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EDITORIAL: Media, social media and the justice system – The Guardian

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Here’s an explanation that might not satisfy everyone.

But give it a try.

WSAV reporter Alex Bozarjian was doing a live report on a road race in Savannah, Georgia on Dec. 7, when a passing runner, later identified as Thomas Callaway, a Boy Scout leader and church youth volunteer, appeared to reach out and smack her on the butt.

To be clear, the behaviour is in no way acceptable: just because you’re doing your job in a public place doesn’t mean there’s an open season on unwanted physical contact or even shouted obscenities.

As Bozarjian’s employers were quick to point out: “The conduct displayed toward Alex Bozarjian during her live coverage of Saturday’s Savannah Bridge Run was reprehensible and completely unacceptable … No one should ever be disrespected in this manner. The safety and protection of our employees is WSAV-TV’s highest priority.”

The sooner people in the public — particularly star-struck oafish males who have a lot of growing up to do — recognize that and modify their behaviour, the better for us all.

There are a host of different headlines about the case: “Runner who allegedly smacked TV reporter’s backside charged with sexual battery”, “Runner who allegedly sexually assaulted reporter has been arrested”, “Man accused of slapping reporter’s backside on air charged with sexual battery”.

And that’s where things get interesting.

Social media, where video of the situation took off internationally, has since had some interesting questions not only about Callaway’s behaviour, but about the way the news media reported the event.

Here’s a sample that explains the new issue succinctly: “Just wish they’d stop putting ‘accused’ and ‘alleged’ before his name WE HAVE IT ON VIDEO.”

So, why “alleged”? Why “accused”?

The reason is both simple and complicated; criminal charges are involved.

And that changes everything,

The western justice system is based on the presumption of innocence.

Accurately reporting on cases in that justice system involves recognizing that people accused of crimes are innocent until those crimes are proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

It sounds like splitting hairs, but it’s both arcane and necessary.

The facts are, in many ways, not in a great amount of dispute: the television reporter says she was slapped on the backside, the video shows that happening, and the man involved admits his did something he shouldn’t have done (although he maintains he touched her lower back).

But, right now, the media can’t actually report that Callaway committed a sexual assault, because it wouldn’t be accurate.

You can argue that there’s a pretty good chance that, given the available evidence so far, there’s a pretty good likelihood Callaway will plead guilty or be convicted.

But his conviction is not our job.

Sure, it’s frustrating.

But the media is not a substitute for the justice system, nor should it be.

And neither, by the way, is social media.

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Social media deal earns advertisers' 'likes', but not yet all their dollars – Reuters Canada

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LONDON (Reuters) – Advertisers who boycotted social media are not all rushing back, despite an agreement by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on how to curb harmful content online.

FILE PHOTO: 3D-printed Facebook and Twitter logos are seen in this picture illustration made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, told Reuters the move this week was “a good step in the right direction,” but would not say whether it would resume paid advertising on Facebook in the United States next year after stopping over the summer.

Coca-Cola also remains paused on Facebook and Instagram and declined to say if this changed its view. Beam Suntory, maker of Jim Beam bourbon and Courvoisier Cognac, plans to stay away from paid advertising for the rest of 2020 and reassess in 2021 based on how Facebook adjusts its approach.

Over 1,000 advertisers joined a Facebook boycott over concerns it wasn’t doing enough to combat hate speech. U.S. civil rights groups enlisted multinationals to help pressure the social media giant after the June death of George Floyd, an American Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis.

“Brands are very concerned about having any affiliation with the disinformation that runs through the big tech platforms,” said Michael Priem, CEO of advertising technology firm Modern Impact.

Deciding whether to pull ads from social media can be tough. Larger brands can afford to take a stance, but for smaller businesses that have already been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, “it’s either make it or die,” Priem said.

On Wednesday, the World Federation of Advertisers announced that social media platforms and advertisers had committed to create common definitions of harmful content such as hate speech and harmonized reporting standards.

A Facebook spokeswoman said on Friday that advertisers were returning to the platform.

“For the most part advertisers are coming back because they recognize the efforts we’re making,” the spokeswoman said. “We’re never satisfied. We’ll continue to work with industry and with our clients.”

She said that 95% of the hate speech removed by Facebook is detected before being reported, up from 23% in 2017.

“Digital media is now more than half of all media spending yet is still operating with very few boundaries other than those that are self-imposed or that marketers try to enforce. It’s time for digital platforms to apply content standards properly,” Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, said on Wednesday.

The maker of Gillette razors and Pampers diapers said it will “continue to advocate for greater transparency, reporting, and enforcement” directly with platforms and through industry forums.

COMING BACK

Many companies, such as drinks giant Pernod Ricard, returned to Facebook in August after a one-month pause aimed at sending a message.

“I feel very happy … with the outcome. I think it worked,” said Eric Benoist, global marketing director for the maker of Absolut vodka and Martell Cognac. “It was a wake-up call. They heard it loud and clear.”

Some advertisers, like spirits group Diageo, came back following direct engagement with the platform and evidence of action.

“Some progress has been made, but more needs to be done and we think we’re better able to bring about change by working together,” a Diageo spokeswoman said. “We are in the process of resuming paid media and will continue to drive accountability on these pressing issues.”

Campaign organizers remain skeptical and pledged to keep up the heat.

“We cannot assume progress from yet another commitment to change until we see the impact and breadth of policy enforcement by these companies,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, a backer of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which organized the boycott.

“As long as these companies continue to abdicate their responsibility to their most vulnerable users, we will continue to call on Congress and regulatory agencies to intervene.”

Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; Additional reporting by Sheila Dang in New York and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Carmel Crimmins

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Anaconda Mining fires employee for racist, homophobic social media posts – CBC.ca

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A former employee of Anaconda Mining made racist and homophobic posts on Facebook. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

A St. John’s man says he’s happy with the actions taken by a mining company with operations in Newfoundland and Labrador after he reported an employee’s racist and homophobic posts.

Earlier this month, Devon Bryan noticed anti-Black Lives Matter posts on Facebook that a former classmate had responded to by commenting, “White Lives Matter.”

The posts read “BLM is now known as Burn, Loot & Murder (pass it on)” and “F**k BLM bullshit.” Bryan decided to call out his former classmate’s comments, he told CBC News, and received an aggressive response.

“It turned into body shaming and it turned into homophobic slurs, racial slurs. And he really ticked off all of the boxes for discrimination,” said Bryan.

The classmate did not respond to CBC’s requests for comment. CBC News is not identifying him. 

Bryan, a member of the LGBT community, noticed his former classmate listed his employer as Anaconda Mining, which operates in Baie Verte, N.L., so he tagged the company in a response to his classmate’s posts, and followed up with a phone call.

“You can’t expect to represent your professional life and hold these extreme opinions and express them freely without repercussion, because once you represent your place of work on social media, it’s no longer a completely private page anymore,” said Bryan. 

Satisfied with company’s response

Bryan said the company was prompt and courteous in its response. And while, due to privacy regulations, the company would not tell him what happened, Bryan said he learned later his former classmate was no longer with the company.

Anaconda Mining declined to confirm to CBC News the employee had been let go, saying the company would not comment on matters “regarding private employment relationships. 

The fired employee had publicly identified he worked at Anaconda Mining’s operation in Baie Verte. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

In a statement, Lynn Hammond, the company’s vice-president of corporate affairs, said the company has a comprehensive respectful workplace policy and harassment prevention plan and that their employees are required to participate in training specifically related to the policy.

Employees are also required to sign a document to acknowledge that they understand and will adhere to the policy and failure to comply with any part of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

In the aftermath of Bryan’s interactions with him, members of the former employee’s family posted on Facebook that the situation had caused financial and emotional stress.

Bryan said his former classmate should have thought of the consequences before making the comments he made.

“I do feel terribly that, you know, I’m causing a whole family stress,” said Bryan. “But at the bottom line, that’s completely on him.” 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Social media deal earns advertisers' 'likes', but not yet all their dollars – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) – Advertisers who boycotted social media are not all rushing back, despite an agreement by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter on how to curb harmful content online.

Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, told Reuters the move this week was “a good step in the right direction,” but would not say whether it would resume paid advertising on Facebook in the United States next year after stopping over the summer.

Coca-Cola also remains paused on Facebook and Instagram and declined to say if this changed its view. Beam Suntory, maker of Jim Beam bourbon and Courvoisier Cognac, plans to stay away from paid advertising for the rest of 2020 and reassess in 2021 based on how Facebook adjusts its approach.

Over 1,000 advertisers joined a Facebook boycott over concerns it wasn’t doing enough to combat hate speech. U.S. civil rights groups enlisted multinationals to help pressure the social media giant after the June death of George Floyd, an American Black man, in police custody in Minneapolis.

“Brands are very concerned about having any affiliation with the disinformation that runs through the big tech platforms,” said Michael Priem, CEO of advertising technology firm Modern Impact.

Deciding whether to pull ads from social media can be tough. Larger brands can afford to take a stance, but for smaller businesses that have already been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, “it’s either make it or die,” Priem said.

On Wednesday, the World Federation of Advertisers announced that social media platforms and advertisers had committed to create common definitions of harmful content such as hate speech and harmonized reporting standards.

A Facebook spokeswoman said on Friday that advertisers were returning to the platform.

“For the most part advertisers are coming back because they recognize the efforts we’re making,” the spokeswoman said. “We’re never satisfied. We’ll continue to work with industry and with our clients.”

She said that 95% of the hate speech removed by Facebook is detected before being reported, up from 23% in 2017.

“Digital media is now more than half of all media spending yet is still operating with very few boundaries other than those that are self-imposed or that marketers try to enforce. It’s time for digital platforms to apply content standards properly,” Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer, Marc Pritchard, said on Wednesday.

The maker of Gillette razors and Pampers diapers said it will “continue to advocate for greater transparency, reporting, and enforcement” directly with platforms and through industry forums.

COMING BACK

Many companies, such as drinks giant Pernod Ricard, returned to Facebook in August after a one-month pause aimed at sending a message.

“I feel very happy … with the outcome. I think it worked,” said Eric Benoist, global marketing director for the maker of Absolut vodka and Martell Cognac. “It was a wake-up call. They heard it loud and clear.”

Some advertisers, like spirits group Diageo, came back following direct engagement with the platform and evidence of action.

“Some progress has been made, but more needs to be done and we think we’re better able to bring about change by working together,” a Diageo spokeswoman said. “We are in the process of resuming paid media and will continue to drive accountability on these pressing issues.”

Campaign organizers remain skeptical and pledged to keep up the heat.

“We cannot assume progress from yet another commitment to change until we see the impact and breadth of policy enforcement by these companies,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change, a backer of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which organized the boycott.

“As long as these companies continue to abdicate their responsibility to their most vulnerable users, we will continue to call on Congress and regulatory agencies to intervene.” 

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; Additional reporting by Sheila Dang in New York and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Carmel Crimmins)

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