CLIP-ings: April 2, 2021

Internet Governance

Congress Questioned Big Tech About Spread Of Misinformation: During the five-hour congressional hearing in which the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified regarding their platforms’ handling of misinformation and extremism, only Jack Dorsey acknowledged that Twitter might have played a part in spreading misinformation that contribution to the January 6th Capital riot, while Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai avoided answering the question directly; other questions focused on the spread of COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation on the platforms. 


Google Begins Origin Trial To Replace Third-Party Tracking Cookies With FLoC Alternative: The tech company has started testing its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) technology as a replacement for third-party tracking cookies so that ad companies can continue targeting specific demographics while protecting targeted users’ identities; FLoC, which runs locally, analyzes browsing data to group users into cohorts with shared interests so that advertisers may deliver relevant ads without necessitating the use of tracking cookies or the sharing of browsing data with Google. 

Information Security & Cyberthreats

Mobile Carriers Fixed SMS Routing Loophole To Prevent Hacking: After an investigation revealed that hackers could pay as little as $16 to reroute SMS text messages then leverage that access to break into online accounts, major carriers such as T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T have begun to take measures to patch the security vulnerability. 

Twitter Bans Fake Amazon Accounts Impersonating Warehouse Employees: As the union vote count by Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama is underway, a series of anti-union tweets from several Twitter accounts praised Amazon’s working conditions; the company has since confirmed that many of the accounts are fake accounts that violate Twitter’s terms. 

Intellectual Property

Facebook Video Creators Claim The Platform Shorted Them Thousands of Dollars In Its Revenue-Sharing Model: Several Facebook video creators have been receiving monthly payments for their content that are inconsistent with projections provided by the company’s revenue estimation tool for content creators; Facebook has since apologized, citing “a technical issue” that has prevented certain video creators from receiving their full payouts. 

Free Expression & Censorship

Apple’s Latest iOS Update Fixes Bug That Blocks Web Searches Including The Term “Asian”: The iOS 14.5 Beta version that was released to developers last week remedies a year-old bug that blocks web searches including the term “asian” when the device’s adult-content filter is engaged; the bug became apparent as searches for “Stop Asian Hate” increased in the wake of anti-Asian violence across the country. 

Facebook Removed Lara Trump’s Interview With Donald Trump: After blocking Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the Capitol riot in January, Facebook recently removed a post by Lara Trump in which she interviews the former President.

On the Lighter Side

An Alleged Italian Mafia Fugitive Arrested After Posting Cooking Tutorials Online: The fugitive, who was hiding from Italian police in the Dominican Republic, was identified by his tattoos in the cooking tutorials he posted on YouTube.  

Olivier Sylvain
Academic Director, Fordham CLIP

Tom Norton
Executive Director, Fordham CLIP

Erica Chan

Junyi Cui

Editorial Fellows