Updates on social media platforms 2020
Updates on social media platforms 2020
LATEST UPDATE: November 25, 2020 - 9:20am
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1 day ago

YouTube stopped One America News Network, one of US President Donald Trump's favored channels, from posting new videos for a week for falsely claiming COVID-19 has a cure, the social media network says Tuesday.

The popular Google-owned site also temporarily stopped OAN from making money from content already online, spokesperson Ivy Choi said.

"After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there's a guaranteed cure," Choi said in a statement.

This is the first time that YouTube has clamped down on OAN, a small, far-right and fiercely partisan outlet that has refused to recognize Joe Biden's victory in the November 3 presidential election and has spread lies about electoral fraud.

According to YouTube policy, OAN has two more strikes before being kicked off the social media platform. — AFP

November 21, 2020

Twitter will hand control of the presidential @POTUS account to Joe Biden when he is sworn in on inauguration day, even if President Donald Trump has not conceded his election loss, US media report.

The social media giant is "actively preparing to support the transition of White House institutional Twitter accounts on January 20th, 2021," Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio tells Politico in an email.

The process is being done in consultation with the National Archives, as it was in 2017, he says. — AFP 

November 19, 2020

More than 200 Facebook content moderators demanded better health and safety protections Wednesday as the social media giant calls the workers back to the office during the pandemic.

A petition signed by the contract workers living in various countries said Facebook should guarantee better conditions or allow the workers to continue their jobs from home.

"After months of allowing content moderators to work from home, faced with intense pressure to keep Facebook free of hate and disinformation, you have forced us back to the office," said the open letter released by the British-based legal activist firm Foxglove.

The letter called on Facebook to "keep moderators and their families safe" by maintaining remote work as much as possible and offering "hazard pay" to those who do come into the office. — AFP

November 13, 2020

The US government announces it would delay enforcement of a ban on TikTok, saying it would comply with a court order in favor of the Chinese-owned social media sensation.

The Trump administration has insisted on the need to ban the fast-growing app, saying it has links to the Chinese government through its parent company ByteDance, and that user data could be obtained by Beijing.

The hit short-form video app -- which has some 100 million users in the US -- was given a reprieve after the Commerce Department said it was holding off on banning it owing to an injunction by a federal judge issued on October 30. — AFP

November 13, 2020

Twitter labeled 300,000 tweets related to the US presidential election as "potentially misleading" in the two weeks surrounding the vote, making up 0.2 percent of election-related posts, the company said Thursday.

The social network said the labels were issued between October 27 and November 11, one week before and after the US presidential election on November 3 -- which Democrat Joe Biden won over incumbent Donald Trump.

Of the 300,000 flagged tweets, 456 were covered over by a warning message and had engagement features limited -- users could not like, retweet or reply to the posts, said Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of legal, policy and trust and safety, in a blog post.

She estimated that 74 percent of people who saw the problematic tweets did so after they had been labeled as misleading or flagged with a warning message, and sharing of the posts, as a result, declined by about 29 percent.

During the election period, Twitter posted messages on American users' pages which were seen 389 million times that "reminded people that election results were likely to be delayed, and that voting by mail is safe and legitimate," Gadde added. — AFP

November 12, 2020

US President Donald Trump's administration says Wednesday it is still working to resolve its security concerns over Chinese-owned app TikTok after the firm sought to delay a deadline to sell its US operations.

Chinese company ByteDance has until Thursday to restructure ownership of the app in the United States to meet national security concerns, but it filed a petition in a Washington court this week asking for a delay.

The company said in a Tuesday statement that it had asked the government for a 30-day extension because of "continual new requests and no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted," but it had not been granted.

On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department said in a statement it "remains focused on reaching a resolution of the national security risks arising from ByteDance's acquisition of Musical.ly."

ByteDance had established TikTok in the United States three years ago by buying Musical.ly — a lip-syncing video app that was already present in the country — and merging the two platforms together.  — AFP

November 7, 2020

Twitter flags as premature posts referring to Joe Biden as "president-elect," as the vote count continued in the knife-edge US election with the Democrat leading Donald Trump in several key states.

Tweets referring to the former vice president with the victor's title and his running mate Kamala Harris as "vice president-elect" were tagged with messages saying counts were not yet final.

