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French ruling against Google on paying media for content prompts call for Canada to follow suit – Financial Post

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A Canadian news industry advocacy group says that Canada would do well to follow France’s example in forcing internet search giant Google Inc. to pay news publishers for their content.

But News Media Canada chief executive John Hinds said Thursday that the federal government will need to take a leadership role if the power dynamic between Google and publishers is to be changed.

Hinds was reacting to a ruling by France’s competition regulator — the Autorité de la concurrence — which on Thursday gave Google three months to hammer out deals to pay publishers for displaying their content after finding that the country’s press sector was facing “serious and immediate harm,” according to Reuters.

“To me, this is an important victory symbolically, because it shows everybody that there is a way to do this. But it also shows that the way to do this is you need government to take a firm hand and to show some leadership on this,” Hinds told the Financial Post.

“This happened because the EU and the national governments in Europe enacted legislation to make it happen; I think that’s one of the lessons we have to take from this.”

The Competition Bureau, the regulatory agency that would have direct remit over this issue in Canada, said in an emailed statement that it is aware of the French ruling.

“We closely follow developments and enforcement actions related to the investigations of our international counterparts, particularly those related to the digital economy which is a priority for the Bureau,” the agency said.

“In doing so, we remain mindful of the different legal regimes in each jurisdiction. Regarding the conduct in question, it would be inappropriate for the Bureau to speculate as to whether it may represent a contravention of the Competition Act. The Bureau must conduct a thorough and complete examination of the facts before deciding whether to challenge any type of alleged conduct.”

In response to a request for comment, Google addressed the French ruling but did not say how the decision would affect how they do business with news publishers globally.

“Since the European copyright law came into force in France last year, we have been engaging with publishers to increase our support and investment in news,” Richard Gingras, vice-president for Google News, said in a statement. “We will comply with the FCA’s order while we review it and continue those negotiations.”

The French ruling concluded that because news publishers are so heavily reliant on traffic from Google, they do not have a choice about accepting Google’s terms when it comes to displaying news content.

European regulators have been particularly aggressive when it comes to enforcement action against big tech, and Google in particular.

In 2018, Google was fined 4.3 billion euros for bundling its Google Chrome browser with its Android operating system, and last year the company was fined 1.5 billion euros for abusing its market dominance with its AdSense business.

Hinds said he’s hopeful regulators will take action to address Google’s dominant position in North America as well.

He said it is essential for news publishers to find meaningful revenues online. Hinds said the collapse in advertising rates in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic, at a time when people are reading news sites at higher rates than ever, highlights the problem.

“I think it’s a fundamental thing: We need to be paid for our content. We need to be compensated,” Hinds said.

“You’ve seen advertising drop 60 or 70 per cent, and who knows when those revenues are going to come back. So now more than ever I think there’s a need to transition to the digital world, and if you can’t secure a revenue source in a digital world, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the medium.”

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Creators of 6ixBuzz possibly doxed via social media – inbrampton.com

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The enigmatic and polarizing figures behind 6ixBuzzTV, a controversial social media presence known for inciting vitriol, may have been outed and doxed—when someone releases a person’s personal information including their address.

Doxing has become an insidious part of Internet Culture—it’s often used as a weapon to incite fear and potentially violence by people hiding behind a computer screen and keyboard.

While it’s unclear whether the information is accurate, or who released it, people have been sharing a screenshot of a snapchat image that displays the names and addresses of the people behind 6ixBuzz, who have otherwise remained anonymous since their rise to prominence over the last few years.

According to the oft-shared image, two of the people behind the page are from Toronto, one is from Markham, and one is from Brampton—although all of this is still unverified.

6ixBuzz is known for sharing wild, embarrassing, and uncouth images and videos of people from around the GTA as much as it shares music and promotes artists.

It’s also known for inciting divineness through the content and captions that it shares.

Further, largely due to the fact it’s an unregulated account, many creatives have found their content stolen and repurposed by 6ixBuzz’s account, oftentimes without even an acknowledgement that it came from someone else.

The page, which started as a meme sharing platform in 2010, evolved into a major part of Toronto and the GTA’s media scene—albeit mainly among the younger generations, and mostly for the wrong reasons.

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What is Section 230, the U.S. law protecting social media companies – and can Trump change it? – National Post

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U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of a federal law known as Section 230, which protects internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google from being responsible for the material posted by users.

