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Supreme Court Justice Weighs In On Controversial Social Media Law Facebook and Twitter May Lose Power Following Section 230 Statement

author image Written by: Wade Morris           Categories - In The News, Social Media

A Supreme Court Justice has warned social media platforms Facebook and Twitter in the midst of an ongoing legal battle involving a historical law.

The law is Section 230, or the Communications Decency Act. Passed in the 1990s, the law mandates that an ‘interactive computer device’ cannot be recognized as the publisher of third-party content – in other words, websites like Facebook and Twitter are protected from lawsuits if a user posts something illegal, though some exceptions are recognized.

Section 230 has been a hot topic in American news following events that transpired over the last few months – notably, the U.S. presidential election, the Capitol riots in January, and the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

Critics of Section 230 have said that it gives social networking sites too much power and shaves off their responsibility to ensure the media shared by users is not harmful.

Among critics is former U.S. President Donald Trump. He asked regulators to change the law to make it more narrow in 2020. This happened months before platforms like Facebook and Twitter permanently banned him from using their platforms.

Current U.S. President Joe Biden is no fan of the law, either. Last year, he suggested he would remove the law.

READ MORE: U.S. Lawmakers Push to Open Door For Censorship Lawsuits Against Twitter, Facebook

Facebook And Twitter Might Be in Trouble, Suggests A Supreme Court Justice

Section 230 has been central to an ongoing Supreme Court case. Following Trump’s barring from social networking sites, the fabrics of the law reached the Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas issued a statement. The statement is classified as an opinion rather than a ruling, meaning that it does not precede an actual legal outcome.

In the statement, Thomas suggests social media companies should be regulated by the government as if they were ‘common carriers’ such as phone networks. This suggests the government would be able to stop networking sites from removing users’ content without permission.

As Section 230 continues to be a highly discussed topic, the future of social media regulation and speech laws is unknown.

Wade Morris

Wade brings an energetic approach to writing – he is always on the hunt for stories and angles that matter. With years of experience in journalism and marketing environments, Wade has written about everything from politics to education. Now, he writes about SEO and digital marketing trends.

Facebook Removes Support For Podcasts

05/03/2022

Facebook is ditching podcasts and plans to stop offering them from June 3.

The social-media giant will no longer allow users to add podcasts to the service as of this week but plans to remove them altogether starting June. Both its short-form audio product Soundbites and the central audio hub will be discontinued, Bloomberg reports.

These options were first introduced last April, as part of Facebook’s broader effort to promote social audio. That’s when Meta presented a range of upcoming podcast options: on-page display tools and direct connection options. Both were supposed to let Facebook users listen to podcasts from within the app without leaving it. In June, Meta launched its podcast support tools, with several launch partners.

Now, not even a year later, Facebook is shifting its focus to other initiatives.

We’re constantly evaluating the features we offer so we can focus on the most meaningful experiences – a Meta spokesperson said in an email sent to Bloomberg. The person allegedly added that they don’t have a specific date on when Soundbites and the audio hub would shut down but it will be in the “coming weeks.”

Facebook will also cut the site’s Soundbites and Audio hubs and integrate its Live Audio Rooms feature into its broader Facebook Live suite. They also said they will not warn users of this, but will rather let creators break the news how they see fit.

Why the change? Probably because they need to save some money:

After the start of COVID, the acceleration of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth, but we’re now seeing that trend back off. However, based on the strong revenue growth we saw in 2021, we kicked off several 2 multi-year projects to accelerate some of our longer-term investments, especially in our AI infrastructure, business platform, and Reality Labs. These investments are going to be important for our success and growth over time so I continue to believe we should see them through. But with our current business growth levels, we’re now planning to slow the pace of some of our investments.

This might not be a big deal and some significant news for everyone, but as Andrew Hutchinson from Social Media Today noticed, it shows how Facebook’s focus can easily shift and ‘betray’ the creators that use the platform. What does that mean for future Meta visitors and builders?

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Facebook Launches New Novi Pilot

12/14/2021

Earlier this week, Meta launched a new trial version of the Novi digital wallet – this time, for use via the Whatsapp mobile app. Users in USA and Guatemala can now send and receive money right in their WhatsApp mobile app.

You might be wondering what the Novi app even is. Well, remember when Facebook announced the rebranding, the Metaverse, and how it will touch every product they build? It turns out this could be a part of it all.

Novi is a digital wallet that should enable people to send and receive money internationally without leaving their homes. There are no fees, and the process doesn’t last long. It uses blockchain technology and a digital currency called USDP – a cryptocurrency of Paxos – a coin that uses the Etherium blockchain technology and is attached to the U.S. dollar. So, 1 USDP = 1 USD.

According to Facebook, or Meta, if you will, Novi has been developed to enable fee-free, cross-country money transfers. If you decide to sign up, you will need a valid government ID and a video selfie. Then, you can add money to the account using your debit card and your contact list.

Things you should know

Novi is officially a regulated financial company from Facebook, but also has built-in protection against fraud and constant monitoring for suspicious activity. Yet, some regulators are hesitant to give Facebook more power and influence, especially considering the amount of user data they have access to.

For them, it seems that adding payment options is a step too far. That’s why Novi acts independently from Meta and wants to distance itself as much as possible, to maximize acceptance. Using Novi on Whatsapp won’t change Whatsapp’s privacy settings and should be completely safe, according to Facebook.

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