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Last Week Online #16 – New EU laws, Zuckerberg asks for more and Google takes a hit over LGBTQ rights.

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

A "dark day for internet freedom"

The European Parliament finally approved the Copyright Directive, a controversial update to copyright law in Europe for the internet age. The new Copyright Directive has been in the works for more than two years, and massive lobbying has been going on from tech giants, copyright holders, and digital rights activists.

Only five votes for a differed when a suggested last-minute proposal to remove the law’s most controversial clause — known as Article 13 or the ‘upload filter’ – was rejected. Members of parliament voted 348 in favour of the law and 274 against the larger package of legislation. The directive will now be passed on to EU member states, who now have 24 months to translate it into national law.

Andrus Ansip, vice president of the European Commission and a vocal advocate for the law, said the pass is a “big step ahead” that would unify Europe’s digital market while protecting “online creativity.” Julia Reda, from the German Pirate Party who has been leading much of the opposition towards the directive, said it was a “dark day for internet freedom.”

Read more here.

Mark Zuckerberg asks for harder control around online content

In a letter published simultaneously on his own page and The Washington Post, Mark Zuckerberg is calling on governments and other bodies to increase regulation around the sorts of data Facebook traffics in. He hopes to get out in front of heavy-handed regulation and get a seat at the table shaping it.

After the last couple of years being hard on Facebook, Zuckerberg notes that if he had it to do over again, he’d ask for increased external scrutiny in four key areas: Harmful content, Election Integrity, Privacy and Data Portability.

Zuckerberg wants overarching rules and benchmarks social apps can be measured by when it comes to "harmful content". He wants clear government definitions of what constitutes a political or "issue" ad. Additionally, he asks for GDPR-style regulations globally that can impose sanctions on violators and he wants users to own their own data so that they are able to bring their info from one app to another.

Read more here.

Google removes controversial app infringing LGBTQ rights

Google got suspended in the Human Rights Campaign's index of the best LGBTQ-friendly employers this week. The same day, Google decided to remove a controversial app accused of promoting conversion therapy from its Play Store.

The Human Rights Campain, a prominent LGBTQ rights organisation, included a footnote of its index that it was aware that the conversion therapy-style app by Living Hope Ministries existed in the Google Play Store. The Living Hope Ministries, based in Arlington, Texas, denies that it promotes conversion therapy, an institutionally denounced practice in which a usually religious group tries to “correct” an individual’s same-sex attraction.

Apple and Amazon both removed the Living Hope Ministries app in December, after facing public pressure and a campaign against the app by the organisation Truth Wins Out.

Read more here.

Tool of the week: Facebook Ad Library

Facebook Ad Library provides increased advertising transparency by offering a search engine for all ads currently running across Facebook Products. Anyone, with or without a Facebook account, can explore the Library. Now you can search Facebook for how much Trump has spent on ads in the past year, which Pages’ ads reference immigration or what a Page’s previous names were.

Facebook’s Ads Archive (launched in May 2018) previously only included ads related to politics or policy issues, but now shows all running ads about anything, as well as inactive political and issue ads. It displays Page creation dates, mergers with other Pages, Page name changes and where a Page is managed from. Users can search political and issue ads by keyword or other ads by Page name, and Facebook will lend a hand with auto-fill suggestions and previous searches.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.


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