"Official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted," read a Twitter message below a post from Democratic Coalition co-founder and podcaster Scott Dworkin using the two titles for Biden and Harris. — AFP

November 4, 2020

Twitter flags a tweet in which President Donald Trump accused Democrats of trying to steal the presidential election.

"We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election," Trump wrote on Twitter moments after Biden told supporters he expected to win.

Twitter labeled the Trump tweet, saying "some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process." — AFP

November 3, 2020

Twitter and Facebook label as "misleading" an election eve post by US President Donald Trump claiming mail-in ballots in the key state of Pennsylvania would lead to "rampant" fraud and street violence.

The US Supreme Court dealt Trump's reelection campaign a blow last week when it ruled to allow mail-in ballots in the swing state to be counted up to three days after the actual election night on November 3.

The Republican leader has been vocal about his opposition to mail-in ballots, often claiming without evidence that the process will be rigged against him. — AFP

October 30, 2020

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday warned of the potential for civil unrest as votes are tallied in a US election that will be "a test" for the social network.

Zuckerberg expressed his concern while describing safeguards against misinformation and voter suppression at the leading social network that are intended to avoid the kinds of deception and abuse that played out four years ago.

"I'm worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or weeks to be finalized there is a risk of civil unrest," said Zuckerberg, who had also been grilled during a session on Capitol Hill earlier this week.

"Given this, companies like ours need to go well beyond what we've done before."

Confusion early this week over political ads at Facebook marred the onset of what was supposed to be a cooling-off period ahead of the US presidential election November 3.

Rival parties complained Facebook was undermining campaign efforts after blunders arose around a ban on new paid political ads being published in the week before Election Day. — AFP

October 20, 2020

Facebook unveils software based on machine learning which the company said was the first to be able to translate from any of 100 languages without relying on English.

The open-source artificial intelligence software was created to help the massive social network deliver content better in 160 languages to its more than two billion users around the world.

"This milestone is a culmination of years of Facebook AI's foundational work in machine translation," research assistant Angela Fan says in a blog post. — AFP

October 16, 2020

Twitter has altered its policy on hacked content after its decision to block a news report critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden provoked Republican fury.

The social media behemoth -- used by hundreds of millions worldwide -- says it would in future only block stolen information which was posted directly by hackers, and label any other information of questionable provenance. — AFP

October 16, 2020

Twitter was working Thursday evening to resolve a global outage of the social media platform used by hundreds of millions worldwide.

The outage marked a new setback for the network, which is fending off accusations of bias over the decision to block a news report critical of Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden.

"We know people are having trouble tweeting and using Twitter. We're working to fix this issue as quickly as possible," a company spokesperson told AFP at 2225 GMT.

Repeated attempts to post a tweet were greeted with the message: "Something went wrong, but don't fret — let's give it another shot."

According to downdetector.com, users on every continent had reported being unable to use the platform, but the outages were concentrated on the east and west coasts of the United States, as well as Japan. — AFP

October 10, 2020

Twitter says it will take down calls for violence starting after polls close on US election day and slap warnings on premature victory claims to fight efforts to undermine the election.

When it comes to a winner in any race, Twitter will require an announcement by an election official or a public projection from at least two authoritative, national news outlets making independent election calls.

The California tech giant will also invite people to add their thoughts to retweets instead of just mindlessly sharing, according to legal lead Vijaya Gadde and product lead Kayvon Beykpour. — AFP

October 7, 2020

A US House of Representatives panel in a report Tuesday accuses four Big Tech firms of acting as "monopolies," calling for sweeping changes to antitrust laws and enforcement that could potentially lead to breakups of the giant firms.

But the report by the House Judiciary Committee failed to win the endorsement of Republican members, highlighting a partisan divide despite widespread criticism of the tech giants.

The 449-page document concludes that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google "engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves."

"Companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons," the report says. —AFP

October 7, 2020

Facebook announces a ban on all accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy group at the leading social network and its image-sharing community Instagram.

"We will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content," the internet titan says in a blog post.

The moves steps up Facebook's efforts to clamp down on misinformation campaigns sometimes endorsed by President Donald Trump, weeks ahead of the November 3 US election. — AFP

October 1, 2020

Turkey enters a new era of tight social media restrictions that threaten to erase the local presence of Facebook and Twitter should they fail to take down contentious posts.

