Social Media MoS Chandrashekhar

Hate Spreading On Social Media Won’t Be Tolerated: MoS Chandrashekhar

Union Minister of State Rajiv Chandrashekhar reacted to the Pakistan government’s Twitter handle being blocked in India and said that any account that spreads hate on social media will be blocked by the Indian government.

While talking to ANI, the MoS said, “Any account on Twitter or any other social media platform, which spreads fake news, propagates hate, and violates the law, won’t be allowed to function in the country.”
“There are 80 crore users connected to the Internet in the country, and we want it to grow to 120 crores. We want our Internet to be trusted. So if any handle is telling lies, or putting unlawful content, then we will definitely try to block it. We believe that the Internet should be used for people’s welfare and not for misguiding them,” Chandrashekhar said.

Earlier today, the Twitter account of the Pakistani government was withheld in India. This is reportedly the second such incident in recent months.

This account was withheld earlier in July as well but had been reactivated and was visible. Today, again the account displayed the message of being withheld in India.

“@GovtofPakistan account has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand,” is seen while accessing the Twitter handle.

According to Twitter guidelines, the microblogging site takes such action in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

Currently, the Twitter feed of the Pakistan government “@GovtofPakistan” is not visible to Indian users.

Previously, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had blocked 16 YouTube news channels including six Pakistan-based channels for spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations, and public order.

So far, the central government has blocked over 100 YouTube channels, 4 Facebook pages, 5 Twitter accounts, and 3 Instagram accounts for spreading hate content against India. (ANI)

Meta Influence Campaigns

Meta Shuts Down Russia, China-Based Influence Campaigns

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, on Tuesday took down two separate covert influence networks operating from China and Russia.

Meta publicly detailed the takedown as it remains on high alert for foreign interference in the US midterm elections, a Meta spokesperson told CNN.
The Chinese network was small and received barely any attention, but it did include some accounts that posed as Americans on both sides of the political spectrum, according to a Meta report.

Ben Nimmo, Meta’s global threat intelligence lead, told CNN it was the first time the company had seen Chinese accounts targeting Americans in this way.

“They were running fake accounts that pretended to be Americans and try to talk like Americans and they were talking about really divisive domestic issues like abortion and gun control,” he said.

The company has shared details of the Chinese accounts with the FBI, a Meta spokesperson said.

The Russian campaign, on the other hand, was vast. It pushed pro-Kremlin narratives about the war in Ukraine, included thousands of accounts and pages across multiple social media platforms and spent more than USD 100,000 on ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Meta did not attribute either campaign to specific entities within China or Russia, or to the Chinese and Russian governments, instead saying only the accounts that were part of the campaigns were run out of the respective countries, reported CNN.

Meta said the network of Russian accounts it had taken down was the “largest and most complex Russian operation we’ve disrupted since the war in Ukraine began, it ran a sprawling network of over 60 websites impersonating news organizations, as well as accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Telegram, Twitter,” and other sites, according to the report.

The operation included websites that were designed to mimic real Western news outlets, including The Guardian. According to a list of website addresses included in the Meta report, the Russian campaign also registered fake sites designed to look like The Daily Mail and the German outlets Bild and Der Spiegel, reported CNN.

The sophistication of the effort was demonstrated in its attempts to promote disinformation about the Bucha massacre.

The Chinese effort only consisted of about 80 Facebook accounts and barely had any following. Meta said the accounts primarily targeted audiences in the United States and the Czech Republic but posted during working hours in Beijing.

Meta said, “these accounts largely stuck to a shift pattern that coincided with a nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday work schedule during working hours in China — 12 hours ahead of Florida and six hours ahead of Prague,” according to the report. (ANI)

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Zuckerberg ready to testify before US Cong

Even as the US Federal Trade commission (FTC) confirmed that it was investigating Facebook after the leak of personal and other data on some 50 million users to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, media reports quoting unspecified sources said Mark Zuckerberg, the 33-year-old CEO of the social media behemoth, is planning the strategy for his inevitable testimony before the US Congress.

The pressure from lawmakers, the media and the public has become too intense to justify anything less, reports quoting Facebook sources said. It is believed that Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify will also put pressure on Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to do the same. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has officially invited all three CEOs to a hearing on data privacy on April 10.

“Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices,” Efe news quoted Acting FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director, Tom Pahl, as saying. Pahl emphasized that the agency is committed to using “all of its tools” to protect the privacy of consumers and that the main such tool is “enforcement action” against companies that do not fulfill their promises in the data privacy area or that violate the law. He explained that the FTC is acting against firms that do not abide by the “Privacy Shield” agreement regulating data transfer with the European Union and against companies that undertake “unfair acts” that harm consumers or violate the FTC Act. “The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements,” a statement said. “Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook.” Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy privacy chief, said in a statement last week that the social networking firm remains “strongly committed to protecting people’s information,” adding that “we appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have”. A week ago, after the controversial leak of private information on millions of users came to light, press reports said that the FTC was investigating whether Facebook violated the terms of a 2011 consent agreement requiring user consent for sharing data by providing use data to Cambridge Analytica in 2014. The London-based political research organization, which collaborated with the election campaign of Donald Trump in the runup to the 2016 vote, used the leaked information to develop a computer programme to predict the decisions of US voters and influence them. (IANS)]]>