WhatsApp users will be blocked from forwarding messages to more than five individuals or groups under new rules the messaging service is rolling out worldwide to fight the spread of misinformation. The five-recipient limit was initially put in place in India last July. A larger limit, of 20 recipients, was put in place globally. WhatsApp said at the time the limits would “help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app”.
YouTube has banned creators from depicting “dangerous challenges and pranks”, after a wave of incidents prompted by a viral challenge involving driving blindfolded pushed it to act. The so-called Bird Box challenge, inspired by the Netflix film of the same name, saw YouTubers imitating scenes from the movie in which characters must perform common tasks while blindfolded. YouTube has banned the depiction of such behaviour completely, citing similar memes such as the tide pod challenge (eating laundry detergent) and the fire challenge (setting yourself on fire)
Tumblr announced that all pornography will be banned from the platform in a move that will change the use of the social media site. Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio cited the platform’s responsibility to ‘different age groups, demographics, cultures, and mindsets’ as an influence on the change. All adult content will be removed from December 17th.
Following criticism from President Trump that Twitter is ‘shadow banning’ and silencing conservative voices, CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed that the company’s employees are ‘more left-leaning.’ Dorsey claimed political ideology does not influence how Twitter determines appropriate behavior on the platform. Dorsey’s comments come amid debate over social media’s influence over public discourse.
American and British lawmakers demanded an explanation from Facebook about how a political data firm connected with President Trump’s 2016 campaign harvested private information without user notification, following Facebook’s decision to suspend data company, Cambridge Analytica, Friday. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced her decision to launch an investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook announced plans to change your news feed, saying soon people will see more updates from friends and family, sparking ‘meaningful’ social interaction. The company says there will be fewer videos, brands, pages, and media companies, considered ‘passive.’ Facebook says the changes are likely to result in people spending less time on the platform.
Amid the investigation into Cambridge Analytica regarding the 2016 US election, a new review will be undertaken examining the firm’s role in the election of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 and 2017. Cambridge Analytica executives were reportedly recorded discussing control in Kenya, though the company denies wrongdoing. Cambridge Analytica has suspended CEO Alexander Nix.
Twitter announced on Tuesday it has revised its strategy for fighting internet ‘trolls’ by using ‘behavioral signals’ to identify harassers and limit their visibility. The new strategy will focus on decreasing tweets that ‘distort and distract’ from conversations and searches. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey calls the new strategy one of Twitters ‘highest-impact’ moves.
Following a Snapchat ad asking users to choose to ‘slap Rihanna’ or ‘punch Chris Brown,’ Rihanna took to Instagram criticizing the domestic violence portrayal, sending Snapchat stocks sinking by 4%, wiping $1Bn off its parent company. Chris Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault in 2009, after brutally beating Rihanna. Snapchat apologized, saying the ad ‘never should have appeared on our service.’
Martin Shkreli, the former pharma executive, was sent to jail yesterday after he posted online offering $5,000 for a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair while she is on her book tour. Shkreli was free on a $5 million bail and was awaiting sentencing for fraud when he was jailed yesterday. The Federal District Court in Brooklyn perceived Shkreli’s post as dangerous, saying any one of his followers could take it seriously and assault Mrs. Clinton.