Categories
Business World

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger slams Facebook, Twitter

Joining the chorus against social media giants and their growing power, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger has slammed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and micro-blogging platform Twitter.

In an interview with CNBC, Sanger who co-founded Wikipedia in 2001 said Internet is “appalling frankly”.

“The Internet wouldn’t have been created by people like Zuckerberg, or any of the sort of corporate executives in Silicon Valley today,” he was quoted as saying.

“They wouldn’t be capable, they don’t have the temperament, they’re too controlling. They don’t understand the whole idea of bottom up,” Sanger added.

Sanger joins a growing list of Facebook haters.

Recently, the social networking giant’s ex-security chief Alex Stamos said Zuckerberg needs to give up some of his control of Facebook and hire a new CEO like Microsoft President Brad Smith.

“There is a legitimate argument that he has too much power. He needs to give up some of that power,” Stamos had said.

In a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, Facebook Co-founder Chris Hughes said the government must hold Mark (Zuckerberg) accountable, adding that it is time to break up the social networking giant.

Several US Senators have also called for breaking up the social network amid repeated data breaches and privacy violations on the platform.

Sanger who demanded “a decentralized internet, a freer internet”, accused the social media giants of making profits over users’ data.

“They can shape your experience, they can control what you see when you see it and you become essentially a cog in their machine,” he was quoted as saying.

(IANS)

Categories
Social Media

Twitter removes precise location tagging on app

 Micro-blogging site Twitter has decided to eliminate the option of letting users add their precise location details like latitude and longitude as part of their tweets.

“Most people don’t tag their precise location in tweets, so we’re removing this ability to simplify your tweeting experience,” Twitter Support posted on Wednesday.

However, the company said users would still be able to add precise location tags in tweets captured through the app’s camera.

“You’ll still be able to tag your in tweets through our updated camera. It’s helpful when sharing on-the-ground moments,” the company added.

While the announcement gathered several newer reactions, comments and opinions, some users stuck to their demand asking the micro-blogging site to add the abilility to edit tweets on the platform.

Questioning the platform on displaying the “Twitter for Android” or “Twitter for iOS” label benethe posts a user wrote: “Also why mention the device being used?”

Twitter users can opt out of location-sharing features in its “privacy and safety” menu.

Users who do not wish to share their precise location details should continue keeping the feature turned off for as long as it is still available in Twitter’s camera, TechCrunch reported.

After the precise location-sharing feature for tweets is removed, users who want to share where they are can do so through services like independent location data platform Foursquare, the report added.

(IANS)

Categories
Social Media

Hackers could be using DM route to hijack Twitter accounts

With the Twitter accounts of megastar Amitabh Bachchan and singer Adnan Sami getting hacked, security researchers have warned that users should think twice before clicking on the links received in the Twitter Direct Message (DMs).

While Bachchan’s Twitter account was hacked late on Monday, the hackers took control of Sami’s Twitter account on Tuesday.

A group that goes by the name “Ayyildiz Tim Turkish Cyber Army” claimed responsibility for hacking both the high-profile accounts.

“Their modus operandi looks like they sending DM (Twitter Direct Message) to the victims Twitter account and if the victim opens the DM (direct message) he/she is directed to a phishing page which looks like a genuine page,” Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Ltd. told IANS.

“If the user fills the login credentials on this page his login information is gone to the hackers who later use it to login and change the original password and take control of the account,” he said, adding that there are even other ways a Twitter account can get compromised.

Users with large number of followers should switch on the two-factor authentication for their account, Katkar said.

French security researcher who uses the pseudonym Elliot Alderson pointed to a user who goes by the name Kerem Sah Noyan on Twitter and uses the handle @NoyanAyt2002 as the person behind the hack.

“Few hours ago, the account of @SrBachchan with his 37.4M followers has been hacked. There is a high probability that the hacker is @NoyanAyt2002,” Alderson tweeted.

“Guess who is the last person followed by @SrBachchan? Obviously @NoyanAyt2002,” he added.

