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Instagram’s boss had a message this week for the White House and the world: It was counterproductive for the United States to try to ban TikTok, the popular video app from China.
It’s bad for U.S. tech companies and people in the United States, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, told Axios, if other countries take similar steps against technology from beyond their borders — including Facebook and its Instagram app. (He and Mark Zuckerberg have said this before, too.) “It’s really going to be problematic if we end up banning TikTok and we set a precedent for more countries to ban more apps,” he said.
Mosseri has a point. What he didn’t say, though, was that Facebook has itself partly to blame. The company helped fan the fears about TikTok
Over the past several weeks, there has been an increasing clamour for Facebook to place its India public policy head, Ankhi Das, on leave as the company continues with an audit of its India operations.
The impetus for the audit was an article written by the Wall Street Journal in mid-August. In that piece, WSJ reported that Das had resisted against taking down inflammatory content that eventually sparked rioting in the capital city of Delhi as it was posted by members of the nationalist BJP party.
The riots left over fifty dead, most of whom were Muslims. It also led to many of these Muslims’ homes being torched.
“The company’s top public-policy executive in the country, Ankhi Das, opposed applying the hate-speech rules to [T Raja] Singh and at least three other Hindu nationalist individuals and groups flagged internally for promoting or participating in violence,” WSJ reported.
The social network says the move is intended to limit misinformation and abuse of its service, following broad criticism that it has not done enough to stamp out falsehoods on its platform. Facebook hasn’t said how long the ad suspension will last, but in an internal memo to its sales staff that was obtained by the Washington Post, executives told staff to tell advertisers the ban would last a week.
The changes less than a month before Election Day underscore how tech companies are scrambling to address a fast-changing political environment.
Tech companies have been making key changes to rein in disinformation since Russia used their platforms in 2016 to divide and sow discord among Americans. But critics say many of those steps to limit foreign influence haven’t gone far enough to address disinformation emanating from within the United States – often from the megaphone of the president.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative David Cicilline, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, said on Wednesday he would be “comfortable with unwinding” Facebook Inc’s acquisition of Instagram.
The antitrust subcommittee on Tuesday released a report on Big Tech’s abuses of market power but stopped short of naming specific companies or acquisitions that must be broken up.
Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, told Reuters in an interview that Facebook should not have been allowed to buy Instagram, a deal that the Federal Trade Commission approved in 2012.
“I would be comfortable with unwinding that. I think that’s the right answer,” he said.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has said previously that Instagram was insignificant at the time it was purchased and that Facebook built it into the success it has become.
Any effort to unwind the deal would entail the government
America’s tech giants Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple continue apace their march into payments. With Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Facebook Pay, and Apple Pay, they’ve put their brands foremost and use payments to boost on-platform engagement and commerce, reinforcing their centrality in consumers’ lives.
They’ve taken an incrementalist approach, working with incumbent payment networks, processors, and banks, thus far. However, as their payments’ footprints broaden and deepen, that modus vivendi will be stressed.
In particular, Facebook, the world’s leading social-media network outside China, bears watching. It’s starting to roll out Facebook Pay to two billion WhatsApp users and prepping to launch Libra, which could roil the reigning payments ecosystem.
Libra uses stablecoins backed by fiat currencies. If it gets traction it’ll be disruptive. However, building payment-network critical mass, and therefore value and relevance, is hard. Existing systems work. Consumers and merchants are creatures of habit in payments. The graveyard of
Facebook says it has deployed a feature in its Community Help hub to make it easier for users to assist each other during the pandemic. As of this week, AI will detect when a public post on News Feed is about needing or offering help and will surface a suggestion to share it on Community Help. Once a post is moved or published directly to the hub, an algorithm will recommend matches between people.
For example, if someone posts an offer to deliver groceries, they’ll see recommendations within Community Help to connect with people who recently posted about needing this type of assistance. Similarly, if someone requests masks, AI will surface suggested neighbors who recently posted an offer to make face coverings.
Building this Community Help feature, which Facebook says is available in all countries in English and 17 other languages, involved a difficult engineering challenge because the system needs
Today, let’s talk about a couple little things that could turn into a big thing.
In January 2019, Mike Isaac reported a noteworthy development about Facebook at the New York Times. In the months to come, he said, Facebook would unify the technical infrastructure powering Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. To the user, these changes would be invisible. But to Facebook itself, there were clear strategic imperatives to merge the apps. Among them: the move came just as the US government was beginning to consider an effort to break the company up.
In the nearly two years since, the government’s effort has accelerated. On September 15th, the Wall Street Journal reported that an antitrust case against the company could come by the end of the year. But Facebook’s effort to puree its family of apps into a single software smoothie on the back end has picked up as well. And
Today a group of academics, researchers and civil rights leaders go live on with ‘The Real Facebook Oversight Board’ which is designed to criticize and discuss the role of the platform in the upcoming US election. The group includes Facebook’s ex-head of election security, leaders of the #StopHateForProfit campaign and Roger McNamee, early Facebook investor. Facebook launched its own ‘Oversight Board’ last November to deal with thorny issues of content moderation, but Facebook has admitted it will not be overseeing any of Facebook’s content or activity during the course of the US election, and will only adjudicate on issues after the event.
The press conference for the launch is streamed live today, below:
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claimed last November that the Oversight Board was “an incredibly important undertaking” and would “prevent the concentration of too much decision-making within our teams” and promote “accountability and oversight”.
Channel 4 on Monday revealed a leaked cache of data from the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.
The data showed how the campaign microtargeted people on Facebook, and labelled a particular group of users as targets for “deterrence” from voting. This group was disproportionately made up of Black users.
Experts told Business Insider the report highlights the threat that microtargeting on a vast platform like Facebook’s poses towards democratic elections.
“Facebook talks a lot about bad actors misusing its platform, but the truth is that the biggest bad actor on Facebook is Facebook,” one said.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The now-defunct Cambridge Analytica entered the news cycle once again on Monday, four years after its name became synonymous with the huge data scandal that changed the tech landscape forever.
UK broadcaster Channel 4 obtained a leaked data cache from