Twitter Flags President Trump’s Tweet For ‘Glorifying Violence’, White House Responds

In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone with President Trump's Twitter page shown in the background on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia.  Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile phone with President Trump’s Twitter page shown in the background on May 27, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

Social media platform, Twitter, on Friday flagged US President Donald Trump’s tweet about the protests and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota for “glorifying violence,” leading to a response from the American White House.

Trump had tweeted about the protests which followed the death of a black man, George Floyd who was filmed saying he could not breathe as a white police officer used his knee to pin him down.

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump had tweeted. “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

According to Twitter, the company flagged the tweet in what it tagged a “public interest notice.”

The implication is that the tweet will not be taken out of the social media platform but hidden under a notice reading: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.”

Twitter, has, however, said, “As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”

In response, the official White House account called Twitter’s bluff by retweeting the same post. This time, Twitter responded by saying that while it violated its rules, the company “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

The White House later defended Trump’s tweet, saying, “The President did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it.”

And Trump’s social media director and Twitter feed manager, Dan Scavino, had his own response.

“Twitter is full of shit — more and more people are beginning to get it,” he wrote on Twitter.

The latest spat came a day after Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office seeking to transform the way social media companies are regulated. That followed Trump’s fury over Twitter tagging two of his tweets with fact checks, which was also an unprecedented measure.

Executive Order

On Thursday, Trump had issued an executive order seeking to strip social media giants like Twitter of legal immunity for content posted by users.

If this was enacted, the likes of Twitter and Facebook would become open to lawsuits and greatly increased government regulation.

Trump — angered this week after Twitter tagged one of his tweets for the first time with a fact-check notice — said regulation was needed because the companies are no longer neutral forums but engaging in “political activism.”

According to Trump, such platforms have “unchecked power to censor, restrict… virtually any form of communication between private citizens.”

“We can’t let that happen,” he said, “especially when they go about doing what they’re doing because they’re doing things incorrectly, they have points of view.”

Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Social Media Giants

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 19: U.S. President Donald Trump signs a signed the executive order on DOT deregulation, during a meeting with his cabinet in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day President Trump met with members of the Senate GOP. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

 

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Thursday seeking to strip social media giants like Twitter of legal immunity for content posted by users.

If this was enacted, the likes of Twitter and Facebook would become open to lawsuits and greatly increased government regulation.

Trump — angered this week after Twitter tagged one of his tweets for the first time with a fact-check notice — said regulation was needed because the companies are no longer neutral forums but engaging in “political activism.”

According to Trump, such platforms have “unchecked power to censor, restrict… virtually any form of communication between private citizens.”

“We can’t let that happen,” he said, “especially when they go about doing what they’re doing because they’re doing things incorrectly, they have points of view.”

The president’s ire appeared especially focused on fact-checking services that big social media platforms have added in an effort to weed out rampant disinformation and so-called “fake news.”

This, he said, made the companies into traditional publishers, therefore liable for whatever material they host.

“The choices that Twitter makes when it chooses to suppress… editorial decisions pure and simple,” he said.

“In those moments, Twitter ceases to be a neutral public platform and they become an editor with a viewpoint and I think we can say that about others also, whether you’re looking at Google, whether you’re looking at Facebook, perhaps others.”

According to Trump, his executive order aims to “uphold the free speech and rights of the American people.”

However, before this could go into effect it will face strong political opposition and Trump conceded it would get challenged in court.

Opponents say Trump’s aim is to tame the same social media platforms on which he is easily the biggest political presence in the country, cowing their attempts to reduce misinformation.

While Trump complains that social media leaders are liberal-leaning, he enjoys an overwhelming presence on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and other outlets for his streams of often factually incorrect posts and crude insults against opponents.

Asked why he wouldn’t just walk away from Twitter, where he has 80 million followers, Trump said he would, except that he relies on the platform to bypass the traditional media, which he complained is unfair.

“There’s so much fake news, it’s disgraceful,” he told the journalists covering him in the Oval Office.

Trump even mused about his desire to see Twitter disappear altogether — if he had any way to make this happen.

“If it were able to be legally shut down, I’d do it,” he said.

Trump To Sign Executive Order After Threatening To Shutter Social Media

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 19: U.S. President Donald Trump signs a signed the executive order on DOT deregulation, during a meeting with his cabinet in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day President Trump met with members of the Senate GOP. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Thursday after threatening to shutter social media platforms following Twitter’s move to label two of his tweets misleading.

