Category Archives: Social Media

Will Congress Break Up Big Tech?


Will Congress Break Up Big Tech? – powered by ise.media

U.S. lawmakers are pushing new legislation that would limit the powers of Silicon Valley giants – and Big Tech doesn’t like it. So much so, that Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to complain about it! Ben Swann asks Danish programmer David Heinemeier Hansson if Big Tech is too big.

********

Check out our sponsor, Create Tailwind: https://createtailwind.com

********

Support Truth in Media by visiting our sponsors:

Pulse Cellular: Use code “TRUTH” for 10% every plan for life.
https://truthinmedia.com/phone​

Pure VPN: Military grade vpn protection.
https://truthinmedia.com/vpn​

Brave Browser: Open source and built by a team of privacy focused, performance oriented pioneers of the web.
https://truthinmedia.com/brave​

Sen. Ted Cruz: Social Media Censorship “Real and Present Danger”

Washington, D.C. – In an exclusive radio interview with Breitbart News Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sounded the alarm over the power wielded by Silicon Valley, describing the growing control information technology companies possess over the flow of information— in particular social media— as a “real and present danger” to American democracy.

“The nexus of power in media has moved from New York City to Silicon Valley,” Cruz told host Breitbart News Deputy Editor Amanda House, as he recommended that America “looks at all the tools we have to protect free speech and prevent[s] the Internet from becoming a vehicle for censorship.”

In a prior interview on Breitbart News Tonight on April 24, Cruz said:

“I think, number one, the growing power of tech to censor speech is a profound threat. We’re seeing now some two-thirds of Americans are getting their news through social media, and these tech companies are hard-left. They are are partisan Democrats, and what we’re seeing is they’re amplifying the views they agree with, those of liberal Democrats, and they are suppressing the views of conservatives. They are blocking conservatives.”

Cruz added, “The scope of the power is truly unprecedented. You think back to the heights of yellow journalism, when publisher William Randolph Hearst controlled much of media and in fact got America into the Spanish-American War. These tech companies have power William Randolph Hearst could never have imagined. The ability, if there’s a view they dislike, simply to silence it so that if you put a post out there, if you put a tweet out there, it simply goes into the void, into oblivion, and no one sees it. Likewise, they have the ability, if there are views they want to promote, to just have everything on your feed be the views they want to promote. That is invidious. It is invisible, and it is profoundly dangerous.”

During his most recent interview on Sunday, Cruz explained that the power wielded by tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter allow for a level of power that is “staggering” in terms of being able to control societal discourse.

“At this point, a handful of companies enjoy power that famed publisher William Randolph Hearst, at the height of yellow journalism, could never have imagined.”

“We’ve heard reports from whistleblowers of ‘shadowbanning’, where you simply tweet or post something and nobody sees it, it just goes into the void, goes into the ether.”

“Likewise, if there are views that a handful of tech companies like, they can favor those views and direct them to your feed so everything you see is the information they want you to see.”

“That is a level of power that is staggering, and I think it poses a real and present danger to our democratic system, particularly given the extreme left-wing bias of Silicon Valley. What we’ve seen over and over again, they’re acting to muzzle and silence conservative views, views they disagree with. That’s frightening.”

In both interviews Cruz warned that while social media companies currently enjoy protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants them immunity from liability for content posted by their users, if they choose to no longer operate as a neutral public forum they should lose their legal protection.

“It’s a special immunity from liability that nobody else gets,” said Cruz. “The basis for that immunity from liability was that they were neutral public forums, that they were not the ones speaking but rather it was the people speaking and posting on them.”

“Well, if they’re not going to be neutral public forums, if they’re going to be active political speakers, favoring one point of view and disfavoring another, they have a first amendment right to do that, but they have no entitlement to a special congressionally-created immunity from liability that nobody else enjoys.”

Facebook Audit: Thousands Of Apps Investigated, 200 Suspended For Mishandling Users’ Data

(DCNF) Facebook has suspended roughly 200 apps suspected of misusing data they have gathered on the social media site, a vice president at the company said on Monday.

The company has investigated “thousands of apps” and “around 200 have been suspended,” Ime Archibong, vice president of Product Partnerships at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

Facebook’s next step is to conduct a “thorough investigation into whether they did in fact misuse any data” and will delete any app that did.

The announcement comes after Facebook was hit with a privacy scandal revealing it had collected users’ data to build profiles on American voters that was used in both former-President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Mark Zuckerberg announced on March 21 Facebook’s plans for this two-phase investigation into all the apps that had access to large amounts of users’ information before it changed its platform policies in 2014.

“In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who shared their data as well as some of their friends’ data,” Zuckerberg said. This gave Cambridge access to tens of millions of voters’ data. In 2014, Facebook changed its policies to block apps from acquiring users’ friends’ data unless their friends had independently authorized the app.

“The investigation process is in full swing,” Archibong said.

The first phase in the investigation is a comprehensive review to identify every app that had access to a large amounts of users’ Facebook data. The second phase is to conduct interviews, make requests for information by asking “a series of detailed questions about the app and the data it has access to,” and perform an audit that may include an on-site inspection.

Facebook “will ban any developer from our platform [who] does not agree to a thorough audit. And if we find developers [who] misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them and tell everyone affected by those apps.” Zuckerberg said.

