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Japanese PM Suga to hold news conference amid third coronavirus wave: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is set to hold a news conference to provide an update on the country’s pandemic response on Friday, local media reported, his first since coronavirus case numbers surged in November.

Suga is expected to explain his backing of a widely criticised travel subsidy campaign meant to help revive the economy amid infection controls.

In recent weeks, a third wave of the coronavirus has arrived in parts of the country, and some medical groups and experts blame it on a government campaign to encourage domestic tourism.

His news conference is scheduled for late Friday, Jiji Press said, but the Prime Minister’s Office has yet to confirm it.

Suga’s approval ratings have dipped, with many unhappy with his handling of the pandemic, polls showed. That could deal a blow to his plan to prop up local economies and may threaten the chances of his premiership beyond next autumn.

The government has paused its “Go To Travel” campaign in two cities, but Suga said on Thursday the travel subsidy programme would be extended beyond the original end date of January 2021.

“We need to support the tourism industry, which is indispensable for the local economy,” Suga told a tourism strategy meeting.

The world’s third-largest economy rebounded in the third quarter from a pandemic-induced slump, thanks to surging consumption and exports, but some analysts worry about slowing growth ahead because of the resurgence in infections.

Suga also faces a political controversy involving his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who resigned in September.

He was widely seen as Abe’s right-hand man during his tenure and has defended him in parliament.

Tokyo prosecutors are considering a summary indictment of two officials in Abe’s office over alleged violations of a funding law, the daily Asahi reported on Friday.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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Firstlight Media Teams with Google Cloud to Deliver Next-Gen OTT – Canada NewsWire

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Unlocks Service Agility, Scalability, Extensibility Across Partner Ecosystems

TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2021 /CNW/ – Firstlight Media today announced that it has partnered with Google Cloud to support rapid deployment and expansion of OTT video streaming services.

Firstlight Media’s microservices-based architecture takes full advantage of Google Cloud capabilities, including:

  • Agility to launch services in weeks, rather than months;
  • Scalability for cost effective growth with customers’ businesses and support for complex use cases; and
  • Extensibility that futureproofs platforms with simplified integrations into best of breed technology solutions, as well as product features that drive innovation and deliver on customer acquisition, retention and revenue.

By combining Firstlight Media’s extensive background in solving complex issues for Tier 1 operators with the scale, reach and tools of Google Cloud, Firstlight Media now enables video providers to capitalize quickly and efficiently on new market opportunities in delivering AI/ML-powered personalization and monetization. Customers can leverage Firstlight’s OTT headend in San Diego and digital expertise in the media and entertainment industry to navigate the increasingly complex world of advertising and subscription direct-to-consumer business models with confidence.

“For the industry, our partnership with Google Cloud exponentially expands options for new services that can rapidly address viewer demand,” said Andre Christensen, CEO and co-founder of Firstlight Media. “Our customers can leverage three formidable resources—Firstlight Media’s cloud native platform, Google Cloud’s platform, and the technology of other Google Cloud partners—all to create opportunities that maximize the long-term value of each subscriber.”

“Increasingly, media and entertainment need to deliver digital-first experiences to consumers, in person and online,” said Kip Schauer, Global Head of Media and Entertainment Partnerships at Google Cloud. “We’re excited to partner with Firstlight Media to scale and extend their platform on Google Cloud, and help businesses deliver exciting, new digital experiences to consumers.”

About Firstlight Media
Firstlight Media is expediting OTT’s transformation to ultra-scalable, cloud-based platforms that use artificial intelligence to drive true engagement and monetization for Tier 1 operators. Founded by a team with deep OTT video expertise and a strong track record of building successful B2B businesses, Firstlight Media is poised to capture the next wave of growth in premium OTT entertainment services. The company is headquartered in Toronto and has additional locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Chennai, India. For more information, visit firstlight.ai.

SOURCE Firstlight Media

For further information: Paul Schneider, PSPR, Inc. for Firstlight Media, [email protected], +1.215.817.4384

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Disinformation Propelled By Social Media And Conspiracy Theories Led To Insurrection – Forbes

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The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2020, was the direct result of a continuous drumbeat of disinformation starting before the Presidential elections in the U.S. in 2020, and continuing past the event itself. That flow of disinformation came largely, but not exclusively, through social media. The constant repetition of false information using a propaganda technique known as “The Big Lie,” has been in common use throughout history.

The advent of mass communication in the 20th Century made this more effective than in the past, and it was perfected by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels before and during World War II. But with social media, it has become even more effective because the claims can be shared and distributed widely. In addition, the nature of social media adds to its effectiveness.

“There’s a consistent pattern of audience cultivation,” says Dave Troy, who researches disinformation on social media. “That’s a hallmark of how psychological operations work. Truth is not a concern and you build out target audiences when you apply a certain type of messaging so you get a response.”

The Effectiveness of Misinformation

Professor David Rand, of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, has studied this in collaboration with Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina. Rand and Pennycook conducted a survey to find out how effective the Misinformation campaign conducted by then-President Donald Trump and others in the Republican Party was.

“What we found was disturbing if not surprising,” Rand said. “A majority really believed the lie,” he said, “77 percent of Trump voters believed in widespread voter fraud.”

Rand said that President Trump and a number of his followers were able to convince a large majority of Trump voters that he won the election, despite the fact that it was untrue.

