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MacDougall: How much longer will we demean political debate through social media? – Ottawa Citizen

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This wouldn’t be dangerous, except that social media has also let us find and knit together pockets of support in ways only the most resourced would have been able to in the past. We’ve opened the means of communication up to the masses and it turns out a lot of the masses are jackasses. Boat rally, anyone?

And while the promise of social media was always that it would give experts with little profile a voice, we now know these platforms give the shoutiest, sharpest and most indignant takes the biggest share of voice because those things sell. You say coronavirus is a hoax? Welcome to your masses. Think we should follow medical advice? Crickets. So, how long will industries such as politics and the media persist with the hellscape of social media?

Having tried to kick the habit once and failed, I’m not in the best position to advise. Nor am I always temperate on platforms such as Twitter. What worries me most now is that my first instinct is to indulge my emotion, not calibrate or advance a debate in any meaningful way. I’m not helping. And absent strong action from social media platforms on the plumbing, things won’t get better.

Most days, I don’t think people even read the stuff they share around social media. I’ll wager I could file a blank column, craft a snarky tweet about Justin Trudeau to sell it, and get mondo shares. Why can’t the Twitters and Facebooks of this world make you prove you’ve read the link before you share it? Or, heaven forfend, make you put your name to your account if you want to disseminate info?

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Disciplining a nurse who criticized long-term care via social media infringes free speech: case – Canadian Lawyer Magazine

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The Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan allowed the present appeal and set aside the discipline committee’s finding of professional misconduct. The appeal court also ruled that the discipline committee’s decision had unjustifiably infringed on the nurse’s right to freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter.

The appeal court held that, while the discipline committee’s decision regarding professional misconduct was discretionary in nature, this discretionary power was neither unfettered nor unlimited. The discipline committee’s analysis in this case did not sufficiently consider important criteria when it exercised its discretion, the appeal court said.

“Its analysis was one dimensional, referring repeatedly to the fact that Ms. Strom made critical comments on social media rather than through proper channels,” wrote Justice Brian A. Barrington-Foote for the appeal court. “It did not reflect the complete contextual inquiry necessary to determine whether professional misconduct had been made out on the evidence.”

Regarding the Charter issue, the appeal court emphasized that the applicable standard of review is correctness, not reasonableness as used by the Chambers judge. In deciding whether healthcare-related speech amounts to professional misconduct, the discipline committee should have considered the unique circumstances, including “what the registered nurse said, the context in which they said it and the reason it was said,” to assess the value of the assailed speech, wrote Barrington-Foote. The appeal court went on to enumerate the possible relevant contextual factors.

“A fact-specific approach that takes account of all contextual factors would enable the Discipline Committee to proportionately balance the Charter right of registered nurses to free expression and the SRNA’s legitimate concern with off-duty speech by registered nurses with a sufficient nexus to the profession,” wrote Barrington-Foote.

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MAGA world, GOP unite on social-media bias after Hunter Biden story – POLITICO

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MAGA world is uniting with mainstream conservatives to whip up a frenzy over social-media bias in the final weeks of the election, convinced that the handling of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden has presented a validating example of years-old MAGA complaints.

Twitter and Facebook’s attempts to limit sharing of the Post story, citing policies meant to throttle the distribution of hacked materials and fact-challenged articles, is being used as proof positive in MAGA world that social media firms have a liberal agenda, and are using whatever means necessary to censor conservatives and protect liberals. And Republicans across the ideological spectrum are agreeing.

The incident has fueled Republican plans to vote on subpoenas that would force testimony from the CEOs of both Twitter and Facebook on the issue. That hearing would come on top of another one already planned for next Wednesday, when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will face a grilling over liability protections the tech industry enjoys for content posted on their platforms. Other Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have signaled shifts in how they wanted to regulate social-media platforms. And at the White House, chief of staff Mark Meadows has threatened to sue the two companies over the issue.

The flurry of activity caps a summer of anti-Big Tech maneuvering among conservatives, from anger over Twitter’s decision to post disclaimers on President Donald Trump’s tweets, to Attorney General Bill Barr’s rush to file an antitrust case against Google just two weeks before the election.

But now, in a matter of days, the handling of a single New York Post story has pushed long-simmering MAGA complaints about social-media bias to the top of Republicans’ talking points.

