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Twitter challenged millions of accounts disputing COVID-19

The company acted on more than 11 million accounts and tweets that included misleading information related to the virus.


Twitter saw increases in content violating nearly all of its policies.

Photo: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

Twitter challenged millions of accounts that included misleading information about the viral pandemic, according to a release Wednesday. The company also spelled out increases in content violations in nearly all of its policies during a reporting period from July to December 2020.

Between July 2020 and this month, the social media platform confronted 11.7 million accounts, suspended about 1,500 accounts and deleted about 43,000 pieces of content that contained misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitter found that those accounts and tweets violated its COVID-19 guidance, announced last July, which outlines what constitutes as a misleading comment claim related to the virus.

Twitter also saw huge increases in the amount of content violating nearly all of its policies, ranging from civic integrity to self-harm. Here's a breakdown of the report:

    • Twitter saw the biggest jump in content violating its non-consensual nudity policy, a nearly 200% increase compared to the previous reporting period.
    • The company also needed to enforce its civic integrity policy about 175% more than the previous year, largely because of discussion around the presidential election.
    • Twitter also saw a nearly 80% rise in hateful content and found that content relating to suicide and self-harm nearly doubled.
    • Twitter acted on about 140% more accounts that breached its abuse and harassment policy compared to the previous reporting period. The company said it rolled out better machine-learning techniques to detect more violations.
    • There was a slight uptick in the amount of content taken down for child sexual exploitation, a roughly 6% increase.
    • The only category that dipped in violations was content discussing terrorism and violent extremism. Twitter suspended nearly 40% fewer accounts than the previous reporting period.
    Protocol | Fintech

    Amazon wants a crypto play. Its history in payments is not encouraging.

    It missed chances to be PayPal, Square and Stripe — so is this its chance to miss being Coinbase, too?

    Amazon wants to be a crypto player.

    Image: NurPhoto/Getty Images

    The news that Amazon was hiring a lead for a new digital currency and blockchain initiative sent the price of bitcoin soaring. But there's another way to look at the news that's less bullish on bitcoin and bearish on Amazon: 13 years after Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper appeared on the internet, Amazon is just discovering cryptocurrency?

    That may be a bit unkind, but the truth is sometimes unkind. And the reality is that Amazon has a long history of stumbles and missed opportunities in payments, which goes back more than two decades to the company's purchase of internet payments startup

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    Owen Thomas

    Owen Thomas is a senior editor at Protocol overseeing venture capital and financial technology coverage. He was previously business editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and before that editor-in-chief at ReadWrite, a technology news site. You're probably going to remind him that he was managing editor at Valleywag, Gawker Media's Silicon Valley gossip rag. He lives in San Francisco with his husband and Ramona the Love Terrier, whom you should follow on Instagram.

    Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

    That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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    Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
    Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
    Protocol | Enterprise

    How Google Cloud plans to kill its ‘Killed By Google’ reputation

    Under the new Google Enterprise APIs policy, the company is making a promise that its services will remain available and stable far into the future.

    Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has promised to make the company more customer-friendly.

    Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images 2019

    Google Cloud issued a promise Monday to current and potential customers that it's safe to build a business around its core technologies, another step in its transformation from an engineering playground to a true enterprise tech vendor.

    Starting Monday, Google will designate a subset of APIs across the company as Google Enterprise APIs, including APIs from Google Cloud, Google Workspace and Google Maps. APIs selected for this category — which will include "a majority" of Google Cloud APIs according to Kripa Krishnan, vice president at Google Cloud — will be subject to strict guidelines regarding any changes that could affect customer software built around those APIs.

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    Tom Krazit

    Tom Krazit ( @tomkrazit) is Protocol's enterprise editor, covering cloud computing and enterprise technology out of the Pacific Northwest. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET, paidContent, and GeekWire, and served as executive editor of Gigaom and Structure.

    Amazon job opening points to plan to accept crypto payments

    The news sparked a rally in the values of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

    Amazon may be planning to let customers pay for orders with cryptocurrencies.

    Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

    Amazon is looking to hire a digital currency and blockchain expert suggesting a plan to let customers accept cryptocurrencies as payments.

    The tech giant's job opening says Amazon is looking for "an experienced product leader" to help develop the company's "digital currency and blockchain strategy and roadmap" Amazon is looking for product leader with expertise in blockchain, distributed ledger, central bank digital currencies and cryptocurrency.

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    Benjamin Pimentel

    Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

    Protocol | Policy

    Big Tech tried to redefine terrorism online. It got messy fast.

    The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism announced a series of narrow steps it's taking that underscore just how fraught the job of classifying terror online really is.

    Erin Saltman is GIFCT's director of programming.

    Photo: Paul Morigi/Flickr

    A little over a month after the Jan. 6 riot, the tech industry's leading anti-terrorism alliance — a group founded by Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter — announced it was seeking ideas for how it could expand its definition of terrorism, which had for years been more or less synonymous with Islamic terrorism. The group, called the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism or GIFCT, had been considering such a shift for at least a year, but the rising threat of domestic extremism, punctuated by the Capitol uprising, made it all the more clear something needed to change.

    But after months of interviewing member companies, months of considering academic proposals and months spent mulling the impact of tech platforms on this and other violent events around the world, the group's policies have barely budged. On Monday, in a 177-page report, GIFCT released the first details of its plan, and, well, a radical rethinking of online extremism it is not. Instead, the report lays out a series of narrow steps that underscore just how fraught the job of classifying terror online really is.

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    Issie Lapowsky

    Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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