The two sides of Facebook’s crypto coin Libra

The launch of the cryptocurrency Libra announced by Facebook earlier this week has prompted many discussions about the future of finance, particularly the role of cryptocurrencies. The project has grabbed the attention of regulators all over the world, most of them calling for the project to be delayed or even scrapped.

In the crypto space, some experts have expressed their disapproval over a big tech company entering the area, while also acknowledging that the launch of Libra could be a tipping point in the history of blockchain.

On the latest FinancialFox, crypto PR guru Stefania Barbaglio interviewed On Yavin, CEO and founder of Cointelligence about his views on Libra. He is an angel investor and serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry. A leading authority on cryptocurrency, he is also a data-driven strategist.

His company, Cointelligence, conducts data research and analysis for the crypto economy. Cointelligence was created to bridge the information gap in the crypto economy, and also offers professional due diligence and blockchain advisory services.

“The new Facebook coin is a fake cryptocurrency. They are calling it cryptocurrency because it is a buzzword. It may be a digital currency, but it is not a cryptocurrency. It is a crap coin,” says On Yavin.

On believes that Libra is not a real cryptocurrency because of three main factors:

- A Facebook digital currency will by definition be largely centralised.

- Facebook has a huge trust problem after its poor track record in securing its users’ personal data.

- Facebook is partnering with big companies such as Uber, Paypal, Vodafone and Visa to create Libra. In essence, this means that big corporations will continue to control the system and exploit users. “That is the opposite of what a cryptocurrency should be,” says On.

Libra might eventually have a financial value, he says, but the whole system sounds illegitimate and it does not represent a real cryptocurrency.

Libra could make crypto mainstream

Whilst Libra itself might sound like a poorly developed cryptocurrency, its impact on the cryptocurrency market is likely to be positive and could be the move needed to bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream.

Regardless of the future of Libra, its launch has exposed huge numbers of people to cryptocurrencies and the world of blockchain. Because Facebook has now officially stepped in, crypto may start to be viewed as more serious and credible.

Up to this point, conversations about cryptocurrencies have been nearly exclusive to technologists. Now with the launch of Libra, Facebook is practically making cryptocurrency available to its two and a half billion users at once.

“I think that the positive side is that Libra will get so many people introduced to the new generation of digital payments and some of them will want to learn more about real cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum,” says On.

With the threat of disruption posed by a company the size and influence of Facebook launching a digital currency, regulators and central banks have started to look seriously at the crypto world, which could prompt much needed regulations of the market.

The launch of Libra means that the cryptocurrency market is bound to become more interesting for outside investors. Nevertheless, it is important for those entering the crypto space to be careful and carry out thorough research before putting down large amounts of money. We are still at the ‘young’ stage of the crypto market, so there are plenty of scams going around, which can easily lure eager investors into fraudulent projects.

On’s company Cointelligence helps to identify the most authentic projects and exchanges in crypto. Cointelligence found over 80–85% of crypto exchanges to be faking trading volume to get their rankings up on listing websites to increase revenue. “There’s very little transparency on crypto exchanges. This is misleading to investors,” says On. He warns users of different types of malicious actors around:

- Scammers: people who launch fake projects with the intention of stealing investors’ money

- ‘Mini scammers’: people who found crypto ventures quite genuinely, although the project is not feasible in reality and does not bring returns

- ‘Scamming neighbours’: the partners of a fake project, such as the publishers that advertise it and YouTubers and influencers who promote it

More developments are sure to unfold soon and whatever happens, the crypto market could be on its way to a great transformation. All eyes on Libra.

Watch the full interview here:

New applications of Blockchain: Future of Big Tech still bright in Web 3.0

The current web architecture, Web 2.0, may well be user-friendly and familiar, but there is plenty of indication that this formula is starting to break down, giving way to a new internet. The greatest concern about Web 2.0 has been the centralised control over data: at the moment, ‘Big Tech’ companies like Google and Facebook act as central databases for a vast amount of user information.

