It’s been 24 years since Internet companies were declared off-the-hook for the behavior of their users. That may change, and soon.

(Cross posted from Signal360)

In a sweeping talk at the Association of National Advertisers conference last month, P&G Chief Brand Officer (and ANA Chair) Marc Pritchard laid out a five-step plan to address systemic problems in the marketing and media industries. Each step addresses serious challenges and opportunities — in diversity, inequality, and creative and business practices. But perhaps no step is more challenging — and crucial — than Pritchard’s Step Four: Eliminating all harmful content online. 

“There is still too much harmful, hateful, denigrating, and discriminatory content and commentary in too many digital sites, channels, and feeds,” Pritchard said. “There is no place for this type of content.”

While nearly everyone agrees with the idea of eliminating harmful content, key actors across the digital media industry seem paralyzed when it comes to how best to take action on the problem. What’s really going on? To understand, we must dive into the early formation of the Internet industry in the United States, and the role the First Amendment plays — to this day — in shaping an increasingly contentious debate on how to regulate digital speech. 

But, First, a Bit of History

When the Internet was in its early stages as a commercial medium more than 25 years ago, a moral panic erupted in the United States following the publication of a Time magazine cover story Titled “Cyberporn” and featuring a terrified child staring aghast into the blue light of a computer monitor, the story claimed — falsely, as it turned out — that the majority of images on the then-novel medium consisted of pornography. 

Internet service providers were to be treated like the phone company … not held responsible for the speech of their customers.

Congress quickly took up the cause of cleaning up the Internet and passed the 

SAP users face cost squeeze, pressure to digitalise: survey

By Douglas Busvine

BERLIN (Reuters) – The customers of software group SAP <SAPG.DE> are suffering severe declines in revenue and earnings while at the same time facing intensifying pressure to hike IT spending to go digital, a survey showed on Monday.

The poll of SAP’s German-speaking user community found that nearly three-quarters were experiencing sharp drops in revenue. At the same time, over four-fifths said the coronavirus pandemic made digital transformation a more pressing task.

“At the centre of this crisis is the need for businesses to do more with less,” said Marco Lenck, chairman of the German-speaking DSAG user group that commissioned the survey.

The DSAG, which represents 3,700 businesses, is an influential lobby that has called on SAP to make it easier to upgrade systems traditionally hosted on site to run in remote datacentres.

Such cloud hosting makes it easier for firms to scale up or pare back their business process operations in line with need. But the initial cost and difficulty of making that move deters many.

SAP’s new CEO, Christian Klein, welcomed the DSAG survey’s findings, which he said were representative of how the group’s global business was performing.

Klein told a joint briefing with the DSAG that SAP had taken on board calls to improve integration between its four main processes: sales, procurement, human resources and supply chain management.

Work on creating a common data model, user interface and consistent security and identity management in these four areas was now 57% complete, he said. By the end of the year, 90% of the job will be done.

Klein also said that, given the cost pressures that some clients were facing, for example in the airlines sector, SAP was offering flexible payment terms to help ride out the economic slump.

“We expect the transformation in the

An app that let Chinese users bypass the Great Firewall and access Google, Facebook has disappeared

  • A web browser called Tuber, backed by Qihoo 360, allowed Chinese users to access foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook.
  • Google, Facebook and Twitter are all blocked in China due to the country’s Great Firewall. They can usually only be accessed via virtual private networks or VPNs.
  • The Tuber browser has now disappeared from app stores and its website no longer works.



a close up of a sign: In this photo illustration a logo of the American multinational technology company and search engine Google is seen on an Android mobile device with People's Republic of China flag in the background.


© Provided by CNBC
In this photo illustration a logo of the American multinational technology company and search engine Google is seen on an Android mobile device with People’s Republic of China flag in the background.

GUANGZHOU, China — An app that briefly gave Chinese internet users access to foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook — services that have long been blocked — has now disappeared.

The web browser called Tuber was backed by Qihoo 360, a Chinese cybersecurity giant. On Oct. 9, a journalist at the state-backed tabloid the Global Times

about its launch.

