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Moderated Content from Stanford Law School is podcast content about content moderation, moderated by assistant professor Evelyn Douek. The community standards of this podcast prohibit anything except the wonkiest conversations about the regulation—both public and private—of what you see, hear and do online.
22 Episodes
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Evelyn sits down with Nate Persily, Professor at Stanford Law School, and Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, to discuss Meta's decision that it is reinstating former President Trump's accounts. Nate is pragmatic, Alex is cynical, and Evelyn is a naive little formalist about it all. Here's their quick takes.
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:This should be a far bigger story: India is ordering platforms to take down content related to a BBC documentary. The widely predicted and highly consequential dramatic escalation in India’s legal battles with platforms is here, and we better be watching - Hannah Ellis-Petersen/ The GuardianThe UK Online Safety Bill was back in the House of Commons last week, but the Sunak administration is biding time in negotiations over the wording of a new criminal liability provision for social media executives. An amendment also adds videos that show people crossing the Channel in small boats in a “positive light” to a list of illegal content that must be proactively blocked from users. Dan Milmo/ The Guardian, Dan Milmo/ The Guardian, Dan Milmo/ The Guardian, BBC NewsAn investigative report highlights the mental health challenges and low wages for workers in Kenya that reviewed text snippets of disturbing situations and hateful speech in support of an OpenAI system to detect and prevent toxic content from appearing in ChatGPT and other tools. - Billy Perrigo/ TimeThe Federal Election Commission tossed out claims made by the Republican National Committee that Google’s Gmail spam filters are biased against conservatives because they send a higher percentage of GOP fundraising emails to spam. - John McKinnon/ The Wall Street JournalFormer President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is formally petitioning Meta to reinstate his social media accounts in a written letter. And Trump wants to get out of an exclusivity agreement to post first on his own social network, Truth Social, as his campaign plans to ramp up later this year. - Marc Caputo, Jonathan Allen/ NBC News, Asawin Suebsaeng, Adam Rawnsley/ Rolling StoneTikTok has an internal tool for staff to manually amplify individual videos, picking and choosing brands and creators to go viral without disclosing that recommended content for users. - Emily Baker-White/ ForbesCourtroom Corner:The Supreme Court has put two state content moderation cases on hold, asking the Biden administration to weigh in on challenges to Texas and Florida laws that would restrict social media companies from removing posts with political opinions. - @steve_vladeck, Adam Liptak/ The New York Times, Andrew Chung/ ReutersNearly 50 amicus briefs were filed last week in support of Section 230 in Gonzalez v. Google. - SCOTUSblogIt turns out that international soccer star Messi's record for the most-liked picture on Instagram was the result of coordinated authentic behavior. Following Argentina’s World Cup victory, fans organized to like Messi’s post and unlike the picture of an egg that previously held the title of the most liked Instagram post. - Lucía Cholakian Herrera/ Rest Of The WorldBecause of course, members of Taliban leadership were among the Twitter Blue subscribers paying for a blue check mark verification badge on their accounts. The badge was removed from the accounts following intense backlash, but what do the blue checks even mean anymore? - Abdirahim Saeed/ BBC News, Ramon Antonio Vargas/ The GuardianJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:A new study found “no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior.” - Gregory Eady, Tom Paskhalis, Jan Zilinsky, Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler, Joshua A. Tucker/ Nature Communications, @CSMaP_NYUWe hear from Josh Tucker, a co-author of the paper and co-director of the NYU Center for Social Media and Politics. Importantly, the findings are limited to Twitter where a small, highly partisan audience was targeted. The findings do not fully reflect the multifaceted impact Russian interference had on faith in American elections. @j_a_tuckerA study conducting a $9 million social media advertising campaign reaching two million moderate voters in five battleground states found little effect for driving voter turnout during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. - Minali Aggarwal, Jennifer Allen, Alexander Coppock, Dan Frankowski, Solomon Messing, Kelly Zhang, James Barnes, Andrew Beasley, Harry Hantman, Sylvan Zheng/ Nature Human Behaviour, @_JenAllenWe hear from one of the co-authors, Sol Messing, a visiting researcher at Georgetown University. He highlights why campaigns might want to shift to focus on early voter turnout based on the findings. - @SolomonMgTwitter is cutting off API access to third party clients in an effort to force users to return to Twitter’s own website and apps, according to messages reviewed by The Information. It was previously reported that users of apps including Tweetbot and Echofon were experiencing bugs late Thursday evening. - Erin Woo/ The Information, Ivan Mehta/ TechCrunch, Mitchell Clark/ The VergeState universities are banning access to TikTok on their WiFi networks and official devices in response to nearly two dozen state bans on government access to the popular short video social media service with a Chinese parent company. - Sapna Maheshwari/ The New York Times, Kate Mcgee/ The Texas TribuneApple promised to provide more information about why it bans certain apps from its App Store in countries like China and Russia in response to pressure from activist investors. - Kenza Byran, Patrick Mcgee/ Financial TimesLegal corner:“A public school district in Seattle has filed a novel lawsuit against the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, seeking to hold them accountable for the mental health crisis among youth.” - Gene Johnson/ Associated PressThe Supreme Court took a new case, Counterman v. Colorado, about what kind of mens rea, or intent, is necessary to prove a true threat. The case is based on the prosecution of a man who stalked and harassed a local musician on Facebook for years. - SCOTUSblogIn a new Supreme Court brief, Google argues that holding the company liable for recommendation systems that promoted ISIS videos in a case brought by the parents of a terrorist attack victim could “upend the internet” and result in websites with either extensive censorship or floods of questionable content, but nothing in-between. - John McKinnon/ The Wall Street JournalPresident Biden set priorities for bipartisan internet policy cooperation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, focusing on data privacy, Section 230, algorithmic transparency, and antitrust measures. The piece left a lot to be desired, but signals these will continue to be hot issues over the next two years.  - Joe Biden/ The Wall Street JournalJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:An EU regulator is putting behavioral advertising at risk and leveling more than $400 million in fines against Meta for Facebook and Instagram privacy violations. - Sam Schechner/ The Wall Street Journal, Vincent Manancourt/ Politico, Adam Satariano/ The New York Times, Stephanie Bodoni/ Bloomberg NewsMore: Meta plans to appeal the ruling against its legal basis for processing data to provide targeted posts and ads based on user activity. - MetaGoogle is implementing an appeals process for users suspended for sharing child sexual abuse materials on its platforms and will provide more information about why an account is suspended. - Kashmir Hill/ The New York TimesThe move follows New York Times reporting on fathers who lost access to their accounts after sharing requested photos of their children’s genitals for medical treatment. Criminal investigations found them innocent, but Google refused to restore their accounts. - Kashmir Hill/ The New York TimesTwitter announced it relaxed policies for cause-based U.S. advertising and will expand permitted political advertising as ad revenue declines under Musk’s ownership due in part to brand safety concerns. - @TwitterSafety, Brian Fung/ CNNMore: Many platforms banned or limited political advertising ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Analysis by Duke University researchers found there is little evidence those bans achieved their intended effects of limiting the spread of false or misleading information about elections. - J. Scott Babwah Brennen, Matt Perault/ Duke UniversityFacebook wants out of politics, but there is no escape! Efforts to reduce political or socially divisive topics had unintended consequences as users saw more spam content and less hard news. - Jeff Horwitz, Keach Hagey, Emily Glazer/ The Wall Street JournalFacebook’s self-imposed deadline for deciding whether to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account has come and gone with any action and a public announcement expected in the coming