CLIP-ings: October 30, 2020

Internet Governance

Section 230 Reform Could Result In A More Barren Internet Dominated By Giants: Past amendment of the law has shown that changes resulting in increased liability for user content can drive small- and mid-sized content publishers such as personal sites and social media platforms to close their virtual doors, and may also disincentivize the development of new entrants to the market; nevertheless, reform is finding varying degrees of support in Congress, with Republicans suspicious that conservative voices are being dampened, as well as among Facebook, Google, Twitter, who stand to see their current dominance further solidified.

Facebook Orders New York University Offshoot To Cease Bulk Collection Of Advertising Information: The Tandon School of Engineering, home of the Online Transparency Project, offers an “AdObserver” tool for evaluating political ads and targeting that has proven more insightful than Facebook’s own Ad Library; however, Facebook argues the data collection performed by the AdObserver browser extension constitutes impermissible data scraping under Facebook’s terms of use and threatens users’ privacy.
Information Security and Cyberthreats

Trump’s Campaign Website Hacked In Cryptocurrency Scam: A week before the 2020 Presidential Election, the Trump campaign website was hacked to display a fake FBI notice describing evidence of Trump’s alleged wrongdoings and listing two cryptocurrency wallet addresses for visitors to send funds as a way of voting on whether the incriminating documents should be released or not.

United States Hospitals Facing Large-Scale Ransomware Threat, Several Hit: Federal security agencies have warned of an “increased and imminent cybercrime threat” due to a suspected large-scale plot by a known foreign cyberthreat actor to target hospitals in the United States; several hospitals have already been struck by a Russian group’s signature Ryuk ransomware.
Intellectual Property

Users Do Not Actually Own Content Purchased On Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Argues: In support of a motion to dismiss a recent class action suit alleging unfair competition and false advertising, Amazon argues that the Prime Video Terms of Use clearly explain that a purchase of video content results in a limited license for “on-demand viewing over an indefinite period of time,” and that some content may later become unavailable due to license restrictions or other reasons.
Free Expression & Censorship

By Allying with President Trump And Using Aggressive Facebook Tactics, The Epoch Times Emerges As “A Leading Purveyor of Right-Wing Misinformation”: In its fight against China’s ruling Communist Party for banning and persecuting its members, the Epoch Times has become a growing force in right-wing media by posting pro-Trump propaganda on Facebook and by downplaying its affiliation to Falun Gong.

Facebook Removes Misleading Ads From Both Trump and Biden Campaigns: Earlier this week, Facebook removed ads from both the Trump and Biden presidential campaigns that risked misleading voters, such as ads saying “Election Day is today” that appeared in states where early voting had not yet started. 
On the Lighter Side

McDonald’s Starts A Conversation About Mental Health On Twitter: After the McDonald’s social media manager tweeted about how all the questions she receives concern the McRib sandwich and are never “how are you doing,” other companies’ accounts responded to vent and join in the conversation on mental health.
Joel R. Reidenberg
Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and Professor of Law
Founding Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan
Daniel Gerken
Editorial Fellows, Fordham CLIP