South China Morning Post: Liberal Chinese social media site Douban tightens verification of overseas users as censorship intensifies

South China Morning Post: Liberal Chinese social media site Douban tightens verification of overseas users as censorship intensifies. “Douban, a Chinese social media platform once known as a haven for relatively liberal discussions, now requires overseas users to provide a mainland mobile phone number or an official identity document to continue using the site, as it comes under growing pressure from Beijing to strengthen content control.”

Reuters: Think tank calls for EU database to help trace oligarchs’ assets

Reuters: Think tank calls for EU database to help trace oligarchs’ assets. “The European Union should create an asset database to help to track down the owners of assets held by shell companies and make EU sanctions against Russian oligarchs more effective, a think tank said on Wednesday. The 27-nation EU has imposed restrictions on 877 individuals, including wealthy Russian oligarchs and other prominent business people, over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

The Guardian: Johnson announces terms of reference for Covid inquiry

The Guardian: Johnson announces terms of reference for Covid inquiry. “Boris Johnson has promised bereaved families will have their voices heard, as he published wide-ranging terms of reference for the public inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister bowed to pressure last year and announced the inquiry, which will be chaired by the retired judge Lady Hallett.”

Journal of High Technology Law: Escaping to the…‘Metaverse’?: Facebook Looks to Overshadow Their Poor Consumer Protection With A Company Rebrand

Journal of High Technology Law: Escaping to the…‘Metaverse’?: Facebook Looks to Overshadow Their Poor Consumer Protection With A Company Rebrand. “While Facebook may be the first tech giant to launch into the metaverse, it will not be long before others follow suit; therefore, I suggest a more universal solution to the problems that have been revealed in Facebook’s scandals. My proposed solution consists of three prongs: (1) allow users when signing up for social media platforms to select what data is shared; (2) create a comprehensive set of regulations that are specifically designed for the metaverse; and (3) regularly conducted audits by third parties on tech giants.”

The Conversation: ‘Virtual influencers’ are here, but should Meta really be setting the ethical ground rules?

The Conversation: ‘Virtual influencers’ are here, but should Meta really be setting the ethical ground rules? . “Interest in virtual influencers has rapidly expanded over the past five years, attracting huge audiences on social media and partnerships with major brands, including Audi, Bose, Calvin Klein, Samsung, and Chinese e-commerce platform TMall. A competitive industry specialising in the production, management and promotion of virtual influencers has already sprung up, although it remains largely unregulated…. There is an urgent need for ethical guidelines, both to help producers and their brand partners navigate this new terrain, and more importantly to help users understand the content they’re engaging with.”

Report: US ISPs Aren’t Transparent About Prices And Speeds, And Regulators Generally Don’t Care (Techdirt)

Techdirt: Report: US ISPs Aren’t Transparent About Prices And Speeds, And Regulators Generally Don’t Care . “By now we’ve well established that regional monopolization, limited competition, and the (state and federal) corruption that enables both (aka regulatory capture) are why US broadband is spotty, expensive, and slow. With neither competent regulatory oversight nor meaningful competition to drive improvements, regional dominant broadband providers simply… don’t bother.”

CNET: Facebook says it can’t keep up with oversight board’s recommendations

CNET: Facebook says it can’t keep up with oversight board’s recommendations. “Facebook says it can’t keep up with the recommendations its oversight board is producing and wants changes to the process. In a report released Tuesday, the giant social network says it wants to work with the quasi-independent body to ‘improve the recommendation process.’ The company, which recently rebranded as Meta, didn’t detail what changes it might be seeking but said it had spoken with the board.”

Axios: Groups launch “How to Stop Facebook” effort

Axios: Groups launch “How to Stop Facebook” effort. “The more than 30 groups involved include Accountable Tech, Article 19, Center for Digital Democracy, Fairplay, Global Voices, Media Justice, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Presente, Public Knowledge, United We Dream, Ranking Digital Rights, SumOfUs, Win Without War, and the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center. Between the lines: The groups aren’t being subtle about their goal. The campaign page calls for a law ‘strong enough to end Facebook’s current business model.’”

Watchdog Turns 100 but Keeps Barking: Help Us Celebrate Our 100th Birthday—Virtually (Government Accountability Office)

Government Accountability Office: Watchdog Turns 100 but Keeps Barking: Help Us Celebrate Our 100th Birthday—Virtually. “In celebration of our 100th birthday, we will host a virtual event on Wednesday, July 14, starting at 1 p.m. The online ceremony will mark a century of nonpartisan, fact-based work for Congress, which began at GAO on July 1, 1921. Our event will include video tributes from Members of Congress, historical perspectives from the current Comptroller General Gene Dodaro and 2 of his predecessors, as well as remarks from various GAO executives. We are excited to highlight the contributions of our diverse staff to our agency’s mission and future direction.” The event will be livestreamed on YouTube.

Lawfare Blog: Is the Facebook Oversight Board an International Human Rights Tribunal?

Lawfare Blog: Is the Facebook Oversight Board an International Human Rights Tribunal?. “Key Oversight Board design features—such as its ability to issue binding rulings and nonbinding recommendations, as well as the standards it applies—resemble those of international human rights tribunals. In addition, the board is developing answers to procedural questions that resemble the responses these institutions have adopted. The Trump decision also reveals that the board faces challenges to its authority and legitimacy similar to those that new international review bodies have confronted.”

Bloomberg Quint: Google Pressured on Racial Equity Audit After AI Ethics Collapse

BloombergQuint: Google Pressured on Racial Equity Audit After AI Ethics Collapse. “An influential racial justice group called on Google to allow independent auditors to investigate the company’s business for potential discriminatory conduct. Color of Change is urging the internet search giant to undergo a racial equity audit of its operations following the ouster of two women who led the company’s Ethical AI team.”

Politico: Facebook’s ‘supreme court’ struggles to set global free speech rules

Politico: Facebook’s ‘supreme court’ struggles to set global free speech rules. “Roughly two months since a group of outside experts started ruling on what people could post on Facebook, cracks in the so-called Oversight Board are already starting to show. So far, the independent body of human rights experts, free speech supporters and legal scholars that rules on what content Facebook must take down or put back up has reversed the social media giant’s decisions in four out of its first five cases.”

News .com .au: ACCC examining whether choice screens for search engines on smartphones should be compulsory

News .com .au: ACCC examining whether choice screens for search engines on smartphones should be compulsory. “The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is asking for submissions from smartphone users and industry participants to inform a report it will hand to the federal government in September, which will examine the fairness of competition among search engines in handheld devices.”