“To sum up: The hacker of @SrBachchan’s account is @NoyanAyt2002. He is part of team called “Turkish Cyber Army Ayyildiz Tim”. He hacked at least 8 “big” Twitter accounts before that including @dalermehndi, @divyadutta25, @ErosNow, @bmwindia, @dalermehndi, @yanisvaroufakis,” Alderson added.

Twitter only contacts users in-app or via an email sent from an @twitter.com email address. The platform never ask users to provide their password via email, Direct Message, or reply.

“All the social media services (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook etc,) have the security and privacy feature of two factor authentication. This will make it difficult for hacker to take control of your social media account,” Katkar said.

“I will also recommend everyone to go and read/check/understand all the settings under security and privacy of your social media account. It has lot of features to keep your account safe,” he added.

(IANS)

Categories
India

Mamata changes FB, Twitter DPs to ‘Jai Hind, Jai Bangla’

Days after losing her cool on BJP activists chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and front ranking leaders of her Trinammol Congress changed their display picture on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to ‘Jay Hind, Jay Bangla on Sunday night.

Earlier in the day, Banerjee in a detailed Facebook post accused the BJP of mixing religion with politics and urged people to deter any sort of chaos and unrest.

The picture of Trinamool’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts also were changed to ‘Jay Hind, Jay Bangla’ with pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, revolutionary leaders Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Matangini Hazra, Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, and rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Photos of leading 19th century Bengal Renaissance figures like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, as also religious and social thinker Swami Vivekananda and father of Indian Constitution B R Ambedkar were also part of the new display pictures.

Banerjee and other Trinamool leaders had changed their social media DPs to display a photo of Vidyasagar, after a bust of the venerated champion of women’s emancipation was demolished in connection with unrest related to BJP chief Amit Shah’s election roadshow in Kolkata last month.

“Jai Sia Ram, Jai Ram ji ki, Ram Naam Satya hai etc. have religious and social connotations. We respect these sentiments. But BJP is using religious slogan Jai Sri Ram as their party slogan in a misconceived manner by way of mixing religion with politics,” Banerjee wrote in her Facebook post.

“We do not respect this forcible enforcement of political slogans on others in the name of so-called RSS which Bengal never accepted. This is a deliberate attempt to sell hatred ideology through vandalism and violence which we must oppose together”.

Clarifying that she has no issues with any party slogan, she wrote: “I have no problem, regarding any particular slogan of political parties in their rallies, and for their party purpose. Every political party has their own slogan. My party has Jai Hind, Vande Mataram. The Left has Inquilab Zindabad. Others have different slogans. We respect each other.”

The Trinamool Congress supremo said one cannot “fool” the people all the time. She warned everyone against divisiveness being spread in Bengal.

“This is high time that proper action is taken to restrain political workers not to indulge in activities of creating unrest, chaos, violence and disruption of normal life by taking recourse to misplaced ideologies in the so-called name of religion to create a divide among the people. If all other political parties start resorting to these sort of divisive and disruptive activities, then the entire environment would become highly vitiated and counterproductive,” she said.

She urged people to oppose such moves of BJP very strongly in order to keep the secular character of the country as enshrined in the Constitution.

“I appeal to all the people of the country and the state to give a befitting reply to hatred politics and show respect to our country’s glorious culture and heritage. Let us all be proud of our culture and heritage. Jai Hind, Jai Bangla, Joyo He,” Banerjee added.

She said BJP is trying to spread ideology of hatred through a section of the media.

“The so-called BJP media and so-called fake video, fake news, misinformation and disinformation to create confusion and to suppress truth and reality,” she wrote.

 (IANS)

Categories
Social Media

Twitter users in India complain of drop in followers

Several Twitter users in India, including senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suresh Prabhu, here on Sunday, complained of a drop in their number of followers and deletion of comments from the social media platforms.

“My dear friends. Noticed a disturbing trend, many of your postings get deleted selectively on my timeline. Would request @TwitterIndia to take note,” Prabhu said in a tweet.

