Social media app used by shooter Uvalde updates its security policies

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This story is part of a series of KXAN reports titled “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions around gun violence in the aftermath of the fatal Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as lawmakers who meet a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Discover all the “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Social media platform Yubo is updating its safety policies after KXAN and other outlets reported the Uvalde school shooter’s interactions there.

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary on May 24. A Yubo user who said he interacted with Salvador Ramos on the platform for a year told KXAN that he frequently threatened to shoot others.

Yubo is a French app that was launched in 2015 and allows people to live stream with up to 10 friends. It opened a US headquarters in Florida in 2020 and has millions of users worldwide.

He said that since the shooting he had worked to “accelerate security developments and further broaden the scope of existing safeguards” and highlighted four changes he had made. It uses technology to moderate audio in addition to text, which it tests with its English users. He said he was one of the first social media companies to use this technology. It already uses automated moderation tools and has also worked to update the algorithm it uses to detect issues or harassment.

“The algorithm aggregates and evaluates a combination of signals – keywords, emojis and images, for example – to assess content with context. This bolsters our other security detection tools, which analyze individual signals of breaches or risks, and provide enriched context for our emergency escalation team,” he said.

Yubo also updated its policy for reviewing and acting on problematic content based on “stricter laws and regulations,” instead of only following the laws of the part of the world where the content was posted. This summer, users will also be able to attach screenshots or videos to reports.

“The devastating events of May 24 in Uvalde, Texas brought to light systemic issues in society that need to be addressed,” Yubo said. “We are committed to doing our part by identifying and implementing security solutions on the Yubo platform.”

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