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Social media giants step up joint fight against extremist content

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

A Saudi man explores social media on his mobile device as he sits at a cafe in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Social media giants Facebook, Google’s YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms.

Responding to pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks, the companies said they would share technical solutions for removing terrorist content, commission research to inform their counter-speech efforts and work more with counter-terrorism experts.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism “will formalize and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN,” the companies said in a statement.

The move comes on the heels of last week’s call from European heads of state for tech firms to establish an industry forum and develop new technology and tools to improve the automatic detection and removal of extremist content.

The political pressure on the companies has raised the prospect of new legislation at EU level, but so far only Germany has proposed a law fining social media networks up to 50 million euros ($56 million) if they fail to remove hateful postings quickly. The lower house of the German parliament is expected to vote on the law this week.

The companies will seek to improve technical work such as a database created in December to share unique digital fingerprints they automatically assign to videos or photos of extremist content.

They will also exchange best practices on content detection techniques using machine learning as well as define “standard transparency reporting methods for terrorist content removals.”

Earlier this month Facebook opened up about its efforts to remove terrorism content in response to criticism from politicians that tech giants are not doing enough to stop militant groups using their platforms for propaganda and recruiting.

Google announced additional measures to identify and remove terrorist or violent extremist content on its video-sharing platform YouTube shortly thereafter.

Twitter suspended 376,890 accounts for violations related to the promotion of terrorism in the second half of 2016 and will share further updates on its efforts to combat violent extremism on its platform in its next Transparency Report.

The social media firms said they would work with smaller companies to help them tackle extremist content and organizations such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies to work on ways to counter online extremism and hate.

All four companies have initiatives to counter online hate speech and will use the forum to improve their efforts and train civil society organizations engaged in similar work. — By Julia Fioretti | BRUSSELS

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti, editing by David Evans and Jane Merriman)

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Exclusive: Facebook to put 1.5 billion users out of reach of new EU privacy law

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, April 20th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – If a new European law restricting what companies can do with people’s online data went into effect tomorrow (April 20) almost 1.9 billion Facebook Inc users around the world would be protected by it. The online social network is making changes that ensure the number will be much smaller.

Facebook members outside the United States and Canada, whether they know it or not, are currently governed by terms of service agreed with the company’s international headquarters in Ireland.

Next month, Facebook is planning to make that the case for only European users, meaning 1.5 billion members in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will not fall under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect on May 25.

The previously unreported move, which Facebook confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday, shows the world’s largest online social network is keen to reduce its exposure to GDPR, which allows European regulators to fine companies for collecting or using personal data without users’ consent.

That removes a huge potential liability for Facebook, as the new EU law allows for fines of up to 4 percent of global annual revenue for infractions, which in Facebook’s case could mean billions of dollars.

The change comes as Facebook is under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world since disclosing last month that the personal information of millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, setting off wider concerns about how it handles user data.

The change affects more than 70 percent of Facebook’s 2 billion-plus members. As of December, Facebook had 239 million users in the United States and Canada, 370 million in Europe and 1.52 billion users elsewhere.

Facebook, like many other U.S. technology companies, established an Irish subsidiary in 2008 and took advantage of the country’s low corporate tax rates, routing through it revenue from some advertisers outside North America. The unit is subject to regulations applied by the 28-nation European Union.

Facebook said the latest change does not have tax implications.

‘IN SPIRIT’

In a statement given to Reuters, Facebook played down the importance of the terms of service change, saying it plans to make the privacy controls and settings that Europe will get under GDPR available to the rest of the world.

“We apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland,” the company said.

Earlier this month, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told Reuters in an interview that his company would apply the EU law globally “in spirit,” but stopped short of committing to it as the standard for the social network across the world.

In practice, the change means the 1.5 billion affected users will not be able to file complaints with Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner or in Irish courts. Instead they will be governed by more lenient U.S. privacy laws, said Michael Veale, a technology policy researcher at University College London.

Facebook will have more leeway in how it handles data about those users, Veale said. Certain types of data such as browsing history, for instance, are considered personal data under EU law but are not as protected in the United States, he said.

The company said its rationale for the change was related to the European Union’s mandated privacy notices, “because EU law requires specific language.” For example, the company said, the new EU law requires specific legal terminology about the legal basis for processing data which does not exist in U.S. law.

NO WARNING

Ireland was unaware of the change. One Irish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he did not know of any plans by Facebook to transfer responsibilities wholesale to the United States or to decrease Facebook’s presence in Ireland, where the social network is seeking to recruit more than 100 new staff.

Facebook released a revised terms of service in draft form two weeks ago, and they are scheduled to take effect next month.

Other multinational companies are also planning changes. LinkedIn, a unit of Microsoft Corp, tells users in its existing terms of service that if they are outside the United States, they have a contract with LinkedIn Ireland. New terms that take effect May 8 move non-Europeans to contracts with U.S.-based LinkedIn Corp.

LinkedIn said in a statement on Wednesday that all users are entitled to the same privacy protections. “We’ve simply streamlined the contract location to ensure all members understand the LinkedIn entity responsible for their personal data,” the company said.

Reporting by David Ingram in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco, Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries in Dublin and Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Bill Rigby

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Malacañang opposes FB’s choice of fact checkers

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, April 16th, 2018

 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement that it will become a problem because what he calls as Facebook’s “police of the truth” are “sometimes partisan.”

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang wants to meet with Facebook over its choice of fact checkers specifically for Filipino accounts on the social media platform.

Facebook has named controversial social news network, Rappler and another news outlet, Vera Files, as third-party fact-checkers in a campaign to curb the proliferation of fake news on Facebook accounts of Filipino users.

In a statement posted on the website of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy said, “efforts are underway for both the PCOO and Facebook to sit across the table and discuss and hopefully, reach agreements” to get a “shared goal of responsible and intelligent use of social media.”

Last week, a number of Duterte supporters complained after Facebook blocked their accounts.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it will become a problem because what he calls as Facebook’s “police of the truth” are “sometimes partisan.”

“I commiserate with those who object with the selection of Rappler and Vera files because we know where they stand in the political spectrum,” he said.

Roque is encouraging all supporters of the administration to use the platform itself to actively voice out their protests against Facebook’s choice of fact checkers.

“The users of Facebook should make known their wishes to Facebook itself that there should be a more partial arbiter of the truth,” Roque concluded. — Marje Navarro –Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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NPC investigates Facebook data breach

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, April 13th, 2018

Facebook, a social media giant faces data breach scandal.

 

MANILA, Philippines — The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has begun investigation on Facebook ‘s data breach.

It can be recalled that the social media giant confirmed that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, harvested personal information from over one million Filipino Facebook users.

According to NPC commissioner Raymund Liboro, they have sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, requiring the social media giant to submit documents to the committee that will help establish the scope of the breach and its impact on Filipinos.

The investigation centers on how Facebook shared the Filipino users’ personal data with the third party. — UNTV News & Rescue

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