Despite agreeing to crack down on the spread of hate speech across their networks earlier this year, four of the world’s biggest technology companies aren’t delivering on their promises, Reuters reports. A review conducted by EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova found that Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft failed to flag and remove offensive content within 24 hours, with less than half of cases being responded to in that timeframe. If they don’t improve their response times, new legislation could be introduced to force them to do so.
“In practice the companies take longer and do not yet achieve this goal. They only reviewed 40 percent of the recorded cases in less than 24 hours,” a Commission official told Reuters. “After 48 hours the figure is more than 80 percent. This shows that the target can realistically be achieved, but this will need much stronger efforts by the IT companies.”
In May, Facebook, Twitter, Google (specifically YouTube) and Microsoft signed a voluntary code of conduct that would standardize the way users report hate speech and allow law enforcement agencies to act swiftly on harmful content. This included the removal of such content within 24 hours. They also committed to support educational programs and promote “independent counter-narratives” to hateful messages.
According to the Financial Times, the report found that (unsurprisingly) Twitter was slowest to respond while YouTube was fastest. Jourová didn’t single out Twitter, though, choosing to direct her ire at all of the companies involved: “If Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft want to convince me and the ministers that the non-legislative approach can work, they will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months,” she told the paper on Sunday.
Justice ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss the report on Thursday. Also on the agenda will be a discussion on how the companies are tackling “terrorist propaganda” and what evidence they can provide to help make convictions.
Source: Reuters, Financial Times
The latest update in Twitter’s executive shuffle is the arrival of a new VP of Product, Keith Coleman. The ex-Googler arrives by way of acquisition, as Twitter is absorbing his company, Yes, Inc. and shutting down its apps wyd and Frenzy. No, we’ve never used those either, but they have the usual modern look with lots of stickers and emoji. The apps were about connecting with friends either locally (Frenzy) or remotely (wyd – What You Doing).
Lately, Facebook has been lifting features from Snapchat and it wouldn’t surprise me if Twitter started doing the same thing to attract more users. wyd , especially, has a familiar look, but so far there’s little indication of what is in the works. In a blog post, the Yes team says it’s “excited to bring our efforts to connecting the world at a huge scale.” Finally, following an all-too-familiar trend, Coleman doesn’t appear to be a prolific Twitter user, with only 143 tweets. Hopefully, that doesn’t get in the way of further developing the company’s services, but it also probably won’t bring Vine back.
Thanks to the Yes Team and all our users who made the last 2 years an awesome adventure 🙂 https://t.co/GqwJLV3b2X
— Keith Coleman (@kcoleman) December 1, 2016
Yes! Keith and team are joining Twitter to help lead and strengthen our service! https://t.co/5aFouFxTsh
— 🚶🏽jack (@jack) December 1, 2016
Source: Yes, Inc.
Back in September, Twitter opened up Moments and gave anyone the ability to create a narrative with a collection of tweets. Since then, the story-curating feature has only been available on the web. Today, Twitter announced that Moments is rolling out to all users on mobile as well.
To get started, all you have to do is hit the down arrow in the top right of any tweet. From the menu options, select “Add to Moment” to begin your collection of posts. After you do so, you’ll be able to add your own tweets, favorites or search for material from other users to fill out the story. As far as customization goes, you can re-order tweets, crop images and select background colors for text-only posts. Set a cover and enter a title and description and you’re all set.
With Moments, you can bring together favorite Tweets to tell richer stories – rolling out on mobile starting today.https://t.co/SMqIZ1Zngo
— Twitter (@twitter) November 30, 2016
The German Office for Information Security confirmed on Tuesday that not only had nearly a million routers on the Deutsche Telekom (DT) network been recently attacked but that the assault was part of a larger campaign stretching across the world.
The Mirai botnet, which knocked a number of US service sites — including Spotify and Twitter — offline on October 21st, is reportedly the culprit. These attacks targeted unsecured IoT devices like baby monitors and security cameras, taking control of them using common exploits. Once the devices are under the botnet’s control, they can be used to flood sites with traffic (aka a DDoS attack) in order to overwhelm their servers and knock them offline.
“It was a global attack against all kinds of devices,” Dirk Backofen, a senior Deutsche Telekom security executive, told Reuters. 900,000 or roughly 4.5 percent of DT’s landline customers were targeted as well as a number of German government routers. Routers in Ireland, Great Britain, even as far away as Brazil were also targeted.
The routers in question are three models made by Taiwan’s Arcadyan Technology — though DT resells them under the brandname, Speedport. The company pushed a patch live on Monday to correct the vulnerability. For its part, DT apologized to its customers and has begun applying “filter measures in the network to prevent the remote maintenance interface from being accessed by the attackers in order to exclude a new infection of devices,” according to the site’s FAQ. More software updates are expected for the next few days as DT network engineers continue to shore up the vulnerability.
Source: Reuters, Deutsche Telekom
Threaded conversations are some of the best interactions you can have on Twitter — with dozens of users chattering away 140 characters at a time. Unless you’re already in a conversation, however, it can be hard to tell if a tweet is getting a lot of social interaction. Now, it’s a little easier: Twitter has added a reply counter and a ‘conversation ranking’ designed to push the most relevant discussions to the top of a tweet thread.
Neither feature will likely change how you use Twitter, but if your wondering why you’re not seeing replies in chronological order, these new tweaks are to blame. Conversation ranking favors threads that the original poster replied to or that includes a reply from a Twitter user that you follow — the feature also tries to group replies into different sub-conversations that make sense within their own context.
