Connect with us

Media

Hong Kong police arrest activists, lawmakers and media tycoon over pro-democracy protests – CBC.ca

Published

on


Hong Kong police arrested at least 14 veteran pro-democracy lawmakers, activists and a media tycoon on Saturday on charges of joining unlawful protests last year calling for reforms.

Among those arrested were 81-year-old activist and former lawmaker Martin Lee and democracy advocates Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan and Au Nok-hin.

Police also arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who founded the crusading local newspaper Apple Daily. Journalists from Lai’s pro-democracy broadsheet are among those who had personal details spread on social media last year after reporting on the protests.

Lai, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum — a former lawmaker from the Democratic Party — were charged in February over their involvement in a mass anti-government demonstration on Aug. 31 last year. The protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory against proposed extradition legislation exposed deep divisions between democracy-minded Hong Kong residents and the Communist Party-ruled central government in Beijing.

The bill — which would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China to stand trial — has been withdrawn, but the protests continued for more than seven months, centred around demands for voting rights and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

While the protests began peacefully, they became increasingly violent in response to police brutality and as demonstrators became frustrated with the government’s response. Protesters feel that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has ignored their demands and used the police to suppress them.

The League of Social Democrats wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday that its leaders were among those arrested, including chairman Raphael Wong. They were accused of participating in two unauthorized protests on Aug. 18 and Oct. 1 last year.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Media

Trump expected to order review of law that protects social media companies – The Globe and Mail

Published

on


U.S. President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn upon his return to the White House, in Washington, on May 27, 2020.

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said he will introduce legislation that may scrap or weaken a law that has protected internet companies, including Twitter and Facebook, in an extraordinary attempt to intervene in the media.

Trump signed an executive order on Thursday afternoon after attacking Twitter for tagging his tweets for the first time about unsubstantiated claims of fraud about mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts.

In addition, Trump said his administration may “remove or change” a provision of a law known as section 230 that shields social media companies from liability for content posted by their users.

Story continues below advertisement

Trump said U.S. Attorney General William Barr will begin drafting legislation “immediately” to regulate social media companies.

President Donald Trump said he will introduce legislation that may scrap or weaken a law that has long protected internet companies, including Twitter and Facebook. Reuters

On Wednesday, Reuters reported the White House’s plan to modify Section 230 based on a copy of a draft executive order that experts said was unlikely to survive legal scrutiny.

“What I think we can say is we’re going to regulate it,” Trump said at the signing of the order.

“I’ve been called by Democrats that want to do this, so I think you could possibly have a bipartisan situation,” said Republican Trump, who is running for re-election in the Nov. 3 vote.

Facebook and Twitter did not comment on the executive order.

Trump’s remarks and the draft order, as written, attempts to circumvent Congress and the courts in directing changes to long-established interpretations of Section 230. It represents his latest attempt to use the tools of the presidency to force private companies to change policies that he believes are not favourable to him.

“In terms of presidential efforts to limit critical commentary about themselves, I think one would have to go back to the Sedition Act of 1798 – which made it illegal to say false things about the president and certain other public officials – to find an attack supposedly rooted in law by a president on any entity which comments or prints comments about public issues and public people,” said First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams.

Story continues below advertisement

Others like Jack Balkin, a Yale University constitutional law professor said “The president is trying to frighten, coerce, scare, cajole social media companies to leave him alone and not do what Twitter has just done to him.”

Twitter’s shares were down 4.4% on Thursday. Facebook was down 1.7 per cent and Google parent Alphabet Inc was up slightly.

Trump, who uses Twitter virtually every day to promote his policies and insult his opponents, has long claimed without evidence that the site is biased in favour of Democrats. He and his supporters have levelled the same unsubstantiated charges against Facebook, which Trump’s presidential campaign uses heavily as an advertising vehicle.

On Thursday, Trump said there is nothing he would rather do than get rid of his Twitter account but he had to keep it in order to circumvent the press and get his version of events to millions of followers.

The protections of Section 230 have often been under fire for different reasons from lawmakers including Big Tech critic Senator Josh Hawley. Critics argue that they give internet companies a free pass on things like hate speech and content that supports terror organizations.

Social media companies have been under pressure from many quarters, both in the United States and other countries, to better control misinformation and harmful content on their services.

