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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

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Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Fake accounts on Twitter are many. VOA
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Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

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Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

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This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as VK.com, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)

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Facebook To Block Defensive Ads Targeting Under Adults

The company said that in the weeks ahead it will work with businesses and organisations that may be affected by the new age restriction policy

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Facebook is dumping projects to make amends. VOA

Facebook has updated its advertising policy to prohibit ads for weapon accessories to users under the age of 18, the media reported.

The social network currently bans ads for the sale of weapons and modifications, like magazines. But Facebook has taken an additional step of adding an age requirement for ads selling things like holsters, belt accessories or mounted flashlights, CNET reported on Friday.

Facebook updated its advertising policy page with examples of what kinds of firearm ads are and aren't allowed on the platform under the changed policy, which will come into effect from June 21.
Facebook has updated its advertising policy to prohibit ads for weapon accessories to users under the age of 18, Pixabay

Facebook updated its advertising policy page with examples of what kinds of firearm ads are and aren’t allowed on the platform under the changed policy, which will come into effect from June 21.

For example, ads for gun cases, slings and gun paint are allowed, but only with the new age restriction. But ads for firearms, ammunition, paintball guns or BB guns aren’t allowed.

The company said that in the weeks ahead it will work with businesses and organisations that may be affected by the new age restriction policy.

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The announcement comes as the US has been embroiled in a nationwide debate over gun reform. Mass shootings, including school attacks in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, have intensified the discussion.

Facebook isn’t the only Silicon Valley company that’s waded into the gun debate by restricting the content on its platforms.

In March, YouTube said it will ban videos that promote or link to websites that sell firearms and related accessories. The company had already banned videos that attempted to sell firearms. (IANS)