social media platform
Saudi Arabia’s Etidal finds 6mn extremist content on Telegram between Jan and Mar 2023
The Saudi Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) found 6,004,218 extremist content on the social media platform Telegram between January 1 and March 30 this year. Furthermore, the two platforms have assisted in the closure of 1,840 channels that disseminate and promote extremist ideology and are affiliated with three terrorist groups (ISIS [Daesh], Al-Qaeda and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham), reports Saudi Gazette. Read More: Never flagged as a danger, Nice attacker traveled unimpeded The Etidal team identified and monitored the three terrorist organizations' activity on Telegram in Arabic, it said. It discovered 2,773,902 pieces with extremist content on 477 Hayat Tahrir al-Sham channels, 1,807,215 such pieces on 1,040 Daesh channels, and 1,423,101 pieces on 323 Al-Qaeda channels. The Etidal monitoring team observed a peak in broadcasting activity on Telegram on January 9 this year, with 451,911 pieces of content shared and referenced to, and a peak in account creation on March 27, with over 101 channels launched in a single day, the report also said. Read More: Shamima Begum who joined ISIS as a teen loses UK citizenship appeal The cooperation between Etidal and Telegram continues for the second year in a row, increasing the total number of items deleted from February 2022 until now to 21,026,169; these included extremist content and 8,664 terminated terrorist channels.
Musk's latest Twitter cuts: Outsourced content moderators
Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is further gutting the teams that battle misinformation on the social media platform as outsourced moderators learned over the weekend they were out of a job. Twitter and other big social media firms have relied heavily on contractors to track hate and enforce rules against harmful content. But many of those content watchdogs have now headed out the door, first when Twitter fired much of its full-time workforce by email on Nov. 4 and now as it moves to eliminate an untold number of contract jobs. Melissa Ingle, who worked at Twitter as a contractor for more than a year, was one of a number of contractors who said they were terminated Saturday. She said she’s concerned that there’s going to be an increase in abuse on Twitter with the number of workers leaving. Read more: Twitter Blue signups unavailable after raft of fake accounts “I love the platform and I really enjoyed working at the company and trying to make it better. And I’m just really fearful of what’s going to slip through the cracks,” she said Sunday. Ingle, a data scientist, said she worked on the data and monitoring arm of Twitter’s civic integrity team. Her job involved writing algorithms to find political misinformation on the platform in countries such as the U.S., Brazil, Japan, Argentina and elsewhere. Ingle said she was “pretty sure I was done for” when she couldn't access her work email Saturday. The notification from the contracting company she’d been hired by came two hours later. “I’ll just be putting my resumes out there and talking to people," she said. “I have two children. And I’m worried about being able to give them a nice Christmas, you know, and just mundane things like that, that are important. I just think it’s particularly heartless to do this at this time.” Content-moderation expert Sarah Roberts, an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who worked as a staff researcher at Twitter earlier this year, said she believes at least 3,000 contract workers were fired Saturday night. Twitter hasn't said how many contract workers it cut. The company hasn't responded to media requests for information since Musk took over. At Twitter's San Francisco headquarters and other offices, contract workers wore green badges while full-time workers wore blue badges. Contractors did a number of jobs to help keep Twitter running, including engineering and marketing, Roberts said. But it was the huge force of contracted moderators that was “mission critical” to the platform, said Roberts. Cutting them will have a “tangible impact on the experience of the platform,” she said. Read more: Musk says Twitter blue tick being revamped Musk promised to loosen speech restrictions when he took over Twitter. But in the early days after Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in late October and dismissed its board of directors and top executives, the billionaire Tesla CEO sought to assure civil rights groups and advertisers that the platform could continue tamping down hate and hate-fueled violence. That message was reiterated by Twitter's then-head of content moderation, Yoel Roth, who tweeted that the Nov. 4 layoffs only affected “15% of our Trust & Safety organization (as opposed to approximately 50% cuts company-wide), with our front-line moderation staff experiencing the least impact." Roth has since resigned from the company, joining an exodus of high-level leaders who were tasked with privacy protection, cybersecurity and complying with regulations.
