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Showing posts with label facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label facebook. Show all posts

Laws to regulate Facebook's algorithm?

From the Washington Post:

On Facebook, you decide whom to befriend, which pages to follow, which groups to join. But once you’ve done that, it’s Facebook that decides which of their posts you see each time you open your feed — and which you don’t.

The software that makes those decisions for each user, based on a secret ranking formula devised by Facebook that includes more than 10,000 factors, is commonly referred to as “the news feed algorithm,” or sometimes just “the algorithm.”  ...

Amid a broader backlash against Big Tech, Haugen’s testimony and disclosures have brought fresh urgency to debates over how to rein in social media and Facebook in particular. And as lawmakers and advocates cast about for solutions, there’s growing interest in an approach that’s relatively new on the policy scene: regulating algorithms themselves, or at least making companies more responsible for their effects. The big question is whether that can be accomplished without ruining what people still like about social media — or running afoul of the First Amendment. ...

One way to regulate algorithms without directly regulating online speech would be to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields websites and apps from being sued for hosting or moderating content posted by users. Several bills propose removing that protection for certain categories of harmful content that platforms promote via their algorithms, while keeping it in place for content they merely host without amplifying.

See also Opinion in NY Times from former Facebooker

 

Facebook post leads to claim for defamation


From the NY Times:  The case of the (potentially costly) missing apostrophe.

In a Facebook post last year, Anthony Zadravic of Australia seemed to accuse his former employer of not paying “his employees” pensions. Court documents suggest that he meant to add an apostrophe; writing “his employee’s” would have implied that it was only his own pension that was missing.

In deciding to proceed with the employer’s defamation case against Zadravic, the NSW judge in the case wrote: “To fail to pay one employee’s superannuation entitlement might be seen as unfortunate; to fail to pay some or all of them looks deliberate.”

Facebook a Threat to Democracy, says Nobel Peace Prize winner from Manila

Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa used her new prominence to criticise Facebook as a threat to democracy, saying the social media giant fails to protect against the spread of hate and disinformation and is "biased against facts".

https://www.reuters.com/world/philippine-nobel-winner-ressa-calls-facebook-biased-against-facts-2021-10-09/

I guess we should realize that social media is not really media, just like oat milk is not milk. 

From the Washington Post:

"The first time I heard Ressa speak, she told how she had once tried to explain to Mark Zuckerberg that the company’s dominance in her country brought with it a huge social responsibility. Ressa told Zuckerberg that 97 percent of Filipinos used Facebook, and she invited him to the Philippines to get a better understanding of the problems that result. Zuckerberg seemed to ignore the invitation, concentrating instead on how Facebook could increase its domination in the country. “What are the other 3 percent doing, Maria?” he allegedly asked."

 

Responsibility for User Comments Posted on Facebook

The High Court of Australia decided today that a newspaper with a Facebook page is responsible for defamatory comments posted by Facebook users on the newspaper's Facebook page.

"The appellants' attempt to portray themselves as passive and unwitting victims of Facebook's functionality has an air of unreality. Having taken action to secure the commercial benefit of the Facebook functionality, the appellants bear the legal consequences."

None of this is surprising.  There are many prior cases in different areas that reach the same result.  There was an Advertising Standards Board decision against VB that said similar, and also the ACCC v. Allergy Pathways case from about 10 years ago.

The next question is whether Facebook could be liable for defamation for user content.


Section 230

Has Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gone too far?  Some think it does:

Judge Robert Katzmann in a recent case wrote a 35-page dissent to part of the ruling, arguing that Facebook’s algorithmic recommendations shouldn’t be covered by the legal protections of Section 230.

Late last year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a call to hear a different case that would have tested the Section 230 shield. In a statement attached to the court’s decision, Justice Clarence Thomas called for the court to consider whether Section 230’s protections had been expanded too far, citing Judge Katzmann’s opinion.

Justice Thomas said the court didn’t need to decide in the moment whether to rein in the legal protections. “But in an appropriate case, it behooves us to do so,” he said.

See NY Times article.

Many U.S. Internet businesses think that Section 230 has international application.  It does not.  It may provide protection in respect of U.S. lawsuits, but not lawsuits in other countries.

Did Facebook overpay in privacy settlement to protect Zuckerberg?

According to Reuters, Facebook Inc may have paid $4.9 billion more than the maximum penalty it faced under a settlement agreement with regulators related to allegations it mishandled user privacy, according to a recent court ruling.