weeks. - David Ingram/ NBC NewsThe Oversight Board released a new decision overturning Meta’s removal of a Facebook post with a slogan used to protest the Iranian government, literally translating to “death to Khamenei,” in reference to ousting the current political regime led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. - Oversight Board, Katie Paul/ Reuters Members of the January 6 special committee staff who specialize in technology research and policy highlighted important findings that Trump received special protections on platforms despite red flags raised by trust and safety staff, however, right-wing networks with everyday people drove extremist views and organizing. They argue for increased transparency as the first legislative step to hold social media companies accountable. - Dean Jackson, Meghan Conroy, Alex Newhouse/ Tech Policy Press (commentary)WhatsApp added a feature that makes it easier for users in repressive regimes to bypass internet censors that attempt to ban or block access to the service. - Andrew Jeong/ The Washington PostThe Supreme Court allowed a lawsuit filed against the Israeli spyware firm NSO Group that claims the company is responsible for the illegal surveillance of 1,400 individuals to proceed. - Jessica Davis/ SC Media Researchers are raising the alarms that Brazilian far-right activists were organizing in the open across social media platforms far in advance of this week’s violent attacks on government buildings in protest of the recent presidential election. - Elizabeth Dwoskin/ The Washington Post, @detJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:Senators Chris Coons, Rob Portman, Amy Klobuchar, and Bill Cassidy introduced the Platform Accountability and Transparency Act (PATA) on Wednesday. The Bill would give researchers at universities and nonprofit organizations in the U.S. access to study data from the largest social media companies and provide public transparency on the most widely shared posts, advertising, content moderation practices and recommendation algorithms. - John Perrino / Tech Policy PressMore: Nate Persily puts in a cameo appearance to explain the bill and its history. Nate has been working on platform transparency for years. - Tara Wright / SLS NewsAn internal investigation by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, found that employees tracked the location and user data of multiple journalists, in an attempt to identify leakers at the company - Emily Baker White / Forbes More: One of the reporters who was tracked, Emily Baker White, has a good toot-thread of the reporting on the company that she has done over the past year that led to her being tracked. - Emily Baker White / MastodonThe password manager LastPass dropped a lovely Christmas present on its users, announcing a major security breach. Yikes. - Karim Toubba / LastPassOver at Twitter:Musk is still CEO.No, the US Government is not paying Twitter millions of dollars to censor information (Musk on Twitter). It reimburses the company for the costs of complying with orders to hand over data under the Stored Communications Act. - 18 U.S. Code § 2703, § 2706The Twitter Files finally had some interesting reporting about US Government covert information operations. - Lee Fang / The InterceptNo, it’s not news that platforms struggled with content moderation during the pandemic and often made mistakes. Yes, there should be a proper review of content moderation during the pandemic. - David Zweig / TwitterElon Musk has a worrying lack of understanding of Twitter’s data security obligations. - Faiz Siddiqui / Washington PostHere’s a primer of what he should know and why he should be worried Moderated Content prepared earlier - “Elon puts rockets into space, he's not afraid of the FTC”And for Orin Kerr’s take on why he really, really shouldn’t share people’s DMs, listen to MC Weekly Update 12/12Everything has a content moderation angle – Leo Messi’s post celebrating his world cup win has become the most-liked Instagram post of all time. - Dan Ladden-Hall / The Daily BeastJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Extra special thanks this week to the production team, Brian Pelletier, Alyssa Ashdown and Ryan Roberts for making sure this reached you during winter shutdown.