Elon Musk says will ban impersonators on Twitter
Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that Twitter will permanently suspend any account on the social media platform that impersonates another. The platform's new owner issued the warning after some celebrities changed their Twitter display names — not their account names — and tweeted as ‘Elon Musk’ in reaction to the billionaire's decision to offer verified accounts to all comers for $8 month as he simultaneously laid off a big chunk of the workforce. “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended,” Musk wrote. While Twitter previously issued warnings before suspensions, now that it is rolling out “widespread verification, there will be no warning.” Read more: Musk's takeover keeps Twitterati guessing on future direction In fact, “any name change at all” would compel the temporary loss of a verified checkmark, the world's richest man said. Comedian Kathy Griffin had her account suspended Sunday after she switched her screen name to Musk. She told a Bloomberg reporter that she had also used his profile photo. “I guess not ALL the content moderators were let go? Lol,” Griffin joked afterward on Mastodon, an alternative social media platform where she set up an account last week. Actor Valerie Bertinelli had similarly appropriated Musk's screen name — posting a series of tweets in support of Democratic candidates on Saturday before switching back to her true name. “Okey-dokey. I've had fun and I think I made my point,” she tweeted afterwards. Before the stunt, Bertinelli noted the original purpose of the blue verification checkmark. It was granted free of charge to people whose identity Twitter employees had confirmed; with journalists accounting for a big portion of recipients. “It simply meant your identity was verified. Scammers would have a harder time impersonating you,” Bertinelli noted. “That no longer applies. Good luck out there!” she added. The $8 verified accounts are Musk's way of democratizing the service, he claims. On Saturday, a Twitter update for iOS devices listed on Apple's app store said users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” can get the blue check next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.” It said the service would first be available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. However, it was not available Sunday and there was no indication when it would roll go live. A Twitter employ, Esther Crawford, told The Associated Press it is coming “soon but it hasn’t launched yet.” Read more: Twitter users will soon be able to purchase Blue Check for $7.99 per month Twitter did not respond on Sunday to an email seeking comment on the verified accounts issue and Griffin's suspension. Musk later tweeted, “Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission.” If the company were to strip current verified users of blue checks — something that hasn't happened — that could exacerbate disinformation on the platform during Tuesday's midterm elections. Like Griffin, some Twitter users have already begun migrating from the platform — Counter Social is another popular alternative — following layoffs that began Friday that reportedly affected about half of Twitter's 7,500-employee workforce. They fear a breakdown of moderation and verification could create a disinformation free-for-all on what has been the internet's main conduit for reliable communications from public agencies and other institutions. Many companies have paused advertising on the platform out of concern it could become more unruly under Musk. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, sought to assuage such concerns in a tweet Friday. He said the company’s front-line content moderation staff was the group least affected by the job cuts. Musk tweeted late Friday that there was no choice but to cut jobs “when the company is losing over $4M/day.” He did not provide details on the daily losses at Twitter and said employees who lost their jobs were offered three months’ pay as severance.
Musk fires Twitter's board of directors becomes board's sole member
Billionaire Elon Musk is already floating major changes for Twitter — and faces major hurdles as he begins his first week as the owner of the social-media platform. Twitter's new owner fired the company's board of directors and made himself the board's sole member, according to a company filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk later said on Twitter that the new board setup is “temporary,” but he didn't provide any details. He's also testing the waters on asking users to pay for verification. A venture capitalist working with Musk tweeted a poll asking how much users would be willing to pay for the blue check mark that Twitter has historically used to verify higher-profile accounts so other users know it’s really them. Read more: Musk says Twitter blue tick being revamped Musk, whose account is verified, replied, “Interesting.” Critics have derided the mark, often granted to celebrities, politicians, business leaders and journalists, as an elite status symbol. But Twitter also uses the blue check mark to verify activists and people who suddenly find themselves in the news, as well as little-known journalists at small publications around the globe, as an extra tool to curb misinformation coming from accounts that are impersonating people. “The whole verification process is being revamped right now,” Musk tweeted Sunday in response to a user who asked for help getting verified. Read more: Musk tweets conspiracy theory about attack on Pelosi's husband, then deletes it On Friday, meanwhile, billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said he and his Kingdom Holding Company rolled over a combined $1.89 billion in existing Twitter shares, making them the company’s largest shareholder after Musk. The news raised concerns among some lawmakers, including Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut. Murphy tweeted that he is requesting the Committee on Foreign Investment — which reviews acquisitions of U.S. businesses by foreign buyers — to investigate the national security implications of the kingdom's