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Australia will force Google, Facebook to pay domestic media to use content

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will force Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to share advertising revenue with local media firms, the country’s treasurer said on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to require digital platforms to pay for content they use.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the move comes after talks with Facebook and Alphabet failed to yield a voluntary code to address complaints by domestic media players that the tech giants have too tight a grip on advertising, their main source of income.

“We understand the challenge that we face, this is a big mountain to climb,” Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra. “These are big companies that we are dealing with but there is also so much at stake, so we’re prepared for this fight.”

The government has now asked the country’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to frame a mandatory code of conduct between media outlets and digital platforms after talks stalled on content payment rules.

The government scrapped its initial plan to come up with a voluntary code by November and has asked ACCC to submit its draft mandatory code by July, to be passed into legislation shortly thereafter, the treasurer said.

Frydenberg said the mandatory code will include sharing of data, ranking and display of news content and the sharing of revenue generated from news, adding that it would also establish penalty and binding dispute resolution mechanisms.

Australia’s online advertising market is worth about almost A$9 billion ($5.72 billion) a year and has grown more than eight-fold since 2005.

For every A$100 spent on online advertising in Australia, excluding classifieds, nearly a third goes to Google and Facebook, an ACCC report on digital platforms published in June last year showed.

Last December, Australia said Google and Facebook would have to agree to new rules to ensure they do not abuse their market power and damage competition, or the government would impose new controls.

Facebook expressed dismay at the government move on Monday.

“We’re disappointed by the government’s announcement, especially as we’ve worked hard to meet their agreed deadline,” Facebook said.

“We’ve invested millions of dollars locally to support Australian publishers through content arrangements, partnerships and training for the industry,” Facebook Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Will Easton said in an emailed statement.

Google said it would continue to cooperate with plans for the media code of conduct.

“We have sought to work constructively with industry, the ACCC and government to develop a code of conduct, and we will continue to do so in the revised process set out by the Government today,” a Google spokesperson said.

Monday’s move also comes as the new coronavirus pandemic hits Australia’s media business hard, with several regional outlets reporting steep declines in advertising revenue.

Pending the new code, the federal government last week unveiled a support package for the local media businesses including a 12-month waiver of spectrum tax for commercial television and radio broadcasters, and a A$50 million public interest news gathering program.

(Reporting by Renju Jose and Colin Packham; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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GOLDSTEIN: Media deliberately distorted what Trump said about George Floyd – Toronto Sun

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Contrary to a globally reported blunder by the media on Friday, President Donald Trump did not say a positive report on U.S. job numbers was “good news for George Floyd.”

Here’s what Trump said:

“Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender, or creed. They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen.

“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.’ It’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It’s really what our Constitution requires and it’s what our country is all about.”

Clearly, Trump’s reference to Floyd was in the context of Americans agreeing everyone must be treated equally by police, not optimistic U.S. job numbers.

Despite their obvious blunder about what Trump said, which quickly went global and erupted on social media, few media organizations have corrected it.

Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, reacting to the inaccurate media reports, said what Trump said was “despicable.”

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Some are now arguing it was outrageous for Trump to invoke Floyd’s name  — he died in police custody, with the four fired police officers involved now facing a slew of major criminal charges — in any context.

But that deliberately ignores the point, which is that the media got the story wrong.

In another controversy involving Trump, a widely-circulated medical study published in the Lancet claiming patients with COVID-19 were more likely to die or suffer serious side effects from taking hydroxychloroquine has been retracted.

Based on this research, Trump was widely attacked for recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine and saying he was taking it himself to ward off COVID-19.

Trump should not be freelancing medical advice and it was dangerous for him to do so.

But as James Heathers, a research scientist at Boston’s Northeastern University, writing in the Guardian, observed, the retraction of the research paper is also alarming and potentially dangerous.

As Heathers wrote:

“The Lancet is one of the oldest and most respected medical journals in the world. Recently, they published an article on Covid patients receiving hydroxychloroquine with a dire conclusion: the drug increases heartbeat irregularities and decreases hospital survival rates. This result was treated as authoritative, and major drug trials were immediately halted — because why treat anyone with an unsafe drug?

“Now, that Lancet study has been retracted, withdrawn from the literature entirely, at the request of three of its authors who ‘can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.’

“Given the seriousness of the topic and the consequences of the paper, this is one of the most consequential retractions in modern history.

“How did a paper of such consequence get discarded like a used tissue by some of its authors only days after publication? If the authors don’t trust it now, how did it get published in the first place?”

Heathers says the root problem is with the peer review process which, “at its worst … is merely window dressing that gives the unwarranted appearance of authority, a cursory process which confers no real value, enforces orthodoxy, and overlooks both obvious analytical problems and outright fraud entirely.”

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Saskatoon police officer put on paid leave over 'harmful and offensive' social media posts – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Article content continued

“I want to assure the public that we take these complaints seriously. We have acted swiftly to address the issue and a thorough investigation will occur.”

The Saskatoon Police Association, the union that represents police officers in the city, said it will not be commenting at this time since the investigation is active.

The board of directors of Saskatoon Pride, in a Facebook post, said Cooper personally contacted the organization to inform it about the posts.

The organization said the posts are not just hurtful to the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, but to the entire community, and “are not worthy of someone charged with upholding the law and protecting the community.”

“It is a sad day for Saskatoon that, in the midst of outrage over the racist and criminal acts committed by police against the BIPOC community across the continent and during a month meant to celebrate diversity, inclusion and Pride, there is a member of the Saskatoon police force who would feel that they were entitled to express such bigoted views, while claiming to uphold the law and serve the public,” Saskatoon Pride’s board wrote.

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Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek – Globalnews.ca

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Brianna Irawan, 13, was extremely happy after finding out on Thursday that her prized underwater camera that had been lost for almost a year had been found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek.

The Williams Lake teen was visiting relatives in Kelowna last year when she lost the camera while jumping into the waterfalls at Mill Creek Regional Park.

“We were on Mill Creek, jumping into the water and I put my camera underneath my clothes,” Irawan told Global News on Friday.

“When I jumped, I forgot about my camera, so I walked back up and then I picked up my clothes and I forgot my camera was underneath and it fell into the water.”






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Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek


Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek

READ MORE: Kelowna man finds digital camera in Mill Creek for second time

She went back the creek several times over the next few days, but eventually had to write her camera off to the river gods.

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The Fujifilm XP model wasn’t seen again until almost a year later when Calvin Van Buskirk found it caught up in some debris downstream.

“What makes it even more interesting is we found a GoPro there last year. You guys [Global News] were able to get the images and the videos off it within hours it found its way back to its rightful owner,” Van Buskirk said.






1:52
Construction crew makes unusual find near Kelowna


Construction crew makes unusual find near Kelowna

It took less than 24 hours for images retrieved from the camera to make their way around social media and back to their owner.

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Kyla Irawan, Brianna’s mother, sent a message to Global News on Thursday afternoon through Facebook to say the photos had come from her daughter.

On Friday, Global News returned the camera — still in working order — to Brianna’s uncle, Travis Whiting, who is also Kelowna’s fire chief.






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‘This is the craziest thing,’: Lost GoPro owner reunited with camera


‘This is the craziest thing,’: Lost GoPro owner reunited with camera

The Irawans shared a message of gratitude with Van Buskirk.

“Thank you, Calvin, we totally appreciate your honesty,” said Kyla Irawan.

“Thank you for putting it on Global so I can give my daughter the opportunity to have all those memories back.”

For her part, Brianna said she can’t wait to see her FujiFilm XP model again.

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“Soon as I get it, I’m going to transfer the photos” to a computer, she said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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