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Privacy worries prevent use of social media account for signing up for apps – EurekAlert



UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — People find it convenient to use Facebook or other social media accounts to sign up for most new apps and services, but they prefer to use their e-mail address or open a new account if they feel the information in the app is too sensitive, according to a team of researchers.

In a study, the researchers said participants were willing to use their Facebook ID to access relationship apps, such as class reunion and matchmaking apps, but balked at using the same feature for an app that arranges extramarital affairs.

The findings suggest that because people try to keep sensitive areas of their relationships separate from other parts of their lives, they may hesitate to use single sign-on services, said S. Shyam Sundar, James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory.

“Even though technically one’s activities on Tinder will not be visible to friends on Facebook, they seem to have a psychological fear of that happening, so they want to keep their social networks separate and not have them bleed over into other parts of their lives,” said Sundar. “Just the idea that they might be using a hook-up app or affair app would be too scandalous for some people and wouldn’t be something they would want shared.”

Eugene Cho, doctoral student in mass communications and lead author of the study, said users prefer to use their e-mail address or open a new account on these sensitive apps rather than use their Facebook login credentials. “They seemed to be wary of potential leakage of data from these apps to their social networks,” she added.

Sundar, who is also an affiliate of Penn State’s Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS), suggested that the findings have broader implications outside of the realms of dating and relationships.

“This is just as applicable to sites that enable financial transactions, such as stock trading sites, or bank sites, where people are very concerned about their information and protecting their transactions,” said Sundar. “We just happened to choose these sites for the study because it provides a venue that is easy to explore in an experiment.”

According to the researchers, who released their findings in the Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2020), released today (April 25), the single sign-on is designed to make logging on to apps more convenient. Many apps allow users to either create a new account or, to save trouble, use their Facebook or Twitter login credentials.

“We are using so many apps these days that the single sign-on is a convenient way to access so that way you don’t have to create yet another account, or remember yet another password,” said Sundar, who worked with Eugene Cho and Jinyoung Kim, both doctoral students in mass communications at Penn State.

According to Cho, the main reason why people use their Facebook ID instead of using their e-mail address or creating a new account is the ease with which they can share the app with their friends. “The flipside is that it prevents them from using their social media login information for privacy-sensitive apps,” she added.

Sundar said that security-conscious users are particularly prone to this tendency. “We found that the tendency to avoid using Facebook ID for affair apps was significantly higher for individuals who have less faith in the security of online systems in general,” he added.

He added that designers and developers must address the skepticism about using these apps.

“There’s a perception problem that many mobile and social media applications, in general, have, that many people do not perceive them as secure and trustworthy,” said Sundar. “So, this means designers and developers need to do more work to convince users that the single sign-on service will keep the information separate from their social networks.”

The researchers suggested that more disclaimers and security assurances may bolster the use of single sign-on services, but added that actual security must be maintained.

To conduct the experiment, the researchers created four different sign-up pages for relationship apps with varying degrees of sensitivity, including a high school reunion app, a matchmaking app for more serious relationships, a hook-up app for less serious dating, and an affair-arrangement app.

They then recruited 364 participants through an online microwork site and randomly assigned them to one of those four conditions. The participants could either choose to access the app through one of three social media single sign-on features, or use their e-mail address or create a new account specifically for that app.

The participants were then asked a series of questions on perceived security, ease of sharing and usability of the app.


The National Science Foundation supported this research.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Diane Francis: Time to rein in social media — and Donald Trump – Financial Post



My definition of freedom is: everyone should have the right to swing an arm, but not hit anybody with it. When it comes to freedom of speech, everyone has a right to their opinion as long as it is not inaccurate, hateful, defamatory or malicious. If that line is crossed, the perpetrators are legally liable for damages. But in America, the world’s most irresponsible media empires — Twitter, Facebook and Google (now Alphabet) — have become giants that allow anyone to spew anything without legal consequences.

They have gotten away with it by claiming they are platforms, not publishers, and are therefore exempt from having to edit or curate what people post. They’ve also spent billions of dollars lobbying and supporting political campaigns, in order to retain this corrosive privilege. By contrast, traditional media is hobbled with the costs of curating responsible advertising and editorial content.

This free pass to social media is the loophole through which that reckless, self-promoter named Donald Trump tweeted his way into the White House. It’s how he and other trolls intimidate, bully and slander their foes.

Europe has begun reining in social media, but elsewhere, these companies operate with impunity and claim they are entitled to self-regulate. But monkeys cannot guard bananas, and Trump’s recent, and most vile, gaming of Twitter illustrates why the same rules should apply to social media as they apply to everyone else.

Last week, Trump smeared a critic, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, blaming him for the death of his assistant, Lori Klausutis, when Scarborough was serving in Congress in 2001, even though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. The president tweeted on the subject six times, calling the woman’s death a “cold case” that should be investigated, then essentially accusing Scarborough of murder. Twitter refused to remove the tweets, even after the woman’s widower, T.J. Klausutis, wrote to Twitter’s CEO and pointed out the injustice and the social network’s hypocrisy.

