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Twitter Faces Potential Fines in Germany for Failing to Remove Illegal Content

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

Twitter 2.0 could be set for a new test of its stripped-back moderation processes, with Germany’s Federal Justice Office (BfJ) today announcing that it’s launched new proceedings to potentially fine Twitter for failing to comply with the nation’s hate speech removal requirements.

Under Germany’s Network Enforcement Act, all social media platforms need to respond promptly to user reports of illegal content, with a maximum seven day turnaround time, though a response can be required within 24 hours for ‘clearly illegal’ cases. Failure to meet these requirements can be punished under Germany’s criminal code, and can result in fines of up to 50 million euros (US$59.2 million).

As per the BfJ (translated from German):

Numerous content was reported to the BfJ that was published on Twitter, which the authority considers illegal and, despite user complaints, was not deleted or blocked by the provider within the legally stipulated periods. The fine proceedings initiated are based on this.”

The announcement points to illegal content that was reported to Twitter over a four-month period.

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“All content contains similar, unjustified, defamatory statements of opinion, all directed against the same person. According to the BfJ, they constitute an offense.”

The identity of the individual in question is not shared, but the BfJ is now putting Twitter on notice to respond to its queries, before it takes the next step of applying to the Bonn District Court for a preliminary ruling on the case.

Germany’s Network Enforcement Act, which was first implemented in 2017 (originally dubbed ‘The Facebook Act’), is only applicable to social media networks that have more than two million registered users in Germany. Thus far, no social platforms have been fined under the act, but the BfJ has used it to prompt more action from the big social platforms, in order to better enforce local laws.

Now, Elon Musk and Co. will need to assess these requirements, and how they can ensure compliance – or they risk facing significant fines in the region.

For his part, Elon has repeatedly stated that Twitter will comply with local laws, so it seems like this case will be addressed before it moves to the next stage. But still, it could also be a test of Musk’s new moderation approach, which leans more on user responses, and Community Notes, and less on manual intervention by Twitter’s moderation team.

That may not work under German requirements, which could prompt a re-think, at least in some regions.

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We’ll have to wait and see, because as of this afternoon, Elon wasn’t aware of the details.

Which you’d assume he would be, given his repeated claims that Twitter is faster than any mainstream news outlet in distributing content.

Then again, he is the CEO of several companies. Probably got a lot on his plate.



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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