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Arkells fan harnesses power of social media, scores unreleased copy of new album

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Korri MacDonald thought it would be appropriate to listen to some Arkells tunes while travelling through Ontario during his move from Alberta to Nova Scotia – but he wasn’t banking on the adventure that was about to unfold in Sault Ste. Marie.

On Aug. 17, MacDonald sent a message to the popular Canadian rock band via Twitter in hopes of maybe scoring some new music from Arkells’ forthcoming album, Campfire Chords.

The very next day, he had an advance CD copy of the unreleased album in his hands after waking up in the Sault.

“Basically we were driving from Kenora into Sault Ste. Marie – and right around Thunder Bay, I kind of had the idea, just jokingly with my roommate here to tweet out and see if we could get a copy of it,” he said.

MacDonald lost cell phone reception for about two hours while heading to the Sault, but when he did finally get some reception, he realized that he had received a message from the band on social media.

Arkells wanted to know his route through Ontario so they could help the longtime fan out with some new material for the long road trip. As it turns out, the parents of the Arkells’ manager, Ashley Poitevin, were heading back home to the Sault from Toronto.

“It just so happened that I was going to be in Sault Ste. Marie that night. They had given a burnt copy of it to their manager’s parents who were driving from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie that same day, and they got in contact with them and figured out my itinerary for the evening and coordinated to drop it off,” MacDonald said.

The next morning, MacDonald woke up to discover that the CD copy of Campfire Chords had been delivered to the front desk of the hotel he was staying at in the Sault.

But there was one catch.

“The truck we were in didn’t actually have a CD player, so I had tweeted out about needing a CD player or Discman or something to hook it up to – and that in itself took on its life on the internet,” MacDonald said.

Saultites answered the call on social media, offering a number of suggestions. Village Media Account Strategist Brianne Veale and her partner, Daniel Shunock, offered to help MacDonald out with a CD player that Shunock had located in his parents’ basement.

“I got in contact with Bri [Veale], and she had confirmed with me that there was one that they had that worked. They dropped it off that same morning at the hotel for me,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald says he’s extended thanks to the Arkells team, and plans on sending a special ‘Nova Scotia care package’ to Veale and Shunock for their generosity during his stop in the Sault.

At first, MacDonald was hoping to score a digital copy of Campfire Chords. He says that acquiring the new Arkells album – in CD format, no less – ultimately became the adventure.

“I had the joke that once I got it here, once we get home, I have to frame it – it’ll be a piece of Canadian music history, and I think I’m in possession of the most famous boombox east of Ontario,” he said.

Arkells’ new album Campfire Chords will be released Aug. 20.

Source:– SooToday

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Advertisers agree deal with social media on steps to curb harmful content – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have agreed with big advertisers on first steps to curb harmful content online, following boycotts of social media platforms that advertisers had accused of tolerating hate speech.

The agreement comes three months after Facebook was hit by a boycott from major advertisers in the wake of anti-racism demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd, an American Black man, in police custody.

Advertisers have complained for years that big social media companies do too little to prevent ads from appearing alongside hate speech, fake news and other harmful content. Big tech companies, meanwhile, want to be seen as taking action on the issue to fend off calls for more regulation.

Under the deal, announced on Wednesday by the World Federation of Advertisers, common definitions would be adopted for forms of harmful content such as hate speech and bullying, and platforms would adopt harmonised reporting standards.

The platforms agreed to have some practices reviewed by external auditors, and to give advertisers more control of what content is displayed alongside their ads. The deal comes less than six weeks before a polarising U.S. presidential election.

“This is a significant milestone in the journey to rebuild trust online,” said Luis Di Como, executive vice president of global media at Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers. “…Whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”

Carolyn Everson, Vice President for Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, said the agreement “has aligned the industry on the brand safety floor and suitability framework, giving us all a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”

SCEPTICAL

Campaigners who want more regulation of social media companies have been sceptical of voluntary measures such as those announced on Wednesday.

