The Indian government is considering blocking news it identifies as “false” on social media. A draft proposal of new IT regulations revealed this week stated that the Indian government would not allow social media platforms to contain any content that it deems to be incorrect, according to NDTV. This is only the most recent in a slew of actions taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration to control major tech companies. Read more: UN Human Rights Council adopts 'fake news' resolution Any information identified as “fake or fraudulent” by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), or by any other agency authorised for fact-checking by the government or “by its department in which such business is transacted”, would be prohibited according to the draft. The government has also frequently engaged in disputes with different social media platforms when they disregarded requests for the removal of content or accounts that were allegedly propagating misinformation. For spreading false information and endangering national security, the Indian government has blocked 104 YouTube channels, 45 videos, four Facebook accounts, three Instagram accounts, five Twitter handles and six websites Read more: Instagram fact-check: Can a new flagging tool stop fake news? Earlier in October, the government made the announcement that a panel would be set up to hear complaints from users about social media companies’ content moderation decisions. These businesses are already required to appoint internal grievance redress officers and executives to work with law enforcement officials.
Govt on track to introduce ‘lawful interception system’ to monitor social media, thwart anti-state activities: Home Minister tells JS
The government has taken initiative to introduce an “Integrated Lawful Interception System (ILIS)” in a bid to monitor social media platforms and thwart various anti-state and anti-government activities, said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Thursday. The Home Minister divulged the matter in Parliament while replying to a tabled question from ruling Awami League MP from Dhaka-10 Md Shafiul Islam. Read more: Will act against those trying to create anarchy: Home Minister Shafiul wanted to know whether the government will increase vigilance to thwart local and foreign conspiracy inside the country. In reply, the Home Minister said that law enforcement and intelligence agencies are working relentlessly to thwart any kinds of conspiracy against the country. “Besides, modern technology like Open Source Intelligence Technology (OSINT) has been included in the National Tele¬communication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) to prevent different anti-state and anti-government activities through monitoring social media platforms on the Internet,” he said. Asaduzzaman also said that efforts were also made to introduce ILIS in this regard. Explaining the logic behind placing the activities of National Identity Card (NID) under his ministry, Khan said that the Election Commission (EC) has no involvement with the usage of NID except for voting purposes. Read more: Security agencies will act, if vandalism is there in the name of protests, says Home Minister In reply to a query from Gonoforum MP Mokabbir Khan the minister said that the national identity registration process is done under the executive department in almost all the countries of the world. “In view of the reality, it should be under the executive department in Bangladesh like other countries,” he said. For this reason, he said that the process of bringing it (issuance of NID cards) under the security service department of the Ministry of Home Affairs is ongoing.
Detectives in a drive on Sunday arrested five people from different parts of the city, for spreading rumors on social media about the reserve crisis of Islami Bank and S Alam group. Harun-or-Rashid (DB), additional police commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), disclosed the information when talking at a press briefing held at DMP media centre on Monday. The arrestees were identified as Mohammad Nur-un-nabi, Afsar Uddin Roman, Abu Syed Saju, Swadhin Mia and Abdus Salam. Also Read: Scam-hit Islami Bank earns operational profit in 2022, Basic Bank reports loss When briefing, Harun said the arrestees were involved in spreading rumors through social media from home and abroad. Besides, they were also involved in discouraging the expatriates from sending remittances, he said. “We have got the names of all who were involved in it and action will be taken against them soon,” he added. Former director of Islami Bank and officials were also involved in the syndicate. Also Read: Observers appointed for S Alam Group-controlled IBBL and FSIB Replying to a question, whether there is any involvement between the syndicate members or any political parties, the DMP commissioner said “We have found involvement of Jamaat-Shibir men in the group.” He also urged people not to pay any heed to the rumours as currently there is a sufficient foreign reserve. Also Read: Tk 30,000cr loan from Islami Bank: HC asks S Alam Group to explain reports Mentioning that the bankruptcy of banking sectors and financial institutions is nothing but a rumour, Harun also asked people to refrain from withdrawing money from the banks.
