Instagram’s IGTV Recommends Abusive Videos
Instagram has been recently criticized after they recommended sexually suggestive videos of children to their users. Business Insider found the videos during their investigation of Instagram’s app, IGTV. They discovered a video featuring a graphic depiction of genital mutilation which was recommended to Instagram’s users.
Instagram apologized and removed the videos from their service while also shutting down the account associated with the video clip. IGTV app was launched in June this year and it’s been perceived as a way for Instagram to compete with YouTube. The platform is similar to YouTube, people can post a long or short video to IGTV. Any user of Instagram is encouraged to watch a video clip which the platform believes they would enjoy or is a popular video.
Business Insider wanted to monitor which videos were recommended to their users by creating a dummy account which was populated with profile information to suggest it was being used by a child. The suggested videos were disturbing in nature such as showing young girls in sexually suggestive poses as well as some graphic videos. The videos showing young girls were also reported to the police by the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). The videos were removed five days after they were reported. The NSPCC told Business Insider:
“This is yet another example of Instagram falling short by failing to remove content that breaches its own guidelines.”
In their response, Instagram announced that they “cared deeply” about making sure all of Instagram, and associated apps such as IGTV, were a “safe place”.
“We have zero tolerance for anyone sharing explicit images or images of child abuse,” Instagram said to BBC.
Twitter – Direct Messages Were Exposed
Twitter announced that the private messages of an undisclosed number of users have been leaked to some third-party in the past year. According to Twitter, the bug has been fixed, but it has previously involved direct messages being exposed between users and businesses that offer some type of customer service via Twitter.
Affected users were notified via a message which appeared when a user opened the Twitter app or simply logged in on Twitter’s website. According to Twitter:
“The issue has persisted since May 2017.”
Twitter said that they have managed to resolve the issue immediately after discovering it on the 10th of September 2018. They did not state previously how many users they notified, but according to their statement less than 1% of users were affected by the software bug. The company has approximately 335 million active users according to the latest figures which were published in July 2018.
The network said that not all direct messages, such as private messages and normal tweets were at risk, just messages between users and companies, such as an airline company. Twitter said:
“We haven’t found an instance where data was sent to the incorrect party… But we can’t conclusively confirm it didn’t happen, so we’re telling potentially impacted people about the bug. If you were potentially involved, we’ll contact you today. We’re sorry that this happened.”
Twitch Gaming Service Blocked in China
Twitch video gaming service has been blocked in China since 20 September, and the app has been removed from their local Apple App Store. Twitch confirmed that their service was blocked without explaining why Chinese authorities decided to impose the restriction. The Twitch service was cut off just shortly after having a significant bump in popularity in China. The service was gaining a large following among Chinese games in the past few months.
An official statement was not released by Chinese authorities to explain the reasons behind blocking Twitch. China has a comprehensive and broad online censorship system which is mainly focused on sensitive subjects, limiting people from seeing certain content online.
The shutdown of Twitch was reported via social media in China by its users. Viewers and gamers across China reported that the site is suddenly unavailable in their region.
According to The Verge, tech news site, the block was just a cautionary measure which is regularly applied to Western media platforms once they become extremely popular in the country. The bans and blocks usually happen before anything controversial takes place.