Mozilla News Beat, May 14, 2021
Welcome to the Mozilla News Beat, a glance at the internet news of the week in order of best-to-worst. Enjoy!
Dolphins holding fins while they swim. That’s it. That’s the whole paragraph. Just dolphins holding fins while they swim. Go watch the video already! (And then come back and read the rest of News Beat.)
The pandemic made it clear how vital the internet is for remote work and education. That’s why the U.S. is rolling out a new subsidy program that will help people struggling to afford broadband access. The program will last until the $3.2 billion pot is depleted or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares the pandemic over. (You can apply here!)
A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Mozilla Foundation (ever heard of ‘em?) found that most consumers (63%) don’t think their internet provider would look out for their best interests. You all might be onto something — New York’s attorney general office found that three large ISPs aided in flooding the web with fake comments leading up to 2017’s net neutrality order. Which is a shame since what many of you (72%) actually want is control over what you see online without your ISP interfering.
“Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak” — this is just part of a quote that appeared in the autobiography of Antonio García Martínez, former Facebook ad targeting team manager and recent Apple hire. Over 2,000 employees at Apple signed a petition objecting to the hiring of Martínez, saying it clashed with the company’s commitment to inclusion. In response, Apple parted ways with Martínez hours after the petition’s release.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: online life is real life. The most recent example is a cyberattack on the U.S.’s Colonial Pipeline — a major source of fuel for many states in the country. The pipeline was forced to pay the hackers a ransom of $5 million to recover stolen data. According to the hackers, the attack wasn’t political in nature. “Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society.”
Facebook relies on hooking people with free products that collect as much data about them as possible. Is it problematic that Facebook wants to target children 13 and below with its products? 44 U.S. attorneys general seem to think so. In a letter, they ask that Zuckerberg cancel the company’s plans for an Instagram Kids app — citing the mental health toll social media takes on its users. At least Facebook can rest easy knowing that an app dedicated to sharing pictures of children wouldn’t be a PR nightmare at all.
A 50-page report by GLAAD reveals that social media is categorically unsafe for members of the LGBTQ community. Detailed critiques of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube note how harassment, misinformation and blocking of the wrong content make social media an unsafe place for queer groups online. GLAAD’s recommendation (among others): “Stop allowing algorithms to fuel extremism and hate.”
Claiming “anti-government” is an easy way to get content quickly scrubbed from China’s internet. NBC News notes the same is true for content that has nothing to do with anti-government sentiment at all. Online posts by women are being silenced due to false claims of anti-China beliefs. In one example, a woman posted a video on Weibo of her being physically assaulted by a group of men. According to a statement from Weibo, the post was removed because it contained “harmful information” and reminded users not to attack the government or state-affiliated enterprises.
The News Beat
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