In Trying To Ban Telegram, Russia Breaks The Internet

Found on Techdirt on Wednesday, 18 April 2018
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Telegram tried to mitigate the ban by moving some of its essential infrastructure to third-party cloud services. But Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor responded by blocking upwards of 16 million IP addresses, many belonging to Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Not too surprisingly, the heavy-handed maneuver resulted in connectivity problems across massive swaths of the Russian internet.

Russian state media meanwhile continues to demonize Telegram as a haven for villains, and is directing users to alternatives like TamTam with alleged ties to the Russian government.

Russia (and China, as well as North Korea) are just doing that most other governments would love to do too; they just don't care that much about the backlash and public opinion.

Zuckerberg Testimony: Facebook A.I. Will Curb Hate Speech in 5 to 10 Years

Found on Inverse on Wednesday, 11 April 2018
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“Hate speech is one of the hardest,” Zuckerberg said. “Determining if something is hate speech is very linguistically nuanced. You need to understand what is a slur and whether something is hateful, and not just in English…”

Zuckerberg said that the company is increasingly developing AI tools to flag hate speech proactively, rather than relying on reactions from users and employees to flag offensive content.

So in 5 to 10 years Skynet will control what you can and can not say online? No, thank you very much.

“Erotic Review” blocks US Internet users to prepare for government crackdown

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 09 April 2018
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SESTA will make it easier to prosecute websites that host third-party content that promotes or facilitates prostitution, even in cases when the sex workers aren't victims of trafficking.

But the site's FAQ noted that "TER is not alone in responding to this threat to your First Amendment Rights: Craigslist has pulled all of its Personal Ads, Reddit has closed a number of Subreddits, and sites such as CityVibe and Men4RentNow have gone completely dark. Other websites have taken or are expected to take similar actions."

Prude America just turned it up a few notches.

Tumblr takes down 84 Russia-linked accounts

Found on The Hill on Monday, 26 March 2018
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The social media platform said it discovered the accounts, which are linked to the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency, last fall and has since terminated the accounts.

Tumblr said the Russia-linked accounts were solely focused on spreading disinformation by posting “organic content.” The company found no indication that the accounts purchased any advertisements.

If Tumblr removes all troll accounts, then there will be about 84 left. It's pretty telling about the current status of democracy if 84 random accounts need to be banned in order to protect it because they are a threat.

Facebook shirks responsibility, says experts can't be trusted

Found on CNet News on Saturday, 20 January 2018
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The man whose mission it is, this year, to fix Facebook would prefer you to do it for him.

Facebook will ask some questions about whether you think a certain publication is trustworthy, and then it will look at all the data it's collected from respondents.

Zuckerberg prefers to cede responsibility to Facebook's so-called community because it means the company itself doesn't have to take a meaningful stance.

Here is Zuckerberg saying that, well, we could have appointed a panel of experts who might have actual knowledge of this misinformation stuff but, nah, we'll ask anyone who'll answer our surveys.

It's simply cheaper to crowdsource it and let the "community" censor itself. Not only can FB save money, but in case anything goes wrong, it can blame the users.

Really Bad Ideas: French President Macron Wants To Ban 'Fake News' During The Election

Found on Techdirt on Saturday, 06 January 2018
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He wanted to mandate encryption backdoors and demand internet censorship of "radicals" online who post "inflammatory content." And now he's expanding that position and saying he wants to ban "fake news" during election season.

A big part of the problem, obviously, is that "fake news" means different things to different people, and whoever has the power to order such content taken down will have plenty of opportunities to abuse that power -- such as to take down news that is merely unflattering to those in power.

Or maybe it could be used for good to shut up politicians. Many of them have no idea what they are talking about, and that is even worse than fake news.

Facebook Allowing Israeli Security Forces To Shape The News Palestineans See

Found on Techdirt on Wednesday, 03 January 2018
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Despite the responsibility it bears to its users to keep this pipeline free of interference, Facebook is ingratiating itself with local governments by acting as a censor on their behalf.

The reporting tools it provides to users are abused by governments to stifle critics and control narratives. And that's on top of the direct line it opens to certain governments, which are used to expedite censorship. That's what's happening in Israel, as Glenn Greenwald reports.

By favoring Israel's view of "incitement," Facebook is censoring news streams read by Palestinians, giving them a government-approved view of current events. While Facebook is apparently reluctant to take down pro-Israeli calls for violence, it's been moving quickly to delete almost everything Israeli security forces deem "incitement."

FB never has, and never will be a reliable source for news. A website for gossips, rumours, slander and libel maybe, but not for news. Not to repeat that it sells every bit of information about its users sheep.

Vietnam Deploys 10,000 Cyber Warriors to Fight ‘Wrongful Views’

Found on Bloomberg on Wednesday, 27 December 2017
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Force 47 has worked pro-actively against distorted information, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported, citing Nguyen Trong Nghia, deputy head of the general politics department under the Vietnam People’s Military. The disclosure of the unit comes as the Communist government pressures YouTube Inc. and Facebook Inc. to remove videos and accounts seen damaging the reputations of leaders or promoting anti-party views.

Replace "Wrongful Views" with "Fake News" and you have exactly the same what every other nation is doing. Vietnam is just not sugar-coating it as much as everybody else.

Twitter begins enforcing new anti-hate speech rules

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 18 December 2017
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In particular, the new rules ban violent threats or even "wishing for serious physical harm." For now, the most prominent accounts that have been removed for running afoul of these rules were three affiliated with a far-right United Kingdom group known as "Britain First."

The company went on to explain that its new policy includes any abusive language in the profile information of an account (in addition to applying to language used in tweets).

There is some undeniable doubt that these rules won't be applied by a blind Justitia.

Google Changes Rules to Purge News That Masks Country of Origin

Found on Bloomberg on Sunday, 17 December 2017
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Google moved to strip from its news search results publications that mask their country of origin or intentionally mislead readers, a further step to curb the spread of fake news that has plagued internet companies this year.

“We update our policies on a regular basis to reflect a constantly changing web and how people look for information online,” a Google spokeswoman wrote in a statement.

Fake or not, it is not the job of a search engine to decide what users are supposed to read.