Written by Kyle Perisic. Follow Kyle on Twitter @KylePerisic

 

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Facebook Plans To ‘Dial Up’ Suppression Of Certain News Outlets

(DCNF) Facebook plans to “dial up” the suppression of certain news outlets, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on Tuesday.

Zuckerberg made the comment while holding an off-the-record meeting with a select group of media outlets. Zuckerberg briefly went on the record at the end of the meeting to answer questions about Facebook’s recent changes to the newsfeed, according to BuzzFeed, which first reported his comments.

Watch Related:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4503ZDmzfoM&t

“We put [that data] into the system, and it is acting as a boost or a suppression, and we’re going to dial up the intensity of that over time,” Zuckerberg said. “We feel like we have a responsibility to further [break] down polarization and find common ground.”

In January, Zuckerberg announced two key algorithm changes to Facebook’s newsfeed feature that have boosted a minority of news outlets while harming their competitors.

First, Facebook slashed news articles’ share of the newsfeed from five percent to four percent in the coming months. Second, Facebook began boosting certain “trusted” news outlets and suppressing other, ostensibly less trustworthy sources.

Conservative and right-wing publishers “were hit the hardest” by the algorithm change, tech website The Outline concluded in a lengthy report published March 5.

At the same time, “the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected,” the report found.

Facebook has no plans of making public its list of “trusted” news sources, a Facebook spokesperson previously told TheDCNF.

Written by Peter Hasson: Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

 

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Facebook COO Sells $23M in Shares, Company Declines to Attend House Hearing on “Social Media Filtering Practices”

Facebook’s chief operations officer, Sheryl Sandberg, recently sold $23 million in the company’s stock on Wednesday as governments in the EU move to quickly implement new online privacy laws that would significantly limit the social network’s advertising practices and thus its income.

Sandberg is arguably one of the most powerful and influential women in technology. As Mark Zuckerberg’s COO and the head of the company’s advertising operations, she has been recently blasted by experts for her role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. She has since profusely apologized once news of her involvement was made public. However, despite usually being comfortable in the spotlight, Sandberg has retreated from center stage amid the legal probes Facebook is currently facing, resulting in Mark Zuckerberg’s solo appearance before Congress last week.

In a string of appearances scheduled before the congressional hearings, Sandberg— the social media site’s 2nd in command— affirmed that Facebook’s main source of income comes from advertising. In other words, collecting data of its users is how and why the service remains free.

”The service [Facebook],” Sandberg reminded the public in an interview last Friday, “depends on your data.” Completely opting out of data-based targeted ads, she asserted, would have to be a paid option.

Experts have been quick to analyze and point out the aggressiveness of Facebook’s data collection practices, especially surrounding shadow profiles, which can collect data on users even if they don’t have an account with the social network. Before Congress, Mark Zuckerberg flatly denied any knowledge of the shadow profiles, even though the practice has been well-known since 2013 when the company’s data collection on non-users was revealed during a similar data-mishandling ordeal.

[Related: Facebook Dodges New EU Privacy Regulations]

Regarding the responsibility of the current misuse of data and future regulation regarding people’s privacy, Sandberg has been almost overly apologetic. However, it is still unclear what steps the company has taken since the story first broke in March.

“We know that we did not do enough to protect people’s data. I’m really sorry for that,” she’s said. In a separate instance she apologized yet again saying, “This was a huge breach of trust. People come to Facebook everyday and they depend on us to protect their data, and I am so sorry that we let so many people down.” She couldn’t promise that data was complete safe for now, adding that “We are going to find other things” and “there will always be bad actors.”

Sandberg would not comment about if anyone had lost their jobs at Facebook because of the scandal, saying that “We don’t talk about this publicly and we’re not going to; we don’t think it’s the right thing to do.” Hired in 2008, the former Google advertising chief joined the social network precisely to consolidate the company’s ad-based business model. Facebook’s then 20-something Mark Zuckerberg, who was reclusive and struggling with investors, brought Sandberg on to be the mature face of the company.

Analysts are still in disagreement over the immediate financial future of Facebook, whose stock price took a sharp dip after the harrowing news about personal data leaks. On Wednesday, Sandberg sold 163,500 shares of Facebook stock for a total value of just over $23,000,000. Over the course of 2017, Sandberg sold $316 million worth of shares, with over half that amount being sold in the first half of the year, according to CNBC. Sandberg has sold shares on a consistent basis over the past several years, yet the future of the company remains uncertain in light of dramatic changes and controversies.

A report from CNBC on April 10 highlighted a claim from Brian Wieser, a senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, that predicted a role shift for either Sandberg or Zuckerberg. “The company is not well managed,” said Wieser, also claiming that “one of Zuckerberg or Sandberg will not be in the same jobs in 12 months time.”

Most recently, Facebook has seen a modest uptick in active users, as it was reported April 25 that “Facebook’s daily active users in North America rose slightly last quarter to 185 million, a sign that the company’s News Feed algorithm tweaks and data privacy issues may not have deterred consumers.” This news may signal that the public is relenting to Facebook’s conduct; however, it may be worthy for these users to note that Facebook has declined an invitation to offer testimony at the upcoming “Examining Social Media Filtering Practices and their Effect on Free Speech” House of Representatives hearing that will discuss “what metrics social media platforms use to moderate content, how filtering decisions are made, and whether viewpoints have been silenced on some of the most popular and widely used platforms.”