“Also observing for a while now, followers get removed. Hope my friends will appreciate its being done without any knowledge to us,” he said.

Prabhu’s claim was backed by many. Some even said it had been going on for quite some time. “See same happening with suresh prabhu sir too! So what do we normal people stand? Sir govt need to teach @Twitter harsh lessons now. It’s high time,” wrote one user.

“Yes sir… I have also noticed this from past few days…,” wrote another user.

There have been complaints of Twitter accounts being taken down from other parts of the world too.

Twitter in a transparency report said it challenged over 19 crore accounts in the second half of 2018 for verification to determine whether humans were in control of those accounts.

(IANS)

Categories
Social Media

Facebook & Twitter remove Iran-linked fake accounts

Facebook has removed fake accounts that originated in Iran and several of those presented themselves as journalists associated with top media houses.

In a statement, Twitter said it has also removed at least 2,800 inauthentic accounts from Iran since May.

“We removed 51 Facebook accounts, 36 Pages, seven Groups and three Instagram accounts involved in coordinated inauthentic behaviour that originated in Iran,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, said in a statement late Tuesday.

The individuals behind this activity purported to be located in the US and Europe, used fake accounts to run Pages and Groups, and impersonated legitimate news organisations in the Middle East.

“The individuals also represented themselves as journalists or other personas and tried to contact policymakers, reporters, academics, Iranian dissidents and other public figures,” said Facebook.

A number of these account owners also attempted to contact authentic Instagram accounts, some of which later posted content associated with this activity.

The posts from these Pages and accounts discussed topics like public figures and politics in the US and the UK, US secessionist movements, Islam, Arab minorities in Iran and the influence of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East.

About 21,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, about 1,900 accounts joined one or more of these Groups and around 2,600 people followed one or more of these Instagram accounts.

Facebook removed these fake accounts on a tip shared by FireEye, a US cyber security firm.

According to Yoel Roth, Head of Site Integrity at Twitter, they have removed more than 2,800 inauthentic accounts originating in Iran.

“These are the accounts that FireEye, a private security firm, reported on today. We were not provided with this report or its findings,” Roth tweeted.

Categories
India

Twitter recorded around 400 mn tweets in 2019 LS polls

Twitter India on Thursday said conversations around the 2019 Lok Sabha elections grew 300 per cent from 2014 to reach 396 million tweets between January 1 and May 23.

During the course of the six weeks of the election from April 11 till May 19, national security emerged as the most talked about election-related topic on Twitter, followed by religion, jobs and employment, agriculture, and finally demonetisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (@NarendraModi) emerged as the most mentioned figure during the entire course of #LokSabhaElections2019, and @BJP4India handle along with the handles of their National Democratic Alliance members took 53 per cent of the mentions on Twitter.

The @INCIndia handle along with the handles of other members of the United Progressive Alliance received 37 per cent of the mentions.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and BJP President Amit Shah were the leaders who were most mentioned after Modi on the platform.

“While English and Hindi remained the dominant languages of conversation, we saw a substantial number of Tweets in Tamil followed by Gujarati, represented by the use of the Twitter Lok Sabha Elections emoji hashtags,” Twitter India said in a statement.

Twitter India said it took key steps and action to protect the integrity of the #LokSabhaElections2019.

“Along with adhering to the social media code of conduct as part of the Election Commission of India and IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India), we created an elections-specific support portal for election partners to provide feedback directly to us about issues and concerns,” the social media platform said.

Twitter rolled out a special reporting feature that enabled users to report any tweets that provided misleading information to voters during the election, and expanded its Ads Transparency Centre to bring transparency to political campaign advertising.

(IANS)

Categories
Science & Technology

Twitter is finally giving locked users their accounts back

After a year-long lockout, Twitter is finally allowing several locked users regain control of their accounts once again.

Accounts created by those under 13, were frozen owing to the General Data Protection Law (GDPR) that came into force on May 25 last year, which stipulates that the age of consent for using online services should not be lower than 13.