WHAT IS SECTION 230?

The core purpose of Section 230 is to protect the owners of any “interactive computer service” from liability for anything posted by third parties. The idea was that such protection was necessary to encourage the emergence of new types of communications and services at the dawn of the Internet era.

Section 230 was enacted in 1996 as part of a law called the Communications Decency Act, which was primarily aimed at curbing online pornography. Most of that law was struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech, but Section 230 remains.

In practice, the law shields any website or service that hosts content – like news outlets’ comment sections, video services like YouTube and social media services like Facebook and Twitter – from lawsuits over content posted by users.

When the law was written, site owners worried they could be sued if they exercised any control over what appeared on their sites, so the law includes a provision that says that, so long as sites act in “good faith,” they can remove content that is offensive or otherwise objectionable.

The statute does not protect copyright violations, or certain types of criminal acts. Users who post illegal content can themselves still be held liable in court.

The technology industry and others have long held that Section 230 is a crucial protection, though the statute has become increasingly controversial as the power of internet companies has grown.

WHAT PROMPTED THE CREATION OF SECTION 230?

In the early days of the Internet, there were several high-profile cases in which companies tried to suppress criticism by suing the owners of the platforms.

One famous case involved a lawsuit by Stratton Oakmont, the brokerage firm depicted in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” against the early online service Prodigy. The court found that Prodigy was liable for allegedly defamatory comments by a user because it was a publisher that moderated the content on the service.

The fledgling internet industry was worried that such liability would make a range of new services impossible. Congress ultimately agreed and included Section 230 in the Communications Decency Act.

WHAT DOES SECTION 230 HAVE TO DO WITH POLITICAL BIAS?

President Trump and others who have attacked Section 230 say it has given big internet companies too much legal protection and allowed them to escape responsibility for their actions.

Some conservatives, including the president, have alleged that they are subject to online censorship on social media sites, a claim the companies have generally denied.

Section 230, which is often misinterpreted, does not require sites to be neutral. Most legal experts believe any effort to require political neutrality by social media companies would be a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech protections.

CAN PRESIDENT TRUMP ORDER CHANGES TO SECTION 230?

No. Only Congress can change Section 230. In 2018, the law was modified to make it possible to prosecute platforms that were used by alleged sex traffickers. As the power of internet companies has grown, some in Congress have also advocated changes to hold companies responsible for the spread of content celebrating acts of terror, for example, or for some types of hate speech.

A draft of Trump’s May executive order, seen by Reuters, instead calls for the Federal Communications Commission to “propose and clarify regulations” under Section 230. The order suggests companies should lose their protection over actions that are deceptive, discriminatory, opaque or inconsistent with their terms of service.

DO OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE AN EQUIVALENT TO SECTION 230?

The legal protections provided by Section 230 are unique to U.S. law, although the European Union and many other countries have some version of what are referred to as “safe harbor” laws that protect online platforms from liability if they move promptly when notified of illegal content.

The fact that the major internet companies are based in the United States also gives them protection.

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Creators of 6ixBuzz possibly doxed via social media – insauga.com

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The enigmatic and polarizing figures behind 6ixBuzzTV, a controversial social media presence known for inciting vitriol, may have been outed and doxed—when someone releases a person’s personal information including their address.

Doxing has become an insidious part of Internet Culture—it’s often used as a weapon to incite fear and potentially violence by people hiding behind a computer screen and keyboard.

While it’s unclear whether the information is accurate, or who released it, people have been sharing a screenshot of a snapchat image that displays the names and addresses of the people behind 6ixBuzz, who have otherwise remained anonymous since their rise to prominence over the last few years.

According to the oft-shared image, two of the people behind the page are from Toronto, one is from Markham, and one is from Brampton—although all of this is still unverified.

6ixBuzz is known for sharing wild, embarrassing, and uncouth images and videos of people from around the GTA as much as it shares music and promotes artists.

It’s also known for inciting divineness through the content and captions that it shares.

Further, largely due to the fact it’s an unregulated account, many creatives have found their content stolen and repurposed by 6ixBuzz’s account, oftentimes without even an acknowledgement that it came from someone else.

The page, which started as a meme sharing platform in 2010, evolved into a major part of Toronto and the GTA’s media scene—albeit mainly among the younger generations, and mostly for the wrong reasons.

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