Skip to main content

tv   Click  BBC News  January 28, 2021 3:30am-4:00am GMT

3:30 am
to try to reduce the impact of climate change. he's called it an existential threat. he's said climate considerations should be a focus of american foreign and national security policy, and said the us must lead the global response. among the measures announced is a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public land. the row between the pharmaceutical company astrazeneca and the european union over a shortage of coronavirus vaccines has escalated. the eu's health commissioner has insisted that astrazeneca come up with a clear plan to deliver on their contractual obligations to supply vaccines. a team of world health organization experts in wuhan are to begin investigating the origins of the pandemic. they've been isolating in the chinese city for the last two weeks — and will study research institutes, hospitals and the seafood market linked to the initial outbreak.
3:31 am
now on bbc news — click. this week, as 45 becomes a6, we'll talk to some of the most important voices in social media to find out what the new president might do to put right the wrongs of big tech. theme music plays. hey, welcome! hope you're doing 0k, and wow, what a momentous week in world politics this has been. whether or not you're in the united states, what's happened there will affect us all. i, joseph robinette bidenjr, do solemnly swear...
3:32 am
lara lewington: joe biden's become the 46th president. of the united states. lots about the last few weeks has broken with convention and almost broken democracy in the process. it reminded everyone just how fragile democratic systems are, even at the heart of the free world. and at the grand finale of this election, the spotlight is now firmly on big tech and their practices, having shown the world the havoc, the mistruths and conspiracy theories that fake news can bring. let's begin to listen to one another again, show respect to one another. and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured. applause. as president biden takes office, many, including the tech giants themselves, know that change is inevitable.
3:33 am
but how much and what that change is going to be is still unclear. james clayton has been investigating what may be in store for them in the era of biden. here's a striking thing about many who broke into the capitol hill complex. take it back! ! let's go! armed with phones, many live—streamed their actions or took selfies showing off their entry into the inner sanctum of american democracy — theatre designed for social media. big tech's role in what happened onjanuary 6 cannot be underplayed. sure, donald trump used social media to stoke up the mob. sure, smaller players like parler and gab egged on the crowd. but conspiracy theories and extremism on mainstream social media is how many people wound up here. many companies, like twitter, for years have been protected by a tiny piece of legislation known as section 230. section 230 was written in the mid �*90s. it's been instrumental
3:34 am
in the development of many of the services we know and love. the internet really wouldn't be the same without it. it's the reason we can upload any video we like on youtube or post freely on places like facebook and twitter. here's the crucial sentence. "no provider or user of an interactive computer or, in other words, big tech can't get sued for what you and me do on their platforms. january 6 was a watershed moment, notjust for the us, but for big tech, too — the likes of twitter and facebook — because it now seems likely, if not inevitable, that section 230 is going to be replaced. this is what president biden had to say to the new york times last year.
3:35 am
"the new york times can't write something you know to be false but there are dangers with removing section 230. i took him at his word when he says he wants to repeal it, that he's going to engage in the conversation. i hope he doesn't attempt to actually outright repeal it, because we have to remember section 230 also protects small tech platforms, not just the dominant ones, from lawsuits and we don't want to kill small tech platforms before they get a chance to grow and compete. the case of ashli babbitt is why many politicians now feel it's time to act. she was shot and killed as she broke into the capitol complex — a wild thing to do with a tragic outcome. but what had driven her to do such a thing? well, it's likely a myriad reasons. but what we do know is that she was keen on twitter. she tweeted just the day
3:36 am
before her death. her feed is filled with allegations that the election was stolen, that a revolution was on its way. sensational, sometimes fantastical tweets tweeted and retweeted over and over again. in the last few weeks before the capitol insurrection, she'd been retweeting non—stop some of the biggest conspiracy theorists and qanon supporters. i don't think that jack dorsey is responsible for the fact that she individually is tweeting information that may or may not be false. but what i would love to know is where did she go from being a disillusioned air force vet trying to adjust to society in the civilian world to full—blown conspiracy theorist who is willing to engage in an act of insurrection? like i said, you can consider yourself put on notice, me and the american people! i am so tired of this! ashli babbitt was engaging with conspiracy theories — in her case on twitter —
3:37 am
that simply weren't true. now, we don't know what content was being suggested to her but what we do know is that some believe that the algorithms that companies like twitter are using should be looked at by biden. they are providing tools — whether it's the recommendation engines, the algorithms that decide how they curate content, the targeting tools that they are selling to advertisers to target communities with messages — there's no transparency into how any of those things work. and that's what i would love to focus on, if we could figure out how to build in transparency requirements, and whether that becomes a government oversight board or a civil society oversight, whatever it looks like, these things can't keep happening in a black box. when biden criticises big tech, he often picks out one company and one company alone — facebook. for him, it's become almost a byword for a free internet gone wrong. here's another quote from joe biden about facebook from that new york
3:38 am
times interview. "facebook is propagating falsehoods they know to be false. and then, in an open letter to the company before the election, he asked them to do more to take down fake news. it didn't used to be this way — facebook execs reportedly had a good relationship with the 0bama administration — but then 2016 happened — cambridge analytica, the trump campaign's ruthlessly effective use of the social network, and things have gone downhill since then. ok, i'm recording... sarah miller is director of the american economic liberties project and also happens to be onjoe biden�*s transition team. she believes mark zuckerberg in particular should be worried. he is not a welcome figure at the cocktail party any more and i don't think he has been for a long time.
