, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter

Even as China bars 1.4 billion citizens from Twitter, its local authorities are splurging on global advertising on the site, helping make the country the platform's fastest-growing overseas ad market and one of its largest non-U.S. revenue sources.

A Reuters review of publicly available government tenders, budget documents and promoted tweets from 2020 to 2022 shows local authorities and Chinese Communist Party propaganda offices for cities, provinces and even districts across the country have flocked to Twitter (TWTR.N) to buy ads.

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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

Giving Tech a Lead Role in Crypto Policy

Markets Media | September 12, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Crypto policy debates often get portrayed as warring sides battling over values. Not unique to crypto, policy formation is nearly always an exercise of identifying and balancing trade-offs.

The tension is giving up something to gain another. Yet there’s one element, one variable, that gives more options. And that’s technology. In economics, tech pushes the frontier curve outward. In business, it opens up new markets. In politics, it can make multiple constituencies happy. And in regulation, technology allows us to achieve safety objectives without stifling innovation.

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Social platforms reconsider content moderation following the Queen’s death

The Drum | September 12, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter, Social Media

Queen Elizabeth II’s death was first broken by the official Royal Family Twitter account. It marks a seismic shift in how news of that magnitude is disseminated – one that acknowledges the importance of community and social platforms when it comes to speaking directly to the public.

At the same time, those means of mass communications have struggled for years with how to moderate and limit free speech around various issues. In the wake of the news, in tandem with expressions of sadness, social platforms were also awash with opinions, jokes and missives on her passing. To that end, some social platforms were forced to jerry-rig responses to complaints, based on existing moderation tools.

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Data protection trends in children’s online gaming

Iapp | September 12, 2022

Company Listed: Social Media

Children now spend a lot of time playing games online, but the gaming industry has received less scrutiny than social media or streaming platforms over privacy concerns. As gaming grows, the scale of user vulnerability increases as well. Many young people do not understand the data risks posed by online games. Luckily, privacy regulators are increasingly focusing efforts toward protecting children’s safety and autonomy online.

Young people enjoy online games because they allow for play, learning and socialization. Parents express concerns about the amount of time spent gaming, but research is only just emerging about the impacts. A recent study from the Oxford Internet Institute on gamers 18 and older found that time spent playing video games had “little to no” effect on well-being. Its authors pointed to the need for further research, which would presumably include investigations into mental health outcomes for gamers younger than 18.

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T&S Good News

Some of the good news in the T&S industry that leaders want to know

Twitter Shares New Insights into the Role that Tweets Play in the Broader News Ecosystem

Social Media Today | September 12, 2022

Company Listed: Twitter

You know what really grinds Twitter’s gears? The fact that its cultural influence extends far beyond its 238 million total mDAU, a figure that puts it well behind most other social apps in terms of direct usage.

For years, Twitter has been trying to re-frame the discussion around user counts, arguing that tweets are actually seen and read by a lot more people than this. It just can’t track them – though it has tried, with graphic depictions like this, in which Twitter suggests that hundreds of millions more people see tweets, even if they don’t actually log in to do it.