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Edmonton man charged with luring child on social media in Fort Saskatchewan

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Mounties in Fort Saskatchewan have charged a 37-year-old Edmonton man for allegedly attempting to lure a child on social media.

RCMP began investigating after receiving a complaint from a “concerned guardian,” mounties said in a Monday news release.

“The Fort Saskatchewan RCMP along with the Internet Child Exploitation Unit, conducted an investigation and determined a 37-year-old male attempted to lure a 16-year-old child using social media,” the RCMP says.

The accused and the victim do not know one another.

Raymond Anderson, 37, has been charged with child luring, making sexually explicit material available to a child, making an agreement or arrangement of sexual offence against a child, and failing to comply with probation.

He was released on conditions following a judicial hearing and is set to appear in Fort Saskatchewan Provincial Court November 5, 2020. Police did not say what conditions he must follow.

The RCMP is also reminding parents to discuss internet and cellphone safety with their children.

Source: – Edmonton Journal

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Social media CEOs rebuff bias claims, vow to defend election – Pique Newsmagazine

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WASHINGTON — Under fire from President Donald Trump and his allies, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google rebuffed accusations of anti-conservative bias at a Senate hearing Wednesday and promised to aggressively defend their platforms from being used to sow chaos in next week’s election.

Lawmakers of both parties, eyeing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech — the stated topic for the hearing but one that was quickly overtaken by questions related to the presidential campaign.

With worries over election security growing, senators on the Commerce Committee extracted promises from Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai that their companies will be on guard against meddling by foreign actors or the incitement of violence around the election results.

Testifying via video, the executives said they are taking several steps, including partnerships with news organizations, to distribute accurate information about voting. Dorsey said Twitter was working closely with state election officials.

“We want to give people using the service as much information as possible,” he said.

Republicans, led by Trump, have accused the social media platforms, without evidence, of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views, and they say that behaviour has reached new heights in the contest between the president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the committee’s chairman, said at the start of the hearing that the laws governing online speech must be updated because “the openness and freedom of the internet are under attack.”

Wicker cited the move this month by Facebook and Twitter to limit dissemination of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning New York Post about Biden. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.

“Twitter’s conduct has by far been the most egregious,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Dorsey. Cruz cited Twitter’s limitations on the newspaper story as part of “a pattern of censorship and silencing Americans with whom Twitter disagrees.”

“Who the hell elected you? And put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report?” Cruz asked.

Dorsey told Cruz that he does not believe that Twitter can influence elections because it’s only one source of information. He tried to steer senators away from conventional notions of political bias, noting that “much of the content people see today is determined by algorithms.” He endorsed a proposal from computer scientist Stephen Wolfram that would allow third parties to guide how artificial intelligence systems choose what postings people see.

GOP senators raised with the executives an array of allegations of other bias on the platforms regarding Iran, China and Holocaust denial.

There’s no evidence that the social media giants are biased against conservative news, posts or other material, or that they favour one side of political debate over another, researchers have found. But Republicans aren’t alone in raising concerns about the companies’ policies.

Democrats focused their criticism mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence, keep people from voting or spread falsehoods about the coronavirus. They criticized the tech CEOs for failing to police content, blaming the platforms for playing a role in hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S.

Amid the debate, the Trump administration has asked Congress to strip some of the protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms. The proposals would make changes to a provision of a 1996 law that has been the foundation for unfettered speech on the internet. Critics in both parties say that immunity under Section 230 of the law enables the social media companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.

Trump chimed in Wednesday with a tweet exhorting, “Repeal Section 230!”

The CEOs argued that the liability shield has helped make the internet what it is today, though Zuckerberg said he believes that Congress “should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended.” Dorsey and Pichai urged caution in making any changes.

But the executives also rejected accusations of bias. “We approach our work without political bias, full stop,” Pichai said. “To do otherwise would be contrary to both our business interests and our mission.”

The companies in recent years have wrestled with how strongly to intervene with speech. They have often gone out of their way not to appear biased against conservative views — a posture that some say effectively tilts them toward those viewpoints. The effort has been especially strained for Facebook, which was caught off guard in 2016, when it was used as a conduit by Russian agents to spread misinformation benefiting Trump’s presidential campaign.

Wednesday’s session lacked the in-person drama of star-witness proceedings before the coronavirus outbreak. The hearing room was nearly empty except for Wicker and a few colleagues, as most senators took part remotely, but their questioning was sharp as tempers flared among members.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, went after Republicans, saying the hearing was a “sham.” With their questions, Schatz said, the Republicans “are trying to bully the heads of private companies into making a hit job” on political leaders.

All three companies have scrambled to stem the tide of material that incites violence and spreads lies and baseless conspiracy theories. In their efforts to police misinformation about the election, Twitter and Facebook have imposed a misinformation label on some content from the president, who has about 80 million followers.

