Elizabeth Dwoskin

Biden’s policies on technology

President-elect Joe Biden is set to have a very different relationship with the tech industry from when he served as vice president. Tech companies have grown more powerful over the past four years — and more perilous. They have continued to amass data and wealth. But they have been used as tools for election interference and disinformation, contributing to the divide in the nation.

Misinformation dropped dramatically the week after Twitter banned Trump and some allies

San Francisco-based analytics firm Zignal Labs has found that online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73 percent after several social media sites suspended President Trump and key allies.

TikTok’s fate was shaped by a ‘knockdown, drag-out’ Oval Office brawl

As leaders in Silicon Valley, China and Washington raced to seal the fate of one of the world’s fastest-growing social media companies, a shouting match broke out in the Oval Office between two of President Trump’s top advisers. In front of President Donald Trump, trade adviser Peter Navarro, and other aides, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin began arguing that the Chinese-owned video-sharing service TikTok should be sold to a US company.

Zuckerberg once wanted to sanction Trump. Then Facebook wrote rules that accommodated him.

Hours after President Trump’s incendiary post about sending the military to the Minnesota protests, he called Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The post put the company in a difficult position, Zuckerberg told President Donald Trump. The same message was hidden by Twitter, the strongest action ever taken against a presidential post.

FTC approves settlement with Google over YouTube kids privacy violations

Apparently, the Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Google in its investigation into YouTube for violating federal data privacy laws for children. The settlement — backed by the agency’s three Republicans and opposed by its two Democrats — finds that Google inadequately protected kids who used its video-streaming service and improperly collected their data in breach of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, which prohibits the tracking and targeting of users younger than 13, the people said.

YouTube will remove more white supremacist and hoax videos, a more aggressive stance on hate speech

YouTube said it will remove false videos alleging that major events like the Holocaust didn’t happen, as well as a broad array of content by white supremacists and others in a move to more aggressively crack down on hate speech.

Facebook, Google and other tech giants to face antitrust investigation by House lawmakers

Democratic Reps plan a sweeping review of Facebook, Google and other technology giants to determine if they’ve become so large and powerful that they stifle competition and harm consumers, marking a new, unprecedented antitrust threat for an industry that’s increasingly under siege by Congress, the White House and 2020 presidential candidates.

Facebook says it will now block white nationalist, white separatist posts

Facebook will begin banning posts, photos and other content that reference white nationalism and white separatism, revising its rules in response to criticism that a loophole had allowed racism to thrive on its platform. Previously, Facebook only had prohibited users from sharing messages that glorified white supremacy -- a rhetorical discrepancy, in the eyes of civil-rights advocates, who argued that white nationalism, supremacy and separatism are indistinguishable and that the policy undermined the tech giant's stepped-up efforts to combat hate speech online.

Facebook is investigating the political pages and ads of another group backed by Reid Hoffman

Facebook said it is investigating whether an organization backed by Internet billionaire and Democratic megadonor Reid Hoffman violated the social media giant’s policies when it set up several misleading news pages in a bid to target US voters with left-leaning political messages. The probe focuses on News for Democracy, whose Facebook ads and affiliated pages about sports, religion, the American flag and other topics were viewed millions of times during the 2018 midterm elections, according to an analysis of the company ad archive conducted by New York University.

Facebook used people’s data as a bargaining chip, emails and court filings suggest

Facebook executives in recent years appeared to discuss giving access to their valuable user data to some companies that bought advertising when it was struggling to launch its mobile ad business, according to internal emails quoted in newly-unredacted court filings. In an ongoing federal court case against Facebook, the plaintiffs claim that the social media giant doled out people’s data secretly and selectively in exchange for advertising purchases or other concessions, even as others were cut off, ruining their businesses.