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Twitter CEO says new tools to fight online abuses are almost here

Sooner than later would be better

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says – on Twitter, of course – that the social network is “taking a completely new approach to abuse on Twitter.” No, not dishing it out, but rather trying to tamp down on the complaints about hate speech and harassment users say the network is too slow to respond to. Along with Jack’s tweet, Twitter VP of Engineering Ed Ho said, again on Twitter, that they are working on “long overdue fixes.”

One strategy the company is pursuing, according to Ho, is blocking banned users from establishing new accounts. Another is a “safe search” feature that blocks offensive content. And, Ho said more changes are on the way, soon. We’re looking forward to meeting the new sheriff in town.

Live Video Fail compilations coming soon

Live video from a mobile phone is the hot new thing in social media of course, and so far, one outlier has been YouTube. YouTube has had live video from a PC since 2011, but the ability to go live from a mobile phone has only been available recently to a small, select group of high-profile YouTubers, but will now expand to users with 10,000 or more subscribers. The rest of us less popular folks will get it “soon.”

When “soon” will be wasn’t detailed, but an interesting feature called “super chat” will roll out with it. Super Chat lets viewers pay – like five bucks – to have their comments float to the top of the comment stream and be highlighted in a bright color for up to five hours. Who in the world would pay for such a thing? Apparently, a lot of people.

YouTube star Clintus McGintus said he gave the as-yet unpublicized feature a go while shopping at a Target and said he reeled in 900 bucks – in 30 minutes. Of course, having half a million subscribers probably helps. Hit the link for more details on YouTube’s new live video and Super Chat features.

A bit too smart of a TV

Remember back in 2015 when it was revealed Vizio was tracking the viewing habits of people watching their “smart” TVs and then selling that information to third-party advertising companies? No? We know, that seems quaint in some ways, but the Federal Trade Commission remembers and just nicked the company $2.2 million.

More interesting was the sheer volume of data being sponged up: The FTC said Vizio was capturing up to 100 billion data points per day from more than 10 million users. What were those data points? Apparently, information down to the pixel was sent in regards to what people were watching, streaming, their ISP information, IP address and so forth. They were also storing the data permanently as well as sending it along to advertisers.

Vizio initially claimed the data collection was accidental and anonymous, but that apparently didn’t fly with the FTC, who told Vizio to delete all those bits and not do it again. Question is: Is anyone else doing this type of thing? There’s a reason online companies seem to always know what you want to buy, and it’s not dumb luck. And a two million dollar fine to a company like Vizio is chump change, so we’ll see if this incident has any real impact on data collection.