Inside Social - December 2nd, 2019

Inside Social (Dec 2nd, 2019)

TikTok was hiding content by disabled users / Zuckerberg and Chan interviewed / Twitter launches "privacy center"

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1. Facebook is testing out a new photo transfer tool that will allow users to move their photos and videos more easily to other photo-sharing platforms beyond Instagram. In a blog post Monday, the company says it is rolling out the tool in collaboration with Google Photos in Ireland, but that it will be expanding to more countries and more platforms by next June. The move comes in response to antitrust investigations in Europe and the U.S., addressing criticisms that Facebook has created an anti-competitive imbalance by limiting the mobility of users' photo collections. Facebook says that the new tool should "help drive policy discussions forward," but critics are pointing out that the EU's sweeping General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) already requires tech companies to make user data portable between platforms. – NEW YORK TIMES

2. TikTok is facing new criticism over a policy in which moderators flagged content by disabled, overweight, and LGBTQ users in order to limit its spread. A source within the company revealed that moderators had been trained to assign a specific classification tag to content by users who appeared to have Down syndrome or other disabilities, or whose content otherwise might leave them vulnerable to bullying. The company defended the policy, calling it a flawed early attempt to pre-empt such bullying, and says it was "never intended to be a long-term solution." However, critics say flagging content by these users effectively amounts to discrimination, preventing any user that a moderator might deem to be at "high risk" for ridicule from going viral. Critics also argue it violates TikTok's universal mandate of "fun" by hiding those who don't fit a certain mold. It's just one of many of TikTok's struggles as it attempts to gain traction in the U.S. while navigating the social and political differences between here and mainland China. – THE VERGE

3. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, gave their first joint television interview to Gayle King of "CBS This Morning" on Monday to mark the fourth anniversary of the founding of the Chan-Zuckerberg InitiativeThe couple's philanthropic company, which is not quite a foundation nor a traditional non-profit, because it funds political campaigns and ballot measures, was the main focus of the interview. However, King used the first half to grill Zuckerberg on the political ad controversy on Facebook and ask him about that secretive October dinner he had with President Trump. Zuckerberg revealed little about it, but said that Trump didn't lobby him on any particular issue. Instead, he says they simply "talked about a number of things that were on his mind, and some of the topics that you read about in the news around our work." The remainder of the interview, which includes a visit to the couple's Palo Alto home, airs on Tuesday morning, December 3. – CBS NEWS

4. Twitter announced Monday that it has launched a new online Twitter Privacy Center, which it will use to post news about new privacy tools and initiatives, as well as publish updates about security issues. The landing page also highlights a blog post today that discusses the company's recent privacy-related projects, and how it is prioritizing fixing "technical debt" that has accrued when it "built new features and services on top of older systems." The new all-in-one stop also includes pages dedicated to communicating with partners about compliance issues with different global privacy regulations, including a tab dedicated to EU's GDPR.  – TECHCRUNCH

5. TikTok reversed a ban on an American teen user who had posted a video calling on people to protest the Chinese government's treatment of Muslim Uighurs. Seventeen-year-old Feroza Aziz saw her TikTok account shut down last week after she posted a video that went viral purporting to be about eyelash curling, but which actually turned out to be about China's concentration camps for Uighurs. TikTok has reinstated the account and said that the ban had to do with a different "comedic" video that Aziz posted featuring a picture of Osama bin Laden. They further apologized and maintain that they do not censor any content on political grounds. Aziz says she does not believe the company's explanation given the sensitivity of the subject matter in China. – NEW YORK TIMES

6. Twitter suspended a Republican challenger to Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar in Minnesota after she posted a tweet suggesting Omar should be hanged for treason. Republican candidate Danielle Stella was parroting a popular right-wing conspiracy theory — something President Trump often does on Twitter — about Omar allegedly passing sensitive information to Iran. – GIZMODO

7. Although, as reported in today's first story, Facebook is testing a photo transfer tool, the tech giant is still pushing back against the EU and GDPR rules mandating the open transfer of user data between platforms. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, said in a statement that there are clear "privacy risks" with allowing rampant sharing of one's data. This is because it contains potential information about one's friends and family members as well. – REUTERS

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, 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.


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