Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)
Microsoft, however, has not announced its participation in the broader advertisement boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands.
Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:44 AM IST
Microsoft which spent more than $115 million on Facebook ads last year is reportedly pausing advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. According to a report in Axios on Tuesday, the Windows maker is concerned about ads running alongside “inappropriate content” such as hate speech and pornography.
The software giant, however, has not announced its participation in the broader ad boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands. Microsoft had suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in May. “Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook’s policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now,” said the report citing internal Microsoft posts. Microsoft was yet to make the move official.
“Based on concerns we had back in May we suspended all media spending on Facebook/Instagram in the US and we’ve subsequently suspended all spending on Facebook/Instagram worldwide,” Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela reportedly said in an internal post on enterprise social network Yammer. “The timeline on resuming our media spending is dependent on the positive actions they take, but I expect our pause will continue through August,” Capossela added. Microsoft earlier paused spending on Google’s YouTube over similar concerns.
Reliance Jio has announced a special offer for its JioFiber users, specifically for the ones using the company’s set-top box. Jio is offering free access to premium content on Zee5 streaming service. Customers availing the offer get access to the entire library of premium content available across multiple languages and genres. Zee5 premium subscription is said to offer 1.25 lakh hours of on-demand content and over 100 live TV channels. Jio Fiber users get unlimited access to Zee5 premium content on Silver quarterly and above plans.
HOW TO GET ZEE5 COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS
The offer will be available to both new and existing JioFiber users who opted for the Jio set-top box. All users recharging with the quarterly or annual silver plans will get access to Zee5 premium content by default without the need to login. New JioFiber users on a monthly Silver plan will get access to Zee5 premium content for the first three recharges only. Existing users active on a Silver quarterly or above plan will also be able to get access to the complimentary service.
While all Gold plan subscribers also get access to the complimentary Zee5 premium content. However, Reliance Jio suggests that opting for Gold plan gives users a wide range of benefits including higher speeds, more broadband data and access to a bouquet of premium OTTs.
Here are all the details of the JioFiber Gold plan:
-Data Speeds of up to 250Mbps
-Unlimited Internet (Up to 1,750GB data monthly)
-Unlimited Voice Calling
-Access to Premium OTT applications – Zee5, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, SonyLiv, SunNxt, Voot, AltBalaji, Lionsgate, HoiChoi, Shemaroome, JioCinema & JioSaavn
-Unlimited Video Calling & Conferencing (TV Video Calling also included)
In India, 97.8 per cent people now use video chat to feel more connected and 65.4 per cent use it multiple times a day, the report further said.
Last Updated: June 24, 2020, 5:02 PM IST
As content streaming picks up pace in the lockdown times, Indian consumers are now engaged with online video across the spectrum for an average of five hours and 16 minutes every day which is highest globally, a new report revealed on Wednesday. Consumers worldwide watch over four hours of online video every day with highest daily viewing in India, according to Limelight Networks, a leading digital content delivery platform.
In India, 97.8 per cent people now use video chat to feel more connected and 65.4 per cent use it multiple times a day, the findings showed. “In the past several months, there have been dramatic changes and new behaviours in online video consumption of all types. Covid-19 has proven that Indians are always ready to adapt to the new technology,” said Ashwin Rao, Sales Director, Limelight Networks.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has also pushed streaming beyond entertainment and news. People are increasingly using online video to connect with others and get important information,” he added. As streaming becomes the new normal riding on cheap data plans, a whopping two-thirds (64.3 per cent) of Indian consumers had their first e-sports experience during the pandemic.
With other live events cancelled as well, more than two-thirds (68.8 per cent) of Indian respondents also attended their first virtual concert. Exercising is also going online. In line with the trend, 55.6 per cent Indians said that they had participated in an online fitness class and another 26.8 per cent plan to do so in the next six months. Consumers are using online video to access critical information.
Most people (91.7 per cent) have used online video to stay informed by watching live stream speeches and press conferences during the pandemic. While 70.3 per cent people livestreamed content on news sites, 21.4 percent of the respondents livestreamed content on social media. Even Baby Boomers (63 per cent) now tune into live-streamed news and information online.
