Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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Time_Traveller
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TikTok: Social media platform to sponsor Hollywood-owned Wrexham
2 hours ago

Global entertainment platform TikTok has been confirmed as National League club Wrexham's sponsors for the next two seasons.

TikTok's involvement comes after Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney became owners in January.

The duo's takeover of the club will be the subject of a documentary series called Welcome to Wrexham.

"To have TikTok on the front of our shirts is a great coup," Wrexham's executive director Humphrey Ker said.

"And we are sure it will be popular among our fanbase, as well as with those who are active on TikTok.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/57667937
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YouTube’s recommender AI still a horrorshow, finds a major crowdsourced study

Natasha Lomas@riptari / 9:00 AM GMT+1•July 7, 2021

For years YouTube’s video-recommending algorithm has stood accused of fuelling a grab-bag of societal ills by feeding users an AI-amplified diet of hate speech, political extremism and/or conspiracy junk/disinformation for the profiteering motive of trying to keep billions of eyeballs stuck to its ad inventory.

And while YouTube’s tech giant parent Google has, sporadically, responded to negative publicity flaring up around the algorithm’s antisocial recommendations — announcing a few policy tweaks or limiting/purging the odd hateful account — it’s not clear how far the platform’s penchant for promoting horribly unhealthy clickbait has actually been rebooted.

The suspicion remains nowhere near far enough.

New research published today by Mozilla backs that notion up, suggesting YouTube’s AI continues to puff up piles of ‘bottom-feeding’/low grade/divisive/disinforming content — stuff that tries to grab eyeballs by triggering people’s sense of outrage, sewing division/polarization or spreading baseless/harmful disinformation — which in turn implies that YouTube’s problem with recommending terrible stuff is indeed systemic; a side-effect of the platform’s rapacious appetite to harvest views to serve ads.

That YouTube’s AI is still — per Mozilla’s study — behaving so badly also suggests Google has been pretty successful at fuzzing criticism with superficial claims of reform.

https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/07/youtu ... ced-study/


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caltrek
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Chinese Social Media Giant WeChat Shuts LGBT Accounts
July 7, 2021

https://www.usnews.com/news/technology/ ... t-accounts

Introduction:
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — China’s most popular social media service has deleted accounts on LGBT topics run by university students and nongovernment groups, prompting concern the ruling Communist Party is tightening control over gay and lesbian content.

WeChat sent account holders a notice they violated rules but gave no details, according to the founder of an LGBT group, who asked not to be identified further out of fear of possible official retaliation. She said at least dozens of accounts were shut down, all at about 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
It wasn't clear whether the step was ordered by Chinese authorities, but it comes as the ruling party tightens political controls and tries to silence groups that might criticize its rule.

WeChat's operator, Tencent Holding Ltd., confirmed it received an email seeking comment but didn’t immediately respond.

The Communist Party decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, but gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and other sexual minorities still face discrimination.

There is more public discussion of such issues, but authorities have blocked some LGBT activities.
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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
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Great to see another far-right psychopath banned.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewst ... 088f4749f7
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Vile, evil people.

-----

Majority of Covid misinformation came from 12 people, report finds

Sat 17 Jul 2021 19.34 BST

The vast majority of Covid-19 anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories originated from just 12 people, a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) cited by the White House this week found.

CCDH, a UK/US non-profit and non-governmental organization, found in March that these 12 online personalities they dubbed the “disinformation dozen” have a combined following of 59 million people across multiple social media platforms, with Facebook having the largest impact. CCDH analyzed 812,000 Facebook posts and tweets and found 65% came from the disinformation dozen. Vivek Murthy, US surgeon general, and Joe Biden focused on misinformation around vaccines this week as a driving force of the virus spreading.

On Facebook alone, the dozen are responsible for 73% of all anti-vaccine content, though the vaccines have been deemed safe and effective by the US government and its regulatory agencies. And 95% of the Covid misinformation reported on these platforms were not removed.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... cdh-report
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Sky News Australia barred for week by YouTube over Covid misinformation
Source: BBC

YouTube has barred Sky News Australia from uploading new content for a week, saying it had breached rules on spreading Covid-19 misinformation. It issued a "strike" under its three-strike policy, the last of which means permanent removal. YouTube did not point to specific items but said it opposed material that "could cause real-world harm". The TV channel's digital editor said the decision was a disturbing attack on the ability to think freely.

