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    👍|Facebook’s language gaps weaken screening of ha…

    As the Gaza war raged and tensions surged across the Middle East last May, Instagram briefly banned the hashtag #AlAqsa, a reference to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, a flash point in the conflict. Facebook, which owns Instagram, later apologised, explaining its algorithms had mistaken the third-holiest site in Islam for the militant group Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of the secular Fatah party. For many Arabic-speaking users, it was just the latest potent example of how the social media giant muzzles political speech in the region. Arabic is among the most common la…

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    👍|Facebook spreads hate, whistleblower tells UK l…

    Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told UK lawmakers Monday that posting content featuring anger and hate “is the easiest way to grow” on the social media platform as she urged better regulation. Haugen, who earlier this year shared a trove of internal documents alleging Facebook knew its products were harming children’s mental health, argued the platform was “unquestionably” fuelling hate. Haugen said Facebook used “engagement-based rankings” prioritising the most clicked – and invariably divisive – content. “It pushes you to the extremes and it fans hate,” she told a panel of British MPs …

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    👍|Facebook failing to contain hate speech in Indi…

    Facebook was well aware that hate speech was spreading on its site in India which could exacerbate ethnic violence, and did not deploy resources to curb the phenomenon, US media reported, citing internal documents. The so-called Facebook Papers, leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen, have already revealed the impact of Facebook – as well as of WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which it owns – on the deep polarization of politics in the United States and on the mental health of some teenagers. But there have long been concerns over the social network’s impact in spreading hate speech fueling vio…

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    👍|Will Facebook address the censorship of Palesti…

    Palestinian digital rights advocates have welcomed Facebook’s decision to investigate the moderation of Arabic and Hebrew posts following accusations that the social media giant was censoring Palestinian content. “We have partnered with a non-profit organisation expert in business and human rights, BSR, to conduct human rights due diligence of Facebook’s impacts during May-June’s intensified violence in Israel and Palestine,” Facebook said in a statement on 14 October. The decision comes after Facebook’s Oversight Board recommended in September that an independent investigation be conducted in…

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    👍|Facebook ‘to announce new group name next week’…

    Facebook Inc, under fire from regulators and lawmakers over its business practices, is planning to rebrand itself with a new group name that focuses on the metaverse, The Verge reported on Tuesday. The name change will be announced next week, The Verge reported, citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been talking up the metaverse, a digital world where people can move between different devices and communicate in a virtual environment, since July, and the group has invested heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality, developing hardware such …

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    👍|Facebook closes fake accounts in Sudan as leade…

    Facebook says it has shut down two large networks targeting users in Sudan in recent months, as civilian and military leaders spar with one another over the future of an interim power-sharing arrangement. The battle for public opinion, much of it happening online, is intensifying as Sudan reels from an economic crisis and a shaky transition to democracy following 30 years under dictator President Omar Al-Bashir, who was ousted in a popular uprising in 2019. Facebook said one of the networks of inauthentic pages it took down was linked to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the othe…

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    👍|Activists welcome FB probe into censoring of Pa…

    A Palestinian digital rights group has welcomed Facebook’s decision on Thursday to launch an independent investigation into its moderation of Arabic and Hebrew content, amid sustained accusations that the social media giant has been censoring content related to Palestine. The decision followed recommendations from Facebook’s Oversight Board on the matter, as well as protests from several rights groups demanding transparency and fairness with regards to Palestine-related posts. 7amleh, the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, urged that Facebook appoint “independent professionals wi…

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    👍|US group call out Facebook on ‘anti-Muslim hate…

    After the congressional testimony by Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen about hate speech on the platform, a Muslim rights group in the US is calling for greater accountability of the social media giant. Facebook has come under fire for allegations that it has done little to stop the spread of hate speech on its platform. Haugen previously warned that hate content on Facebook is fanning violence in countries such as Myanmar, where ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims has taken place. US rights groups have also called out Facebook for the continued presence of anti-Muslim content on th…

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    👍|Facebook whistleblower to testify company ‘thre…

    Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will appear before the US Congress on Tuesday, where she is set to sharply criticise her former employer as “one of the most urgent threats” facing the country, and to demand transparency about its operations in order to better regulate it. Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, says the social media giant keeps its algorithms and operations a secret. “The core of the issue is that no one can understand Facebook’s destructive choices better than Facebook, because only Facebook gets to look under the hood,” she said in wri…

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    👍|Facebook fights outage as whistleblower testimo…