As the pandemic has forced consumers to work remotely, 93.8 per cent of people agree that online video equips them to maintain daily activities. One third (30.8 per cent) of Indian consumers have been offered the ability to work from home for the first time and say online video helps them stay connected to colleagues (23.3 per cent) and work more efficiently (50 per cent).
More than half (67.3 percent) have or plan to use online video for professional development or to learn a new skill, said the report. The pandemic has also sparked a rapid increase in telehealth in India. About half (45.8 per cent) of the respondents met their doctor virtually. “This trend is expected to last beyond the pandemic with one-third (34.6 percent) of global respondents planning to hold telehealth appointments in the next six months,” said the report.
The Project Protect is a renewed commitment and investment from the Technology Coalition expanding its scope and impact to protect and guide kids online, Facebook said.
Last Updated: June 11, 2020, 3:57 PM IST
In a bid to fight child exploitation online, Facebook on Thursday joined Google, Microsoft and 15 other tech companies to announce the formation of Project Protect to combat child sexual abuse on its platforms. Project Protect is a renewed commitment and investment from the Technology Coalition expanding its scope and impact to protect kids online and guide its work for the next 15 years, the social networking giant said in a statement.
“Project Protect brings together the brightest minds from across the tech industry to tackle a grave issue that no one company can solve on its own – child exploitation and abuse. Facebook is proud to help lead this initiative,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO. Project Protect will focus on five key areas: tech innovation, collective action, independent research, information and knowledge sharing, and transparency and accountability.
Facebook said it has made its photo and video-matching technologies open source, which allows industry partners, developers and non-profits to more easily identify abusive content and share digital fingerprints of harmful content and allow hash-sharing systems to communicate with each other.
“We have also taken steps across our apps to make the broader internet safer for children. This includes running PhotoDNA on links shared on all our apps from other Internet sites and their associated content to detect known child exploitation housed elsewhere on the internet,” said Antigone Davis, Facebook Global Head of Safety.
It also helps keep the broader internet safer as all violating content is shared with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) who work with local law enforcement around the world. Last month, Facebook announced a new safety feature in Messenger that provides tips for spotting suspicious activity, encourages people under the age of 18 to be cautious when interacting with an adult they may not know, and empowers them to block or ignore someone when something doesn’t seem right.
Most of the content moderators are employed by third-party vendors, the report further said.
Last Updated: June 10, 2020, 3:33 PM IST
Tasked with reviewing about three million posts a day, Facebook moderators make about three lakh mistakes in 24 hours in deciding what should stay online and what should be taken down, said a new report. At present, about 15,000 workers police Facebook’s main platform and its Instagram subsidiary, said the report from New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
The number of blunders was derived on the basis of a statement made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a white paper in November 2018. The Facebook CEO admitted that moderators “make the wrong call in more than one out of every 10 cases.”
Most of these workers are employed by third-party vendors, said the report, adding that the frequently chaotic outsourced environments in which moderators work impinge on their decision making. The research found that to efficiently sanitise the platform, Facebook needs to end outsourcing of content moderation and double the number of people who moderate the content on a daily basis.
“The peripheral status of moderators undercuts their receiving adequate counselling and medical care for the psychological side effects of repeated exposure to toxic online content,” said the report titled “Who Moderates the Social Media Giants?” A Call to End Outsourcing”.
“Watching the worst social media has to offer leaves many moderators emotionally debilitated. Too often, they don’t get the support or benefits they need and deserve,” said the report authored by Paul M. Barrett, Deputy Director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. The author recommended that Facebook needs to significantly expand fact-checking to debunk misinformation.
Several current and former Facebook employees have criticized Zuckerberg’s inaction over controversial posts from the US President on glorifying violence.
Last Updated: June 6, 2020, 10:45 AM IST
CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday tried to address growing unrest among the employees over the poor handling of controversial posts by US President Donald Trump, saying the company has started a workstream for building products to advance racial justice. Several current and former Facebook employees have criticized Zuckerberg’s inaction over controversial posts from the US President on glorifying violence, calling him to start fact-checking world leaders and labelling harmful posts.