Facebook Dodges New EU Privacy Regulations

Amidst apologies over mishandling user data and the affirmation that the company is “offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live,” the social network recently confirmed plans to shift all users outside the European Union (EU) to a Terms of Service agreement governed by US regulation. Currently, EU users agree to Terms of Service (ToS) under Irish law as the majority of Facebook’s EU user base is located in Ireland.

The move comes after EU announced plans to roll out a new, “game changing” policy aimed at protecting user privacy. The new regulations, dubbed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), would fine companies that breach user privacy up to 4% of their annual profits. For Facebook, that would mean about $1.6 billion dollars based on 2017 reports.

Earlier this month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook would adhere “in spirit” to GDPR guidelines worldwide, but he did not confirm if this meant that US users would receive the same protection as those in the EU. The GDPR would affect up to 70% of Facebook’s user base, and moving users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America from non-EU to US-governed terms and conditions would exempt Facebook from following GDPR guidelines. The social platform opened operations in Ireland in 2008, taking advantage of low corporate tax rates.

Under the new EU regulations— which will take effect next month— Facebook will have to ask users for permission to use their information for advertising purposes, but there will be no option to decline. This means that Facebook will continue to use their own data on user behavior in order to show targeted ads, and users will have to accept these terms via “permission screens” in order to view certain content.

According to a April 17th Facebook blog post, “People in the EU will start seeing these requests this week to ensure they have made their choices ahead of GDPR coming into effect on May 25. As part of our phased approach, people in the rest of the world will be asked to make their choices on a slightly later schedule, and we’ll present the information in ways that make the most sense for other regions.” However, Tuesday’s announcement about shifting users to ToS governed by US legislation raises questions about the motives behind the move as doing so means that Facebook will not be subject to GDPR sanctions.

In the US, a complaint filed on April 6 with the Federal Trade Commission accused Facebook of abusing user privacy through facial recognition practices after changes made this year to the site’s privacy policy allowed the company to scan photos for biometric data without consent.

Addressing reporters at Facebook corporate offices, Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman said that “Facebook users will be able to limit the kinds of data that advertisers use to target their pitches” but the option to opt-out completely will not be available. Sherman also added that “People can choose to not be on Facebook if they want.”

Last week, Ben Swann reported in a Reality Check episode about issues of privacy and data collection that were widely publicized following the news of personal data mishandling by Cambridge Analytica.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTxQf3qtjpk

 

Dave Rubin Accuses YouTube of Demonetizing Interview With Thomas Sowell

Political commentator and host of “The Rubin Report” Dave Rubin has claimed that YouTube demonetized a segment of his video interview with famed economist Thomas Sowell. The segment reportedly targeted is the first part of the full interview, titled “Thomas Sowell on Facts and Free Speech.”

Rubin is the host of The Rubin Report, an online talk show that covers numerous topics including social issues and politics. Rubin’s videos have also featured discussions with public figures including Philip DeFranco, Bob Saget, Jack Conte, John Kasich, Laci Green, Larry King, Roseanne Barr, Austin Petersen, and Adam Carolla.

Through a series of tweets, Rubin explained that the video was initially monetized before becoming demonetized.

YouTube eventually confirmed that “the automated system recently applied a yellow icon,” and stated that “a video’s classification may change after it’s published as our systems continue to analyze more info from the video.” YouTube added that “this video has yet to be manually reviewed, so please request one!”

Rubin replied that he had already requested a manual review and questioned how the content of the video would warrant demonetization, as well as Youtube’s protocols for reviewing video.

This is not the first incident in which Rubin has claimed that his videos were demonetized. As early as May 2017, Rubin discussed the issue and claimed that demonetization of his videos led to a decrease in revenue of 60 percent.

In January, Rubin stated that YouTube had demonetized an interview with Ben Shapiro, the Editor-in-Chief of Daily Wire. Later in the month, Rubin made another claim regarding demonetization of a video that criticized socialism.

In February, he again publicly called out YouTube for demonetizing a video interview with Shapiro and Jordan Peterson while showing ads on the video in question. In that incident, The Daily Caller reported that when it had asked for an explanation from YouTube, a spokesperson “blamed the original demonetization on the platform’s algorithms.”

In March, Ben Swann published a Reality Check that explored the topic of tech giants censoring certain content, noting that targets are often content creators that are “not part of the establishment structure.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4503ZDmzfoM

Facebook Accused of Violating Privacy Via Facial Recognition Technology

On April 6, a coalition of consumer privacy organizations led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, accusing Facebook of violating individual’s privacy via the company’s facial recognition practices. The complaint focuses on changes to Facebook’s policy which went into effect in early 2018, namely the ability to scan user photos for biometric facial matches without consent.

The organizations say that Facebook is deceptively selling the facial recognition technology to users by encouraging them to identify people in photographs. “This unwanted, unnecessary, and dangerous identification of individuals undermines user privacy, ignores the explicit preferences of Facebook users, and is contrary to law in several state and many parts of the world,” the complaint states.

