ZDNet: WhatsApp banned nearly half a million accounts during Brazilian elections

ZDNet: WhatsApp banned nearly half a million accounts during Brazilian elections. “Messaging app WhatsApp reported banning more than 400,000 accounts that breached its terms of service in Brazil during last year’s general elections. The information was disclosed by the company in a document submitted to authorities to support an investigation into the spread of misinformation during the presidential campaign.”

The Next Web: Why some accounts are getting banned for ‘suspicious’ group names on WhatsApp

The Next Web: Why some accounts are getting banned for ‘suspicious’ group names on WhatsApp. “Yesterday, GizChina reported some WhatsApp users are getting banned for ‘suspicious’ group names. According to a Reddit thread, a user changed a university group name to something that was indicative of child sexual abuse.”

Neowin: WhatsApp Business app gains catalog feature to help small firms

Neowin: WhatsApp Business app gains catalog feature to help small firms. “In order to make small firms sell goods more easily, WhatsApp has added a new feature to its WhatsApp Business app called catalogs. Catalogs are accessible via a business’s profile page and users can scroll through the different products to see a description and price. This will cut out the need for back and forward messaging between customers and businesses.”

CNN: Facebook sues surveillance company NSO Group over alleged WhatsApp hack

CNN: Facebook sues surveillance company NSO Group over alleged WhatsApp hack. “The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, alleges that NSO Group was responsible for a security flaw that allowed potential hackers to install spyware through a phone call, first reported in May by the Financial Times. Targeted victims didn’t need to pick up the phone or take any action to get infected, and it affected both iPhones and Android devices.”

Mongabay: Holding social media companies accountable for facilitating illegal wildlife trade (commentary)

Mongabay: Holding social media companies accountable for facilitating illegal wildlife trade (commentary). “Facebook, and other social media firms, mainly rely on algorithms and artificial intelligence to moderate harmful content. But investigations by the Alliance to Counter Crime Online (ACCO) show time and again how these algorithms actually connect traffickers faster than moderators can remove them. They suggest friends and recommend groups, putting illicit actors in touch with one another, continually expanding networks of users engaging in similar illegal activities.”

Columbia Journalism Review: India had its first ‘WhatsApp election.’ We have a million messages from it

Columbia Journalism Review: India had its first ‘WhatsApp election.’ We have a million messages from it. “At the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, we used the Indian election cycle, which ran between April 11 and May 19, 2019, as a case study for assessing both general political discourse and information manipulation on WhatsApp. With no APIs, tools, or best practices in place to help outsiders tap into ongoing activity inside closed groups, we devised a strategy to monitor a subset of the political conversation, over a period of three and a half months. The study’s resulting data set—which grew to over a terabyte in size—contains 1.09 million messages, retrieved by joining 1,400 chat groups related to politics in the country.”

BBC: Lebanon scraps WhatsApp tax as protests rage

BBC: Lebanon scraps WhatsApp tax as protests rage. “The Lebanese government has backtracked on plans to tax WhatsApp calls as protests rage over the government’s handling of an economic crisis. It had announced a new $0.20 (£0.16) daily charge on voice calls made through Facebook-owned WhatsApp and other similar apps.”