The U.S. court cited a paper by Gibson Dunn attorneys when directing Facebook to turn over documents to shareholders who are trying to determine if Facebook overpaid to protect Zuckerberg.

“The documents already produced provide no insight into why Facebook would pay more than its (apparently) maximum exposure to settle a claim,” said the court.


Section 230

Opinion | The Constitution Can Crack Section 230
Tech companies think the statute allows them to censor with impunity. The law is seldom so simple.

Read in The Wall Street Journal: https://apple.news/AykpuzRwHQJeQWQoc3GPxyg 

Telstra ordered to help identify critic of doctor

Posting anonymous reviews to defame someone is risky.

Telstra has been ordered to provide documents to a doctor so that the doctor can assist identify someone who supposedly defamed him.

See this recent Federal Court decision:  Colagrande v Telstra Corporation Limited [2020] FCA 1595

Telstra did not appear at this court hearing.

This is similar to this case against Google:  http://www.cyberspac.com/2020/03/google-sued-again-for-identity-of-users.html and also these cases:

Kukulka v Google LLC [2020] FCA 1229

Kabbabe v Google LLC [2020] FCA 126 

Titan Enterprises (Qld) Pty Ltd v Cross [2016] FCA 1241 (patent attorney ordered to hand over file)

Titan Enterprises (Qld) Pty Ltd v Cross [2016] FCA 890 (written by Justice Edelman, now on the High Court)


Defamation for Facebook posts

A wedding planner has won a 'landmark' court case against consumers who made defamatory comments about her business on social media.

Tristan Moy, 33, from Brisbane, moved to Indonesia in 2014 to run a business arranging weddings in Bali for Australian tourists. 

But she suffered 'hurt and humiliation' when two Australian women began posting salacious comments about her and her business on Facebook in 2017.

They included accusations Ms Moy was unprofessional, bullied her clients and would try ruin her client's weddings.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8948725/Two-trolls-ordered-pay-150k-defamatory-comments-Facebook.html

See also this old Fordham article

Newspaper head to High Court regarding liability for users' Facebook comments

The newspapers are appealing the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal that decided that media companies can be held responsible for defamatory comments under stories they post on Facebook.

Guardian Article, and discussion of appeal here.   The newspapers are appealing to the High Court.

The Court of Appeal decision is not surprising.  Compare prior cases:

http://www.cyberspac.com/2012/07/smirnoff-responsible-for-comments-of.html

https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/firm-fined-for-testimonials-by-facebook-fans-and-tweeters

Is Facebook carrying on business in Australia

 A recent decision in Australia, concerning whether Facebook could be served in California, was decided by the Federal Court of Australia.  This case arises out of a privacy action brought against Facebook by ACMA in relation to the Cambridge Analytics issues.

"It might be added that the means by which entities carry on business are constantly evolving. Much of the case law in which the concept has been discussed was decided long before the technological advances which underpin many modern forms of commerce. Ultimately, the question whether a particular entity carries on business, and does so in a particular place, is determined by reference to the particular facts. 

The Commissioner submitted that she had established a prima facie case that Facebook Inc carried on business in Australia through a combination of two matters: first, through the agency of Facebook Ireland; and secondly, through certain activities for which Facebook Inc was directly responsible in Australia. ...

Rather, the evidence on this application suggests that, to the extent Facebook Ireland carried on business in Australia, it was carrying on its own businessThe evidence adduced on this application and the inferences available to be drawn do not sufficiently allow for a possible conclusion that Facebook Ireland was also carrying on Facebook Inc’s business to warrant permitting service out of the jurisdiction.

However, for the reasons given next, the Commissioner has established a sufficient prima facie case to warrant exposing Facebook Inc to litigation in Australia on the basis that Facebook Inc directly carried on business in Australia. On its case, a part of Facebook Inc’s business was to provide services to Facebook Ireland, including the processing activities referred to earlier. I am satisfied that there is a prima facie case that Facebook Inc carried out sufficient activity in Australia in its business of providing services to Facebook Ireland for a conclusion to be available that Facebook Inc carried on business in Australia within the meaning of s 5B(3)(b) of the Privacy Act. ...

I am satisfied that the Commissioner has established a prima facie case, in the required sense, that Facebook Inc carried on business in Australia within the meaning of s 5B(3)(b). In summary, the Commissioner has established a sufficient prima facie case that Facebook Inc carried on business in Australia which included providing services to Facebook Ireland."

Australian Information Commissioner v Facebook Inc (No 2) [2020] FCA 1307

Targeting Social Media Users

On Monday September 7, 2020, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) issued draft Guidelines 8/2020 on the targeting of social media users.