“Any progress in reducing harmful online content is to be welcomed. However, up to now voluntary action from social media companies has rarely lived up to its initial promises. So time will tell how much of a difference this latest industry-led initiative will make,” David Babbs of UK-based group Clean Up the Internet told Reuters by email.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign behind the Facebook boycott is backed by the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP, two of the oldest and biggest anti-racism campaign groups in the United States. The campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In a statement last week, it said: “Facebook’s failures lead to real-life violence and sow division, and we’re calling on the company to improve its policies. We need to urge people to vote and demand Facebook stop undermining our democracy. Enough is enough.”

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Peter Graff)

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Advertisers agree deal with social media on steps to curb harmful content – Reuters Canada

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LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have agreed with big advertisers on first steps to curb harmful content online, following boycotts of social media platforms that advertisers had accused of tolerating hate speech.

FILE PHOTO: Dozens of cardboard cut-outs of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sit outside of the U.S. Capitol Building as part of an Avaaz.org protest in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

The agreement comes three months after Facebook was hit by a boycott from major advertisers in the wake of anti-racism demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd, an American Black man, in police custody.

Advertisers have complained for years that big social media companies do too little to prevent ads from appearing alongside hate speech, fake news and other harmful content. Big tech companies, meanwhile, want to be seen as taking action on the issue to fend off calls for more regulation.

Under the deal, announced on Wednesday by the World Federation of Advertisers, common definitions would be adopted for forms of harmful content such as hate speech and bullying, and platforms would adopt harmonised reporting standards.

The platforms agreed to have some practices reviewed by external auditors, and to give advertisers more control of what content is displayed alongside their ads. The deal comes less than six weeks before a polarising U.S. presidential election.

“This is a significant milestone in the journey to rebuild trust online,” said Luis Di Como, executive vice president of global media at Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers. “…Whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”

Carolyn Everson, Vice President for Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, said the agreement “has aligned the industry on the brand safety floor and suitability framework, giving us all a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”

SCEPTICAL

Campaigners who want more regulation of social media companies have been sceptical of voluntary measures such as those announced on Wednesday.

“Any progress in reducing harmful online content is to be welcomed. However, up to now voluntary action from social media companies has rarely lived up to its initial promises. So time will tell how much of a difference this latest industry-led initiative will make,” David Babbs of UK-based group Clean Up the Internet told Reuters by email.

The Stop Hate for Profit campaign behind the Facebook boycott is backed by the Anti-Defamation League and NAACP, two of the oldest and biggest anti-racism campaign groups in the United States. The campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In a statement last week, it said: “Facebook’s failures lead to real-life violence and sow division, and we’re calling on the company to improve its policies. We need to urge people to vote and demand Facebook stop undermining our democracy. Enough is enough.”

Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Peter Graff

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Trump Media Agency Chief to Defy Subpoena, Angering Republicans – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — The head of the agency that oversees the Voice of America and other government media outlets won’t appear at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing later this week, defying a subpoena to testify about changes at the agency, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Michael Pack, who was appointed by President Donald Trump to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, was supposed to appear Thursday before the committee voluntarily, but withdrew on Sept. 18. The panel’s chairman, Democrat Eliot Engel, said Pack failed to provide alternative dates or offer an acceptable excuse, and issued a subpoena to force his testimony.

Pack’s withdrawal also drew a strong statement from the committee’s ranking Republican, Representative Michael McCaul, who called for Pack to testify. In a sharply divided Congress, the bipartisan response was unusual, particularly with regard to pressing a Trump nominee to appear before a Democratically controlled committee.

McCaul said that since being confirmed by the Senate in June, Pack had placed critical national security programs “in jeopardy” and that the CEO “needs to come before this committee and explain those actions.”

Representatives of the agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pack’s Firings

The focus of McCaul’s ire is Pack’s actions related to the Open Technology Fund, or OTF, an organization that promotes internet freedom abroad and receives grant money from the Agency for Global Media. McCaul was one of the lead authors of the law that established the OTF as an independent grantee of the agency.

In June, Pack dismissed the heads of four news outlets, including Radio Free Europe, as well as staff and governing board members at the OTF. A federal appeals court in Washington issued an injunction in July blocking the dismissals, as it determines whether the firing was lawful.

Pack’s nomination was controversial, both for his association with former Trump campaign and White House adviser Steve Bannon, but also over unresolved questions about his business dealings while running an nonprofit media organization called the Public Media Lab. The attorney general of the District of Columbia is investigating the organization for unlawful use of funds.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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