After long resisting calls to censure Trump over his truth-defying posts, Twitter on Tuesday accused the president for the first time of making false claims.

Trump had tweeted — without any evidence — that more mail-in voting would lead to what he called a “Rigged Election” this November.

Twitter’s slap on the wrist was enough to drive Trump into a tirade — on Twitter — in which he claimed that the political right in the United States was being censored.

Trump would sign an executive order “pertaining to social media” on Thursday, his aides said, without offering any details.

But an undated draft version of the order obtained by The Washington Post on Wednesday said “we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online.”

The order would make it easier for federal regulators to argue that the companies are “suppressing free speech when they move to suspend users or delete posts,” The New York Times reported, citing two senior administration officials.

Both newspapers also reported that the order, which they said had not yet been finalized, could see tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Google held legally responsible for content posted on their platforms.

Twitter’s move to tag the president’s tweets comes after years of being accused of ignoring the president’s violation of platform rules with his daily, often hourly barrages of personal insults and inaccurate information sent to more than 80 million followers.

READ ALSO: Trump Threatens To ‘Close Down’ Social Media After His Tweets Were Tagged 

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg waded into the row, telling Fox News that his social network — still the biggest in the world — has a different policy.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook should not be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said in a snippet of the interview posted online Wednesday by Fox.

“I think, in general, private companies, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey fired back on Wednesday night, saying that his platform’s effort to point out misinformation did not make it an “arbiter of truth.”

“Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves,” he tweeted.

He doubled down on the new policy, writing: “Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me… We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

– ‘Blatant lies’ –

Kate Ruane, at the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Trump has no power to regulate Twitter.

The constitution “clearly prohibits the president from taking any action to stop Twitter from pointing out his blatant lies about voting by mail,” she said.

For all his protests, Trump is a political giant on social media.

By contrast, his Democratic election opponent, Joe Biden, has only 5.5 million Twitter followers.

Social media suits Trump’s unorthodox communications style and his penchant for conspiracy theories, rumors and playground-style insults.

The claim that Twitter is biased against conservatives fits the White House narrative that the billionaire president is still an outsider politician running against the elite.

The row is also a useful smokescreen when Biden is homing in on widespread dissatisfaction with Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 100,000 Americans dead.

Polls consistently show Biden in a strong position, despite barely having left his home during weeks of social distancing measures — and his relatively meager social media presence.

AFP

Twitter-Trump Clash Intensifies Political Misinformation Battle

 

President Donald Trump’s threat to shut down social media companies after Twitter labeled two of his tweets misleading sets up a fresh challenge for platforms as they struggle to deal with political misinformation during a toxic election campaign.

Twitter on Tuesday targeted tweets in which the president said that mail-in voting would lead to fraud and a “rigged election” in November, the first time the platform has placed a warning label on Trump’s comments.

The president’s angry response and threat to “strongly regulate” or “close down” social media firms highlights the conundrum for Twitter and other platforms, said Steven Livingston, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics at George Washington University.

Livingston said he expects Twitter to narrowly enforce its misinformation policies, dealing only with specific issues such as the electoral process and the coronavirus pandemic.

The attacks by Trump and his supporters put “so much pressure (on Twitter) and they are blanching at the thought of taking the next step” on curbing political misinformation, Livingston said.

“They are caught on the horns of a dilemma and don’t know which way to go.”

Even while Twitter is pledging to foster a “healthy conversation” by filtering out hoaxes and toxic content, Livingston said the economic model for social platforms suggests the opposite.

READ ALSO: Trump To Sign Executive Order After Threatening To Shutter Social Media

“Platforms know very well they are accentuating extremism,” he said. “Extremism holds attention and allows them to sell more advertising, and that’s the whole point of the game.”

When asked about Twitter’s fact-checking during an interview on Fox News, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said his social network has a different policy.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook should not be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said in a snippet of the interview posted online by Fox.

“I think, in general, private companies, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

University of Texas social media researcher and professor Samuel Woolley nonetheless welcomed what he called “a very bold move by Twitter” in the face of political pressure.

“Twitter will face a lot of backlash and whether they can bear up on this remains to be seen,” Woolley said.