The advent of new technologies is allowing for decentralisation, bringing about marked disruption. In 2018, we saw the start of scrutiny over the way tech companies deal with user data. In Europe, the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal shows that the public and authorities are sitting up and paying attention. The need for a new internet structure has never been more pressing, so on the horizon now is an environment in which users keep control over their own information: Web 3.0

Technology experts say that Web 3.0 will be powered by blockchain, as the technology is decentralised, therefore user-centric. While users are optimistic about the future of the internet, the Big Tech companies are faced with the challenge of re-inventing themselves to embrace the latest developments and focus on delivering high value and security to their users. Equipped with considerable capital and some of the finest minds in the tech workforce, these companies are uniquely positioned to make the most of the next phase of the blockchain revolution.

Infographic credit to https://101blockchains.com/

In light of this shift, many technology and payment companies are working with projects to develop more sophisticated applications of blockchain. Digital identity systems and smart contracts are among the concepts being intensely explored.

A digital identity is a digital and unique representation of legal identity. As connectivity becomes wider, paper-based identities become inconvenient, inefficient and potentially unsafe. This is one of the most promising areas for blockchain application and can provide a very high use-case value.

The World Economic Forum has already highlighted the need to create a global, borderless and efficient system incorporating all factors that make up an individual’s identity in a single tool: “Today, most identity systems exist in isolation. Different public and private solutions record and maintain identical identity data potentially hundreds of times over, and are not interoperable, creating a significant amount of redundant identity information. This is a waste of resources for the network in question, is difficult to scale and is buried in error- prone and paper-heavy processes.”

Furthermore, digital identities are a far more secure alternative than the current structure. With the ending of a centralised database, breaches and cyber attacks become less frequent and less damaging. Due to the proliferation of data breaches, reliance on weak or leaked login credentials accounted for 81% of data breaches. As digital identities become more mainstream, security measures like passwords and single-factor authentication become outdated.

A blockchain-based system is needed to secure more privacy and security for individuals and corporations over sensitive data. For the next year, the GDPR compliance market will grow by 75%, leaving a huge opportunity for solution makers among the technology companies. Digital identity authentication and validation measures are critical to ensuring web and network infrastructure security in the public and private sectors.

Earlier in May, Microsoft presented a new and an even more concrete concept of digital identities: a DID network built on top of the bitcoin blockchain. Named the Identity Overlay Network (ION), the infrastructure has been reportedly developed to accommodate tens of thousands of operations per second. The system lets users obtain control over their own data via the management of their Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Daniel Buchner, senior program manager at Microsoft Identity Division, explained: “Today, the most common digital identifiers we use are email addresses and usernames, provided to us by apps, services, and organizations. This puts identity providers in a place of control, between us and every digital interaction in our lives. Our goal is to create a decentralized identity ecosystem where millions of organizations, billions of people, and countless devices can securely interact over an interoperable system built on standards and open source components.”

Following Microsoft, MasterCard and Samsung announced a partnership to develop secure digital identity beyond passwords. Mastercard said that consumers soon will be able to use a digital identity method for their devices that works for both physical and digital interactions. This method would be used for everything from accessing email to opening a bank account, shopping online or streaming video.

In addition to allowing the emergence of digital identities, blockchain and decentralised technologies are the keys to enabling more efficient ways of managing and integrating global supply chains, especially in the realm of smart contracts. Amazon is reportedly investing heavily in its ‘Managed Blockchain’ service, which was created to help companies set up their own blockchain networks that are scalable and easy to create and manage.

Amazon’s blockchain service is under further development and Microsoft’s digital ID is not yet fully available, but when it comes to companies like these, we can be sure that even more innovation is around the corner.

Fact or Fiction? Social media as news source increases spread of fake news

Research shows that social media has become the primary news source for most people. Whilst social media represents hyperconnectivity, its mechanisms allow for widespread misinformation and the rise of fake news.

With more than 3 billion users worldwide, there is no doubt social media represents a revolution in the way we communicate with one another. It may be a convenient, easy and cheap way to access information and stay up-to-date — but it is also a minefield of misinformation and fake news.

