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Big Revolution - Reasons to be wary of social media regulation

Welcome to the start of another week of this here newsletter. Enjoy... – Martin from Big Revolution
April 8 · Issue #392 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to the start of another week of this here newsletter. Enjoy…
– Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Netflix no longer lets you beam its shows to other devices via Apple AirPlay. The company blames technical limitations in the way AirPlay 2 works with third-party TVs. You can still use a device like a Chromecast to send Netflix content to your TV from an Apple device.
The big thought
Credit: Jamie Street on Unsplash
Reasons to be wary of social media regulation
Today we know more about the UK government’s plans to regulate social media firms. It’s little surprise the UK is out of the gate ahead of Washington DC and Brussels; UK MPs were far more impressive at holding Facebook to account over Cambridge Analytica than the more fawning, less well-prepared politicians elsewhere.
Under the proposals, an independent regulator – either an existing one or a new one – would keep social media companies in line over the spreading of harmful and illegal content.
In addition to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the plans would apply to messaging platforms and cloud storage services. Executives at the companies concerned may be personally liable for the harms they cause, and the companies themselves may have to pay a levy to fund the regulator.
It’s encouraging that this isn’t just about slapping down technology firms. The government acknowledges the need for better online media literacy, and proposes education programmes to address it. Additionally, the regulator may be able to gain in-depth insight into how particular algorithms work, to better understand how information spreads.
But there are reasons to be cautious. As journalist Chris Stokel-Walker notes in a Twitter thread, resourcing this regulation may be difficult; a new regulator may well be under-funded, and existing regulators are already overwhelmed by responsibilities.
And more broadly, the UK government has a habit of trying to come down too hard on tech. Just look at the repeated attempts to get back doors built into encrypted messaging services, or the heavy-handed and difficult-to-implement block on adult sites that has been delayed more than once.
Meanwhile, a Hansard Society report also out today warns that the UK public is “ever more willing to welcome the idea of authoritarian leaders who would ignore parliament,” the Guardian reports.
Stronger regulation of social media is now an inevitability, and even the social media firms have accepted that. But having a regulator in place to control online speech would certainly be handy for an authoritarian prime minister. Just something to keep in mind…
One big class
Journalism for Marketers is the next live online course from Big Revolution. It’s aimed at online marketing professionals early in their career or wanting a fresh perspective on their work.
The course covers: why journalistic skills are important to marketers, writing like a journalist; thinking like a journalist; the secrets of a good headline, and improving content marketing with a journalistic approach.
Click here for more information, and to book your place.
One big read
The Improbable Rise of Huawei The Improbable Rise of Huawei
How did Huawei become the hottest potato in tech? And is it really the threat some in the West think it is?
One big tweet
An interesting thread challenging the idea that pre-moderation is impossible on big social media platforms. I’m not sure I agree beyond the point that ‘yes, they could hire enough people to do it’, but click through for the rest…
alex hern
“There’s no way YouTube could pre-moderate every video that gets posted to its platform” is one of those things that’s said a lot, but… isn’t actually true.
11:57 AM - 7 Apr 2019
That’s all for today...
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