Karen Kornbluh, head of the digital innovation and democracy initiative at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said Twitter’s action on content after it goes viral “may be a case of closing the barn door after the horse is out — but at least it communicates standards for acceptable activity on a platform’s site and that no one is completely exempt.”

– Bias claims, redux –

The latest clash between Trump and Twitter comes with the president and his supporters complaining of what he calls bias by internet firms against conservatives — despite his own vast social media following — and threatening to use antitrust enforcement or other regulatory efforts against the companies.

Daniel Kreiss, a professor and researcher at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, said Twitter “made the right call” in enforcing its policy on election misinformation without getting into the broader area of political speech or other topics, such as the president’s murder conspiracy comments this week against a TV journalist.

“Twitter is drawing a line in the sand on protecting electoral integrity, saying this outweighs anyone’s right to use the platform any way they want,” Kreiss said.

“I think they’re well justified. They have laid out clear values and a transparent policy.”

Kreiss said the measured approach could allow Twitter to navigate a toxic election campaign without getting bogged down in political debate, but noted that “they will be criticized whichever way they go.”

Michelle Amazeen, a Boston University professor of political communication, called Twitter’s move “a much needed step forward” but questioned how much impact this would have on misinformation on the platform.

“Are Twitter users now going to believe that if there is no label, Trump’s tweet is accurate? Research suggests they will,” she said.

Amazeen said Twitter’s actions still fall short of establishing the same kinds of standards in force in most news outlets.

“Twitter is not a reliable source for legitimate news,” she said. “Studies indicate that people who rely on social media for their news are more likely to be misinformed than people who go to mainstream news sources.”

As to Trump’s threats, legal experts say Trump has distorted the US constitution’s free speech guarantees which protect against government-directed controls.

“Thank goodness the First Amendment prevents him, or me or any other elected official from closing down speech platforms,” Democratic lawmaker Ted Lieu tweeted.

AFP

#SoCynthiaMorganLied: Social Media Agog After Jude Okoye Shares Singer’s Contract Details

 

Hours after music producer Jude Okoye made public the details of his Northside Records’ contract with dancehall star, Cynthia Morgan, music fans trooped to social media to criticise the singer for “lying” against his former record label.

Morgan, who now goes by the name ‘Madrina,’ had laid the blame for her misfortune in the music industry on the doorstep of Northside Records, alleging that the music label denied her access to the Cynthia Morgan brand.

Speaking during an Instagram Live chat ‘Upfront With Sandra’ last Sunday, the singer, who looked barely recognisable, said she moved back to Benin after battling depression and illness due to her music misadventure.

Morgan first spoke about her run-in with Jude Okoye’s Northside Records during a 2018 interview with Channels Television, where she claimed the latter, among other things, made her adopt a wild persona which brought her a lot of criticisms.

“As an entertainer, sometimes you need time for yourself to restructure, rebrand, restrategise whatever you are doing,” she said at the time.
When she was asked about her deal and relationship with the brand, she explained, “My contract actually expired last year (2017) in like August, legally, because I signed for four years.

“Even before then, we were obviously already apart because a lot of things went wrong with the deal”.

However, on Tuesday, when Jude Okoye shared details of Morgan’s contract with Northside Records with an Instagram influencer, Tunde Ednut, social media went agog with fans lambasting the ‘German Juice’ star for being economical with the truth.

Read Also: Davido, Other Celebrities Pledge Support For Cynthia Morgan’s Comeback


The contract in question, which had a 4-year lifespan with an option for a 2-year renewal, showed that Morgan and Northside Music would split any income generated 50/50.

Being that she was a newbie at the time the deal was struck, the label agreed to put up 100 per cent of the expenses which will be eventually deducted from her earnings.

Earlier, during his Instagram Live chat with Ednut, Jude Okoye denied preventing Morgan from the continued usage of her stage name.
“I never took that name from her. I don’t have that power.”

He added that she still had access to social media accounts two years after the contract was over.

Morgan had also claimed that Okoye failed to promote her work.

“Why are people not asking questions- how come this girl has been down this so long and not even one colleague came up to her rescue?” Okoye asked Ednut.

“Not rescue as in giving her money or sponsoring her. Rescue, as in, identifying with her.”

The Northside Records boss said Morgan had questioned his value in her career while ruining all the relationships he had helped her build.

“Cynthia Morgan looked me in the eye and asked me ‘what the f**k have you done for me?,” he said.

