Nearly two months after Reddit made changes to its hate speech policies, including banning the pro-Trump subreddit r/The_Donald, along with 2,000 other subreddit groups and users, it says it's already seeing a lot less hate speech on its platform.
Why it matters: Reddit has for years faced intense scrutiny for its hands-off policies on hate speech. The recent protests around racial justice finally pushed it to make changes to its rules this summer.
Facebook announced on Wednesday it has banned or restricted hundreds of groups, pages and Instagram accounts that "demonstrated significant risks to public safety" via their ties to the right-wing QAnon conspiracy movement.
Why it matters: QAnon has morphed from a fringe conspiracy theory into a sprawling network of falsehoods sowing fear and confusion as it has seeped into the mainstream and taken stances on critical issues like the coronavirus pandemic and election integrity.
Most Americans say it's very (37%) or somewhat (36%) likely that social media platforms intentionally censor political viewpoints that they find objectionable, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Why it matters: The survey shows that the concept of tech censorship, a political argument for the right, has turned into a mainstream belief.
Twitter said Wednesday that it nearly doubled its enforcement actions against accounts engaging in abuse and harassment and saw government requests for user information continue to rise in the back half of 2019.
The big picture: The reveals come as Twitter unveils an expansion of its transparency program. Big Tech firms are seeing greater public and political pressure to both crack down on bad behavior and explain their moderation practices.
The coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests and a looming election have brought long-simmering conflicts between tech platforms and President Trump to a boil, as Facebook, Twitter and other services are starting to take presidential misinformation seriously.
What's happening: Wary of becoming arbiters of political speech, tech's platforms have carved out a range of exceptions and immunities for Trump and other political leaders — but that accommodation is coming undone.
Facebook must do better to protect women in politics, who face a barrage of sexism, hate and harassment on the platform, members of the Democratic Women Caucus including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to the social network Thursday.
Context: Facebook, under heavy scrutiny for misinformation, privacy and antitrust concerns, recently kept a doctored video of Pelosi up, though fact checkers labeled it as "partly false." The platform came under fire for not removing a doctored video of Pelosi in 2019 as well.
U.S. political actors will keep weaponizing the impact of widespread foreign disinformation campaigns on American elections, making these operations that much more effective and attractive to Russia, China, Iran or other countries backing them.
Why it matters: Hostile powers’ disinformation campaigns aim to destabilize the U.S., and each time a domestic politician embraces them, it demonstrates that they work.
The strange realities of 2020 have perfectly played to the kind of fear QAnon thrives on, driving record online interest in the conspiracy theory.
Why it matters: QAnon is not just one fringe conspiracy theory — it's a sprawling network of falsehoods that's seeping into the mainstream. Its growing influence is sowing fear and confusion around some of today's most important issues, such as election integrity and the coronavirus pandemic.
The QAnon conspiracy is picking up steam abroad, particularly in Europe, where populist movements are on the rise.
Why it matters: "The U.S. has started exporting these domestic-in-origin conspiracy movements to the outside world, "says Zarine Kharazian, Assistant Editor at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab.
A group whose members include Adobe, Twitter and the New York Times Monday offered a plan for restoring trust in photos and video in the face of a rising tide of digital fakery.
Why it matters: Deepfakes — images manipulated or generated by AI in a deceptive way — undermine trust both by tricking people into thinking phony images or videos are real and by making them doubt the veracity of real imagery.