Big Billy-Goat Gruff gives trolls a good kicking

Trolls beware: They’re coming to get you…if you live in Australia.

On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the latest measure to make social media platforms behave reasonably. He said legislation would be introduced to the Australian Parliament requiring platforms like Facebook to have robust complaints procedures and requiring them to ‘unmask’ anonymous accounts which disseminate offensive and defamatory content. If the companies do not comply, the federal court will be given the power to require disclosure.

The move will effectively overturn an earlier High Court ruling relating to posts on mainstream news media Facebook pages. It found the news publishers responsible for comments made by users on their pages. The federal announcement will ensure that social media companies themselves will be held accountable for harmful comments on their platforms. Continue reading “Big Billy-Goat Gruff gives trolls a good kicking”

Beware of Geeks bearing gifts (again)

Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg share an unfortunate character trait: An inability to accept the truth.

The former U.S. president’s response to being confronted by unpalatable reality is to fabricate large and elaborate lies. Facebook’s founder indulges in cynical diversion.

The scale and depth of Trump’s deceptions over the 2020 election was well-canvassed at the weekend in a two-hour special by CNN’s Jake Tapper titled Trumping Democracy: An American Coup.

Zuckerberg indulged in a massive rebranding exercise to divert attention from the revelations to both the U.S. Congress and British Parliament by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen that screamed out the need for regulation. The corporate Facebook has transmogrified into Meta, short for Metaverse – a vast expanse that threatens to take the world beyond post-truth to post-reality.

His abiding denial of truth, however, lies in diverting attention from Facebook’s appropriation without payment of media content for commercial gain. The company only faces up to that reality when it is forced to do so by governments (such as Australia) whose patience with the social media giant has run out.

Such setbacks have not diminished Facebook’s preferred narrative and last week the diversion tactic reared its head here in New Zealand with an announcement by Meta of “a four-part investment to help New Zealand’s news industry to thrive in a changing digital world”. Continue reading “Beware of Geeks bearing gifts (again)”

Discovery gambles on sweeping change at AM Show

 

Don’t believe what your old granny told you: A new broom doesn’t always sweep clean.

Nor is a clean sweep always a good thing.

However, whichever way you look at it, TV3’s AM Show looks like it has been taken to the cleaners.

The show’s original on-camera line-up will be gone by the end of the year and the network’s new owner Discovery is hinting there will be even bigger changes next year. Continue reading “Discovery gambles on sweeping change at AM Show”

Kill Facebook ‘comments’ before the buck stops with you

We can take a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty approach to the decision by Australia’s highest court making anyone with a Facebook page liable for any comments others post on it.

The judgement caused great wailing and gnashing of teeth in media as far afield as Ireland and India and not simply because it opened the way for a youth detention centre inmate to sue the Australia’s biggest news groups over things they didn’t say. As Harvard University’s Nieman Lab put it: “[It] makes publishers legally responsible for every idiot Facebook user who leaves a comment.”

That is just a little bit scary, but let’s start with the optimistic view. Continue reading “Kill Facebook ‘comments’ before the buck stops with you”