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Social Media struggles with Misinformation on Election Day

Tech companies are trying to curb a surge in US election misinformation, with President Donald Trump and his allies taking to social media to falsely claim victory and make unsupported allegations of voter fraud.

Twitter and Facebook are in the bizarre position of marking Trump’s updates on his “victory” as false and misleading, reminding his followers that votes are still being counted. 

Margaret O’Mara has a great editorial in The New York Times 

“These are important changes, but they are tweaks, not overhauls, and they point to an uncomfortable truth. These networks are operating as designed. The core features that make social media so alluring also make it a particularly effective political rage machine.”

Facebook Inc. has clarified its rules and said it won’t flag President Trump or any other individual who declares victory for a candidate in battleground states before votes are counted.

And if you’re wondering why the polls were once again so wrong, Kevin Roose suggests you look at Facebook engagement over phone polls – and looking at that data, yesterday’s results were pretty accurately predicted 

it appeared Facebook and Twitter might have overlooked the deluge of disinformation targeting Spanish-speaking Americans. Spanish-language accounts with huge followings falsely said that Mr. Trump had secured an early victory, that social media was censoring his win and that Mr. Biden was cheating.

All the tech legislation results

Proposition 22 was easily approved by California voters, meaning that gig workers for apps like Lyft, Uber, and Doordash will not become employees of those companies. Instead they will remain independent contractors.

The “Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative,” a.k.a Proposition 24, also passed, adding more privacy protections for the state’s consumers. The proposition calls for creating a new enforcement agency for the state’s privacy laws, expanding the types of information that consumers can opt out of sharing with advertisers, and shifting the state “do not sell” provision to “do not sell and share.” 

Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly said yes to Question 1, “Amend the Right to Repair Law,” which will give car owners and independent mechanics greater access to wireless vehicle data. A similar law had passed in Massachusetts in 2013 that required diagnostic data to be shared with independent mechanics, but it did not cover wireless data, which has become more common in the seven years since. This law aimed to fill in that gap. Its passage is a blow to the auto manufacturers that lobbied for a no vote. They argued that this change would not give them enough time to protect cars’ security systems against hacking. 

Portland and Maine have banned facial recognition

Portland, Maine has passed a ballot initiative banning the use of facial recognition by police and city agencies.Portland is just the latest city to swear off the technology, following previous bans by Boston, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon

COVIDSafe Still Doesnt Work, Developers Get Payrise

Local technology firm Shine Solutions has been given a $350,000 pay rise from the federal government for its ongoing work onCOVIDSafe, bringing the total amount spent on contractors to develop the controversial contact tracing app to $5.5 million.

The federal government has now paid Shine Solutions nearly $2 million for work on COVIDSafe, which is yet to identify a new close contact anywhere in Australia except for New South Wales. In that state the app has found 17 close contacts not previously identified by manual contact tracers.