U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said the agency will consider U.S. President Donald Trump’s request to weaken legal protections for social media companies such as Twitter Inc.
The FCC will begin a rulemaking to “clarify” the meaning of a law that gives broad legal immunity to social media companies for their handling of users’ posts, Pai said in an emailed statement.
The action follows a request by the Trump administration for regulators to dilute the decades-old law that Facebook Inc., Twitter and Google say is crucial.
The request was called for in an executive order that Trump signed in May. Tech trade groups, civil liberties organizations and legal scholars have slammed the action and said it isn’t likely to survive a court challenge.
Pai in his statement that “many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws.”
“Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech,” Pai said in his statement. “But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”
3 social media CEOs face grilling by GOP senators on bias – Powell River Peak
WASHINGTON — The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are facing a grilling by Republican senators making unfounded allegations that the tech giants show anti-conservative bias.
The Senate Commerce Committee has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to testify for a hearing Wednesday. The executives agreed to appear remotely after being threatened with subpoenas.
With the presidential election looming, Republicans led by President Donald Trump have thrown a barrage of grievances at Big Tech’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views.
The chorus of protest rose this month after Facebook and Twitter acted to limit dissemination of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning New York Post about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, an unprecedented action against a major media outlet. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.
Beyond questioning the CEOs, senators are expected to examine proposals to revise long-held legal protections for online speech, an immunity that critics in both parties say enables the companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.
The Justice Department has asked Congress to strip some of the bedrock protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms. Trump signed an executive order challenging the protections from lawsuits under the 1996 telecommunications law.
“For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the Commerce Committee chairman, said recently.
In their opening statements prepared for the hearing, Dorsey, Zuckerberg and Pichai addressed the proposals for changes to so-called Section 230, a provision of a 1996 law that has served as the foundation for unfettered speech on the internet. Zuckerberg said Congress “should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended.”
“We don’t think tech companies should be making so many decisions about these important issues alone,” he said, approving an active role for government regulators.
Dorsey and Pichai, however, 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 urged 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.”
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told congressional leaders in a letter Tuesday that recent events have made the changes more urgent. He cited the action by Twitter and Facebook regarding the New York Post story, calling the companies’ limitations “quite concerning.”
The head of the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency, recently announced plans to reexamine the legal protections, potentially putting meat on the bones of Trump’s order by opening the way to new rules. The move by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee, marked 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 slapped a misinformation label on content from the president, who has around 80 million followers. Trump has raised the baseless prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process.
Starting Tuesday, Facebook was not accepting any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close next Tuesday, 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 Big 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.
The unwelcome attention to the three companies piles onto the anxieties in the tech industry, which also faces scrutiny from the Justice Department, federal regulators, Congress and state attorneys general around the country.
Last week, the Justice Department sued Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising — the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago.
With antitrust in the spotlight, Facebook, Apple and Amazon also are under investigation at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
Follow Gordon at https://twitter.com/mgordonap
Council swayed by social media campaign – Cowichan Valley Citizen
Council swayed by social media campaign
On Oct. 21, 2020 there was a municipal council meeting that debated, at length, the merits of extending a Temporary Use Permit (TUP00022, item 9.1) for a business on Lakes Road. Prior to the meeting, staff performed their due diligence researching the subject; they found that the proprietors of the business had not met the spirit or requirements of the conditions laid out in the original TUP. Staff recommended that the TUP extension be denied.
As part of council’s responsibilities and commitment to their office, council debated the application for the extension of the TUP. Council chose to ignore the staff recommendations citing COVID as an excuse for the proprietors of the business not meeting the conditions stipulated in the original TUP (occupancy permits, etc.). The proprietors had 18 months between the granting of the original TUP to when the COVID pandemic descended upon us all; they had plenty of time to fulfill their commitments to the process. Although I do not agree with the council’s flawed assessment and decision, I accept it as part of the council’s elected responsibilities.
There has been a social media flurry in the past few days from the proprietor of the business appealing to the community through social media. The posts suggest that the council’s decisions were going to effectively bankrupt the business. The rhetoric and emotion of social media seem to be guiding the decision versus fact and process. Fact: the terms and conditions of the Temporary Use Permit (TUP00022) originally granted have not been followed and the recommendation from the North Cowichan planning department was to deny an extension.