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:A bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S. and could be extended to other social media companies with ties to “foreign adversaries” was introduced in the House and Senate, but lacks Democratic co-sponsors in the upper chamber. - Lauren Feiner/ CNBC, Rebecca Shabad/ NBC NewsMeta released its annual report on “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Enforcements,” noting the milestone of 200 takedowns. - Ben Nimmo, David Agranovich/ Meta, Alexander Martin/ The Record by Recorded Future, @DavidAgranovich, @benimmoTech trade association NetChoice sued the state of California in an attempt to block the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act over First Amendment protections for content moderation. The law would go into effect next year with broad online privacy and safety components for children. - Natasha Singer/ The New York Times, Cat Zakrzewski/ The Washington Post, Rebecca Klar/ The Hill, Lauren Feiner/ CNBC, Rebecca Kern/ Politico ProThe Supreme Court schedule is set for hearings on Gonzalez v. Google and Twitter v. Taamneh on February 21 and February 22. The cases are focused on content moderation and recommendation algorithms. - Adi Robertson/ The Verge, @GregStohr"Former President Trump said Thursday that he’d ban the U.S. government from labeling any domestic speech as ‘misinformation’ or ‘disinformation’ if he returns to the White House.” - Julia Mueller/ The HillMatt Taibbi named the Election Integrity Partnership in a Friday afternoon version of the Twitter Files. - @mtaibbiTwitter suspended over 25 accounts that track private planes and nine journalists — including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Ryan Mac of the New York Times, and Drew Harwell of The Washington Post — who shared links about the @elonjet account which posts public information about the location of Musk’s private jet. Most reporter accounts have since been reinstated after Musk conducted a Twitter poll on whether to enforce his new policy against sharing flight trackers and similar information. - Jason Abbruzzese, Kevin Collier, Phil Helsel/ NBC News, Ashley Capoot/ CNBC, Ryan Mac/ The New York Times, Paul Farhi/ The Washington Post, Jordan Pearson/ ViceMusk banned linking out to other platforms… and then conducted a Twitter poll, subsequently reversing the decision, with 87% of voters opposed, and taking down the tweet announcement and blog page on the policy. Some users are still unable to post links to Mastodon and other social media sites in tweets. - Mack DeGeurin/ Gizmodo, @JuddLegumMusk conducted a scientific Twitter poll asking if he should step down as CEO. Nearly 58% of the more than 17 million respondents voted for him to step down. - Alexa Corse/ The Wall Street JournalIt was coincidentally just after he was at the World Cup with Jared Kushner and... a bunch of Emiratis. Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer quipped that twitter’s content moderation panel looks different these days. - @ianbremmerSports balls were kicked and a team scored more points than the other team after time was added, and then stopped, and then added, and then people lined up to kick more balls into the net than the other team. Congratulations to Argentina! - Ben Church/ CNNJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:Apple announced plans to expand end-to-end encryption data protections from messages and content on the device to the iCloud service used by many to backup their files and media for access anywhere. - Robert McMillan, Joanna Stern, Dustin Volz/ The Wall Street Journal, Joseph Menn/ The Washington Post, Lily Hay Newman/ Wired, Frank Bajak/ Associated PressCue the music for the Twitter Files!Musk tweeted an excerpt of former trust and safety lead Yoel Roth’s doctoral dissertation to falsely insinuate he supports the sexualization of children, opening up harassment and potential violence against the staffer he once praised. - Dana Hull, Kurt Wagner/ Bloomberg NewsThe Oversight Board released a long-awaited policy advisory opinion (PAO) with dozens of recommendations for improving Meta’s murky and controversial cross-check program which gives VIP Twitter accounts a higher level of scrutiny for enforcement of platform policies with little transparency. - Jeff Horwitz/ The Wall Street Journal, Oversight BoardMorocco’s win over perennial power Portugal and Ronaldo in the World Cup was a historic first for an African or Arab country to reach the semifinals of the tournament. They will next face France, the nation that colonized Morocco. - Issy Ronald/ CNNJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
In the wake of the Buffalo shooting in May, New York passed a law imposing certain obligations on social media networks regarding "hateful conduct" on their services. It went into effect at the start of December and Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA Law who runs a legal blog, is challenging the law as unconstitutional. Evelyn sits down with Eugene and Genevieve Lakier from UChicago Law to discuss.
