Social media platforms ban Russian state media in Europe | South Korea invests $187m to build its national ecosystem on metaverse | Chinese tech companies now have to tell users about their algorithms
Major social media companies including YouTube, Facebook and TikTok moved to ban Russian state media outlets in Europe, blocking Moscow’s biggest megaphone for influencing public opinion about the war in Ukraine in a critical region on its borders. The Washington Post
South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Future Planning will invest 223.7 billion won (approximately $187 million) for the growth and development of the metaverse within the country. Tech Story
A new set of Chinese regulations aimed at restricting tech companies’ usage of algorithmic recommendations are effective starting Tuesday. The new regulations could shape the global algorithm regulatory landscape. Protocol
New Report: Securing the Foundation: Building the Physical Infrastructure of the Digital World
NBR Special Report #97
This report finds that China’s expansion of its digital infrastructure internationally,
though widely discussed, remains a vastly misunderstood and oversimplified problem.
Major social media platforms ban Russian state media in Europe
The Washington Post
Elizabeth Dwoskin, Cat Zakrzewski and Gerrit De Vynck
Major social media companies including YouTube, Facebook and TikTok moved to ban Russian state media outlets in Europe, blocking Moscow’s biggest megaphone for influencing public opinion about the war in Ukraine in a critical region on its borders.
Google, Meta face penalties in Russia as deadline passes to open local offices
Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook owner Meta are among internet companies facing possible punitive measures in Russia after failing to open local offices and take other measures required by a communications law.
Ukraine War Tests the Power of Tech Giants
The New York Times
Adam Satariano and Sheera Frenkel
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has become a defining geopolitical moment for some of the world’s biggest tech companies, as their platforms have turned into major battlefields for a parallel information war and their data and services have become vital links in the conflict.
Meta rolls out encrypted Instagram DMs in Russia and Ukraine
Meta is ramping up efforts to crack down on Russian propaganda and keep users in Russia and Ukraine safe, including by offering encrypted Instagram direct messages in Russia and Ukraine and demoting Facebook posts by Russian state media outlets worldwide. The company will also demote Facebook posts from users who link to Russian state media, changes the company plans to bring to Instagram as well.
Demand for VPNs in Russia, Ukraine leaps as internet control tightens
As Russian and Ukrainian websites fall victim to cyber attacks and Moscow restricts access to some foreign social media, internet users across both countries have turned to online tools to help circumvent the blocks.
The first TikTok war: how are influencers in Russia and Ukraine responding?
Social media influencers are often maligned for their vapidity, but as the Russian army moves across Ukraine some of Russia’s biggest digital influencers have become beacons of resistance. Many are speaking out about their unease at the speed and brutality with which the Russian president is leading his country to war. Ukrainian influencers, meanwhile, are also braving the risks of attack from the advancing army to make sure to document the horror of war in mainland Europe.
TikTok Was Designed for War
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is not the first social media war—but it is the first to play out on TikTok. But the current conflict is a very different kind of social media war, fueled by TikTok’s transformative effect on the old norms of tech.
How Ukrainians have used social media to humiliate the Russians and rally the world
The Washington Post
Drew Harwell and Rachel Lerman
Ukrainians and their supporters have used social media to bruise, belittle and humiliate the Russians, seeking to boost citizens’ spirits and sap invaders’ morale during the most Internet-accessible war in history. A flood of real-time videos across Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and Twitter has blunted Kremlin propaganda and rallied the world to Ukraine’s side as it fights to defend its democracy from a military behemoth.
Analysis: Russian ransomware attacks on Ukraine muted by leaks, insurance woes
James Pearson and Raphael Satter
Warnings that pro-Russian ransomware gangs would snarl networks in Ukraine and its allies have so far failed to materialise amid disarray among the criminal underworld often behind such attacks and fears insurers would not pay out.
A free-for-all but no crippling cyberattacks in Ukraine war
Alan Sunderman and Frank Bajak
Russia has some of the best hackers in the world, but in the early days of the war in Ukraine, its ability to create mayhem through malware hasn’t had much of a noticeable impact.
As tanks rolled into Ukraine, so did malware. Then Microsoft entered the war.