Story continues below advertisement

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said on the company’s website late Wednesday that the president’s tweets “may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot. Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

On Wednesday evening, Twitter continued to add fact-checking labels and ‘manipulated media’ labels on hundreds of tweets.

Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice, a trade group that counts Twitter, Facebook and Google among its members, said the proposed executive order “is trampling the First Amendment by threatening the fundamental free speech rights of social media platforms.”

U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of a law that has long protected Twitter, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google from being responsible for the material posted by their users, according to a draft executive order and a source familiar with the situation. Reuters

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Diane Francis: Time to rein in social media — and Donald Trump – Financial Post

Published

on


My definition of freedom is: everyone should have the right to swing an arm, but not hit anybody with it. When it comes to freedom of speech, everyone has a right to their opinion as long as it is not inaccurate, hateful, defamatory or malicious. If that line is crossed, the perpetrators are legally liable for damages. But in America, the world’s most irresponsible media empires — Twitter, Facebook and Google (now Alphabet) — have become giants that allow anyone to spew anything without legal consequences.

They have gotten away with it by claiming they are platforms, not publishers, and are therefore exempt from having to edit or curate what people post. They’ve also spent billions of dollars lobbying and supporting political campaigns, in order to retain this corrosive privilege. By contrast, traditional media is hobbled with the costs of curating responsible advertising and editorial content.

This free pass to social media is the loophole through which that reckless, self-promoter named Donald Trump tweeted his way into the White House. It’s how he and other trolls intimidate, bully and slander their foes.

Europe has begun reining in social media, but elsewhere, these companies operate with impunity and claim they are entitled to self-regulate. But monkeys cannot guard bananas, and Trump’s recent, and most vile, gaming of Twitter illustrates why the same rules should apply to social media as they apply to everyone else.

Last week, Trump smeared a critic, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, blaming him for the death of his assistant, Lori Klausutis, when Scarborough was serving in Congress in 2001, even though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. The president tweeted on the subject six times, calling the woman’s death a “cold case” that should be investigated, then essentially accusing Scarborough of murder. Twitter refused to remove the tweets, even after the woman’s widower, T.J. Klausutis, wrote to Twitter’s CEO and pointed out the injustice and the social network’s hypocrisy.

“Nearly 19 years ago, my wife, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, fell and hit her head on her desk at work. She was found dead the next morning,” he wrote. “The president’s tweet that suggests that Lori was murdered — without evidence (and contrary to the official autopsy) — is a violation of Twitter’s community rules and terms of service. An ordinary user like me would be banished from the platform for such a tweet but I am only asking that these tweets be removed.”

Twitter refused to comment on the issue. Meanwhile, Facebook, to which Trump’s unsupported allegation and libel was cross-posted, responded arrogantly: “We do not remove political speech solely because people may find it offensive, as this content understandably is to the family of Lori Klausutis and others. Speech from candidates and heads of state is among the most scrutinized content on our platform, which helps ensure people are held accountable for their words.”

This week, Twitter finally did something to bridle this presidential misbehaviour when it labelled a pair of Trump’s tweets, which claimed that mail-in balloting in this fall’s election would result in widespread voter fraud, as misleading. (But no labels have been applied to the Scarborough tweets.)

Trump erupted and has threatened to take action against Twitter and social media in general. Then he conflated this into a fight for freedom and tweeted: “Big Tech is doing everything in their considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let that happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely crazy. Stay tuned!!!”

This from a president who labels all critical media as “fake news” and has driven his tank through social media’s anything-goes loophole to damage people, organizations, groups and democracy.

What’s next is that Trump will character assassinate all his opponents and, if he loses the election, he will simply tweet that it was stolen and he’s not leaving. Then what?

Financial Post

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Media

Trump escalates war on Twitter, social media protections – CTV News

Published

on


WASHINGTON —
U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his war on social media companies, signing an executive order Thursday challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet.

Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.

Trump said the fact checks were “editorial decisions” by Twitter and amounted to political activism. He said it should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to verbally flog their foes, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts.

“We’re fed up with it,” Trump said, claiming the order would uphold freedom of speech.

It directs executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

President Donald Trump is escalating his war on social media companies, preparing to sign an executive order Thursday challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet.

Still, the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.

The proposed order would direct executive branch agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new rules on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.

Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to verbally flog their foes, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts. The executive order was expected to argue that such actions should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

Companies like Twitter and Facebook are granted liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because they are treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers,” which can face lawsuits over content.

A similar executive order was previously considered by the administration but shelved over concerns it couldn’t pass legal muster and that it violated conservative principles on deregulation and free speech.

Two administration officials outlined the draft order on the condition of anonymity because it was still being finalized Thursday morning. But a draft was circulating on Twitter — where else?

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the Twitter fact checks reflected “bias in action” and Trump aimed to sign the order by the end of the day.

Trump and his campaign reacted after Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted “mail boxes will be robbed.” Under the tweets, there’s now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” that guides users to a page with fact checks and news stories about Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.

Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and declared “as president, I will not allow this to happen.” His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said Twitter’s “clear political bias” had led the campaign to pull “all our advertising from Twitter months ago.” In fact, Twitter has banned political advertising since last November.

Late Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

Dorsey added: “This does not make us an `arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

On the other hand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News his platform has “a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this.”

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he said.

The president’s critics, meanwhile, scolded the platforms for allowing him to put forth false or misleading information that could confuse voters.

“Donald Trump’s order is plainly illegal,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat and advocate for internet freedoms. He is “desperately trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress. … All for the ability to spread unfiltered lies.”

Trump’s proposal has multiple, serious legal problems and is unlikely to survive a challenge, according to Matt Schruers, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a Washington-based organization that represents computer and internet companies.

It would also seem to be an assault on the same online freedom that enabled social media platforms to flourish in the first place — and made them such an effective microphone for Trump and other politicians.

“The irony that is lost here is that if these protections were to go away social media services would be far more aggressive in moderating content and terminating accounts,” Schruers said. “Our vibrant public sphere of discussion would devolve into nothing more than preapproved soundbites.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was “outrageous” that while Twitter had put a fact-check tag on Trump’s tweets asserting massive mail-in election fraud, it had not removed his tweets suggesting without evidence that a TV news host had murdered an aide years ago.

“Their business model is to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts that they know,” she said of social media giants, also mentioning Facebook. She said their goal is to avoid taxes “and they don’t want to be regulated, so they pander to the White House.”

The order was also expected to try to hold back federal advertising dollars from Twitter and other social media companies that “violate free speech principles.”

The president and fellow conservatives have been claiming, for years, that Silicon Valley tech companies are biased against them. But there is no evidence for this — and while the executives and many employees of Twitter, Facebook and Google may lean liberal, the companies have stressed they have no business interest in favouring on political party over the other.

The trouble began in 2016, two years after Facebook launched a section called “trending,” using human editors to curate popular news stories. Facebook was accused of bias against conservatives based on the words of an anonymous former contractor who said the company downplayed conservative issues in that feature and promoted liberal causes.

Zuckerberg met with prominent right-wing leaders at the time in an attempt at damage control, and in 2018, Facebook shut down the “trending” section,.

In August 2018, Trump accused Google of biased searches and warned the company to “be careful.” Google pushed back sharply, saying Trump’s claim simply wasn’t so: “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Experts, meanwhile, suggested that Trump’s comments showed a misunderstanding of how search engines work.

Last year, Trump again blasted social media companies after Facebook banned a slew of extremist figures including conspiracy peddler Alex Jones from its site and from Instagram.

Meanwhile, the companies are gearing up to combat misinformation around the November elections. Twitter and Facebook have begun rolling out dozens of new rules to avoid a repeat of the false postings about the candidates and the voting process that marred the 2016 election.

The coronavirus pandemic has further escalated the platforms’ response, leading them to take actions against politicians — a move they’ve long resisted — who make misleading claims about the virus.

Last month, Twitter began a “Get the Facts” label to direct social media users to news articles from trusted outlets next to tweets containing misleading or disputed information about the virus. Company leaders said the new labels could be applied to anyone on Twitter and they were considering using them on other topics.

The Democratic National Committee said Trump’s vote-by-mail tweets should have been removed, not just flagged, for violating the company’s rules on posting false voting information.

“After taking too long to act, Twitter once again came up short out of fear of upsetting Trump,” the party said in a statement.

——

AP writers Amanda Seitz, Barbara Ortutay and David Klepper contributed.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending