Tech this week: Facebook and Twitter fined, Kaseya’s key, Instagram's sliding offence scale

Twitter and Facebook were both fined by Russian authorities for failing to delete "illegal content".
Twitter and Facebook were both fined by Russian authorities for failing to delete "illegal content". Copyright Martin Meissner/AP
By Wale Azeez
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What happened in tech this week? Facebook and Twitter were fined in Russia and Instagram launched an offensive content scale.


Facebook and Twitter were fined this week by a Russian court, for failing to delete what it called "illegal content".

The Tagansky court in Moscow fined Facebook a total of 6 million roubles (€69,000) for two offences and Twitter 5.5 million roubles (€63,335) for two offences.

The US-based messaging service Telegram was fined 11 million roubles (€126,670).

Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnazdor told Reuters that Twitter has faced punitive measures since March for carrying posts featuring child pornography and information on drug abuse or calls for children to commit suicide.

Although Twitter refuted that it allowed its platform to be used for illegal behaviour, saying it has a "zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation and prohibits the promotion of suicide or self-harm".

The fines come amidst an ongoing Russian clampdown on the giant US tech companies, as the government demands that they establish offices and retain Russian personal data within the country.

Kaseya’s network set free with a decryption key

Kaseya, the Florida-based company hit by a devastating July 4 ransomware attack, finally got hold of a universal key on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after the cyber assault on the managed services provider that led to more than a thousand businesses being interrupted.

Kaseya spokesperson Dana Liedholm would not say whether the company paid up to the Russian cybercriminal gang allegedly responsible for the attack via malware, her only response being that the key was obtained from a "reliable third party", and has been shared with the firm’s partners.

The impact was felt in Europe, too. One major casualty was the Swedish retail chain Coop, which was forced to close around 500 shops that couldn’t operate point of sale tills and self-service checkout as a result.

The shadowy circumstances behind the malware attack and the Russia-linked REvil that allegedly spread malware through the network became even more of a mystery after the cybercriminals disappeared from the face of the Internet on July 13.

Instagram’s Controlling Sensation?

Instagram has introduced a 'Sensitive Content Control' feature to allow users to decide for themselves on the degree to which they wish to be able to view offensive or upsetting photos and videos on the social media platform’s Explore page.

The new 'Sensitive Content Control' settings on Instagram.Instagram

The feature works as a "slider" that provides the 'Allow' option to see more offensive or upsetting content but which won’t be available to users under 18 years old. The default 'Limit' option and a 'Limit even more' option cuts out offensive or upsetting content altogether.

"You can think of sensitive content as posts that don’t necessarily break our rules but could potentially be upsetting to some people - such as posts that may be sexually suggestive or violent...We recognize that everybody has different preferences for what they want to see in Explore, and this control will give people more choice over what they see," the Facebook-owned platform said on its blog.

Additional sources • Reuters

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