Sky News Australia is owned by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and has 1.85 million YouTube subscribers. The ban could affect its revenue stream from Google. A YouTube statement said it had "clear and established Covid-19 medical misinformation policies based on local and global health authority guidance". A spokesperson told the Guardian it "did not allow content that denies the existence of Covid-19" or which encouraged people "to use hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus". Neither has been proven to be effective against Covid.

The videos in question "did not provide sufficient countervailing context", the spokesperson said. Sky News Australia said it had found old videos that did not comply with YouTube's policies and took its "commitment to meeting editorial and community expectations seriously". But it denied any of its hosts had ever denied the existence of Covid-19. Millions of Australians are currently in lockdown to prevent the spread of the contagious Delta variant, while fewer than 15% of the population are fully vaccinated.
Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-58045787
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WhatsApp and Other Social Media Platforms Restricted in Zambia Amidst Ongoing Elections
by Tage Kene-Okafor
August 12, 2021

https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/12/whats ... elections/

Introduction:
(TechCrunch) Several users from Zambia have taken to Twitter informing the general public that WhatsApp has been restricted in the country amidst ongoing general elections today.

The president and parliamentary elections culminate in a face-off between current President Edgar Lungu and opposition Hakainde Hichilema.

Internet monitoring organization Netblocks further corroborated these reports, adding that multiple internet providers in Zambia had restricted access to the American social messaging platform. Some of these networks include Zambian government-owned Zamtel, Airtel Zambia, Liquid Telecom and MTN.

Just this week, reports circulated that the Zambian government had threatened to shut down the internet if Zambians “failed to use the cyberspace during this year’s election correctly.” The reports say the government intended to go through with its plans from Thursday, the polling day, till Sunday, when vote counts are expected to have ended.

However, the Zambian government, via its Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Amos Malupenga, came out to deny the reports, calling them “malicious.” Nevertheless, he mentioned that the government would not tolerate abuse of the internet and if any mischief occurred, there would be no hesitation to take appropriate measures.
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"A Government That Has Killed People for Less": Pro-Saudi Social Media Swarms Leave Critics in Fear
by Murtaza Hussain
August 1, 2021

https://theintercept.com/2021/08/01/sau ... khashoggi/

Introduction:
(The Intercept) GEOFF GOLBERG WATCHED his own face flicker across the screen in disbelief. A short video clip posted to YouTube and Twitter this March characterized him as a mortal enemy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The narrator, Hussain al-Ghawi, alleged Golberg’s “entire work aims at smearing Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE” — the United Arab Emirates — “by publishing fake analytics banning patriotic accounts and foreign sympathizers.”

Posted in Arabic with English subtitles, the eight-minute video, overlaid with fiery graphics and sound effects, was part of a regular series posted by al-Ghawi, a self-proclaimed Saudi journalist. A clip showed a photo of Golberg’s face, incorrectly describing him as a CNN journalist. Al-Ghawi said that Golberg’s work mapping state-directed social media manipulation had put Golberg in league with the kingdom’s top adversaries — namely the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Turkey, and the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. It was an accusation that Golberg found shocking, as well as frightening.

“Seeing that video, with those types of accusations against me, it made me feel like my life might be in danger,” said Golberg, an expert on tracking social media manipulation and the founder of Social Forensics, an online analytics firm. “At the very least it made me feel like it’s not safe for me to be doing the type of work that I do, even in the United States.”

In the hands of an authoritarian state, social media can indeed be deadly. No more harrowing example of this was seen in the campaign of Saudi state-directed online attacks that preceded the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. In the months before he was killed inside Istanbul’s Saudi consulate, Khashoggi was the subject of an intense campaign of online harassment orchestrated by a Saudi government-backed network of political influencers and bots.
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