3:39 am
there is not a lot of love lost there. i think facebook is really kind of broadly seen as the most prominent villain, kind of, among all the tech monopolists. and i don't think that's any different, kind of, among most biden officials. the will of the people has been heard! so, what could joe biden do when it comes to big tech and social media? for more than a century, the us has had tough antitrust laws. these were implemented after a handful of companies, or trusts, came to dominate the utilities of the us economy in the early 20th century. the same antitrust charge is now laid firmly at the door of big tech. there are already two antitrust lawsuits in the us — one against google, accusing the company of dominating search and advertising, and one against facebook, accused of using a buy—or—bury strategy to hurt rivals. many democrats want biden to go much further. democracy has prevailed!
3:40 am
yeah, a number of democrats have called for breaking up dominant tech platforms. whether you're talking about elizabeth warren or others, they — they're looking at the marketplace and they see that there's not a lot of competition rising up, not a lot of choices for consumers, and a lot of accusations that i think these investigations have started to shine an even brighter light with the evidence of their finding. that's right. within the democrats, it's a widely held view that big tech doesn'tjust need its wings clipped, that companies like google and facebook may have to be split up. so i think that we're kind of going into an administration where there is a high degree of sophistication around the problems and there is a lot of outside momentum that is going to push them, even if they themselves don't feel comfortable, maybe, being in the leadership position here, that is going to push them in the right direction, and that includes aggressive action in congress.
3:41 am
so, would joe biden really go that far? yael eisenstat is a former security advisor to joe biden. 0n the one hand, i've — i do think he has an incredible ability to really — and i know this sounds cliche — but to really bring multiple voices together to try to solve things, right? to really — he understands how government works, he understands how to get things done. if the united states wants to continue to thrive as a democracy, whether we like it or not, we are going to have to figure out how to represent all americans, not just our own opinions. and biden is great at that. that said, it's a different time, right? things are so much more extreme now, so i don't know which direction he'll choose. i suspect, though, that he will always try to bring the most diverse set of voices as possible to the conversation. this one is tough, though, because there, for so long, has been such a strong influence from silicon valley leaders and everyone that they've funded on how we should be attacking these issues, that it is going to be a very big challenge.
3:42 am
the whole point of enforcing anti—trust laws, and perhaps even breaking up big tech, is to introduce more competition to places like san francisco and silicon valley that have for years been dominated byjust a handful of mega tech companies. that could, in theory, usher in a new period of tech innovation, but big tech has big pockets. it's likely they're going to fight this all the way. hello and welcome to the week in tech. it was the week that ex—google engineer anthony levandowski was amongst a flurry of presidential pardons signed by donald trump in his final days in office. levandowski had been sentenced to 18 months injail for stealing trade secrets relating to driverless cars. and israeli outfit storedot has, for the first time, factory produced an electric
3:43 am
car battery which can fully charge injust five minutes. contemporary charging infrastructure would need to be upgraded, though, to allow for five—minute charging. so richard branson�*s other space company — the one that deals with commercial stuff, not super—wealthy space tourists — hasjust marked a major milestone. it has successfully launched satellites into space. virgin 0rbit makes use of an old boeing 7a7 airliner adapted to launch a rocket from its wing, which then blasts off to deliver a payload — in this case, ten small satellites. not to be outdone, elon musk�*s spacex managed a record—breaking eighth reuse of its falcon 9 rocket, this week as well. and finally, do not adjust your tv set, phone, tablet or computer screen. the images you are seeing here aren't real, but a graphics test from british developers
3:44 am
ninja theory from its new game project mara. details about the game are scarce but we do know it will be set in one apartment and draw on elements of the horrors of the human mind. i don't know about the horrors of the human mind, but those surfaces look like an absolute nightmare to keep clean! as we heard from james, there's a lot of uncertainty around how president biden will tackle the issues raised by big tech. one of the main ones is how the social media giants should balance freedom of speech and information with the dangers that can arise from unfiltered speech and misinformation. one of facebook�*s ideas was to set up an independent oversight board, which it says would help guide it as it decides how to deal with contentious material. and it has been called into action to review one of, if not the most contentious issue that facebook has ever
3:45 am
faced — the indefinite suspension of a sitting president's account. i spoke to one of the board members, alan rusbridger, about what comes next. i must slightly watch my language in not — in being perfectly careful not to prejudge it, because it is an immensely significant thing. the silencing of donald trump across social media — his megaphone for the last four years — has brought another uncomfortable truth to the fore — that the execs ofjust a few tech companies have control over whose voices are heard around the world. how do you feel about the power that, basically, about four men in silicon valley have? i feel that it's frightening. and i don't know them, but i suspect they think it's frightening, too. you know, these are,
3:46 am
by and large, engineers who are brilliant at engineering. and suddenly, belatedly, they've woken up to the fact that they've got these multiple new dimensions to what they've unleashed, and i think it's been sobering for them. i think it's entirely right that they should be held to account, they should be criticised, they should be investigated, and that a very fierce searchlight should be shone on them in order, if nothing else, to make them aware of the magnitude of their power and responsibility. and jack dorsey, twitter�*s ceo himself, said that he feels that it's set a dangerous precedent. the social media company's actions have also undermined their claims that they are simply impartial platforms who are shielded from what their users post, rather than publishers who have ethical and legal responsibilities. we haven't really even got a word to describe what they are.
