Bloomberg: This Far-Right Italian Politician Is Relying on Social Media to Spread Her Message. “[Giorgia] Meloni, 41, is the leader of the Brothers of Italy, a political party with fascist roots that is a junior partner in the center-right coalition assembled by media mogul and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to contest the March 4 national elections. A Bloomberg compilation of polls has the grouping at 36 percent as of Feb. 9—in the lead, but short of the 40 percent needed to form a government. And while support for Meloni’s party hovers at 5 percent, the congresswoman’s social media savvy could boost the coalition’s chances of winning power.”
The Telegraph: Government develops artificial intelligence program to stop online extremism. “The £600,000 software can automatically detect Isil propaganda and stop it from going online, and ministers claim the new tool can detect 94 per cent of Isil propaganda with 99.9 per cent accuracy.” For the purposes of this article, Isil = ISIS, as far as I can tell.
LA Times: Giant advertiser Unilever threatens to pull its ads from Facebook and Google over ‘toxic content’. “One of the world’s largest advertisers is threatening to pull its ads from social sites such as Facebook and YouTube if the tech companies don’t do more to minimize divisive content on their platforms. Unilever’s chief marketing officer, Keith Weed, will call on Silicon Valley on Monday to better police what he describes as a toxic online environment where propaganda, hate speech and disturbing content that exploits children thrive.”
Wired: How religious extremists gamed Facebook to target millions of Britons with far-right propaganda. “From bases in Serbia and Hungary, a network of sites with links to Britain First and crusader organisation Knights Templar International has been filling Facebook with right-wing propaganda.”
Phys.org: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube pressed over terror content. “Terrorists and hate groups continue to get their propaganda onto social media platforms despite efforts by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to shut them down, a US Senate panel heard Wednesday. Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and others have stepped up their use of bots and other methods to fight the artificial intelligence and algorithms the social media giants deploy to screen them out. In addition, they are now turning to smaller platforms and messaging apps with encryption and less ability to police users, like Telegram, Reddit and WhatsApp, though none have offered yet the previous broad reach that Facebook and YouTube have had.”
Engadget: Facebook and Google will testify to Senate over terrorist content. “It’s not just European countries who aren’t satisfied with internet giants’ ability to curb online terrorist content. The US Senate has summoned Facebook, Google (or rather, Alphabet) and Twitter to testify at a January 17th Commerce Committee hearing that will ‘examine the steps’ social networks have been taking to fight the spread of online extremist material. All three have agreed to testify and will send their policy leaders. We’ve asked them if they can comment on the upcoming testimony and will let you know if they can hint at what they’ll say.”
BBC News: Germany starts enforcing hate speech law. “Germany is set to start enforcing a law that demands social media sites move quickly to remove hate speech, fake news and illegal material. Sites that do not remove ‘obviously illegal’ posts could face fines of up to 50m euro (£44.3m). The law gives the networks 24 hours to act after they have been told about law-breaking material.”