The legislation was rammed through parliament by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AKP party and follows the government's crackdown on opposition newspapers and television channels. — AFP

September 30, 2020

Twitter says a service that monitors tweets for police, alerting them to brewing social justice protests and more, does not break the platform's ban on being used for surveillance.

Twitter defended letting the service, Dataminr, tap into the flow of public tweets to send alerts to police or other government agencies about plans for protests or civil disobedience, such as those involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Twitter prohibits the use of our developer services for surveillance purposes. Period," a spokesman for the San Francisco-based company says in reply to an AFP inquiry.

September 27, 2020

A judge was set to rule Sunday on whether to allow a Trump administration ban on downloads of popular video-sharing app TikTok, which is seeking an injunction to prevent what it said could be a devastating blow.

US District Judge Carl Nichols has promised to consider on an expedited basis the TikTok request to block the president's order before it takes effect at 11:59 pm Sunday (0359 GMT Monday).

The judge in the US capital was reviewing Trump administration claims that Chinese-owned TikTok posed a national security threat, along with the company's denials and its claims that even a temporary ban could do irreparable harm.

US Justice Department and TikTok lawyers agreed to file briefs "under seal," unavailable for public viewing, to avoid disclosing national security and confidential business information.

TikTok, which is owned by China's ByteDance, said in its initial petition that even a temporary ban would "inflict devastating and irreparable harm" on the service. — AFP

September 26, 2020

Facebook says it struck a deal in which Apple agreed to temporarily forgo its cut of revenue from paid events at the leading social network to help pandemic-hit performers earn money during the pandemic.

The social network had asked Apple to skip its usual 30 percent cut of transactions in mobile apps prior to enable the Facebook Live streaming to be used to create, promote and host paid events from concerts and theatrical performances to yoga classes and cooking lessons.

Apple agreed to a respite through the end of the year "after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30 percent App Store tax," Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said in response to an AFP inquiry. — AFP

September 26, 2020

The Trump administration says it would not back down from a plan to ban new US downloads of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, setting up a court showdown ahead of a Sunday deadline.

A Justice Department court filing said it opposes TikTok's petition for an injunction to block the order from President Donald Trump, who has called the Chinese-owned social platform a national security risk.

US District Judge Carl Nichols set a hearing for Sunday at 9 am (1330 GMT) in Washington for TikTok's request to block the president's order before it goes into effect at 11:59 pm Sunday (0359 GMT Monday). — AFP

September 24, 2020

TikTok is urging a federal court to block US President Donald Trump from banning the app, arguing the move is based on election politics rather than legitimate national security concerns.

Attorneys are scheduled to argue the case on Thursday before a judge who will decide whether to put Trump's order on hold until a lawsuit over the ban is resolved. — AFP

September 23, 2020

Web giants including Facebook have struck a deal with advertisers on how to identify harmful content such as hate speech, after an impasse over the issue which led to boycotts of the platform.

The agreement -- which also included Twitter and YouTube -- laid out for the first time a common set of definitions for hateful statements online. — AFP

September 23, 2020

Facebook removes two separate networks — one from China and the other in the Philippines — for violating its policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook Head of Security Policy, says the social media giant took down 155 accounts, 11 pages, nine groups and six Instagram accounts for violating its policy against foreign or government interference.

"This activity originated in China and focused primarily on the Philippines and Southeast Asia more broadly, and also on the United States," Gleicher says.

September 20, 2020

Popular video app TikTok announced Saturday it has proposed an agreement with Oracle as its US technology provider and Walmart as a commercial partner, a potential deal US President Donald Trump touted as "fantastic."

"We are pleased that the proposal by TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart will resolve the security concerns of the US Administration and settle questions around TikTok's future in the US," a spokeswoman for TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, told AFP.

Oracle will become the "trusted technology provider, responsible for hosting all US user data and securing associated computer systems to ensure US national security requirements are fully satisfied," the spokeswoman said. "We are currently working with Walmart on a commercial partnership as well."

She gave few further details about the deal, other than saying that the companies will "maintain and expand" TikTok's global headquarters in the US and create 25,000 new jobs.

Trump had earlier praised the deal as "fantastic." — AFP

September 18, 2020

Negotiators scramble to find a new ownership structure for the popular video app TikTok that would pass muster in both the United States and China.

