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Facebook and Twitter shares fall as Trump targets social media – CNN



A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
What’s happening: Trump is set to announce an executive order targeting social media companies on Thursday, though it’s not clear what exactly the order will include. The action comes after Twitter applied a fact-check to two of Trump’s tweets, including one that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud.
Trump then accused the social media company of censorship, warning that if it continued to tag his messages, he would use the power of the federal government to rein it in or even shut it down.
Twitter (TWTR) shares closed down 2.8% and are off another 3% in premarket trading. Facebook (FB) shares dropped 1.3% Wednesday and are down another 1.5% in premarket trading Thursday.
Legal experts say Trump’s options for cracking down on Twitter and other sites over how they moderate their platforms are somewhat limited, my CNN Business colleague Brian Fung reports.
The most obvious course of action would be for Trump to seek changes to the Communications Decency Act, which shields tech platforms from legal liability for a wide range of online content.
There has been an ongoing push, led by the Justice Department and Republicans in Congress, to do just that. But changing the law would require building broad consensus in a deadlocked Congress. The Trump administration could not go it alone, according to Brian.
Trump could pressure federal agencies to take action against social media companies. But the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission have previously resisted efforts by the White House to regulate political speech.
Investor insight: The president’s clash with tech companies comes at a delicate moment. Unlike most American firms, these companies — which are used to working remotely and do not rely on physical locations for sales — have performed strongly throughout the pandemic and have helped to drive the stock market recovery.
Shares of Google’s Alphabet (GOOG), which owns YouTube, are up 6% this year, while the broader S&P 500 is down 6%. Facebook’s stock has risen more than 11% year-to-date.

China approves controversial Hong Kong national security law

China’s legislature has approved a proposal to impose a highly contentious national security law in Hong Kong, throwing the semi-autonomous city’s future as a major financial center into doubt.
China approves controversial national security law for Hong Kong
The latest: China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, passed the resolution Thursday to enact the sweeping security legislation, which bans sedition, secession and subversion of the central government and allows mainland China’s state security agencies to operate in Hong Kong.
The law has sparked widespread protests in Hong Kong and has been denounced internationally, with opponents warning it could curtail many of the rights and freedoms promised to the city when it was handed from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
It also could threaten a tenuous trade truce between Washington and Beijing. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States would no longer consider Hong Kong as autonomous from China for trade and economic purposes.
What it means: “We do not currently expect these developments to directly threaten the Phase One trade deal though pressures are rising,” Eurasia Group analysts said in a note to clients Wednesday. “Tensions over Hong Kong are part of the geopolitical rivalry that has contributed to the recent downturn in the US-China relationship, and introduction of this national security law came more quickly than we expected.”
Market reaction: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has dropped more than 5% in the past week. Elsewhere, investors have shrugged off the risks, pushing stocks higher.

More stimulus

Europe and Japan are taking big steps to ensure their economies can recover as they begin the gradual process of ending lockdowns.
More stimulus: The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a plan that would see it raise €750 billion ($825 billion) on financial markets through its 2021-27 budget. Two-thirds of the money would be distributed to countries via grants, while the remainder would be offered as loans.
And Japan is injecting another $1 trillion into its economy. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Wednesday approved additional relief, doubling the amount previously committed in April.
Europe’s plan still needs to be approved by the 27 EU member states, with the aid unlikely to arrive before 2021. But the moves are a sign that countries aren’t shying away from unprecedented help at a moment of dire need. That’s helping support investor sentiment as restrictions on movement ease.
“The sweet spot for a risk-on rotation is now, as economies reopen and more fiscal programs are implemented,” Evercore ISI’s Dennis DeBusschere told clients.
The number of initial US unemployment claims filed last week arrives at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expect another 2.1 million.
Also today: US durable goods orders for April and the second estimate of US GDP for the first quarter also post at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Coming tomorrow: US personal income and spending data, along with the latest reading of the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey, will shine a light on consumer behavior at a crucial juncture.

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Conservatives flock to a free speech social media app — which has started banning liberal users – NBC News



Last week, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, both announced on Twitter that they were moving to a new social media platform.

“I’m proud to join @parler_app — a platform gets what free speech is all about — and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Cruz tweeted.

Many others followed suit. Parler, founded in August 2018, touts itself as an “unbiased” social media platform focused on “real user experiences and engagement.” In recent weeks, it has become a destination for conservatives who have voiced their disapproval of how mainstream platforms such as Facebook and Twitter moderate content.

But as with every other platform on the internet, Parler’s free speech stance goes only so far. The platform has been banning many people who joined and trolled conservatives.

“Pretty much all of my leftist friends joined Parler to screw with MAGA folks, and every last one of them was banned in less than 24 hours because conservatives truly love free speech,” a user wrote on Twitter.

Writer and comedian Tony Posnanski also received a ban from the app. “Free speech my a–! I literally said less than here and I got banned,” he tweeted.

John Matze, the founder and CEO of Parler, said Thursday in an interview with CNBC that the company remains firm in its promise that it supports free speech.

“Our general premise is that we believe in the good of the American people as a whole and that people should be able to have these discussions,” he said. “People don’t want to be told what to think. People don’t want to be told what to say anymore.”

Parler did not respond to a request for comment.

The move to Parler by conservatives comes as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms remain under pressure from Republicans over how they decide to remove content posted by users. Conservatives for years have claimed that they are unfairly silenced on the platforms, although many Republican politicians and pundits enjoy large audiences on them.