“Nearly 19 years ago, my wife, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, fell and hit her head on her desk at work. She was found dead the next morning,” he wrote. “The president’s tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered — without evidence (and contrary to the official autopsy) — is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service. An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet but I am only asking that these tweets be removed.”

Twitter refused to comment on the issue. Meanwhile, Facebook, to which Trump’s unsupported allegation and libel was cross-posted, responded arrogantly: “We do not remove political speech solely because people may find it offensive, as this content understandably is to the family of Lori Klausutis and others. Speech from candidates and heads of state is among the most scrutinized content on our platform, which helps ensure people are held accountable for their words.”

This week, Twitter finally did something to bridle this presidential misbehaviour when it labelled a pair of Trump’s tweets, which claimed that mail-in balloting in this fall’s election would result in widespread voter fraud, as misleading. (But no labels have been applied to the Scarborough tweets.)

Trump erupted and has threatened to take action against Twitter and social media in general. Then he conflated this into a fight for freedom and tweeted: “Big Tech is doing everything in their considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let that happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely crazy. Stay tuned!!!”

This from a president who labels all critical media as “fake news” and has driven his tank through social media’s anything-goes loophole to damage people, organizations, groups and democracy.

What’s next is that Trump will character assassinate all his opponents and, if he loses the election, he will simply tweet that it was stolen and he’s not leaving. Then what?

Financial Post

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Trump escalates war on Twitter, social media protections – CTV News



U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his war on social media companies, signing an executive order Thursday challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet.

Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.

Trump said the fact checks were “editorial decisions” by Twitter and amounted to political activism. He said it should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to verbally flog their foes, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts.

“We’re fed up with it,” Trump said, claiming the order would uphold freedom of speech.

It directs executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

President Donald Trump is escalating his war on social media companies, preparing to sign an executive order Thursday challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet.

Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.

The proposed order would direct executive branch agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new rules on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.

Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to verbally flog their foes, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts. The executive order was expected to argue that such actions should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

Companies like Twitter and Facebook are granted liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because they are treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers,” which can face lawsuits over content.

A similar executive order was previously considered by the administration but shelved over concerns it couldn’t pass legal muster and that it violated conservative principles on deregulation and free speech.

Two administration officials outlined the draft order on the condition of anonymity because it was still being finalized Thursday morning. But a draft was circulating on Twitter — where else?

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the Twitter fact checks reflected “bias in action” and Trump aimed to sign the order by the end of the day.

Trump and his campaign reacted after Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted “mail boxes will be robbed.” Under the tweets, there’s now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” that guides users to a page with fact checks and news stories about Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.

Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and declared “as president, I will not allow this to happen.” His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said Twitter’s “clear political bias” had led the campaign to pull “all our advertising from Twitter months ago.” In fact, Twitter has banned political advertising since last November.

Late Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

Dorsey added: “This does not make us an `arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

On the other hand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News his platform has “a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this.”

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he said.

The president’s critics, meanwhile, scolded the platforms for allowing him to put forth false or misleading information that could confuse voters.

“Donald Trump’s order is plainly illegal,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat and advocate for internet freedoms. He is “desperately trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress. … All for the ability to spread unfiltered lies.”

Trump’s proposal has multiple, serious legal problems and is unlikely to survive a challenge, according to Matt Schruers, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a Washington-based organization that represents computer and internet companies.

It would also seem to be an assault on the same online freedom that enabled social media platforms to flourish in the first place — and made them such an effective microphone for Trump and other politicians.

“The irony that is lost here is that if these protections were to go away social media services would be far more aggressive in moderating content and terminating accounts,” Schruers said. “Our vibrant public sphere of discussion would devolve into nothing more than preapproved soundbites.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was “outrageous” that while Twitter had put a fact-check tag on Trump’s tweets asserting massive mail-in election fraud, it had not removed his tweets suggesting without evidence that a TV news host had murdered an aide years ago.

“Their business model is to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts that they know,” she said of social media giants, also mentioning Facebook. She said their goal is to avoid taxes “and they don’t want to be regulated, so they pander to the White House.”

The order was also expected to try to hold back federal advertising dollars from Twitter and other social media companies that “violate free speech principles.”

The president and fellow conservatives have been claiming, for years, that Silicon Valley tech companies are biased against them. But there is no evidence for this — and while the executives and many employees of Twitter, Facebook and Google may lean liberal, the companies have stressed they have no business interest in favouring on political party over the other.

The trouble began in 2016, two years after Facebook launched a section called “trending,” using human editors to curate popular news stories. Facebook was accused of bias against conservatives based on the words of an anonymous former contractor who said the company downplayed conservative issues in that feature and promoted liberal causes.

