Connect with us

Media

Five Features Social Media Companies Can Build Now to Fight Online Abuse – PEN America

Published

 on



Diagram of person silhouettes talking to one another; text in the center: “Online abuse isn’t just about hurt feelings.”

As part of our effort to #FightOnlineAbuseNowwe’re publishing a series of pieces about the harm online abuse poses to free speech—but also what Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies can do to blunt its worst effects.

Writers and journalists increasingly rely on social media platforms to stay on top of news, find sources, engage with readers, and promote their work. Yet their visibility and the nature of their work—to challenge the status quo and hold the powerful accountable—can make them lightning rods for online abuse. They are relentlessly harassed in these spaces, especially if they are women, Black, Latino, LGBTQ+, members of religious or ethnic minorities, or if they cover topics such as feminism, politics, or race.

But there are concrete steps social media companies can take to reduce the devastating impact of online abuse by giving users more control over their privacy, security, identity, and account history. Here are five features they should build:

1. Safety Modes: Making it easer to tighten privacy and security settings

While social media companies give users granular control over their settings, it can be confusing and time consuming to figure out how these adjustments impact visibility and reach. For writers and journalists who require a public presence online to do their job, finding the balance between visibility and safety is full of trade-offs. When under attack, they often freeze their accounts until the trouble passes, but that means they can’t engage with friends, followers, or the public.

Platforms need to make it easier for users to fine-tune their privacy and security. Users should be able to save configurations of settings into personalized “safety modes,” which they can easily toggle between. When they alternate between safety modes, a “visibility snapshot” should show them in real time who will be able to see their content.

2. Identities: distinguishing between the personal and professional

Fusing personal and professional identities online can make writers and journalists more vulnerable, as abusive trolls leverage private information to humiliate, discredit, and intimidate them, their friends, and families. Social media platforms should make it easier to create boundaries between private and public “identities” online, while allowing users to keep their audiences. Users should be able to toggle between personal and professional identities, and migrate or share audiences between them. Platforms should also allow users to decide which subsets of friends or followers see their content—features that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are already experimenting with.

3. Managing account histories

While people may switch jobs and careers—and even shift their views over time—their social media histories, which can date back more than a decade, become treasure troves for abuse. Social media platforms should make it easier for users to manage their personal account histories, including the ability to easily search and review old posts, and make them private, as well as delete and archive content.

To preserve transparency and accountability, especially for social media accounts used by public officials and entities, it is critical that journalists have access to tools that archive the internet and to laws requiring public officials to retain records of communications that may be disclosed to the public.

4. Anti-harassment help centers: educating users on how to protect themselves

Social media companies have been improving their anti-harassment features, but many of these are still hard to find and navigate. Each platform should build a user-friendly section in their help center that deals specifically with online abuse, including internal features and links to external tools and resources. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter need to get creative by using nudges, quizzes, sign-on prompts, and videos to get the message across. They must invest in training vulnerable users, like journalists and writers, to proactively use features that reduce risk and exposure to attacks.

5. Third-party tools

Beyond the major social media platforms, start-ups, nonprofits, and universities are building third-party tools to help counter online abuse. Some scrub private information from data broker sites; others help users manage their Twitter account histories. A handful enlist allies to help those facing abuse. Still others filter, mute, or block problematic accounts or demystify convoluted privacy and security settings. Many of these tools are still in early stages of development, are not sufficiently financed, or known widely enough to reach the majority of users in need. Some involve costs for the consumer, which may be an insurmountable obstacle for those who need them most.

Social media platforms should recognize the gravity of online abuse and support third-party tools—especially those built by and for women, Black, Latino, Indigenous, or LGBTQ+ technologists with direct experience of online abuse—by investing in their research and development, and providing access to the data and information they need to succeed. They should consider integrating third-party tools that have proven effective at mitigating online harassment.


Online attacks can damage mental and physical health, chill free expression, and silence voices that are already underrepresented in the creative and media sectors and in public discourse. By embracing these five concrete and actionable recommendations, social media companies can better protect all vulnerable individuals and create a safer online environment where writing, creativity, and ideas can flourish.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Social media extortion cases are increasing: FSJ RCMP – Energeticcity.ca

Published

 on


Shortly after, the individual receives a message or email saying that the video has been recorded and that the video will be released to family and friends unless a certain amount of money is paid.

“As anonymous as social media may seem, certain activities can come with some terrible consequences,” said Constable Chad Neustaeter, Media Relations Officer for the Fort St John RCMP detachment.

“Individuals need to take steps to protect themselves because there are always those looking to take advantage of others.”

Steps to keep yourself safe online:

  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know,
  • Don’t share any personal information with anyone such as date of birth, Social Insurance Number or banking information,
  • Don’t share intimate photos of yourself because once you have sent them, you can never get them back,
  • Be aware that the person on the other end of a video chat could record the entire interaction.

Police advise extortion victims not to forward any money after these requests and file a report with the police.

Mounties say if banking information is shared, contact the bank, flag accounts and check in with both credit bureaus, either Equifax or TransUnion.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Media Beat: August 05, 2021 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News

Published

 on


Toronto, Vancouver Island protests put spotlight on media access

Police and politicians’ efforts to limit public access to recent events in Toronto and Vancouver Island have cast a spotlight on the role of journalists and spurred concerns over freedom of the press.

