Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

Employees work in Facebook’s “War Room,” during a media demonstration on October 17, 2018, in Menlo Park, California. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

  • Days after the surprise victory of President Donald Trump, CEO Mark Zuckerberg brushed off assertions that the outcome had been influenced by fictional news stories on Facebook
  • Facebook offered reporters a peek into the war room to show off its improved ability to prevent foreign interference in the upcoming US midterm elections

MENLO PARK, California: Facebook is showing off its new “war room,” a center for combating fake accounts and bogus news stories ahead of upcoming elections.
It’s the social network’s latest public signal that it takes election interference seriously ahead of the midterms.
Facebook didn’t always take the risk of election interference seriously. Days after the surprise victory of President Donald Trump, CEO Mark Zuckerberg brushed off assertions that the outcome had been influenced by fictional news stories on Facebook.
That attitude shifted as criticism of the company mounted.
Facebook offered reporters a peek into the war room to show off its improved ability to prevent foreign interference in the upcoming US midterm elections.
But critics fear the war room is more of a publicity stunt than an effective solution.


India court reverses TikTok app restrictions

Updated 25 April 2019
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India court reverses TikTok app restrictions

  • It is already banned in neighboring Bangladesh and was hit with an enormous fine in the US
  • The case against TikTok was launched by an activist group that said the app encouraged paedophiles and pornography

NEW DELHI: An Indian court has reversed a decision that ordered Google and Apple to take down Chinese-owned video app TikTok over the spread of pornographic material, local media said.
The controversial but wildly popular app allows users to upload and share short 15 second clips from their phones and claims to have 500 million users worldwide — more than 120 million of them in India.
It is already banned in neighboring Bangladesh and was hit with an enormous fine in the United States for illegally collecting information from children.
The Wednesday ruling by the Madras High Court in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state requires the popular platform to prevent “obscene videos” from being posted.
“(The court) warned if any controversial video violating its conditions were found uploaded using the app, it would be considered a contempt of court,” a report by the Press Trust of India agency said.
On April 16, India’s government demanded Google and Apple remove the service from its app stores, though the order did not stop those who had already downloaded the app from using it.
The case against TikTok was launched by an activist group that said the app encouraged paedophiles and pornography.
India’s government told the court on Wednesday that they had formed a committee to suggest ways to regulate apps like TikTok, PTI said.
TikTok told the court that they had removed around six million controversial videos from the platform since the order was announced banning new downloads last week.
The app hit the headlines in India earlier in April after a 19-year-old man was accidentally shot dead by a friend in Delhi as they posed with a pistol to make a video on the platform.
TikTok has become a major rival to Facebook, Instagram and other social network sites among teenaged smartphone users in the past year.
Bangladesh banned TikTok in February as part of a clampdown on Internet pornography.
The same month, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said a $5.7 million fine ordered against the company was the largest imposed in a child privacy investigation.
The social network failed to obtain parental consent from underage users as required by the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, FTC officials said.