The coalition also claims Facebook’s policy violates the 2011 Consent Order with the Commission, calling the scanning of faces without “unlawful”. The organizations are calling on the FTC to reopen a 2009 investigation of Facebook due to recent revelations regarding Cambridge Analytica accessing millions of Facebook users private data. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has called on the FTC to investigate Facebook’s facial recognition practices since 2011.

“Facebook should suspend further deployment of facial recognition pending the outcome of the FTC investigation,” EPIC President Marc Rotenberg said.

Other organizations participating in the complaint against Facebook include The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, The Center for Digital Democracy, The Constitutional Alliance, Consumer Action, The Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, The Cyber Privacy Project, Defending Rights & Dissent, The Government Accountability Project, The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Patient Privacy Rights, The Southern Poverty Law Center, and The U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

This is not the first time Facebook has been under fire for their facial recognition technology. As far back as 2015, The Anti Media reported on a lawsuit involving a man who, despite not having a Facebook account, was fighting to get his “faceprint” from the company. The complaint was filed by Frederick William Gullen of Illinois. Gullen’s complaint stated:

Facebook is actively collecting, storing, and using — without providing notice, obtaining informed written consent or publishing data retention policies — the biometrics of its users and unwitting non-users … Specifically, Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’) — highly detailed geometric maps of the face — from over a billion individuals, millions of whom reside in the State of Illinois.

Although no federal law exists to govern the commercial use and collection of biometrics, Illinois and Texas have passed laws designed to protect the public. Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act made it illegal to collect and store faceprints without obtaining informed written consent. The law also made it illegal for companies to sell, lease, or otherwise profit from a customer’s biometric information. Lawsuits filed against Facebook allege the company is violating BIPA because it makes faceprints without written consent.

With Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg facing pressure from the U.S. Congress and public, the company may shift towards privacy oriented practices. However, for the moment, users should be aware that their words and face are owned by Facebook and whoever else they decide to share the data with.

YouTube HQ Shooter Was Interviewed By Police Before Attack

San Francisco, CA – A woman who was reportedly angry at YouTube opened fire at the company’s San Bruno, California headquarters on Tuesday, April 3. Nasim Aghdam, 39, shot and wounded three people before committing suicide, according to police, who said they recovered a handgun registered to Aghdam at the scene.

Police say Aghdam had been to a shooting range prior to the attack at YouTube headquarters.

Authorities don’t believe that Aghdam had a direct connection to YouTube, but it was revealed that she did have a YouTube channel. During a press conference on April 3, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said that Aghdam’s motive appeared to be her frustration with YouTube.

“It is believed that the suspect was upset with the policies and practices of YouTube. This appears to be the motive for this incident,” San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini told reporters.

The Iranian-born woman, who lived in California, reportedly blogged about veganism and railed against YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, according to numerous social media posts and her website. Aghdam reportedly suspected that YouTube was suppressing her content, causing her to lose views and money.

Reuters reported that Aghdam did not appear to have targeted particular victims when she opened fire with a hand gun at the open-air plaza. In an English-language video posted to her YouTube account before the channel was deleted on Tuesday, Aghdam said, “I am being discriminated. I am being filtered on YouTube.”

“There is no free speech in real world & you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system. Videos of targeted users are filtered & merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos! There is no equal growth opportunity on YouTube or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!” read a blurb on her website.

The New York Times noted that Aghdam’s videos had gained popularity in Iran, with many of her videos going viral there. Aghdam was reportedly known as “Green Nasim” in the country and was well known on additional social media platforms including Instagram.

Two victims have been released from the hospital, while one individual remains in San Francisco General Hospital in serious condition on Wednesday, according to the hospital.

Aghdam’s father, Ismail Aghdam, spoke with Mercury News after Tuesday’s shooting. The father confirmed that his daughter had been missing for two days prior to the shooting, and told the outlet that on Tuesday, April 3, around 2 a.m., Mountain View police located his daughter, who had been “sleeping in her car.”

The New York Times reported that Aghdam spent about 20 minutes being interviewed by police, and that she was in the area because she was looking for a job.

“At no point during our roughly 20-minute interaction with her did she mention anything about YouTube, if she was upset with them, or that she had planned to harm herself or others,” the Mountain View police said in a statement. “Throughout our entire interaction with her, she was calm and cooperative.”

Aghdam’s father reportedly made a second call that cautioned that YouTube recently “had caused her to become upset” and suggested this as a reason for her to be in the area.

 

Twitter Suspends Pro-Life Group From Running Ads Then Reverses Decision After Media Inquiry

(DCNF) Twitter suspended pro-life organization Human Coalition from running any advertisements on its website before reversing that decision following an inquiry from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Twitter removed three pro-life Human Coalition ads on Feb. 21 and placed their account’s advertising privileges “under review” for allegedly violating company policies against “inappropriate content.” Twitter informed Human Coalition they would receive an email “when the review is complete.” That email came March 22: Human Coalition’s account was suspended from running ads — any ads — on Twitter.

twitter banned ad
Too controversial for Twitter? [Photo: Human Coalition]
twitter pro-life ban
Too controversial for Twitter? [Photo: Human Coalition]

pro-life planned parenthood twitter ban

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Twitter’s press team about the suspension on Tuesday evening and inquired as to why the pro-life center was barred from advertising but pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood aren’t.