Rand said that the continuous assertions that Trump actually won the popular vote led to a belief among Trump supporters that this was actually the case. “Repeating it makes people believe it,” Rand said. “You can understand why a large group of people would believe it was their civic duty,” to protest, he said.

“It’s not surprising that people believe it. If all you hear is election fraud, they will believe it,” Rand said. “There’s good scientific evidence that it works.”

Adding to the effectiveness of social media in spreading disinformation is the tendency of social media consumers to prefer communicating with like minded people. “There’s no dialog occurring,” Troy said. “They are different factions, and there’s always some reason why you can’t talk to the other factions.” This factionalism was exploited by Russian intelligence during the 2016 Presidential election as a way to spread disinformation, and other groups have accelerated this, notably Qanon followers who are making use of the tendency of groups to not communicate with others.

A Coordinated Disinformation Campaign

“These are large coordinated disinformation campaigns,” Troy said, “It’s a big networked effect.”

Rand said that he and Pennycook also studied why people shared false content. “Largely it’s inattention,” Rand said. “They forget to think about whether it’s true, but rather how many likes they’ll get. Another feature of social media is that people are more likely to be friends with people who share common ideas.”

He said the study followed random users that were Republicans and Democrats. “People are three times more likely to follow co-partisan accounts,” Rand said. “It’s very basic human psychology. There’s reason to believe that you want to associate with people who share your partisanship.”

While the practice of spreading falsehoods on social media as was done around the 2020 election is new, the practice itself isn’t. And unfortunately, once people buy into the falsehoods, they appear to be self-sustaining, at least for a while.

While you can’t tell people what to think, it is possible to inhibit the spread of falsehoods and the perpetuation of the big Lie. Social media companies did this after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Other organizations can do it by limiting the spread of social media withing their organization, either through active management, or by technology methods that limit access to social media, or the sharing of social media, on their networks. And of course, knowing that this phenomenon exists at least gives you a chance to control it.

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Disinformation Propelled By Social Media And Conspiracy Theories Led To Insurrection – Forbes

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The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2020, was the direct result of a continuous drumbeat of disinformation starting before the Presidential elections in the U.S. in 2020, and continuing past the event itself. That flow of disinformation came largely, but not exclusively, through social media. The constant repetition of false information using a propaganda technique known as “The Big Lie,” has been in common use throughout history.

The advent of mass communication in the 20th Century made this more effective than in the past, and it was perfected by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels before and during World War II. But with social media, it has become even more effective because the claims can be shared and distributed widely. In addition, the nature of social media adds to its effectiveness.

“There’s a consistent pattern of audience cultivation,” says Dave Troy, who researches disinformation on social media. “That’s a hallmark of how psychological operations work. Truth is not a concern and you build out target audiences when you apply a certain type of messaging so you get a response.”

The Effectiveness of Misinformation

Professor David Rand, of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, has studied this in collaboration with Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina. Rand and Pennycook conducted a survey to find out how effective the Misinformation campaign conducted by then-President Donald Trump and others in the Republican Party was.

“What we found was disturbing if not surprising,” Rand said. “A majority really believed the lie,” he said, “77 percent of Trump voters believed in widespread voter fraud.”

Rand said that President Trump and a number of his followers were able to convince a large majority of Trump voters that he won the election, despite the fact that it was untrue.

Rand said that the continuous assertions that Trump actually won the popular vote led to a belief among Trump supporters that this was actually the case. “Repeating it makes people believe it,” Rand said. “You can understand why a large group of people would believe it was their civic duty,” to protest, he said.

“It’s not surprising that people believe it. If all you hear is election fraud, they will believe it,” Rand said. “There’s good scientific evidence that it works.”

Adding to the effectiveness of social media in spreading disinformation is the tendency of social media consumers to prefer communicating with like minded people. “There’s no dialog occurring,” Troy said. “They are different factions, and there’s always some reason why you can’t talk to the other factions.” This factionalism was exploited by Russian intelligence during the 2016 Presidential election as a way to spread disinformation, and other groups have accelerated this, notably Qanon followers who are making use of the tendency of groups to not communicate with others.

A Coordinated Disinformation Campaign

“These are large coordinated disinformation campaigns,” Troy said, “It’s a big networked effect.”

Rand said that he and Pennycook also studied why people shared false content. “Largely it’s inattention,” Rand said. “They forget to think about whether it’s true, but rather how many likes they’ll get. Another feature of social media is that people are more likely to be friends with people who share common ideas.”

He said the study followed random users that were Republicans and Democrats. “People are three times more likely to follow co-partisan accounts,” Rand said. “It’s very basic human psychology. There’s reason to believe that you want to associate with people who share your partisanship.”

While the practice of spreading falsehoods on social media as was done around the 2020 election is new, the practice itself isn’t. And unfortunately, once people buy into the falsehoods, they appear to be self-sustaining, at least for a while.

While you can’t tell people what to think, it is possible to inhibit the spread of falsehoods and the perpetuation of the big Lie. Social media companies did this after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Other organizations can do it by limiting the spread of social media withing their organization, either through active management, or by technology methods that limit access to social media, or the sharing of social media, on their networks. And of course, knowing that this phenomenon exists at least gives you a chance to control it.

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