Archive for November 20, 2022

NAACP Head Calls For Advertisers To Pause Ads On Twitter In The Wake Of Donald Trump Being Reinstated To The Platform

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 20, 2022 by itnerd

Elon Musk is in serious trouble now. I say that because Derrick Johnson the head of the NAACP has put out a series of Tweets aimed directly at Elon and his Donald Trump stunt from last night. And if Elon is smart, which given his track record since taking over Twitter is questionable at best, he should pay attention. More on that in a second. But first, here’s what Johnson said:

Now the NAACP are pretty powerful in this case because the African American demographic is one that as of late, advertisers actively target. So, What Derrick Johnson has done is given them a choice. Back Elon Musk and Twitter and lose access to that demographic. Or They stand with that demographic against everything that Elon Musk appears to stand for. Thus do not be surprised if a lot of ads disappear from Twitter this week as companies announce that they’ve pausing ads on Twitter. Because I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of this if I were an advertiser.

As for Elon Musk, at this point he really should start finding ways to back-pedal from this latest crisis that he’s created. Because this as it stands right now isn’t going to end well for Musk. Nor is it going to end well for Twitter. He can try and joke and meme his way out of this, but honestly he’s got nowhere to go on this and so many other issues that are causing him sleepless nights at the moment.

Apps Related To The World Cup Violate Your Privacy

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 20, 2022 by itnerd

At the moment the World Cup is just full of controversy due to the human rights record of Qatar. And this news from Politico won’t help with that. EU officials are warning that visitors should not download the official World Cup apps due to the fact that they are privacy nightmares:

European data protection regulators have been lining up to warn about the risks posed by Qatar’s World Cup apps for visitors, with Germany’s data protection commissioner being the latest. In a statement Tuesday, the Germans said data collected by two Qatari apps that visitors are being asked to download “goes much further” than the apps’ privacy notices indicate. 

“One of the apps collects data on whether and with which number a telephone call is made,” the German authority said. “The other app actively prevents the device on which it is installed from going into sleep mode. It is also obvious that the data used by the apps not only remain locally on the device, but are also transmitted to a central server.”

The Norwegian and French data protection agencies have already issued similar advice. 

The Norwegian regulator on Monday said it was “alarmed” by the extensive access the apps require. “There is a real possibility that visitors to Qatar, and especially vulnerable groups, will be monitored by the Qatari authorities,” it said. 

The French agency said fans should take “special care” with photos and videos, and recommends that travelers install the apps just before departure and delete them as soon as they return to France.

The French government — despite having close ties to Qatar — echoed the CNIL’s advice on Tuesday. “In France, thanks to the [General Data Protection Regulation], all applications must guarantee the fundamental rights of individuals and the protection of their data. This is not the case in Qatar,” tweeted Junior Minister for Digital Jean-Noël Barrot, referencing the privacy regulator’s guidelines.

Here’s the problem. Visitors have been asked by Qatar to download and install these apps. Thus this really makes Qatar look bad. And on top of that, Apple and Google are the ones serving up these apps. Did this just slip through or did they know about the issues with these apps and they simply looked the other way? I for one would love to know the answer to that question as it makes me question their app review processes.

In any case, it takes an event that really has bad vibes all around it, and amps that up to 11.

Twitter Fails To Delete Racist World Cup Related Tweets In The Lead Up To The World Cup

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 20, 2022 by itnerd

Hate speech has been on the rise since Elon Musk took over Twitter. And a story by The Guardian is underlining that Musk and his lackeys are doing nothing to stop hate speech on the platform:

Tweets hurling racist abuse at footballers, including the N-word, monkey emojis and calls for them to be deported, are not being removed by Twitter.

New research shows the platform failed to act on 99 out of 100 racist tweets reported to it in the week before the World Cup.

Only one was removed after being flagged on Wednesday, a tweet that repeated a racial slur 16 times. All the others remained live this weekend.

The abuse was aimed at 43 players including England stars Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka, who were among several players targeted after the Euro 2020 final.

The analysis, conducted by researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and seen by the Observer, included 100 tweets reported to Twitter. Of those, 11 used the N-word to describe footballers, 25 used monkey or banana emojis directed at players, 13 called for players to be deported, and 25 attacked players by telling them to “go back to” other countries. Thirteen tweets targeted footballers over their English skills.

The findings come at a turbulent time for Twitter and will fuel concerns about players possibly being targeted during the World Cup.

