Tech Digest daily roundup: Twitter claims social media reform plans ‘need more clarity’


Government plans for social media regulation need “far more clarity”, a Twitter boss has told the BBC. Katy Minshall said the draft Online Safety Bill failed to answer key questions such as how to define legal but harmful material. Instead of simply targeting those who post offensive content, the bill would put more responsibility on platforms. The culture secretary said the bill would make the UK “the safest place in the world to be online”. Writing in the Daily Mail, Nadine Dorries said “online hate has poisoned public life, it’s intolerable, it’s often unbearable and it has to end”. “Enough is enough. Social media companies have no excuses. And once this bill passes through Parliament, they will have no choice.” BBC 

A group of Wall Street hedge funds are sitting on huge paper profits after a “blank cheque” firm they invested in struck a deal to merge with Donald Trump’s new social media business. Digital World, a special purpose acquisition company (Spac), began trading in September and was initially valued at just $250m (£181m). But the firm’s shares have rocketed since it revealed a tie-up with Mr Trump’s new venture, Truth Social, taking its market capitalisation to more than $4bn (£2.9bn) at one stage. Telegraph 

Vanarama has seen orders for electric vehicles (EVs) increase by more than 1,000% in 2021 and more than double since fuel shortages began in late September. The online leasing marketplace now processes an average of 55 pure-electric vehicle orders every day and expects to deliver more than 20,000 EVs to customers in the next calendar year. However, Andy Alderson, founder and CEO of Vanarama says that the huge surge in consumer demand for EVs is far outpacing the roll-out of public charge points, and that the £620 million investment announced this week as part of the Government’s Net Zero Strategy goes nowhere near far enough to solving the problem. Fleet News

As supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th, battling police and forcing lawmakers into hiding, an insurrection of a different kind was taking place inside the world’s largest social media company. Thousands of miles away, in California, Facebook engineers were racing to tweak internal controls to slow the spread of misinformation and inciteful content. Emergency actions — some of which were rolled back after the 2020 election — included banning Trump, freezing comments in groups with a record for hate speech, filtering out the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry and empowering content moderators to act more assertively by labeling the U.S. a “Temporary High Risk Location” for political violence. AP News 

Nasa has announced plans to launch an uncrewed flight around the Moon in February 2022, paving the way for astronauts to once again set foot on Earth’s satellite. The US space agency said on Friday that it was in the final phase of testing to send its Orion capsule on an orbit around the Moon on its Space Launch System rocket. It announced this week that Orion was secured to the 98-metre (322ft) rocket. Nasa said the Artemis 1 mission will “pave the way for a future flight test with crew” before “more complex missions with astronauts on and around the Moon”. Guardian

Apple’s dreams of building an electric car have been thrown off course as talks with its battery suppliers threaten to fall apart. The Silicon Valley company, which has spent years developing automotive technology, has run into problems over securing batteries for its electric vehicles. Apple has been attempting to encourage Chinese battery makers CATL, the world’s number one supplier of EV batteries, and BYD to set up production facilities in the US, but so far these talks have not progressed, Reuters reported. Telegraph 


Chris Price
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