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:Using a powerful AI language model developed by OpenAI, the new ChatGPT tool allows anyone to generate short text that is indecipherable from written text and that draws upon vast amounts of publicly available information. - Janus Rose/ Vice, Ina Fried/ AxiosMore: ChatGPT has fun and informative uses, but is also easy to abuse — from generating recipes or funny movie scripts, to the spread of misinformation or nefarious tips to get away with crimes.TikTok and Bumble are adopting a tool developed by Meta with international charity SWGfL’s Revenge Porn Helpline. The tool uses hashing technology for submitted content to identify and block non-consensual intimate media from participating platforms. - Olivia Solon/ Bloomberg NewsMore: Victims make a tradeoff on whether a single human reviewer seeing their intimate image outweighs its spread across the social media and dating services using the technology. - @oliviasolonRumble and the Volokh Conspiracy, a blog run by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, are challenging a New York law that prohibits hate speech in a federal lawsuit, claiming it would violate First Amendment free expression protections. - Chris Dolmetsch/ Bloomberg NewsThe “Twitter Files” were released in a staggered thread of more than 40 tweets on Friday evening. The string of tweets includes screenshots of Twitter staff’s internal communications and external email correspondence which lack any smoking gun. Instead, the thread is most likely to reinforce existing beliefs about the decision to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story and related content. - Cat Zakrzewski, Faiz Siddiqui/ The Washington PostTwitter CEO Elon Musk disputed news reports on research by advocacy and civil rights groups that found hate speech slurs were more prevalent on the platform. Musk claimed the data actually shows a decrease in the reach of hate speech on the platform since his acquisition and said the Twitter safety team will publish weekly reports on the data going forward. - Mohar Chatterjee/ PoliticoMore: As University of California, Berkeley researcher Jonathan Stray points out, both sides can claim they are right depending on the data and measurement of success. More transparency and collaboration could move these efforts in the right direction. That seems unlikely for now, but could be required under the EU’s new digital regulations.Join the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:As protestors against China’s zero-Covid policy fill the streets, images of them fill the internet and China’s censors are struggling to contain them. – Liza Lin, Karen Hao / Wall Street JournalThis is partly because the Chinese people have had years of practice at evading censors and know a trick or two. – Paul Mozur / TwitterSo China is trying to bury that content with its own spam about escorts, porn and gambling. – Jon Porter / The VergeSome of that spam includes … an AI-generated image of Alex with horns? – Alex Stamos / TwitterElon doesn’t seem too concerned though. He’s too busy picking a fight with Apple. – Elon Musk / TwitterAnd maybe drawing up plans for his own phone if Apple kicks Twitter out of the app store? – Elon Musk / Twitter Meta published its quarterly adversarial threat report this week, which included information about accounts it took down conducting information operations that had links to the US government. – MetaAlex walks us through the report Stanford Internet Observatory wrote with Graphika on these operations and what they found. – Graphika, Stanford Internet ObservatoryAs a result of this report, the Pentagon ordered a review of information operations conducted by the US military. – Ellen Nakashima / Washington PostAlex gives Evelyn an apparently now-weekly update on Stanford football news.Join the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:How else would Elon Musk decide to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account than a Twitter poll? Okay, well maybe the content moderation council he proposed to deal with reinstatement decisions. - Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell, Isaac Arnsdorf / The Washington PostMusk’s mind is also made up on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones whose account will not be reinstated on the platform. - Brian Fung/ CNN Former Twitter trust and safety lead Yoel Roth penned a New York Times opinion piece on why he left Twitter and the influence that app store operators have on content moderation. - Yoel Roth/ The New York Times (commentary)The EU might just scare Musk straight. After the Financial Times reported the headline “Elon Musk’s Twitter on ‘collision course’ with EU regulators,” European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager responded that “We are never on a collision course with anyone because we consider ourselves a mountain.” - Javier Espinoza/ Financial Times, Silvia Amaro/ CNBCMastodon might not be the paradise we hoped we could toot freely and safely in. Content moderation is hard and there’s less control or quality assurance in a federated model, as Block Party CEO Tracy Chou already knew too well before she had a post blocked and now faces torrents of harassment. - @triketora, @mmasnickA Mastodon server administrator is deciding who is a journalist while other server operators block those verified journalists from being seen on their “instances.” - Mathew Ingram/ Columbia Journalism ReviewMeta “has fired or disciplined more than two dozen employees and contractors over the last year whom it accused of improperly taking over user accounts, in some cases allegedly for bribes.” - Kirsten Grind, Robert McMillan/ The Wall Street JournalFBI Director Chris Wray testified that TikTok poses a national security challenge for the United States because the Chinese government may be able to access extensive data collected by the app or even use recommendation algorithms to push the country’s influence operations on users. - Chris Strohm, Daniel Flatley/ Bloomberg News, David Shepardson/ Reuters, Suzanne Smalley/ CyberScoopSport ball is happening in Qatar “without controversy,” and Meta is using the moment to highlight its recently introduced anti-harassment features on Instagram to block or limit offensive messages aimed at players and encourage fans to think twice before sending potentially abusive content. - Jess Weatherbed/ The Verge, MetaJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Come for the discussion of whether Musk is going to find himself in hot water with the FTC, stay for the discussion of privacy and data security regulation more generally. Evelyn discusses Twitter’s data security problems and what this says about privacy regulation more generally with Whitney Merrill, the Data Protection Officer and Privacy Counsel at Asana and long-time privacy lawyer including as an attorney at the FTC, and Riana Pfefferkorn, a Research Scholar at the Stanford Internet Observatory.
