(Reuters) – Social media companies Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc have announced crackdowns on content linked with the unfounded and sprawling conspiracy theory QAnon.
WHAT IS QANON?
QAnon followers espouse an intertwined series of beliefs, based on anonymous web postings from “Q,” who claims to have insider knowledge of the Trump administration.
A core tenet of the conspiracy theory is that U.S. President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child-sex predators that includes prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites and “deep state” allies.
QAnon, which borrows some elements from the bogus “pizzagate” theory about a pedophile ring run out of a Washington restaurant, has become a “big tent” conspiracy theory encompassing misinformation about topics ranging from alien landings to vaccine safety.
Followers of QAnon say a so-called Great Awakening is coming to bring salvation.
HOW HAS IT SPREAD ONLINE?
The ‘Q’ posts, which started in 2017 on the message board 4chan, are now posted on 8kun, a rebranded version of the shuttered web board 8chan. QAnon has been amplified on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the video streaming service of Alphabet Inc’s Google.
Media investigations have shown that social media recommendation algorithms can drive people who show an interest in conspiracy theories towards more material.
A report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) found that the number of users engaging in discussion of QAnon on Twitter and Facebook have surged this year, with membership of QAnon groups on Facebook growing 120 percent in March.
Researchers say that Russian government-supported organizations are playing a small but increasing role amplifying the conspiracy theories.
QAnon backers helped to organize real-life protests against child trafficking in August and were involved in a pro-police demonstration in Portland, Oregon.
QAnon also looks poised to gain a toehold in the U.S. House of Representatives, with at least one Republican candidate who espouses its beliefs on track to win in the November elections.
WHAT ARE SOCIAL PLATFORMS DOING ABOUT IT?
Twitter in July said it would stop recommending QAnon content and accounts in a crackdown it expected would affect about 150,000 accounts. It also said it would block QAnon URLs and permanently suspend QAnon accounts coordinating abuse or violating its rules.
Facebook in August removed nearly 800 QAnon groups for posts celebrating violence, showing intent to use weapons or attracting followers with patterns of violent behavior. It has also imposed restrictions on the remaining 1,950 public and private QAnon groups that it found. Facebook said it plans to ban ads that promote or reference QAnon, and it does not allow QAnon pages to run commerce shops.
A spokeswoman for the short-form video app TikTok said QAnon content “frequently contains disinformation and hate speech” and that it has blocked dozens of QAnon hashtags.
A Reddit spokeswoman told Reuters the site has removed QAnon communities that repeatedly violated its rules since 2018, when it took down forums such as r/greatawakening.
A YouTube spokeswoman said it has removed tens of thousands of Q-related videos and terminated hundreds of Q-related channels for violating its rules since updating its hate speech policy in June 2019.
YouTube also said it reduces its recommendations of certain QAnon videos that “could misinform users in harmful ways.” It does not have a specific ban on monetizing QAnon content. ISD researchers found that about 20 percent of all QAnon-related Facebook posts contained YouTube links.
Reviews of major e-commerce sites Amazon.com Inc and Etsy Inc show sellers listing QAnon-branded items ranging from books to T-shirts and face masks.
(Compiled by Elizabeth Culliford, Joseph Menn and Ted Hesson; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Grant McCool)
Mi'kmaw journalist assesses media coverage of fisheries dispute – CBC.ca
Some media coverage of tension between Mi’kmaw and non-Indigenous fishermen, like what’s happening right now in Saulnierville, N.S., fails to tell the true story, says Trina Roache.
She’s a long-time journalist with APTN News who has covered the implications of the 1999 Marshall decision for years. The historic ruling recognized a First Nations’ right to earn a moderate living from fishing but the government has never defined what that means.
Last year, Roache released a documentary on the 20th anniversary of the Marshall decision asking what had changed.
Now, she’s covering the same tensions in Saulnierville where the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched their moderate livelihood fishery on Thursday. It’s being opposed by non-Indigenous fishermen who’ve cut traps and paraded their boats around the harbour in protest.
Roache spoke with host CBC Mainstreet host Jeff Douglas about what the journalist can do to better report on Indigenous issues and why an understanding of the treaties is so important.
Their conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
In general, are we driving you nuts?
A little bit, to be honest. A little bit.
It’s a story I’ve spent a lot of time on, and then sometimes when I read the headlines and when I see the mainstream coverage, it’s frustrating because there’s an imbalance sometimes or a language that happens in the coverage that to me creates a narrative that the Mi’kmaw are doing something wrong, which isn’t the case.
Can you give us an indication of some of that coverage or the imbalance?
The Mi’kmaq, they have a right. The Supreme Court of Canada decided in the Marshall decision that they agree, yes, the Mi’kmaq have a treaty right to make a living from fishing and hunting and gathering. They came out with the term “moderate livelihood,” didn’t define it, so it’s a little confusing. But they upheld that treaty right.
And so the problem is, is that when we call it an illegal fishery, that’s only because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not implemented their own law, like they haven’t addressed the Marshall decision to date. So there are no rules to govern a moderate livelihood fishery. And so in the eyes of DFO, it might be an illegal fishery, but in fact, the Mi’kmaq have a legal right, a constitutional right to go fish and make a living.
Chief Terry Paul also said that they have been waiting for essentially 21 years for DFO and for some sort of governance.
The Mi’kmaq are doing that work themselves. And that’s what you’re seeing today down in Saulnierville, near Digby. The Sipekne’katik First Nation in particular is down there issuing these moderate livelihood licences. They’ve got a management plan, they’re celebrating the anniversary of the Marshall decision, you know, kicking off this moderate livelihood with ceremony, the Grand Council’s there. This is not an illegal fishery. They have every legal right to do what they’re doing.