    Facebook battled dual crises Monday as potentially billions of users were impacted when its dominant social network went offline for seven hours, and the company fought against a whistleblower’s damning revelations. Many long-held fears and criticisms about the platform seem to have been backed up by Facebook’s own research, which ex-worker Frances Haugen has turned over to authorities and The Wall Street Journal. But as US senators prepared for her highly anticipated Tuesday testimony on the documents, Facebook went offline in an outage that hit users across its platforms, including Instagram…

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    👍|Trump asks judge to get Twitter to restart his …

    Former US President Donald Trump asked a federal judge in Florida on Friday to ask Twitter to restore his account, which the company removed in January citing a risk of incitement of violence. Trump filed a request for a preliminary injunction against Twitter in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, arguing the social media company was “coerced” by members of the US Congress to suspend his account. Twitter and several other social media platforms banned Trump from their services after a mob of his supporters attacked the US Capitol in a deadly riot on January 6. That assa…

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    👍|Egypt to tax social media stars

    Egypt said it will tax social media content creators in a revenue raising exercise as more citizens look to online platforms to make a living. The tax authority said “YouTubers and bloggers” earning over 500,000 pounds ($32,000) annually would be taxed, in a statement issued Saturday. Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with over a 100 million people, has reached a 60 percent internet penetration rate, according to official figures. Social media was awash with comments after the taxation move. “Poor vegetable sellers are taxed, so we can also tax the rich,” an Egyptian wrote on Twitt…

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    👍|Facebook ordered to release anti-Rohingya posts

    A US judge has ordered Facebook to release posts the social network removed over their role in inciting government-backed violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar. In his ruling on Wednesday, Washington DC district court Judge Zia Faruqui criticised the company for refusing to provide the records to countries pursuing a case against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice. Facebook had resisted releasing the content on the grounds of US privacy law. But the judge ruled that the deleted posts would not be covered under the protections for users’ personal communications. “Locking aw…

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    👍|Facebook should have Palestine-Israel bias revi…

    Accusations of bias in administering content about Palestine and Israel should be independently looked into, the body which oversees certain significant Facebook content administration decisions said on Tuesday. This came as part of an Oversight Board case about the sharing of an Al Jazeera Arabic post, which pertained to May’s deadly Gaza escalation, by an Egyptian account. Facebook was asked if it was approached by Tel Aviv, officially or unofficially, to take down content about the escalation of violence that occurred in Palestine-Israel this April and May. This escalation culminated in mor…

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    👍|Gulf Air launches direct flights with Tel Aviv …

    Gulf Air, Bahrain’s flag carrier will launch direct flights for the first time with Israel’s Tel Aviv on September 30, the carrier said in a Twitter post on Thursday. We are excited to announce that we will be flying to Tel Aviv starting 30 September 2021 with two weekly flights.نعلن عن رحلاتنا المباشرة إلى تل أبيب بدءا من 30 سبتمبر 2021 بواقع رحلتين اسبوعيتين#GulfAir #Bahrain #Israel #TelAviv#طيران_الخليج #البحرين #إسرائيل #تل_ابيب pic.twitter.com/7TFyRABt0n — Gulf Air (@GulfAir) Israel named its first ambassador to Bahrain earlier this month, after normalising relations with the Gulf Arab st…

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    👍|Facebook mistakenly labels black men ‘primates’

    Facebook on Friday said it disabled its topic recommendation feature after it mistook Black men for “primates” in video at the social network. A Facebook spokesperson called it a “clearly unacceptable error” and said the recommendation software involve was taken offline. “We apologize to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations,” Facebook said in response to an AFP inquiry. “We disabled the entire topic recommendation feature as soon as we realized this was happening so we could investigate the cause and prevent this from happening again.” Facial recognition software has been b…

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    👍|Facebook unveils curbs for Taliban-seized Afgha…

    Facebook released new security measures Thursday to protect users in Afghanistan after the lightning takeover of the country by the Taliban, who are already barred from the social media giant’s platforms. Following recommendations from activists, journalists and civil society groups, the company said users can now shield their posts from people they don’t know. Also, users of Facebook-owned Instagram in Afghanistan will receive notifications informing them of methods to protect their accounts. “We’re working closely with our counterparts in industry, civil society and government to provide wha…

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    👍|Facebook says it will still ban Taliban-related…

    Facebook said it will continue to ban Taliban-related content, days after the insurgents took over Kabul and forced the Afghan government to flee overseas. Facebook – which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp – said it had barred the group from all its platforms under its “Dangerous Organisation” policies. The move follows fierce criticism of the platform for allowing the Taliban \- which is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation in the US – to use their platforms to promote extremist ideology and incite violence. “[The suspension] means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliba…

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    👍|Facebook bans firm behind Pfizer, AstraZeneca s…

    Facebook said on Tuesday that it has removed hundreds of accounts linked to a mysterious advertising agency operating out of Russia that sought to pay social media influencers to smearCovid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca. A network of 65 Facebook accounts and 243 Instagram accounts was traced back to Fazze, an advertising and marketing firm working in Russia on behalf of an unknown client. The network used fake accounts to spread misleading claims that disparaged the safety of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. One claimed AstraZeneca’s shot would turn a person into a chimpanzee….