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:The Election Integrity Partnership, led by the Stanford Internet Observatory and the University of Washington Center for an Informed Public, analyzed narratives with the potential to interfere in or delegitimize the 2022 midterm elections. - Election Integrity Partnership, @EI_Partnership, EIP Post-Election Update (.pdf)A divided Congress will likely mean more gridlock with a lot of smoke but no fire on Capitol Hill. - Ashley Gold, Peter Allen Clark/ Axios, Cristiano Lima/ The Washington Post,  Frank Konkel, Mariam Baksh, Kirsten Errick, Alexandra Kelley/ Nextgov, Anna Edgerton/ Bloomberg News A lot happened at Twitter:Chief Twit Elon Musk got into a Twitter feud with Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) over impersonation issues on the site. - Ashley Capoot/ CNBCTwitter may have violated a Federal Trade Commission consent decree with the top brass who would be held responsible resigning the day the company’s reporting was due. Musk dismissed potential personal liability, although Uber’s former CSO knows that risk is real. - Brian Fung/ CNN, Department of Justice, @Riana_CryptoStanford Internet Observatory Research Scholar Riana Pfefferkorn and data protection and privacy law expert Whitney Merrill will dig into this more with Evelyn later this week!Twitter is at serious risk of a breach with departures by the security, privacy, compliance, and trust and safety leaders last week and a drastic staff reduction. - John Sakellariadis/ Politico, @alexstamosMusk tweeted that he is “turning off the ‘microservices’ bloatware” and seemingly fired an employee for tweeting that Musk didn’t know what he was talking about. Now, two-factor authentication may be broken. - @elonmusk, Michael Kan/ PC Magazine, @josephmennMusk tweeted about Brazilian politics this morning… we are sure that will end well! He’s previously promised to look into allegations of censorship in the country by far-right political figures in the country. - @elonmusk, Andrew Downie/ The GuardianA spoofed Twitter account resembling Eli Lilly and Co. with a purchased blue “verified” check mark tweeted that “insulin is free now,” causing the real company’s market cap to drop $15 billion. Now, the company paused its Twitter ads, worth millions of dollars, and may pursue legal action. - Kyle Barr/ Gizmodo, Drew Harwell/ The Washington PostEvelyn has her calendar marked for the Big Game, a matchup of two 3-7 teams on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. PT. “Give ’em the axe, the axe, the axe!” - ESPNJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Stanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:Elon Musk announced that Twitter will start charging $8 for users to keep or gain blue check marks on the platform, changing the meaning of the symbol to indicate subscribers to the “Twitter Blue” service. The company then delayed launch until after the midterms. - Ines Kagubare/ The Hill, @elonmuskBlue-chip companies including General Mills, Pfizer, and Volkswagen have all paused advertising on Twitter over concerns that Musk will limit content moderation on the platform. - Suzanne Vranica, Patience Haggin/ The Wall Street JournalAfter single-handedly hosting a call for Twitter with civil society and advocacy organizations, many of those participants were among the more than 60 advocacy and civil society organizations that called for an ad boycott on the platform. - Rebecca Klar/ The Hill, Rebecca Kern, Mark Scott/ PoliticoElon Musk responded to a right-wing influencer’s tweet suggesting he “has tortious interference claims” against activist groups involved in the ad boycott campaign. (spoiler: he doesn’t) - @elonmusk, Mark Frauenfelder/ Boing BoingPeople are leaving Twitter and fleeing to… Mastodon? - Rachel Metz/ CNNRumble has suspended services in France, blaming government rules banning Russian state media and government accounts. - @rumblevideoRumble is building its own cloud services, a move similar to Parler, but that would require a more expansive scale for more highly trafficked video