As social media has become the primary means for businesses, politicians and decision makers to reach their audiences, people are casting newspapers and traditional media aside, instead keeping themselves updated via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

In the U.S., 67 percent of survey participants say they get their news from social media in general, with 45 percent reporting getting it from Facebook alone. The situation in Europe is a little more encouraging but still gives cause for concern. In the EU, 13 percent of consumers say they stay up to date on European politics via social media, with the figure rising to 16 percent regarding domestic politics. In Sweden and Denmark, social media serves as the main source of information for 30 percent of consumers.

This is a particularly worrying problem in emerging markets such as Brazil, India and Nigeria, which are among the biggest markets for WhatsApp and social networks.

During the recent presidential elections in Brazil, a study analysed 100,000 images shared via WhatsApp and found that more than half contained misleading or flatly false information.

In India, where viral fake news has caused chaos and fatal incidents, WhatsApp is set to run TV advertisements to warn users about the problem. The campaign consists of 60-second films where characters go through real life scenarios and demonstrates how to use WhatsApp tools such as how to leave groups that could be propagating misinformation, and how to block unknown senders.

The campaign follows serious criticism of the platform from the Indian government and aims to create wider awareness about the problem ahead of the general elections to be held in India next year.

Even in developed economies and solid democracies, fake news is understood as a problem by the vast majority of the populations. Research by the European Commission showed that 85 percent of EU respondents believe fake news to be a problem in their country, with almost 83 percent perceiving false or misrepresentative information as a threat to democracy.

The underlying issue with using social media as a news source is that it blinds people to a plural discussion, says Matteo Flora, digital identity expert: “Most people are not used to looking into political debates anymore and are confined inside their own social media bubbles, always consuming the same kind of information.”

A unilateral news diet leads to unhealthy debate and alienation, so it is important to build platforms online where social media users are exposed to different views and don’t end up victims of algorithms that perpetually feed their timelines with stories only of a certain type.

The solution? Social platforms that allow multiple voices

Users are indeed not short of tools to check information themselves, but in the digital era, convenience rules, so building tools that integrate content into one single platform is an efficient and user-friendly way of tackling fake news.

“Fake news is everywhere, misleading us and building misconceptions about people and events. Because it is difficult to identify it in the first place, it is even harder to address it. In these situations, we require smart and holistic solutions that will preserve freedom of expression, privacy but also counter misleading content online,” says Stefania Barbaglio, from Right of Reply.

“Technology is able to help increase media literacy when harnessed effectively. Right of Reply is developing a series of innovative apps and platforms to allow open debate online and fight misinformation.”

In this hyperconnected society, it makes sense that the solution to misinformation on the virtual sphere is a collective effort by technology, social media companies and regulators.

As we come across problems and crises like fake news and misinformation in social media, it gives cause for deep reflection on the implications of technology in our lives. Nevertheless, such challenges can be used as a catalyst to create a better online space and build a stronger foundation for a fairer environment.

Right of Reply is a company developing innovative solutions for online reputation management, political discourse and social media communications.

Fact or Fiction? Social media as news source increases spread of fake news

Research shows that social media has become the primary news source for most people. Whilst social media represents hyperconnectivity, its mechanisms allow for widespread misinformation and the rise of fake news.

With more than 3 billion users worldwide, there is no doubt social media represents a revolution in the way we communicate with one another. It may be a convenient, easy and cheap way to access information and stay up-to-date — but it is also a minefield of misinformation and fake news.

As social media has become the primary means for businesses, politicians and decision makers to reach their audiences, people are casting newspapers and traditional media aside, instead keeping themselves updated via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

In the U.S., 67 percent of survey participants say they get their news from social media in general, with 45 percent reporting getting it from Facebook alone. The situation in Europe is a little more encouraging but still gives cause for concern. In the EU, 13 percent of consumers say they stay up to date on European politics via social media, with the figure rising to 16 percent regarding domestic politics. In Sweden and Denmark, social media serves as the main source of information for 30 percent of consumers.

This is a particularly worrying problem in emerging markets such as Brazil, India and Nigeria, which are among the biggest markets for WhatsApp and social networks.

