Connect with us

Tech

Russia says Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed, fines Google

Published

on

Russia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted, state communications regulator Roskomnadzor told Reuters, as Moscow continues to make demands of Big Tech.

Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations, while also seeking to force foreign companies to have official representation in Russia and store Russians’ personal data on its territory.

Twitter has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March for posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide, Roskomnadzor has said.

Twitter, which did not immediately comment on Monday, denies allowing its platform to be used to promote illegal behavior. It says it has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation and prohibits the promotion of suicide or self-harm.

Videos and photos are noticeably slower to load on mobile devices, but Roskomnadzor eased speed restrictions on fixed networks in May.

Roskomnadzor said Twitter, which it has fined a total of 38.4 million roubles this year, has systematically ignored requests to remove banned material since 2014, but has taken down more than 90 percent of illegal posts.

“As of now, 761 undeleted posts remain,” Roskomnadzor said in response to Reuters questions. “The condition for lifting the access restriction on mobile devices is that Twitter completely removes banned materials detected by Roskomnadzor.”

The regulator has said it will seek fines on the annual turnover of Alphabet’s Google and Facebook in Russia for repeated legal violations, threats the two companies did not comment on at the time.

“We also reiterate that the social network Twitter has been repeatedly found guilty by a Russian court of committing administrative offenses,” Roskomnadzor said.

Russia has also fined Alphabet Inc.’s Google 3 million roubles on Monday for not deleting content that it deemed illegal, part of a wider dispute between Russia and the US tech giant.

Russia in October threatened to fine Google a percentage of its annual Russian turnover for repeatedly failing to delete banned content on its search engine and YouTube, in Moscow’s strongest move yet to rein in foreign tech firms.

Google, which last month said it had paid more than 32 million roubles in fines, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tech

Fact checkers say YouTube lets its platform be ‘weaponized’

Published

on

By

More than 80 fact checking organizations are calling on YouTube to address what they say is rampant misinformation on the platform.

In a letter to CEO Susan Wojcicki published Wednesday, the groups say the Google-owned video platform is “one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide.”

YouTube’s efforts to address the problem, they say, are proving insufficient.

“What we do not see is much effort by YouTube to implement policies that address the problem,” the letter says. “On the contrary, YouTube is allowing its platform to be weaponized by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organize and fundraise themselves.”

The problem, these groups said, is especially rampant in non-English speaking countries and the global south.

The fact checkers are all members of the International Fact Checking Network and include Rappler in the Philippines, Africa Check, Science Feedback in France and dozens of other groups. They lambasted YouTube, saying it frames discussions about disinformation as a “false dichotomy” of deleting or not deleting content.

Displaying fact-checked information is more effective than deleting content, the fact checkers wrote.

They propose that YouTube focuses on providing context and debunks that are “clearly superimposed” on videos. They also called for YouTube to act against repeat offenders and beef up efforts against misinformation in languages other than English.

In a statement, YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez said the company has “invested heavily in policies and products in all countries we operate to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation, and remove violative videos.”

She called fact checking “a crucial tool to help viewers make their own informed decisions,” but added that it is “one piece of a much larger puzzle to address the spread of misinformation.”

Continue Reading

Tech

YouTube TV reaches deal with Disney to restore ESPN, ABC and FX channels

Published

on

By

If you use YouTube TV, you have access to Disney content like National Geographic, ESPN, ABC and FX again.

YouTube TV announced on Sunday that they reached a deal with Disney to restore access to those channels after they failed to reach a deal last week.

The price of the content will revert to $64.99 per month, but all impacted members will still receive a one-time $15 discount.

“We appreciate Google’s collaboration to reach fair terms that are consistent with the market, and we’re thrilled that our robust lineup of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming is in the process of being restored to YouTube TV subscribers across the country,” Disney told USA TODAY in a statement.

All Disney recordings previously in your YouTube TV library will be restored, and your local ABC station will be available once again.

YouTube TV wrote to users that for any subscribers who were impacted and have initiated the cancellation process, the company will still honor the one-time $15 credit on your bill if you resume your membership before you lose access. If you go to tv.youtube.com/membership and click “Add,” you return the Base Plan to your membership.

You will still see a $64.99 price upon re-activating your membership, but a one-time discount will be reflected in your next bill.

The two companies were negotiating a new contract throughout last week and Disney had told USA TODAY it was “optimistic” a deal could be reached. The split came right as the college football bowl season was heating up with many games scheduled to be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN 2.

During that time, the service lowered its monthly price by $15, from $64.99 to $49.99, while the Disney channels were off the platform. The complete list of channels removed from YouTube included Disney Channel, National Geographic, and the SEC Network.

In a short amount of time, the two streaming behemoths resolved their differences, but consumers still expressed their frustration on Twitter.

“The damage was done and is irreversible. I can’t trust YouTube TV to get anything done in a timely manner to avoid disruptions,” said Twitter user Brian Prescott.

Other users point out that it’s normal for disruptions to occur when companies are renegotiating contracts.

“These disputes happen with every provider,” said Twitter user Whitney Lucas. “It’s going to keep happening as these channels/content providers want to charge a whole lot more money every time their contracts expire.”

Continue Reading

Tech

UAE, Bahrain to launch joint nanosatellite to ISS on Tuesday

Published

on

By

The UAE and Bahrain are set to launch a joint nanosatellite to the International Space Station on Tuesday, representing a major milestone of cooperation in space science, technology and engineering between the two countries.

“Light-1 will take off onboard a SpaceX CRS-24 flight on board of a Falcon 9 rocket after undergoing rigorous safety and environmental tests for thermal and vibration, communication systems and more,” said a statement on Emirati state news agency WAM.

The nanosatellite will be deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module in the ISS into orbit, supervised by the Japanese Aerospace Space Agency.

It was built and designed in collaboration between the UAE Space Agency and Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency.

The nanosatellite’s name was inspired by a book written by Bahrain’s King Hamad called “The First Light,” which recounts key points in the kingdom’s history and symbolizes the country’s growth and scientific progress.

The research spacecraft was developed by a team of leading Bahraini and Emirati engineers and scientists in the UAE, made up of 23 students, including nine Bahrainis and 14 Emiratis from Khalifa University and New York University Abu Dhabi.

“After reaching its orbit around Earth, Light-1 will monitor and study terrestrial gamma ray flashes from thunderstorms and cumulus clouds,” the statement said, adding that it will be the first study of its kind in the region and New York University will lead the science data analysis aspect of the mission.

Continue Reading

Trending