South Africa (GV) – South Africa’s Minister of State Security David Mahlobo has shocked and angered social media users in the country after saying that the government is contemplating regulating social media to counter false narratives and the spread of fake news. Ironically,…
A former Kuwaiti lawmaker is facing at least 42 years and six months in prison on various convictions that include posting on Twitter comments deemed by the authorities insulting to the neighboring countries of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
On 22 December, a court of appeal convicted Abdulhameed Dashti in absentia of insulting Saudi Arabia and sentenced him to ten years in prison, bringing his total jail term to 42.5 years. Dashti, who is currently in the UK for medical reasons, was stripped of his parliament seat to allow Kuwaiti authorities to prosecute him. Dashti also was convicted of prior charges of insulting religion, Kuwait’s Emir (the country’s ruler), and the judiciary.
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube agreed to create a shared database of extremist materials to curb the spread of terrorist content online, a joint press release said.
According to the statement, the partnership implies that participating companies would be able to determine independently what image or video hashes to contribute to the database. It has also stressed that no personal information would be shared and matching content would not be automatically removed.
The Iranian government is reportedly taking steps to expand regulations on large public news channels on the instant messenger Telegram. The move would apparently affect groups with more than 5,000 subscribers.
It remains unclear, however, if state officials seek dramatic changes to controls on these online communities (ostensibly in the battle against “fake news”), or if the government merely plans to extend and continue existing Internet controls.
Accused Authorities of Online Surveillance
Bahraini authorities have charged a prominent human rights lawyer with offenses that violate his right to free expression.
Mohamed al-Tajer, who has defended opposition figures and rights activists, told Human Rights Watch that a public prosecutor brought three charges against him on November 10, 2016: insulting government institutions, inciting hatred of a religious sect, and misusing a telecommunications appliance. In a private WhatsApp voice message that public prosecutors cited in support of the charges, al-Tajer says, “It’s clear that there’s a team in the public prosecution and Cybercrimes division whose only job is to sit at computers and intercept every word about Sunnis, Saudi Arabia, hatred of the regime, or insults against the king.”
“Bahraini authorities have targeted journalists, activists, clerics, and politicians for peaceful dissent in the last few months, so it was only a matter of time before they came for the lawyers,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Al-Tajer is facing charges because he stated the obvious: Bahraini authorities are snooping on their citizens and anyone who steps out of line online faces jail time.”
Months have passed since the first pictures of US special forces operatives surfaced from inside Syria. Their disclosure via an unidentified photographer, who happened to be in the right place at the right time, was followed by disciplinary action by US officials. Questions still persist; not only about what they show, but also how numerous others depicting the same unit arrived on the web. The images themselves challenge the official narrative of how the originals were captured, and from where.
It was originally reported that a photographer encountered the shady squad with Kurdish rebels nearby. Some of those fighters appear in photos taken by the journalist, reputedly employed with “Agency-France Presse”. Officials say the fighters were pushing against Islamic State positions near their de facto capital of Raqqa. The findings surprised some, as Syria was supposed to be largely void of western media.
As any competent social media user under the age of 79 knows, you never feed the trolls. Like most Millennials, I spent about 60% of the day yesterday scrolling through Twitter. Eventually, I saw it: Leslie Jones’ nudes as the number one trending topic in the United States.
Immediately, a single word popped into my head as I contemplated the motivations behind this act: Milo. For those who don’t know, in the month of July, conservative media personality Milo Yiannopoulos became the first person ever to be permanently banned from Twitter. Not “Your account is gone and you have to start all over” banned, but “You as an individual can never use this platform again” banned.
Milo has had run-ins with the Twitter police before, most notably when he had his verification badge removed after jokingly pretending to be a Buzzfeed employee. In this most recent event, Milo exchanged a single tweet with Leslie Jones as she was battling a wave of trolls online after her Ghostbusters release. Granted, his tweet was provoking and catty, per Milo’s reputation, but it was in compliance with Twitter’s terms of service.
Jamaicans love the track and field portion of the Olympics; it’s a “feel good” mood all round. Yet, an offensive one-word tweet threatened to derail Jamaicans’ joy over one of their medal-winning track athletes, raising issues about the appropriate use of social media by corporate entities.
After Omar McLeod emphatically won the 110-meter hurdles (the first Jamaican to win gold in this event), Jamaica Gleaner employee Terri Karelle Reid tweeted an innocent question:
An MP in Britain has joined renewed calls for a review of the UK government’s counterextremism program, Prevent, following revelations a London teenager, who fled to Syria to join Daesh, has been killed in an airstrike.
Schoolgirl Kadiza Sultana left her home in east London in February 2015 with two friends. Sultana is reported to have died in the Daesh militant’s stronghold in Raqqa. The three girls are thought to have been groomed online by radicalized members of Daesh — also known as ISIL — before choosing to abandon their studies and board a flight bound for Turkey and married jihadis in Syria.