Facebook and Google Diverge on Publishing, Digital Trust & Safety Partnership, Chattanooga is Best City


February 18, 2021 – Facebook and Google took opposing stances Wednesday on publishing news to their sites.

Facebook announced it will begin restricting news content in Australia in response to a proposed law that would require online media to pay news publications for their content.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” said William Easton, Facebook’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand. He said journalism is important to a democratic society — which is why Facebook has provided tools for free publication of news on its site — but news makes up less than 4 percent of content, he said.

“We have made clear to the Australian government for many months, the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of the publishers — which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume,” Easton said.

As recently as January, Google has made similar threats, but instead announced a three-year deal with News Corporation, which will see the tech giant pay for News Corp publications, including the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, and the New York Post.

“The landmark three-year agreement also includes the development of a subscription platform, the sharing of ad revenue via Google’s ad technology services, the cultivation of audio journalism and meaningful investments in innovative video journalism by YouTube,” said the press release.

Digital trust and safety partnership launches

Leading technology companies formally launched the Digital Trust & Safety Partnership, an initiative aimed at promoting a safer and more trustworthy internet.

The partnership is committed to developing industry best practices, reviewed through internal and independent third-party assessments, to ensure consumer safety and trust when using digital services. The group includes Discord, Facebook, Inc, Google, Microsoft, Pinterest, Reddit, Shopify, Twitter, and Vimeo.

“Trust and safety is a critical function at many of the world’s leading digital services companies. These are the people who spend their days working to keep consumers safe from abuse. The Digital Trust & Safety Partnership was formed to advance the best practices and assessments needed to support this emerging field,” said Alex Feerst, an advisor to the partnership.

Feerst was a panelist in the first of Broadband Breakfast Live Online’s three-part series on Social Media from July 2020: “Content Moderation Experts Discuss Future of Section 230 in Broadband Breakfast Live Online Event.”

The partnership announced five key commitments agreed upon by the participating companies to ensure consumer safety and trust when using digital services:

  • Identify, evaluate, and adjust for content- and conduct-related risks in product development.
  • Adopt explainable processes for product governance, including which team is responsible for creating rules, and how rules are evolved.
  • Conduct enforcement operations to implement product governance.
  • Assess and improve processes associated with content- and conduct-related risks.
  • Ensure that relevant trust & safety policies are published to the public, and report periodically to the public and other stakeholders regarding actions taken.

Each company will review its trust and safety practices before the partnership shares a state of the industry report this year, which will evaluate companies’ implementation of the practices. This effort is not directed toward individual company policies or decisions, but focuses on how to perform and assess trust and safety as an evolving field. The partnership will engage with various industry-wide experts in the public and private sectors to help further develop these practices.

Chattanooga named best city for working from home

Chattanooga, Tennessee has been named PC Magazine’s top city in the U.S. and Canada to live for working from home.

The “Gig City” has been a leading example of what happens when a municipality builds its own fiber facilities.

“In 2020, it was evident that Chattanooga