A deal appeared to be taking shape this week that would allow Silicon Valley-based Oracle to be the US technology partner for TikTok to allay Washington's concerns that the platform could be used for Chinese espionage.

But details of the deal remained unclear. Some reports said Oracle would be a minority stakeholder in TikTok, with the Chinese parent firm ByteDance keeping a majority. — AFP

September 18, 2020

Twitter says it is tightening security of high-profile politicians, campaigns and journalists as a "critical preventative step" ahead of the US presidential election.

Twitter will be implementing more sophisticated systems to detect suspicious activity and ramp up defenses intended to thwart hackers from taking over accounts, according to the social media platform popular with US President Donald Trump.

"Implementing these security measures is a critical preventative step," the tech firm's safety team says in a blog post. — AFP

September 15, 2020

US officials are to consider a bid by tech giant Oracle to become an American partner to the Chinese-owned TikTok video app after it was designated a national security risk.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirms the offer concerning TikTok's US operations after its parent company ByteDance rejected a proposal from Microsoft. — AFP

September 14, 2020

American tech giant Microsoft says its offer to buy TikTok was rejeced, as a deadline looms for the Chinese-owned video app to sell or shut down its US operations.

"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft," it says in a statement.

"We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests," the statement adds. — AFP

September 1, 2020

Facebook threatens to block users and media organizations in Australia from sharing news stories if a government plan to force digital giants to pay for content goes ahead.

Australians would be stopped from posting both local and international news stories on Facebook and Instagram, the company says, claiming the move was "not our first choice" but the "only way to protect against an outcome that defies logic".

In one of the most aggressive moves by any government to curb the power of the US digital giants, the Australian government has drawn up legislation to force Facebook and Google to pay struggling local news organisations for content or face millions of dollars in fines. — AFP

August 28, 2020

China's foreign ministry spokesman warns that Chinese consumers could boycott Apple if the United States bans WeChat as the clock ticks down on a US order to block the popular social app.

US President Donald Trump this month announced a ban from mid-September on WeChat and another Chinese-owned app, TikTok, accusing them of threatening national security, further stoking tensions between Beijing and Washington.

But foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tweeted Friday that "If WeChat is banned, then there will be no reason why Chinese shall keep iPhone and apple products". — AFP

August 28, 2020

US retail giant Walmart says it had teamed with Microsoft to buy TikTok, the Chinese-owned short-form video app that has come under fire from the administration of President Donald Trump.

The app has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing since Trump signed an executive order on August 6 giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with its Chinese parent company ByteDance. 

The president claims TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage. — AFP

August 27, 2020

Facebook has removed accounts of a teenager accused of a deadly shooting spree during protests in the US city of Kenosha, along with pages of a local militia.

The 17-year-old was arrested on murder charges after two people were shot dead and a third wounded during anti-police protests in the Wisconsin city Tuesday night.

"We've designated this shooting as a mass murder and have removed the shooter's accounts from Facebook and Instagram," the internet titan says in response to an AFP inquiry.

August 26, 2020

Facebook says it is speeding up plans to go international with a news tab feature that involves paying publishers for stories delivered through the leading social network.

A Facebook News section that debuted late last year in the US will be expanded in the next six months or so to more countries, with top contenders said to be Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, and India.

"In each country, we'll pay news publishers to ensure their content is available in the new product," Facebook global news partnerships vice president Campbell Brown says in a blog post.

"We will keep building new products and making global investments to help the news industry build long-lasting business models." — AFP

August 25, 2020

Facebook says it would file a legal challenge against a Thai government order to take down a group where pro-democracy activists held discussions about the monarchy, a taboo subject in the country.

A growing tide of youth-led protests has swept Thailand in recent weeks -- buoyed by anger against what many regard as an illegitimate, military-aligned government and an overly powerful royal family.

The private Facebook group, called "Royalist Marketplace", was created in April and had more than a million members before it was taken down on Monday. — AFP

August 22, 2020

Twitter says it is bracing for efforts by President Donald Trump or others to attack the integrity of the US election, as US media reported that Facebook and YouTube were planning defenses of their own.