Twitter had locked down several accounts owing to age restriction. The process also locked out users who said they were now old enough to use Twitter’s service legally.

“Starting today, we’ll email those eligible with details on how to unlock your account.

“Emails will be sent in waves, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from us right away. No email? Log in to your account and look for a Get Started button. You’ll have 30 days to finish the process,” said Twitter late Tuesday.

If you’re eligible you should get an email from Twitter soon.

“If you don’t have an email tied to your Twitter account and you’re eligible, you can log in to your account and you’ll see instructions on screen when it’s your turn,” said Twitter.

Twitter had said its rules don’t allow anyone under 13 to tweet or create a Twitter account so it was working on a technical solution to delete those Tweets and allow the impacted account holders to continue on Twitter.

The hashtag #TwitterLockOut became a common occurrence last year on Twitter and cries of “Give us back our accounts!” would be found in the Replies whenever Twitter shared other product news on its official accounts, reports TechCrunch.

(IANS)

Categories
Social Media

Twitter removes 1.6 lakh terror-promoting accounts

Twitter suspended 166,513 accounts for promoting terrorism in the July-December 2018 period, saying there’s a steady decrease in terrorist groups trying to use the platform owing to its “zero-tolerance policy enforcement”.

According to Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Lead at Twitter, there is a reduction of 19 per cent terror-related tweets from the previous reporting period (January-June 2018).

“Of those suspensions, 91 per cent consisted of accounts flagged by internal, purpose-built technological tools,” she said in a blog post late Thursday.

Twitter said that in the majority of cases, it took action at the account setup stage — before the account even Tweets.

“We have received government information requests from 86 countries. The US now comprises only 30 per cent of global government information requests and 35 per cent of all global accounts specified in the same category,” informed Gadde.

The second highest volume of information requests were submitted by Japan (24 per cent of global information requests).

Requests from the UK (13 per cent), India (6 per cent), Germany (6 per cent) and France (5 per cent) together account for 30 percent of all global information requests, and 29 per cent of all global accounts specified.

“We received roughly 8 per cent fewer global legal requests to remove content, impacting approximately 2 per cent fewer accounts, compared to the previous reporting period,” said Gadde.

Twitter received legal requests specifying 27,283 accounts from 48 countries, including Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia and Slovenia for the first time.

“Nearly 74 per cent of the total global volume of legal requests to remove content originated from only two countries: Russia and Turkey,” said the company.

During the reporting period, Twitter suspended a total of 456,989 unique accounts for violations related to child sexual exploitation, which is down 6 per cent from the previous reporting period.

Of those unique accounts suspended, 96 per cent were surfaced by a combination of technology solutions, including PhotoDNA and internal proprietary tools.

“Proactive challenges of accounts for spammy behaviour and platform manipulation have decreased by 17 per cent in the second half of 2018 versus the first half — totalling 194 million challenges in the second half of 2018,” said Gadde.

Approximately 75 per cent were subsequently automatically removed after failing Twitter’s account challenge process.

–IANS

Categories
India

Amarinder and his ‘#CaptainDiChaupal’ on Twitter

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had a successful run with his ‘Coffee with Captain’ campaign to woo young voters in Punjab in the run up to the February 2017 Assembly elections in the state.

Having been in power for over two years and the opposition gunning for the “non-performance” and “broken promises” of his government, he has decided to take things hands on.

Amarinder Singh has announced his plan to answer the questions and concerns of the people on April 21 as Punjab readies for the Lok Sabha elections next month.

“Will be reaching out to you through Punjab’s first #TwitterChaupal. You can tweet to me using #CaptainDiChaupal with your questions,” he tweeted.

“I’ll be answering your questions and concerns on April 21 as I address various issues the old-fashioned way using new-age technology,” Amarinder Singh, who turned 75 in March, added.

Close aides say that Amarinder Singh is social media savvy and handles his social media accounts mostly himself. Given the fact that he does not hold back on speaking his mind, his interaction could be an interesting watch.