Trump Threatens To ‘Close Down’ Social Media After His Tweets Were Tagged

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 25, 2020 US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in New Delhi. US President Donald Trump announced a news conference from the White House on the coronavirus epidemic on February 26, 2020, with experts warning they expect it to spread in the United States. Mandel Ngan / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to shutter social media platforms after Twitter for the first time acted against his false tweets, prompting the enraged Republican to double down on unsubstantiated claims and conspiracy theories.

Trump will sign an executive order “pertaining to social media” on Thursday, aides to the president said, without offering more detail about its contents.

Twitter tagged two of his tweets in which he claimed that more mail-in voting would lead to what he called a “Rigged Election” this November.

There is no evidence that attempts are being made to rig the election, and under the tweets Twitter posted a link which read: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.”

For years, Twitter has been accused of ignoring the president’s violation of platform rules with his daily, often hourly barrages of personal insults and inaccurate information sent to more than 80 million followers.

But Twitter’s slap on the wrist was enough to drive Trump into a tirade — on Twitter — in which he claimed that the political right in the United States is being censored.

“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” he said.

He plunged right back into his narrative that an increase in mail-in ballots — seen in some states as vital for allowing people to avoid crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic — will undermine the election.

“It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots,” wrote Trump, whose reelection campaign has been knocked off track by the coronavirus crisis.

READ ALSO: Twitter Calls Trump Tweets ‘Unsubstantiated’ For The First Time

His torrent of angry tweets earned a top-10 trending hashtag: #TrumpMeltdown.

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg also waded in to the row, telling Fox News that his social network — still the biggest in the world — has a different policy.

“I just believe strongly that Facebook should not be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Zuckerberg said in a snippet of the interview posted online Wednesday by Fox.

“I think, in general, private companies, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey fired back on his own platform Wednesday night, saying that the website’s effort to point out misinformation did not make it an “arbiter of truth.”

“Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves,” he tweeted.

He doubled down on the new policy, writing: “Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”

– ‘Blatant lies’ –

Kate Ruane, at the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Trump has no power to regulate Twitter.

The constitution “clearly prohibits the president from taking any action to stop Twitter from pointing out his blatant lies about voting by mail,” she said.

For all his protests, Trump is a political giant on social media.

By contrast, his Democratic election opponent, Joe Biden, has only 5.5 million Twitter followers.

Social media suits Trump’s unorthodox communications style and his penchant for conspiracy theories, rumors and playground-style insults.

Now that he faces Biden, Barack Obama’s vice president, Trump is again using Twitter to attack his popular predecessor.

His murky claim that the Democrat was part of a “coup” attempt during the early days of his administration has a Twitter hashtag — #ObamaGate — that the president uses regularly.

The claim that Twitter is biased against conservatives fits the White House narrative that the billionaire president is still an outsider politician running against the elite.

The row is a useful smokescreen when Biden is homing in on widespread dissatisfaction with Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which has left more than 100,000 Americans dead.

Polls consistently show Biden in a strong position, despite barely having left his home during weeks of social distancing measures — and his relatively meager social media presence.

An unrepentant Trump also resumed spreading a conspiracy theory Wednesday about a prominent television critic, Joe Scarborough, whom the president is trolling with accusations that he murdered a woman in 2001.

There has never been any evidence that Scarborough, a host on MSNBC, had anything to do with the death of Lori Klausutis, who was a staffer in his office when he was a Republican congressman.

AFP

Davido Defers ‘A Good Time’ Tour Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Hip hop star, David Adeleke popularly known as Davido has postponed the rest of his tour in North America due to the health concerns surrounding the spreading coronavirus outbreak.

He believes the decision to postpone the tour is in the best interest of his fans as it’s related to their individual and collective health.

Announcing on social media on Thursday, Davido wrote, “I’m saddened to halt what has been a fantastic sold-out tour so far, but postponing is the right thing to do. The health and safety of my fans and staff is most paramount and nothing else matters. Be safe and see you all soon! God be with us all!”

READ ALSO: Why I Left Chocolate City – Rapper M.I Abaga Explains

The postponement came on the eve of his scheduled performance in Denver, Colorado.

The “Risky” singer had already performed to sold-out shows in Edmonton, Vancouver, Seattle, Los-Angeles, Las Vegas and San Fransisco and was still set to take on New York, Chicago, Miami, Toronto and several other major cities across North America and Canada.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, which has recently been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), awareness to curb the disease has intensified globally, major tech, sporting, music events and festivals have been postponed or cancelled completely.