investment in Twitter “We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in repressing political speech and impacting U.S. politics, are now the second-largest owner of a major social media platform,” Murphy tweeted. “There is a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS should do a review.” Read More: Lay-off at Twitter: Elon Musk seeks list of staff according to report Having taken ownership of the social media service, Musk has invited a group of tech-world friends and investors to help guide the San Francisco-based company's transformation, which is likely to include a shakeup of its staff. Musk last week fired CEO Parag Agrawal and other top executives. There's been uncertainty about if and when he could begin larger-scale layoffs. “I do think there will be a lot of layoffs,” said Matthew Faulkner, an assistant finance professor at San Jose State University. Faulkner noted the need for cost-cutting after Musk bought Twitter for a premium and the platform’s longtime struggles trying to turn a profit. But Musk might also want as quickly as possible to weed out employees who don’t believe in his mission so that those who stay feel more secure. “You don’t want to have frantically scared employees working for you,” Faulkner said. “That doesn’t motivate people.” Read More: Musk seeks US funds for satellite network in Ukraine Those who have revealed they are helping Musk include Sriram Krishnan, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which pledged back in the spring to chip into Musk's plan to buy the company and take it private. Krishnan, who is also a former Twitter product executive, said in a tweet that it is “a hugely important company and can have a great impact on the world and Elon is the person to make it happen.” Jason Calacanis, the venture capitalist who tweeted the poll about whether users would pay for verification, said over the weekend he is “hanging out at Twitter a bit and simply trying to be as helpful as possible during the transition.” Read More: Musk says Twitter deal could move ahead with 'bot' info Calacanis said the team already “has a very comprehensive plan to reduce the number of (and visibility of) bots, spammers, & bad actors on the platform.” And in the Twitter poll, he asked if users would pay between $5 and $15 monthly to “be verified & get a blue checkmark” on Twitter. Twitter is currently free for most users because it depends on advertising for its revenue. Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion in April but it wasn't until Thursday evening that he finally closed the deal, after his attempts to back out of it led to a protracted legal fight with the company. Musk's lawyers are now asking the Delaware Chancery Court to throw out the case, according to a court filing made public Monday. The two sides were supposed to go to trial in November if they didn't close the deal by the end of last week. Musk has made a number of pronouncements since early this year about how to fix Twitter, and it remains unclear which proposals he will prioritize. Read More: Looming Musk-Twitter legal battle hammers company shares He has promised to cut back some of Twitter's content restrictions to promote free speech, but said Friday that no major decisions on the content or reinstating of banned accounts will be made until a “content moderation council” with diverse viewpoints is put in place. He later qualified that remark, tweeting “anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail.” The head of a cryptocurrency exchange that invested $500 million in Musk’s Twitter takeover said he had a number of reasons for supporting the deal, including the possibility Musk would transition Twitter into a company supporting cryptocurrency and the concept known as Web3, which many cryptocurrency enthusiasts envision as the next generation of the internet. “We want to make sure that crypto has a seat at the table when it comes to free speech,” Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao told CNBC on Monday (October 31, 2022). “And there are more tactical things like we want to help bring Twitter into Web3 when they’re ready.” Read More: Elon Musk's $44 billion Twitter deal gets board endorsement He said cryptocurrency could be useful for solving some of Musk’s immediate challenges, such as the plan to charge a premium membership fee for more users. “That can be done very easily, globally, by using cryptocurrency as a means of payment,” he said.
Instagram head faces senators amid anger over possible harms
The head of Instagram on Wednesday met with deep skepticism on Capitol Hill over new measures the social media platform is adopting to protect young users. Adam Mosseri appeared before a Senate panel and faced off with lawmakers angry over revelations of how the photo-sharing platform can harm some young users. Senators are also demanding the company commit to making changes and increase its transparancy. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who heads the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, dismissed as “a public relations tactic” some safety measures announced by the popular photo-sharing platform. “I believe that the time for self-policing and self-regulation is over,” Blumenthal said. “Self-policing depends on trust. Trust is over.” Under sharp questioning by senators of both parties, Mosseri defended the company’s conduct and the efficacy of its new safety measures. He challenged the assertion that Instagram has been shown by research to be addictive for young people. Instagram, which along with Facebook is part of Meta Platforms Inc., has an estimated 1 billion users of all ages. Read: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram suffer worldwide outage On Tuesday, Instagram introduced a previously announced feature that urges teenagers to take breaks from the platform. The company also announced other tools, including parental controls due to come out early next year, that it says are aimed at protecting young users from harmful content. Senators of both parties were united in condemnation of the social network giant and Instagram, the photo-sharing juggernaut valued at some $100 