The public school district in Seattle has filed a novel lawsuit against the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, seeking to hold them accountable for the mental health crisis among youth. Seattle Public Schools filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court. The 91-page complaint says the social media companies have created a public nuisance by targeting their products to children. It blames them for worsening mental health and behavioral disorders including anxiety, depression, disordered eating and cyberbullying; making it more difficult to educate students; and forcing schools to take steps such as hiring additional mental health professionals, developing lesson plans about the effects of social media, and providing additional training to teachers. “Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” the complaint said. “Worse, the content Defendants curate and direct to youth is too often harmful and exploitive ....” Meta, Google, Snap and TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday. While federal law — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — helps protect online companies from liability arising from what third-party users post on their platforms, the lawsuit argues that provision does not protect the tech giants' behavior in this case. “Plaintiff is not alleging Defendants are liable for what third-parties have said on Defendants’ platforms but, rather, for Defendants’ own conduct,” the lawsuit said. “Defendants affirmatively recommend and promote harmful content to youth, such as pro-anorexia and eating disorder content." Also Read: Musk says he can't get fair trial in California, wants Texas The lawsuit says that from 2009 to 2019, there was on average a 30% increase in the number of Seattle Public Schools students who reported feeling “so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row" that they stopped doing some typical activities. The school district is asking the court to order the companies to stop creating the public nuisance, to award damages, and to pay for prevention education and treatment for excessive and problematic use of social media. While hundreds of families are pursuing lawsuits against the companies over harms they allege their children have suffered from social media, it's not clear if any other school districts have filed a complaint like Seattle's. Internal studies revealed by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in 2021 showed that the company knew that Instagram negatively affected teenagers by harming their body image and making eating disorders and thoughts of suicide worse. She alleged that the platform prioritized profits over safety and hid its own research from investors and the public.
In a gesture to boost up the motivation of children with special needs, Shuchona Foundation chairperson Saima Wazed posed for a picture, clad in a sharee hand-painted by them. The move was praised on social media and the photo went viral. "Our Chairperson is wearing a sharee today which is hand-painted by students of PFDA-Vocational Training Center," read the post by the foundation along with the picture. Read more: Shuchona Foundation receives Tk 10 lakh as donation "PFDA-VTC is a legally registered non-profit social welfare organization in Bangladesh that provides learning opportunities and promotes methods to empower young adults with autism and developmental disorders, giving them the scope to enhance their potential and take part in mainstream society," it added. Saima Wazed is a licensed school psychologist, an advisor to the Director-General of WHO on mental health and autism, and CVF's Thematic Ambassador for Vulnerability. Currently, she is an instructor and Clinic Supervisor at Adrian Dominican School of Education (ADSOE), Barry University, USA. Read more: National Mental Health Strategy 2020-2030: Towards ensuring quality mental healthcare She is equipped with a long track record of taking initiatives towards a more inclusive society by spreading knowledge about autism.
Elon Musk is asking Twitter’s users to decide if he should stay in charge of the social media platform after acknowledging he made a mistake Sunday in launching new speech restrictions that banned mentions of rival social media websites. In yet another drastic policy change, Twitter had announced that users will no longer be able to link to Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and other platforms the company described as “prohibited.” But the move generated so much immediate criticism, including from past defenders of Twitter's new billionaire owner, that Musk promised not to make any more major policy changes without an online survey of users. “My apologies. Won’t happen again,” Musk tweeted, before launching a new 12-hour poll asking if he should step down as head of Twitter. “I will abide by the results of this poll." The action to block competitors was Musk's latest attempt to crack down on certain speech after he shut down a Twitter account last week that was tracking the flights of his private jet. The banned platforms included mainstream websites such as Facebook and Instagram, and upstart rivals Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and former President Donald Trump's Truth Social. Twitter gave no explanation for why the blacklist included those seven websites but not others such as Parler, TikTok or LinkedIn. Read more: Journalist suspensions widen rift between Twitter and media Twitter had said it would at least temporarily suspend accounts that include the banned websites in their profile — a practice so widespread it would have been difficult to enforce the restrictions on Twitter's millions of users around the world. Not only links but attempts to bypass the ban by spelling out “instagram dot com” could have led to a suspension, the company said. A test case was the prominent venture capitalist Paul Graham, who in the past has praised Musk but on Sunday told his 1.5 million Twitter followers that this was the “last straw” and to find him on Mastodon. His Twitter account was promptly suspended, and soon after restored as Musk promised to reverse the policy implemented just hours earlier. Musk said Twitter will still suspend some accounts according to the policy but “only when that