Daily Digest (10/19)

Google Revises Fitbit Deal to Satisfy EU Antitrust Concerns; Instagram to Clamp Down on ‘Hidden Advertising’; Twitter CEO Accepts Blame for Blocking Hunter Biden Story; University of Miami Used Surveillance to Identify Protesters. Click “Continue reading” below.

Google Revises Fitbit Deal to Satisfy EU Antitrust Concerns

Google has revised its initial offer to satisfy EU antitrust concerns, possibly obtaining approval for the $2.1 billion purchase of Fitbit, people familiar with the matter said last Friday.

Last month, the company offered to restrict the use of Fitbit data for Google ads, enable rival makers to connect to the Android platform and allow third parties to have continued access to Fitbit user data with their consent, Reuters reports.

After the European Commission received feedback from rivals and consumers, Google revised the package.

The EU competition enforcer has not sought further feedback, which indicates that the changes have passed with the commission.

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Instagram to Clamp Down on ‘Hidden Advertising’

Instagram will put an end to “hidden advertising” by social media influencers, British regulators said last Friday.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Instagram’s owner, Facebook, had committed to tightening policies to restrict influencers who did not disclose their paid promotions, The Associated Press reports.

Two years ago, regulators launched an investigation into the influencer industry after concerns that Instagram was not enforcing consumer-protection laws to stop hidden advertising, which is illegal in the U.K.

“These changes mean there will be no excuse for businesses to overlook how their brands are being advertised either – making life a lot harder for those who are not upfront and honest with their followers,” CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli told AP.

Instagram will ask users to confirm if they are getting a reward for promoting a product and make them disclose it clearly.

The company will start using technology and algorithms to spot users who have not revealed that their posts are advertisements and report them to the businesses, AP reports.

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Twitter CEO Accepts Blame for Blocking Hunter Biden Story

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Friday that Twitter was wrong to block weblinks of an unverified political story about Hunter Biden, after criticism and censorship accusations from the right.

“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix,” Dorsey tweeted. “Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that.”

The tweet came after a Twitter executive, Vijaya Gadde, said Thursday that the company has changed its policy on hacked content, The Associated Press reports.

Twitter will no longer remove hacked material unless it is directly shared by hackers or those working, Gadde said in a Twitter thread.

And instead of blocking links from being shared, tweets will be labeled to provide context, she said.

“We want to address the concerns that there could be many unintended consequences to journalists, whistleblowers and others in ways that are contrary to Twitter’s purpose of serving the public conversation,” Gadde told AP. 

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University of Miami Used Surveillance to Identify Protesters

The University of Miami in Florida used video surveillance to track down faculty, students and subcontracted workers who staged a Sept 4 “die-in” to protest a lack of concern for their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news surfaced after an on-campus advocacy group, the University of Miami Employee Student Alliance, tweeted that the university had used video surveillance to track down protesters and call them to a meeting with administrators last Tuesday, the Miami New Times reports.

Ryan Holmes, the dean of students asked the University of Miami Police Department (UMPD) to identify the students via surveillance footage but did not know if other tools, such as facial-recognition technology, were used, the newspaper reports.

“I asked for the police department to assist in identifying any students they could,” Holmes told the New Times. “I said I would like to have their names.

“They use investigative methods, but I’m not privy to the exact methods they used,” he said.

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By DPN Staff