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U.S. Lawmakers Push To Open Door For Censorship Lawsuits Against Twitter, Facebook State Legislators Are Taking On The Communications Decency Act

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

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter often remove posts that violate the sites’ rules. Now, imagine that your posts were deleted, and you could sue these companies for $75,000 per post.

That might sound absurd, but that’s what some American lawmakers are saying should be allowed to happen.

As it stands, web companies in the United States cannot be sued for removing content. These permissions are upheld by a federal law called Section 230, also known as the Communications Decency Act.

This law has been under fire for years, however – and one if its most notable critics was former President Donald Trump. Censorship on social media has been a hot topic since Twitter banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol storming. It’s worth noting, however, that politicians of both the two main political parties in America have criticized the act for various reasons.

Many state lawmakers are trying to pass bills to allow people to sue social media sites when their posts are taken down, especially those involving politics or religion. The bills vary by state, but some allow suits for up to $75,000 per post.

It’s unknown whether these proposals have a chance of passing, but one expert says there’s a fat chance.

Len Niehoff, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, told media outlets that the proposals are a “constitutional non-starter.”

“If an online platform wants to have a policy that it will delete certain kinds of tweets, delete certain kinds of users, forbid certain kinds of content, that is in the exercise of their right as a information distributor,” he explained. “The idea that you would create a cause of action that would allow people to sue when that happens is deeply problematic under the First Amendment.”

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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