The New York Times
David Sanger, Julian Barnes and Kate Conger
Last Wednesday, a few hours before Russian tanks began rolling into Ukraine, alarms went off inside Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center, warning of a never-before-seen piece of “wiper” malware that appeared aimed at the country’s government ministries and financial institutions. Within three hours, Microsoft threw itself into the middle of a ground war in Europe — from 5,500 miles away.
ACSC warns Australian businesses to prepare for a probable Russian cyber attack
The Australian Cyber Security Centre has issued a warning to all Australian businesses amid the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine to increase security measures against a possible targeted Russian cyber attack.
Crypto reforms ‘must be fast-tracked’, Andrew Bragg says
Another ‘MyCryptoWallet’ collapse is inevitable unless new laws to protect consumers are passed, this government senator says.
Big tech news bargaining code a success not to be repeated: ACCC boss
Australian Financial Review
The mandatory news media bargaining code forcing platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay Australian media outlets for their content should not be used as a template for a broader crackdown on big tech, despite it being one of the most successful public policy initiatives in 50 years, competition tsar Rod Sims says.
Chinese tech companies now have to tell users about their algorithms
A new set of Chinese regulations aimed at restricting tech companies’ usage of algorithmic recommendations are effective starting Tuesday. The new regulations could shape the global algorithm regulatory landscape.
China's 5G network to reach 2m base stations this year
China aims to install more than 600,000 5G base stations this year, according to the top industry regulator, expanding the country's high-speed mobile network to 2 million working units.
How China’s social media handles fake news about Ukraine
Social media platforms worldwide are waging their own battles against fake news and disinformation related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Chinese social companies are no exception. In recent days, Chinese social platforms — from Douyin to Weibo, from WeChat to Bilibili — have been scrambling to remove accounts that are spreading misinformation and making warmongering remarks and vulgar jokes, including some content that seems to have endangered the lives of Chinese nationals stranded in Ukraine.
China’s social media giants remove ‘inappropriate’ Ukraine content
China has stuck to its position of refusing to call Russia’s military actions in Ukraine an “invasion” or condemn Moscow, but its people are taking to social media to express their feelings about the war. Over the past few days, Ukraine-related topics have become some of the top trending hashtags on Weibo, the bellwether for public discussion on the country’s internet. In the meantime, Chinese social media giants have started to clamp down on “inappropriate” and “misleading” information related to Ukraine in the days after Russia’s attack on the country.
California Bar says 'hack' exposed 1,000s of attorney discipline cases
The State Bar of California said confidential data on 260,000 attorney discipline cases was exposed last week on a website that compiles court data from across the country.
Despite Ukraine invasion, NASA continues its space station partnership with Russia
The Washington Post
Inside the space agency, it is being celebrated as another milestone for one of NASA’s most successful programs, the International Space Station, which for more than two decades has been a symbol of exploration and international collaboration. But now, as Russia continues its bloody invasion of Ukraine, the partnership has come under more strain than it has endured in years, and it is unclear how the countries will continue to work together in space, as tensions between the Cold War adversaries mount on the ground.
TeaBot malware slips back into Google Play Store to target US users
The TeaBot banking trojan was spotted once again in Google Play Store where it posed as a QR code app and spread to more than 10,000 devices. This is a trick that its distributors used before, in January, and even though Google ousted these entries, it appears that the malware can still find a way into the official Android app repository.
U.S. can regulate cryptocurrencies without new law, think tank says
U.S. regulators can largely use existing laws to bring digital assets such as cryptocurrencies under their supervision without new congressional legislation, one of Washington's most influential liberal think tanks said on Tuesday.
Cherokee on a smartphone: Part of a drive to save a language
By itself, being able to read smartphone home screens in Cherokee won’t be enough to safeguard the Indigenous language, endangered after a long history of erasure. But it might be a step toward immersing younger tribal citizens in the language spoken by a dwindling number of their elders.
South Korea to invest $187 million to build its national ecosystem on metaverse
South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Future Planning will invest 223.7 billion won (approximately $187 million) for the growth and development of the metaverse within the country.
Toyota restarting Japan plants after malware hits supplier
Toyota plans to resume production at all of its 14 plants as of Wednesday, after they were idled for a day due to a cyberattack on a domestic supplier. The supplier, Kojima Industries Corp., said Tuesday it had found a virus in its computer server.
Europe's joint Mars mission with Russia postponed by war
The launch of a joint Europe-Russia mission to Mars this year is now “very unlikely” due to sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine, the European Space Agency said Monday.
