What are your initial thoughts from the Denver Nuggets’ media week?
Asher Levy (@ashmanzini): I think that overall this media week went pretty well. We heard from Jamal for the first time in a long time and I feel confident that once we get him back, he’ll be ready to go. I think it was great to see Will and AG in such high spirits. MPJ had some great responses about his extension. Bones Hyland is quickly becoming a fan (and personal) favorite, and it continued into media week. Everything we heard from or about him was great. Just overall really excited to see the team this season.
Peter Leensvaart (@petepizza27): This week definitely went well. I didn’t hear any negative comments about anyone on the team from someone else on the team and the whole roster showed up. That’s more than a lot of franchises have right now. Everyone is on the same page and it’s great to see so many of the guys being actually really happy. This team is full of guys ready to accept whatever role that is given to them and guys who will fill that role well. The only way this media week could have gone better would be if Tim Connelly said the team is fully vaccinated or if Tim said that Jamal Murray is totally healthy and can return for the start of the season.
Ryan Blackburn (@NBABlackburn): In terms of the checklist of items you hope to hear at media day, the Nuggets checked most of the boxes. Everyone’s in great shape and ready for camp save for injuries and absences we already expected. The Nuggets spoke about their championship goals and hopes for the year. The hope at media day is to go through all of the procedures smoothly without any major hiccups, and the Nuggets accomplished that. We even heard about Aaron Gordon’s improved comfort level and Bol Bol’s increased sense of urgency, both of which should make for interesting storylines as the year progresses.
What was the biggest surprise that we heard at media week?
Levy: To me, it had to be the praise Bones received from his teammates and Tim Connelly. Everyone who spoke on him had nothing but compliments for him, and that was great to see. Tim said he’s a killer who impressed him in the open runs, Will said he brings him back to a younger him, and Bones himself said that he and Jokić had to be split up because they were making things so easy. I really look forward to seeing the rookie showcase his talents in the minutes he gets.
Leensvaart: The biggest surprise to me was what Monte Morris had to say about his knee. We knew that something was wrong and that it had been bothering him for a while but Monte saying that it had been bothering him for most of his career was worrying. Monte told us that he was rehabbing it over the off-season and had only recently started playing with contact. I trust Monte when he says that he feels “real real good” but we will see about that. Knee tendinitis is no joke.
Blackburn: That Will Barton and Monte Morris both spent some time bulking up for the 82-game season. Both players appeared visibly bigger in their interview sessions, and given Denver’s heightened need for good guard play with Murray out, it’s at least an interesting detail. Could the Nuggets ask Morris and Barton to switch more ball screens this year and battle against larger players defensively? Will they have to take a more physical role in Denver’s success by driving to the basket more frequently? Both are possibilities and could be indicators of Denver’s play style going forward.
Who had the best media session of the week?
Levy: Might not be a popular pick but I think Bol Bol had a pretty good media session. He showed that he’s matured a lot. He talked about how he hasn’t always been the best about staying locked in when things aren’t going well for him. He said that that’s a thing he wants to get better at. He wants to be locked in whether things are going good or bad for him personally. He also talked about how him and Michael Porter have been close friends for a long time and that Michael was going to stay on him this year and make sure he was going to the gym consistently and doing the little things, and that he was happy MPJ was doing that for him.
Leensvaart: I can’t go against Nikola Jokic here, he is always so amazing and funny in interviews and this one was no different. Jokic talked about his relationship with Red Rocks and his unborn baby that is on the way, when asked if he and Natalija had picked a name he said that they had not and that they were fighting over it while having his signature smirk on his face. I mean what’s not to love? I think Jokic is the only player in the league that has must-watch interviews.
Blackburn: Will Barton was on absolute fire in his presser. He shared his championship expectations, hyped up his teammates, set the bar high for himself, and joked around with Chris Marlowe when Chris observed that Barton’s shoulders looked bigger. Barton is a popular interview for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that he’s real and genuine. He says it how it is, and he’s unapologetic in that regard. The Nuggets (and Nuggets media) are lucky to have him setting the bar.
Who seems primed to make the biggest jump in production based on their comments from this week?
Levy: I think Aaron Gordon is primed to be more comfortable with the team. I think the obvious answer for who will improve the most this season is Michael Porter Jr, but Gordon will finally get a full training camp with the team as opposed to being a midseason pick up. He will have time to develop chemistry with the team and in his media session, he mentioned that he’s glad to have this time to put in so that he can be comfortable being himself with the team. JaMychal Green also mentioned how comfortable Aaron looked with his jumper in open runs. Those comments make me think that, while he may not put up a bunch of numbers in the box score, that he’ll be right at home this season.