Amarinder Singh, who served in the Army as a captain in the 1960s and belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Patiala and is still addressed as ‘Maharaja’ in some quarters, is in no mood to let the opposition have a free run against him or his government.

Amarinder Singh and the ruling Congress have set upon themselves the target of ‘Mission 13’ — of winning all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

He had led the Congress to a thumping win in the Assembly polls — winning 77 seats (now increased to 78 after another by-poll victory) in the 117-member Assembly.

Punjab will vote on May 19 in the last phase of the general elections.

IANS

Categories
Science & Technology

Dorsey admits Twitter makes it easy to abuse others

Admitting that Twitter makes it “super easy to harass and abuse others”, CEO of the micrblogging platform Jack Dorsey has said that addressing the issue in a systematic way is his biggest worry.

The platform is relying more on Machine Learning (ML) to identify abusive tweets as opposed to having people individually report them, Dorsey said in his TED talk this week, Business Insider reported.

“We have seen abuse, we have seen harassment, we have seen manipulation, automation, human coordination, misinformation,” Dorsey was quoted as saying.

“These are dynamics that we were not expecting 13 years ago.”

Dorsey also lamented that the system places undue weight on followers and likes.

“Right now the system makes it super easy to harass and abuse others,” he said, while adding that Twitter has created a “pretty terrible situation” for women.

As part of the efforts to make its platform appear less toxic, Twitter this week also announced that it is planning to give people an option to hide replies to their tweets, thereby giving users more control over the nature of conversation they would like to have on the platform.

“Starting in June, we’ll be experimenting with ways to give people more control over their conversations by giving them an option to hide replies to their Tweets,” Donald Hicks, Vice President, Twitter Service and David Gasca, Twitter’s Senior Director, Product Management, Health, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

While the feature has the potential to make trolls invisible, it could make it difficult for users to correct wrong statements made by others.

Other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram already give users much more power in terms of dealing with the comments to their posts, including the option to delete them.

Twitter last year said that making the platform free of abuse, spam and other things that distract from the public conversation is its top priority.

IANS

Categories
Science & Technology

Twitter is planning to launch ‘hide replies’ feature in June

As part of the efforts to make its platform appear less toxic, Twitter is planning to give people an option to hide replies to their tweets, thereby giving users more control over the nature of conversation they would like to have on the platform.

“Starting in June, we’ll be experimenting with ways to give people more control over their conversations by giving them an option to hide replies to their Tweets,” Donald Hicks, Vice President, Twitter Service and David Gasca, Twitter’s Senior Director, Product Management, Health, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

While the feature has the potential to make trolls invisible, it could make it difficult for users to correct wrong statements made by others.

Other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram already give users much more power in terms of dealing with the comments to their posts, including the option to delete them.

Twitter last year said that making the platform free of abuse, spam and other things that distract from the public conversation is its top priority.

The microblogging site on Tuesday said it had got a lot faster and better at curbing abusive behaviour and hateful content.

“This time last year, 0 per cent of potentially abusive content was flagged to our teams for review proactively. Today, by using technology, 38 per cent of abusive content that’s enforced is surfaced proactively for human review instead of relying on reports from people using Twitter,” Hicks and Gasca wrote.

“The same technology we use to track spam, platform manipulation and other rule violations is helping us flag abusive Tweets to our team for review,” they said.

Twitter said 100,000 accounts were suspended for creating new accounts after a suspension during January-March 2019 — a 45 per cent increase from the same time last year.

With a focus on reviewing this type of content, Twitter said it had expanded its teams in key areas and geographies.

“We’ll make it easier for people who use Twitter to share specifics when reporting so we can take action faster, especially when it comes to protecting people’s physical safety,” Hicks and Gasca wrote.

“We are updating our rules in the next few weeks so they’re shorter, simpler and easier to understand,” they added.

IANS

Categories
World

Republicans slam FB, Twitter over conservative bias

Republicans in the US have slammed Facebook and Twitter saying that conservative speech was being censored on both the platforms.