Now it would be simple to say that Elon has fired all the people who would be responsible for going after this sort of stuff, which means there’s not enough people left to police racism on the platform. But I think that would be simplistic. Going after this sort of thing has to be a top down approach. And clearly there’s nobody at the top who’s making this a priority. Now I’m not saying that Elon is a racist. But it kind of looks that way in the absence of any hard evidence to the contrary. And I’m likely not the only one thinking this. Users are likely thinking this, and likely so are advertisers. And they’re going to make decisions about where they spend their time in the case of the former, or money in the case of the latter accordingly.

CBS News Suspends Posts On Twitter As An Insider Says There’s A “50% Chance” Of Twitter Crashing During The World Cup

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 20, 2022 by itnerd

If Elon Musk thought the weekend would bring some respite from the feeling of doom that is around Twitter these days. Especially with his Donald Trump is back on Twitter stunt from last night, I am going to put it out there that he is wrong. First up is the fact that CBS News has suspending posting on Twitter:

“In light of the uncertainty around Twitter and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News is pausing its activity on the social media site as it continues to monitor the platform,” Jonathan Vigliotti, CBS News national correspondent, said in a report about the latest chaos at the company on the “CBS Evening News” Friday.

A statement with nearly identical wording was shared Friday by the Twitter account of KPIX, the CBS-owned station in San Francisco.

Currently, the most recent post on @CBSNews is a retweet of a segment shared at 3:38 p.m. ET about Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of a special counsel to oversee investigations into Donald Trump. On @CBSEveningNews, the most recent tweet is story about a dog that “turned herself in to police after getting lost during a walk,” which was posted at 5 p.m. ET; @CBSMornings last posted at 3:30 p.m. ET, linking to an article about users speculating about “whether Twitter will live or die.”

I’m calling it now, this will spur other news agencies to do the same thing. That in turn will make Twitter less valuable to people who visit Twitter to get news form CBS, NBC, ABC, Reuters, and others. That in turn make Twitter less valuable to advertisers and take money out of Elon’s pockets. But that’s not the worst news for him. This is:

Twitter stands a 50% chance of a major outage that could take the site offline during the World Cup, according to a recently departed employee with knowledge of how the company responds to large-scale events.

The former employee, who was granted anonymity because of the sensitivity of what was discussed, has knowledge of the workings of Twitter Command Centre, the platform’s team of troubleshooters who monitor the site for issues such as traffic spikes and data centre outages.

“Between the lack of preparations and the lack of staffing, I think it’s going to be a rough World Cup for Twitter,” said the former employee.

He suggested that an incident of some kind – such as a service responding slowly or incorrectly – is almost a certainty during the 29-day competition in Qatar, estimating a 90% possibility of something going wrong that users would see.

The likelihood of Twitter staying online during the competition, which kicks off on Sunday, is no better than even, according to the former employee.

Twitter is “likely to struggle with traffic at kickoff, and may crash,” he said. “If we’re lucky, it will recover with minimal disruption.”

If anything happens to Twitter that users can see, it will be a terminal event for Elon. He’ll burn through any credibility that he has left, and it will send any advertisers that are left on the platform running for the nearest exit. At that point, he’d be screwed with no way back. Seeing as the World Cup starts today, we won’t have long to wait. And I will be watching.

Maybe Elon should refocus his priorities? Just a thought.

Users Are Uploading Entire Movies To Twitter…. And They Appear Not Be Prevented From Doing So By Twitter

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 20, 2022 by itnerd

Elon Musk is going to have a major problem. It appears that users are now uploading entire movies is roughly two minute and thirty second chunks to Twitter. Here’s an example:

If you look through the entire thread, the entire movie is there. And by the way, Hackers was a really good movie. But besides that, here’s the real problem. Sharing full movies is a violation of Twitter’s copyright policy which you can read here. But it’s still being allowed. And I can find other movies without trying to hard. My guess is the people who police this sort of behaviour are gone, or the systems that flag this sort of content aren’t working. Or perhaps both.

So why is this a problem? The MPAA or Motion Picture Association of America is going to get wind of this and they are going to knock on Twitter’s door asking “WTF”. Twitter will have to try and prove that they tried to stop these movies from being uploaded. But when they can’t the MPAA is going to not only want money, but they will take Twitter to court to get it. This will add to Elon’s problems as advertisers, who are the bulk of Twitter’s revenue will look at this and say “I don’t want to be associated with that gong show” and pull their ads. Oh, wait, that’s already happening.

And I thought the Donald Trump sideshow was the worst thing that Elon could do to the platform. Clearly I was incorrect.

UPDATE: The Tweet that I linked to above was deleted by Twitter. Over 12 hours after it was posted. But I continue to find other movies on Twitter without much effort. That’s a #fail Elon.