During the recent presidential elections in Brazil, a study analysed 100,000 images shared via WhatsApp and found that more than half contained misleading or flatly false information.

In India, where viral fake news has caused chaos and fatal incidents, WhatsApp is set to run TV advertisements to warn users about the problem. The campaign consists of 60-second films where characters go through real life scenarios and demonstrates how to use WhatsApp tools such as how to leave groups that could be propagating misinformation, and how to block unknown senders.

The campaign follows serious criticism of the platform from the Indian government and aims to create wider awareness about the problem ahead of the general elections to be held in India next year.

Even in developed economies and solid democracies, fake news is understood as a problem by the vast majority of the populations. Research by the European Commission showed that 85 percent of EU respondents believe fake news to be a problem in their country, with almost 83 percent perceiving false or misrepresentative information as a threat to democracy.

The underlying issue with using social media as a news source is that it blinds people to a plural discussion, says Matteo Flora, digital identity expert: “Most people are not used to looking into political debates anymore and are confined inside their own social media bubbles, always consuming the same kind of information.”

A unilateral news diet leads to unhealthy debate and alienation, so it is important to build platforms online where social media users are exposed to different views and don’t end up victims of algorithms that perpetually feed their timelines with stories only of a certain type.

The solution? Social platforms that allow multiple voices

Users are indeed not short of tools to check information themselves, but in the digital era, convenience rules, so building tools that integrate content into one single platform is an efficient and user-friendly way of tackling fake news.

“Fake news is everywhere, misleading us and building misconceptions about people and events. Because it is difficult to identify it in the first place, it is even harder to address it. In these situations, we require smart and holistic solutions that will preserve freedom of expression, privacy but also counter misleading content online,” says Stefania Barbaglio, from Right of Reply.

“Technology is able to help increase media literacy when harnessed effectively. Right of Reply is developing a series of innovative apps and platforms to allow open debate online and fight misinformation.”

In this hyperconnected society, it makes sense that the solution to misinformation on the virtual sphere is a collective effort by technology, social media companies and regulators.

As we come across problems and crises like fake news and misinformation in social media, it gives cause for deep reflection on the implications of technology in our lives. Nevertheless, such challenges can be used as a catalyst to create a better online space and build a stronger foundation for a fairer environment.

Right of Reply is a company developing innovative solutions for online reputation management, political discourse and social media communications.

Reply from the Stars: New app to talk to your favourite celebrities

Innovative tech company Right of Reply announces the launch of Reply from the Stars, a communication platform deploying digital identity to allow widely followed individuals to communicate with specific members of their audience.

it’s important for celebrities to communicate regularly and continue to build their individual brand on a daily basis, but the tabloid culture has created problems around gossip and defamation leading many celebrities to back away from traditional media. Reply from the Stars aims to prevent defamation and libelous attacks by tabloid press, protecting celebrities’ reputation as well as their privacy. With this brand new platform, celebrities can communicate directly with their fan base in a fully verified and secured environment.

“One of the main problems with one-to-one communication online is trusting the identity of the person on the other side. With Right of Reply we have created a special technology to identify each user based on their social media and national IDs,” says Matteo Flora digital reputation expert. “After a user goes through our identification process, the platform will generate a token so the celebrity can be sure to be talking to their fan and not anyone else.”

The true value of the platform is in generating tokens that are assigned to each user. Each token will have a unique value that provides financial compensation for the celebrity, which can then, for example, be directed to charitable causes. The main purpose of the platform is to provide a new channel for influential figures to interact personally with their fan base whilst engaging in philanthropic activities.

Furthermore, the app ensures end-to-end encrypted messages which cannot be accessed by any third party to ensure maximum privacy and minimum exposure.

For the time being, ‘Reply from the Stars’ is being targeted at footballers, soap opera and stars. Who will be the first celebrities on Reply from The Stars app? Stay tuned to find out.