content. - Kaitlyn Tiffany/ The Atlantic, Taylor Hatmaker/ TechCrunch “The Intercept had a big story this week that is making the rounds, suggesting that ‘leaked’ documents prove the DHS has been coordinating with tech companies to suppress information. The story has been immediately picked up by the usual suspects, claiming it reveals the ‘smoking gun’ of how the Biden administration was abusing government power to censor them on social media.” - Mike Masnick/ TechdirtMore: “The only problem? It shows nothing of the sort.”The Election Integrity Partnership published a blog on rumors and false and misleading narratives to expect on and after Election Day. - Election Integrity Partnership India is amending an IT law that regulates social media content moderation by adding a panel with three government-appointed members to review social media grievances. - Manish Singh, Jagmeet Singh/ TechCrunch, ScrollA revised Online Safety Bill is expected to head back to the UK House of Commons later this month with amendments that limit the government from forcing platforms to take action on “harmful but lawful” content. - Dev Kundaliya/ Computing, Chloe Chaplain/ i newspaperJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
SHOW NOTESStanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:Elon Musk has been busy since officially acquiring Twitter.He tweeted that the company will form “a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.” That sparked comparisons to Meta’s Oversight Board while others noted that Twitter already has a Trust and Safety Council, but wondered if Musk was aware. He also said no major decisions will be made about reinstating accounts or changing content rules until that body comes together and reiterated in a quote tweet that no changes have been made to Twitter’s content moderation policies, likely in response to a reported rise in specific hate speech terms on the platform. - Emma Roth/ The VergeIndian authorities conducted searches at The Wire newsroom and the homes of four editors after a complaint was filed by the ruling party official at the center of reporting that was retracted by the news publication. - ScrollThe Election Integrity Partnership published an analysis of social media platform policies finding that many election rules are vague and lack transparency for how they are enforced. - Election Integrity PartnershipElon Musk tweeted and then deleted a link to a conspiracy theory about the Paul Pelosi attack in reply to a tweet from Hillary Clinton. - Gina Martinez/ CBS News, Kurtis Lee/ The New York Times, Elizabeth Dwoskin, Faiz Siddiqui/ The Washington PostMeta was fined nearly $25 million by Washington state for violating campaign finance disclosure laws and ordered to pay the state’s legal fees. - Associated Press, Rebecca Falconer/ Axios, Eli SandersThe Digital Services Act (DSA) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The publication provides the final text of the DSA and begins the countdown for the DSA to enter into force and its application for large and then all covered platforms and search engines. - Luca Bertuzzi/ EuractivJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Musk Flips the Bird

Musk Flips the Bird

2022-10-2934:49

Evelyn and Alex talk about, what else, Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. He says he’s freed the bird, but there’s a whole bunch of restraints he clearly hasn’t thought about. He’s got some not-so-fun meetings and phone calls coming up.
When we talk about content moderation, we often focus on companies at the application layer of the internet, like the Facebooks and Twitters of the world. But there are a whole bunch of other companies in the internet stack that have the power to knock things offline. So what is similar or different about content moderation when it moves into the infrastructure layers of the internet? Evelyn spoke with Alissa Starzak, the Vice President and Global Head of Public Policy at Cloudflare and Emma Llanso, the Director of CDT’s Free Expression Project to explore this increasingly pressing question.