3:47 am
we can't describe... we can't decide if they're publishers or platforms. there isn't a sort of word in the english language that describes this entity, but nevertheless, they are kind of gatekeepers. and as we've seen in the last month or so, they're — they are exercising rather old—fashioned kinds of editorial control. and so the job of the gatekeeper in creating a manageable and trustworthy and reliable flow of information are going to be crucial. and they have to start making decisions. are they simply there for the profits? have they got a different kind of function? this aspect of public service that i think will be more and more important with news — that — thatjust as a society can't function without clean water, it can't function without clean information, and that the platforms, publishers, the giants — whatever we're going to call them — are, i hope, going to take this responsibility more seriously than
3:48 am
they have in the past. do you think in five or ten years' time, profit will win out again and we will have all forgotten, or not quite been clear on the role of the media and social media and how good or bad things were that time ago? my sense is that the huge profits that motivated and drove media owners and gatekeepers in the past are simply not going to be there. they might be there for a tiny handful of companies. it would be lovely, wouldn't it, if people went back to paying, and if there was enough advertising to support real news? but you have to question whether that's going to happen. and they have to have a plan b, and plan b is a question for society as a whole. having seen what happens when you have information chaos, are you prepared to pay, in some way, to have the news that staves off that
3:49 am
kind of chaos? now, whether that's going to be a direct subsidy, indirect subsidy, whether it's going to be a form of philanthropy, a form of taxation, these are all going to be debated in the next ten years. but at the heart of it is that question — are people prepared to pay for real news? is real news a business? now, there is one immense information source which doesn't rely on advertising. instead, it's funded by donations from its users and charitable grants. i'm talking about wikipedia. and last week, the i3th—most visited website celebrated its 20th birthday. in its early days, many people struggled to get their heads around the idea of an encyclopaedia that could be edited by anyone. or misinformation — some of it deliberate, some just a matter of opinion and some poorly researched. my page used to say that at my wedding, i fulfilled a lifelong ambition of being
3:50 am
cut in half by a magician. really? what, you mean that didn't happen? no, it's completely untrue! but on more important issues, with the public�*s trust in online information at an all—time low, is wikipedia managing to maintain readers' confidence? the free online encyclopaedia now hosts 55 million articles. it can be accessed in over 300 languages and it's read 15 billion times every month. that's 8,000 times a second! as social media sites have battled disinformation, polarisation and accusations of censorship, wikipedia has fought hard to maintain the trust of its readers and to keep its role as a neutral arbiter and trusted resource. it does feel heavy to — to our community.