Two hours after TheDCNF’s request, Twitter emailed Human Coalition to say the suspension was off and the tweets were approved, according to emails TheDCNF reviewed.

After another two hours, a Twitter spokesperson emailed TheDCNF to say Human Coalition wasn’t currently suspended from running ads. After further inquiries, the spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday Human Coalition had been suspended before Twitter lifted the ban.

The spokesperson declined to say when the decision was made to reverse the suspension but said it was already in the works prior to TheDCNF’s request and denied it was related to TheDCNF’s inquiries.

“Twitter claims to believe in ‘free expression’ and to think that ‘every voice has the power to impact the world.’ I believe Twitter does think that every voice has the power to change the world — and I believe that is exactly why they suppressed Human Coalition and others who proclaim the pro-life worldview,” Human Coalition spokesperson Lauren Enriquez said. “The fact that Twitter ideologues actively suppress Human Coalition’s pro-life expressions betrays their fear of how we are changing the world. And we don’t plan to stop changing the world any time soon.”

Twitter has repeatedly censored pro-life voices on the website, although it has occasionally reversed censorship.

The tech giant sparked outrage in 2017 by barring Republican Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn from running a pro-life ad. Twitter objected to one line Blackburn said: “I’m 100% pro-life. I fought Planned Parenthood, and we stopped the sale of baby body parts — thank God.”

Twitter demanded Blackburn remove the reference to Planned Parenthood selling baby parts. The congresswoman refused and instead publicly demanded an apology. Twitter reversed course after the ensuing backlash and allowed her to run the ad.

Written by Peter Hasson: Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

 

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Twitter CEO Predicts Bitcoin to be the World’s Future Single Currency

(Dash Force News) The CEO of Square and Twitter, said on Wednesday that “the world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin”.

Dorsey went on to elaborate that he thinks it would happen “probably over ten years, but it could go faster.” However, Dorsey also admitted that Bitcoin “does not have the capabilities right now to become an effective currency” because “it’s slow and it’s costly”. Drosey’s Square app, to much fanfare late last year, started to allow people to buy and sell Bitcoin via the app in many states. Dorsey explained how “there are newer technologies that build off of blockchain and make it more approachable” and said that as more people use Bitcoin, the problems start to go away.

Dorsey also was part of a seed financial round for Lightning Labs last week that raised $2.5 million USD. Lightning Labs, run by CEO Elizabeth Stark, is the company behind the controversial development of the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Some proclaim that the Lightning Network will get rid of the slow transaction times and high transaction fees that have been plaguing the Bitcoin Network. Others say that the Lightning Network is a complicated solution to a problem that can be solved in simpler ways and may even recreate the current financial system within the crypto space.

Solutions to be found through competition of many different cryptocurrencies

Jack seems to believe that he knows how the battle between over one thousand cryptocurrencies will play out. Yes, it can be safely argued that a majority of those cryptocurrencies will fail, but there will also still be a significant amount of solid cryptocurrencies that are vying for the top spot(s). Dorsey recognizes that there are presently problems with Bitcoin that need to be solved so it can scale, but he also seems to believe that Lightning Labs will offer that solution. However, there is far from a consensus that the Lightning Network will do what they claim. In addition, Dorsey’s comments comes days after reports emerged that Twitter will ban crypto related ads on their platform.

Jack’s endorsement of Bitcoin and Twitter’s banning of crypto ads is interesting in that Bitcoin is the name-brand that does not need ads to spread awareness since it already gets free press. A ban on advertising will end up hurting cryptocurrencies with smaller markets that do not presently have the same public awareness. Yes, the ban could stop some scams, but it will also hamper competition among the many top quality coins. This competition is what incentivizes each coin to put their best code forward and act in the interests of the consumers. Without competition and only a “single” world currency, consumers would be very susceptible to sub par products, services, and code.

Bitcoin is approaching nearly a decade in age, of which the majority of that time it faced little to no direct competition. This lack of competition caused Bitcoin to ignore many of its to-be problems until it was too late. The effects of competition on other cryptocurrencies, however, is giving immediately usable products and services to citizens around the world, including third world countries, that simply do not have the capital nor the time to wait for Bitcoin to solve its scaling problems.

Dash is providing competitive solutions right now

Dash has only been around for a few years, but in that time Dash has spread throughout theworld. Dash has done this through developing a great product and marketing campaigns that are possible via its unique governance and treasury system, but also through organic reach from people convincing their friends to use Dash. This has occurred because of the present functionality and reliability of Dash, but also confidence in the Dash community and Dash Core Group to solve issues that arise in the future as demonstrated by their past solutions.

Dash is a prime cryptocurrency competitor that harnesses competitive pressure to create products and services that have the end consumer in mind. Despite challenges that arise or praise given towards other cryptocurrencies, Dash has a worldwide network of users to continue to serve with present day solutions.

 

Written by: 

YouTube Increases Limits on Gun Content, Bans Firearm Demo Videos

San Bruno, CA— YouTube has announced that beginning in April, the company will ban how-to videos related to building or refashioning guns, as well as all content that promotes the sale of guns or gun accessories.

