June 10, 2016

social media updates- bloggers under threat, Zuckerberg's accounts hacked, social media fatigue

Ethiopia to enact law to punish for defamation on the net

A new cyber law in Ethiopia is worrying bloggers in this country. Ethiopia is popular among people watching use of laws by authorities to silence political dissent. Popular for wrong reasons, of course.

The proposed ‘Computer Crime Proclamation’ is feared to give the government more powers to book individuals and organizations critical of its policies and actions, because this law does not have enough safeguards for protection of the freedom of speech. 

The ministry of justice has clarified that the law will not hurt people expressing their views on the web but will be used against defamation. Clarification notwithstanding, the fears of bloggers and other citizens are not misplaced as a number of activists and bloggers have been booked under severe laws in the past reportedly just for criticism. We earlier reported on jailing of Zone9 bloggers

The experience the world over is that such laws can easily be abused by authorities to fix opponents. Last year, the Indian Supreme Court struck down a controversial Section 66A of the IT Act for violating freedom of speech. This section had become a handy tool with local governments and police for harassing bloggers and writers on flimsy grounds.

Pakistan's proposed cyber law seen as a farce

In Pak, a committee of the National Assembly has approved a law that provides for severe punishment for cyber crimes – actions that can easily be attributed to bloggers and social activists opposing those in  power. 

The proposed law gives wide powers to block content on the net, impose penalties and book people, on the pretext of national security, terrorism etc which are known to be interpreted to the liking of the authorities. 

Pakistan’s leading newspaper Dawn has called the law  ‘a dangerous farce’.

Israeli activist blogger ruffles feathers of the  justice system, once again, and goes to jail


An Israeli blogger (who is also a journalist) was put in prison last week for obstructing justice. She has been freed but feared to be under surveillance.

Lory’s crime: she wrote about a minor’s identity who is supposedly at the risk of being kidnapped by his father who had lost a case against the child’s mother. So, Lory was arrested for fear of ‘obstructing justice’.  

After her friends approached higher authorities, including international human rights organizations, Lory was released but is feared to be under police surveillance.

Lory has been writing against wrong delivery of justice, government officials’ corrupt actions and so on, without bothering for court directions to keep mum. Last week she wrote against arrest of Palestinian journalists and feared that the state would then swoon on its own - a prophesy that has come true too soon.
[This report is an adaptation of a report on redressonline.]

When Facebook's advice on web security is not heeded by it own boss

Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts were hacked earlier this week.

If you thought, Facebook’s boss cared for Facebook’s advice about having strong passwords and not using the same password over different accounts, you were proved wrong by Mark. He used a simple password ‘dadada’ on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and once the password came into the hands of hackers through a LinkedIn leak, they could easily break into his other accounts.

Luckily, mark is not very active on these accounts and the hacking has not done much damage to him, except to his reputation as a disciplined net user.

People getting wary of social media?

A recent study by SimilarWeb shows that people are spending less time on social media apps on their mobile phones. 

The study covers a number of countries (the US, Brazil, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, India, South Africa and Australia) and major social networks (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter) on Android devices for about a year. 

The study found that as compared to the first quarter of 2015, time spent on social media apps has gone down for almost all platforms across all countries.

A safe inference from the study can be that perhaps leaving aside places where people are still in the first stage of adoption of smart devices and social networks, people might be developing social media fatigue. 

You can see the study report here.