China’s so-called Great Firewall blocks websites such as Facebook and its services like Instagram as well as Google and Twitter. Content on Chinese websites is also heavily censored, particularly if it is deemed politically sensitive by Beijing.

Loading...

Load Error

A virtual private network or VPN is required to access any blocked sites in China. But the Tuber app allowed users to access these services without a VPN.

There were some caveats to the Tuber app however. Users had to register with their identity card information and phone number, according to Reuters and TechCrunch, which both tested the app.

Search results on YouTube for politically sensitive phrases such as “Tiananmen” and “Xi Jinping” returned no results on the Tuber app, according to TechCrunch.

The Tuber app was available on the Huawei app store but was no longer there when CNBC checked

Chinese App Helps Users Bypass Great Firewall

(Bloomberg) — One Chinese app briefly gave the country’s internet users access to long-banned websites like Facebook Inc. and Google, setting off speculation about the future of Beijing’s censorship practices.



a close up of a light: Green lights illuminate cable terminals on the Sberbank and SberCloud Christofari supercomputer during an event to mark its launch into commercial operation inside the Sberbank PJSC data processing center (DPC) at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. As Sberbank expands its technology offerings, the Kremlin is backing legislation aimed at keeping the country's largest internet companies under local control by limiting foreign ownership.


© Bloomberg
Green lights illuminate cable terminals on the Sberbank and SberCloud Christofari supercomputer during an event to mark its launch into commercial operation inside the Sberbank PJSC data processing center (DPC) at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. As Sberbank expands its technology offerings, the Kremlin is backing legislation aimed at keeping the country’s largest internet companies under local control by limiting foreign ownership.

The Tuber browser, backed by Chinese cybersecurity giant 360 Security Technology Inc., appeared to provide the nation’s 904 million online users the ability to legally visit overseas websites and browse foreign social media. Chinese users hailed their newfound ability to peruse content from Youtube videos to Instagram photos without an illegal virtual private network, or VPN.

Loading...

Load Error

But the browser stopped functioning Saturday and disappeared from the mobile app store run by Huawei Technologies Co. It’s unclear whether a government agency had ordered its removal.

“Presumably the government heard about it and asked the stores to take it down,” said Rich Bishop, chief executive officer of AppInChina, a publisher of international apps in the Chinese market.

Tuber’s removal may have ended what many Chinese users saw as a state-sanctioned window to the wider internet arena. Beijing maintains rigid control over its internet sphere, requiring companies from Tencent Holdings Ltd. to TikTok-owner ByteDance Ltd. to censor and scrub content critical of the government or its policies.

Read more: WeChat and TikTok Taking China Censorship Global, Study Says

Tuber’s browser required mobile number registration, giving developers the ability to track activity because all smartphone numbers in the country are linked

‘Fortnite’ Has Given Up 73 Million iOS Only Users In Order To Fight Against Apple

Another day, another update that does not sound terribly good for Epic in its ongoing fight against Apple, as the Fortnite developer tries to get some regulation in place to ensure that the 30% cut Apple takes in its iOS app store is altered or the platform opens up more to competition.

A court has just ruled that for now, Apple cannot be forced to put Fortnite back on the app store, after it was taken off due to breaking the rules there by sidestepping the 30% cut with an update that allowed direct payment to Epic. But they also said Apple cannot take further, more destructive action against Epic by going after the entire Unreal engine, which would cause a ton of collateral damage to games and apps not owned by Epic at all.

The court documents reveal some pretty stunning statistics about just what Epic has given up to pursue this possibly quixotic fight with Apple:

  • 116 million mobile users on iOS.
  • Of those, 73 million only played Fortnite on iOS and no other platforms.
  • 2.5 million DAUs on iOS, which represents 10% of Fortnite 25 million DAU total.

There’s no word on how many millions of users Epic has given up with its similar ban on the Google Play store. Still millions, no doubt, though less than this, and Fortnite can still technically run on Android devices outside of the Play store.

Both Apple and Epic are touting victories from this last ruling, Apple saying they’re grateful the court recognizes that Epic deliberately broke its rules, Epic saying they’re grateful the court is stopping action against Unreal. And yet the longer this goes on, the more of an uphill battle this seems like it’s going to be for Epic who has to convince