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Saturday 1st April, 2023

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Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Twitter, Facebook

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The order comes after Twitter labelled the president’s tweets about mail-in ballots for containing “potentially misleading information.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that takes aim at social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The order came after Twitter labelled Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots for containing “potentially misleading information.”

Signing the executive order doesn’t change how Twitter and Facebook operate, at least not for now. Instead, it calls for the government to clarify a federal law that shields online companies from liability for content posted by users, according to a draft of the order leaked Wednesday.

Trump built anticipation for the order with a tweet earlier Thursday.

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” he wrote.

An apparent draft of the order was circulated to media outlets like Reuters and Protocol late Wednesday. Kate Klonick, an assistant legal professor at St. John’s University School of Law, also said she had a draft, which she posted on Twitter.

The draft order instructed the Commerce Department to ask the Federal Communications Commission to call a rule-making proceeding to rethink Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act from 1996, which protects online platforms from liability for content posted by users. It also gave the Federal Trade Commission responsibility for investigating complaints of political bias and determining if tech companies’ content moderation policies conflict with their pledges for neutrality.

The FCC didn’t have a statement about the order before it was finalized.

Trump’s move came after Twitter added labels to two of his tweets in which he claimed that mail-in election ballots would be “fraudulent.” Clicking on Twitter’s label brings you to a page with tweets from news outlets that state mail-in ballots are rarely linked to voter fraud and Trump’s claims are “unsubstantiated.”

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Trump also falsely stated in his tweets that California will send mail-in ballots to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there.” Only registered voters will receive ballots.

On Wednesday night, Twitter boss Jack Dorsey responded to criticism of his company’s executives over the labels.

“Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this,” he wrote. “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”

Dorsey also added that labelling Trump’s tweets don’t make Twitter an “arbiter of truth.” Trump’s tweets, he said, might “mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot.”

Twitter’s approach contrasts with Facebook, which didn’t label Trump’s remarks about mail-in ballots. Facebook typically doesn’t send posts and ads from politicians to its third-party fact-checkers. In interviews that aired on Fox News and CNBC, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that political speech is already heavily scrutinized and he thinks internet platforms shouldn’t be “arbiters of truth.”

While the executive order calls out Facebook, Twitter and Google for censoring political speech, some experts say Trump has actually benefited from current interpretations of Section 230.

“Section 230 incentivizes platforms to host all sorts of content without fear of being held liable for it. It enables speech, not censorship,” said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Kate Ruane in a statement Thursday. “If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Donald Trump’s lies, defamation, and threats.”

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                                                                                                                                                     **Source: cnet

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Meta To Spend $14million On Mark Zuckerberg’s Personal Security

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Mark Zuckerberg, META CEO

Meta says it is increasing the amount of money it spends on Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security by $4 million, taking the total to $14 million.

Techspot reports that this comes as the company eliminates thousands of jobs and its CEO talks about 2023 being the “year of efficiency.”

Meta revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the annual pre-tax allowance to cover Zuckerberg’s security costs has increased from $10 million, which had stayed the same since 2018, to $14 million.

Last week, Meta’s board of directors decided that the 40% increase was “appropriate and necessary under the circumstances.”

Meta said that the higher amount was “to address safety concerns due to specific threats to his safety arising directly as a result of his position as Meta’s founder, Chairman, and CEO.”

The $14 million per year is to pay for “additional personnel, equipment, services, residential improvements, or other security-related costs” for Zuckerberg and his family.

That’s a lot of money, but the final figure for keeping Meta’s CEO safe will be even higher as the filing doesn’t include other security expenses.

Last year, the company spent $16.8 million protecting Zuck on top of the $10 million allowance for a total of $26.8 million, and it spent $23.44 million protecting its founder in 2020.

Most big tech companies spend a lot of money keeping their CEOs and other top execs safe, but Zuckerberg’s costs exceed all others by a wide margin.

Meta spending millions of dollars to keep its boss and his family safe is unlikely to please the 11,000 people the company has laid off recently, a move that the CEO took accountability for.

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Zuckerberg’s talk of Meta becoming leaner while calling 2023 the “year of efficiency” now rings slightly hollow, too.

Meta’s filing also notes that its founder has a salary of just $1 per year, but his shares in the company mean his earnings are much higher.

Zuckerberg might not be in Bloomberg’s top ten billionaires list anymore, but his $64.2 billion fortune makes him the 18th richest person in the world.

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WhatsApp Adds New Status Features

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Meta is adding several new features to WhatsApp status, which lets users post disappearing pictures and other media, reports The Verge.

Once the features roll out over the coming weeks, you’ll be able to react to people’s posts with an emoji, limit who can see your status, and post voice messages.

According to an announcement post, the status emoji reactions work similar to how they do on Instagram; when you swipe up on the post, you get the option to choose from one of eight emojis. (The options are 😍,😂,😮,😥,🙏,👏,🎉, and 💯.)

While a WhatsApp blog post calls emoji reactions the No. 1 requested feature after it launched the ability to react to messages last year, analysts feel the Private Audience Selector is the most useful addition announced today.

The feature lets you change who can see your statuses, with the option to show it to everyone, hide it from certain contacts, or only show it to specific people.

According to Meta, the options you pick will be the default for the next status you post, but you’ll be able to change it without changing the visibility of past statuses.

Other features are small quality-of-life improvements. Statuses that include links will also be more visually appealing — Meta says there’ll now be previews for the site or page that the link will take you to.

WhatsApp is also trying to make it clearer when people post status by adding a ring around their profile picture in the chat lists, group participant lists, and contact info screens.

ALSO READ  Facebook Acquires Giphy To Integrate With Instagram

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Meta To Open Operation Centre For 2023 Elections In Nigeria

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Meta has announced plans to activate an elections operations centre for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook stated that it was investing in people and technology to reduce the spread of misinformation and remove harmful content across its apps.

This it said is to help ensure a safe and secure general election in the country.

The social media giant disclosed this in a post titled, ‘How Meta is Preparing for Nigeria’s 2023 General Elections’ by its Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze.

It stated that its work towards the elections would continue in the lead-up to, during, and after the vote.

“As Election Day approaches, we will activate a Nigeria-specific Elections Operations Centre focused on identifying potential threats across our apps and technologies in real-time, accelerating our response time.

“This initiative will bring together experts from across our company on our intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, public policy and legal teams,” the statement disclosed.

Meta explained that part of its strategy to combat misinformation and false news would involve removing serious kinds of misinformation from Facebook and Instagram, such as content that could contribute to imminent violence or physical harm, or intended to suppress voting.

It stated that for the Nigerian elections, it would remove photos and videos shared out of context that falsely depict ballot stuffing, acts of violence, or weapons.

It said that it was working with independent fact-checking organisations such as AFP, Africa Check, Dubawa, and Reuters.

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