“They proved that all the lunatic ravings of the right were correct, and that there’s no objectivity [on social media platforms] whatsoever,” said Ron Coleman, a prominent conservative lawyer known for his work on tech censorship and free speech issues.

For nearly a decade, conservatives have accused social media companies of deliberately silencing them through a variety of subtle means — claiming their videos don’t always show up on their subscribers’ Facebook feeds, or that their accounts don’t show up in searches or that the platforms inappropriately label their content as promoting violence or misinformation. Researchers say such claims have never proven any intentional discrimination and note that some of the most widely shared content on social media platforms comes from conservative voices and outlets.

And notably, efforts to limit distribution of the Post story have not prevented the piece from circulating broadly on social media. The report generated 2.59 million interactions on Facebook and Twitter last week, more than double the next biggest story about Trump or Biden, even as national security specialists warned the information bore the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Still, anti-social media conservatives felt the handling of the story offered them a concrete, game-changing example of the type of silencing they have long claimed.

“The Rubicon was crossed [last] week, for sure,” said Rachel Bovard, a senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute, who focuses on social media and free speech issues.

Years ago, the issue of internet free speech was popular among the more populist wing of the conservative movement — specifically, people and publications that drew influence from an online presence, and that were more likely to be targeted for violating platforms’ terms of service by sharing inflammatory content.

Throughout Trump’s presidency, Republicans have increasingly paid lip service to this constituency, echoing the complaints in hearings.

And Trump himself has repeatedly used his presidential platform to bemoan social-media companies’ behavior, hosting events about conservative censorship at the White House and signing a legally toothless executive order. As the November election neared, the White House pressured key Senate Republicans to hold hearings on alleged bias.

On Capitol Hill, competing Republican bills have appeared that would drastically revise Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which stipulated that digital platforms were not legally liable for content others had uploaded.

“The objection for some on the right always was, ‘Well, these platforms don’t engage in viewpoint censorship, they’re not politically biased, this all a crock of crap,’” Bovard said.

But now, the handling of the Post story — which offered unverified emails claiming Hunter Biden had arranged a meeting between his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and a Ukrainian business contact — has pushed more of the GOP into MAGA’s anti-social media camp. The timing (days before the election) and subject (Biden’s alleged corruption) likely helped. Some Republicans, such as McCarthy, started calling for the repeal of Section 230, while others wondered whether Twitter had taken on even more responsibilities other than simple bias.

“Is Twitter an ‘in kind donor’ to the Biden campaign? A ‘publisher?’” tweeted Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie last Thursday.

Trump was more insistent.

“If Big Tech persists, in coordination with the mainstream media, we must immediately strip them of their Section 230 protections,” he tweeted Friday. “When government granted these protections, they created a monster!”

Shoshana Weissmann, a fellow at the free market-oriented R Street Institute focused on Section 230 and licensing reform, sees the current outrage on Capitol Hill as far more political than policy focused. She argued that there are valid reasons for Section 230 to exist, saying digital platforms aren’t capable of policing all posts.

“If I threaten the president online, then Twitter’s not liable for that,” she said. “It would be me liable for that, or whoever made the threat or did something illegal online is liable for it. And it makes sense because there’s billions and billions of posts.”

And repealing Section 230 wouldn’t actually assuage conservative complaints, Weissmann insisted.

“It wouldn’t fix the partisan moderating,” she said. “These things are totally unrelated. It’s just kind of punishing them, because they’re there.”

Regardless of the policy implications, however, the handling of the Post story has played right into the hands of MAGA’s political arguments. Coleman, a prominent legal voice in the anti-social media world, said he was surprised at how Twitter and Facebook handled the story.

“For the people who control so much of the media complex now, and who understand so well what virality is about, they completely failed to make any accounting whatsoever for the Streisand effect,” he said, referencing the phenomenon where an attempt to hide something actually draws it greater attention.

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Duke Basketball Preseason Media Coverage – Duke University – GoDuke.com

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DURHAM, N.C. — The Duke men’s basketball program will continue to have players and coaches meeting with the media virtually over the next month, in place of the Blue Devils holding their traditional media day on campus due to COVID-19 protocols.

As players and coaches take questions from the media via video conference, GoDuke.com will post the transcripts and video of those sessions. The sessions have been held Tuesdays, and will increase in frequency as the season approaches.

Click here to view the press conferences. Each link includes the transcript of selected questions and a video of the entire press conference.

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