YouTube has decided to ban content promoting Nazi ideology from its service. The company confirmed it would no longer host videos that glorified fascist views or material that denied the existence of the Holocaust, following years of criticism over its role in spreading far-right hate and conspiracy theories. The video-sharing website, which is owned by Google, said on Wednesday it would ban any videos “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status”.
Hackers were able to remotely install surveillance software on phones and other devices using a major vulnerability in messaging app WhatsApp, it has been confirmed. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, said the attack targeted a “select number” of users, and was orchestrated by “an advanced cyber actor”. A fix was rolled out on Friday. On Monday, WhatsApp urged all of its 1.5 billion users to update their apps as an added precaution. The attack was developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Facebook on Thursday said it would ban from its main service and Instagram several extremist individuals that the social media giant says promote violence and hate. Among those that are permanently banned from the site are: Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, conservative radio host and Infowars founder Alex Jones, former Breitbart reporter and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, white nationalist Paul Nehlen, conservative provocateur Laura Loomer and right-wing extremist Paul Nehlen.
Sri Lankan authorities have blocked most social media services in the country following the Easter Sunday attacks that killed more than 200 people, a group that monitors internet censorship said. The NetBlocks observatory said it detected an intentional nationwide blackout of popular services, including Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Viber. Sri Lankan officials said they were temporarily blocking social media to curtail the spread of false information and ease tensions.
A British woman is facing two years in jail in Dubai for calling her ex-husband’s new wife a “horse” on Facebook, campaigners have said. Londoner Laleh Shahravesh, 55, was arrested at a Dubai airport after flying there to attend her former husband’s funeral. Under the UAE’s cyber-crime laws, a person can be jailed or fined for making defamatory statements on social media. The organization said Ms Shahravesh’s ex-husband’s new wife, who lives in Dubai, reported the comments.
Facebook announced Wednesday that it would ban all “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on Facebook and Instagram. The move came less than two weeks after the suspect in the terror attack at two New Zealand mosques streamed the massacre live on the platform. A manifesto allegedly written by the suspect reveals white nationalist views. Facebook said it will start directing people who search for terms associated with white supremacy to organizations that help people leave hate groups.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday posted a 3,000-word note outlining a more “privacy-focused” future for the tech company, saying that communications platforms that protect privacy will “become even more important than today’s open platforms.” Zuckerberg’s new outline comes as Facebook builds out a new integrated messaging service that will allow users on Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp to communicate in private with each other.
YouTube on Thursday said it has started disabling comments on videos of minors following accusations that the platform aided pedophiles in finding clips of young children. The company, which is owned by Alphabet (GOOG), said it has turned off comments on “tens of millions” of videos over the past week that could be subject to “predatory behavior.” It will continue to identify such videos over the next few months. The revelations caused major companies including AT&T (T), Nestle (NSRGY) and Epic Games to pause their advertising on YouTube.
AT&T and Hasbro have become the latest firms to pull adverts from YouTube over claims pedophiles are leaving offensive comments next to videos of children on the platform. The telecoms firm and toymaker follow food giant Nestle, which on Wednesday said it had also “paused” its ads. YouTube said it had taken “immediate action” by deleting offending accounts and reporting the illegal activity to authorities.
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”.