Social Media

Twitter Bans Dozens of Pro-Bloomberg Spam Accounts

The Hill reports: Twitter announced Friday night that it is suspending 70 accounts that posted content supporting Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, saying the messages violated its company rules. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has launched an expansive social media campaign to buoy his White House bid. One prong of the strategy involves hiring temporary employees to launch …

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Massive Bot Army Behind Climate Denialist Tweets

The Guardian reports: The social media conversation over the climate crisis is being reshaped by an army of automated Twitter bots, with a new analysis finding that a quarter of all tweets about climate on an average day are produced by bots, the Guardian can reveal. The stunning levels of Twitter bot activity on topics related to global heating and …

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Twitter Tests New Way To Flag Lies And Disinformation

NBC News reports: Twitter is experimenting with adding brightly colored labels directly beneath lies and misinformation posted by politicians and public figures, according to a leaked demo of new features sent to NBC News. Twitter confirmed that the leaked demo is one possible iteration of a new policy to target misinformation it plans to roll out March 5. In this …

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FB Cancels Annual San Francisco Confab Over Virus

The Washington Post reports: Facebook announced Friday that it would cancel a summit it had planned to hold at San Francisco’s Moscone Center in March. “Out of an abundance of caution, we canceled our Global Marketing Summit due to evolving public health risks related to coronavirus,” Anthony Harrison, a Facebook spokesman, said. The annual event brings together Facebook employees from …

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WhatsApp Hits 2B Users Amid FTC Antitrust Scrutiny

Variety reports: WhatsApp now has more than 2 billion users globally, according to Facebook — and the company says it “will not compromise” on the messaging app’s end-to-end encryption, despite warnings from law enforcement officials. WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for $19 billion in 2014, uses strong crypto to keep information sent over the service private, “helping protect you from hackers …

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Twitter Bans Pro-Trump Site Over False Virus Claims

CBS News reports: The financial website Zero Hedge is now barred from Twitter after publishing an article relaying a conspiracy theory that a Chinese scientist might be to blame for the coronavirus outbreak. Zero Hedge on Friday wrote that Twitter had notified the site that it had violated the social media platform’s “rules against abuse and harassment.” That followed a …

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Hillary Clinton: Facebook Intends To Reelect Trump

The Atlantic reports: Facebook is, in a sense, the world’s first technocratic nation-state—a real-time experiment in connecting humans at massive and unprecedented scale, with a population of users that eclipses any actual nation, nearly as big as China and India combined. It’s also an institution with gigantic levers at its disposal to affect the lives of its user-citizens. Facebook knows …

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Facebook OK’s Large Lie-Filled Pro-Trump Ad Buy

Popular Information reports: Facebook is allowing a major pro-Trump Super PAC, the Committee to Defend the President, to run ads with lies. The Committee to Defend the President, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, is one of the “two biggest non-party outside spenders of this cycle.” Since Saturday, the Committee to Defend the President is running multiple ads that …

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Twitter Sorry For Ads Targeting Homophobes, Nazis

The BBC reports: Twitter has apologised for allowing adverts to be micro-targeted at certain users such as neo-Nazis, homophobes and other hate groups. The BBC discovered the issue and that prompted the tech firm to act. Our investigation found it possible to target users who had shown an interest in keywords including “transphobic”, “white supremacists” and “anti-gay”. Twitter allows ads …

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Mark Hamill Quits Facebook With Jab At Zuckerberg

MarketWatch reports: The Force isn’t strong with Facebook anymore. OG “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill quit the social network on Sunday, accusing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of turning to the Dark Side of capitalism. The actor who originated the iconic role of Luke Skywalker in the original “Star Wars” trilogy announced his Facebook boycott on Twitter, where he condemned Zuckerberg …

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TikTok Overhauls Content Rules After Growing Criticism

Wired Magazine reports: Whereas Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have developed lengthy policies covering hundreds of circumstances, TikTok provided a short list of bullet points addressing only the most extreme content. Amid growing scrutiny over censorship and its Chinese ownership from regulators, the company has pledged that more transparency would be forthcoming. Now, it’s here. On Wednesday, TikTok released a comprehensive …

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Facebook Bans “Deepfake” Videos Ahead Of Election

The Associated Press reports: Facebook says it is banning “deepfake” videos, the false but realistic clips created with artificial intelligence and sophisticated tools, as it steps up efforts to fight online manipulation. The social network said late Monday that it’s beefing up its policies to remove videos edited or synthesized in ways that aren’t apparent to the average person, and …

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Iranian General Had Taunted Trump On Social Media

The Washington Post reports: Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq early Friday, wasn’t just an infamous terrorist organizer and one of the regime’s most powerful officials — he was also one of President Trump’s social media antagonists. International experts have long known of Soleimani as the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force …

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Facebook Removes Some Misleading PrEP Ads

The Washington Post reports: Facebook has quietly started removing some misleading ads about HIV prevention medication, responding to a deluge of activists, health experts and government regulators who said the tech giant had created the conditions for a public-health crisis. The ads at issue — purchased by pages affiliated with personal-injury lawyers and seen millions of times — linked drugs …

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Morocco Jails Popular YouTuber For Insulting King

The BBC reports: A well known Moroccan YouTuber has been jailed for four years after being found guilty of insulting the country’s king. Mohamed Sekkaki [photo] was arrested earlier this month after criticising King Mohammed’s speeches and for calling Moroccans donkeys. He plans to appeal against the verdict. Rights groups are worried that personal freedoms are under increasing threat in …

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Facebook Takes Down Hundreds Of Pro-Trump Accounts Run By Chinese End-Times Cult Newspaper Epoch Times

ABC News reports: Facebook took down more than 600 accounts tied to the pro-Trump conspiracy website The Epoch Times for using identities created by artificial intelligence to push stories about a variety of topics including impeachment and elections. The network was called “The BL” and was run by Vietnamese users posing as Americans, using fake photos generated by algorithms to …

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Facebook Bans Ads That Mislead About 2020 Census

The Washington Post reports: Facebook will remove posts, photos and other content that mislead people about the U.S. census starting next year, aiming to prevent malicious actors from interfering in a critical, once-in-a-decade process that determines political representation, the social media company announced Thursday. The new policies come as civil rights leaders urge Facebook to act more aggressively against content …

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Facebook Won’t Remove False Ad About McConnell

Buzzfeed News reports: Facebook will not be removing an ad falsely claiming that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell endorses the impeachment of Republican President Donald Trump from its platform. The ad was posted and promoted by leftist activist Adriel Hampton, who registered as a California gubernatorial candidate in October and began running bogus political ads in an effort to …

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Billionaire Trump Donor Peter Thiel Pressures Facebook To Keep Their Policy Against Fact-Checking Political Ads

The Wall Street Journal reports: Facebook Inc. ’s senior leadership is increasingly divided over how to address criticism of the company’s effect on U.S. politics, with board member and billionaire investor Peter Thiel serving as an influential voice advising CEO Mark Zuckerberg not to bow to public pressure, according to people familiar with the matter. One flashpoint of late: political …

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Twitter Moves To Thwart Spoofing Of US Candidates

The Associated Press reports: Twitter is bringing back special labels to help users identify accounts and tweets from U.S. political candidates. The company, which first used such labels for the midterms last year, said it is trying to provide users with original sources of information and prevent spoofed and fake accounts from fooling voters. Many political candidates already have blue …

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