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Facebook will fuel further unrest-whistleblower

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Facebook will fuel more episodes of violent unrest around the world because of the way its algorithms are designed to promote divisive content, whistleblower Frances Haugen told the British parliament on Monday.

Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, was appearing before a parliamentary select committee in Britain that is examining plans to regulate social media companies.

She said the social network saw safety as a cost centre, lionised a start-up culture where cutting corners was a good thing and said it was “unquestionably” making hate worse.

“The events we’re seeing around the world, things like Myanmar and Ethiopia, those are the opening chapters because engagement-based ranking does two things: one, it prioritises and amplifies divisive and polarising extreme content and two it concentrates it,” she said.

She said the algorithms pushed users towards the extreme. “So someone centre left, they’ll be pushed to radical left, someone centre right will be pushed to radical right,” she said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has hit back against Haugen’s accusations, saying earlier this month: “The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical.”

Reuters, along with other news organisations, viewed documents released to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress by Haugen.

They showed Facebook had known that it hadn’t hired enough workers who possessed both the language skills and knowledge of local events needed to identify objectionable posts from users in a number of developing countries.

 

(Reporting by Kate Holton and Paul Sandle; Editing by Keith Weir)

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Media Beat, Dec. 02, 2021 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News

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Shaw Communications is too risky, this portfolio manager says

Whether or not the deal with Rogers goes through, Canadian telecom provider Shaw Communications is too much of a risk, says John Zechner of J. Zechner Associates, who argues that investors should have some of the telcos in their portfolios, just not Shaw at this point in time.

“When Shaw was trading at $36 [after the merger was announced], the upside was ten percent and the downside if something negative happens with the deal, I thought, would be it’ll be back in the low $20s or mid $20s against. So, on a risk/reward basis I thought I’d rather shift to Rogers which if the deal didn’t go through, there certainly wasn’t the same downside,” said Zechner, speaking on BNN Bloomberg on Monday. – Jayson MacLean, CanTech Letter

What Rogers says

With Rogers and Shaw together, thousands of new jobs will be created and ties with communities across western Canada will continue to grow stronger. The new company would create more than 3,000 new jobs, growing the combined team to more than 10,000 people strong across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

At the centre of it all, a western head office will remain in Calgary. Rogers will also enhance Shaw’s charitable work, including the creation of more youth scholarships. The Shaw Charity Classic will continue for at least the next decade, which has already raised more than $61 million for Alberta kids’ charities. – Company website

Eric Boyko has just spent $1.4N buying 25% more Stingray Group shares

The recent purchase by Eric Boyko was the biggest purchase of Stingray Group shares made by an insider individual in the last twelve months, according to our records. That implies that an insider found the current price of CA$7.47 per share to be enticing. While their view may have changed since the purchase was made, this does at least suggest they have had confidence in the company’s future. We do always like to see insider buying, but it is worth noting if those purchases were made at well below today’s share price, as the discount to value may have narrowed with the rising price. The good news for Stingray Group share holders is that insiders were buying at near the current price. – Inside Wall Street

Commercial Radio Australia cleared to bargain with Google and Facebook

CRA represents 261-member radio stations across metropolitan and regional Australia, including ARN, Southern Cross Austereo, Nova Entertainment, Grant Broadcasters and Nine Entertainment. The authorisation excludes Nine, which previously announced it has reached agreements with Google and Facebook. – Mediaweek

EU plans media act, industry chief Breton says, amid curbs on freedom

The European Commission plans to introduce rules next year to prevent a few large media groups from acquiring smaller rivals and to thwart government interference, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said on Monday.

The move by the EU executive comes amid curbs on media freedom in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia and worries that the channeling of state advertising to pro-government outlets leads to indirect political influence over the media. – Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Can commercial radio and podcasting go hand in hand

The latest UK radio audience figures from Rajar demonstrated that two-thirds of audiences now listen to radio on digital devices. DAB accounts for 43% of that total, while online and in-app makes up 18%. That means that almost a fifth of all radio listenership occurs on devices such as phones or desktop devices. Those platforms are format agnostic and audiences are just as likely to listen to non-radio audio – if they even make a distinction.

It’s an acknowledgement that the audio space is colliding, with the lines between radio content, podcasts, audiobooks and more being erased by user habit. As a result, there is a huge commercial opportunity to reach audiences that consume ‘audio’ more widely on those devices.