The decision by authorities in Toronto to fence off public parks last month as municipal staff and police cleared homeless encampments sparked backlash from media outlets and advocates, who have petitioned the city to allow reporters on site during the operations.

The push for media access in Toronto came on the heels of a court decision that ordered RCMP in British Columbia to allow reporters entry to blockades in Fairy Creek, where demonstrators have been protesting old-growth logging. – Elena De Luigi, The Canadian Press

The three next steps required to preserve journalism in the digital age

As Canadian news organizations continue their unsustainable revenue decline, who should step into the breach but Facebook and Google, the two giant platforms that gobble up three quarters of all digital ad dollars?

They have signed secret deals with dozens of desperate publishers to provide financial and other supports.

On the surface, their assistance may appear a positive development. Closer consideration reveals a disturbing new dependency. One of the great functions of journalism is to hold the powerful — political and economic — to account. – Edward Greenspon & Katie Davey, The Star

Zoom reaches US $85M settlement over user privacy, ‘Zoombombing’

Zoom Video Communications Inc. has agreed to pay US$85 million and bolster its security practices to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users’ privacy rights by sharing personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, and letting hackers disrupt Zoom meetings in a practice called Zoombombing.

Though Zoom collected about $1.3B in Zoom Meetings subscriptions from class members, the plaintiffs’ lawyers called the $85 million settlement reasonable given the litigation risks. They intend to seek up to $21.25 million for legal fees. – Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Toronto, Vancouver Island protests shine spotlight on media access – Peace Arch News – Peace Arch News

Published

 on


Police and politicians’ efforts to limit public access to recent events in Toronto and Vancouver Island have cast a spotlight on the role of journalists and spurred concerns over freedom of the press.

The decision by authorities in Toronto to fence off public parks last month as municipal staff and police cleared homeless encampments sparked backlash from media outlets and advocates, who have petitioned the city to allow reporters on site during the operations.

The push for media access in Toronto came on the heels of a court decision that ordered RCMP in British Columbia to allow reporters entry to blockades in Fairy Creek, where demonstrators have been protesting old-growth logging. The judge in that case, which was launched after journalists reported being blocked from the site, found police should only restrict access if there is an operational or safety concern.

In Toronto, the city has moved to dismantle several homeless encampments — which emerged during the pandemic as many avoided shelters over fears of COVID-19 — sparking protests and confrontations that have at times erupted into violence.

The Canadian Association of Journalists called the move to bar reporters from Toronto parks during the clearing of the camps “disappointing to witness and wholly unacceptable,” and stressed media rights are enshrined in law.

“Stop arresting or threatening reporters for no good reason. That’s a red line that cannot be crossed,” Brent Jolly, the association’s president, said in an email.

Tensions boiled over at Lamport Stadium Park two weeks ago after a large crowd refused to leave the site that authorities had fenced in. Multiple scuffles broke out and police were seen pushing those who didn’t comply. By the end of the day, police said 26 people were arrested and charged with offences that included assault with a weapon, assaulting a peace officer and trespassing.

A day earlier, an encampment at Alexandra Park was cleared by city staff and police after a fence was put up. That operation also saw several people arrested, including a photojournalist with The Canadian Press who was escorted out of the closed-off area in handcuffs. He was issued a notice of trespass, which doesn’t carry a charge but bars him from returning to the site for 90 days.

A spokesman for the city said staff closed off the parks during the clearings and prevented anyone from going in, “not just media,” in order to speak to those living in the encampment, as well as remove tents and debris.

“We understand and appreciate the concerns raised by the media and the role they have in bearing witness and documenting city operations,” Brad Ross said in a statement.

He said the city arranged pooled media coverage for the Lamport Stadium operation, which typically allows select members of the media access to an event so they can later share the material they gather with others.

“The pool arrangement was designed to allow media to see the city’s actions, while ensuring the safety of all, as well as addressing the sensitivity around privacy,” Ross said.

The CAJ’s Jolly said, however, that the pool coverage the city set up for the encampment clearing was “inadequate” because it restricted the ability for journalists to “freely cover” evictions taking place in a public park.

“Attempting to control the work of journalists while they are doing their job is entirely inappropriate,” he said, adding that a pool arrangement is generally used when there is limited space for press.

“The work journalists do is both professional and conducted in service to the public and any attempts to short-circuit that work is wholly incompatible with the long-standing tradition of a free press in Canada.”

Carissima Mathen, a common law professor with the University of Ottawa, said mounting an effective legal challenge to get access to “relatively short-term” events is difficult because it likely won’t be possible to get an injunction in time.

“It’s possible that you could try and make the case right after the fact to get some kind of declaration, but it’s usually not very practical,” she said.

Mathen said it is important to consider questions like how far from a fence police and city staff are when they’re carrying out their operations, whether reporters can speak with people as they come out, and how long barricades will stay up.

In the case of Fairy Creek, since it had been happening for weeks, those journalists were able to get an injunction to stop the RCMP from barring them from entering the blockades, Mathen said.

Five Toronto councillors who wrote to the city’s mayor last month denouncing the “extreme show of force” during the clearing of encampments said any obstruction of media access to the operations is “undemocratic and unconstitutional.”

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Fairy Creek old-growth protests hit 500-arrest mark

RELATED: UK judge refuses US extradition of WikiLeaks founder Assange

Media industry

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending