TikTok deletes 29,000 Coronavirus videos 

  • TikTok says it has deleted about 29,000 coronavirus-related videos that broke its rules in Europe alone since the beginning of 2020. It said about 3,000 of them contained medical misinformation and described the numbers as “low-level”.
  • The number of coronavirus-themed videos breaking the rules has fallen every month, since a peak in March, according to TikTok. 
  • On 9 July, the business published its latest transparency report, in which it said 49 million videos had been removed between July and December 2019. About a quarter of those were deleted for containing adult nudity or sexual activity.

Instagram Confirms US Launch of TikTok Rival Reels 

  • Instagram has confirmed it’s preparing to launch its TikTok competitor, known as Reels, in the U.S. The company expects to bring the new video feature, which is designed specifically for short-form, creative content, to its platform in early August, according to a spokesperson. 
  • A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the U.S. (and international) launch, saying “We’re excited to bring Reels to more countries, including the U.S., in early August,” though they didn’t provide specific details of which other markets will be added.
  • Reels was designed to directly challenge TikTok’s growing dominance. As a new area in the Instagram app, it will allow users to create and post short, 15-second videos set to music or other audio, similar to TikTok.

Facebook Court Faces Potential Delays

  • Alan Rusbridger, a member of Facebook’s new oversight board has warned that it should avoid launching too quickly.
  • He said that it would be “great to be up and running” in time for November’s US elections but that it would be damaging to “come out with half-baked recommendations now before we are ready”.
  • Facebook has said the panel is supposed to act as a kind of Supreme Court, with the power to override decisions made by the social network’s own moderators and influence policy.
  • Many consider the oversight board to be problematic. Rashad Robinson of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign has described the oversight board as ‘a huge mistake’.

Tech Firms May be Blocked From Sending Data to the US 

  • Tech companies may be prevented from sending data back to the US after the latest ruling in a case at the court of justice of the European Union (CJEU) concluded that there are not enough protections against snooping by US intelligence agencies.
  • The ruling will not apply immediately but requires data protection authorities (DPAs) in individual member states to vet the sending of any new data to make sure people’s personal information remains protected according to the EU’s data protection laws (GDPR).
  • The case was started after Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems lodged an official complaint. He argued that the privacy of European citizens could not be guaranteed, following revelations from the Snowden affair.

Commissioner Calls for Overhaul of Early Years Services

  • The Children’s Commissioner for England has called for a complete overhaul of early years services, plus a government-funded rescue package to prevent mass closures of nurseries and childcare providers that could go under as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Commissioner Anne Longfield said “nurseries and early years support play a vital role in helping children prepare for school,” said Longfield, “but coronavirus and lockdown have put many at risk of closure”.
  • Her report, Best Beginnings, acknowledges that successive governments have invested more in early years in England, but said the system is disjointed and often fails to target disadvantaged children in greatest need of early intervention.

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