3:51 am
we know we have a responsibility to get it right, and particularly in this era where there's so much misinformation, disinformation that circulates on social media, to be very vigilant about quality of the sources that we rely on and to be really thoughtful that, hey, we do have a place in the world. people trust us to at least try to get it right. and that's, you know, that's more than you can say for some places. i have a lot of criticisms for how the social media companies have handled things, but they've asked for a tough job, which is to say, "here's a little box, say whatever comes to your mind — what do you think?" and it turns out a lot of people think awful things and say awful and mean things and so on, whereas we have a much easierjob. and therefore we do have a responsibility to get it right. but it's a lot easier for us. everybody knows what a good encyclopaedia article should be — it should be neutral, it should be well written, it should have quality sources, it should be accurate. so, we all have a shared vision
3:52 am
of where we want to get to. whereas in social media, there is no simple shared vision. it'sjust people yelling at each other. and people do go to wikipedia for information on major subjects, so it's crucial that it's correct. during the covid—i9 outbreak, the encyclopaedia saw record—breaking increases in daily traffic, with 579 million visits to articles related to the pandemic. while social media companies battled with misinformation and conspiracy theories related to the virus, wikipedia had a dedicated group of medical experts creating articles which were based on verified information and reliable sources. there's been a lot of community effort being organised about systematically making sure that we have accurate information. and in fact, we've done a partnership with the world health organization to try to be clear and sure that we're giving the best possible information. despite being vulnerable
3:53 am
to vandalism or naughty users having a play with celeb biographies, wikipedia maintaining its commitment to being the go—to source of reliable information is critical, as it forces those on social media to step outside their echo chamber and take in a balanced position. wikipedia, what we always try to do is, on any legitimate controversy, to present all of the legitimate sides fairly and to say, "look, you may agree or disagree, but here's what," you know, "yasser arafat said this, and ariel sharon responded that," and we don't decide what is the truth or what you should think. we just tell you the history and the context. i mean, we — we also try to avoid a sort of a silly kind of both—sides—ism, like, some say the moon is made of rocks and some say cheese. you know, that's not really neutrality. it's really about being thoughtful about legitimate positions and trying to present them.
3:54 am
over the past two decades, we've seen wikipedia evolve from a seemingly impossible idea to an internet giant. and amongst all the negativity surrounding social media platforms, it's proof that people can come together online in a positive way. what does the future have in store for wikipedia? well, my dream for wikipedia has always been for us to imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. and that's what we're doing. clearly, we've gone a long way towards that goal in the wealthy western parts of the world and in those languages. my dream for wikipedia is really thinking about every single person on the planet. and let's face it, we all do need a bit of positivity right now, don't we? anyway, that is it for this week. as ever, you can keep up with the team on social media — find us on youtube, instagram, facebook and twitter — @bbcclick. thanks for watching
3:55 am
and we'll see you soon. bye— bye. hello there. a bit of the weather tussle going on in the skies above the uk of the next few days between cold air to the north and east of us in milder air to the south and west. during the next 2a hours, it's the milder air which will win through for many but on this dividing line we are going to see quite an active weather system and that's going to produce on one side pretty heavy rainfall. northern ireland, north—west england of greatest concern where we could see i or 2 inches of rain, adding to the flood concern. on the colder side of our weather system the hills of northern england, southern scotland and into central and northern scotland we could see significant snow
3:56 am
which could have an impact on some of the higher road. it's here where we start the day start coldest of all. maybe temperatures as low as —6 degrees compared to 10 or ii in parts of cornwall. big north—south contrast. there is the dividing line, that area of rain, sleet and hill snow, through the morning rush hour pushing its way northwards. drying up and brightening up to the south quite misty and murky underneath that weather front but you can see that it's on these higher sites were more likely to see the snow. that rain—sleet—snow mix is going to hang around across parts of central scotland, moving into northern scotland as we go through the day. it does allow skies to brighten in england and wales but stays mostly misty and murky in the north but with sunnier skies and a bit of a breeze, it will stay incredibly mild average is up to 14 degrees compared to just 4 in aberdeen, 2 in lerwick where it should stay dry and bright through much of the day. should stay dry and brighter much of the day for another batch of rain comes through thursday evening for that rain rather than snow.
3:57 am
milder air snow continues to fall in northern parts of scotland. some heavy, thundery showers into the first part of friday morning across the south. we've still got those north—south contrast as far as temperatures are concerned. widespread frost in the far north of scotland where you've got some snow and some icy conditions to start friday. that will still be there on friday morning. rain across southern scotland, northern england fizzling out. a few heavy, maybe thundery showers across the south but a better chance of sunshine winning through friday. temperatures still in double figures in the south but the colder air starting to fight its way back. and it will continue to try and push back as we go into the weekend. notice how it's pushing its way southwards. this swirl here is an indication of a weather system which could bring another mix of rain, sleet and snow on saturday across england and wales ahead of a potentially another one late on sunday. that fight goes on into next week too.
3:58 am
3:59 am
4:00 am
this is bbc news, my name's mike embley. our top stories: in my view we've already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. we can't wait any longer. he calls it an existential threat — a warning from president biden as he signs a series of executive orders to make climate change a foreign policy and national security priority. european union officials attack astrazeneca over a shortfall in vaccine doses but fail to get the company to hand over supplies marked for the uk. how did the pandemic start? world health organization experts finally end their quarantine in wuhan, and prepare to investigate covid's origins. and how the shares in one struggling online game company have sparked a war with wall street hedge funders.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on