Welcome to the Mozilla News Beat, a glance at the internet news of the week in order of best-to-worst. Enjoy!
Let’s be real, we know you’ve spent the week since the last News Beat doomscrolling like the rest of us. Before we get to some more bad news (and some good news too) make sure you check out this doggo by the creek. Oh to not have a care in the world.
A special type of antibody found in llamas and camels may hold the key to treating early COVID infection. Early tests with Fifi, the Franklin Institute's llama, shows that the nanobodies llamas produce can treat infection within rodents in just six days, leading to a full recovery. Not exactly tech news but the pandemic is kind of a big deal. Also llamas.
Facebook’s “Don’t Sue Me” Tax
Facebook shareholders claim the company overpaid a fine from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission by over $4 billion on the condition that they agreed not to sue Mark Zuckerberg over Cambridge Analytica. These are the findings of a new lawsuit that’s gone public, offering a look into internal documents. For comparison, Facebook earned more than double that dollar amount in just three months this year in profit. Not revenue. Profit.
German Elections + Facebook
The elections in Germany are this month and according to The Markup the far-right nationalist party Alternative für Deutschland have seriously ramped up their message-spreading efforts on Facebook. By The Markup’s count, AfD’s posts appear three times as often as those from rival parties — mostly for users who identified as supporters of Germany’s other political parties.
German Elections + TikTok
An investigation by Mozilla Foundation (ever heard of ‘em?) found that TikTok is falling behind on its promises to keep its platform free of misinformation during the German election. . The social network’s automated label system isn’t working effectively, its fact-checking partnership started too late, and the app has a problem with new users with tiny followings impersonating prominent German politicians. Read more about TikTok and the German elections here.
A group of infamous physicians and anti-vaccine activists known as the Disinformation Dozen are reportedly responsible for 65% of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation found on social media. It’s the three physicians — whose qualifications lend credence to their claims – who are the most worrying. TIME notes that they still hold medical licenses, and have yet to see any consequences for the falsehoods they promote on social media.
We’ve talked before about how Ring’s relationship with law enforcement is a little too cozy and how the video doorbell company profits from perpetuating a culture of fear. That’s the focus of a new report from MIT Tech Review, which covers how police programs get Ring devices in the hands of domestic violence survivors isn’t the panacea it’s made out to be. In fact, it may just be a sneaky way to extend Ring’s marketing reach.