According to YouTube’s statement:

Specifically, we don’t allow content that:

— Intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales (e.g., private sales by individuals) or links to sites that sell these items. These accessories include but may not be limited to accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire or convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g., bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high capacity magazines (i.e., magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds).

— Provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors, or certain firearms accessories such as those listed above. This also includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic or simulated automatic firing capabilities.

— Shows users how to install the above-mentioned accessories or modifications.

“We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. “While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories.”

The announcement by YouTube marks the latest company to take a stance in the U.S. gun-control debate, following major retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, which have taken assertive steps to implement 21-plus age limits for gun sales in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. Bloomberg reports that YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced criticism for hosting videos about guns.

According to a report by Bloomberg:

For many gun-rights supporters, YouTube has been a haven. A current search on the site for “how to build a gun” yields 25 million results, though that includes items such as toys. At least one producer of gun videos saw its page suspended on Tuesday. Another channel opted to move its videos to an adult-content site, saying that will offer more freedom than YouTube.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry lobbying group, expressed concern about the “censorship of commercial free speech,” and called YouTube’s new policy “worrisome.”

“We suspect it will be interpreted to block much more content than the stated goal of firearms and certain accessory sales,” read a statement released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “We see the real potential for the blocking of educational content that serves instructional, skill-building and even safety purposes. Much like Facebook, YouTube now acts as a virtual public square. The exercise of what amounts to censorship, then, can legitimately be viewed as the stifling of commercial free speech.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: The True Meaning of the Second Amendment]

A report from MSN revealed that in the midst of YouTube’s new policy announcement, Spike’s Tactical, a gun manufacturing company in Florida, had claimed that their Facebook and YouTube accounts had been suspended for “violating community guidelines.”

The move to censor pro-gun content comes only days before Saturday’s March For Our Lives, a rally described by the media as an event organized by survivors of the February 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead; the highly-publicized March 14 walkout had an early push from “organizers of the Women’s March on Washington — the same group that donned pink ‘pussy’ hats in a Washington, D.C., protest march following President Donald Trump’s inauguration” according to a report by Lifezette.

https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/976201267654594562

Although the new policies will reportedly begin being enforced in April, Bloomberg reported that InRange TV, a channel devoted to firearms, posted on Facebook that they would immediately begin uploading videos to PornHub, an adult content website.

“YouTube’s newly released released vague and one-sided firearms policy makes it abundantly clear that YouTube cannot be counted upon to be a safe harbor for a wide variety of views and subject matter,” InRange TV wrote. “PornHub has a history of being a proactive voice in the online community, as well as operating a resilient and robust video streaming platform.”

With the continued and growing censorship on social media/video platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, many of these gun enthusiasts may find comfort in decentralized blockchain-based alternatives like Steemit, DTube and BitChute.

Pro-2A Parkland Survivor Questions Exclusion from Twitter’s Live Q&A

San Francisco, CA – Twitter held a livestreaming session on March 19 to promote the upcoming “March For Our Lives” event, featuring Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students answering questions from Twitter users. Twitter selected MSD students and noted gun control proponents David Hogg, Emma González, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, Ryan Deitsch and Jaclyn Corin to take part in the event.

MSD junior Kyle Kashuv, a pro-2A student, responded to not being invited by the social media platform to the livestream question and answer session by asking where his invitation was to the event. The Daily Wire reported that Kashuv confirmed he was not invited to the event.

Another MSD student survivor of the school shooting, freshman Sarah Stricker, responded to Kashuv’s Twitter post, noting the exclusivity of students being “focused on”, writing, “I believe survivors from the classrooms that were shot in, should be looked at. Or at least students that were actually in the building, and saw what I saw.”

Stricker continued, “here we are, suffering from flashbacks and jumping at every loud noise, while we watch kids that were on the other side of the school get attention thrown at them,” seemingly denoting that the students garnering large-scale media coverage weren’t even in the same building as shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Hogg, a senior at MSD, previously boasted about hanging up on the White House during a phone call in the wake of the school shooting, and more recently, in an ad touting next week’s “March For Our Lives”, Parkland student David Hogg wondered, “What if our politicians weren’t the bitch of the NRA?”

Twitter CMO Leslie Berland responded to Kashuv’s inquiry by noting that the livestream Q&A was meant for discussion of the upcoming march, and extended an invite to the student to conduct his own Q&A over the platform.

Mass media coverage following the MSD tragedy has been abundantly directed at featuring a select group of pro-gun control students, although there are other student survivors with differing opinions on guns that have been ignored by most of the media outlets.

For instance, the Harvard Institute of Politics recently extended an invite to MSD students to take part in a panel discussion on gun law reforms, which is set to take place shortly before the students participate in the pro-gun control “March For Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C., on March 24.

Entitled “#NEVERAGAIN: How Parkland Students are Changing the Conversation on Guns,” the panel will, according to The Washington Examiner, “feature the same exclusive group of students who have received extensive media coverage for their attacks on the National Rifle Association and desire to enact strict gun control laws throughout the country.”

Similar to Twitter’s exclusively pro-gun control student invitations, the Harvard IOP invited Parkland activists Hogg, González, Kasky, Wind, and Deitsch while ignoring survivors like Kashuv, whose desire to protect students while respecting the Second Amendment has earned him a meeting with President Trump and other high-profile elected officials. However, that praise has not translated into significant media coverage.

