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Hashtag Trending Oct. 12 – Facebook bans developer; Illegal Amazon rainforest sales; Google cracks down on climate change misinformation

Facebook bans developer for creating a tool that unfollows everyone, Facebook stops listing illegal Amazon rainforest sale posts, and Google ramps up the fight against climate change misinformation.

It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Friday, October 12, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Facebook permanently banned a developer for making a browser extension that unfollowed all their friends and pages. The tool, aptly named Unfollow Everything, essentially resets the user’s Facebook feed. Although the extension was relatively new and didn’t gain a huge following, Facebook nonetheless issued a cease and desist letter, accusing its developer, Louis Barclay, of modifying users’ information via automated tools without Facebook’s permission. In a statement to Business Insider, Barclay expressed his disappointment in losing his 15-year-old account, but also thanked Facebook for flatlining his use of the platform.

While Facebook continues to contemplate on how to combat Covid misinformation on its platform, it’s hit with another issue: illegal listings of the Amazon rainforest. A BBC investigation found that plots of the Amazon rainforest were being sold over Facebook Marketplace. The article has prompted Facebook to now deploy measures to stop these listings. In a Facebook blog post, the company announced that it will now review listings and block the ones that violate an international database of protected areas.

Finally, Google is now cracking down on digital ads promoting false climate claims. The goal is to reduce revenue gained from such content for climate change deniers. The rule will also apply to YouTube. According to Google, the new policy emerged as a response to creators and publishers who don’t want these ads to appear on their content. But some experts questioned the move, especially on the guidelines Google will use to categorize “misinformation.” It’s unclear how Google will separate intentional misinformation from incomplete information.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Friday at 3 pm. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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