Leensvaart: There is quite a few guys I could go with, Monte Morris seems primed but so do players like MPJ, Aaron Gordon, and Will Barton. The obvious answer is MPJ, Jamal is out so someone is going to have to pick up the production Jamal is leaving behind, so why not pick the second most talented (healthy) player on the team? I think MPJ will have a jump this season, but I’m more excited for Will Barton. Thrill has been battling various injuries for the better part of 2 years now and he is finally healthy. Will Barton also has something to prove this season, he was called a shot chucker and a ball hog by Nuggets fans this last season and he’s finally ready to prove them wrong. A healthy and motivated Will Barton is a scary sight for any team, Will put it best by saying “I’m Excited.” when asked about the upcoming season in his Media Day interview.
Blackburn: P.J. Dozier was one of the early interviews, and though he didn’t talk as big of a game as some of the other players, I’m still going with him as a breakout candidate. His main focus involved continuing to excel at his role to the best of his ability, and that will continue to mean a lot for his future with the team. He’s primed to fill a sixth man role by sliding up and down various lineups to be the connective glue of the rotation. His defense, playmaking, and potential as a shot maker give him a skill set Denver needs to accentuate the strengths of their current core. I’m predicting Dozier jumps up to 25+ minutes per game off the bench and is part of Denver’s most consistent five-man lineups throughout the season.
What are some quick thoughts you have on the extension for Michael Porter Jr.?
Levy: I think that it’s a great extension. Only $145 million is guaranteed of a potential $207 million, and the only way he gets to that figure is if he makes an All-NBA team this year. If that happens, he’ll be more than worth it. The Nuggets were going to have to pay him a max eventually so might as well do it now, keep your young star happy, and not have to worry about restricted free agency.
Leensvaart: This was exactly what I wanted for Michael Porter Jr. to get, gives him the money he deserves and includes enough clauses so that he still has to work for it. Making the contract partially guaranteed based around All-NBA selections and other accolades is a perfect scenario for the Nuggets. If MPJ plays great and at an All-NBA level then he gets that extra money and the Nuggets don’t have to pay him the max unless he does just that. This was something that I was expecting for a while now I’m just happy it’s finally done with. I think the most under appreciated part of this whole thing is that the owners are finally willing to pay the luxury tax, that is a big sigh of relief for me personally.
Blackburn: This was a deal the Nuggets had to get done to avoid a major distraction throughout the season. Imagining Porter trying to blend playing hard and playing the right way with keeping himself healthy so he can still collect a big contract on the end of the year was probably nails on the chalkboard to Malone and the Nuggets’ negotiating team. They believe in him and know what he’s capable of as a scorer and playmaker when he enters his prime. Jokić, Porter, and eventually Murray can continue working on that chemistry this season when everyone gets back together again, and hopefully by the playoffs, the Nuggets will see the initial stages of their Porter dreams realized.
Social media giants YouTube, TikTok, Snap questioned at Senate hearing over kids’ safety – Global News
Bearing down on hugely popular social media platforms and their impact on children, the leaders of a Senate panel have called executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat to face questions on what their companies are doing to ensure young users’ safety.
The Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection is fresh off a highly charged hearing with a former Facebook data scientist, who laid out internal company research showing that the company’s Instagram photo-sharing service appears to seriously harm some teens.
The panel is widening its focus to examine other tech platforms, with millions or billions of users, that also compete for young people’s attention and loyalty.
The three executives — Michael Beckerman, a TikTok vice president and head of public policy for the Americas; Leslie Miller, vice president for government affairs and public policy of YouTube’s owner Google; and Jennifer Stout, vice president for global public policy of Snapchat parent Snap Inc. — are due to appear at a subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
The three platforms are woven into the fabric of young people’s lives, often influencing their dress, dance moves and diet, potentially to the point of obsession. Peer pressure to get on the apps is strong. Social media can offer entertainment and education, but platforms have been misused to harm children and promote bullying, vandalism in schools, eating disorders and manipulative marketing, lawmakers say.
“We need to understand the impact of popular platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube on children and what companies can do better to keep them safe,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., the subcommittee’s chairman, said in a statement.
The panel wants to learn how algorithms and product designs can magnify harm to children, foster addiction and intrusions of privacy, Blumenthal says. The aim is to develop legislation to protect young people and give parents tools to protect their children.
The video platform TikTok, wildly popular with teens and younger children, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. In only five years since launching, it has gained an estimated 1 billion monthly users.
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TikTok denies allegations, most notably from conservative Republican lawmakers, that it operates at the behest of the Chinese government and provides it with users’ personal data. The company says it stores all TikTok U.S. data in the United States. The company also rejects criticisms of promoting harmful content to children.
TikTok says it has tools in place, such as screen time management, to help young people and parents moderate how long children spend on the app and what they see. The company says it focuses on age-appropriate experiences, noting that some features, such as direct messaging, are not available to younger users.
Early this year after federal regulators ordered TikTok to disclose how its practices affect children and teenagers, the platform tightened its privacy practices for the under-18 crowd.
A separate House committee has investigated video service YouTube Kids this year. Lawmakers said the YouTube offshoot feeds children inappropriate material in “a wasteland of vapid, consumerist content” so it can serve ads to them. The app, with both video hosting and original shows, is available in about 70 countries.
