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.

ISPs and Movie Industry Prepare Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Deal

Found on Torrentfreak on Wednesday, 06 December 2017
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In most countries, these blockades are ordered by local courts, which compel Internet providers to restrict access to certain websites. In Canada, however, there’s a plan in the works to allow for website blockades without judicial oversight.

“Recent history suggests that the list will quickly grow to cover tougher judgment calls. For example, Bell has targeted TVAddons, a site that contains considerable non-infringing content,” Geist notes.

He stresses that the ISPs involved in these plans should seriously consider if they want to continue down this path, which isn’t necessarily in the best interest of their customers.

In other words, the entertainment industry is not happy with the current laws and courts, so they come up with a way to bypass them. Not too surprising, knowing their history.

In its new timeline, Twitter will end revenge porn next week, hate speech in two

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 21 October 2017
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Twitter will expand what types of "non-consensual nudity" (aka "revenge porn") that it takes action against. The company will already act when a victim complains, but Twitter will soon act even in cases where the victims may not be aware images were taken, instances like upskirt photos and hidden webcams.

Twitter will ban hate imagery in profile headers and avatars, and the service will start suspending accounts "for organizations that use violence to advance their cause."

While removing non-con pictures and calls for violence is a good idea, who will decide what's good or bad? Letting some admins or moderators do that might work on relatively unknown, small-scale forums, but Twitter is on another scale.

Judge Recommends ISP and Search Engine Blocking of Sci-Hub in the US

Found on Torrentfreak on Wednesday, 04 October 2017
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Sci-Hub, which is regularly referred to as the "Pirate Bay of Science," faces one of the strongest anti-piracy injunctions we have seen in the US to date. A magistrate judge in Virginia has recommended a broad order which would require search engines and Internet providers to block the site.

Sci-Hub itself doesn’t seem to be too bothered by the blocking prospect or the millions in damages it faces. The site has a Tor version which can’t be blocked by Internet providers, so determined scientists will still be able to access the site if they want.

If you want better education, you need to make scientific material easier and cheaper to access for everybody. Sci-Hub is just making the information available for everybody.

Leaked document: EU Presidency calls for massive internet filtering

Found on EDRi on Wednesday, 06 September 2017
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A Council of the European Union document leaked by Statewatch on 30 August reveals that during the summer months, that Estonia (current EU Presidency) has been pushing the other Member States to strengthen indiscriminate internet surveillance, and to follow in the footsteps of China regarding online censorship. Standing firmly behind its belief that filtering the uploads is the way to go, the Presidency has worked hard in order to make the proposal for the new copyright Directive even more harmful than the Commission’s original proposal, and pushing it further into the realms of illegality.

This is why more and more people are sceptical about the EU, and don't believe that it will lead to anything good anymore.