Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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A thread covering the latest news and developments regarding the Big Five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – as well as many other companies involved in e-commerce, social media, user data, and Internet technology in general.


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Re: Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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G7: Rich nations confident on reaching tech tax deal

6 hours ago

Finance ministers from the G7 group of leading economies are confident of striking a deal on taxing multinational companies at their meeting in London.

The agreement is expected to include a global minimum rate of corporation tax.

It would target tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz said the deal would "change the world".

He said a 15% rate would help pay back debts that have built up during the pandemic - and that he was "absolutely confident" there would be an agreement.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57367057
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Re: Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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Nigeria bans Twitter after company deletes President Buhari's tweet

1311 GMT June 5, 2021

The Nigerian government says it has "indefinitely suspended" Twitter's operations in the country, the Ministry of Information and Culture announced in a statement on Friday.

"The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria," it read.

The statement, which was posted on the ministry's official Twitter handle on Friday evening, accused the American social media company of allowing its platform to be used "for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence."

Some pointed out the irony of announcing the ban on Twitter, with one person replying: "You're using Twitter to suspend Twitter? Are you not mad?"

The suspension comes two days after Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that was widely perceived as offensive.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/04/afri ... index.html


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Re: Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

Post by weatheriscool »

Facebook Admits Its 'Fact-Checkers' Are Likely 'Biased,' Pursuing 'Own Agenda'
Tech giant's vice-president Nick Clegg makes admission, European Commission doc shows
By: Jay Greenberg |@NeonNettle
on 16th June 2021 @ 12.00pm
News Thud
One of Facebook's top executives has admitted that the social media giant's so-called "fact-checkers" are likely biased and pursuing their own political agendas, according to a bombshell report.

According to a European Commission document, the company's vice president, Nick Clegg, revealed that Facebook’s independent fact-checkers, who are hired to censor so-called “fake news,” are seemingly motivated by their own bias.

Facebook has long been accused of using "fact-checks" to secretly pursue a political agenda that aims to eradicate conservatives from the online community.

Clegg, the former British deputy prime minister, made the stunning admission to EU officials last November.
https://neonnettle.com/news/15612-faceb ... wn-agenda-

Sadly, this is the truth. If you support tradition or are right of center you will be censored and that isn't right.
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Re: Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

Post by caltrek »

^^^My longstanding preferred solution is not banning, or even deleting comments. Rather, it is open debate and challenges to those who post things that are controversial. That allows all sides to be heard and third party observers to come to their own conclusions.

Unfortunately, I have come to realize that there are several problems with that approach. First, it is easier to tell a lie than it is to carefully investigate a position to be sure that one is telling the truth. So, when it comes to the pure production of statements, a liar is at an advantage in terms of quantity of statements that can be easily produced.

Secondly,
Falsehoods spread like wildfire on social media, getting quicker and longer-lasting pickup than the truth, researchers reported...

A deep dive into Twitter shows that false news was re-tweeted more often than true news was, and carried further.

“Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information,” the team, led bySinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in the journal Science.

“It took the truth about six times as long as falsehood to reach 1,500 people.”

And it wasn’t bots spreading most of the falsehoods, they found. It was real people doing most of it. Usually ordinary people, too, they found: so-called ‘verified’ users and those with many followers were not usually the source of some of the most popular untrue viral posts.
Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-n ... es-n854896

Third, perhaps linked to the second, is that denial is a powerful psychological mechanism. This mechanism comes into play when people assess issues of the day. It is a main reason why an accurate understanding of the problem of global warming was so hard to achieve. It is also a great obstacle toward understanding the negative effects of a country's foreign policies, especially when that country has a powerful influence throughout the globe. Many people simply do not like to deal with the idea that their country is a source of problems, and not the savior of the world.

Altogether, nothing less than democracy itself is now at stake. Are we going to find an intelligent way to discuss and debate issues, or are we simply going rely upon brute force to determine the outcome of any given dispute?