billion that Facebook acquired for $1 billion in 2012. The hearing grew more confrontational and emotionally charged as it went on. “Sir, I have to tell you, you did sound callous,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, the panel’s senior Republican, told Mosseri near the end of the hearing. Senators repeatedly tried to win commitments from Mosseri for Instagram to provide full results of its internal research and its computer formulas for ranking content to independent monitors and Congress. They also tried to enlist his support for legislation that would curb the ways in which Big Tech deploys social media geared toward young people. Mosseri responded mostly with general endorsements of openness and accountability, insisting that Instagram is an industry leader in transparency. The issue is becoming increasingly urgent. An alarming advisory issued Tuesday by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned about a mental health crisis among children and young adults that has been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. He said tech companies must design social media platforms that strengthen, rather than harm, young people’s mental health. Meta, which is based in Menlo Park, California, has been roiled by public and political outrage over the disclosures by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen. She has made the case before lawmakers in the U.S., Britain and Europe that that the company's systems amplify online hate and extremism and that the company elevates profits over the safety of users. Haugen, a data scientist who had worked in Facebook’s civic integrity unit, buttressed her assertions with a trove of internal company documents she secretly copied and provided to federal securities regulators and Congress. The Senate panel has examined Facebook’s use of information from its own researchers that could indicate potential harm for some of its young users, especially girls, while it publicly downplayed the negative impacts. For some Instagram-devoted teens, peer pressure generated by the visually focused app led to mental-health and body-image problems, and in some cases, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts, the research detailed in the Facebook documents showed. Read: Facebook working on Instagram for kids under 13 The revelations in a report by The Wall Street Journal, based on the documents leaked by Haugen, set off a wave of recriminations from lawmakers, critics of Big Tech, child-development experts and parents. “As head of Instagram, I am especially focused on the safety of the youngest people who use our services,” Mosseri testified. “This work includes keeping underage users off our platform, designing age-appropriate experiences for people ages 13 to 18, and building parental controls. Instagram is built for people 13 and older. If a child is under the age of 13, they are not permitted on Instagram.” Mosseri outlined the suite of measures he said Instagram has taken to protect young people on the platform. They include keeping kids under 13 off it, restricting direct messaging between kids and adults, and prohibiting posts that encourage suicide and self-harm. But, as researchers both internal and external to Meta have documented, the reality is different. Kids under 13 often sign up for Instagram with or without their parents’ knowledge by lying about their age. And posts about suicide and self-harm still reach children and teens, sometimes with disastrous effects.
Shakib apologises after thrashing and kicking stumps
Bangladesh and Mohammedan all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan offered an apology on social media platform Facebook after his shocking behaviour in today's big match against traditional rivals Abahani in the Bangabandhu Dhaka Premier Division Twenty20 Cricket League. “Dear fans and followers, I am extremely sorry for losing my temper and ruining the match for everyone and especially those who are watching from home. An experienced player like me should not have reacted that way but sometimes against all odds it happens, unfortunately,” Shakib wrote on his social media page. Read:DPL: Shakib loses cool; kicks stumps, throws them away “I apologise to the teams, management, tournament officials and organizing committee for this human error. Hopefully, I won't be repeating this again in the future. Thanks and love you all,” he added. Shakib was leading Mohammedan Sporting Club on Friday against Abahani Limited. Mohammedan batted first and posted 145 for six. In reply, Abahani lost three wickets early. After the fifth ball of the fifth over during Abahani’s innings, which was bowled by Shakib himself, he appealed for an lbw against Mushfiqur Rahim, but the umpire turned down his appeal. Almost immediately, Shakib reacted by kicking down the stumps at the bowler's end and had a heated argument with the umpire. Then again when the umpires halted play due to rain in the very next over, and were asking the players to leave the field, Shakib approached the umpire near the stumps and uprooted them, signaling his disappointment. It was not clear why Shakib got angry at this point of the game. Read:Three defeats in a row: Mohammedan’s struggle continues The match was eventually won by Mohammedan by 31 runs under the D/L method. After the rain gap spanning more than 80 minutes, Abahani were given a target to score 45 runs off 19 balls. “Many things happen in a game. We saw some incidents today in the game between Mohammedan and Abahani today. It was unfortunate. It was a heated incident. We always want the players to keep their excitement under control. It’s a List-A series. We apply all the international cricketing laws in this event. We will take action against this incident once we get the report of the match referee and umpires,” Kazi Inam Ahmed, the chairman of the cricket committee of Dhaka metropolis, told the media after the game.
Fakhrul writes to Facebook to get rid of fake accounts
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has written to Facebook authorities to take steps for blocking fake accounts and stopping false campaign in his name on the social media platform.