Digital Trends: Governments are stepping in to regulate social media, but there may be a better way. “Social media moderation is often about finding a balance between creating a safe online environment and inhibiting free speech. In many cases, the social media platform themselves steps up to protect users, like with Twitter’s recent rule overhaul, or to keep advertisers, like in YouTube’s recent changes after big advertisers boycotted the video platform. But, in other cases, such as Germany’s new hate speech law and a potential new similar European Union law, moderation is government mandated.”
Points: Content moderation is not a panacea: Logan Paul, YouTube, and what we should expect from platforms. “There is an undeniable need, now more than ever, to reconsider the public responsibilities of social media platforms. For too long, platforms have enjoyed generous legal protections and an equally generous cultural allowance, to be ‘mere conduits’ not liable for what users post to them. in the shadow of this protection, they have constructed baroque moderation mechanisms: flagging, review teams, crowdworkers, automatic detection tools, age barriers, suspensions, verification status, external consultants, blocking tools. They all engage in content moderation, but are not obligated to; they do it largely out of sight of public scrutiny, and are held to no official standards as to how they do so. This needs to change, and it is beginning to.”
The Telegraph: Facebook apologises after investigation exposes string of mistakes by moderators . “Facebook has apologised after an investigation found moderators failed to make the right decision almost half the time that deeply offensive posts were reported. The social network admitted to several discrepancies in how it censored posts, after they were brought to light by a ProPublica investigation.”
Gizmodo: Let’s Make Tech CEOs Moderate Their Own Hellish Websites. “In what’s becoming a depressing genre, The Wall Street Journal published a story today profiling the very human moderators who prevent the internet from becoming a completely murder-filled terror and abuse machine. Usually hired as contractors, these workers do the dirty work of reviewing flagged posts for internet giants, spending their days plugged into a non-stop feed of graphic violence, child pornography, animal abuse, and terrorism. In return, they say they’re often left with lasting psychological damage, including PTSD, for low wages and limited counseling—if they’re given any healthcare resources at all.”
BetaNews: Twitter pledges to fix ‘error’ that hides bisexual search results . “Twitter faced criticism over the weekend after it was discovered that the search term ‘bisexual’ appeared to have been blocked. Users noticed that searching for the word returned no news or photo results, leading to claims of censorship and discrimination. The company refers to the issue as ‘an error with search results for certain terms’ and is ‘working quickly to resolve’ it.”
BetaNews: Google Wifi update brings site blocking to parental controls. “An update is rolling out to the Google Wifi app which gives parents greater control over the websites their children can visit. The update adds Site Blocking to Google Wifi’s family controls, making it possible to block more than 8 million sites at the flick of a switch. These are sites that Google has determined are inappropriate for children.”
BBC: YouTube lifts Swazi bare-breasted dancer restrictions. “A spokesperson for the video-sharing platform told the BBC that YouTube allows nudity when ‘culturally relevant or properly contextualised’. Users who had uploaded reed dance videos were angered when it was classified as age-restricted content. YouTube has denied accusations of racism, saying it was keen to be culturally sensitive.