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    👍|Bella Hadid calls for a ‘Free Palestine’ on Ins…

    Palestinian American model Bella Hadid voiced support for Palestine with a post on her Instagram page this weekend, gaining applause from fans. The 23-year-old American, whose father was born in Palestine in 1948, posted an image of a banner reading “It’s Free Palestine til’ Palestine is free – Bella Hadid” on her social media profile. “A Palestinian girl on the cover of Vogue. The joy it brings me to say that….I won’t stop talking about the systematic oppression, pain and humility that Palestinians face on a regular basis. With only love in my heart and an open mind to educate myself and lear…

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    👍|Cuban government blames Twitter for unrest

    Unprecedented anti-government protests broke out in Cuba on July 11, which the single-party state leadership blames on a Twitter campaign orchestrated by the United States. But experts AFP spoke to say that view is at best an exaggeration. “I have irrefutable proof that the majority of those that took part in this (internet) campaign were in the United States and used automated systems to make content go viral, without being penalized by Twitter,” Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Tuesday. Rodriguez had already denied that the island nation experienced a “social explosion” w…

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    👍|Facebook says Iran-based spies targeted defence…

    Facebook on Thursday said it disrupted an Iran-based espionage operation targeting defence and aerospace workers in Europe and the United States. Fake accounts posing as company job recruiters or employees were used to dupe targets, according to head of cyber espionage investigations Mike Dvilyanski. “This effort was highly targeted,” Dvilyanski said in a telephone briefing. “It is hard for us to know how successful this campaign was, but it had all the hallmarks of a well-resourced operation.” Some of the malicious code used in the cyber spying campaign was developed by Mahak Rayan Afraz tech…

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    👍|What will Twitter’s feminine Arabic option mean…

    On June 15, Twitter launched a new language setting that allows Arabic language users to choose the feminine form in what they said was a bid to champion inclusive language. The company also initiated a campaign titled #FeminineArabic for people to join the discussion as well as partner with brands including Adidas, Microsoft, Mastercard, and Samsung. Where the Arabic language settings on the website were previously in male form, for example, the words “tweet” or “gharrid” (Arabic) and “explore” or “istakshif” (Arabic), will now be able to be viewed in feminine form, “istakshify” and “gharridy…

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    👍|Facebook, Twitter vow to tackle racial abuse of…

    Facebook and Twitter said Monday they were scrambling to take down racially abusive comments directed at members of the England football team following a heartbreaking loss in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final. The US social media giants said they were taking down racist and hateful content which had prompted condemnation from British political leaders. The actions came after a stream of abusive messages on Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram directed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, the three players who missed England’s penalties on Sunday. “The abhorrent racist abuse directed at En…

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    👍|Bangladeshi cleric issues fatwa on Facebook emoji

    A prominent Muslim Bangladeshi cleric with a huge online following has issued a fatwa against people using Facebook’s “haha” emoji to mock people. Ahmadullah, who uses one name, has more than three million followers on Facebook and YouTube. He regularly appears on television shows to discuss religious issues in the Muslim-majority country. On Saturday he posted a three-minute video in which he discussed the mocking of people on Facebook and issued a fatwa, an Islamic edict, explaining how it is “totally haram (forbidden)” for Muslims. “Nowadays we use Facebook’s haha emojis to mock people,” Ah…

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    📱|EU launches antitrust probe against Google over…

    The EU launched a wide-ranging antitrust probe against Google Tuesday over concerns that it is using its technology to keep out rivals in the lucrative online advertising market. The case opens yet another front by the European Commission against the search engine giant, which has already received eight billion euros ($9 billion) in fines for its anti-competitive practices. The investigation will “assess whether Google has violated EU competition rules by favouring its own online display advertising technology services”, a statement from the EU executive said. The probe narrows in on an import…

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    👍|Twitter launches inclusive ‘Arabic (feminine)’ …