Right of Reply is developing a range of platforms designed to improve debate online and manage online reputation. Visit its page https://rightofreply.news

RoR Politics: A digital solution to promote healthy political debate online

A first-of-its-kind project tailored for political debate, creating an integrated environment where “discussions on matters of public interest can be initiated and continued with contribution from different political parties and a fact-checking mechanism to support both sides equally,” said Matteo Flora, from Right of Reply.

Social media has become the primary means for businesses, politicians and decision makers to reach their audiences. As a consequence, we have witnessed the growth of fake news and increased media distrust, so political parties need tools to communicate clear and transparent messages to the public, reducing bias and partisanism, as well as nurturing a more informed and conscious electorate.

With widespread misinformation and biased content emerging from the political realm on social media, voters are increasingly vulnerable to manipulation by information fabricated to fit into propaganda.

In fact, research by the European Commission showed that, 85 percent of EU respondents believe fake news to be a problem in their country, with almost 83 percent perceiving false or misrepresentative information as a threat to democracy.

Addressing this problem, innovative tech company Right of Reply has designed a digital platform, RoR Politics, to counter misinformation and political propaganda online. RoR Politics is convenient and easy to navigate, making truthful information easy to reach, preventing bias and social bubbles.

“Most people are not used to looking into political debates anymore and are confined inside their own social media bubbles, always consuming the same kind of information,” Matteo adds.

Information displayed on RoR Politics is verified by an independent body, partner to RoR with no political affiliation to ensure balance. More than fact-checking, RoR Politcs is about creating an open environment for constructive political debate.

How does it work?

RoR Politics allows replies to be embedded in the same place as the original content, promoting open, democratic debate through five RoR patented tools:

1. About Me, About You: Automated updates on any web content — article, image, video, blog, forum — which mentions or quotes a particular politician, candidate or party in any manner; with new content specifically highlighted.

2. Speak Truth: Allows response to content by writing a reply and offering evidence of facts, helping the public to draw accurate conclusions by offering evidence and contextualisation.

3. Offer Debate: Offers the candidate cited and/or their opponent the opportunity to respond to specific content by writing a reply.

4. Response Available: Signals to voters and the general public on other search engines that the candidate’s response to content is available.

5. Public Talk: Creates one single certified online repository about a cited candidate and/or their opponent, including all content. Allows comparison between rival platforms and voting history.

Stefania Barbaglio, from Right of Reply commented: “Right of Reply is a socially aware company concerned about fairness and justice in all spheres. We harness innovative technologies to counter unfair content online and allow users to make informed decisions based on the truth. RoR Politics opens the gate to an era of accountability and truth in politics, re-establishing the balance of power in democratic societies in a time of weakening democratic institutions.”

Right of Reply is developing a range of platforms designed to improve debate online and manage online reputation. Visit its page https://rightofreply.news

The price of online defamation: How protecting your online reputation is invaluable

The internet –social media in particular –represents an unprecedented open platform for communication and interaction. While individuals have gained greater scope to exercise their freedom of expression, the online space has also become the front line for the rise of criticism and offence. In the digital media age, the spread of information is wide-reaching and rapid, but one needs to bear in mind that the internet never forgets, so false claims made online can rarely be wiped out and as a result could cause untold damage to an individual’s reputation.

Defamation, also known as libel, is defined as a wrongful act constituting a false statement about an individual, whose reputation is damaged as a result. In cases involving businesses and companies, libel can have serious impact on performance and business indicators.

In the internet age, this is a problem requiring an urgent solution. During a round table hosted by Schillings Partners, a reputation management firm, 93% of attendees agreed that serious claims on the internet should be ignored.

“The instant nature of social media is certainly changing the face of defamation law,” said Ian Birdsey, a senior associate at Pinsent Masons, to the FT. “More and more people use social media to communicate, and often with people beyond their immediate social sphere. All this brings with it a number of challenges — and one of those would appear to be a rise in the number of defamation claims relating to derogatory online posts.”

Addressing the issues of libel and untrue statements, the Defamation Act 2013 came into force to strengthen protective measures for reputation against inappropriate claims. The Act raised the threshold of defamation from ‘substantial’ to ‘serious harm’, increasing the severity of the issue and the damage caused to the reputation of individual libel victims.

