Ofcom and Protecting UK Content

Ofcom, a British media regulator has been appointed by the government to legally regulate harmful content over media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration has targeted content such as child-abuse, terrorism, and self-harm as key areas to be regulated. Especially in a time when media usage has skyrocketed, media content needs to be scrutinized on all platforms.

Last year, the British government thought to create a branch of the government to directly enforce content regulations. Instead, the government has decided to fund Ofcom to protect the internet from harmful content. They even held a conference with over 2,400 companies to see which company would be the best fit for the job.

According to the British government, Ofcom will have the power to give out fines, warnings, and block off internet service providers. Ofcom can also make the senior management of social media companies responsible. The government also has to make sure that the enforcement powers are to be used fairly.

There have been critics of this new proposal, because content creators are concerned this could backfire. Ofcom could use their powers to censor too much content, restricting freedom of speech and free content creation. In response to this, the government ensured it would use this power only to censor malicious and harmful content. They ensured their will be a code of violation that will be strictly enforced, but not to overdue their own powers.

The idea of content restrictions are welcomed all over the World. Giant tech companies such as Facebook welcome the idea of the government intervening to provide safe web browsing. However, other companies such as IBM, Google, and Microsoft suggest using artificial intelligence to weed out harmful content.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/12/uk-watchdog-ofcom-to-impose-duty-of-care-on-social-media-firms.html


Facebook Says They Are Able To Locate Users Who Decline Tracking

It seems like every week there is something new involving facebook and privacy. The company had admitted in a letter to two US senators that they able to locate someone even after they opt out of precise location tracking. Facebook had stopped tracking location data when users specifically opt out of the service, but there are other forms of information and data that they are able to use to piece together where someone is. The company says that there are several benefits as to why they need your location for advertisements and to fight hackers and battle misinformation but that is still crazy. There really is no privacy any more it seems like and all these big companies are simply sharing our data for money. That is pretty concerning to me and im sure a lot of other Americans that we can check the option to not have our location tracked but it still is. I wonder how many other options and services that I decline from, but are still being done without my knowledge…

FTC Cracking down on Facebook… Again

Image result for ftc facebook

Facebook is taking heat again by the US government as it attempts to integrate WhatsApp and Instagram into the Facebook platform. According to various sources, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the federal government’s main business regulator, has been constantly looking over the company’s dominance in the advertising and social media space. This FTC could seek an injunction since Facebook is weaving its platforms together, and the FTC wants to ensure Facebook does not have too much power.

An injunction by the FTC at this point is not considered to be typical behavior because the companies have already merged. In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram, and in 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp, a very popular messaging app. Mark Zuckerberg, The CEO of Facebook, announced in January that he would like to merge all the platforms to create a more seamless messaging service.

Many critics of Facebook claim the merge is happening to make it harder to break up the company. Senator Richard Blumenthal even commented saying, “The FTC & DOJ cannot continue to leave Facebook’s provocations & anti-competitive conduct unchallenged. Action is overdue.”

I find this article interesting because I find it funny how the FTC is looking into this now. Many traditional media companies merge all the time, yet the FTC is looking very closely at Facebook. I think personally, because of Facebook’s data breach last year, the FTC is concerned with data and privacy rather than the actual merge. If people really had a problem, I wonder why this injunction did not occur sooner since the merge with WhatsApp occurred in 2014. I wonder why the integration of the apps is the problem since the companies merged so long ago.  

Article: https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/facebook-wants-integrate-instagram-whatsapp-u-s-government-may-try-n1101146

Tinder, Bumble and now… Facebook Dating?!

Yup! You read correctly, and probably saw apps about it as well! Facebook Dating is a new 2019 feature that the site has inputted into its untrustworthy application.

Facebook Dating Is A New App That Hopes To Match You With ...


This article shows you how Facebook Dating works. Facebook Dating isn’t an app within itself, it is built into Facebook. Basically, there is a dating option that takes you to the dating section of Facebook. Just like any other dating app, you pick your preferred gender, an image of yourself, and your location. It states that “Facebook skims your non-dating profile”, which means that Facebook is scanning normal Facebook profiles… This sounds very sketchy and unneeded.

Should We Swipe Right on Facebook Dating? | A Little Nudge

As if Facebook doesn’t already know enough about our lives, it now has to be nosy enough and have information on our relationships. This does not sound like a great idea to me for many reasons. First of all, Facebook is used by older people now which does not make sense for a young adult to be fishing the sea of 30 and 40 year-olds. Second of all, there are so many issues in regards to Facebook information and privacy that I simply would not trust it. Lastly, there are apps that have already grabbed a lot of attention are are doing a bit better than Facebook would. If this was implemented when Facebook was more trendy, I think it might’ve worked.

