April 14, 2018

Blogging, social media news: blogger suicide, Telegram blocked, Facebook on elections, Twitter wipes terror

Can video filtering lead to suicide by a blogger? Yes it can.


The video blogger who opened fire at YouTube headquarters in California last week, wounding three and then killing herself, had recorded a video before the act. She hated YouTube, Nasim Najafi Aghdam, the Iran-born vlogger averred, because she was discriminated against as her videos were filtered by the video sharing site.

Russian blogger beaten up. For raising issues?


A Russian blogger,  Mikhail Sveto, says he was beaten up and sent back to Moscow on reaching Kemerovo airport. Kemerovo is located in Siberia.
The blogger says, he was dragged to the staff area by some plain-clothesmen calling themselves coal miners but they had full support of airport staff.

Mikhail is a member of an opposition group and has been raising issues critical to the government in recent times.  

More and more countries wanting to block Telegram?


Now three is news that Iran has blocked Telegram nation-wide on 9th April. By the way, Telegram is so popular in Iran that half the population is supposed to use it.

The reason: Iran wants to promote home-grown apps to break Telegram's monopoly. Telegram was supposed to be making money out of Iranian people without investing anything in the country. For sure, opposition is seeing it as a ploy to control dissidence.


Only last year, Iran banned Telegram and Instagram briefly and detained some users on national security concerns.

It is also reported that Russia is contemplating to block Telegram altogether as the app has refused to share encryption with the authorities. Telegram claims end to end encryption of messages, and this is frowned upon by investigating and cybersecurity agencies because they are unable to transcribe messages even after snooping hard into a chat.

Facebook to support independent research on its role in elections


Facebook has announced that it would set up an independent election research commission to support research on the effect of social media on elections and democracy.

On its blog, Facebook has said, it will not exert any oversight on the research but will provide its resources for such studies. It explains:  ...we're working with foundations across the US to set up a committee of academic experts who will come up with research topics and select -- through a peer review process -- independent researchers to study them. We'll give those researchers access to our resources so they can draw unbiased conclusions about Facebook's role in elections, including how we're handling the risks on our platform and what steps we need to take before future elections.

In continuation of earlier reports about Facebook being criticized the world over for leak of data of millions of users from the platform, its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has vowed to end interference in elections by use of Facebook data.He deposed before US house committees earlier this week.

Recall Orkut? Say hello!


Orkut used to be a very popular social network in some parts of the globe, before Facebook wiped it off.

Now its founder, Orkut Buyukkokten, says, it has tested a new social networking platform, Hello, in Brazil and has put its app on Google Play Store also. It is now promoting it in India where Orkut was very popular 5 years back. He plans to take it subsequently to US, France and Germany.

Orkut says, while present day social networks have become more of broadcast media, Hello is focusing on community-building based on interests.

Florida police officer gets red slip for social media slip 


A police offer has been shown the door after he posted a racially charged selfie on Snapchat.  The selfie has been doodled with curly black hair, a pistol, syringe and beard , with an embedded caption, 'Celebrate black history month' purportedly to mock a particular race. 

The firing came after an internal investigation found the Florida police officer unfit for unbiased policing.

Twitter wipes terror content but rues regulatory pressure


Twitter has reported that it has removed over 274,000 accounts globally, for promoting terrorism, in the second half of 2017.

From 2015, it has suspended 1.2 million accounts with 'terrorist content'.

Twitter says, the trend of such content being posted on Twitter is positive. We continue to see the positive, significant impact of years of hard work making our site an undesirable place for those seeking to promote terrorism, resulting in this type of activity increasingly shifting away from Twitter, it says on the Twitter blog

At the same time, Twitter says, there is rise in regulatory pressure [from governments] and 'legal threat to freedom of expression'.