CBS News’ 60 Minutes most recent episode also featured Hogg, González, Corin, Wind and Kasky.

Twitter Reportedly Banning Cryptocurrency Ads In Coming Weeks

Twitter is reportedly planning to be the next major media platform to ban certain cryptocurrency products and project advertising. The policy, according to Sky News, will be implemented in two weeks and would ban advertisements for initial coin offerings (ICOs), token sales, and cryptocurrency wallets across the globe.

The move by Twitter comes after numerous reports of a looming global regulatory crackdown on the cryptocurrency industry.

Twitter is following similar policies as other major tech companies like Google and Facebook. In late January, Facebook banned all ads for ICOs and cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin in an effort to combat against deceptive advertising in the market. Google followed Facebook’s move last week, announcing they will be cracking down on cryptocurrency related advertising come June.

The spirit of the planned bans by Facebook, Google, and now Twitter all appear to focus on concerns regarding ICO scams and the speculative nature of their advertising. This reported coming ban from Twitter would make three major online advertising companies banning cryptocurrency advertising, with Google and Facebook being top online marketing platforms.

Sky News also reported that Twitter is considering the possibility of banning advertisements for cryptocurrency exchanges, with some limited exceptions.

Earlier this month, cryptocurrency watcher Emin Gün Sirer took to Twitter with concerns about the prevalence of cryptocurrency scams on their platform. Fortune reported Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded by saying the platform is “on it.”

However, Sirer’s tweet was directed more toward the bot accounts filling the comment sections of major cryptocurrency industry leaders, rather than the paid advertising that has been banned on Facebook and Google.

The move by these major advertising platforms isn’t surprising. US financial regulators such as the CFTC and SEC have indicated their intentions of cracking down on these cryptocurrency offerings, partially because they see them as investment offerings. In addition, the 2017 surge of interest in blockchain technology and the creation of cryptocurrencies has shown that some of these new crypto offerings are scams.

Fortune reported that “Nearly half of 2017’s ICOs – sales in many ways similar to initial stock sales in startups – collapsed within months, with many supposed founders simply disappearing with the money they raised.”

These new social media advertising restrictions might be able to slow scammers down because of the impact these platforms have in promoting these projects. However, the full effects of these restrictions on the cryptocurrency market remain to be seen.

Brazil’s Largest Newspaper Abandons Facebook; Says News Feed is “Banning Professional Journalism”

São Paulo, Brazil— The largest newspaper in Brazil, Folha de S Paulo, announced late last week that due to Facebook’s recent changes to their news feed algorithm resulting in what the paper claims is “effectively banning professional journalism,” it would cease publishing content on the social media platform.

The Guardian reported that the popular Brazilian newspaper has an online and print subscription base of nearly 285,000 subscribers and had roughly 204 million page impressions last December, according to the Communication Verification Institute, a non-profit media auditor. The company’s Facebook page has nearly 6 million Facebook followers.

The executive editor of Fohla, Sérgio Dávila, told The Guardian that the paper’s decision reflected “the declining importance of Facebook to our readers,” but added that the recent algorithm changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed had precipitated the decision. The paper claimed the new algorithm “privilege[s] personal interaction contents, to the detriment of those distributed by companies, such as those that produce professional journalism.”

Only weeks ago, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, announced that the company would be changing the algorithm used to determine what shows up in an individual’s Newsfeed to prioritize “meaningful social interactions” and posts by friends, and “trusted” news sources.

Folha noted that the choice to abandon Facebook was “a reflection of internal discussions about the best ways to get the content of the newspaper to reach its readers. The disadvantages of using Facebook as a path to this distribution became more evident after the social network’s decision to reduce the visibility of professional journalism on its users’ pages.”

A separate report in Folha noted that the newspaper’s own analysis found that “fake news pages received five times the number of engagements that professional journalism received” during the month of January.

“This reinforces the tendency of the user to consume more and more content with which it has affinity, favoring the creation of bubbles of opinions and convictions, and the propagation of fake news,” Folha argued. “These problems have been aggravated in recent years by the mass distribution of deliberately false content…as happened in the U.S. presidential election in 2016.”

“In effectively banning professional journalism from its pages in favor of personal content and opening space for ‘fake news’ to proliferate, Facebook became inhospitable terrain for those who want to offer quality content like ours,” Dávila told the Guardian.

There has been widespread concern among civil libertarians, and independent media, about the continuing use of algorithms that effectively soft-censors content that includes controversial ideas or dissent.

Brazil is the third biggest market in the world for Facebook, with roughly 130 million users, according to statistics portal Statista.

Facebook Moves to Ban Advertising Promoting Cryptocurrency

Menlo Park, CA – On Tuesday, Facebook announced a new policy banning ads promoting cryptocurrency, as a means of preventing what the company called “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

This means that advertisers – including companies that operate fully legal businesses – will be banned from the promotion of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, the most widely accepted crypto. Additionally, the promotion of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and binary options will be eliminated by Facebook, according to a blog post by the company.

Advertisements that violate the new policy will not only be banned from Facebook’s core app, but also from Instagram and the company’s ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party applications.