The Act has proved effective, as cases of libel have decreased in the UK. According to a research by Thomson Reuters, there were 49 reported defamation cases resulting in a court hearing in the UK over the year to the end of June 2017 , down from 86 three years ago.

Out of the total, 22 percent of the defendants were newspapers, down from 50 percent ten years ago. Despite the decrease, individual claims increased to 43 in 2017, up two on the year before, which perhaps signals that users are as yet unaware of the implications of false claims on social networks.

Paying the price: Costs of defamatory claims affects individuals and corporations

The indiscriminate use of social media can indeed be very expensive for users, who may consider their online behavior benign, but in reality negatively impact someone’s image with their opinion. Back in 2014, Sharon Smith, a fitness instructor, faced legal action by Joanne Walder after posting on her Facebook that Walder had been the perpetrator of acts of violence. Walder claimed more than £20,000 in damages.

A spokesman for Sharon Smith said to the Evening Standard at the time: “The message which prompted the case was only meant to be sent to a close friend. However, it ended up being posted to all her friends — clearly showing the potential pitfalls of Facebook.”

Earlier in April, US first lady Melania Trump won damages from Daily Mail after the paper made allegations that she had worked as an escort. After withdrawing the allegations and publishing an apology, Daily Mail settled the case for $3 million.

In another episode last year, Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins was ordered to pay £24,000 in damages to writer and food blogger Jack Monroe after Hopkins attacked her via Twitter.

“It’s been a horrible, stressful experience and I’m so relieved it’s over. There are six ringbinders full of hateful poisonous messages I received, and I’ve had to read and reread them in the course of all this. I’m so glad I’ll never have to read them again,” said Monroe to the Guardian.

The solution: Give subjects the right to reply to the claim

A platform which allows all participants in a story a space to defend themselves, provide their version of the facts and tell their truth would prove invaluable. It is important to guarantee right of reply in the same space so as to not lose relevance and time, which could further intensify any reputation damage.

Right of Reply has a new, innovative solution that empowers individuals to directly control their online reputation. The concept of ‘Right of Reply’ offers individuals the right to respond to any criticism made about them in the same place that the original criticism was published, through its suite of patented search, respond and publish tools.

“We recognise the value of online reputation management and addressing incorrect and defamatory content that can spread easily on the internet. The significant associated legal costs could be saved if there was a tool available to manage replies to erroneous content and statements. RoR has created a revolutionary solution and product for newspapers and online media to circumnavigate the risk of lawsuits by people mentioned in their content. Our aim is to create an online reputation ecosystem for individuals to manage their online reputations in a simple, direct, low-cost and effective way that empowers individuals and at the same time protects online media,” said Stefania Barbaglio, Right of Reply PR and UK Development.

To find out more about Right of Reply’s services, please visit the company website https://rightofreply.news

Right of Reply team will also be attending and presenting at the upcoming Cassiopeia Investor Symposium on the 21 November 2018.

For more information and to register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cassiopeia-investor-symposium-tickets-47398735895

PlusOneCoin bucking the crypto market trend

PlusOneCoin is a unique social affirmation coin for the investment and trading community. The coin was developed in a joint venture between ADVFN and Online Blockchain (OBC) both of which benefit from a highly experienced common team. The team is steadily progressing with the coin applications moving beyond the standard altcoin model.

PlusOneCoin offers more than just the average social cryptocurrency; it is:

  1. A means to educate the ADVFN investor community -which pretty much focussed on the equity markets and used to speculating about stocks- about the crypto world
  2. A new community mechanism for the ADVFN BB (Chat Rooms) that rewards content creators and ADVFN platform generating crypto revenue
  3. A real life ‘sandbox’ for the OBC developers to build their middleware software around

As we as allowing users to monetise their social presence and one of PlusOneCoin’s major USP is its ability that it can be mined on any personal computer. There are essentially two ways of acquiring the coins:

1) Download a wallet (available for both Windows and Macs here — https://www.plusonecoin.org/ ) and mine the coins using your computers’ processing power.