‘A Good Time’ is the second studio album by Nigerian singer Davido. It was jointly released by Davido Music Worldwide (DMW),  RCA Records and Sony Music, in November 2019.

See his Instagram post below:

NASS Won’t Pass Social Media Bill Without Nigerians’ Input, Says Lawan

A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

 

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has given an assurance that the National Assembly would not arrogate to itself the power of exclusively passing the social media bill into law without inputs from Nigerians.

Lawan stated this in an address delivered to declare open a Public Hearing on the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, also known as the Social Media Bill, presently under consideration by the National Assembly.

The public hearing which held on Monday was organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

According to the Senate President, freedom of speech and the inalienable rights of man are issues that should not be compromised under any guise.

He added that it was in the spirit of ensuring the protection of individual rights in Nigeria that the Senate referred the bill to its committee for legislative work, so as to get the input of all concerned Nigerians.

Lawan, therefore, urged all stakeholders present at the hearing to be open-minded, dispassionate and tolerant of opposing views on the bill.

He said, “This hearing is a crucial one because the Bill has generated a lot of passion. The passion is not unexpected because the Bill relates to the Internet. The Internet has become central to our lives, as it has reshaped how we live, work and how we interact.

“Like every other innovation, it has had its positive and negative sides. While it has somewhat made communication easier, faster and even cheaper, it has also affected our ability to easily trust some information.

“When this kind of situation arises, we should interrogate all the sides in the divides on a continuous basis. Doing this will lead to a better understanding of the dimensions and provide an agreeable way forward.”

The Senate President insisted that the National Assembly has never assumed the position of knowing it all.

He stressed that the rules and procedures of the lawmakers do not even envisage a position where they would arrogate themselves knowledge of everything.

Lawan explained that the Senate’s decision to refer the bill to the relevant committee in November 2019 was to open discussion on the piece of legislation.

According to him, a public hearing of the sort will avail the Senate the opportunity of sampling all shades of opinion on the bill.

The Senate President stated that for the country to experience peace, growth and development, Nigerians must engage each other on ways to address the excesses and limitations that were consequences of the abuse of freedom.

He said, “It is pursuant to our procedure to open up discussions that we have invited you all. In assembling here today however, we need to remember that there are multiple positions on every argument.

“This implies that we should not just be open minded and dispassionate, but should be ready to hear the other side, no matter how strong we feel about our own position.”

Twitter Tests Vanishing Tweets to Keep Up With Snapchat, Facebook

Twitter logo
(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 2, 2019 logos of US social network Twitter are displayed on the screen of smartphones, in Nantes, western France. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

 

Twitter said Wednesday it is testing a way for users to “think aloud” with tweets that vanish after a day instead of having posts linger.

The ability to send ephemeral tweets called “Fleets” is being tried out in Brazil, according to the San Francisco-based social media platform.

If more widely implemented, Twitter would match the disappearing posts first made popular by Snapchat and later adopted by Facebook and other platforms.

“We are experimenting with a new way for you to ‘think aloud’ on Twitter, with no likes, retweets or public comments,” the company said in a message posted from its @TwitterBrasil account.

“The name of this is Fleets. Want to know the best? They disappear after 24 hours.”

Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said the new format could encourage people to share thoughts they might not have expressed in a permanent tweet.

“This is a substantial change to Twitter, so we’re excited to learn by testing it (starting with the rollout today in Brazil) and seeing how our customers use it,” Beykpour tweeted.

-AFP

 

TikTok Drops Policy Discriminating Against Disabled, Gay People

A picture of a man using his phone. Anthony WALLACE / AFP
A picture of a man using his phone. Anthony WALLACE / AFP

 

TikTok has dropped a “blunt” cyberbullying policy, the Chinese-owned video sharing app said Wednesday after a report it hid posts by disabled, gay and overweight people.

People deemed “susceptible to harassment or cyberbullying based on their physical or mental condition” had the reach of their posts restricted, German site NetzPolitik.org reported, citing leaked documents from Tiktok.

People with facial disfigurements, autism and Down syndrome were among those to have their posts dumped down TikTok’s algorithm so others on the social network would not see them, the report said.

