Weekly Mozilla News Beat, October 16, 2020
What happened when a seed company wanted to post a simple photo of onion seeds on Facebook? The post was rejected. The reason? For being “overtly sexual.” Either Facebook’s AI thought all those round shapes were a butt or it’s into some weird stuff, man.
After years of allowing Holocaust denial content on Facebook, the social network is finally updating its policies. As for why the sudden change, Zuckerberg noted in a Facebook post that his “thinking has evolved” as he’s seen more anti-Semitic acts of violence.
YouTube will now remove misinfo related to COVID-19. The change is in addition to the site’s COVID-19 policies, which prevent videos from spreading falsehoods, like the lie that the virus doesn’t exist or that it’s not contagious. It’s a scary, misleading world out there.
Yelp vs Racism
Yelp will be the first major reviews platform to note when a business has a record of racism. Restaurants will be tagged with the new “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” alert, alongside a credible news story as proof.
One Coveted Laptop
Both Facebook and Twitter put restrictions this week on a NY Post article, which claimed that it obtained incriminating emails sent to Hunter Biden about meetings with his father, Joe Biden. Was it the right call? Debatable.
Looking To The Past
Colorizing old footage is a fun way to briefly go back in time. Unfortunately, it isn’t accurate. Historians spoke with WIRED UK about why they disagree with the tools that allow for this, claiming the AI adds visual information that likely wasn’t there in the first place.
TikTok Gets The Ban-Hammer
First the U.S. was wary of TikTok, now it’s Pakistan’s turn. Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is banning the app, after numerous complaints from users in the country and a compliance order sent from the PTA to TikTok.
Without A Trace
Bluetooth wasn’t made to handle COVID-19 contact-tracing, and it shows. One researcher discusses Bluetooth’s limitations, showing how placing your phone in your back-pocket or front-pocket alone can lead to different resulting measurements.
Misinfo Meets Race
Researchers have discovered fake accounts posing as Black Twitter users who support Trump, tweeting phrases like “Yes I’m Black and I’m voting for Trump.” Twitter suspended the phony accounts.
In August, Facebook announced it would ban right-wing militant groups and QAnon groups. Now, those groups have discovered they can rejoin the service simply by changing their name. Facebook says its work to remove these groups is ongoing.
When Trump tweeted that he authorized the declassification of court documents related to the Russia investigation, the U.S. Justice Department stepped in to say, "not quite.” Serving as a reminder that disinformation is all around us. Stay vigilant, folks.
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