account’s (asterisk)primary(asterisk) purpose is promotion of competitors.” Twitter previously took action to block links to Mastodon after its main Twitter account tweeted about the @ElonJet controversy last week. Mastodon has grown rapidly in recent weeks as an alternative for Twitter users who are unhappy with Musk’s overhaul of Twitter since he bought the company for $44 billion in late October and began restoring accounts that ran afoul of the previous Twitter leadership's rules against hateful conduct and other harms. Musk permanently banned the @ElonJet account on Wednesday, then changed Twitter's rules to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without their consent. He then took aim at journalists who were writing about the jet-tracking account, which can still be found on other social media sites, alleging that they were broadcasting “basically assassination coordinates.” He used that to justify Twitter's moves last week to suspend the accounts of numerous journalists who cover the social media platform and Musk, among them reporters working for The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and other publications. Many of those accounts were restored following an online poll by Musk. Then, over the weekend, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz became the latest journalist to be temporarily banned. She said she was suspended after posting a message on Twitter tagging Musk and requesting an interview. Read more: Twitter suspends journalists who wrote about owner Elon Musk Sally Buzbee, The Washington Post's executive editor, called it an “arbitrary suspension of another Post journalist” that further undermined Musk’s promise to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech. “Again, the suspension occurred with no warning, process or explanation — this time as our reporter merely sought comment from Musk for a story,” Buzbee said. By midday Sunday, Lorenz's account was restored, as was the tweet she thought had triggered her suspension. Musk’s promise to let users decide his future role at Twitter through an unscientific online survey appeared to come out of nowhere Sunday, though he had also promised in November that a reorganization was happening soon. Musk was questioned in court on Nov. 16 about how he splits his time among Tesla and his other companies, including SpaceX and Twitter. Musk had to testify in Delaware’s Court of Chancery over a shareholder’s challenge to Musk’s potentially $55 billion compensation plan as CEO of the electric car company. Musk said he never intended to be CEO of Tesla, and that he didn’t want to be chief executive of any other companies either, preferring to see himself as an engineer instead. Musk also said he expected an organizational restructuring of Twitter to be completed in the next week or so. It’s been more than a month since he said that. In public banter with Twitter followers Sunday, Musk expressed pessimism about the prospects for a new CEO, saying that person “must like pain a lot” to run a company that “has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy.” “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk tweeted.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday (December 06, 2022) asked Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) leaders and activists to counter anti-government propaganda on social media, and point out the misdeeds of BNP-Jamaat. “We have created ‘Digital Bangladesh’. But today, social media is flooded with propaganda against us. I would like to ask our Chhatra League leaders and activists to give fitting replies to these,” she said. The premier was addressing the 30th National Council of BCL, the student wing of Bangladesh Awami League, at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka. Read: PM opens Japanese Economic Zone: Expected to draw $1.5bn investment, create over 1 lakh jobs “When they write something against us, you don’t even need to give a reply. If only their misdeeds can be mentioned in the comments (under propaganda posts on social media), they will stop,” she added. Sheikh Hasina, also AL president, inaugurated the council at around 11:30 am. AL general secretary Obaidul Quader spoke on this occasion. Read: BCL’s 30th National Council begins at Suhrawardy Udyan BCL president Al-Nahean Khan Joy presided over the opening session conducted by its general secretary Lekhak Bhattacharjee. The last BCL national council was held in May 2018.
Appearance of reported “patron of militants” in BNP’s Rajshahi rally draws criticism on social media
Photos of BNP leader Mizanur Rahman Minu, who featured in media reports as a “patron” of militants during the BNP-Jamaat government in 2001-2006, sitting on the stage – right next to two chairs dedicated to Tarique Rahman and Khaleda Zia – ahead of the party’s recent Rajshahi rally has drawn condemnation on social media. Citing media reports on how the former Rajshahi mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu donated money to the Al Qaeda affiliated radical Islamist organization Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, Bangladesh Awami League through social media post questioned: “With the presence of Minu at Rajshahi rally, what message does BNP intend to convey to the countrymen?” Read more: What the footage of turnout at BNP’s Rajshahi rally says about the state of affairs A short video shared from AL’s verified Facebook page, that also contains previous reports from mainstream media outlets, shows a list of eight politicians including then ministers and lawmakers behind the rise of the military commander of JMB, notoriously known as “Bangla Bhai”, who unlashed an unprecedented reign of terror in Rajshahi region back then. During the last BNP-Jamaat government, the rise of JMB in the Rajshahi region – with direct backing from then top brass – was vividly documented in media reports. In the name of restoring law and order, members of this now banned terrorist group were involved in looting, beating people to death, and hanging lifeless bodies from trees – a brutal tactic employed to instill fear among people, according to media reports from that time. Between 2001 and 2006, the country witnessed an unprecedented surge in terrorism with simultaneous bombing in 63 districts and the gruesome grenade attack in 2004 on a rally attended by then opposition chief Sheikh Hasina, besides targeted killings of minorities, pro liberation writers and judges among other atrocities. Read more: Arrest warrants issued against BNP's Rizvi, Ishraque
