White House Drafts Order to Investigate Alleged Social Media Left-Wing Bias

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The White House is drafting an executive order that would address alleged left-wing bias by social media companies, with an official saying:

If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system. But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent.

A WH official actually used the phrase “liberal cesspools of venom.” What a trashy administration.

Cloudflare Ends 8Chan Service in Wake of Recent U.S. Shootings

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The U.S. got a fresh wave of mass shootings over the weekend. A couple killers had posted their manifestos on 8Chan, and Cloudflare is ending its service for the website.

8chan is among the more than 19 million Internet properties that use Cloudflare’s service. We just sent notice that we are terminating 8chan as a customer effective at midnight tonight Pacific Time. The rationale is simple: they have proven themselves to be lawless and that lawlessness has caused multiple tragic deaths. Even if 8chan may not have violated the letter of the law in refusing to moderate their hate-filled community, they have created an environment that revels in violating its spirit.

Twitter Bans Dehumanizing Language Targeting Religion

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Twitter is banning dehumanizing language aimed at religious groups. Users can no longer compare these groups to animals or other analogies.

Notably, though, the new rules do not address other groups that may be targeted by this type of hate speech. The company says it plans to eventually expand the policy to cover dehumanizing language that singles out others based on their race, gender, or sexual orientation, though it’s not clear how long that might take.

The Splinternet is Growing Bigger

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The splinternet, also known as cyberbalkanization, refers to how governments split the World Wide Web into national internets.

It’s not just authoritarian countries trying to bend the global web to national values. The same social media companies that gave rise to unrest in the Middle East have come under fire in the West for allowing their services to be used to promote hatred and terrorism. In response, England and Australia have recently passed laws demanding tech firms provide easier access to web users’ communications.

Sometimes I think that in the future there will be no internet. There won’t be a web browser, there will just be apps that are easier to censor and control.

This Website Exposes Apple Censorship in China

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A new website called AppleCensorship.com exposes how the company censors apps in China at the behest of the government.

A new website exposes the extent to which Apple cooperates with Chinese government internet censorship, blocking access to Western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms, and privacy-enhancing apps that would circumvent the country’s pervasive online surveillance regime.

I’m a fan of Apple, privacy, and Apple’s stance on privacy. That being said I think whenever Apple mentions privacy on its website there should be an asterisk with fine print saying: “We believe privacy is a fundamental human right except in these cases.”

Russia Follows China's Lead and Bans VPNs

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Russia Cuts Encrypted Communications

Russia President Vladimir Putin signed a law this week banning virtual private networks, or VPNs, along with other tech that lets people surf the web anonymously, and it goes into effect on November 1st.

Control and Culture Clash in Iran over Mobile MMO 'Clash of Clans'

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Iran is in the process of banning Clash of Clans, a move that epitomizes that country’s attempts to control culture clash and behavior. According to TechCrunch, the game has been pulled from a popular third party app store in Iran called Cafe Bazaar and will soon be pulled from its other legitimate source. Here’s what’s interesting to me: Clash of Clans has only officially been available for a month in Iran, and it’s being played by two-thirds of the mobile gaming community. Iran’s religious leaders have deemed it to too addictive and promotes both violence and tribal conflict. At the same time, the game was being played on the black market before its release, where it will still be available. It will be interesting to see if there’s any kind of backlash from the country’s mobile gamers. I’m far from an expert on Iran, but it’s hard to see how the country could possibly stop the world at its borders forever. Don’t get me wrong. Clash of Clans—like Game of War and every other successful MMO—are addictive. But I’ve yet to see a successful attempt to legislate addictive behavior. Below is the SuperBowl 2015 commercial for the game that is pretty darned amusing.