Led by Senator Ted Cruz (Rep-Texas) who is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s panel on the Constitution, a panel ripped apart Facebook and Twitter over concerns of bias against conservatives, The Verge reported on late Wednesday.

“Not only does Big Tech have the power to silence voices with which they disagree, but Big Tech likewise has the power to collate a person’s feed so they only receive the news that comports with their own political agenda,” said Cruz during a Senate hearing.

The panel declined Google’s invitation because of concerns involving the representative they were sending.

Cruz has often alleged that Silicon Valley giants were biased against conservatives and routinely censor right-wing voices.

Donald Trump in a tweet last month accused Facebook, Google and Twitter of being “on the side of the Radical Left Democrats”.

According to The Hill: “GOP lawmakers have held multiple hearings in recent years over the alleged censorship of conservative voices on tech platforms, calling for companies to release data about the political leanings of the posts they choose to take down.”

The companies had so far declined to provide the data lawmakers have asked for.

IANS

Categories
Science & Technology

Twitter eases account suspension appeal for users

Twitter will now allow users, suspended for violating its guidelines, appeal the decision directly within its platform.

Earlier, users whose accounts were frozen needed to fill an online form to appeal Twitter’s decision and the response time varied from a few hours to over a week.

“We move quickly to enforce our rules but sometimes we don’t have the full context and can make mistakes,” the company tweeted late on Tuesday.

Twitter claimed the new in-app feature will cut down response time by 60 per cent.

“We added a way for people to appeal our decision in the app and have been able to get back to people 60 per cent faster than before,” it said.

Twitter can suspend accounts for being fake, abusive, threatening or for spamming or impersonating someone.

Twitter is also considering to label tweets that violate its rules but which should remain on the platform because they’re in the public interest.

In an interview with The Washington Post last week, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy and Trust, said Twitter is working on how to label tweets that violate the company’s abuse terms.

IANS

Categories
Science & Technology

Viral prank getting Twitter users kicked out of app

Ahead of the upcoming April Fool’s Day, a prank going viral on the micro-blogging site Twitter is getting users kicked out of the platform for being “underage” to be on the platform.

The prank claims that users who change their birth-year to 2007 on the platform would get access to new profile colour schemes, admin privileges and possibly the blue tick of verification.

Twitter Support took to the platform to alert users about the practical joke.

“We’ve noticed a prank trying to get people to change their Twitter birthday in their profile to 2007 to unlock new colour schemes. Please don’t do this. You’ll get locked out for being under 13 years old,” Twitter Support tweeted on Tuesday.

The micro-blogging site, however, did not disclose where did the prank originate from, how many users actually got locked out of the app and from which regions did maximum or minimum users got fooled.

Early victims of the prank could get in touch with Twitter Support, upload a copy of their government-issued ID and redeem their account, The Verge reported.

IANS

Categories
India Science & Technology

Over 90% first-time voters to cast ballot; Twitter India

Over 90 per cent of first-time eligible voters are expected to vote in the upcoming elections, a Twitter India survey revealed on Wednesday.

According to the Election Commission, nearly 1.5 crore first-time voters will exercise their franchise in the seven-phase election starting April 11.

Twitter India said that seven in 10 first-time eligible voters in India believe that they are contributing to the public debate by posting on Twitter.

Nearly half (46 per cent) would actively engage with and raise concerns to the government on issues that affect them or their community, versus one-third (36 per cent) of those not on the platform.

The survey was conducted as part of Twitter’s youth engagement initiative #PowerOf18.

Nearly 54.6 per cent of those surveyed said they will use Twitter to gather support for a cause or movement, and 54.4 per cent will use the platform to express their opinion to be heard.

Over 80 per cent said they will turn to social media to find out what’s happening in India and around the world.

The study surveyed 1,602 youth aged 18-22 years old, comprising Twitter and non-Twitter users.