Will Facebook Ban Political Ads?


Article: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/10/the-consequences-of-facebook-banning-political-ads.html

Image: https://mediatel.co.uk/newsline/2019/10/28/facebook-and-politics-brexit-ads-dickens-an-apology/

No, Facebook will not ban the ads. With the 2020 election is coming up very quickly and with local elections being on November 5th this year, people are starting to look into candidates. Twitter just said it will be banning political ads from their website because of the type of influence the ads can have on voters. This move got people talking and now people are asking if Facebook will ban political ads too. Brian Feldman from NY Mag quotes Zuckerberg, “it is not the role of Facebook, according to Mark Zuckerberg, to limit the speech of politicians or candidates for political office” (Feldman 2019). Zuckerberg believes that candidates who aren’t well known need his platform to reach people to ensure their voices are heard too. With millions of Americans being on Facebook, politicians have a very easy way to access these people online. They can share and influence and even attack other politicians. It is interesting that Twitter banned ads altogether while Facebook believes that banning the ads hinder free speech.

I found this article interesting because Facebook was a very heavy influence in the 2016 election. One would think to avoid something like that happening again, Zuckerberg would ban the ability for politicians to reach voters through his website. Personally, I would like to see less political ads online because millions and even billions of tax payers’ money are used for these ads. Along with the group that has the most money to pay for advertisements is the person who gets talked about more. Money drives our elections more than anything and politicians with the most money are the ones that run the nation. I find this to be a very bad way to approach voting because the rich politicians are not concerned about what the middle-class and lower-class want, they are concerned with what companies and rich people want. Twitter has been a massive platform for politicians, especially Donald Trump. To see that Twitter won’t allow him to advertise on their site is amazing because this allows people to form their own voting opinions and lessens the ability for fake news and slander to spread. I understand that Zuckerberg will not ban political ads, but I’m curious to see how the future of social media and voting turns out. Will Facebook be forced to ban political ads one day? If they ever do, they will lose a massive amount of earnings, but maybe the issue of fake news on Facebook would diminish for politicians.

British Government To Hit Facebook With A Light Slap On The Wrist Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal.




The British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has successfully gotten Facebook to agree to pay a five hundred thousand pound fine over their Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica is a now defunct political consulting firm based out of Britain. The firm used calculated and unethical methods of data collection in order to provide highly valuable information to their customers. Cambridge Analytica was actively involved in politics in dozens of countries internationally. 

The ICO initially announced to the public that it would be attempting to fine facebook in July of 2018, only to officially serve the fine 3 months later. This is a common tactic done in order to catch companies off guard and not let them come up with a public statement that they can immediately release. Facebook appealed this fine, stating that they had not received any information that the ICO had on the matter, and in turn, were not being tried fairly. It’s important to note that Facebook has agreed to pay the fine only if they are to receive documents related to the case. Another stipulation of the settlement is that Facebook is not admitting liability.  

Facebook profited almost 56 billion dollars in 2018. That’s just over 43 billion pounds. Because of laws in the European Union, the British government could only fine Facebook a max of 500,000 pounds. This minor fine is nothing to them, though they still chose to appeal it. It seems likely that the money had little to do with Facebook’s appeal and that they were more interested in their image as well as valuable information they could get on Cambridge Analytica. It is also possible that admitting liability could provide grounds for further prosecution in other countries such as the US. Facebook is under international scrutiny and one can understand how they would take anything they can get their hands on in order to ensure security. This information could also give them insight into CA’s methods that might help them with future advertising tactics. While it’s important that Facebook is not being let off the leash, as this could incentivize them to prioritize security in the future, we must understand that this monetarily was nothing but a drop in the bucket.



Your Privacy does not matter when you Stream

Recent deals involving Roku and other companies have expanded the surveillance infrastructure that operates in the background of streaming services.

Welcome to the 21st century, where soon there will be more than just Netflix or Hulu streaming content to us. Coming very soon many different corporations and media tech companies will be unveiling their “new” streaming service, Disney+, Apple TV Plus, and Peacock just to name a few. What is creating all these streaming services is not the desire to share their content with you on their platform, it’s to make money, and the main way these companies do that is through advertising and data collection but the methods used to get the ad to you is coming from a dangerous place. 

Data collection is becoming the new currency for these streaming giants. They are able to collect data based on what shows you are watching, what device you are using to watch, your location, and so many other factors that create a pretty clear internet footprint of who you are and what interests you. These streaming companies collect all this data and use it to target you with widely specific advertisements. With streaming service becoming more and more popular, advertising companies now have a real-time data stream on their users that has never existed before with traditional television but with all this information being tracked and all the money the data is worth sometimes our privacy takes a back-seat for these companies so they can make some extra money. 

