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Google has promised to change the default settings on its services to store less user browser history and location data on its servers. The default setting will only apply to new users — existing users will need to change the settings themselves.

NBC News reports that Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced in a recent blog post that the web giant would be changing the default options on its services, claiming that users’ browsing history and location data would only be stored on Google’s servers for 18 months.

Currently, users have to specifically state that they want their activity data to be deleted by Google, according to Pichai, the firm’s new default options will mean that users’ data is continuously being stored and deleted. “This means your activity data will be automatically and continuously deleted after 18 months, rather than kept until you choose to delete it,” Pichai said.

No changes will be made to existing Google accounts and users who have already turned on their location history in Google settings, but the firm plans to inform existing users of the new option to set up auto-deletion of their data after three to 18 months. Users’ can also opt to have none of their data history stored whatsoever.

The decision from Google comes as many grow wary of Silicon Valley tech giants growing control over user personal data, which Google uses to fuel its extremely lucrative advertising business by allowing advertisers to better target their ads towards consumers based on their personal data.

Privacy advocates have criticized Google for some time for collecting and storing data for much longer than is necessary to operate its services. Breitbart News reported last week that a spyware attack targeted users of Google’s Chrome web browser via browser extensions which received 32 million downloads. Google stated that it removed more than 70 malicious extensions from its Chrome Web Store after researchers at Awake Security alerted them to the issue.

Author: Lucas Nolan

Source: Breitbart: Google Promises Less Spying on Users’ Web Browsing, Locations

Twitter recently stated that it will restrict how users can engage with tweets from world leaders, including President Donald Trump, if the company decides their tweets break the site’s rules. Other users will not be able to reply, like, or retweet Trump and other world leader’s tweets restricted in this way. The company will algorithmically bury the tweet, making them harder to find.

TechCrunch reports that Twitter has stated recently that it will restrict how users can interact with tweets from world leaders who break the site’s rules. The site will not allow users to like, reply, share, or retweet any offending tweets from world leaders but will allow them to “quote-tweet” in order to express their opinion about the tweet.

Twitter stated that this decision was made in an effort to help users stay informed about current events while balancing the need to enforce rules on the website. The company stated in a blog post:

Twitter generally removes Tweets that violate our rules. However, we recognize that sometimes it may be in the public interest to allow people to view Tweets that would otherwise be taken down. We consider content to be in the public interest if it directly contributes to understanding or discussion of a matter of public concern.

At present, we limit exceptions to one critical type of public-interest content—Tweets from elected and government officials—given the significant public interest in knowing and being able to discuss their actions and statements.

As a result, in rare instances, we may choose to leave up a Tweet from an elected or government official that would otherwise be taken down. Instead we will place it behind a notice providing context about the rule violation that allows people to click through to see the Tweet. Placing a Tweet behind this notice also limits the ability to engage with the Tweet through likes, Retweets, or sharing on Twitter, and makes sure the Tweet isn’t algorithmically recommended by Twitter. These actions are meant to limit the Tweet’s reach while maintaining the public’s ability to view and discuss it. Learn more about this notice and other enforcement actions.

The company summarized its decision in a tweet which can be seen below:

The company added in a tweet: “Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account.”

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has called on Twitter to ban President Trump over his tweets regarding the so-called Ukraine “whistleblower” and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

As has Avengers director Joss Whedon who stated in a tweet: “Can I just add to this crucial thread that in the interests of national security he should be immediately banned from Twitter?”

Twitter has previously refused to ban the president stating that doing so would not silence him but would instead hamper discussion around his words and actions:

There’s been a lot of discussion about political figures and world leaders on Twitter, and we want to share our stance.

Twitter is here to serve and help advance the global, public conversation. Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society.

Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.

We review Tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly. No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth, or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.

We are working to make Twitter the best place to see and freely discuss everything that matters. We believe that’s the best way to help our society make progress.

Breitbart News will continue to follow Twitter’s actions against President Donald Trump and other conservatives in advance of the 2020 election.

Author: Lucas Nolan

Source: Breitbart: 2020: Twitter Unveils Another Method to Keep Trump’s Twitter Hidden from Users

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