Crypto exchanges refuse to freeze all Russian accounts
Faced with a request by Ukrainian leadership to freeze the accounts of all people in Russia and Belarus, major crypto exchanges are steadfastly refusing, saying the tactic would unfairly harm civilians and “fly in the face” of the crypto community’s libertarian ideology.
You can no longer send these types of WhatsApp messages in South Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa has assented to the Films and Publications Amendment Act with the new law becoming operational from 1 March 2022. The regulations primarily apply to the sale, hiring and streaming of content on various digital platforms in South Africa.
Instagram is shutting down its standalone IGTV app
Instagram is ending support for its standalone app for IGTV, the company announced on Monday. Meta, Instagram’s parent company, confirmed to TechCrunch that the app will be removed from app stores in mid-March.
Meta will let some users know when their posts are removed by AI
Meta is gradually rolling out alerts for users to let them know when their posts have been removed by an automated system. The alerts, which the company began testing last year, are a response to a recommendation from the Oversight Board, related to a case in which a breast cancer awareness post was automatically removed.
Events and Podcasts
The Sydney Dialogue: Who Works? The Crisis of Automation in the Indo-Pacific
The Sydney Dialogue
In this panel discussion, speakers will discuss where the effects of automation pose the greatest challenges for the region and how we can ensure career pathways for those displaced to mitigate the risk of civil unrest and ensure that critical skills gaps do not open up and restrict growth in the long term. Streaming Monday March 7th at 17:30-18:30 AEDT.
Playing Both Sides: Russian State-Backed Media Coverage of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement
The International Journal of Press/Politics
Samantha Bradshaw, Renée DiResta and Carly Miller
We conduct a qualitative content analysis of 2,014 Facebook posts about the #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) protests in the United States over the summer of 2020 to comparatively examine the overt propaganda strategies of six Russian-linked news organizations—RT, Ruptly, Soapbox, In The NOW, Sputnik, and Redfish. We found that RT and Sputnik diverged in their framing of the BLM movement from the newer media properties. RT and Sputnik primarily produced negative coverage of the BLM movement, painting protestors as violent, or discussed the hypocrisy of racial justice in America.
Tracking Social Media Takedowns and Content Moderation During the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine
The Media Manipulation Casebook
April Glaser and Jazilah Salam
The Technology and Social Change Project at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center is tracking moves by major technology companies and governments to limit the flow of misinformation. This includes state sponsored misinformation and content removed at the behest of governments, as people worldwide flock to social media to receive updates of the rapidly unfolding violence. In our research tracking how social media companies race to mitigate the rapid spread of confusing and false information in the throes of a violent crisis, we’ve found that internet companies tend to follow each others’ lead, often coordinating with and echoing the actions of other platforms that took initial steps to remove false or misleading content.
ICPC Senior Analyst or Analyst - China
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has a unique opportunity for exceptional and experienced China-focused senior analysts or analysts to join its centre. This role will focus on original research and analysis centred around the (growing) range of topics which our ICPC China team work on. Our China team produces some of the most impactful and well-read policy-relevant research in the world, with our experts often being called upon by politicians, governments, corporates and civil society actors to provide briefings and advice. Analysts usually have at least 5 years, often 7-10 years’ of work experience. Senior analysts usually have a minimum of 15 years relevant work experience and, in addition to research, they take on a leadership role in the centre and tend to be involved in staff and project management, fundraising and stakeholder engagement.
ICPC Data Analyst
ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre (ICPC) has an outstanding opportunity for talented Data Analysts to join its growing centre. ASPI’s ICPC undertakes complex research on some of the most challenging issues at the intersection of technology and public policy. How do we develop international norms to deter information operations and coercive diplomacy, how should we build international cooperation on the development of emerging critical technologies, what is the right balance between regulation and innovation? We deliver empirical research that is policy-relevant and we’re looking for people who can help us analyse data at scale.
The Sydney Dialogue - Senior Events Coordinator
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is currently recruiting for an experienced events professional to coordinate the planning and logistics of the second iteration of ASPI’s Sydney Dialogue - the world’s premier summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies.
The Sydney Dialogue - Director
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is currently recruiting for a Director to lead the second iteration of ASPI’s Sydney Dialogue - the world’s premier summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies.
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