Voter manipulation on social media now a global problem, report finds

New research by the Oxford Internet Institute has found that social media manipulation is getting worse, with rising numbers of governments and political parties making cynical use of social media algorithms, automation and big data to manipulate public opinion at scale — with hugely worrying implications for democracy. The report found that computational propaganda and […]

SoftBank-backed Getaround is raising $200M at a $1.5B+ valuation

Getaround, a car-sharing platform and winner of TechCrunch Disrupt New York Battlefield 2011, will enter the unicorn club with a roughly $200 million equity financing. The deal values Getaround, founded in 2009, at $1.7 billion, according to an estimate provided by PitchBook. Getaround declined to comment, citing internal policy on “funding speculation.” “Getaround and our […]

Apple reveals App Store takedown demands by governments

For the first time, Apple has published the number of requests it’s received from governments to take down apps from its app store. In its latest transparency report published Tuesday, the tech giant said it received 80 requests from 11 countries to remove 634 apps from its localized app stores during July 1 and December […]

Facebook can be told to cast a wider net to find illegal content, says EU court advisor

How much of an obligation should social media platforms be under to hunt down illegal content? An influential advisor to Europe’s top court has taken the view that social media platforms like Facebook can be required to seek out and identify posts that are equivalent to content that an EU court has deemed illegal — […]

ePrivacy: An overview of Europe’s other big privacy rule change

Gather round. The EU has a plan for a big update to privacy laws that could have a major impact on current Internet business models. Um, I thought Europe just got some new privacy rules? They did. You’re thinking of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which updated the European Union’s 1995 Data Protection Directive […]

Alexa is reported down across Europe

Reports are coming in that Amazon’s Alexa service is down in parts of UK, Spain, Germany and Austria. According to Down Detector and Twitter, the problem started surfacing around 8am local time and still continues. Interestingly, some users are reporting the issue is isolated to Echo Dot 2 models and while other Echo devices are […]

ECJ to rule on whether Facebook needs to hunt for hate speech

Austria’s Supreme Court is referring a legal challenge over the extent of Facebook’s responsibility to remove hate speech postings to Europe’s top court for an opinion (via derStandard.at). The case has clear implications for freedom of speech online. The original lawsuit against Facebook was filed by the former leader of the Austrian Green Party, Eva Glawischnig, […]