2) Have your content up voted on ADVFN chat rooms (BB)

3) Buy/Trade the coin on Satoshi Coin Exchange (https://www.tradesatoshi.com/Exchange/?market=PLUS1_BTC )

How to upvote content
PlusOneCoin Wall showing top voted content

On Thursday, zccording to Satoshi Coin Exchange, PlusOneCoin had a 34% increase in just 24 hours starting from a Low: USD0.000006700.00000897 to High: USD0.00000897due to an increase in the mining of coin. Looking at the coin’s history as a whole, PlusOneCoin was listed on the Satoshi Coin Exchange on 14TH March 2018, valued at USD0.00000352, and has been performing well over the summer..

Last week PlusOneCoin started to spike on 10th September when it opened on a high of USD0.00000949 reaching highest value of USD0.00001331 on 12th September 2018. The figures also show an impressive consolidation in terms of volume, closing at 1178.8162 BTC for PlusOneCoin as compared to its humble beginning in March when it was valued at USD0.00090108 BTC.

Don't miss your chance to get your Plus One Coin Faucet!

The Online Ogre: Dealing with Trolling and Defamation on Social Media

Widespread adoption of social media has created blurred boundaries around online privacy. Nowadays, as a great deal of interpersonal communication takes place on the web, personal exposure in the form of social media interaction cannot easily be taken back if you have been less than careful with your words.

The internet is indeed full of trolls: those who purposely bully and offend other users online Despite this, we do not have an efficient range of easily accessible tools to tackle the challenge.

Under the principle of fairness, anyone who has been defamed has the right to reply to that claim in the same location and by the same means as the offender. However, everything happens all too quickly online and, as Warren Buffett said, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”.

Users who have been trolled or bullied on social media may experience it so negatively that they do not feel like resuming activity on social networks. This is the story of April, a young girl from England whose experience with social media platforms during her teenage years was not so pleasant, leading to her relationship with social media has been permanently damaged.

Cassiopeia: Can you share your experience with social media trolling?

April: Essentially, when I was younger, I had a Tumblr account where I posted about YouTubers etc. It was all fun, but I did have a fair following of about 20k.

When I was doing this, I had a large group of friends who all had about the same following — we’d meet up as much as we could at events and stuff, it was nice.

But essentially at some point it began going downhill. With Tumblr you can get anonymous messages, so all the time I’d receive messages about my size and my personality, being called fat and annoying etc. When I reflect now, I know those people were probably 14 themselves and just looking for something to do, but when I was 14 it did really affect me. I’d turn my anonymous section off, but then the hate would go to my partner at the time who I had met on the website (she also got hate in this same way).

I think the worst of it was, from what I remember, an entire account was created, to hate on me and my friends, with people sending anonymous messages about how much they hate us etc. Eventually we managed to get the blog deleted but more comments were made.

Also, I remember once I created a help blog where people who were receiving hate or horrible messages could talk and get advice — but this got hacked and the blog got plastered with messages from the hacker saying I was apparently ‘homophobic’ and used the ’n’ word. You can imagine how this went down — the messages I got were awful.

At the time, it felt horrible. I was left wondering — why? But in hindsight, I think maybe it was jealousy — young girls my age bitter about me having loads of followers or talking to their beloved YouTubers on a regular basis. I guess, now, I feel sorry for them and I hope they’ve grown up in the same way I have. I mean, at the time, the internet was still young.

C: When this happened to you, were the routes for resolution available to you clear?

A: When all this was going on, the internet was still young really, I guess some people would consider my generation the first to use the internet like this. The options weren’t really clear, I wasn’t sure what to do except turn off my anonymous settings. After I had done that, some of the hate did die down, but some of it just went straight to my friends’ blogs.

C: What options do you wish were available to you when this happened to you?

A: I wish I had known more about online hate in the first place — what it is and what it can do. It was a shock to me — bullying on my laptop? How does this happen? But essentially, if I could go back, I think a system, maybe as simple as a button on all social media to report hateful comments would be simple and I think anonymous chat sites especially should have something like this, as it’s easier to be horrible when you think there are no consequences. Maybe even a support network, where younger children feel safe to talk about their experiences, as sometimes it can be hard for children to talk to their parents.

