Removing hate speech from the Internet, adopting your favorite emoji, hailing an Uber through Facebook, banning Star Wars spoilers from Reddit, and the Star Wars singalong to end all Star Wars singalongs.
Germany Wants to Remove Hate Speech
Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all agreed to remove hate speech from their websites within 24 hours of it being posted. This is as a result of the German government asking the tech giants to help fight against racism being directed at the Syrian refugees settling in the country.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas told Reuters:
“When the limits of free speech are trespassed, when it is about criminal expressions, sedition, incitement to carry out criminal offences that threaten people, such content has to be deleted from the net. And we agree that as a rule this should be possible within 24 hours.”
It’s important to note that this isn’t about removing all traces of nastiness from the Internet. Not only would that be an impossible task, it would also impinge on people’s right to free speech. Instead, this is about stopping people inciting violence against particular people or groups of people. The problem is there’s a fine line between stopping hate speech and stifling free speech.
Free speech isn’t, of course, the freedom to say whatever you want without consequences. If you say something hateful or controversial then people will push back and tell you you’re wrong. However, the right to express that opinion, no matter how unpopular it may be, is one we should hold onto with every fiber in our being.
Adopt Your Favorite Emoji Character
You can now adopt your favorite emoji, with the Unicode Consortium launching its new Adopt-a-Character campaign. This allows any individual or company to adopt one of the 120,000 emoji characters in existence, paying anything from $100 to $5,000 for the privilege.
This money buys you bragging rights to the character, and a link on the Unicode Consortium website. The sponsorships run for 12 months, with the Gold level ($5,000) buying you an exclusive sponsorship of a particular emoji. However, the real aim of the Adopt-a-Character campaign is to raise funds for the Unicode Consortium.
The Unicode Consortium is the non-profit organization responsible for coordinating the development of the Unicode standard, with its stated goal being to “enable people around the world to use computers in any language.” However, it’s best known for creating the emoji that are increasingly commonplace on the Web.
Facebook Hails an Uber for You
You can now hail an Uber directly from within the Facebook Messenger app. This is thanks to a new Transportation option that Facebook has added to the latest version of Messenger. Facebook has initially partnered with Uber in the United States, but the social network looks likely to add more services in more countries in the future.
The partnership means you no longer need the Uber app to use the service. Instead, as long as you’re using the latest version of Messenger, you can call an Uber from directly within Facebook’s app. You can then track the status of your ride and pay for it all without ever leaving the warm embrace of Facebook.
As a way of promoting Transportation, for a limited time only Facebook is offering free rides with Uber. This can only be claimed once, and only up to the value of $20, but anything is better than nothing.
Reddit Bans Star Wars Spoilsports
Reddit moderators on some forums are banning users who post spoilers of The Force Awakens. The mods at /r/movies are cracking down on anyone spoiling the new Star Wars movie, deleting the offending comments and banning the users responsible from the subreddit.
After posting a general warning to avoid spoiling the movie, moderator TheGreatZeigfeld stated, “We’ve banned dozens of users so far for this. I think all the mods have had it spoiled for them by now. We’ll do our best to make sure you guys don’t suffer the same fate.”
This is a tricky issue, especially in light of the story above regarding the importance of free speech. However, people aren’t spoiling Star Wars to make a point, they’re just doing it to be trollish dicks. So deleting their comments and preventing them from doing it again may be justified.
Jimmy Fallon Leads a Star Wars Medley
And finally, The Force Awakens has finally arrived, with the new Star Wars movie opening at midnight tonight. This means Tech News Digest is likely to have a lot less Star Wars stories from here on in, so we thought we would go out with a bang. Courtesy of Jimmy Fallon.
This video shows late night chat show host Fallon teaming up with The Roots and several members of the Star Wars cast to perform an a capella medley of songs from the series. It’s the perfect way to prepare for The Force Awakens, and now we urge geeks everywhere to go and see the movie.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Where do you stand on the issue of free speech? Which emoji would you adopt? Is Facebook growing out of control? Should Reddit be banning people for posting Star Wars spoilers? Can The Force Awakens live up to the hype?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credits: B Rosen via Flickr