The Draft Guidelines have far-reaching implications for social media platforms, advertisers, and adtech companies, as they will result in a clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders, and establish rules for consent.

Article here.

Defamation By Liking

STOLTENBERG V BOLTON; LODER V BOLTON [2020] NSWCA 45 (20 MARCH 2020) (MACFARLAN JA AT [1], GLEESON JA AT [2], BRERETON JA AT [250])

The New South Wales Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal in respect of a first instance decision of the Supreme Court that found a series of posts and comments about the former Mayor of the Narrabri Shire Council made on a Facebook page were defamatory. 

The trial judge found that a comment endorsing a defamatory post was sufficient to attract liability as a secondary publisher of the defamatory post. 

On Appeal, the court agreed that the principles of secondary publication are well established, and refused leave to appeal.

Facebook in Australia?

Facebook claims it can’t be sued by Aussie privacy watchdog

In a court hearing on Friday, 26 June 202, US-based Facebook has argued that it does not carry on business in Australia despite users in Australia accessing its website, calling for the dismissal of action brought by the Australian Information Commissioner over alleged privacy breaches and Cambridge Analytics.

French High Court Overrules Takedown Law

The French Constitutional Council struck down critical provisions of a law passed by France’s parliament last month to combat online hate speech.

The law had put the onus for analysing content solely on tech platforms such as Facebook without the involvement of a judge, within a very short time frame, and with the threat of hefty penalties.

Decision (in French of course)

NY Times article

Facebook in Court over Cambridge Analytics

This recent Australian judgment concerns substituted service on Facebook.  It relates to Cambridge Analytics breach.  Interestingly, it discusses COVID-19.  Facebook did not appear in court.
Australian Information Commission v Facebook Inc [2020] FCA 531

Instagram can sublicense your photos

When you make a public post on Instagram, you allow Instagram to sublicense you photo to anyone using the Instagram API.

One professional photographer found out about this the hard way.

"Unquestionably, Instagram’s dominance of photograph- and video-sharing social media, coupled with the expansive transfer of rights that Instagram demands from its users, means that Plaintiff’s dilemma is a real one. But by posting the Photograph to her public Instagram account, Plaintiff made her choice. This Court cannot release her from the agreement she made."

See Sinclair v. Ziff Davis and Mashable

Facebook in Court

In a surprising move, the Australian Information Commissioner has sued Facebook in Australia over giving access to personal information of thousands of Australians to Cambridge Analytica.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-09/facebook-privacy-oaic-information-commissioner/12039642

https://www.businessnewsaus.com.au/articles/australian-information-commissioner-takes-facebook-to-court.html

"We consider the design of the Facebook platform meant that users were unable to exercise reasonable choice and control about how their personal information was disclosed," says Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk.

First Amendment and Social Media

Social media and First Amendment issues were debated in oral argument before the US Supreme Court in Packingham v. North Carolina.

See:  http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/packingham-v-north-carolina/

Issue:  Whether, under the court’s First Amendment precedents, a law that makes it a felony for any person on the state's registry of former sex offenders to “access” a wide array of websites – including Facebook, YouTube, and nytimes.com – that enable communication, expression, and the exchange of information among their users, if the site is “know[n]” to allow minors to have accounts, is permissible, both on its face and as applied to petitioner, who was convicted based on a Facebook post in which he celebrated dismissal of a traffic ticket, declaring “God is Good!”

In oral argument on 27 February 2017, Justice Kennedy drew an analogy between social media and the public square.  Justice Ginsburg said restricting access to social media would mean being cut off from a very large part of the marketplace of ideas.  The First Amendment includes not only the right to speak, but the right to receive information.

Ninth Circuit Rules That Copyright Holders Must Consider Fair Use Before Issuing DMCA Takedown Notice

Media companies and other copyright holders may need to change the way they deal with infringing content on the Internet.  In a closely watched copyright case, Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. (also known as the "Dancing Baby" case), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled yesterday that copyright holders must consider fair use before issuing takedown notices to remove allegedly infringing content from websites such as YouTube and Facebook. This decision has significant implications for owners of copyright-protected content, especially studios, record labels, publishers and other entities with large content catalogs, as well as individuals and businesses that rely on fair use to exploit copyrighted material owned by others. 

Affiliate Program Advertisers Must Take Care Not to be Misleading

Many businesses run affiliate programs.  That is, a publisher or blogger will receive a commission for referring people to the website of th...