Former President Donald Trump faced rebuke Sunday from officials in both parties after calling for the “termination” of parts of the Constitution over his lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Trump, who announced last month that he is running again for president, made the claim over the weekend on his Truth Social media platform. “A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” he wrote. “Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!” Incoming House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries on Sunday described Trump's statement as strange and extreme and said Republicans will have to make a choice whether to continue embracing Trump's anti-democratic views. Read more: Trump probe: Court halts Mar-a-Lago special master review “Republicans are going to have to work out their issues with the former president and decide whether they’re going to break from him and return to some semblance of reasonableness or continue to lean in to the extremism, not just of Trump, but Trumpism,” Jeffries said. Trump, who is the first to be impeached twice and whose term ended with his supporters violently storming the Capitol in a deadly bid to halt the peaceful transition of power on Jan. 6, 2021, faces a escalating criminal investigations, including several that could lead to indictments. They include the probe into classified documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago, and ongoing state and federal inquiries related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Asked about Trump's comments Sunday, Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said he “vehemently" disagrees and “absolutely” condemns the remarks, saying they should be a factor as Republicans decide who should lead their party in 2024. “There is a political process that has to go forward before anybody is a frontrunner or anybody is even the candidate for the party,” he said. “I believe that people certainly are going to take into consideration a statement like this as they evaluate a candidate.” Rep.-elect Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., also objected to the remarks, saying it was time to stop focusing on the “grievances of prior elections.” "The Constitution is set for a reason, to protect the rights of every American," Lawler said. "I think the former president would be well-advised to focus on the future, if he is going to run for president again.” Trump’s comments came after Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, said he would reveal how Twitter engaged in "free speech suppression” leading up to the 2020 election. But files released Friday, which focused on the tech company's confused response to a story about Biden's son Hunter, do not show Democrats trying to limit the story. Read more: Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account after online poll The White House on Saturday assailed Trump, saying, “You cannot only love America when you win.” “The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail in our great country," spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation." Jeffries appeared on ABC's “This Week,” Turner spoke on CBS' “Face the Nation” and Lawler was on CNN's “State of the Union.”
The Hero Alam episode has been a bad advertisement for the state as a culture controller. Not that they are feeling embarrassed about it. As the police told the media, they have received many complaints against Hero Alam’s singing. So they brought him in. And the police told him not to do the singing which irritates many, at least going by the complaints. What is odd is that the police thought this to be worth noticing. As they act when under pressure, it seems a large section of the elite are seriously unhappy and feel “threatened” by Hero Alam. The police of course had another axe to grind. As they told the media, he had been using a police uniform in some of his videos acting as police bosses wearing constables’ dress. This had insulted the force in general. Also read: Accept Hero Alam’s nomination, HC orders EC What was unexpected is the response from social media which was overwhelmingly against such action. Hero was turned into a victim and a public hero. Many said the police had no business deciding what is culturally appropriate. That Alam was from the bottom and the police were shutting down a voice from there. Hero Alam had suddenly become a voice of a cultural class war. So where is the conflict ? Ex-Minister Murad who was sacked after rape threat tapes were leaked is reportedly one of the complainants. In a You Tube interview, he said, “ I was at an event where he was singing. He probably didn’t recognize me. After he finished singing I told him “have you no shame. ? The impudence you showed in singing is astounding. You need voice, talent, knowledge of music and you have none. Given the voice and the face God has given you, you should sing for the lower class which is your audience and should not come to Gulshan to sing. “ Admitting that Hero Alam had an audience who listened to him on You tube, his ire was that he should be singing in front of He had no doubt that he sang for the lower class and it’s Gulshan that was offended. Also read: DB quizzes Hero Alom for controversial video content The matter has been here for long but the issue is not about his singing but the control of social media. No one controls social media and that is anxiety creating. Hero Alam insults the establishment culture by his singing and it can’t be stopped on social media. Anyone studying popular culture will know that Facebook has built a virtual alternate world of culture which neither the establishment nor the shushils can recognize. With millions of views with which no mainstream product can compete, the sense of lack of control is high. And its growing. The conflict is not about who sings Tagore but who controls social media. The outcome is obvious. The state has turned Alam into a Hero. And the battle has no chance of ending right now, no matter how many times police class.