Tech Digest daily roundup: TikTok leading platform for fake Ukraine videos


TikTok has emerged as one of the leading platforms for snappy false videos about the war in Ukraine which are reaching millions. With a user base of more than one billion people – more than half of whom are under 30 – TikTok is where many young people have been getting updates about the conflict, as the platform struggles to stem the flow of misleading information. And you don’t need to look that hard to find dubious content. According to an investigation by NewsGuard, a website that monitors online misinformation, new users could be recommended false content about Ukraine within 40 minutes of joining the network. BBC 

The European Union could fine big tech companies billions of pounds as part of a new landmark deal to tackle hate speech, disinformation, and other harmful online content. The new Digital Services Act will force companies including Facebook, Google, and Amazon to police themselves harder and make it easier for users to flag problems. EU officials finally clinched the deal in the early hours of Saturday morning, and they will impact all 27 member states. “With the DSA, the time of big online platforms behaving like they are ‘too big to care’ is coming to an end,” said EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. Sky News 

Twitter is reportedly taking a fresh look at Elon Musk’s $43bn (£33bn) takeover offer, in a sign of thawing relations between the two sides. Twitter and Mr Musk were meeting on Sunday to discuss the deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, which said the social media site’s board were now “more receptive to a deal”. It follows efforts by Twitter to scupper the approach earlier this month, including launching a “poison pill” tactic which would allow it to flood the market with new shares, if Mr Musk sought to gain more control. The billionaire recently announced he was kicking off a takeover bid for the business, having bought a 9pc stake already. Telegraph 

Google is now rolling out “assistive writing,” an AI-powered system designed to help people write punchier documents more quickly. Assistive writing is being introduced to enterprise users, and the feature is turned on by default. Not everyone is a fan of being guided by the algorithm, and some people find its “inclusive language” ability irritating, Vice reported. Words like “policemen” could trigger the model into suggesting it be changed to something more neutral like “police officers.” That’s understandable, but it can get a bit ridiculous. For example, it proposed replacing the word “landlord” with “property owner” or “proprietor.” It also doesn’t like curse words as one writer found. The Register

Google has announced that it will preventing apps from recording phone calls on its devices from next month. As reported by The Independent the company will be removing the functionality that are used by call recording apps to give them access to the calls themselves. That access is achieved through accessibility technology that is intended to make the phone able to adapt to those users with different needs. However, it can also be used to access the sound from phone calls and store them. Google’s decision will be limited to apps on its Play Store (PA). The Independent writes: “Google’s documentation makes clear that it is not intended for recording phone calls and that new changes will stop apps from being able to do so. Independent 

Chris Price
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