I ask members of council to reflect on the dangerous abuses of social media in the fiefdom south of our border prior to considering any amendment to their decision. Facebook and other social media outlets cannot replace the processes, norms, OCP, and laws that we have developed to function as a civilized society. As described in the council debate, about 50 per cent of the adjoining neighbours’ properties complained about the lack of non-compliance with the covenants in the original TUP. The proprietor’s lack of action in not meeting their commitments and conditions attached to the original TUP, combined with their social media attacks, whining, and complaining is a familiar tactic. You only need to be remotely cognisant of the circus south of us to know that social media should not be a trusted source of information, and cannot replace the recommendations of career staff members, processes, norms, OCP, and laws. Governing by social media is inherently dangerous, please consider the source of information carefully when you debate and make your decisions.
This election is 'the most important' of our lifetime: Verizon Media CEO – Yahoo Canada Finance
The Canadian Press
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Latest on Game 6 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays (all times local):8:40 p.m.Rays starter Blake Snell is cruising through the Dodgers lineup for a second time, helping Tampa Bay maintain a 1-0 lead through four innings.Snell overwhelmed the Dodgers’ 2-3-4 hitters in the fourth, striking out Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Max Muncy. Snell has nine strikeouts and only allowed one hit on 55 pitches. The left-hander hasn’t completed five innings since Game 1 of the AL Championship Series but seems primed to go deep in this one.The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner isn’t always so reliable in the middle innings. Snell limited batters to a .140 average the first time through the order in the regular season but allowed a .307 mark the second time around.Dodgers starter-turned-reliever Alex Wood completed two perfect innings by striking out a pair in the fourth. The left-hander with a funky delivery has punched out five over four scoreless innings during the World Series.___8:25 p.m.Blake Snell is through three innings and his Rays still lead 1-0. Chris Taylor hit a leadoff single to become the Dodgers’ first runner, but was stranded at second base when Snell struck out Mookie Betts for the second time in the game.Snell has fanned six in three innings. Tampa Bay keeps helping itself with its gloves, too.Third baseman Joey Wendle and first baseman Ji-Man Choi teamed up for one out and catcher Mike Zunino neatly blocked a breaking ball by Snell to prevent Taylor from advancing.Alex Wood became the Dodgers’ third pitcher of the game when he took over to begin the third, and he breezed through a perfect inning.___8 p.m.Tony Gonsolin is gone early again, and Blake Snell hasn’t allowed a hit through two innings again at the World Series.The Los Angeles starter was replaced by Dylan Floro after walking Ji-Man Choi to put two on with two outs and Tampa Bay leading 1-0. Manager Dave Roberts made the same move in the Rays’ 6-4 victory in Game 2, when Gonsolin and Snell both started.Floro got an inning-ending strikeout of Randy Arozarena, the rookie who extended his record with his 10th homer of the post-season in the first.The LA-tilted crowd among the pandemic-reduced total of about 11,000 is trying to get its club going with frequent chants of “Let’s go Dodgers” in the neutral-site Series in Texas. Snell is snuffing it out so far.The Tampa Bay ace had another perfect inning, striking out two after fanning the side in the first. The left-hander didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning in Game 2.___7:35 p.m.Randy Arozarena extended his post-season record with his 10th home run and Blake Snell struck out the side as the Tampa Bay Rays took a 1-0 lead after the first inning in Game 6 of the World Series, when a win by the Los Angeles Dodgers would give them their first title since 1988.It was Arozarena’s third homer in the World Series, the first time a rookie has hit three in the Series since Charlie Keller did it for the New York Yankees in 1939. Arozarena became the first rookie to drive in a run in four consecutive Series games.Arozarena went the opposite way in the top of the first, homering to right off rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin with one out. Austin Meadows then hit a hard single and Brandon Lowe, who homered off Gonsolin in Game 2, walked before Manuel Margot had a flyout and Joey Wendle struck out.Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, struck out Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Justin Turner. The lefty struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings as the Rays won Game 2, when he didn’t allow a hit in that game until the fifth.The Dodgers went in with hopes of getting five or six innings out of Gonsolin. He was in an opener role and pitched only 1 1/3 innings in Game 2.Gonsolin needed 25 pitches to get through the first inning, and the Dodgers had Alex Wood warming up briefly in the bullpen only five batters into the game.It was also the fifth consecutive game in this World Series when a run was scored in the top of the first inning. That had never happened before.__7:10 p.m.The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 3-2 World Series lead into Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, one win from their first title since 1988.The Dodgers were in Brooklyn when they lost the World Series in 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953, then finally won their first championship when Johnny Podres completed an eight-hit shutout in Game 7 in 1955 when Elston Howard grounded to Pee Wee Reese, who threw to first baseman Gil Hodges for the final out.After moving to Los Angeles following the 1957 season, the Dodgers added titles in 1959, when Larry Sherry was MVP after getting two wins and two saves, and 1963 and 1965, when Sandy Koufax went 4-1 and was twice MVP. Titles followed in 1981 and in 1988, the latter when Orel Hershiser earned the MVP by going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA.While Tony Gonsolin started Game 6 on Tuesday night, ace Walker Buehler was lined up to start a Game 7, with Clayton Kershaw available in the bullpen after throwing 85 pitches Sunday in Game 5 for his second win of the Series.Blake Snell started Game 6 for the Rays. Charlie Morton was set to start Game 7 after allowing five runs over 4 1/3 innings in a Game 3 loss last Wednesday. Morton said he would be available in relief in Game 6 if needed. Morton, who turns 37 on Nov. 12, hopes to pitch next season but is not sure whether the Rays or any other team will want him.___5:45 p.m.The Tampa Bay Rays received some encouraging words from former President Barack Obama ahead of Game 6.Obama spoke at a rally in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and referenced the Rays’ five-game loss to the Philadelphia Phillies 12 years ago.“I don’t know if we’ve got any Tampa Bay Rays fans here in Orlando,” Obama said. “Big game tonight. It’s do-or-die time. The last time the Rays were in the World Series in 2008, Florida sent me to the White House. The Rays fell just a bit short then, but, here in Florida, Democrats fell a little bit short in 2016 also. Over the next couple of weeks, Florida, you’ve got the chance to fix two mistakes. You’ve got the chance to set two things right. You can bring a World Series championship to the Sunshine State, and you can send Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House.”___5:20 p.m.The Tampa Bay Rays are going with the same nine players in the batting order for Game 6 against Tony Gonsolin, but shuffled the top four for their second game in this World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers rookie right-hander.First baseman Ji-Man Choi is leading off Tuesday night, followed by left fielder Randy Arozarena, designated hitter Austin Meadows and second baseman Brandon Lowe. In Game 2 last Wednesday, when the Rays won 6-4, it went Meadows, Lowe, Arozarena and Choi. The rest of the lineup is the same, right fielder Manuel Margo batting fifth, ahead of third baseman Joey Wendle, shortstop Willy Adames, centre fielder Kevin Kiermaier and catcher Mike Zunino.In the leadoff spot this season, Choi is hitting .115 (3 for 26) with one homer and four walks.Los Angeles has used the same batters in the top six spots for every game of the World Series. Right fielder Mookie Betts is leading off again, followed by shortstop Corey Seager, third baseman Justin Turner, first baseman Max Muncy, designated hitter Will Smith and centre fielder Cody Bellinger. Second baseman Chris Taylor is batting seventh, left fielder AJ Pollock eighth and catcher Austin Barnes ninth.___3:35 p.m.The Globe Life Field roof will be closed for Game 6 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays.The forecast called for a game-time temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 degrees Celsius) Tuesday night and a chance of rain.Major League Baseball announced the roof decision about four hours before the scheduled first pitch.The retractable roof of the new $1.2 billion ballpark was open for Games 1, 2 and 4 and closed for Games 3 and 5.Los Angeles held a three games to two lead in the Series.“We hope the roof is closed because it’s freezing,” Kiké Hernández of the Dodgers said shortly before the announcement.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press
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