The pressure has increased in recent weeks since Twitter labeled multiple tweets from President Donald Trump as misleading and Snap, the owner of Snapchat, announced that it will stop promoting Trump’s content. Facebook, which did not take similar action, has faced both a major advertiser boycott over how it handles hate speech and unrest from employees over how it handled Trump’s statements.

Republicans have countered by pushing legislation to curtail the tech industry’s legal protections, coupled with an executive order from Trump.

Parler is not the first alternative platform to try to capitalize on displeasure with the major platforms. Its user experience is similar to that of Twitter and other microblogging websites. Users can make posts on the platform and receive likes, comments and shares.

Some people who joined the platform described it as a conservative version of Twitter. Rees Paz, who calls himself a left-leaning centrist in his Twitter bio, tweeted that all of the users recommended for him on the app were conservative figures, from Trump’s son Eric to Laura Loomer, a conservative activist who was previously banned from Twitter.

But even some conservatives find fault with the platform, which, in addition to stating that it is a free speech haven, promises to “never [share] your personal data.”

Its privacy policy says it “may collect … information such as your name, email address, username, and profile photo.”

For people who choose to join the app’s “influencer network,” the company may ask for information “such as your Social Security number (SSN) or your tax identification number.”

Some users have been dissatisfied with the company’s efforts to protect their privacy.

Mindy Robinson, a conservative political commentator, criticized Cruz for endorsing the app.

“The minute it asked for a copy of my driver’s license to access normal features Twitter already has … I knew something was seriously wrong with Parler,” Robinson wrote.

She then clarified that she was not able to send a direct message on the app without providing a photo of her driver’s license.

Another user wrote: “I signed up prior to it requiring a phone number. It hasn’t asked me to provide it yet. The moment it does I’m out.”

In his CNBC interview, Matze defended Parler’s policy on phone numbers and identification, saying people say “nasty things” online because they can stay anonymous.

“On Parler, people get verified, people have phone numbers related to their accounts. People know they’re acting and behaving as they would in a town square,” he said.

“We are a town square, not a publication,” Matze added. “I think people will come around to this idea more and more — society can solve these problems without regulation of the social media platforms.”

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Council approves social media policy for Wellington North Fire Service – Wellington Advertiser



WELLINGTON NORTH – Township council has approved a social media policy for the Wellington North Fire Service.

A staff report provided to council at the June 22 meeting indicates the Wellington North Fire Services (WNFS) has developed a policy to ensure uniform usage of social media sites across the department.

This policy aims to ensure that all social media content representing the fire service “is created in a professional and consistent manner that faithfully represents both our mission statement and department values.”

The report notes the WNFS online presence helps inform the public about the happenings within the department and provides an opportunity for educating the public about fire safety and about emergency preparedness.

It also facilitates keeping the public informed during emergency events.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said councillor Steve McCabe.

“I think it’s going to be a huge advantage for our residents to see what our fire chief is up to.

“I know I’ve had a few questions about the transition from our previous fire chief to what we’re doing now so I think this will alleviate a lot of questions … I think it’s great to be open and transparent.”

Wellington North recently entered into an agreement to share a director of fire services and fire service management team with the Town of Minto.

“This platform, I trust, is similar to what you’ve got in Minto?” councillor Sherry Burke asked director of fire services Chris Harrow.

“I follow you folks on twitter … it looks like you’re suggesting it would be the same type of thing and that same type of information would be put out there?”

“Absolutely,” replied Harrow, adding, “It would be obviously tailored to Wellington North residents.”

Harrow explained information such as weather alerts and emergency situations could be shared with residents through WNFS accounts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“We find it very effective to be able to get information out there in an emergency, not only for roads, but for weather, traffic…” Harrow stated.

Councillor Lisa Hern stated, “I was actually excited to have a social media policy. It was one of the things before that I thought we were a little lacking.”

Harrow pointed out social media can also be used as an effective recruitment took.

“We can show everybody how Wellington North Fire service is a great fire service,” said Harrow.

“You will probably see us launch recruitment drive tools with it very shortly.”

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Hill Movers: Power joins Bains' office as senior comms and media relations advisor –



John Power is backing working for the federal Liberal government.

After a roughly seven-month move to consultant work, he joined Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains‘ office in June as a senior advisor for communications and media relations.

LAST WEEK: Perreault bids adieu to federal politics

“In the role I am advising the Minister on media relations and broader communications matters, working under Vanessa Hage-Moussa our Director of Communications,” Power told iPolitics via email.

Power was most recently working as a principal for Ottawa’s Tactix Government Relations and Public Affairs, a role he started last December, according to his LinkedIn.

He moved back to GR after five years working for the feds, including spending most of 2019 as an issues management advisor for the Prime Minister’s Office.

Prior to that, Power spent six months or so as a senior communications advisor and issues manager for the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade. And before that, he spent a year and a half at the office of National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier.

In Lebouthillier’s office, Power rose from special assistant for Ontario to press secretary and issues manager to, finally, senior communications advisor and issues manager.

He’s quite familiar with the Hill, getting his start as a summer student with the House of Commons in 2012. After graduating from McGill in 2013, Power had a brief spell as a researcher for Tactix before joining pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb.

He left that company in 2015 to work as a French-language media monitor for the federal Liberals for the 2015 election campaign. After that vote, he joined the Office of the Chief Government Whip as a committee Analyst, a role he held until April 2017.

Other moves

In other staffing changes this past spring, Mitchell Goldie became a special assistant with the Liberal Research Bureau,  Kaitlin Salole moved up to become Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen‘s legislative assistant and Paul Kaiser joined Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia‘s office as a special assistant.

Please send your tips about people on the move to [email protected].

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