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Monthly Archives: September 2017

DHS Wants Immigrants Social Media History


DHS Wants Immigrants Social Media History

CNET.com: Homeland Security plans to collect immigrants’ social media info

SESTA and Start-Ups

SESTA and Start-Ups

This article argues that large internet companies like Google and Facebook will most likely survive any changes imposed by the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficker’s Act (SESTA) which is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate.  However, new start-ups hoping to get into the field will have a much more difficult time in light of the requirements imposed by SESTA.  As some are aware, SESTA will erode the traditional 230 immunity provided to internet companies for the actions of third parties.

According to the article,

“[m]any of SESTA’s supporters suggest that it would be easy for web platforms of all sizes to implement automated filtering technologies they can trust to separate legitimate voices from criminal ones. But it’s impossible to do that with anywhere near 100% accuracy. Given the extreme penalties for under-filtering, platforms would err in the opposite direction, removing legitimate voices from the Internet. As EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn put it, “Again and again, when platforms clamp down on their users’ speech, marginalized voices are the first to disappear.””

Techdirt.com: Google Will Survive SESTA. Your Start-Up Might Not.

Regulating Online Content Moderation

Kyle Langvardt

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Regulating Online Content Moderation


The Supreme Court held in 2017 that “the vast democratic forums of the Internet in general, and social media in particular,” are “the most important places…for the exchange of views.” Yet within these forums, speakers are subject to the closest and swiftest regime of censorship the world has ever known. This censorship comes not from the government, but from a small number of private corporations – Facebook, Twitter, Google – and a vast corps of human and algorithmic content moderators. The content moderators’ work is indispensable; without it, social media users would drown in spam and disturbing imagery. At the same time, content moderation practices correspond only loosely to First Amendment values. Recently-leaked internal training manuals from Facebook reveal that its content moderation practices are rushed, ad-hoc, and at times incoherent.

The time has come to consider legislation that would guarantee meaningful speech rights in online spaces. This Article evaluates a range of possible approaches to the problem. These include 1) an administrative monitoring and compliance regime to ensure that content moderation policies hew close to First Amendment principles; 2) a “personal accountability” regime handing control over content moderation to users; and 3) a relatively simple requirement that companies disclose their moderation policies. Each carries serious pitfalls, but none is as dangerous as option 4): continuing to entrust online speech rights to the private sector.


Bail Revoked After Facebook Post


Bail Revoked After Facebook Post

Martin Shkreli was sent to jail today for offering $5,000 on Facebook to anyone who could “grab a hair” from Mrs. Clinton during her book tour. Mr. Shkreli had been out on bail while awaiting sentencing for his recent conviction for fraud.  The judge handling Mr. Shkreli’s case found that the defendant, through his Facebook post, presented a threat to the community.

To read more go here.

Impact of the GDPR on Facebook and Google



Impact of the GDPR on Facebook and Google

The article (Is the EU Taking Sides?) below examines how the European Union”s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will impact both Facebook and Google.  It appears that the new regulation may raise more privacy concerns for Facebook than Google based on how each company conducts digital marketing. According to the article:

The GDPR is complicated, but one very intentional prohibition is the use of personal data to target ads without explicit consent. So, if a company knows something about you, and then uses that fact in an algorithm that favors one ad over another, that’s a GDPR violation. Both Facebook and Google specialize in such algorithms, but it’s the way each does it that makes all the difference: Facebook targets ads by knowing who you are. Google does is by knowing what you’re searching for.  The resulting ads are similar, but that ‘who/what’ dichotomy is paramount.

To read the full article go here.