Over 24,000 People Sign Data Privacy Petition to Stop Facebook Extremism

A petition signed by over 24,000 people has been delivered to Congress from Fight for the Future, Senator Ron Wyden to encourage a federal data privacy law. The impetus? Far-right extremism on social media websites such as Facebook.

Coalition members urged lawmakers to protect against attacks like that on the Capitol last year by addressing Facebook’s data-fueled algorithmic manipulation.

When Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress in October, she named algorithmic manipulation as the platform’s source of power. Algorithmic manipulation is only possible with invasive and copious personal data on individual people, harvested via mass surveillance.

Proposed Bill Would Make Social Media Companies Responsible for Disinformation

A bill sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) aims to hold social media companies accountable for disinformation.

The legislation adds a section to the state’s penal code, adding a new cause of action for public nuisance allowing the state Attorney General, city corporation counsels or private citizens to bring lawsuits after companies or individuals for “knowingly or recklessly” contributing to things like promoting self-harm or vaccine disinformation.

This Paralyzed Man Tweeted Just by Thinking About it

A 62-year-old Australian man who was paralyzed recently sent out a tweet “using only direct thought.”

The ‘first direct-thought tweet’ was created wirelessly from O’Keefe’s brain, according to the company. Following progressive paralysis caused by ALS, the man had a brain computer interface called ‘Stentrode’ installed last year. The implant, “designed to enable patients to wirelessly control digital devices through thought,” was inserted via the jugular vein to avoid drilling into the skull.

Instagram's Takedown of Metaverse Account Proves You Own Nothing on Web

The New York Times reports how Meta-owned Instagram blocked an @metaverse account, claiming it was impersonating someone else. The account has since been restored to its original owner, but the saga shows how you don’t truly own anything on Web 2.0.

“This account is a decade of my life and work. I didn’t want my contribution to the metaverse to be wiped from the internet,” she said. “That happens to women in tech, to women of color in tech, all the time,” added Ms. Baumann, who has Vietnamese heritage.

I disagree with that quote, however. I think Instagram would’ve taken the handle from anyone, regardless of gender or race.

Facebook Requires More At-Risk Accounts to Use Two-Factor Authentication

Wired writes that Facebook will require at-risk accounts to secure with two-factor authentication, an important security measure for users.

Facebook Protect started as a pilot project in the United States ahead of the 2018 midterm elections and expanded leading up to the 2020 presidential election. Facebook enrolls some prominent public figures in the program automatically, but the company has also been creating mechanisms for people to nominate themselves for inclusion, like enrolling whole newsrooms. Once users join Facebook Protect, they can’t opt out.

Rumor: Jack Dorsey to Leave Current Role as Twitter CEO

A report from CNBC on Monday claims that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will step down from his role at the company.

It’s unclear who’s set to succeed Dorsey or the timing of a potential announcement. It’s also unknown why Dorsey, 45, would take a step back. But if he steps down, the next CEO will have to meet Twitter’s aggressive internal goals. The company said earlier this year it aims to have 315 million monetizable daily active users by the end of 2023 and to at least double its annual revenue in that year.

Update: Mr. Dorsey has confirmed the rumor and announced his resignation.

Snapchat Adds Memories and Explore Layers to Snap Map

Snapchat has added two layers to the Snap Map for users called Memories and Explore. Announced earlier this year, Layers bring more interactivity to the Map.

Now, the Memories layer will show you old Snapchats that you sent from particular places. Memories are private and only available to the individual user — you can’t see friends’ memories.

The Explore layer reimagines the heat map, which shows activity by relative volume on the Snap Map. You can tap on highlighted regions to see public photos and videos submitted by Snapchat users around the world.

YouTube Moves to Hide Dislike Count From User Interface

YouTube announced on Wednesday that it will begin hiding the number of dislikes videos have on its platform.

And earlier this year, we experimented with the dislike button to see whether or not changes could help better protect our creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks — where people work to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos.

YouTube is only making it harder to spot crappy videos at a distance. Now you’ll have to click on each video to be sure, or read the comments. More views = more money for Google.

Report Shows Instagram Getting Ready to Launch Subscription

App analytics platforms Sensor Tower and Apptopia show that Instagram is preparing to launch a subscription service.

Both Sensor Tower and Apptopia track the mobile app ecosystem, which includes monitoring chart movements, app engagement and gathering app marketing intelligence data, among other things. But they also track the other less noticeable changes that apps tend to make — like rewriting their App Store descriptions, swapping out their screenshots, or — as in this case — adding new in-app purchases to their App Store listings.

Report: How Pinterest is Ruining the Internet for Everyone

Chris Stokel-Walker isn’t happy with Pinterest and writes how the company has ruined image search for internet users.

Beloved by moodboard aficionados and wedding planners alike, the platform is hated by rank-and-file web surfers. It’s not that it doesn’t have its purpose; it’s just that it intrudes on the search experience of pretty much everyone who doesn’t want to use it.

I have Pinterest to thank for one thing. My annoyance, and eventual hatred, spurred me to move to a standardized data curation system in which I store files in my own folders and not inside Pinterest’s putrid platform.

Investor Roger McNamee Calls for Imprisoning Executives for Criminal Charges

Roger McNamee is calling for criminal probes into Facebook and imprisonment for executives. Specially, he believes investigations into six areas should happen, such as:

The US Securities and Exchange Commission should look at Facebook’s failure to disclose information about its business. Facebook allowed human trafficking on its platform and was “paid to enable it to happen.” Facebook’s management was “complicit” in the “Stop the Steal” campaign which led to the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.

Facebook Moves to Cancel its Facial Recognition System

Facebook announced it will cancel its facial recognition system responsible for cataloging its billion-strong user base.

Our technology will no longer automatically recognize if people’s faces appear in Memories, photos or videos. People will no longer be able to turn on face recognition for suggested tagging or see a suggested tag with their name in photos and videos they may appear in. We’ll still encourage people to tag posts manually, to help you and your friends know who is in a photo or video. This change will also impact Automatic Alt Text (AAT), a technology used to create image descriptions for people who are blind or visually impaired. AAT currently identifies people in about 4% of photos.

The above quote is probably the only useful part of the self-congratulatory update.

Twitter 'Super Follows' is Now Available for All iPhone Users

Super Follows is a new Twitter feature that lets creators make money through subscriptions. It has now rolled out to all iPhone users.

The feature launched in September after first being announced in February. Super Follows are another tool for creators to earn money through the social media platform. Eligible accounts are able to set the price for Super Follow subscriptions, with the option of charging $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 per month. Creators can choose to mark some tweets for subscribers only while continuing to reach their unpaid follower base in regular tweets.

Twitch Adds Verification Tool as a Way to Fight Bots

Starting today, Twitch will let streamers require their viewers to verify their phone number via SMS before they can start chatting.

Twitch’s approach so far has been to offer streamers more control over who can and can’t chat. Streamers already have the option to make their chats subscriber-only, or slow down their chat so moderators can approve messages. There’s also the option to force all chatters to verify their email on Twitch. That hasn’t been enough, though.