August 17, 2022
Image: Tinashe Mugayi and Protocol
Good morning! As more social media companies announce their plans for tamping down misinformation in November, we’re starting to notice that the rules haven’t changed much from what they were in 2020.
It’s mid-August of an election year in America, which can only mean one thing: It’s time for every social media company to announce how it plans to combat whatever fresh hell November has in store. This week, it’s TikTok and Meta’s turn.
Both companies have recently faced bruising accusations of being asleep at the wheel with regard to election interference. Now, they’re working hard to explain why they’re more prepared for this election than they were for the last one. Which, if you recall the last one, is a pretty low bar.
Starting today, TikTok is launching its “election center,” where users can get “authoritative information” about the election in 45 languages. TikTok will add labels to all election-related posts — as well as to any videos from governments, politicians and political parties in the U.S. — directing people to the center.
Meta, meanwhile, is banning new political ads the week of the election — again.
What’s notable about these plans is that neither company’s approach is radically different than it was in 2020. They’re still relying mostly on fact-checking, labeling, friction and restrictions on political advertising.
That could mean a few things: Maybe the tech industry is finally growing up and converging on a common playbook of tools and standards that allow even a newcomer like TikTok to get caught up quickly. Maybe it’s just failing to imagine whatever threat is coming next. Or maybe it’s both.
— Issie Lapowsky
Some of the most popular reproductive health apps lack strong privacy labels and security practices, according to a report published by Mozilla this morning.
Mozilla gave 18 out of 25 reproductive health apps a “Privacy Not Included” warning label, meaning that these apps collect tons of personal data and then share it widely.
Privacy advocates have raised concerns over data collection in these apps for years.
We’ve already seen what could happen when platforms hold sensitive user data. Facebook last week gave Nebraska police private chats in an abortion-related case. (Facebook expanded its end-to-end encryption on Messenger shortly after; the company said that it was unrelated to the case.)
Caltrider said she hopes the report could serve as a wake-up call for people: their most sensitive data can be bought and sold and even subpoenaed. “Is this a tipping point where people start to realize that our privacy is gone, and it’s starting to have real-world harms?” she said.
— Sarah Roach
How cybercrime is going small time: Cybercrime is often thought of on a relatively large scale. Massive breaches lead to painful financial losses, bankrupting companies and causing untold embarrassment, splashed across the front pages of news websites worldwide.
Elon Musk said he's kidding about buying Manchester United:
Senator Richard Blumenthal is taking aim at scam ads on Google:
Sana Godhwani is Crossbeam's new VP. She was previously an associate director within the Investment Bank at UBS.
Frans van Houten is leaving Philips as CEO. Roy Jakobs, who’s been overseeing Philips’ recall of millions of ventilators and machines for sleep apnea treatment, will take over.
Michael Gilbert is ePost’s new director of sales. Gilbert’s held leadership roles at Newgistics, DHL and Oracle.
Amazon warehouse workers in upstate New York want to unionize. They filed a petition for a union election yesterday.
Airbnb's trying to stop big parties in its rentals in the U.S. The company introduced "anti-party" tech designed to detect bookings in which people were likely to host unauthorized shindigs.
Employees dealing with post-pandemic burnout are “quiet quitting,” which means they’re just not working as hard.
Australia’s consumer watchdog group is examining Meta for copying TikTok in its services and features for Instagram and Facebook.
The Federal Reserve issued guidance for banks wanting to get into crypto, emphasizing that banks have to let it know beforehand.
Climate startups are using public benefit corporations to avoid shareholder demands that might be at odds with their missions.
LexisNexis was sued in Illinois for privacy violations. A group of activists alleges that the platform sold state residents’ data without their consent.
Veggies are going to space. Space infrastructure firm Redwire said yesterday that in 2023, it plans to launch the first commercial space greenhouse to support exploration missions.
A typical workday probably includes a handful of Zoom calls. But at Zoom, employees can sometimes find themselves on multiple Zoom calls at once! Protocol Workplace reporter Lizzy Lawrence got the lowdown on how best to use Zoom from Zoomies themselves:
How cybercrime is going small time: People have been swindled since before man created monetary systems. These aren’t new crimes; just new ways to commit them. But as cybercrime increasingly goes small-time, those on the front lines will need new and more effective ways to fight it.
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