New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack

New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack
A spokesperson for the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said Twitter’s automated reporting function did not pick up the content as harmful. (FILE/AFP)
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Updated 28 November 2022

New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack

New Zealand mosque shootings: Twitter fails to detect newly uploaded videos of terror attack
  • PM Jacinda Arden urges Elon Musk action on extremism
  • White supremacist murdered 51 Muslims in 2019

DUBAI: The New Zealand government has called on Twitter to remove newly uploaded footage of the Christchurch terror attack that was circulating again on the social media platform.

The video clips, which Twitter initially failed to recognize as harmful, were filmed by the Australian white supremacist who murdered 51 Muslim worshippers in two Christchurch mosques in 2019. The clips resurfaced after some Twitter users reposted them on Saturday, UK daily The Guardian reported .

The move prompted the government to raise the issue with the social media company. A spokesperson for the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said Twitter’s automated reporting function did not pick up the content as harmful. Arden’s office said: “Twitter advised us overnight that the clips have been taken down and said they would do a sweep for other instances.” 

In 2019, the terrorist livestreamed his attacks on multiple social media platforms alongside his manifesto.

In response, Arden launched the Christchurch Call campaign after the attack, calling on social media companies to counter online extremism and misinformation. Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, supported the initiative.

While Twitter assured the New Zealand government it continued to support the Christchurch Call community, Arden said that “time will tell” about the company’s commitment to removing harmful content.

“We will continue to maintain our expectation that Twitter does everything they can on a day-to-day basis to remove that content but also reduce terrorist content and violent extremist content online, as they’ve committed to,” Arden said to media on Monday afternoon.

Earlier this month, Arden addressed a national security, disinformation and online extremism summit, saying Twitter has been deeply involved in the Christchurch Call campaign “and to date, been a really constructive partner.” However, she said the partnership is in “unknown territory” after Elon Musk’s takeover of the company.

Arden urged Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, to “stick strongly to the principle of transparency” as social media platforms can be “a force for democracy, a force for connection and for good. But also, if misused, they can do a huge amount of harm.” 

Under Musk’s new management, thousands of content moderators and human rights teams have been laid off, and the platform has been struggling to manage harmful content and racist tweets in the lead up to the World Cup.

Recently on Twitter, Musk posted a chart to his 119 million followers explaining that hate speech was down a third from its pre-spike levels in October. No further details were provided.


Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye
Updated 08 February 2023

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye

Twitter restricted in quake-hit Turkiye
  • Platform has been widely used to seek help and establish personal contact
  • Turkish authorities have limited access to social media during previous national emergencies

LONDON: Twitter is facing restrictions in Turkiye as the country struggles to deal with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, sources reported.

Independent global internet monitor NetBlocks confirmed that the social media platform has been restricted on multiple network providers, including TTNet and Turkcell, on Wednesday.

“Real-time network data show Twitter has been restricted in Turkiye,” Netblocks said in a tweet.

“The filtering is applied on major internet providers and comes as the public come to rely on the service in the aftermath of a series of deadly earthquakes.”

Twitter is widely adopted in the country and its restriction disrupts critical communication for rescue efforts.

NetBlocks Director Alp Toker said that this is the first time the company detected social media restrictions during a natural disaster.

“Twitter has been in use extensively in the aftermath of the earthquakes, both to seek assistance and rescue equipment and by those trying to get back in touch with loved ones,” Toker said.

Turkish authorities have not given any formal explanations, but NetBlocks said that Turkiye often acts to prevent alleged disinformation during national emergencies.

In November, following a terrorist attack in central Istanbul that killed six people and injured more than 80, authorities imposed a 10-hour social media ban.

Some users also reported that TikTok might have been affected by the restrictions.

In a statement, the video-sharing app said it was aware of the technical difficulties and is “investigating the matter and hope access is restored as soon as possible as platforms like TikTok remain a critical way to stay in touch during crises.”

NetBlocks and some Twitter users have reported that users in Turkiye can still access the platforms through VPNs.


Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe

Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe
Updated 08 February 2023

Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe

Dubai Lynx launches Young Lynx Academy in partnership with Publicis Groupe
  • Hosted over 3 days, program will feature keynote talks, workshops, competition
  • Dubai Lynx festival director Thea Skelton: We are seeing an increasing number of agencies from KSA enter and win at Dubai Lynx

DUBAI: The Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity has launched the Young Lynx Academy in partnership with multinational advertising company Publicis Groupe.

Aimed at mentoring young professionals in the Middle East and North Africa region, the academy will run from March 12 to 14.

Thea Skelton, festival director of Dubai Lynx, told Arab News: “As we know, the region is using creativity as a driving force for growth.

“We are seeing an increasing number of agencies from KSA enter and win at Dubai Lynx and it’s very exciting for us to watch young talent from the Kingdom grow.”

The academy is designed to support young talent within the creative communications sector by offering them a free mentorship opportunity.

Hosted over three days, the program will include keynote talks, workshops, and a 24-hour hack competition involving participants working on a charity brief.

Skelton said: “Creativity is a key part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, and the training and development of young people in this sector is very much a part of this.

“We’re excited to see how young creatives from Saudi Arabia will perform this year and pave the way for many more people from the region to excel,” she added.

The academy will be open to professionals aged 30 or younger who have worked for a minimum of one year in the creative, media, digital, or social sectors in the MENA region. Successful applicants will also receive tickets to attend the festival and Lynx party on March 14.

The deadline for entries is Feb. 27. More details are available on the Young Lynx Academy website at https://www.dubailynx.com/talent-and-training/young-lynx-academy


Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark

Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark
Updated 08 February 2023

Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark

Meta, nonprofit end US lawsuit over infinity-logo trademark
  • Lawsuit by Dfinity Foundation said Meta would cause confusion with its infinity logo

LONDON: Meta Platforms Inc and blockchain nonprofit Dfinity Foundation have resolved Dfinity’s trademark lawsuit against Meta over its infinity-symbol logo, according to a joint filing in San Francisco federal court.

Meta and Dfinity asked the court Monday to dismiss the case with prejudice, which means it cannot be revived.

A Meta spokesperson said Tuesday that the company was “pleased with the outcome of the case.” It said Dfinity had dropped the lawsuit after Meta “pointed out the defects” in its revised complaint.

Representatives for Dfinity did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Switzerland-based Dfinity’s Internet Computer is an “infinite” public blockchain network designed to host smart contracts. Dfinity sued Meta last year, alleging the logo Meta adopted after changing its name from Facebook would cause confusion with Dfinity’s infinity-symbol trademarks.

Meta has described its logo as a “continuous loop” that resembles both the letter ‘M’ and an infinity sign to symbolize “infinite horizons in the metaverse.”

US District Judge Charles Breyer dismissed Dfinity’s original complaint in November but allowed the company to amend the lawsuit. Breyer said Meta’s logo was unlikely to cause consumer confusion, citing differences in the logos’ designs and the fact that Dfinity’s customers are “tech-savvy developers.”

Dfinity filed an amended complaint in December.

Meta is still facing trademark lawsuits from virtual-reality company MetaX and investment firm Metacapital over its name change.


YouTube collaborates with Egypt’s National Council for Women on Safer Internet Day

YouTube collaborates with Egypt’s National Council for Women on Safer Internet Day
Updated 08 February 2023

YouTube collaborates with Egypt’s National Council for Women on Safer Internet Day

YouTube collaborates with Egypt’s National Council for Women on Safer Internet Day
  • National council 1st Egyptian entity to enrol in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program
  • NCW will provide tailored workshops for content creators focused on creating content that is sensitive to women’s needs

DUBAI: YouTube has partnered with the National Council for Women in Egypt to introduce a series of initiatives aimed at promoting a safer experience for women using the platform and encouraging more female content creators to share their stories.

Announced on Safer Internet Day, Feb. 7, the collaboration includes a series of workshops and meet-ups to set up a community of content creators, YouTube experts, and representatives from the NCW.

Council president, Dr. Maya Morsy, said the organization was pleased to partner with YouTube, “especially in light of what women suffer from exposure to various types of cyberviolence via social media that have become an open space for people to engage in violence against women.”

She noted that in recent years, Egypt had been taking steps to introduce legislation that protected women from all forms of violence.

“We are proud to encourage more women content creators and support them to develop their skills, to further understand women’s issues, and promote meaningful and useful content,” she added.

The workshops, which will take place throughout the year, aim to help more women content creators benefit from available resources to grow their channels, and learn about the different tools and features to stay safe online.

NCW will provide tailored workshops for content creators focused on creating content that is sensitive to women’s needs, raising awareness about women’s empowerment, and staying safe from cyberviolence against women and girls.

The workshops will also feature sessions focused on #IamRemarkable, a Google initiative that aims to empower women and other under-represented groups celebrate their achievements.

As part of the collaboration, the NCW will become the first entity in Egypt to enrol in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program, which allows government bodies and non-profit organizations to directly report content to YouTube and have visibility on the decisions made.

Tarek Amin, director of YouTube partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa region, said: “Together, we aim to continue developing a safe experience for women creators in Egypt by equipping them with the skills needed and inviting them to join a wider support circle of other content creators and experts of the platform.”


Starzplay partners with Zain Kuwait

Starzplay partners with Zain Kuwait
Updated 08 February 2023

Starzplay partners with Zain Kuwait

Starzplay partners with Zain Kuwait
  • Deal furthers Starzplay’s expansion in MENA
  • Platform has expanded its sports content

DUBAI: Starzplay has partnered with Zain Kuwait as the telecommunications provider’s commercial and retail distributor in Kuwait.

As part of the deal, Zain Kuwait will make Starzplay and the platform’s sports package available to customers with the new Max plans available through mobile and home internet packages.

The platform has already partnered with Zain in other markets such as Saudi Arabia.

The new deal comes as Starzplay looks to strengthen its “geographical expansion across the MENA region,” said Raghida Abou Fadel, senior vice president for business development and sales.

“Kuwait is an important market for our business, and we want to extend further to offer Starzplay’s diverse entertainment and sports portfolio to fans in the market,” she added.

Meshal Mohammed, chief commercial officer of Zain Kuwait, said: “We are always on the lookout for lucrative partnerships with the region’s streaming giants to offer the best selection of entertainment and sports titles to our customers.”

Starzplay has expanded its sports content, and offers international and regional events such as Coppa Italia, Dutch Eredivisie, All Elite Wrestling, PGA Tour, and the EuroLeague and EuroCup basketball competitions.