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Op-Ed: Baby cheetahs for sale on Facebook? Google search, too? End this, right now.

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Op-Ed: Baby cheetahs for sale on Facebook? Google search, too? End this, right now.


Not bad enough that social media is destroying democracy with nutcase posts, now it’s destroying endangered wildlife, as well? That’s the news from AVAAZ.org. The other revolting fact is that this IS like the actual wildlife trade, worldwide.

Look a bit further, and you find other ads for “cheetah cubs for sale online”. Someone’s obviously doing a great job of keeping track of these abuses. Where’s the law?

This really is nuts. How absolutely psychotic do you have to be to do something like this? This is how the world is being turned into a sewer, morally and actually. There are no excuses, and prosecutions should result. These sales are globally 1000% illegal. There are any number of prohibitions worldwide.

…Yet somehow the ads got on to Facebook? How? Why? Who’s not paying attention? I’m fully aware that FB isn’t a law enforcement agency, but this is way beyond any sort of credible “don’t know” excuse.

While we’re at it, where’s wildlife law enforcement on this subject? How the hell could anyone in enforcement possibly miss this? Or is it nap time in the executive brat meetings? Get off your butts, you useless bastards, and do your jobs.

I’ve defended Facebook often enough for a range of what I see are unreasonable expectations, many times. Not this time. If someone was selling kids, Fentanyl , ice, crack, or guns on Facebook, would anyone notice? Do you think they should? It’s a perfectly reasonable expectation that such things are monitored.

It is also a reasonable expectation that whoever oversights Facebook sales should have been aware of this before it got posted. It’s not that hard to simply run an algorithm triggered by terminology; that’s a very old class of software.

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I’d much prefer this to be a hoax. I sort of hope it is. Those animals are right on the edge of extinction. That said – Enter cheetahs on FB search, and you get a “cheetahs for sale” standard search dropdown.

Find cheetah cubs for sale on Google search? Yep.

If you search cheetah cubs for sale images on Google, you get a virtual collage of exploitation. I’ve reported this one to Google, but how many more could there be? No wonder so many animals are on the verge of extinction or Tiger King remakes, arguably worse.

I honestly dread to think how many animals could have been trafficked and abused this way. It’d be a huge number, and probably going on for years. It’s interesting to note that nobody even questions the ease of acquisition and how so many “exotic animals” get shipped worldwide.

Well, here’s a thought or so:

  • If you provide services to advertise or otherwise illegal trade in anything, you’re a party to that trade. That’s probably an equally serious offense, depending on the jurisdictions.
  • These are criminal offenses in just about all jurisdictions. Advertisers and other service providers may be liable to statutory prosecution, and should be.
  • Contributing to the rampant destruction of the natural world isn’t exactly popular. Taken in context with the many other gripes the world has against social media and the Big Tech companies in particular, it’s hardly a great look. It looks very like serial lawbreaking, and that’s not a strong argument in favor for the Big Tech guys.  

Clear? If not, it will be. End this, and end it now.



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Twitter Launches Election Integrity Features Ahead of US Midterms

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Twitter Launches Election Integrity Features Ahead of US Midterms

The US midterms are coming up, and Twitter’s working to get ahead of any potential misuse of its platform to spread misinformation around the candidates, with a range of improved election integrity features, as well as new, curated election info hubs to help boost credible updates.

First off, Twitter’s activating enforcement of its Civic Integrity Policy, giving it more capacity to limit the spread of misleading tweets.

As per Twitter:

The Civic Integrity Policy covers the most common types of harmful misleading information about elections and civic events, such as: claims about how to participate in a civic process like how to vote, misleading content intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the election, and misleading claims intended to undermine public confidence in an election – including false information about the outcome of the election. Tweets with this content may be labeled with links to credible information or helpful context, and Twitter will not recommend or amplify this content in areas of the product where Twitter makes recommendations.”

Twitter launched a new set of tweet labels last November, which include additional notes on why the tweet has been labeled.

Those add-on tags have proven to be effective in limiting the spread of false information, with Twitter reporting its updated label formats increased ‘Find out more’ click-through rates by 17% (meaning more people were clicking labels to read debunking content), while they also led to notable decreases in engagement with labeled Tweets.

Twitter’s also bringing back its prebunks to further limit the spread of misleading reports.

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Twitter election prebunks

Prebunks aim to provide context on potentially misleading election trends, limiting false reportage about the same.

“Over the coming months, we’ll place prompts directly on people’s timelines in the US and in Search when people type related terms, phrases, or hashtags.” 

Twitter’s also launching new election info hubs in Explore, with updates curated by Twitter’s team, along with its labels on candidate profiles to make it clear who they are and what position they’re running for.

Twitter election labels

Twitter will also be promoting media literacy tips on @TwitterSafety, to help users educate themselves on ways to avoid misinformation.

Twitter election misinfo

The combination of initiatives should help to limit the spread of misinfo around the polls, and keep Twitter users informed. Which is important, because while Twitter’s audience is only small, in comparison to other social apps, Twitter is the home of real time news and updates, which means that much of the news that’s initially shared on Twitter then gets aggregated to other platforms as a result.

Many of the most passionate, active news followers stay up to date via tweet, and if Twitter can ensure that these people are not receiving incorrect info to begin with, that can actually have a big impact on the broader news ecosystem.

Which is why all of these elements are more important than, on the surface, they may seem.



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