Odds and Ends 

Its time for Facebook and Twitter to coordinate efforts on hate speech

Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, there has been burgeoning awareness of the hate speech on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. While activists have pressured these companies to improve their content moderation, few groups (outside of the German government) have outright sued the platforms for their actions. That’s because of a legal distinction between media publications and media platforms that has made solving hate speech online a vexing problem. Take, for instance, an op-ed published in the New York Times calling for the slaughter of an…

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Democracy at risk due to fake news and data misuse, MPs conclude

Parliamentary inquiry to demand urgent action to combat relentless targeting of hyper-partisan views Democracy is at risk unless the government and regulators take urgent action to combat a growing crisis of data manipulation, disinformation and so-called fake news, a parliamentary committee is expected to say. In damning conclusions to a report leaked by former Vote Leave campaign strategist Dominic Cummings before its official publication on Sunday, the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee in a post on his personal blog, saying that it had been leaked to him. Cummings,…

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Bannon and Cambridge Analytica planned suppression of black voters, whistleblower tells Senate

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary committee today as part of the ongoing investigation of Cambridge Analytica and various forms of meddling in the 2016 elections, former employee and whistleblower Christopher Wylie said that the company and its then-VP Steve Bannon were pursuing voter suppression tactics aimed at black Americans. Although Wylie insisted that he himself did not take part in these programs, he testified to their existence. “One of the things that provoked me to leave was discussions about ‘voter disengagement’ and the idea of targeting African Americans,” he said.…

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Data Protection Standards Need to Be Global

Whether it is Cambridge Analytica gaining access to private information on up to 87 million Facebook users, or the large-scale data breaches at Equifax or Yahoo, alarmingly loose standards for the use and protection of customer data continue to fuel a backlash against large tech companies. More importantly, these events demonstrate the need for a global set of consumer data principles. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Kai Keller (@kaimkeller) is a global leadership fellow at the World Economic Forum and leads the organization's work at the cross-section of innovation and financial stability. The…

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Mark Zuckerberg: There will always be a version of Facebook that is free

Today during Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the Senate, the Facebook CEO reiterated that “there will always be a version of Facebook that is free.” In the midst of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the user data of up to 87 million people was sold by a third-party developer to Trump Campaign-linked firm Cambridge Analytica, there has been talk of Facebook potentially adding a subscription layer. The scandal has brought to light the heart of a problem that many have been well aware of: if you’re not buying a product,…

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Facebook data misuse scandal affects substantially more than 50M, claims Wylie

Chris Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower whose revelations about Facebook data being misused for political campaigning has wiped billions off the share value of the company in recent days and led to the FTC opening a fresh investigation, has suggested the scale of the data leak is substantially larger than has been reported so far. Giving evidence today, to a UK parliamentary select committee that’s investigating the use of disinformation in political campaigning, Wylie said: “The 50 million number is what the media has felt safest to report…

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Revealed: Brexit insider claims Vote Leave team may have breached spending limits

Whistleblower alleges that electoral spending rules could have been manipulated over controversial donation and that Vote Leave tried to delete key evidence A whistleblower who worked for the official Vote Leave campaign has broken cover to raise concerns that the masterminds behind the 2016 vote including key figures now working for Theresa May in Downing Street may have flouted referendum spending rules and then attempted to destroy evidence. The allegations, from former volunteer Shahmir Sanni, are detailed in an interview in the Observer and supported by a mass of documents…

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Cambridge Analytica and Facebook accused of misleading MPs over data breach

Call for Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to testify before parliamentary committee The head of the parliamentary committee investigating fake news has accused Cambridge Analytica and Facebook of misleading MPs in testimony, after the Observer revealed details of a vast data breach affecting tens of millions of people. After a whistleblower detailed Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’ video The whistleblower Chris Wylies claim that the 50m, mostly American, profiles were harvested in one of Facebooks biggest data breaches caused outrage on both sides of the…

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Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters How Cambridge Analyticas algorithms turned likes into a political tool The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trumps election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giants biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica…

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How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook likes into a lucrative political tool

The algorithm used in the Facebook data breach trawled though personal data for information on sexual orientation, race, gender and even intelligence and childhood trauma The algorithm at the strong prediction of which party a user will vote for, reveal their gender and whether their partner is likely to be a man or woman, provide powerful clues about whether their parents stayed together throughout their childhood and predict their vulnerability to substance abuse. And it can do all this without delving into personal messages, posts, status updates, photos or all…

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