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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.

Massive Global Facebook Outage Affected Over 3.5 Billion People

10/05/2021

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day for influencers, social media managers, and casual social media users (or uneventful, depending on how you look at it). Yes, we’re talking about themassive global Facebook outage that saw Facebook-owned apps like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp go down for over six hours.

For those living under a rock, the outage began around 11:40 AM eastern time on  October 4 and lasted until around 6:30 PM, affecting over 3.5 billion users worldwide.

It’s been reported that the outage caused significant damage to the social media giant, resulting in shares plummeting and costing founder Mark Zuckerberg an estimated $6 billion.

Besides platforms shutting down for several hours, some eagle-eyed observers also noticed that during the outage, the Facebook domain went up for sale. Considering the fact that Facebook and all its other platforms are now functioning as normal, it’s safe to say nobody was able to purchase the domain out from under them. However, it’d be pretty interesting to see how that situation would have played out.

So, what exactly caused such an unprecedented event? Facebook confirmed it was “configuration changes on the backbone routers that co-ordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication” and had a “cascading effect… bringing our services to a halt.”

Facebook added that it is still trying to determine what exactly happened so it can “make our infrastructure more resilient,” but that there was “no evidence that user data was compromised.”

Once all platforms came back online yesterday evening, Mark Zuckerberg also issued an apology on his public Facebook page, posting:

“Sorry for the disruption today — I know how much you rely on our services to stay connected with the people you care about.”

Many have theorized that the outage was caused by something much bigger than just a glitch, and is related to former Facebook employee Frances Haugen’s upcoming testimony on Capitol Hill. Haugen is expected to testify today about allegations that the company “chooses profits over safety’

The Ripple Effect

Besides social media users being unable to post about their day-to-day lives or latest anti-vax theories, the outage had a massive effect on billions of people and businesses around the world.

Here’s one example: For over six hours, Twitter experienced a massive boost in popularity as Instagram and Facebook users flooded the platform in order to communicate with one another and find out more information about the outage. In fact, traffic was so unusually high that Twitter experienced its own small outage.

It’s also important to note that for some, this outage was merely an inconvenience that meant a day off from social media, but for small businesses and marketing professionals who rely on Facebook and Instagram to communicate with customers and market themselves, this outage was pretty devastating. Fortunately the outage was resolved in less than a day, and no significant damage was caused (with the exception of Facebook’s monetary loss and damaged reputation).

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Facebook shares report with content view insights

08/23/2021

Many marketers and businesses use Facebook to connect with potential customers, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the platform has roughly 2.89 billion active users per month.

Those who use Facebook for the purposes mentioned above may be curious to know what the site’s users actually see – and now, there’s a report that offers that information.

Last week, Facebook published the ‘Widely Viewed Content Report’ as part of its Transparency Centre blog. The report offers insights to help readers understand what kind of content is more likely to appear in a user’s Facebook newsfeed.

“Transparency is an important part of everything we do at Facebook,” the company said in the report’s overview. “In this first quarterly report, our goal is to provide clarity around what people see in their Facebook News Feed, the different content types that appear in their Feed and the most-viewed domains, links, Pages and posts on the platform during the quarter.”

Specifically, the report includes views of public content in the U.S. between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021. It does not look at what users do outside of their newsfeed – say, on Facebook Marketplace or other areas.

Notable Findings

The report defines a ‘view’ as any instance where content appears on a user’s newsfeed – the user does not have to interact with the content in any way for a view to be counted.

The report shares that posts with no links are far more likely to be viewed than those with links. Specifically, 87.1% of posts viewed have no link.

One section in the report shows the top twenty web domains that are viewed on newsfeeds. Youtube ranked the highest, with Amazon, Unicef, GoFundMe, and Twitter following.

The report also includes lists of the most viewed web links, Facebook pages, and Facebook posts. Notably, almost all of the ten most viewed posts were posts that challenged readers to respond (i.e. “What is something you will never eat, no matter how hungry you get?”) The only exception is the sixth most viewed post: U.S. President Joe Biden’s post that reads, “100 days in—and America is getting back on track.”

Facebook plans to share similar reports in the future, with a possibility of this being a quarterly offering.

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