SHOW NOTESStanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:The Wire retracted recent coverage of Meta and will conduct an internal review of past coverage by staff involved with the reporting. - The WireFrench police are investigating severed fiber-optic cables that disrupted internet and phone services in the Marseille area. Alex urges caution before jumping to any conclusions. John Leicester/ Associated PressTurkey's parliament voted to adopt a law that could send social media users to jail for up to three years for spreading false information to "create fear and disturb public order" despite free speech and media freedom concerns. - ReutersBrazilian authorities granted the power to order that online platforms remove content to the country’s elections chief who also sits on the supreme court. - Jack Nicas/ The New York TimesKiwi Farms was available at its original URL over the last month but is back down. - Ellie Hall/ BuzzFeedThe Republican National Committee sued Google over alleged spam filtering bias. It still has not enrolled in a new pilot program Google created with FEC approval to address those concerns. - Sara Fischer, Ashley Gold/ AxiosElon may very well buy Twitter — could an alternative platform pop up? - Perry Bacon Jr./ The Washington Post (commentary)Join the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
SHOW NOTESStanford’s Evelyn Douek and Alex Stamos weigh in on the latest online trust and safety news and developments:An article with bombshell allegations against Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, appears to be based on forgeries, but the news outlet continues to stand by the reporting and now claims a technical expert at the publication was hacked. - Aditi Agrawal/ newslaundry, OpIndiaMore: Last week, an article was published by The Wire, a nonprofit Indian digital news organization, claiming an internal Instagram report revealed an official in charge of social media for India’s ruling party, the BJP, had special privileges to report pieces of content to Instagram and have them taken down automatically.Meta spokesperson Andy Stone denied the report saying that that was not how the XCheck program worked, and that the “the underlying documentation appears to be fabricated.”But Wait, There’s More: The next day, The Wire published a new article claiming to have an email in which Meta’s Stone asked employees how the document leaked.Meta CISO Guy Rosen denied the allegations and explained how he determined the evidence and email were forgeries.Then: This weekend, The Wire released another story standing by their reporting with evidence that the internal email and report URL were real. The story included a video explanation of their technical analysis.Meta’s Rosen responded debunking new claims, and other experts (including Alex) pointed out flaws with purported technical evidence that the internal emails were real.We’re Still Not Done: Meta released an updated blog post debunking the purported internal system shown in The Wire’s video as an external account created after the story was reported.The Wire responded in a statement saying that the reason why Meta keeps denying their reporting is to try and get them to publish more information that will reveal their sources but they “are not prepared to play this game any further.” The statement was later edited to delete the description of a “personal” relationship with a source.Got All That? Here’s Some Context: India is pushing ahead with legislation that would create a government-appointed panel to review user complaints about social media content moderation decisions. - Megha Mandavia/ The Wall Street JournalMeta officials are also reported to leniently apply policies, such as those barring hate speech, for the Indian ruling party. Newley Purnell, Jeff Horwitz/ The Wall Street JournalYe, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, has reached an agreement to buy the conservative social media platform Parler. The move marks a growing trend of billionaires buying social media companies when their posts are moderated. - Ryan Browne/ CNBC, Marlene Lenthang/ NBC News, Bobby Allyn/ NPR, Kelly Hooper/ PoliticoThe Katmai National Park and Preserve’s Fat Bear Week bracket voting tournament was marred by an attempt to artificially inflate votes for 435 Holly over Bear 747 in the semifinal round. Luckily, the organizers caught the fishy business and preserved the sanctity of the tournament which had a record of more than one million total votes. - Miles Klee/ Rolling StoneJoin the conversation and connect with Evelyn and Alex on Twitter at @evelyndouek and @alexstamos.Moderated Content is produced in partnership by Stanford Law School and the Cyber Policy Center. Special thanks to John Perrino for research and editorial assistance.Like what you heard? Don’t forget to subscribe and share the podcast with friends!
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court granted cert in two cases concerning the scope of platform liability for content on their services: Gonzalez v. Google, about whether platforms lose section 230 immunity when they recommend content to users, and Twitter v. Taamneh, about whether platforms can be found to have aided and abetted terrorism if they are found to have been insufficiently aggressive in removing terrorist content from their sites. The cert grants were a surprise, and the cases are complicated. Evelyn sat down with Daphne Keller, the podcast’s Supreme Court Correspondent, to dig into the details.
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