The new direct reply counter is exactly what it sounds like: the reply button under any given tweet will now show how many users have replied to that tweet. This number only corresponds to direct replies to the original tweet, however — not the total number of tweets contained within a long conversation. Are these changes better, or worse? Would you rather see replies in pure chronological order, or through Twitter’s new curated lens? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Source: Twitter (1), (2)
We’re just a few weeks out from Rogue One, the first in what will probably be a never-ending string of “stand-alone” Star Wars films. After last year’s successful revival of the franchise, fans are chomping at the bit for more on Rogue One, and they’ll get it this Friday. Twitter will be hosting a live Q&A and broadcast some unseen footage from the upcoming film.
It’s just the latest example of Twitter’s interest in live video — the company has already started hosting live NBA shows and it also broadcast all three presidential debates as they happened, just to name a few of its recent initiatives. Friday’s livestream will feature a Q&A session with director Gareth Edwards, producer Kathleen Kennedy and cast members Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudykand and Riz Ahmed. Naturally, you’ll need to tweet your questions using the hashtag #AskRogueOne.
A Q&A with the cast of @starwars #RogueOne streaming LIVE on Twitter this Friday at 1pm ET. pic.twitter.com/Cp1O7zyemu
— Twitter (@twitter) November 29, 2016
The stream will kick off at 10AM PT with new, unspecified “content” from Rogue One before the Q&A gets underway; Twitter says the livestream will take place at a “surprise location” — perhaps the set of Episode VIII? If you’ve fled Twitter for greener pastures but still want to follow along, fear not: Twitter specifically says that the stream will be available for anyone checking it out at rogueone.twitter.com. But if you want to ask a question, you’ll need to have account.
If it wasn’t already clear that Twitter wants to keep police and spies out of your tweets, it is now. Twitter is warning developers that it won’t let them use public programming kits or Gnip data for surveillance reasons, whether the clients are law enforcement or anyone else. Just because many tweets are public doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to harvest them, Twitter says. To that end, it’s promising “expanded” efforts to crack down on developers who use the data for surveillance reasons. Get caught and you’ll either have limited access or lose it entirely.
To Twitter, the reasoning is simple: the company is devoted to “social justice,” and that’s not possible when officials are using these public data sets to track protesters, scoop up people’s names and otherwise curb freedom of expression.
The policy and resulting crackdown isn’t going to stop authorities from collecting information through other means, whether it’s old-fashioned searching or formal requests. However, it’ll at least make the process harder. Agencies will have to really want that information to get it, and can’t just gather it en masse with a simple program.
Via: Daily Dot
Source: Twitter Blog
Twitter’s quest to clamp down on hatemongers, trolls and similar provocateurs isn’t slowing down any time soon. The social network has suspended Tila Tequila’s account after the reality show star (shown at left) posted a string of pro-Nazi tweets, including one showing her giving a Nazi salute at a white nationalist conference in Washington. While she has previously sworn that she isn’t racist (she’s of Vietnamese heritage), she hasn’t exactly hidden her shift toward the extreme right. She once posted a photo of herself wearing a Nazi armband in front of Auschwitz, and in her Twitter bio described herself as an “alt-reich queen” and “literally Hitler.”
Twitter doesn’t normally discuss the circumstances surrounding a suspension, but we’ve reached out regardless and will let you know if it has something to say. However, this follows shortly after Twitter expanded its abuse reporting to let you flag hateful tweets targeting people based on race, ethnic groups and other demographics, whether or not they’re targeted at you. Tequila may not have been singling people out, but her posts weren’t exactly promoting cultural acceptance and compassion.
It won’t be surprising if bans like this continue. Twitter’s reluctance to combat trolls may have cost it an acquisition bid from Disney, among other suitors. The last thing it needs is a verified user whose very presence on the service makes Jewish and non-white people feel unwelcome. While the ban won’t allay questions about Twitter’s support for freedom of expression, it’s important to remember that this a private business. It has no obligation to host speech it doesn’t like, especially if that speech intimidates other users and ultimately hurts its bottom line.
Source: Huffington Post
If you believe one study, it’s not just fake news that polluted the internet during the US election… it’s bogus accounts, too. Researchers at the international Project on Computational Propaganda report that the use of politically minded Twitter bots reached an “all-time high” during the 2016 presidential campaign. Out of 18.9 million studied tweets using political hashtags, 17.9 percent of them came from “highly automated” accounts that post 50 or more tweets per day. That ratio only grew higher during the debates, peaking at over 27 percent during the final Clinton/Trump showdown — and it conveniently tanked after the election was over.
The findings suggest a strong slant to the automatic tweeting. For every automated pro-Clinton tweet recorded, there were four or more pro-Trump tweets, the researchers say. Also, most of those Trump tweets (up to 81.9 percent) were mixed with pro-Clinton or neutral hashtags. In short: while the Trump campaign had very few official Twitter accounts, its commanding social network presence wasn’t limited to Facebook.
With that said, the team is quick to acknowledge that its data collection method is inherently limited. Not all of those prolific Twitter users are guaranteed to be bots, for one. Also, this doesn’t include the legions of tweets that didn’t include the hashtags or mention candidates by name. And there’s the very nature of a large-scale study like this to consider. Although there’s a good chance that many of the tweets are exactly as described, it could sometimes be hard to make the distinction between someone discussion a candidate’s views and actively endorsing them. Most are likely endorsements, but it’s hard to say that’s the case for each and every one. The one certainty is that these surges in robotic social networking are unlikely to go away any time soon.
Source: Political Bots
It’s been a brutal week for American democracy but there’s still plenty of face-palmingly bad news from the tech sector to go around. Apple’s trying to bilk its customers out of $300 for a coffee table book, Stephen Hawking figures we’ve got less than a millennium before we completely destroy the Earth and neo-nazis are building an army of “fake black people” with which to harass Twitter users. On the plus side, you’ll be able to take some free online courses from Oxford next year — at least until the Trump brand internment camps open.