Hashtag Trending Jun.12- Reddit goes dark as a protest; Meta may be launching a Twitter rival; Scammers using fake story or personal details to lure victims surged

One of the world’s largest website goes dark as a protest,  Meta may be launching a Twitter rival and a new twist to cyber attacks.

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These and more top tech news stories from Hashtag Trending and Tech News Day. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

Reddit is facing a significant backlash from its user and moderator community over upcoming API changes that could force many third-party apps, such as Apollo and rif is fun for Reddit, to shut down. The protest has led to more than 100 subreddits going dark, with thousands more planning to follow, according to the website Reddark.

The API changes have sparked widespread frustration within the Reddit community, with CEO Steve Huffman facing severe criticism and more than a few f-bombs. Huffman’s responses have been met with anger, leading to increased pushback from the community.

The changes to the API, including pricing and restrictions on showing Not Safe For Work (SFSW) content, have been poorly communicated, according to subreddit moderators and third-party Reddit app developers. They argue that Huffman and Reddit’s leadership have lost their trust.

In response to Huffman’s AMA, some subreddits have escalated their protest. For example, r/iPhone and r/Music, two of the largest subreddits on the site, have announced they will go private indefinitely until Reddit reverses the API policy change. r/Gaming also plans to go private for at least 48 hours starting June 12th.

As of now, nearly 4,500 communities are pledging to go dark, while over 200 already have, according to Reddark. This protest represents a significant challenge for Reddit’s leadership and could have substantial implications for the platform’s future.

Sources include: The Verge

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is reportedly developing a text-based social network designed to compete with Twitter, according to sources who spoke to the BBC. The new platform could allow users to follow accounts they already follow on Instagram, Meta’s image-sharing app, and potentially bring over followers from decentralised platforms such as Mastodon.

A Meta spokesperson confirmed the development of the platform, stating, “We’re exploring a standalone decentralised social network for sharing text updates. We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests.”

Chris Cox, Meta’s chief product officer, revealed that coding was underway on the platform, with the tech giant aiming to release it soon, possibly as early as the end of June. Screenshots of the platform, which internally has a working title of P92, have appeared online and are believed to be genuine.

The new platform could pose a significant challenge to Twitter, especially if it can attract a substantial portion of Instagram’s user base. Instagram boasts around two billion users, significantly more than Twitter’s estimated 300 million. If even 25 per cent of Instagram users transition to P92, it would instantly surpass Twitter in size.

This development comes as Twitter has faced criticism over moderation on its platform and withdrew from the EU’s voluntary disinformation code. Under Elon Musk, who took over Twitter in October 2022, moderation has reportedly been reduced, leading to debates over the spread of disinformation.

Sources include: BBC News

It’s called pretexting, a method where scammers use a fake story or personal details to lure victims, has more than doubled in the past year, according to a recent report from Verizon. Pretexting typically involves scammers sending emails, texts, or social media messages pretending to be a family member, boss, or client, making it easier for victims to fall for the scam and harder for IT teams to detect.

Verizon’s report analyzed 16,312 security incidents between November 2021 and October 2022 and found that pretexting was involved in 4.1 per cent of these incidents, nearly double the 2.4 per cent share in the previous year’s analysis. Furthermore, the report revealed that three-quarters of all breaches started with human error, including falling for socially engineered messages or phishing emails, misusing network access, or continuing to use leaked passwords.

Pretext-based attacks have been responsible for some major security headlines in the past year. For instance, a breach at Uber in September began when an employee sent their login credentials to someone claiming to be from the company’s IT department. Similarly, an attack on Twilio involved hackers pretending to be the company’s IT team and texting employees that their passwords had expired.

Despite the rise in pretexting, it still represents a small fraction of all cyber incidents. However, with the boom in generative AI, scammers now have tools to customize pretext-based attacks with voice-message impersonations, faked images, and other forgeries, which could potentially increase the prevalence of such attacks in the future.

Sources include: Axios

Twitter is reportedly refusing to pay its Google Cloud bills as its contract comes up for renewal this month, according to a report from Platformer. This could potentially cripple the social media company’s trust and safety teams. 

The refusal to pay the Google Cloud bills could have significant implications for Twitter’s operations. The company’s trust and safety teams rely heavily on Google Cloud services to monitor the platform and enforce its rules. If Twitter loses access to these services, it could severely impact its ability to moderate content and handle user reports. Although that might not be a problem for Elon Musk.

This situation highlights the complex relationship between tech companies and cloud service providers. As companies increasingly rely on cloud services for their operations, disputes over contracts and payments can have significant operational consequences.

Sources include: Reuters

Experts are raising concerns about the mental and cognitive burden people may face when trying to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. Misinformation, already a significant social problem, could be further amplified by AI-generated content, making it harder for individuals to make sense of the world around them.

Speaking to global news executives, Karen Silverman, a member of the World Economic Forum’s AI Global Council, expressed concerns about the rapid changes AI brings to our daily lives and information habits. She said, “The cadence at which AI will bring change to our daily lives, including our information habits, is making everybody nervous and unbalanced. That’s its own security and mental health risk.”

Misinformation can have a lingering effect on our reasoning, even after it has been corrected. It can be used to create false beliefs and memories that influence our behaviour. Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist, warned at the Nobel Prize Summit that doctored photos are “a nifty way to plant false memories” and that “things are going to get even worse with deep fake technology.”

AI-generated misinformation has already caused confusion. For instance, a fake image claiming to be an explosion at a building near the Pentagon, believed to be created with AI, spread rapidly on social media and caused a brief dip in the stock market.

However, illusionist Eric Mead believes we’ll learn to deal with these new tools in the long term, just as we did with photography and Photoshop. He predicts a short-term backlash and mistrust of digital life, leading to a retreat to face-to-face communication.

A 2022 Media Insights study revealed that 90 per cent of Americans aged 16 to 40 are worried about deception and misinformation, with 70 per cent feeling they have personally been victims of it. Policymakers around the world are targeting AI-generated images and text, with the Biden administration introducing actions to manage innovation in AI responsibly.

There’s a link to the Guardian article in the text version of this story at itworldcanada.com/podcasts.

Sources include: The Guardian

And that’s the top tech news stories for today. 

Links to all of the stories can be found in the text version of this podcast at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

Hashtag Trending goes to air five days a week with a special weekend interview episode called Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition.  You can find us on Google, Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. We’re also on YouTube five days a week with a video newscast only there we are called Tech News Day.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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