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Media Beat: April 29, 2020 – FYI Music News



ZoomerMedia reports Q2 results

For the six months ended February 29, the media firm generated revenues of $27.9M, operating expenses of $22.8M and adjusted EBITDA of $5.1M. Net income for the same period was $1.3M.

For the comparative six months ended February 28, 2019, the Company had revenues of $26.6M, operating expenses of $24.5M and Adjusted EBITDA of $2.2M. Net income for the three months was $0.5M. – Newswire

Stronger Together, by the numbers

Sunday night’s Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble broadcast has raised $6M for Food Banks Canada and earned itself the record as the most-watched non-sports broadcast ever in Canada, Bell Media reports.

The 92-minute show tracked 11.5M viewers overall across 44 TV, radio and digital streaming platforms. Bell estimates the entertainment fundraiser captured the attention of one in three Canadians.

Bell, CBC, Corus Entertainment and Rogers Media were among the 15 groups that broadcast or streamed the special, produced by Bell, CBC and Insight Productions.

Postmedia announces more layoffs

Postmedia Network Inc. will lay off about 80 employees and permanently close 15 community publications as the newspaper conglomerate navigates the financial fallout of the pandemic.

Remaining staff who earn $60,000 or more, except commissioned advertising sales representatives, will receive a salary reduction for at least three months and executive teams will see reductions in pay ranging between 20 and 30 percent. – CP

SiriusXM reports Q1 Net Income Up

SIRIUSXM has released its Q1 2020 operating and financial results, including revenue of US$1.95B, increasing 5% on a pro forma basis compared to the prior year period. The Company’s net income was $293M in the quarter 2020, compared to $162M in the prior year period. Its music-streaming service Pandora added 51,000 net self-pay subscribers and ad revenue gained 4 percent, to $241M in the same time frame. – Jem Aswad, Variety

Scripps CEO Q&A: How the troubles affect its businesses in radio and TV

Adam Symson knows this is a transformative moment for local TV. The hard part is teasing out which threads will be long-lasting once the pandemic subsides.

Symson, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Co., is sure of some things enduring, such as the audience bump local TV has seen. “There is a renewed realization that local news is vital at this moment,” he says, adding an entire generation is coming to that realization for the first time as they tune in each day for essential information.

Scripps operates 60 television stations in 42 US markets. – Adam Symson, TV NewsCheck

Twin Cities media personalities find unexpected perks from anchoring at home

Don’t underestimate the appeal of getting to know your favourite TV personalities in a more intimate way … People are checking out this unprecedented approach to broadcasting in droves. According to Nielsen, viewership for major local newscasts is up 45% from a year ago. – Neal Justin, StarTribune

Trust, familiarity are why national evening news viewership is peaking amid pandemic

More viewers than in recent memory are now giving the privilege of their time to national evening news shows on major networks, according to the latest ratings. The pandemic has prompted more Americans to rediscover the importance of network TV news. Factors include stay-at-home boredom, fear of future developments, and an insatiable appetite around dinner time for scraps of news about this public health emergency. – Jerry Davich, Chicago Tribune

Fox News cuts ties with Diamond & Silk, unofficial Trump ‘advisers’ who spread bonkers coronavirus claims

A day after Diamond and Silk sisters’ last Fox Nation episode was posted online, Twitter removed a post from the pro-Trump sisters calling for people to expose themselves to the virus that has now killed more than 55,000 Americans. “The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment,” the since-deleted tweet read. “Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!” – Lachlan Cartwright & Justin Baragona, Daily Beast

How the outbreak is affecting US public opinion

Morning Consult is conducting thousands of surveys to track the ways the outbreak is impacting politics, economy, culture, and daily life in the US. Every day, the global data company combs through the latest data and update this page with the key takeaways and trends you need to understand.

Bill Gates warned the world of a coming pandemic five years ago

Whether the WTO and WHO are criminally negligent in not foreseeing the need to create a response to the crisis today is a matter for The Hague. That the world’s democracies and tyrannies also failed to create emergency measures in the event of a pandemic (or some other viral attack) tells us that their pernicious and laser-sharp focus on trade agreements, arms deals, their shameless blustery rhetoric, and spendthrift ways have left these emperors without clothes. Yes, I’m angry at the myopic and too-often avaricious political-party puppets we have ruinously running our world, stomping on the environment, ignoring poverty and letting refugees pile up like so much rubbish – but what are we to do? One man of influence and a platform spoke of today’s troubles with clarity and conviction five years ago–but he was ignored. Here’s Bill Gates’ Ted Talk from 2015 (thanks to Erin Benjamin for pointing this out to me).