Trump has refused to publicly commit to accepting the results if he loses the presidential contest. He also has raised the baseless prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process. None of the five states that mail ballots to all voters has seen significant cases of fraud.

Starting Tuesday, Facebook isn’t accepting any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close Nov. 3, when all political advertising will temporarily be banned. Google, which owns YouTube, also is halting political ads after the polls close. Twitter banned all political ads last year.

___

AP Technology Writers Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, and Barbara Ortutay in Oakland, California, contributed to this report.

___

Follow Gordon at https://twitter.com/mgordonap.

Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press








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Social media CEOs get earful on bias, warning of new limits – NewmarketToday.ca

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WASHINGTON — With next week’s election looming, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday for alleged anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress.

Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.

The Trump administration, seizing on unfounded accusations of bias against conservative views, has asked Congress to strip some of the protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms.

“The time has come for that free pass to end,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Wicker, R-Miss., said the laws governing online speech must be updated because “the openness and freedom of the internet are under attack.”

He spoke at the opening of the hearing as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai waited to testify via video.

Wicker cited the move this month by Facebook and Twitter to limit dissemination of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning New York Post about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.

Republicans led by President Donald Trump have accused the social media platforms, without evidence, of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views.

In their prepared testimony, Dorsey, Zuckerberg and Pichai addressed the proposals for changes to a provision of a 1996 law that has served as the foundation for unfettered speech on the internet. Critics in both parties say that immunity under Section 230 enables the social media companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that Congress “should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended.”

Dorsey and Pichai urged caution in making any changes. “Undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online,” Dorsey said.

Pichai appealed to lawmakers “to be very thoughtful about any changes to Section 230 and to be very aware of the consequences those changes might have on businesses and consumers.”

The session lacked the in-person drama of star-witness proceedings before the coronavirus. The hearing room was nearly empty except for Wicker and a few colleagues, but their questioning was sharp as tempers flared among members.

“Twitter’s conduct has by far been the most egregious,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Dorsey. Cruz cited Twitter’s limitations on the newspaper story as part of “a pattern of censorship and silencing Americans with whom Twitter disagrees.”

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, went after Republicans, saying the hearing was a “sham.”

“This is bullying,” Schatz told the CEOs. “Do not let U.S. senators bully you into carrying the water” for politicians seeking to discredit their opponents. With their questions, Schatz said, the Republicans “are trying to bully the heads of private companies into making a hit job” on political leaders

Trump earlier this year signed an executive order challenging the protections from lawsuits under the 1996 telecommunications law.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told congressional leaders in a letter Tuesday that recent events have made the changes more urgent, and said the restrictions by Twitter and Facebook related to the newspaper story was “quite concerning.”

Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency, recently announced plans to reexamine the legal protections — an about-face from the agency’s previous position.

Social media giants are also under heavy scrutiny for their efforts to police misinformation about the election. Twitter and Facebook have imposed a misinformation label on content from the president, who has about 80 million followers. Trump has raised the baseless prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process.

Starting Tuesday, Facebook didn’t accept any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close Nov. 3, when all political advertising will temporarily be banned. Google, which owns YouTube, also is halting political ads after the polls close. Twitter banned all political ads last year.

Democrats have focused their criticism of social media mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence or keep people from voting. They have criticized the tech CEOs for failing to police content, homing in on the platforms’ role in hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have scrambled to stem the tide of material that incites violence and spreads lies and baseless conspiracy theories.

The companies reject accusations of bias but have wrestled with how strongly they should intervene. They have often gone out of their way not to appear biased against conservative views — a posture that some say effectively tilts them toward those viewpoints. The effort has been especially strained for Facebook, which was caught off guard in 2016, when it was used as a conduit by Russian agents to spread misinformation benefiting Trump’s presidential campaign.

___

Follow Gordon at https://twitter.com/mgordonap.

Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press

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Media Advisory – Commissioner of Official Languages presents his report on the impact of emergency situations on official languages – Canada NewsWire

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GATINEAU, QC, Oct. 28, 2020 /CNW/ – Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge will be presenting his report, A Matter of Respect and Safety: The Impact of Emergency Situations on Official Languages during a virtual press conference on Thursday, October 29.

The report highlights several alarming findings, such as:

  • serious shortcomings in federal institutions’ processes and structures that are creating major challenges in communicating promptly, simultaneously and equally in both official languages;
  • the absence of a comprehensive formal communications approach that explicitly explains what measures federal institutions need to take to meet their official languages obligations.

Date: October 29, 2020

Time: 10:30 a.m.11:30 a.m.

Link to connect to the virtual press conference:
https://zoom.us/j/95752423286  

The Commissioner will be available to discuss with journalists the content of his report. If you wish to speak with the Commissioner following the press conference, please send your request to [email protected].

Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook

SOURCE Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

For further information: Media Relations, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, [email protected]

Related Links

http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca

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