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Happy Friday, Slugs reader! 

Thank you to our new subs from Character + Distinction, Multidots, East-West Management Institute, Google, Otava Media, DealstreetAsia, Control Risks, and Moore’s Lore. Thank you for being a part of this community!

We’re so proud to see our friends on the winners list at the Human Rights Press Awards: Kirsten Han, Tom Kean, Clare Hammond, Victoria Milko. Congratulations! Check out the other winners here.

Here’s your weekly intelligence report on the biggest trends, threats, and tools in media. 

— Alan Soon

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Facebook implemented a one-strike policy to stop people from abusing its Live platform.
Under the new rules, users who’ve violated the most serious policies, like sharing a statement from a terrorist group, will be restricted from using Live for a period of time. This is part of Facebook’s campaign to detect and curb dangerous content on its site in the wake of the New Zealand killings.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern put out the “Christchurch Call,” which puts pressure on tech companies and governments to adopt and enforce laws to remove extremist content. The call has support from countries like France, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Tech giants — Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft — have all given their support. The U.S., however, refused to back the call, apparently on free speech grounds. “All action on this issue must be consistent with principles of a free, open and secure internet, without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression.” Baffling. But look at the next piece. 👇👇

The White House launched a tool so that people can lodge complaints if they feel they’ve been wrongly censored, banned, or suspended on social media platforms. Conservatives and ultra-right extremists allege platforms like Twitter and Facebook have been curbing their views recently. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.” We’re going to see a rise of extremist, politically charged content as the U.S. presidential race picks up, and social platforms will be caught in the middle in trying to moderate speech. It won’t be pretty.


Have you updated your WhatsApp app? You must. Facebook-owned WhatsApp says a government (it didn’t say who) was using an Israeli-developed tool to inject spyware into smartphone by simply calling the target. The spyware can turn on your camera and mic, scan emails and texts and collect your location data. Here’s the amazing part: It gets downloaded through a missed call. “This attack has all the hallmarks of a private company known to work with governments to deliver spyware that reportedly takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems.”

This is the kind of stuff machine learning should be used for. Instagram is putting its ML chops to identifying anti-vaxxing hashtags and blocking them right away. 


It’s hard to imagine — but Quartz is going behind a (leaky) paywall. At $100 a year, this is the latest premium publisher to test your propensity to pay. But hey, don’t worry about a hard paywall just yet. You’ll get a bunch of variable, free articles until the algo decides you’ve had enough and you’d be likely to pay. Some kind of secret sauce.


There’s a secret Iranian operation to impersonate news sites. It mimics sites like the Guardian, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, the Independent, the Atlantic, and Politico, delivering fake news so real that even other media outlets are citing them.


What if there was a simpler way to edit audio? With Soundtrap for Storytellers, you can edit words out of an automated transcript — which magically changes the audio track. It’s been called the Google Docs of audio. Meet your new BFF.

Speaking of BFFs, what if you could start a company with your best friend? Here’s a new podcast series by our friend Niki Torres dedicated to telling the startup stories of people who mix friendships and entrepreneurship. Love it. ❤️❤️


I get it, it’s hard for journos to write about your-awesome-blockchain-startup-thingy. So this is how you should be pitching it.

Brazil is going to let its crime reporters carry guns for protection. Reporters Sans Frontieres, which recorded four journalist killings in the country last year, said the plan sets a “dangerous precedent”.


Our friends at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung are putting together a conference on mobile journalism. It takes place on June 28-29 in Bangkok. Their goal is to build a “mojo community with like-minded individuals” through discussions, workshops and masterclasses. The best part: They’re offering fellowships so that journos can attend the conference. Closes in 2 days. Move quick.


Japan is running out of phone numbers. The current 11-digit numbers aren’t enough, so they’re making longer ones.

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Our friends at e27 are putting on their spectacular Echelon conference in Singapore at the end of May. They’ve parked 10 complimentary tickets under Splice. Just hit reply and we’ll send you the promo code.

The GEN Summit comes to Athens, June 13-15. Some seriously cool speakers like Amy Webb (Future Today Institute), Krishna Bharat (the founder of Google News), and Katherine Viner (the editor-in-chief at The Guardian) will be talking about voice, visual journalism, and verification. Splice readers get a discounted ticket price of €890 with the promo code GEN_SPLICE19 valid till April 30. 

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