For the public good?
Last Wednesday, YouTube removed white nationalist channels before deciding to restate them on Friday. The platform argued that ‘while many people found the channels ‘deeply offensive’, they had not broken its rules’. This comes at the moment of Youtube’s Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki stating their commitment to openness. According to Wojcicki, openness ‘sometimes means leaving content up that is outside the mainstream, is controversial, or even offensive’, while later justifying that ‘hearing a broad range of perspectives makes us a stronger and more informed society, even if we disagree with some of those views’.
Buckling up for 2020
Facebook has revealed plans to strengthen its authorisation process for ads placed on their American market. As a means to increase legitimacy, political advertisers will now need to further demonstrate that they’re registered in the United States. In response, critics have described the measures as ‘much too little, much too late’. It seems they’re not the only ones dissatisfied with Facebook. In similar news, the tech giant is also under fire for failing to provide sufficient data to a project investigating Facebook’s impact on elections and democracy. In a statement by the Social Science Research Council, the consortium’s funders warned that, if Facebook doesn’t provide the correct data by 30/09, they will end the project.
In the news…
- Last week, misinformation relating to the Amazon Rainforest fires surfaced. And within this, celebrities and politicians unwittingly fanned the wildfire of misinformation by sharing false images.
- In further efforts to curb the misinformation on vaccines, Pinterest now redirects users who search for vaccine information to results from public health bodies.
- The director of Pagella Politica has discovered that Netflix’s recommendation algorithms seem to be an entry point for conspiracy theories.
- How social media companies threaten democracy: A short video on how the 1st Amendment is ineffective at limiting the actions of private online entities, leading them to have unfettered power in determining who has a voice.
- A new study published in Science provides a blueprint for understanding the effects of election manipulation and interference on election outcomes, which can be applied to data retrospectively and proactively in near real-time.
- DFR Lab takes a closer look into the online dissemination of Putin’s whataboutism narrative, which makes a false comparison between the Yellow Vest Movement and the recent Moscow demonstrations.
Events and Announcements
- RightsCon has released an outcomes report detailing the trends and conclusions of this year’s Tunis edition.
- 10 September, @ L42 Business Center, Brussels: Mozilla Mornings – the future of EU content regulation.
- 19 September, 16:00 CEST @ EU DisinfoLab Webinar: Fakey – A social media and news literacy game.
- Under a contract with the USAID DHG Center, NORC at the University of Chicago seeks two part-time researchers on disinformation and civic space issues.
- Facebook is hiring a Public Policy Manager in content regulation.
Photo by David Goehring