Podcast company Acast saw a 51% increase in listeners across its network in 2020 in addition to a 250% increase in revenue from branded content in 2020. Its UK head of sales Josh Woodhouse believes that is due in large part to an influx of new genres into the podcasting space – which in turn is attracting radio producers to launch commercial podcasts. – Chris Sutcliffe, The Drum

UK newspapers accepted money to publish positive environmental stories about Saudi Arabia around COP26

The Independent and Evening Standard newspapers have been accused of greenwashing after they accepted an undisclosed sum of money from Saudi Arabia to publish dozens of positive environmental stories about the country before, during, and after the COP26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow.

In the days preceding the summit and during its initial days, the Independent published at least 50 stories and videos under a commercial deal with Saudi Arabia, an investigation by Byline Times can reveal. – Byline Times team

Physicists, The Milky Way Is likely full of dead alien civilizations

Researchers used computer simulations to show just how likely it is that our galaxy is teeming with dead alien civilizations. The study, which was carried out by researchers at the University of Rochester in New York, showed that if just one civilization in the Milky Way were to become extinct every 100 million years, then it’s highly likely that 20 million civilizations have come and gone in our galaxy. But, if civilizations are becoming extinct every 10 million years, then it’s likely that only one civilization has ever existed in the Milky Way. – Call Me V

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Social media giants monetise anger and trolling is the result. A crackdown is welcome – The Guardian

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Social media giants monetise anger and trolling is the result. A crackdown is welcome  The Guardian



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Princeton the focus of international media – the story on the story – Penticton Western News – Pentiction Western News

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Over the past two weeks the community has been flooded…with media.

Princeton quickly became a focus for journalists across Canada and around the globe, following the devastating events that started Sunday, Nov. 14, when the Tulameen River breached its banks.

Last Thursday, correspondents working for The New York Times were trekking through muck on Fenchurch Avenue, interviewing residents who were starting the process of cleaning out their homes.

“In the town of Princeton, which was uncomfortably close to this summer’s wildfires and was hit by record heat, bands of volunteers of all ages were roving the streets and helping out,” wrote Ian Austen. “There are a lot of tears in Princeton and other communities right now, but they’re not all from grief over what’s lost. When flood victims described the kindness of those volunteers to me, some broke out in tears of gratitude.”

The U.K. based Guardian also reached out to area homeowners.

Ed Staples, from Coalmont, was interviewed.

“After a summer of staying indoors to shield his lungs from thick smoke, Staples said he’s sad to see the loss in his community so soon after the fires,” The Guardian wrote. ‘It’s heartbreaking, I get choked up thinking about it,’ said Staples. ‘These are real people who have lost everything and it’ll take months or years to get their lives in order.’”

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne has fielded hundreds of requests for interviews, and granted many.

“I’ve done so many interviews,” he told the Spotlight, “I don’t know who all I’ve interviewed with. It’s kind of been a blur to be honest…I was doing, by lunch time, about eight interviews a day at one point.”

Coyne said this has given him the opportunity to keep Princeton’s needs top-of-mind for government officials, who hold the purse strings for emergency aid. “If I’m not out there, Abbotsford is going to be the story…It’s getting us the attention we need.”

Coyne appeared live on the CBC’s The National, and on the television program Power and Politics. He’s spoken frequently with regional affiliates of all the major networks.

While he doesn’t particularly relish the limelight, Coyne is uniquely qualified to take on the press. “At one time I was a small town reporter. I worked for Black Press, I worked for (The Similkameen News Leader.)”

Recently a journalist writing for the Globe and Mail followed the mayor for an entire day, as he made the rounds of the community.

“Shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Mr. Coyne jumped in his yellow Nissan Xterra and began driving around town, checking on crew progress and speaking to residents about their needs. His cellphone rang constantly. He made a stop at the one-runway airport where the small lounge was crammed with people bringing in dogs and cats in animal carriers,” wrote Anthony Davis.

There’s been absurdity, attached to some of Coyne’s experiences.

“One interview, I won’t say what network and what show, they began telling me what I should be wearing in the interview and what the backdrop should be…like a bookshelf.”

Coyne eventually gave that interview, via his phone, wearing a high-visibility vest, while inside the Princeton fire hall.

During an interview with the BBC, he was asked about local temperatures. When the mayor reported the temperature was hovering at about minus 3 degrees Celsius, he was asked, “And why is that?”

After requesting the question be repeated, Coyne responded, “Well, it’s November. This is when we start to turn into winter.”

Coyne said he often prefers to communicate with local media.

“Local media has been invaluable, absolutely invaluable,” he stated. “I really appreciate the efforts of the Spotlight in order to keep accurate information going out.”

Related: Princeton’s water system hanging – literally – by a fire hose

Related: Princeton ‘as ready as it can be’ for the next 24 hours

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
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