A panel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee told YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki that the service doesn’t do enough to protect children from potentially harmful material. Instead it relies on artificial intelligence and self-policing by content creators to decide which videos make it onto the platform, the panel’s chairman said in a letter to Wojcicki.
Parent company Google agreed to pay $170 million in 2019 settlements with the Federal Trade Commission and New York state of allegations that YouTube collected personal data on children without their parents’ consent.
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Despite changes made after the settlements, the lawmaker’s letter said, YouTube Kids still shows ads to children.
YouTube says it has worked to provide children and families with protections and parental controls like time limits, to limit viewing to age-appropriate content. It emphasizes that the 2019 settlements involved the primary YouTube platform, not the kids’ version.
“We took action on more than 7 million accounts in the first three quarters of 2021 when we learned they may belong to a user under the age of 13 — 3 million of those in the third quarter alone — as we have ramped up our automated removal efforts,” Miller, the Google vice president, says in written testimony prepared for the hearing.
Snap Inc.’s Snapchat service allows people to send photos, videos and messages that are meant to quickly disappear, an enticement to its young users seeking to avoid snooping parents and teachers. Hence its “Ghostface Chillah” faceless (and word-less) white logo.
Only 10 years old, Snapchat says an eye-popping 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. use the service. It reported 306 million daily users in the July-September quarter.
The company agreed in 2014 to settle the FTC’s allegations that it deceived users about how effectively the shared material vanished and that it collected users’ contacts without telling them or asking permission. The messages, known as “snaps,” could be saved by using third-party apps or other ways, the regulators said.
Snapchat wasn’t fined but agreed to establish a privacy program to be monitored by an outside expert for the next 20 years — similar to oversight imposed on Facebook, Google and Myspace in privacy settlements in recent years.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Trudeau’s heritage minister has a chance to reset social media regulations. Will he take it? – Global News
Justin Trudeau’s new heritage minister has a chance to reset the Liberal government’s controversial plans to regulate social media and internet giants. The question is whether he will take it.
Trudeau tapped veteran MP and cabinet minister Pablo Rodriguez to lead the heritage portfolio Tuesday, part of a wider reset of his cabinet after September’s general election.
The heritage file has presented surprising political risks for Trudeau’s ministers. Melanie Joly ran into trouble over a deal with Netflix that saw the streaming giant promise a $500-million investment in Canadian content, but did not subject the company to Canadian sale taxes.
More recently, rookie minister Steven Guilbeault introduced Bill C-10, a poorly received attempt to modernize broadcasting rules to reflect the new internet-driven landscape.
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The legislation was meant to bring internet content under broadcasting rules, in recognition that Canadians consume media differently in the internet age than when the Broadcasting Act was last reformed in 1991.
But it became a political lightning rod after the Liberals removed protections for user-generated content, which critics argued would subject Canadians’ social media accounts to CRTC regulations. And it wasn’t just opposition parties that were critical of the bill; it was widely panned by civil society organizations and academics.
Rodriguez, who served as Trudeau’s House leader in the last Parliament, is a longtime Quebec MP and seen as a steady hand in the Liberals’ front bench. He also remains Trudeau’s Quebec lieutenant in cabinet.
That responsibility could play a role in C-10’s fate. While the legislation was widely criticized, it was politically popular in Quebec – where C-10’s stated purpose of making Canadian content more “discoverable” on streaming platforms was well received.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Facebook, YouTube take down Bolsonaro video over false vaccine claim
Facebook and YouTube have removed from their platforms a video by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in which the far-right leader made a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were linked with developing AIDS.
Both Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube said the video, which was recorded on Thursday, violated their policies.
“Our policies don’t allow claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill or seriously harm people,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.
YouTube confirmed that it had taken the same step later in the day.
“We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policy regarding COVID-19 for alleging that vaccines don’t reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement.
According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), COVID-19 vaccines approved by health regulators are safe for most people, including those living with HIV, the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, known as AIDS.
Bolsonaro’s office did not respond immediately to a request for comment outside normal hours.
In July, YouTube removed videos from Bolsonaro’s official channel in which he recommended using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID-19, despite scientific proof that these drugs are not effective in treating the disease.
Since then, Bolsonaro has avoided naming both drugs on his live broadcasts, saying the videos could be removed and advocating “early treatment” in general for COVID-19.
Bolsonaro, who tested positive for the coronavirus in July last year, had credited his taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, for his mild symptoms. While Bolsonaro himself last January said that he wouldn’t take any COVID-19 vaccine, he did vow to quickly inoculate all Brazilians.
In addition to removing the video, YouTube has suspended Bolsonaro for seven days, national newspapers O Estado de S. Paulo and O Globo reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
YouTube did not respond to a separate Reuters request for comment regarding the suspension on Monday night.
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; Additional reporting by Gram Slattery in Rio de Janeiro and Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; Writing by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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