IANS

Categories
Science & Technology World

California Congressman sues Twitter for $250 million

Devin Nunes, a Republican Congressman from California, has sued Twitter and several of its users for more than $250 million, alleging that the open communication platform failed to curb defamatory and malicious tweets against him.

According to a report in Fox News late Monday, Nunes said he was going after Twitter first because they “are the main proliferator” of “fake” and “slanderous” news.

“The case we’re basically making is this was an orchestrated effort. So people were targeting me, there were anonymous accounts that were developed… and these accounts are not supposed to exist. Twitter says that they don’t have accounts that do this,” Nunes was quoted as saying.

“They need to come clean. They’re not a public square. They are content developers,” he added.

The lawsuit accused Twitter of “shadow-banning conservatives” to influence the 2018 mid-term election.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in his testimony before Congress last year, said his platform is a kind of “digital public square”.

Nunes questioned why the company would allow certain accounts to attack him “hundreds of times a day”.

Twitter was yet to comment on the lawsuit.

US President Donald Trump last year slammed Twitter for “shadow banning” some Republicans in search results on the micro-blogging platform.

The micro-blogging platform had said it is not involved in banning people based on political viewpoints and there was a technical issue in its search that has been resolved.

IANS

Categories
Science & Technology

Twitter too harsh at times in banning accounts; Dorsey

Twitter has been too harsh at times when it comes to banning accounts in the wake of alleged political bias, harassment, hate speech or other policy violations on its platform, CEO Jack Dorsey has admitted.

Appearing on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast, Dorsey said the platform has been too aggressive in banning certain accounts.

“Dorsey told Rogan that the company had researched the incidents, finding there were “thousands and thousands’ of tweets being directed at a small number of journalists and that many of those sending them were accounts that had been specifically created to evade a ban,” Fox News reported late Wednesday.

Twitter Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde said that the company would learn from its past mistakes.

Twitter has been accused by the governments — from the US to India — of allowing political bias to flourish on its platform while banning certain right-wing or conservative accounts hurriedly.

“Where we draw a line is when people use their voice and their platform to use their voice to silence someone else on the platform. It’s rare for us to outright ban someone without warning,” said Gadde.

There have been several incidents in the recent past where Twitter users in India, including journalists, posted abusive posts addressed to them on their accounts, asking Twitter to take immediate action.

According to Colin Crowell, Global Vice President of Public Policy of Twitter, not many Twitter users in India are aware of how to report abuse or harassment they face on the open communication platform, opting for the wrong way of posting an abusive photo or tweet and then requesting us to take action.

“One of the things we note in India is under-reporting of such issues. Users might take a screenshot of abuse or harassment they have been subjected to on Twitter, and say see, here is what has occurred to me. But they do not report that to us,” Crowell told IANS in a recent interview.

“Our team can only take action if the issue is reported to us. Twitter serves over 500 million tweets a day and we do not read all of those. So reporting abuse to us is incredibly important,” Crowell added.

IANS

Categories
Science & Technology

Facebook, Apple, Twitter face EU probes for violating GDPR

Facebook is facing 10 probes for violating the European Union’s (EU) new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) over data breaches and users’ privacy across its platforms.

In its first annual report after GDPR came into practice on May 25, 2018, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) opened 15 statutory inquiries (investigations) in relation to multinational technology companies’ compliance with the GDPR.

Facebook faces seven inquiries while its WhatsApp platform two and Instagram one. Other US tech giants like Apple and Twitter face two statutory inquiries each and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn faces one.

“All these inquiries should reach the decision and adjudication stage later this year.

“It’s our intention that the analysis and conclusions in the context of those inquiries will provide precedents for better implementation of the principles of the GDPR across key aspects of internet and ad tech services,” said the DPC report.

“There are undoubtedly areas of risk to be examined in sectors beyond the free internet services but initial complaints and breaches have focused the DPC in this area and warrant attention in light of the hundreds of millions of users implicated,” it added.

Ireland’s DPC is the lead regulator for the EU.

Since the application of the GDPR, the DPC has seen a significant increase in the number of complaints received. Between May 25 and December 31, 2018, 2,864 complaints were received by the DPC.