    Social media giant Twitter has launched a new offering for those wanting it to address them in the Arabic feminine form. “Arabic (feminine)” was released on Tuesday to help boost inclusivity, Reuters reported. San Francisco-based Twitter claims such a setting has never before been implemented by a social network, though Reuters said a delivery firm from the UAE, Aramex, made such a move in April. It is now selectable on the site and transforms current usage. While the Arabic language usually uses masculine grammar in cases of indeterminate gender, or when talking to groups containing different…

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    👍|Netanyahu’s son suspended by Facebook, Twitter …

    Facebook removed a social media post by the son of Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu which detailed the address of a right-wing lawmaker on Thursday, before three of his social media accounts were temporarily suspended. Yair Netanyahu shared a poster on Instagram encouraging supporters of his embattled father to protest outside the home of Yamina MK Nir Orbach, in a bid to pressure the latter not to join a coalition deal aimed at ending his father’s 12-year grip on Israeli politics. Both Facebook and Instagram blocked Netanyahu’s account for 24 hours. Yair took to Twitter to blame “left-wing te…

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    👍|Netanyahu’s son suspended by Facebook, Twitter …

    Facebook removed a social media post by the son of Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu which detailed the address of a right-wing lawmaker on Thursday, before three of his social media accounts were temporarily suspended. Yair Netanyahu shared a poster on Instagram encouraging supporters of his embattled father to protest outside the home of Yamina MK Nir Orbach, in a bid to pressure the latter not to join a coalition deal aimed at ending his father’s 12-year grip on Israeli politics. Both Facebook and Instagram blocked Netanyahu’s account for 24 hours. Yair took to Twitter to blame “left-wing te…

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    👍|Iran presidential hopefuls demand end to Twitte…

    Iranian presidential candidates have jumped on the issue of social media restrictions, in an effort to win voters over, with traditionally conservative candidate also shifting position. Conservative candidates on the campaign trail have expressed their opposition to the online blocks, with Saeed Jalili describing the filtering of Twitter as “unjustified”. Globally popular social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter have been blocked or filtered in Iran since 2009. With Iranians set to go to the polls on 18 June, hopeful candidates have been attempting to build support, but in light …

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    👍|Facebook bans former US president Trump for 2 y…

    Facebook on Friday set its ban on former US president Donald Trump for two years, saying he deserved the maximum punishment for violating platform rules over a deadly attack by his supporters on the US Capitol. The two-year ban will be effective from January 7, when Trump was booted off the platform, and comes after Facebook’s independent oversight board said the indefinite ban should be reviewed. “Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new …

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    👍|Facebook workers’ letter ‘seeks movement on Pal…

    An open letter signed by almost 200 Facebook workers asks the platform for change on Palestine. The message calls for policies to be brought in to stop pro-Palestine posts being unjustly deleted or downranked, the Financial Times, which has viewed the letter, said on Tuesday. During the Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza last month, employees and others argued such enforcement had occurred. Many activists said they faced censorship from Facebook and other social media organisations. In late May, at least 30 company employees filed an internal appeal seeking the restoration of content on Fac…

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    👍|Activists give Facebook one-star reviews over P…

    Activists are using Facebook’s rating system to leave one-star reviews in an organised campaign protesting the social media giant’s alleged censorship of Palestinian accounts and posts in solidarity with the suffering of people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Users are sharing the campaign across social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and are urging people to leave one-star reviews in the Apple and Google App stores. Last week the average star rating for the social network was 4 out of 5. This week it is 2.4 out of 5 on Google Play store, and 2.3 out of 5 on Apple’…

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    👍|Facebook rating falls as users slam suppression…

    Facebook is facing a flurry of negative comments and ratings in response to its alleged suppression and censorship of supportive messages for the Palestinian people. The social networking giant has been accused by Palestine activists of blocking content that is supportive of Palestinian rights, as well as content that is critical of the Israeli occupation. Some have even gone as far as accusing the US company of colluding with Israel. At the time of writing, Facebook’s rating on the Apple App Store is 2.1, while it fairs only slightly better on Google’s Play Store with 2.4, both out of a possi…

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    📱|Jewish Google employees call for Palestine supp…

    Jewish employees at Google are calling for the tech giant to show greater support for Palestinians and free speech, amid concerns about the erasure of Palestinian voices. Jewish Diaspora in Tech has circulated a letter it says includes signatures from 250 Jewish Google employees objecting to the conflation of Israel and the Jewish people and insisting that “Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism”. It lists a set of demands to Google’s management about its handling of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and assaults on Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank by Israeli police and far-right mobs. The let…