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Inside Social

Inside Social (Jul 5th, 2019)

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1. Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger gave an interview this week in which he decried the "appalling" direction the internet has gone at the hands of social media companies, specifically Facebook and Twitter. Sanger is calling for a return to a decentralized internet, and in a blog post he outlined a "Declaration of Digital Independence" and called for "social media strike" on July 4 and 5 to protest the overreach of these companies. Sanger does, however, encourage people to post on social media about being on strike, with the hashtag #socialmediastrike. – CNBC

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2. Mobile-social quiz game app HQ Trivia continues to struggle, and this week the company laid off 20 percent of its staff. Downloads of the app are down 92 percent year over year, and staffers continue to say they don't like working under CEO and co-founder Rus Yusupov. Yusupov took the helm following the December death of CEO Colin Kroll. The company's next move will be making its second game, HQ Words, subscription-based. – TECHCRUNCH

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3. This week's revelation by ProPublica of a private Facebook Group for Border Patrol officers that was rife with hate speech and offensive posts highlights the problem Facebook faces in policing such groups as they increase in number. Facebook says that content posted in closed Groups is subject to the same rules as the rest of the platform, however, the very nature of such groups makes the content there less likely to be flagged for moderation. Civil rights groups say that as CEO Mark Zuckerberg pushes the company toward hosting more private interactions, more instances like the Border Patrol group are likely to fly under the radar. And the Washington Post notes that such a push puts the company "on a collision course with [its own] stated goal of cleaning up its platform ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election." – WASHINGTON POST

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4. Lawmakers in France have approved a measure to force social networks to remove hate speech within 24 hours, or face stiff fines. Instances of hate speech, once flagged, must be removed within a day or the companies could face fines of $1.4 million per instance. The hate speech measure will now be debated in the French Parliament, and critics say it could lead to censorship. – NEW YORK TIMES

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5. YouTube has come under considerable fire for failing to protect children, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable populations, but it's not likely to make sweeping changes as a result. Analysts suggest that the company hasn't seen any significant dips in revenue and therefore lacks any incentive to make substantive changes to how it operates. While users, politicians, and employees alike have created a considerable outcry, the contingent that has notably remained silent amid the recent dustups is the company's advertisers. – BUSINESS INSIDER

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6. The case of a British lawyer who apparently died by suicide after being publicly shamed and cyber-bullied on social media is highlighting how social platforms have created their own form of vigilante justice. The woman was convicted in a highly publicized case in which she drunkenly spat on and insulted flight attendants who cut her off on an Air India flight. But after serving her sentence, she was subjected to persistent public wrath on social media. She was later found dead on a beach, though her cause of death has not been confirmed. – THE NEXT WEB

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7. A cosplay star on Instagram put bottles of her bathwater up for sale on the platform for $30 a pop. 19-year-old Belle Delphine, who has 3.9 million followers and is famous for NSFW content, filmed herself (mostly clothed) in the bath filling the bottles. They sold out in three days, as she said, to "thirsty gamer boys." Delphine previously teased fans saying she would launch a PornHub account if a photo got 1 million likes, but when she did, it was all bizarre videos and nothing sexual or explicit. – INSIDER

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Inside Social is written and curated by Jay Barmann. Jay has spent a decade covering the social media space and the tech world in general for SFist.com, the San Francisco branch of Gothamist. As editor of Grub Street San Francisco, he also covered the food world around the Bay Area. As a freelance writer he has written for SF Weekly, 7x7, Curbed SF, Eater SF, Eventbrite, New York Magazine, and San Francisco Magazine, among others. Follow him on Instagram at @conflator or Twitter at @jaybarmann.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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