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Technology 29 March 2021

The Week in Internet News: Facebook Calls for Changes in Legal Protections for User Content

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Rewriting the rules: Facebook, during a hearing in the U.S. Congress, called on lawmakers to revamp Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects websites from lawsuits for content posted by users, NBC News reports. Websites should be protected if they adopt user moderation practices largely in line with Facebook’s own rules, ZDNet noted. The change could give Facebook an advantage while upending much of the rest of the Internet, The Verge suggested.

Competition in space: The competition among satellite-based broadband providers is heating up, with OneWeb launching 36 new satellites from eastern Russia, The BBC reports. The company, now primarily owned by Indian conglomerate Bharti Global and the U.K. government, now has 146 broadband satellites deployed. The company plans to offer broadband service later this year to northern latitudes, including the U.K., Northern Europe, Alaska, Canada, and other areas. Meanwhile, three rural counties in North Carolina are testing broadband service from SpaceX, another satellite provider, as a way to provide Internet service to students, GCN says.

Bad virus information: Facebook and Twitter have removed millions of posts containing misinformation about COVID-19 in recent months, The Straits Times reports. Since last year, Twitter has removed more than 22,400 tweets and challenged 11.7 million accounts that have contained problematic content. And since February, Facebook has removed two million pieces of content from Facebook and Instagram.

China vs. exiles: Hacking groups in China been targeting exiles from the Uyghur ethnic group with phishing and other hacking attacks, Radio Free Asia reports. One hacking group is targeting Uyghur people on Facebook with links that lead to websites that install malware. The malware can then monitor communication apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

No extensions: A professor in Canada has refused to delay an exam for a student caught in an Internet blackout during the military coup in Myanmar, CBS News reports. The mathematics and statistics professor has been removed from the course after threatening to fail the student for missing the midterm. The professor also questioned if people in Myanmar had been shot for protesting.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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