Zuckerberg met with prominent right-wing leaders at the time in an attempt at damage control, and in 2018, Facebook shut down the “trending” section,.

In August 2018, Trump accused Google of biased searches and warned the company to “be careful.” Google pushed back sharply, saying Trump’s claim simply wasn’t so: “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Experts, meanwhile, suggested that Trump’s comments showed a misunderstanding of how search engines work.

Last year, Trump again blasted social media companies after Facebook banned a slew of extremist figures including conspiracy peddler Alex Jones from its site and from Instagram.

Meanwhile, the companies are gearing up to combat misinformation around the November elections. Twitter and Facebook have begun rolling out dozens of new rules to avoid a repeat of the false postings about the candidates and the voting process that marred the 2016 election.

The coronavirus pandemic has further escalated the platforms’ response, leading them to take actions against politicians — a move they’ve long resisted — who make misleading claims about the virus.

Last month, Twitter began a “Get the Facts” label to direct social media users to news articles from trusted outlets next to tweets containing misleading or disputed information about the virus. Company leaders said the new labels could be applied to anyone on Twitter and they were considering using them on other topics.

The Democratic National Committee said Trump’s vote-by-mail tweets should have been removed, not just flagged, for violating the company’s rules on posting false voting information.

“After taking too long to act, Twitter once again came up short out of fear of upsetting Trump,” the party said in a statement.


AP writers Amanda Seitz, Barbara Ortutay and David Klepper contributed.

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'Pathetic clown': Chinese state-backed media attacks Canada after Meng Wanzhou ruling – National Post



Wednesday’s ruling against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has set off a range of barbed commentary in China’s state-backed media, much of it deriding Canada’s role in the affair.

On Wednesday, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the charges Meng faces in America could also be a crime in Canada, and said the case should proceed. Meng is accused of misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with Skycom Tech Co. and making false statements to HSBC, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Her arrest by the RCMP at the Vancouver airport in December 2018 has placed Canada in the middle of rising tensions between the U.S. and China, and in Chinese state media, the reaction to the ruling was swift and furious. In China, Canada’s role in Meng’s detention is often described as Ottawa doing the dirty work of the U.S., which China claims wants to cripple its tech giant Huawei.

In an article in the Communist Party-run Global Times soon after the ruling, an expert was cited as saying that the decision won’t hurt Huawei “because the company will not succumb to the US because of any individual.” But, citing the same expert, it said the decision will “make Canada a pathetic clown and a scapegoat in the fight between China and the US.”

Expressing the views of Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst, the paper wrote:

“Huawei will not bow to US over the unjustified detention of any individual, and the Chinese technology giant, which has survived the US’ relentless crackdown, will push forward amid headwinds — like a jet riddled with bullets yet still flying its mission.”

The paper wrote that He Weiwen, a former senior trade official, told its reporters that the verdict will make Canada-China relations “worse than ever,” and that this will play out when it comes to future trade. “You can always give some projects or orders to other countries, instead of just one county alone,” he said.

Mei Xinyu, described by the outlet as “an expert close to China’s Commerce Ministry,” feared that Canada will detain Meng as a “hostage” indefinitely.

“Being kept by the US as a key hostage to contain China’s industrial upgrading and maintain its parasitic hegemony, the US will hardly let Meng free,” Mei was quoted as saying. “Canada has been under US pressure since the beginning, or it could have benefited from the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.”

Meanwhile, an editorial in the Communist Party-run China Daily had a headline that read: “Abuse of their extradition treaty by US and Canada is deplorable.”

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home to go to B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Wednesday, May 27, 2020.



“The ruling means the US and Canada are continuing to abuse their bilateral extradition treaty to attack Huawei,” the editorial read. “The hounding of Meng is part of the US witch hunt against the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant, which Washington is doing all it can to strangle.”

The editorial had stinging words for Canada, which it accused of acting like an innocent party in the affair, when in fact it was anything but.

“Ottawa is trying to portray itself as innocent of any wrongdoing, claiming it is a legal matter that should be left to the courts,” it read. “Yet its move to arrest Meng was quite clearly politically motivated — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say economically motivated, since it came when it is was engaged in trade talks with Washington. It should have acted with caution to avoid being dragged into Washington’s shenanigans.”

It said the decision shows that “the US and Canada are continuing to abuse their bilateral extradition treaty to attack Huawei,” and has “effectively dashed hopes of an end to the incident and a mending of Canada-China relations.”


In the next phase of the proceedings against Meng, the court will hear arguments about whether her arrest was unlawful.

Her lawyers have alleged the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a “covert criminal investigation” at the airport and violated Meng’s charter rights.

Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti will still have the final say on whether Meng should be extradited to the U.S.

Two Canadians, ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, were detained in China nine days after Meng’s arrest, in a move seen as a retaliation. They remain in custody.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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