Brute force in which the enforcers have been convinced that such force is needed because of lies that they have chosen to believe over the truth?
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Re: Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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Facebook Doesn’t Want to Talk About Fake Users Created by the Pentagon
by Ali Breland
June 23, 2021

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... counts-us/

Introduction:
(Mother Jones) On a press call a few years ago, I asked Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, if the company would treat a misinformation campaign orchestrated by the US government the same as it would as one from a foreign adversary.

Facebook had organized the call to tout how it had discovered and deleted dozens of Iranian accounts, groups, and pages linked to “coordinated inauthentic behavior”—the company’s term for when people and organizations create fake accounts in an attempt to mislead and manipulate other users and the broader information landscape. The conversation came at a time when Facebook was conducting a spate of such announcements and media briefings championing its work removing phony networks tied to foreign governments.

Gleicher’s response to my hypothetical question about whether they would react the same way was quite clear: “Yes. Part of the key of our operations here is that we engage based on behavior—not based on content and not based on the nature of the actor. And that’s been a very intentional choice on our part.”

The question I posed is no longer so hypothetical. Last month, William M. Arkin broke a massive story for Newsweek, reporting that the Pentagon is administering a 60,000-person “secret army” that conducts “signature reduction.” This is a newish discipline, similar to operational security, that focuses on helping keep clandestine operations hidden.

Sometimes, Arkin writes, this means taking both digital and physical steps—like helping send out bills, tax documents, manufactured IDs, and driver’s licenses—to help operatives maintain covers. “Fake birthplaces and home addresses have to be carefully researched, fake email lives and social media accounts have to be created,” he writes. “And those existences need to have corresponding ‘friends.'” As that would indicate, the work can include manufacturing fake social media networks to create a believable online person—a “trail of fake existence.” In some instances, Arkin reports, the Pentagon’s signature reduction efforts involve “the very type of nefarious operations the United States decries when Russian and Chinese spies do the same.”
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UK Antitrust Watchdog Investigating Google and Amazon
by Kim Lyons
June 25, 2021

https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/25/2255 ... ke-reviews

Introduction:
(The Verge) The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is probing whether Amazon and Google broke consumer laws by failing to take action against fake reviews on their sites, the agency announced Friday.

“We are investigating concerns that Amazon and Google have not been doing enough to prevent or remove fake reviews to protect customers and honest businesses,” Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations.” She added that it was unfair to businesses that adhere to the rules if other businesses can give their own products fake 5-star reviews.

An Amazon spokesperson said in an email to The Verge on Friday that the company devotes “significant resources to preventing fake or incentivized reviews” from appearing on its platform, adding that the company works to ensure reviews accurately reflect a customer’s experience with a product. “We will continue to assist the CMA with its enquiries and we note its confirmation that no findings have been made against our business,” the spokesperson said.

In a June 16th blog post, Amazon said some “bad actors” were using external platforms to buy and sell fake reviews, and it blamed social media companies it said had been slow to act in flagging fake reviews on their own platforms — although it noted the response time had improved somewhat over the last year.

“While we appreciate that some social media companies have become much faster at responding, to address this problem at scale, it is imperative for social media companies to invest adequately in proactive controls to detect and enforce fake reviews ahead of our reporting the issue to them,” the blog post reads.
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Re: Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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I've thought this for a while now.

It's part of what I call the Stupidity Singularity.

----------

Why some biologists and ecologists think social media is a risk to humanity

By Shirin Ghaffary Jun 26, 2021, 8:00am EDT

Social media has drastically restructured the way we communicate in an incredibly short period of time. We can discover, “Like,” click on, and share information faster than ever before, guided by algorithms most of us don’t quite understand.

And while some social scientists, journalists, and activists have been raising concerns about how this is affecting our democracy, mental health, and relationships, we haven’t seen biologists and ecologists weighing in as much.

That’s changed with a new paper published in the prestigious science journal PNAS earlier this month, titled “Stewardship of global collective behavior.”