C: What effect, if any, did this have on your day-to-day life?

A: I really wouldn’t say it had an explicit effect on my day to day life. I mean, it did make me think about my weight etc, but I consider myself lucky that I’m not a sensitive person and can take things such as this on the chin. I can’t imagine how those who are easily affected by what people say to them would feel.

C: Do you think that information presented online about someone can have an impact in the real world (for better or worse)?

A: Oh 100%!I honestly believe that what you put on social media can make or break you, in some extreme cases, things you ‘innocently’ say online can literally have you fired or a nice thing you post online can low-key make you famous (kids on Ellen being found through videos on Facebook etc).

C: Did this experience change your relationship with social media? How?

A: Yes. I’m a lot more careful about things I say on posts, if I wouldn’t say something in person, I won’t say it online and I think that is a good motto to have. Additionally, I don’t use Tumblr anymore and have strong privacy settings on everything, I only want my friends and approved people to see what I’m doing — I wouldn’t want to risk having trolls commenting ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ on nice pictures of me at the beach etc.

Cassiopeia is running a series of case studies on the impacts of online interactions, trolling and defamation. We are keen to hear about personal stories as well as businesses cases. If you’d like to share your story with us and help us raise awareness of the issue, email us on info@cassiopeia-ltd.com

Online Reputation: Looking after your image online

The internet never forgets: a lesson all too quickly learnt when sharing opinions online. Nowadays, as a great deal of interpersonal communication takes place on the web, personal exposure in the form of social media interaction cannot easily be taken back if you have been less than careful with your words.

South African presenter Trevor Noah knows this far too well. Five years ago, he told a joke perceived by many as racist. The clip resurfaced on the web only a while ago, prompting an outpouring of hate towards him on social media. Angry users hit back at Trevor over his comments, launching a campaign in Australia to boycott his upcoming tour.

Privacy boundaries are blurred in the online world. It is not uncommon to hear about cases of job applicants who miss out on employment opportunities because pictures and posts of a personal nature — which could be considered inappropriate for their professional image — are in the public domain.

Protecting our online reputation is indeed a tall order even for those who are not in the spotlight or have not supposedly compromised their image with polemical comments. The internet is full of trolls: those who purposely bully and offend other users online, sometimes in exchange for cash.

Just as individuals need to be mindful about their exposure online, companies’ reputations can also take a hit when they open themselves up to reviews. Over two million negative comments about businesses are made daily on social media platforms in the United States.

These days, when consumers can search and review businesses all too easily with their phones, online brand reputation is one of the most important assets a company can have. A study from Invesp pointed out that nearly 90 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

As web-based interaction becomes ever more intrinsic to our lives, authorities have recognised the importance of preserving online reputation, and as such are working towards protecting users from trolls and malicious activity online.

Right of Reply, a leading innovative online reputation platform, believes that empowering individuals to regain control and ‘tell their truth’ is the key. “The right of reply is a legitimate right granted by law. yet exercising this right is difficult, time consuming and expensive. even when exercised, the reply tends to come too late to have sufficient impact in balancing out the damaging content. it is important that every individual is in a position to reply to any kind of online content in easy, timely and cost-effective manner proportionate to the wrong or misleading content. this applies to every medium by which reputation can be damaged: press and media statements, blog articles, credit reports and social media” Right of Reply commented.

The EU has put some regulation in place to protect individuals in their battle to preserve their online image: since 2014, after a case in Spain, the European Court of Justice established the ‘right to be forgotten’, meaning that a person has the legal right to have sensitive, personal online content removed.

If a European citizen asks Google to remove certain pieces of personal information from the web, Google has the obligation to comply. Since this right was established, there have been more than 700,000 requests to Google to remove sensitive content from its search engines.

“I often think of the right to be forgotten as an obligation that falls on companies like Google,” said Michael Douglas, senior law lecturer at the University of Western Australia, as he highlights that data braches and scandals such as that of Cambridge Analytica are attracting the attention of regulators and authorities all across the world.