Trump has used Twitter in particular to stoke unsubstantiated doubts about mail-in voting, just months before Americans are expected to vote by mail in massive numbers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We take the learnings from every recent election around the world and use them to improve our election integrity work," Twitter vice president of public policy Jessica Herrera-Flanigan says. — AFP 

August 21, 2020

TikTok says it has removed more than 380,000 videos in the US this year as part of a part of a mission to "eliminate hate" on the platform.

TikTok also banned some 1,300 accounts for breaking rules against hateful content or behavior, and deleted 64,000 comments on similar grounds, according to the video-snippet sharing sensation.

"These numbers don't reflect a 100 percent success rate in catching every piece of hateful content or behavior, but they do indicate our commitment to action," TikTok US head of safety Eric Han says in a blog post. — AFP

August 18, 2020

TikTok steps up its defense against US accusations that the popular video app is a national security threat, denouncing what it called "rumors and misinformation" about its links to the Chinese government.

The video-snippet sharing service launched an online information hub as its Chinese parent firm faced a deadline set by President Donald Trump to divest TikTok before the app is banned in the United States.

On a web page titled "The Last Sunny Corner of the Internet," TikTok maintained it was setting the record straight about the platform. — AFP

August 13, 2020

Facebook has launched a voting information center as part of its campaign to help millions of voters register for November's US presidential election and counter misinformation.

The hub accessed from the menu on Facebook and Instagram "will serve as a one-stop-shop to give people in the US the tools and information they need to make their voices heard at the ballot box," the social media giant said.

It is the latest effort by the platform to prevent a repeat of the online disinformation that marred the 2016 US election. — AFP

August 11, 2020

Facebook says it has created a new unit devoted to financial services to harmonize payment systems on its platform.

The new group, called Facebook Financial, will be headed by e-commerce veteran David Marcus, who was a president at PayPal before joining the leading social network six years ago.

Marcus is one of the creators of Facebook's digital money network Libra, and heads the team building a Novi digital wallet tailored for the currency. — AFP

August 7, 2020

Beijing on Friday accuses the United States of "arbitrary political manipulation and suppression" after President Donald Trump ordered sweeping restrictions against Chinese social media giants TikTok and WeChat.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin tells a regular press briefing that the US move came at the expense of American users and companies. — AFP

August 7, 2020

US President Donald Trump orders that a ban on interacting with popular social media platform TikTok or its Chinese parent company take effect in 45 days.

"The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security," Trump says in an executive order.

After taking effect, the order will bar "any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd" or any company in which it has an interest. — AFP

August 5, 2020

President Donald Trump defends his demand for the US government to get a piece of the action to let Microsoft or any other company here buy popular China-based social media app TikTok.

Trump's stance was slammed by critics who said it appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.

"We have all the cards, because without us, you can't come into the United States," Trump says during a White House press briefing. — AFP

August 4, 2020

President Donald Trump says that Chinese-owned hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok will be "out of business" in the United States if not sold to a US firm by September 15.

"I set a date of around September 15, at which point it's going to be out of business in the United States," he tells reporters. 

"It'll close down on September 15th unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out a deal." — AFP

August 1, 2020

President Donald Trump says he will bar fast-growing social media app TikTok from the United States as American authorities have raised concerns the service could be used by Chinese intelligence.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump says: "As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States." — AFP

August 1, 2020

The hackers who accessed dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts in mid-July gained access to the system with an attack that tricked a handful of employees into giving up their credentials, according to a company update.

Twitter says in a security update late Thursday that the July 15 incident by bitcoin scammers stemmed from a "spear phishing" attack which deceived employees about the origin of the messages.

The hackers "targeted a small number of employees through a phone spear phishing attack," according to a Twitter Support statement. — AFP

July 18, 2020

Hackers involved in the high-profile hijacking of Twitter accounts earlier this week were young pals with no links to state or organized crime, The New York Times reports.

The attack, which Twitter and federal police are investigating, started with a playful message between hackers on the platform Discord, a chat service popular with gamers, according to the Times.

The paper says it had interviewed four people who participated in the hacking, who shared logs and screenshots backing up their accounts of what happened. — AFP

July 18, 2020

US regulators may question Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg and his right-hand executive to determine if the social network has broken monopoly laws, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday.

The Journal cites unnamed people close to the matter as saying the Federal Trade Commission is considering taking sworn testimony from Zuckerberg and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg as part of a yearlong probe into whether the leading social network has abused its dominance in the market. — AFP

July 16, 2020

Twitter says it is working to fix a "security incident" after scammers hijacked high-profile accounts on Wednesday to dupe people out of money.

