Trump administration takes a first step toward regulating Facebook, Google

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Facebook employees
The US government may soon be looking over Facebook's shoulder to better protect your privacy. Unless Facebook and Google can prevent it, of course.
Photo: Facebook

The Commerce Dept. is reportedly talking to social networking companies and consumer advocates about rules to protect online privacy. Also included are possible protections for companies that have data breeches.

This is supposedly laying the groundwork for legislation that might be proposed this fall.

What happened to Facebook today won’t happen to Apple

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facebook
Wall Street hammered Facebook today. But the privacy concerns that pushed the company's share price down almost 20 percent aren't an issue for Apple.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Facebook lost more value today than any other company in history: $120 billion. The massive selloff came after CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the growing privacy concerns of the public, and the likely response of lawmakers and regulators, will hit the company where it hurts: in the pocketbook.

On the same day Facebook lost 19 percent of its value, Apple’s share price was unaffected. This is because the two companies have diametrically opposing views on the privacy rights of the public. What hurt Facebook so much is actually one of Apple’s strengths.

Instagram will blur ‘sensitive’ photos if anyone complains

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If this appears on a photo in your Instagram feed, a user flagged the content as disturbing.
If this appears on a photo in your Instagram feed, a user flagged the content as disturbing.
Photo: Instagram

Instagram will begin cloaking photos it deems “sensitive” with a blur screen that warns users of potentially troubling content.

This is the latest tool in a series instituted by Instagram to make the mobile photo- and video-sharing platform “safer” for its more than 600 million users. CEO Kevin Systrom wrote on the Instagram blog that photos will only be screened after a user has complained and a review team evaluates whether the content merits the warning cover.

Instagram controls let you share more love, shut out hate

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Instagram
Instagram makes sharing Stories simpler.
Photo: Instagram

In a year highlighted by high-octane social media unkindness, Instagram is adding controls to make the photo sharing site safe for all.

Instagram will soon give its 500 million users a setting to turn off comments on any post, the ability to remove followers from private accounts, and a tool to anonymously report users expressing signs of hurting themselves.