The Mi’kmaq are not protesting. So, again, we have to be very careful of the words we use when we’re describing what’s happening. But the protest part is that the non-Mi’kmaw fishermen down there are out on the water in their boats and trying to sort of stymie the Mi’kmaq, and not allow them to drop their traps or maybe cut their traps and not allow them to sort of carry out this moderate livelihood fishery. So that’s the protest part.
In addition to language use, like substituting the word protest instead of celebration or ceremony, illegal fishery, is there just a lack of understanding surrounding treaty issues?
We have a really important job in providing that balanced view. You sort of have the tenets of journalism, right? We all want to do fair, balanced, accurate, objective reporting. And as an Indigenous journalist, well, that’s what I do, too. And so sometimes what can happen, though, I think, is that we sort of assume that somehow mainstream journalism, predominantly white journalism, that is just sort of unbiased … Because I’ve been asked, well, how do you keep your journalism from turning into advocacy? And I’m like, that’s a terrible question, because you’re making an assumption somehow that because I’m Mi’kmaw reporting on Mi’kmaw issues that I can’t be fair and accurate and balanced.
And instead, when CBC or other media are calling this fishery an illegal fishery or keep referring to it within the report as this illegal fishery, to me that’s bias, right? That betrays an inherent bias in the reporting and not including enough Mi’kmaw voices. If you’re going to do a story about the Mi’kmaw, you have to make sure you’re talking to the Mi’kmaw. And you have to make sure that if you’re going to do a story about this, I hope you’ve read the treaties … So even if you’re not going to do Indigenous stories, as a journalist in Canada or wherever, you should know the history of the land that you’re standing on.
To be dismissive or refer to it as an illegal fishery is really covering over all this backstory and history and this treaty relationship that’s very important and really matters today. The treaties might have been signed before but they still count today, and if we’re going to report on these stories then we really need to understand what it means.
Going back to your point about where people get their information from, particularly on Indigenous issues, it’s from us and so we are then mis-educating, inadvertently?
It’s true because we do play an important role in just public information … I was thinking of this earlier because the battle cry of the non-Mi’kmaw fishermen or fish harvesters back in 2000 after the Marshall decision came down was they’re going to ruin the lobster stocks. I mean, I remember hearing that again and again on the wharves from fishermen up near Burnt Church: the Mi’kmaq are going to ruin the lobster stocks.
And you still hear that today … and so as a journalist, sometimes, like, you have to question and educate yourself and question DFO so that the listener has a full picture and education because it’s misinformation. They haven’t ruined the lobster stocks in 21 years. What the Mi’kmaw do is a drop in the bucket compared to the commercial fishery … There’s only conflict when there’s money at stake, right? This is a multi-billion dollar industry, and so there’s a lot at stake. When inherent rights butt up against Canadian interests, that’s when it’s a problem.
Everyone can be nice and talk about reconciliation and all that nice stuff, but it’s when we butt up against the larger interests that you start to see the media sort of breakdown in how it’s reporting on these issues.
Three charged with witness intimidation over social media – BayToday.ca
North Bay Police have charged two women and a man after an investigation found that a witness involved in a criminal case was being intimidated over social media.
Police began an investigation in August and say “an individual who had provided information during an investigation before the courts had been the subject of a post shared on a social media site attracting several comments from people that created a safety concern.”
The investigation resulted in the arrest of three people in early September.
North Bay Police have arrested and charged Cindy Morin, 54, of North Bay, Lisa Cormier, 42, of East Ferris, and Raymond Prudhomme, 42, of Powassan with “Intimidation of a Justice Participant.”
All three were released from custody. Morin and Cormier will appear in the North Bay Courthouse on October 20.
Prudhomme will appear in the North Bay Courthouse on November 3.
Chief Scott Tod said “Public confidence in our courts being ethical and trustworthy means police have the added responsibility of identifying and charging people who try to intimidate or threaten a person involved in our judicial process. North Bay Police Service, like all our provincial and national policing partners, will vigorously investigate these types of offences that protect the integrity of our judicial system.”
Nunatsiaq News seeks applicants for journalism, communications, media studies bursaries – Nunatsiaq News
Bursaries worth $5,000 available to Inuit post-secondary students from Nunavut or Nunavik
If you’re interested in a career in journalism, communications or media studies, and you’re an Inuit post-secondary student from Nunavut or Nunavik, Nunatsiaq News would like to help you.
The northern newspaper has established two bursaries to be awarded annually to Inuit post-secondary students from Nunavut and Nunavik whose studies are focused on the following areas: broadcast television and radio, communications, journalism or media studies.
Each bursary is worth $5,000.
“Nunatsiaq News is an important voice in Nunavut and Nunavik, but Inuit are sadly underrepresented in our journalism team,” said the paper’s publisher, Michael Roberts. “It’s a rigorous profession, and reporters need the proper tools to do the work. That’s why we are launching these bursaries in the hope that it will encourage more Inuit to join our industry in the future.”
As well as providing bursaries, Nunatsiaq News will offer internships, freelance work or summer employment to students.
“While we have worked with Nunavut Sivuniksavut and Nunavik Sivunitsavut on short-term journalism training,” said Roberts, “post-secondary studies are key to increasing Inuit representation in newspaper publishing.”
The bursaries are delivered through Indspire’s Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards program, to which the Nunatsiaq News has donated funding.
The deadline for applications is Sunday, Nov. 1.
You can apply online on the Indspire website.
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