Advertisers are starting to shift spending from traditional television to streaming services by the tune of 3.8 billion dollars and many companies are trying to get on the money. With this rise in advertising within the streaming industry, many users of the streaming services are at risk of having their data taken without their knowledge. In recent years, tech giants such as Vizio TV and Samba TV has been accused of gathering and selling your data without your knowledge just by using your TV but even just knowing that these companies are doing this is not enough because this is such new ground, there are no laws or regulations in this data collection industry. Trackers and other software that collect our data on these platforms happen without us knowing and behind our backs only to target with super specific ads and without and rules data collection is only going to become more corrupt.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/25/business/media/streaming-data-collection-privacy.html

Facebook has reportedly reached deals with multiple publishers to provide content for upcoming news tab


According to USA Today, the article Facebook has reached a deal with multiple publishers to provide content for its upcoming news tab.

“Facebook will soon launch a new tab dedicated to news, and the tech giant has already reportedly reached deals with several prominent publishers that will supply content.

Whisperings about the news section emerged in August after the Wall Street Journal reported that it was approached by the social networking website. On Friday, the publication said it reached a deal with Facebook, which is also said to be working with the New York Post, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, and Business Insider.

The WSJ also said that other News Corp. and Dow Jones publications will supply headlines for the news section. It could launch before the end of October.”

This is a step in the right direction since it might filter out fake news that rampant across the internet. However, some of the publishers will be paid licensing fee according to the news source.

Facebook Loses $35 Billion Lawsuit Over User Data Privacy and Transparency


Article and image: https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/18/facebook-35-billion-lawsuit/

Facebook has been a company that everyone is talking about for the past two years. Each report comes out with an action against the company and how much control and data they have mined and sold from their users. This week’s report follows a lawsuit against Facebook for $35 billion in a class action lawsuit that addressed misuse of facial recognition. Josh Constine of Tech Crunch reported on this lawsuit as it is one of the largest FTC class action lawsuits, “breaking the previous largest lawsuit at $5 billion” (Constine, 2019). Facebook makes about $55 billion a year in revenue, so this lawsuit put a dent in their earnings and forced the company’s stock to drop 2.25%. The lawsuit focused on Facebook suggesting people to tag in photos. For instance, if I uploaded a new profile picture with myself and a friend and didn’t tag my friend, Facebook would suggest if I wanted to tag the person and addressed them by their profile name. Meaning, the company can recognize user’s faces and use them for things beyond tagging on social media. Facebook claimed that they were very transparent with their use of this technology, but this lawsuit proves otherwise.

I chose this article this week because this is a major lawsuit that actually asked for a large amount of money from this major website. I have been curious about Facebook because they are trying desperately to make sure they are still relevant, throwing new services out and hoping that one of them catches on. These services being streaming with Netflix, a new dating app, and even a cryptocurrency. The public is finally understanding that huge sites like Google and Facebook are collecting a lot of data on people and aren’t using the data for app improvements or to let users know about themselves. No, they are collecting data, creating in-depth profiles and selling that data to advertisers and third parties for revenue. These profiles would probably tell you more about you than you even know. They predict shopping trends and political trends. The profiles even know where you were three years ago on your trip to Europe down to the time you spent at a café and how much you traveled. Facebook started face mapping in 2011, so this has been eight years of facial recognition that has been saved since 2011. Learning that Facebook is being held accountable for their data misuse makes me feel better about the future since people are getting outraged at how much data websites and apps keep on us without our knowledge and with little transparency.

Facebook teams up with police to stop streaming of terror attacks


In response to the recent Christchurch terrorist attack, Facebook and other social media outlets are teaming up to prevent such shootings to be broadcasted on the platform’s live streaming feature.

Facebook is getting Metropolitan Police involved by using their first person cameras to train their AI algorithm to detect terroristic actions. The cameras will be used in their firearms training centers, so Facebook’s artificial intelligence will have the data and technology to detect violent behavior, and alert officers more quickly.

The Christchurch terror attack was the turning point in which social media outlets decided there needed to be a change within the systems, as 51 were left dead, and footage was viewed over 4,000 times before being removed. The delay was due to the AI not having enough first person footage of violent shootings to be able to detect it properly and quickly. With the implementation of training, Facebook will be able to automatically remove the videos and help aid officers in locating and responding to attacks. This will also diminish the glorification of such acts, considering the shooters oftentimes want to be recognized and people to talk about the videos.

Overall, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites are taking steps in the right direction to improve its safety features, and the initiative will begin in October. Personally, I think this is a great idea because it will no longer allow viewers to magnify the streams, regardless how horrifying they think they are. I chose this article because I think it is relevant to the current state of our country, and how media plays its’ role.