While Facebook is being probed over breach of user data, WhatsApp is under the lens for how it handles user privacy and shares information with Facebook.

While one of the probes against Twitter comes after it self-reported a “large number of breaches”, the micro-blogging platform is also being probed for how much access users have to their own data, reported ABC News.

Apple is being investigated for transparency issues while LinkedIn is being probed for profiling its users and targeted ads.

The Irish DPC last month warned Facebook over its planned integration of its chat services –WhatsApp, Messenger and photo-sharing app Instagram — asking the social media giant to provide it with an “urgent briefing” on the proposals.

In a statement, the Dublin-headquartered watchdog said it understood the plan was at a “very early conceptual stage”.

“While we understand that Facebook’s proposal to integrate the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram platforms is at a very early conceptual stage of development, the Irish DPC has asked Facebook Ireland for an urgent briefing on what is being proposed,” the watchdog said.

“The Irish DPC will be very closely scrutinising Facebook’s plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies.”

IANS

Categories
India Science & Technology

Twitter asked to support free and fair Lok Sabha polls, ensure no bias

A parliamentary panel on Monday asked Twitter executives to ensure that the content on their platform supports “free and fair” Lok Sabha elections and it does not face allegations of bias or politically motivated practices.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, also told Twitter to talk to Election Commission officials and ensure “real-time compliance” with the guidelines concerning free and fair elections.

Colin Crowell, global Vice President of Public Policy of Twitter, deposed before the Parliamentary Committee headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur.

The meeting lasted about three-and-a-half hours. Sources said he answered a few questions and assured to get back with answers to others in 10 days.

“The Lok Sabha elections should be free and fair. There should not be the kind of complaints as in the US,” Thakur told reporters later.

Thakur said that Twitter officials have been asked to meet Election Commission officials.

“There should be real-time compliance,” he said.

The meeting comes after a complaint was submitted to the panel alleging an “anti-rightwing” bias on Twitter.

Technology executives have appeared before US lawmakers over allegations of political influence activity on their sites as also that relating to user privacy.

Thakur said that public policy heads of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have been called to appear before the parliamentary panel on March 6.

IANS

 

Categories
Science & Technology

Twitter retains old messages even after they are deleted

Micro-blogging site Twitter has reportedly been retaining messages shared on its platform including deleted messages along with data shared and received from accounts that have been suspended or deactivated, the media reported.

“Security researcher Karan Saini found years-old messages in a file from a data archive obtained through the website from accounts that were no longer on Twitter,” TechCrunch reported on Saturday.

Earlier Saini claimed to have reported a similar bug, found a year ago that allowed him to use a since-deprecated application programming interface (API) to retrieve direct messages even after a message was deleted from both the sender and the recipient.

Previously, Twitter allowed users to delete messages from the chat itself with the “unsend” feature but now, users are only allowed to remove messages from their own account.

“We are looking into this further to ensure we have considered the entire scope of the issue,” the report quoted a Twitter spokesperson as saying.

As part of its privacy policies, Twitter notes that anyone wanting to leave the service can have their account “deactivated and then deleted” and after a 30-day grace period, the account, along with its data, disappears from the platform.

“But, in our tests, we could recover direct messages from years ago – including old messages that had since been lost to suspended or deleted accounts. By downloading your account’s data, it is possible to download all of the data Twitter stores on you,” the report said.

According to the report, Saini believes this is a functional bug rather than a security flaw.

“Saini told TechCrunch that he had concerns that the data was retained by Twitter for so long but argued that the bug allows anyone a clear bypass of Twitter mechanisms to prevent accessed to suspended or deactivated accounts,” the report added.

This issue could expose users, particularly high-risk accounts like journalists and activists to governments, which could demand for data from years ago.

Asked if Twitter thinks that consent to retain direct messages is withdrawn when a message or account is deleted, Twitter’s spokesperson had “nothing further” to add, the report noted.

IANS