"We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter," the messaging platform says in a tweet.

"We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly."

The official Twitter accounts of Apple, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos posted messages attempting to convince people into sending cryptocurrency bitcoin in a massive scam.

The list of hacked accounts grew rapidly to also include Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Uber, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bitcoin specialty firms and many others. — AFP

July 9, 2020

Viral video platform TikTok's withdrawal from Hong Kong is a savvy commercial move that sidesteps thorny privacy issues but it will not shield the app completely from accusations of collusion with China, experts say.

As Facebook, Twitter and other US tech giants risk angering China by refusing to share Hong Kong user data, Chinese-owned TikTok has also portrayed an image of principle by pulling out of the territory. 

The moves were triggered by China's imposition of a security law on Hong Kong last week aimed at quashing a democracy movement, and gives police new powers to censor the internet. —  AFP

July 8, 2020

US President Donald Trump says he is considering banning the wildly popular video-sharing app TikTok as a way to punish China over the coronavirus pandemic, remarks China described Wednesday as "a malicious smear".

TikTok has been caught up in the escalating disputes between the United States and China, with the Chinese-owned firm accused of acting as a spying tool for Beijing -- an allegation it denies.

"It's something we're looking at," Trump says during a TV interview when asked about a possible ban, according to Bloomberg News. — AFP

July 8, 2020

Organizers of a Facebook ad boycott on Tuesday vow to continue their campaign, saying the social network's top executives have failed to offer meaningful action on curbing hateful content.

At a virtual meeting that included Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, the #StopHateForProfit coalition "didn't hear anything today to convince us that Zuckerberg and his colleagues are taking action," says Jessica Gonzalez of the activist group Free Press, one of the coalition members.

"Instead of committing to a timeline to root out hate and disinformation on Facebook, the company's leaders delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands." — AFP

July 7, 2020

TikTok says it is stopping its popular video snippet-sharing app from working in Hong Kong due to "recent events."

The move by TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, comes as Facebook, Google and Twitter put a hold on requests by Hong Kong's government or police force for information on users, following China's imposition of a sweeping new security law. — AFP

June 30, 2020

TikTok denies Tuesday sharing Indian users' data with the Chinese government, after New Delhi banned the wildly popular app in a sharp deterioration of relations with Beijing two weeks after a deadly border clash.

"TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government," TikTok India chief Nikhil Gandhi say in a statement.

"Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity," he said, adding that it had been invited to a meeting with the Indian government "for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications".

TikTok is owned by China's ByteDance and was one of 59 Chinese mobile apps banned late Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. — AFP

June 27, 2020

Facebook says it would ban a "wider category of hateful conduct" in ads as the embattled social media giant moved to respond to widening protests over its handling of inflammatory posts.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg also says Facebook would add tags to posts that are "newsworthy" but violate platform rules -- following the lead of Twitter, which has used such labels on tweets from President Donald Trump. — AFP

June 26, 2020

Facebook says it was looking to add notifications about the source of coronavirus-related posts and will warn users when they share stories that are more than 90 days old.

The moves aim to add more context to stories shared on the leading social network and seek to stem the flow of misinformation.

Facebook Vice President John Hegeman says in a blog post the social media giant would be seeking to direct people to "authoritative" information about the COVID-19 outbreak through its hub on the pandemic. — AFP

June 24, 2020

Twitter hides a tweet from President Donald Trump in which he threatens to use "serious force" against protestors in the US capital, saying it broke rules over abusive content.

The move appears to be the first by Twitter against the president for an "abusive" tweet. In a growing dispute, the platform has recently labeled other Trump tweets as misleading and violating its standards on promoting violence.

"There will never be an 'Autonomous Zone' in Washington, D.C., as long as I'm your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!" Trump tweeted.

The action by Twitter requires users to click through to read the Trump tweet, with a tag on the message that it "violated the Twitter rules about abusive behavior" but that it would remain accessible "in the public's interest." — AFP

June 19, 2020

A lawsuit filed this week in US federal court accuses YouTube of discriminating against African American video makers and viewers by factoring in race when it comes to filtering or monetizing content.