The Next Outbreak: We’re not ready

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Donald Trump just used a ridiculous comparison to justify his social media crackdown – CNN



“Imagine if your local phone companies tried to edit or censor what you said. Social media companies have far more power,” Trump said.

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Think about it for one second and, maybe, the comparison makes some sense. Think about it any longer and you can immediately see this isn’t even an apples-and-oranges comparison. It’s more like an apples-and-spaceships comparison. Because the comparison makes absolutely no sense.
To explain exactly how and why, let’s take Trump up on his premise. Let’s say that a local telecommunications company did censor or edit a conversation you were having over the phone with a friend. What that would mean is that your friend would not get the exact message you were seeking to send. They would get some sort of altered message.
That’s bad! We can all agree on that! If I want to call my wife and tell her I love her and the phone company turns “I love you” into “I like you,” well, I might have a problem!
Like I said, the Trump comparison makes sense — for like one second.
But now let’s assume the opposite. The phone company does NOT edit or censor what you say. And what you say is something like: “Did you know that wearing a mask actually makes you more likely to get coronavirus?”
That is, of course, not true. But by not censoring your phone call, the only person you spread that false information to was the person the other end of the line. Now, could that person then go and tell five more people about how wearing a mask actually increases your chances of getting Covid-19? Yes! Of course. And if they were very diligent and spent a LOT of time on the phone over the next few days, they might could even spread that falsehood to 200 people. (Like I said, you’d have to spent a lot of time on the phone.)
Now imagine that the same person who made the initial phone call to one other person instead decided to tweet out that falsehood about masks. And that person happened to have, say, 80.4 million Twitter followers. Or even 80,000. Or even 8,000.
With the push of a button — literally! — that single person could spread the untruth about masks to 8,000 or 80,000 or even 80 million people. And then those people could retweet the falsehood to their dozens or hundreds or thousands or millions of followers. Within five minutes (or less), a single person tweeting out a falsehood could virtually ensure that the falsehood had been seen by hundreds of millions of people.
Do you have any idea how long it would take you to call 100 million people and tell them a single falsehood? A looooooooooot longer than five minutes.
See? The comparison makes no sense.
The legal limits of Trump's executive order on social media
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like are public platforms. Anyone who wants to follow, say, Lady Gaga or me — very similar! — on Instagram can do it. A phone call (or phone company) is a private platform. I can’t sign on to listen to your call — or you mine — just because I want to.
The reach and immediacy of social media platforms then makes them different than a phone company. A lot different. And so, what works to regulate a phone call is not the same thing that works to regulate a tweet.
If someone like Trump is allowed to tweet things that are demonstrably untrue without any pushback from any social media platform, he can erode the very concept of truth in American society without anything more than a few taps on his phone. Try doing that on a phone call.

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Trump signs executive order aimed at social media companies –



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 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.

Trump’s executive order came after Twitter added a warning about getting the facts to two of Trump’s tweets. (Matt Rourke/The Associated Press)

Technology industry groups disagreed, saying it would stifle innovation and speech on the internet. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce objected, “Regardless of the circumstances that led up to this, this is not how public policy is made in the United States.”

The order 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.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement, “This debate is an important one. The Federal Communications Commission will carefully review any petition for rulemaking filed by the Department of Commerce.”

Companies such as 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.

Protections in new NAFTA

Similar protections are now embedded in the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico — and they were added at the U.S.’s insistence. Chapter 19 of the new NAFTA limits the legal liability of social media companies for what they post, and its inclusion in the deal came at the request of the U.S. administration led by Trump.

Article 19.17 of the NAFTA says the digital services shall not be held liable like publishers would for the content they carry — though the provision includes exemptions for things like protecting against crimes.

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.

‘Clear political bias,’ says Trump campaign

“They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences,” Trump said of social media companies as he prepared to sign the order.

“There is no precedent in American history for so small a number of corporations to control so large a sphere of human interaction.”

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,” which 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 banned political advertising last November.

Twitter response

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.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the platform will continue to to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. (Francois Mori/The Associated Press)

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.

Critics call Trump move illegal

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. Trump 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 pre-approved 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 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 many executives and many employees of Twitter, Facebook and Google may lean liberal, the companies have stressed they have no business interest in favouring one political party over the other.

‘Get the facts’ 

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 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 introduced 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.

Even as he and his supporters complain of bias on the platform, Trump has used Twitter to build a potent and vocal online following. The president’s account currently has more than 80 million followers.

Trump’s success on social media suggests that his proposal may be more about politics than any interest in regulation, according to Rutgers University media professor John Pavlik, who studies the impact of technology on society and government.

Pavlik said that by trying to intimidate the platforms now, he’s seeking to control how the 2020 campaign plays out online and “about appealing to his base.”

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



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


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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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