Twitter Formalizes Its Birdwatch Program with Aliases, Profiles

Twitter is tweaking its Birdwatch crowdsourced fact-check feature, adding aliases so contributors can conceal their identities when notating someone’s tweet. The company says its goal in having people append anonymously is “keeping focus on the content of notes rather than who’s writing them,” reducing bias and tempering polarization. To ensure aliases don’t overshadow accountability, all Birdwatch accounts now have profile pages that aggregate past contributions, and the ratings those contributions received from other Birdwatchers, accruing credibility to contributors whose notes and ratings are consistently found helpful by others. Continue reading Twitter Formalizes Its Birdwatch Program with Aliases, Profiles

Media Consortium Reveals Extent of Pegasus Spyware Reach

A consortium of media outlets dubbed the Pegasus Project found that Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group licensed its military-grade spyware Pegasus to governments that used it to hack 37 smartphones of business executives, human rights activists and journalists. Two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khasghoggi were also reportedly targeted. Amnesty International and journalism non-profit Forbidden Stories shared a list of 50,000 phone numbers that dates to 2016 and included the 37 targets. New evidence also suggests that thousands of iPhones worldwide may have been compromised.  Continue reading Media Consortium Reveals Extent of Pegasus Spyware Reach

Passage of California Prop 22 Is Big Victory for Gig Economy

California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 22, which will allow gig workers for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and others to remain independent contractors. These three companies created the proposition to exempt them from a state labor law that would require them to treat drivers as employees and pay for healthcare, unemployment insurance and other benefits. Proposition 22 does include a wage floor and some benefits for drivers. San Francisco, headquarters for Uber and Lyft, presented the strongest opposition. Continue reading Passage of California Prop 22 Is Big Victory for Gig Economy

Facebook Examines Content Policies, Removes Hate Groups

After weeks of demonstrations and unrest in the U.S. and abroad, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said that, although the company has policies on handling content related to violence and civil unrest, “there may be additional policies or integrity measures to consider around discussion or threats of state use of force when a country is in this state.” The social giant will also review its policies with regard to countries with violent conflicts and civil unrest. Facebook removed almost 200 accounts linked to white supremacist groups. Continue reading Facebook Examines Content Policies, Removes Hate Groups

Facebook Expands Its Takedown Powers Over Fake Content

Facebook has changed its policy to make it much easier to take down fraudulent pages and groups, in its efforts to suppress fake news and propaganda. Up until now, a troll has been able to create multiple fake pages and Facebook has had to close each page or group individually. Facebook stated, it “may now also remove other Pages and Groups with similar names that are maintained by the same person, even if that specific Page or Group has not met the threshold to be unpublished on its own.” Continue reading Facebook Expands Its Takedown Powers Over Fake Content

Facebook Rolls Out Plan in Effort to Increase Platform Security

Last week, Facebook executives detailed their plan to protect future elections from meddling on the social media platform, elaborating on Facebook’s “use of human moderators, third-party fact checkers, and automation to catch fake accounts, foreign interference, fake news, and to increase transparency in political ads,” reports Wired. This comes in response to what happened nearly three years ago, when “a Russian propaganda group infiltrated Facebook and other tech platforms in hopes of seeding chaos in the 2016 U.S. election.”

Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Plan in Effort to Increase Platform Security

Facebook Takes Multiple Steps in Effort to Combat Fake News

After accepting some responsibility for the fake news plaguing Facebook, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has begun to institute steps to get rid of the worst offenders. Facebook has identified sites that consistently peddle fake news and will demote their posts from news feeds. Fact-checking will be outsourced to groups affiliated with the Poynter Institute, including ABC News, Associated Press, Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org. Facebook users will also find it easier to flag stories they believe to be fake. Continue reading Facebook Takes Multiple Steps in Effort to Combat Fake News

CNN, FAA Reach Agreement to Test Drones for Newsgathering

Cable news channel CNN has plans to study the use of drones as a practical tool for broadcast journalism. CNN announced an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration that will allow the news organization to fly the unmanned aircraft despite the commercial ban on drones. CNN will report its findings to the FAA over the next two years, and help shape the agency’s complete rules for these aircraft. Drones are already used for reporting in other countries and freelance reporting in the U.S. Continue reading CNN, FAA Reach Agreement to Test Drones for Newsgathering

Justice Department Obtains AP Phone Records in Leak Probe

The Associated Press revealed this week that the Justice Department secretly gathered two months worth of telephone records from its reporters and editors. AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt described the move as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into its news gathering operation. The seizure of records is reportedly part of a year-long investigation regarding possible leaks of classified materials about a failed al-Qaeda terror plot last year. Continue reading Justice Department Obtains AP Phone Records in Leak Probe

AP Twitter Account Hacked: Underlines Need for Security

The Associated Press Twitter account was hacked yesterday with a false report involving explosions at the White House. The account was quickly suspended, but not before the news had been retweeted thousands of times, resulting in a temporary yet sharp drop in the Dow and news outfits clamoring to ascertain details. Although the account is active again, the news agency has nearly 2 million less followers, which Twitter explains could take up to 24 hours to repair. Continue reading AP Twitter Account Hacked: Underlines Need for Security

Fair Use Case: Court Rules in Favor of Associated Press

A federal court in New York has sided with the Associated Press and The New York Times in a case involving a company that “scraped” news content from the Internet without paying for it. This case was closely watched because of its possible implications for what counts as “fair use” under copyright law in the online media world and how it may impact the future of content producers and free speech. Continue reading Fair Use Case: Court Rules in Favor of Associated Press