The suit filed in a courthouse in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose on Tuesday seeks class action status and names as defendants the leading video sharing platform and its parent companies Google and Alphabet.

"Under the pretext of finding that videos violate some vague, ambiguous, and non- specific video content rule, defendants use computer driven racial, identity and viewpoint profiling and filtering tools to restrict, censor, and denigrate" blacks, the suit argued. — AFP

June 19, 2020

Facebook has removed ads by President Donald Trump's campaign containing a symbol used by Nazi Germany, the latest move in a heated battle over inflammatory political content on social media.

The leading social network, which has drawn fire over its hands-off approach to political speech in recent months, said the campaign messages with an inverted red triangle and used in Nazi camps violated a policy against "organized hate" and were taken down.

"We don't allow symbols that represent hateful organizations or hateful ideologies unless they are put up with context or condemnation," Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher says at a House of Representatives committee hearing. — AFP

June 19, 2020

Facebook removes ads by US President Donald Trump's campaign containing a symbol used by Nazi Germany, the latest move in a heated battle over inflammatory political content on social media.

The leading social network, which has drawn fire over its hands-off approach to political speech in recent months, says the campaign messages with an inverted red triangle and used in Nazi camps violated a policy against "organized hate" and were taken down.

"We don't allow symbols that represent hateful organizations or hateful ideologies unless they are put up with context or condemnation," Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher says at a House of Representatives committee hearing.

"That's what we saw in this case with this ad, and anywhere that that symbol is used we would take the same actions." — AFP

June 18, 2020

Twitter says it is adding an option to speak tweets of up to 140 seconds in length instead of just writing posts.

Voice tweets will be rolled out for the Twitter application tailored for Apple mobile devices in the coming weeks, according to a post by product designer Maya Patterson and senior software engineer Remy Bourgoin.

"Sometimes 280 characters aren't enough and some conversational nuances are lost in translation," Patterson and Bourgoin said.

"So starting today, we're testing a new feature that will add a more human touch to the way we use Twitter -- your very own voice." — AFP

June 15, 2020

Facebook rejects calls from the Australian government and news companies that it share advertising revenue with the media, suggesting it would rather cut news content from its platform.

The US tech giant says in a submission to Australia's competition watchdog that news represents a "very small fraction" of the content in an average user's news feed.

"If there were no news content available on Facebook in Australia, we are confident the impact on Facebook’s community metrics and revenues in Australia would not be significant," it says in a thinly veiled threat to boycott local news companies. — AFP

June 6, 2020

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg promises to review the social network's policies that led to its decision to not moderate controversial messages posted by US President Donald Trump.

The announcement, which came in the form of a letter to employees, appeared aimed at quelling anger inside the company that was so severe it prompted some to quit.

The outrage was sparked when Zuckerberg said Facebook would not remove or flag Trump's recent posts that appeared to encourage violence against those protesting police racism. — AFP

June 2, 2020

Twitter says it is "actively investigating" the #dcblackout hashtag after online accounts pushed false and misleading tweets during a night of unrest in Washington over the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Twitter says it has "suspended hundreds of spammy accounts" under its platform manipulation policy.

A spokesman for the company also says, "We're taking action proactively on any coordinated attempts to disrupt the public conversation around this issue." — AFP

April 30, 2020

Facebook reports a jump in usage and higher revenues as the global pandemic unfolded, sparking a rally in shares even as the social network warned of an uncertain outlook.

Facebook shares jumped more than 10 percent after the leading social network reported profit of $4.9 billion on revenue that grew 17 percent to $17.4 billion during the first three months of this year.

Ranks of monthly active users grew 10 percent to 2.6 billion for its core social network

"With people relying on our services more than ever, we're focused on keeping people safe, informed and connected," Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said. — AFP

April 25, 2020

Facebook takes aim at videoconferencing startup Zoom with virtual "rooms" where friends can pop in for visits via online video as part of an effort to help users locked down during the pandemic.

Messenger Rooms is tailored for socializing with friends and family whether it be birthdays, happy hours, book clubs or parents groups, in contrast with Zoom, developed with business in mind.

"This is designed to be more serendipitous and spontaneous," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says. 

The launch comes amid a surge in Zoom use not only for business meetings but family and social gatherings moved online due to the health crisis. — AFP

The latest news about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.

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