Jun 17, 2022
During his state of the Union address Tuesday, President Joe Biden called for better regulation of social media companies. First Lady Jill Biden invited Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen to the State of the Union – Haugen was the first to shed light on Facebook’s (now, Meta’s) internal efforts to target children as young as 6 on Instagram, and the fact that the company ignored its own research showing Instagram damaged teenage girls’ self-esteem.
The Markup reported yesterday that Facebook may have been receiving your medical information from a tracking tool – Pixel. Many hospitals use Pixel on their websites to track site visits. So let’s say hypothetically that you search for a health condition on the hospital’s website – well, for about a third of those sites, the tracking tool sends the information to Facebook. Johns Hopkins, UCLA ReaMgan, New York Presbyterian, Northwestern Memorial, and Duke University Hospital are among the hospitals that track site visitors with Pixel.
In the wake of the leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which paves the way for red states to criminalize abortion procedures, Sen. Elizabeth Warren led a group of Democratic lawmakers to introduce a new bill – The Health and Location Data Protection Act – that would completely ban the sale of your location data. The bill also envisions empowering the Federal Trade Commission to intervene when necessary.
Advocates including Free Press are pushing back against Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust bill – the American Innovation and Choice Online Act – because they’re concerned the bill would let companies that may have profited from hate speech and disinformation – like Infowars – to sue platforms like Google from banning them in search rankings. Advocates worry a provision that prohibits Google from favoring their own search results over smaller competitors – could pave the way for disinformation profiteers to make anticompetitive accusations when platforms ban their sites.
Elon Musk announced to Twitter employees in a livestream that free speech issues should outweigh content moderation. Last month, said that he’d reinstate Donald Trump’s account, although he said that prior to the commencement of the January 6th committee proceedings. Twitter’s stock has steadily dropped from $54.20 per share, which was the price when Elon Musk made his $44 billion bid to purchase the company. At the closing bell today, Twitter was trading at $37.78.
That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.
Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. See you Monday.