social media

There's a saying in Silicon Valley: Solve your own problems. Tracy Chou didn't have to look further than her social media feeds to see those problems.

"I've experienced a pretty wide range of harassment," she said. "Everything from the casual mansplaining-reply guys to really targeted, persistent harassment and stalking and explicit threats that have led me to have to go to the police and file reports."

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he is opposing President Biden's nominee to run the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden. The White House is standing by the nomination even as Manchin's opposition makes it more precarious.

Manchin cited negative comments about Republicans that Tanden made while running the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. The social media remarks have been scrutinized, largely on the right, since her nomination.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now blocked from Instagram after he repeatedly undercut trust in vaccines. Kennedy has also spread conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, accusing him of profiteering off vaccines and attempting to take control of the world's food supply.

"We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines," a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told NPR on Thursday.

Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and even White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain have signed up. So have comedians, relationship gurus and self-styled big thinkers armed with hot takes.

They are among the millions who have downloaded Clubhouse in recent weeks — the invite-only app that, judging from the hype, Silicon Valley says is the future of social media.

For those of you still waiting for an invitation, here's a primer to Clubhouse.

What is Clubhouse?

Efforts to ban TikTok under then-President Donald Trump were put on ice on Wednesday, as the Department of Justice signaled in a new court filing that the Biden administration is backing off the pressure on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

Citing national security concerns, Trump had attempted to force the sale of TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, to an American company. If no deal was reached, Trump said TikTok would be effectively blacklisted in the U.S.

Twitter users aren't known for staying quiet when they see something that's flat out wrong, or with which they disagree. So why not harness that energy to solve one of the most vexing problems on social media: misinformation?

With a new pilot program called Birdwatch, Twitter is hoping to crowdsource the fact-checking process, eventually expanding it to all 192 million daily users.

"I think ultimately over time, [misleading information] is a problem best solved by the people using Twitter itself," CEO Jack Dorsey said on a quarterly investor call on Tuesday.

Facebook is expanding its ban on vaccine misinformation and highlighting official information about how and where to get COVID-19 vaccines as governments race to get more people vaccinated.

"Health officials and health authorities are in the early stages of trying to vaccinate the world against COVID-19, and experts agree that rolling this out successfully is going to be helping build confidence in vaccines," said Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's head of health.

Days after a coup and the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected leaders, the military in Myanmar is moving to strangle free speech by blocking access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The Internet clampdown came as protests grew Saturday on the streets of Yangon, the country's commercial capital, where thousands turned out to demand the return of the legitimately elected government led by Suu Kyi.

Russian journalist Sergei Smirnov is set to spend 25 days in jail for sharing another person's tweet poking fun at his own appearance, after authorities said the post constituted an illegal call to protest because it included the date and time of an anti-government rally.

January brought a one-two punch that should have knocked out the fantastical, false QAnon conspiracy theory.

After the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the social media platforms that had long allowed the falsehoods to spread like wildfire — namely Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — got more aggressive in cracking down on accounts promoting QAnon.

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