Seventeen researchers who specialize in widely different fields, from climate science to philosophy, make the case that academics should treat the study of technology’s large-scale impact on society as a “crisis discipline.” A crisis discipline is a field in which scientists across different fields work quickly to address an urgent societal problem — like how conservation biology tries to protect endangered species or climate science research aims to stop global warming.

The paper argues that our lack of understanding about the collective behavioral effects of new technology is a danger to democracy and scientific progress. For example, the paper says that tech companies have “fumbled their way through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, unable to stem the ‘infodemic’ of misinformation” that has hindered widespread acceptance of masks and vaccines. The authors warn that if left misunderstood and unchecked, we could see unintended consequences of new technology contributing to phenomena such as “election tampering, disease, violent extremism, famine, racism, and war.”

It’s a grave warning and call to action by an unusually diverse swath of scholars across disciplines — and their collaboration indicates how concerned they are.

Read more: https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/6/26/22 ... -academics
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caltrek
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Re: Social Media & Big Tech news and discussions

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The FTC’s Antitrust Complaint Against Facebook has Been Dismissed — For Now
by Shirin Ghaffary
June 28, 2021

https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/6/28/22 ... -for-nowby Shirrin Gaffery

Introduction:
(Vox) The antitrust push targeting Facebook hit a significant roadblock on Monday when a federal court dismissed antitrust lawsuits that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 48 states had filed against the tech giant.

The dismissal is a major win for Facebook, which — along with Amazon, Apple, and Google — has been facing increasing scrutiny about whether it’s engaging in monopolistic behavior to stifle its competition. It’s also a major setback for the growing bipartisan political movement in the US to rein in Big Tech’s power. And it signals that the path forward for antitrust enforcement against these companies may require lawmakers to revisit existing US antitrust law, which had its last major overhaul in the early 1900’s — well before the internet age.

The FTC’s lawsuit against Facebook argued that Facebook has engaged in monopolistic behavior against its competitors, but on Monday the judge’s ruling said the FTC’s argument wasn’t clear enough.

“The FTC has failed to plead enough facts to plausibly establish a necessary element of all of its Section 2 claims — namely, that Facebook has monopoly power in the market,” reads a part of the filing from the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The filing goes on to criticize the FTC’s complaint against Facebook for containing “nothing on that score save the naked allegation” that the company has a dominant share of the market in the “personal social networking” industry.

“It is almost as if the agency [the FTC] expects the Court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist,” states another part of the filing.
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Social Media Can Help Create Your Next Persuasive Speech
Jun 30, 2021

In a recent New Yorker article, author Kyle Chayka expressed a wistful fondness for TikTok, crediting the social media platform for providing “moments of audiovisual eloquence.” Even though I can’t be quite as affirmative as Chayka, I must admit that I enjoy many (but not all) of the video clips. And as a film buff, I also appreciate some of the inventive visual effects and techniques.

But I have another reason for spending time on TikTok—as well as on Twitter and Instagram.

Ever since my days as a student, when I discovered the value of what educators call “distributed learning,” I stopped cramming and started being more productive. Later, as a writer, I became a devoted practitioner of the related term, “spaced learning,” which I apply by creating drafts, putting them aside, and then returning later to discover new directions, words, and ideas. It’s a technique I learned from the editor of a paperback novel I wrote many years ago. She recommended that, at the end of each day, I put aside my writing and read it again the following morning. Whenever I did, I inevitably found that I had to rewrite what I had written. These days, as a presentation coach, I urge clients to use spaced learning to create a persuasive speech. By clearing their slate, just as with Etch A Sketch, they open their minds to new ideas.

A 2013 Wall Street Journal article, referencing a scientific study, described spaced learning as “Walking away from a problem to do simple, routine tasks, and letting the mind wander in the process,” adding that the benefit “can spark creative new connections.” An article in The Economist referenced Kevin Cashman, the CEO of Korn Ferry, who wrote a book called The Pause Principle in which he noted that “taking a break by going for a walk, taking a shower, or going for a drive … helps ideas surface.”
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jerryweiss ... 96e2ea446a
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