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X Raises Questions on Content Moderation After Navalny’s Wife Allegedly Banned

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Screenshot from Yulia Navalnaya on X

Amidst speculation surrounding the banning of Navalny’s wife from X, questions arise over the platform’s content moderation policies in Europe. 

(Photo : Yulia Navalnaya )
Screenshot from Yulia Navalnaya on X

Continuing Alexei Navalny’s Fight

Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian anti-corruption activist, died under mysterious circumstances in a Siberian penal colony on Feb. 16. While the exact cause of Navalny’s death remains unclear, Western officials have pointed fingers at Russian President Vladimir Putin

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, fueled speculation further with claims in a video statement. She alleged that Russian authorities may be withholding her husband’s corpse to eliminate evidence of a deadly nerve agent, Novichok.

The video accused Putin of orchestrating her husband’s demise and pledged to continue his work. This development raises concerns about X’s content moderation practices and its implications for freedom of speech in Europe.

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In a video shared in Russian language, she conveyed her aspiration for a liberated Russia, emphasizing her desire to live and contribute to its freedom. Following this, Navalnaya rapidly amassed a significant online following, receiving an outpouring of support from thousands of sympathetic messages. 

According to a report from The Guardian, Navalnaya currently resides in a location undisclosed to the public outside of Russia. She established her X account in February and made her inaugural post on the 19th while in Brussels, engaging with EU officials regarding her husband’s passing. 

Facing X Suspension

However, her presence on X encountered a brief suspension on Tuesday, triggering widespread user concern. During the suspension period, allegations circulated, suggesting a connection between owner Elon Musk and sympathies toward Putin.

X’s Safety team later clarified that the account suspension resulted from an error in the platform’s spam detection system, which erroneously flagged @yulia_navalnaya’s account. 

As per Daily Dot, the suspension was promptly lifted upon the team’s realization of the mistake, with assurances of enhancements to the platform’s defense mechanism. X’s announcement does not explicitly indicate whether Navalnaya’s account suspension resulted from an automated system. 

Also read: China, Russia Agree to Coordinate AI Use in Military Technology

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However, attributing the suspension to a “defense mechanism” and the pledge to “update the defense” led some information analysts to infer that human intervention was not involved in the initial account shutdown.

This interpretation prompted swift scrutiny from researchers, who questioned the accuracy of attributing the suspension, even implicitly, to an automated decision.

Responding to the statement, Michael Veale, an associate professor of Digital Rights & Regulation at University College London’s Faculty of Laws, expressed skepticism. He noted the irony, given X’s previous claims under the Digital Services Act, that they refrain from automated content moderation.

Implemented by the EU in October 2022, the Digital Services Act (DSA) aims to combat illegal content, ensure advertising transparency, and counter disinformation. 

Among its mandates, the act necessitates platforms to disclose moderation determinations in the DSA Transparency Database, detailing factors like the rationale behind the decision, the content type in question, and whether automation was involved in the decision-making process.

2023 study by the University of Bremen researchers scrutinizing moderation verdicts uploaded to the database for a single day revealed that X exclusively relied on human moderation for its decisions.

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Consequently, X reported significantly fewer moderation determinations than other platforms during the observed period.

Related Article: Vladimir Putin’s Unusual New Year’s Message Sparks Death Rumors: Is ‘AI Putin’ Behind the Speech?

Written by Inno Flores

ⓒ 2024 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.



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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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