In a memo, the Facebook CEO said that he believes his platforms would help “overcome racial injustice in America and around the world”. “I stand with you. Your lives matter. Black lives matter,” he stressed. The memo comes at a time when Facebook employees have slammed Zuckerberg for not taking action on posts by Trump in the wake of the death of African-American George Floyd. There have been some resignations too at the company over his inaction.
“I know many of you think we should have labelled the President’s posts in some way last week. Our current policy is that if the content is actually inciting violence, then the right mitigation is to take that content down — not let people continue seeing it behind a flag,” Zuckerberg said, adding that there is no exception to this policy for politicians or newsworthiness.
While Twitter put out a “public interest notice” on Trump tweet for violating the platform’s policies about glorifying violence, Facebook refused to take action when the tweet was cross-posted to its platform. He said that the company is also going to review its existing policies, including how its treats content dealing with the use of police or state force and treats content in countries where there is civil unrest or violent conflicts.
“We’re going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt,” he said, adding that given the sensitive history in the US, “this deserves special consideration”. “We already have precedents for imposing greater restrictions during emergencies and when countries are in ongoing states of conflict, so there may be additional policies or integrity measures to consider around discussion or threats of state use of force when a country is in this state,” he noted.
Zuckerberg mentioned that the company is going to review its policies around voter suppression to make sure it is taking into account the realities of voting in the midst of a pandemic. Additionally, he said Facebook is going to work on establishing a clearer and more transparent decision-making process. “More broadly, we’re going to review whether we need to change anything structurally to make sure the right groups and voices are at the table — not only when decisions affecting a certain group are being made,” Zuckerberg said.
The closure of TopBuzz underlines how ByteDance’s moves into international markets have not been entirely smooth in spite of TikTok’s success.
Last Updated: June 5, 2020, 2:43 PM IST
ByteDance, the owner of the global hit short-video app TikTok, has shut down its artificial-intelligence-based news aggregator TopBuzz, one of the company’s earliest products aimed at the global stage. “We’re proud of the work that we accomplished with TopBuzz, but (we) have determined that other areas of the business should be our priority going forward,” ByteDance said in a statement sent to Reuters on Friday. The closure of TopBuzz underlines how ByteDance’s moves into international markets have not been entirely smooth in spite of TikTok’s success.
Launched in 2015, TopBuzz was the overseas equivalent of Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, meaning “Today’s Headlines”, which was one of Beijing-based ByteDance’s first successes. The app recommends personalized news articles to users with different interests based on its AI-driven algorithms. However, TopBuzz was not as popular as the later TikTok app. TopBuzz’s downloads declined to 1.2 million in the first half of 2019 from 7 million in all of 2018 on the App Store and Google Play combined, according to researcher Sensor Tower. TikTok had 345.2 million downloads in the first half of 2019.
TopBuzz began shrinking its operations last year, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The app used to have operations in multiple languages including Spanish and Portuguese, one of the sources said. But now its website only shows English and Japanese versions. ByteDance is currently under a U.S national security inquiry into TikTok’s handling of user data, and also facing tightened scrutiny from regulators around the world.
President Donald Trump listens as he receives a briefing in the Oval Office of the White House. (AP)
Trump’s actions seek to blunt Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which generally protects internet companies from legal liability for user comments.
Last Updated: May 29, 2020, 10:16 AM IST
Two days after Twitter inserted fact checks into US President Donald Trump’s tweets, Trump hit back against social media platforms with an executive order on “preventing online censorship” and skewering Twitter for “political bias”. Trump’s actions seek to blunt Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which generally protects internet companies from legal liability for user comments.
Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe called the Trump order a “big nothing burger”. Trump’s offensive has come on the back of the feeblest of fact checks by Twitter which took the form of a hyperlink, in baby blue, that tagged onto exactly two of Trump’s tweets and said, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots”.
“Nothing the president or agencies like the FCC and FTC can legally do could successfully censor such private Internet comment, so the executive order (EO) that Trump has unfurled is a big nothing burger in terms of responding to what Twitter did to provoke Trump’s outrage”, Tribe tweeted.
The executive order, which runs into more than 2,300 words, is centred around a single issue: That the digital public square should not “restrict” free speech. Trump, who leans on Twitter as his political megaphone, has long been critical of the world’s most famous online platforms to emerge out of Silicon Valley.
“Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike”, reads an excerpt from the order.
The Federal Communications Commission, in a statement, said it would assess its impact of the order and stressed that the First Amendment and Section 230 “remain the law of the land and control here.” Speaking ahead of the signing, Trump tore into social media firms for “unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences.”
“There is no precedent in American history for so small a number of corporations to control so large a sphere of human interaction.” “It is the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech,” says the order.
“The Supreme Court has noted that social media sites, as the modern public square, “can provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.”
Predictably, people on all sides of the debate are digging in. “Social media has been allowed to operate unchecked for years while protected by federal law”, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted. “Silicon Valley giants now act as the arbiters of truth, censoring or labelling posts they disagree with, but they cannot be trusted to be honest and fair.”
Twitter and its CEO are no strangers to controversy. While Twitter is tagging Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots, it hasn’t touched his tweets repeating a debunked conspiracy theory that a TV news anchor murdered an aide years ago. On a trip to India in late 2018, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posed for a picture which had a placard reading “Smash Brahminical patriarchy.” “I’m very sorry for this”, the company’s legal officer said later.
Earlier this week, Dorsey wrote on Twitter, “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.” “This does not make us an arbiter of truth,” he clarified. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”
Twitter has banned all political ads since last November. Twitter and Facebook have both geared up to combat misinformation around the November 2020 US elections and are taking action against misleading political messages, a move they have long resisted.
The plan to bring contents for kids was revealed through a 30-second ad spod titled ‘The Next Generation’.
Last Updated: May 25, 2020, 2:10 PM IST
Apple has released a 30-second ad on YouTube and other channels to promote child-friendly movies and shows on its Apple TV+ streaming service as summer vacation begins in most countries including in India. The 30-second ad spot titled ‘The Next Generation’ showcases content like ‘Ghost Writer,’ ‘Helpsters,’ ‘Snoopy in Space’ and ‘Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,’ among others.
The video that was released on Sunday describes the streaming service as offering “original series and films to inspire the next generation of dreamers, explorers, and believers”. “Here We Are” is the latest show to become available within the group, landing on the service on April 17, reports Apple Insider.
The film is adapted from the best-selling children’s book by Oliver Jeffers and created by animation firm Studio AKA. Meanwhile, WarnerMedia has announced its new streaming service HBO Max will be available from May 27 on Apple devices, fully integrated with the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TVs. Customers who are billed through the App Store or through Apple TV Channels for HBO Now will be upgraded automatically to HBO Max at no additional charge.
Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat will have 24 hours to remove other “manifestly illicit” content.
Last Updated: May 14, 2020, 1:42 PM IST
Social networks and other online content providers will have to remove paedophile and terrorism-related content from their platforms within the hour or face a fine of up to 4% of their global revenue under a French law voted in on Wednesday. For other “manifestly illicit” content, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat will have 24 hours to remove it, according to the law, which sets up a specialised digital prosecutor at the courts and a government unit to observe hate speech online.
Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told parliament the law will help reduce online hate speech. “People will think twice before crossing the red line if they know that there is a high likelihood that they will be held to account,” she said. Free-speech advocates criticised the new law. Online civil liberties defence group La Quadrature du Net(LQDN) said in a statement the legislator should have instead targeted the Internet giants’ business models. It said it was unrealistic to think the content could be withdrawn within the hour and the law was unnecessary.
“If the site does not censure the content (for instance because the complaint was sent during the weekend or at night), then the police can force Internet service providers to block the site everywhere in France,” it said.
Twitter France public affairs chief Audrey Herblin-Stoop said the company would continue to work closely with the government to build a safer Internet and fight against illegal hate speech while protecting an open internet, freedom of expression and fair competition. She said it was a top priority to ensure public debate was civil, adding Twitter’s investments in technologies that signal hate speech will reduce the burden on users of having to call out illicit content.
For one in two tweets on which the company has taken action, it had already been alerted by software, compared to 1 in 5 in 2018, she said. Far-right National Rally party president Marine Le Pen said the law was “a serious violation of the freedom of expression”. Facebook did not return calls and emails seeking comment, Google and Snapchat were not immediately available for comment.