Gay and overweight people “also ended up on a list of ‘special users’ whose videos were regarded as a bullying risk by default and capped in their reach,” the report said.

When asked about the report, TikTok told AFP on Wednesday that it now recognised “the approach was wrong” and said it had dropped the policy.

“Early on, in response to an increase in bullying on the app, we implemented a blunt and temporary policy. This was never designed to be a long-term solution, but rather a way to help manage a troubling trend,” a TikTok spokesman said.

“While the intention was good, it became clear that the approach was wrong and we have since removed the policy in favor of more nuanced anti-bullying policies and in-app protections.”

TikTok did not respond to a follow-up query about the specifics of the policy. It did not say when the policy was dropped.

However, according to NetzPolitik.org, the restrictions could involve limiting posts to a local rather than global audience.

Those deemed most vulnerable had their posts put in a “not recommend” category so they were made nearly invisible, it said.

“Strictly speaking, such videos are not deleted –- but in fact they hardly have an audience,” the report said.

Tiktok, launched by Chinese company ByteDance in September 2017, has quickly become one of the most popular social networks in the world, with young people its main market.

In November, the app hit 1.5 billion downloads worldwide, outperforming Instagram.

Users typically post short clips of themselves performing skits, lip-syncing and dancing.

But TikTok has come under scrutiny recently over whether it censors content deemed sensitive by China’s authoritarian rulers.

Last week, it apologised for removing a viral video that condemned Beijing’s crackdown on Muslims in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang.

A university student in California this month filed a class-action lawsuit against TikTok, accusing it of harvesting large amounts of user data and storing it in China.

US senators have also warned that TikTok’s owner ByteDance could be forced to share user information with Chinese intelligence.

TikTok said in a statement in October its operations were not influenced by the Chinese government.

 

AFP

Instagram, Facebook Experience Shutdown

 

This handout image obtained November 4, 2019 courtesy of Facebook, shows the new company logo for Facebook. Eric BARADAT / FACEBOOK / AFP

 

Users of popular social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, reported on Thursday the services were down.

Some users said they could not make new posts on either platform.

It is yet unclear what went wrong but Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, tweeted on Thursday that it was aware of the problem.

“We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing Facebook’s family of apps, including Instagram,” the tweet from Instagram said. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

This is not the first time users have experienced disruptions of Facebook’s services. In March 2019, Facebook went down for more than 14 hours. Instagram was also affected at the time.

Dozens Detained In India Over Social Media Comments

Photo: Eric BARADAT / AFP

Indian police have arrested dozens of people for social media comments that allegedly threatened “communal harmony” after the Supreme Court awarded a holy site once used for a mosque to Hindus, officials said Monday.

The site in the northern city of Ayodhya has in the past caused religious riots that have left thousands dead.

Security forces have been on alert since the verdict was announced on Saturday and remained on the city’s streets as hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims began arriving on Monday ahead of a religious festival. Hindu and Muslim leaders have called for calm.

Police said the social media posts on platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube had threatened “communal harmony”.

At least 77 people were arrested in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh — where Ayodhya is located — after the Supreme Court decision, a police statement said.

Authorities acted against more than 8,270 posts, with steps including “reporting the posts to the social media platform” and “directly messaging the user to delete the message,” the statement said.

In two cases police ordered users to take down their social media profiles, an Uttar Pradesh police spokesman said.

More than 2,800 posts were targeted on Twitter. There were 1,355 allegedly inflammatory comments on Facebook, and 98 YouTube videos, authorities said.

Police cybercrime units said they were using “sentiment analysis” programmes to identify suspect social media posts.

A top Uttar Pradesh official said that several WhatsApp groups were asked to restrict their activities, according to media reports.

Eight other arrests were reported in the central state of Madhya Pradesh for social media comments.

A jail warden in the city of Gwalior was also arrested for celebrating with fireworks after the Hindu court victory.

A mosque had stood on the Ayodhya site for almost five centuries, but Hindus claim it was built on the birthplace of the warrior god Rama and a mob tore it down in 1992, setting off riots in which 2,000 people were killed.

Muslims are to be given a separate plot of land in the city to build a new mosque under the Supreme Court ruling. Several Hindu nationalist leaders still face trial over the 1992 demolition.

More than one million Hindu pilgrims are expected in Ayodhya on Tuesday for an annual full moon religious festival.

AFP