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Tech news, HAT-slanted 
Issue 160
Gettin' Some (Real) Teeth

Content moderation can be a real pain. Facebook's solution: outsource the job to an independent body. And now, over a year since announcing plans for an Oversight Board, the tech giant has provided details on how this much-anticipated experiment will work.

The Board's bylaws released last week reveal how long it will take to make a case decision: up to 90 days, 30 for expedited cases. Not exactly what I'd describe as responsive, given how quickly things can go crazily viral. And while the Board will review cases dealing with content removed in error, it can't yet take down contentious material. So what's the point of it really? 

The Oversight Board is significant, touted as a potential new model for managing free speech online. It also follows encouraging efforts by Facebook to shore up its credibility by hiring its first head of human rights last year and more recently, stepping up to fight harmful misinformation about the coronavirus.

But there's plenty of scepticism about how much power the Board will actually have over Facebook's day-to-day. To really make Big Tech accountable, this internal 'Supreme Court' needs to have real teeth. Including the authority to overrule even Zuckerberg himself, especially on matters such as fact-checking political ads. 

Facebook's Oversight Board will hear its first cases soon. That'll be the true test of whether it's really working for the greater public good rather than just the company's bottomline, and whether it's truly returning power to the people


Yours in HAT,

Leila Trilby, Editor-in-chief

The Past

Too good to be true? Plenty of regrets for those who made crypto-scammers richer by US$4.3 billion last year
 
You can now see your data Facebook has shared with third parties. But can you understand it? Two words: computational ability.

The Present

The CCPA's been great for privacy startups. But not so for ad companies, who're calling for delayed enforcement.  
 
Best to start 'em young—Finnish schoolchildren are learning to spot fake news, and so are some kids in the UK.
 
Chinese Big Tech want to help find a coronavirus cure, with financial contributions and AI expertise. Doing some good after all. 

The Future 

Google's following Microsoft with a carbon-free strategy. But is this all just corporate greenwashing?

The Doghouse

This data breach explains that stranger's hen party video you found in your Google archives. 
 
The EU's investigating Tinder's user data handling and Google's location data tracking. Just listen to that GDPR whip cracking...
 
Ring's litany of privacy sins just keeps growing—its Android app has been found sending customer data to third parties.

Downtime                        

Jigsaw puzzles are cool again, thanks to social media. #puzzlesofinstagram

HAT News 

Visionary. James Kingston presented HATLAB’s vision for designing the data rights economy at last week's HATLAB Meetup. More events and activities to come­ in 2020—watch this space. 
 


 
Congrats. To Samuel Johnson and Obliquity's John Isherwood on their winning pitches for HATLAB's Trust Technology Challenge. Looking forward to working with you on your innovations for change. 

Welcome. To MoonTeddy as the newest ETA member. Can't wait to do great things together!

Let's build apps. Book your place to create ethical tech at the HAT Coding Workshop, Feb 26, London
 
Sunshine sprint. Dataswift's team is in Cyprus for a week-long sprint, plotting its future while soaking in some Vitamin D. 
 
Spread the word. Dataswift's Jason Shong talked HAT at Kuala Lumpur's Product Hunt Meetup last week. Bring it on…
 

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