August 10, 2022
Yubo app changes safety features after users say Uvalde shooter posted disturbing content
The social media app Yubo announced that it has made a number of safety changes to its platform after reports emerged that the Uvalde, Texas, school shooter used the app to post disturbing messages. Multiple teenagers and young adults who use the app told NBC News they reported an account believed to belong to Salvador…

The social media app Yubo announced that it has made a number of safety changes to its platform after reports emerged that the Uvalde, Texas, school shooter used the app to post disturbing messages.

Multiple teenagers and young adults who use the app told NBC News they reported an account believed to belong to Salvador Ramos because of the content he shared. But the app appeared to take little or no action, they said.

One user, Lina, said she had saved a screen recording of a user believed to be the Uvalde gunman who said someone “deserves to be raped.” Lina, 17, who asked for her last name to be withheld for privacy reasons, said she recorded the live conversation after the user described being sexually aggressive with a former girlfriend.

Yubo, which is based in Paris, said it’s investigating one account in relation to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School, where 19 students and two teachers were killed.

The account in question has also been banned, the company said. It recently said in a news release that it made changes to its safety features, including allowing users to attach up to four media files — such as video recordings and screenshots — to complaints they submit.

CEO and co-founder Sacha Lazimi said that will provide more context for Yubo staff members who review the complaints.

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

“In the days since, we have been working to accelerate safety developments in our pipeline and further expand the scope of existing safeguards across our platform.”

Other changes include broadening how Yubo responds to content that has been flagged. The company said previously that its policy was based on “corresponding laws in the region where the content was posted,” but it will now be determined on “more stringent laws and regulations” around hate speech, abuse, harassment and sexual behavior.

“We feel it is in all users’ best interest that we apply more severe standards to content review and intervention across the board,” the company said.

Yubo also added audio-moderation technology, which will supplement “existing capabilities to allow for comprehensive automatic moderation across the platform.” Lazimi said Yubo is one of the first social media companies in the world to use such technology.

“We have made meaningful changes to Yubo during this time and will continue to roll out additional developments in the weeks ahead as part of our continuing commitment to safety innovation in social media,” Lazimi said in the statement.

Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Kat Tenbarge

and

David Ingram

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