In the official announcement by Facebook Product Management Director Rob Leathern, he wrote:

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”

Leathern added, “This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram.”

The move comes on the heels of persistent claims of spam-like and fraudulent cryptocurrency ads on the platform. The decision has been largely welcomed by savvy crypto enthusiasts, who recognize that these types of spammy advertisement often do not promote the actual benefits of cryptocurrency, according to Kai Sedgwick, in a report from Bitcoin.com.

The report by Bitcoin.com went on to explain:

Of the myriad places on the web where a person can learn about cryptocurrencies, Facebook is possibly the worst. Its users tend to be less sophisticated than those who frequent other social networks, and are easy prey for scammers, charlatans, and snake oil salesmen.

The moratorium on crypto ads can only benefit the cryptocurrency community. Scams such as Bitconnect and Arisebank are allowed to ferment on platforms such as Facebook, out of the reach of sharp-tongued Twitter traders who would otherwise call them out. Examples of ads that Facebook cites as being in contravention of its new policy include “New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15% discount NOW!”

Just how effective the crypto ad ban will be remains to be seen, as last year, following a report by ProPublica, which revealed Facebook was allowing advertisers to discriminate based on race, the company announced a ban on discriminatory ads. When ProPublica conducted a follow up over a year later, it was still able to purchase discriminatory advertising that would allow advertisements to not be shown to blacks or Jews.

Interestingly, the move has prompted speculation as to whether Facebook is attempting to position itself to launch its own blockchain product, with the implication being that it is removing all conversation around the competition. Although there is no hard evidence to suggest that is the impetus behind the crypto ban, at the beginning of January, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly described cryptocurrency as something that can “take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands.”

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg wrote:

For example, one of the most interesting questions in technology right now is about centralization vs decentralization. A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people’s hands. (The first four words of Facebook’s mission have always been “give people the power”.) Back in the 1990s and 2000s, most people believed technology would be a decentralizing force.

But today, many people have lost faith in that promise. With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.

There are important counter-trends to this –like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.

These statements by Zuckerberg may be considered ironic, as the centralization of Facebook has led to the soft censoring of material that runs contrary to the corporate-government narrative. This soft-censorship is achieved by continual tweaks to the Facebook algorithm; the latest of which was rolled out last week under the auspices of limiting the reach of “untrustworthy news sources” while boosting local news outlets and posts from friends and family.

In real time, this equates to large swaths of independent media and citizen journalists being squeezed out of existence, as their reach, and subsequent ad revenue, is decimated as large corporate entities are relatively unscathed.

There will likely be pushback from tech investors and entrepreneurs that believe the wholesale ban punishes an entire sector of technological innovation and crypto-related services and products. In fact, two prominent tech investors — Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen — sit on Facebook’s board, both of whose firms are strong supporters of the ongoing crypto revolution. Additionally, David Marcus, the head of Facebook Messenger, sits on the board of the mega-popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

 

Facebook, Twitter Among Companies Supporting Apple in Fight Against FBI

The CEOs of several major tech companies have voiced their support for Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook after he openly opposed a federal order to “build a backdoor” into the iPhone.

Cook released a statement in response to U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym’s order that Apple must help the FBI break into an encrypted iPhone that belonged to one of the suspects in the San Bernardino shooting.

[RELATED: Apple Rejects Government Order to Create ‘Backdoor’ for iPhone]  

Arguing that creating a way to break into an encrypted iPhone “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” Cook claimed that once “a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.”

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey voiced his support for Cook’s decision on Thursday, writing that he and his company “stand with Tim Cook and Apple,” and “thank him for his leadership.”

Facebook issued a statement late Thursday, in which it said it will “continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems.”

[pull_quote_center]We condemn terrorism and have total solidarity with victims of terror. Those who seek to praise, promote, or plan terrorist acts have no place on our services. We also appreciate the difficult and essential work of law enforcement to keep people safe. When we receive lawful requests from these authorities we comply. However, we will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products.[/pull_quote_center]

Google CEO Sundar Pichai released a series of Tweets Wednesday in which he called Cook’s statement “important,” and said that forcing companies to enable hacking “could compromise users’ privacy” and “could be a troubling precedent.”

WhatsApp CEO and cofounder Jan Koum released a statement on Facebook saying that he “couldn’t agree more” with Cook’s statement, and he believes tech companies “must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set.”

[pull_quote_center]I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple’s efforts to protect user data and couldn’t agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: McAfee: I Will Decrypt Information on the San Bernardino Phone for Free]

Computer programmer and 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate John McAfee called the FBI’s claim that the technology to decrypt an iPhone would only be used on the San Bernardino shooting suspect’s phone “a laughable and bizarre twist of logic,” and said his team would decrypt the information on the suspect’s phone for free.

“I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team,” McAfee said. “We will primarily use social engineering, and it will take us three weeks. If you accept my offer, then you will not need to ask Apple to place a back door in its product, which will be the beginning of the end of America.”

While White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest argued that the FBI is “simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device,” Cook said he believes that once a way to decrypt the iPhone is created, “the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.”

“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor,” Cook said. “And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

[RELATED: Bill Gates Sides with FBI, Downplays Order to Create ‘Backdoor’ for iPhone]

Follow Rachel Blevins on Facebook and Twitter.