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Donald Trump is suing Facebook, Google, Twitter, and their CEOs
by Paul Hill
Image via Axios According to a CNBC report, the former U.S. President, Donald Trump, is suing Facebook, Google, and Twitter plus their CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey for supposedly violating his First Amendment right to free speech. While the companies allowed Trump to use the platforms while he was President, they became a lot less accommodating after his term ended.
Trump made the announcement at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, at 11 a.m. ET flanked by two people from the pro-Trump non-profit America First Policy Institute. The claims against the tech firms and their leaders will be filed with the federal court in Florida. Facebook has not yet provided comment on the legal action while Google and Twitter flat out declined to comment on the matter.
The issue of Trump being allowed to use social media platforms such as Twitter was a hot issue right through his presidency but it was not until the storming of the Capitol in his last weeks of office by his supporters that his place on social media became untenable. Twitter permanently banned him from its platform saying that he stoked up the violence at the Capitol while Facebook has a ban in place that will stop him from using its platform until January 2023, but this can be extended.
It will be interesting to see whether he gets anywhere with this legal action. While Trump has the rights laid out in the Constitution, he also had to agree to the various terms of service rules that each of the services has in place. The social media firms will likely point to infringements of their terms of service to justify their bans.
By Usama Jawad96
Facebook believes it made the right decision in banning Trump, but has referred the case
by Usama Jawad
Former U.S. President Donald Trump was banned from various social media platforms earlier this month. Among these was Facebook, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally announcing the suspension, stating that it was indefinite and would continue at least until then President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
With the aforementioned stipulation now complete, Facebook has deferred the case to its independent Oversight Board, while emphasizing that it believes it made the right call in suspending Trump's account a couple of weeks ago.
In a blog post, Facebook has highlighted that the case has been referred to the Oversight Board, which was formed last year and consists of global civic leaders from various backgrounds and industries. You can view the full list of members here.
Facebook has emphasized that it believes that it made the right decision in suspending Trump's account under "extraordinary circumstances" on January 7, and it hopes that the Oversight Board will agree to the indefinite ban based on the justifications provided. The firm went on to say that:
It is important to note that the Oversight Board's decision will be final and not even Zuckerberg will have the authority to veto it. Facebook will also be open to recommendations from the organization about how to deal with cases of suspending political leaders, should the need arise in the future.
The Oversight Board's process for assessing the case will also be of interest to some readers. From a bird's eye view, a five-member panel will review the case and Trump's page administrators will be allowed to submit statements as to why Facebook's original decision will be overturned. The panel will have up to 90 days to achieve a decision that has to be supported by a simple majority of Oversight Board members. In response, Facebook will have seven days to implement the recommendations made by the panel and up to 30 days to respond to them. The findings of the case and the final outcome will be published on the Oversight Board's website here.
Facebook is blocking Trump's account until Joe Biden takes office
by João Carrasqueira
Donald Trump will no longer be allowed to post on Facebook or Instagram until the role of President of the United States has been passed on to President-elect Joe Biden. The announcement comes from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's own account on the social network, following a breach of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on January 7.
As Zuckerberg states, Trump has been allowed to post content on the social network for the past four years, even when some content may have violated its community rules. This is because, like Twitter, the social network believed it was important for the public to have access to political speech, even if controversial.
Yesterday, a large number of Trump supporters rallied at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., breaching security and breaking into the House floor while the Electoral College vote was taking place. The attack resulted in at least one death. President Trump responded with a video telling protesters to go home peacefully, but maintained that the election was stolen, which resulted in multiple social networks taking down the content, and Twitter temporarily suspending the account. In the video, Trump also referred to the protestors as "special". Hours earlier, Trump had spoken at the Save America Rally, encouraging supporters to march down to the Capitol and challenge the election results.
The ban has been put in place indefinitely, but it will last at least two weeks, which is how much time is left for the new president to take office. Zuckerberg claims that the danger of allowing the incumbent President to use the platform is "simply too great".
Following Facebook's announcement, Shopify, an e-commerce platform where users can host their own custom shops, has taken down shops hosted by the Trump Organization and campaign, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. It's possible that other similar announcements come from other online platforms in the wake of the yesterday's events.
By Ather Fawaz
WhatsApp is now exchanging close to 100 billion messages each day
by Ather Fawaz
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps across the world, and it's still growing continually. In the quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that WhatsApp is now delivering close to 100 billion messages each day (via TechCrunch). The Head of WhatsApp at Facebook, Will Cathcart, later confirmed this in a tweet.
With this level of information exchange, curbing the spread of disinformation becomes an important task. WhatsApp has been cracking on down on it in the past. Back in August, it launched a new tool called ‘Search the web’ that allows users to quickly find information about received links from the web. The app also limited the forwarding of 'highly forwarded' messages to just one person or group at a time. This directly resulted in a 70% reduction in the forwarding of such messages, arguably slowing down the spread of misleading information on the platform as well.
Facebook: Standalone AR glasses are five to ten years away
by Paul Hill
Earlier this week, alongside its Oculus Quest 2 announcement, Facebook revealed Project Aria a research project investigating wearable augmented reality (AR) glasses.
On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the first pair of Aria glasses would be launching 2021, however, these will still be dependent on a smartphone. According to the head of Facebook Reality Labs Research Michael Abrash, the dependency on a smartphone could be removed within the next five to ten years and the technology could even supplant smartphones for some people.
In the next couple of years, smart glasses will be dependent on smartphones due to battery life and processing constraints but as technology shrinks, cramming components into glasses could become feasible. Abrash reiterated that these glasses “are still years off. That’s not a 2021 thing. I’m talking about the future.”
While glasses may be able to be used alone in the next decade, it’s unlikely that smartphones will disappear entirely. While glasses will no doubt be capable of performing many of the tasks we need them to do and more, there will be other tasks that are more convenient to complete on a phone screen.