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Social media, COVID catalysts for change after death of George Floyd

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A local professor says two key factors made the death of George Floyd as significant as it became: Social media and COVID-19.

In the age of information, much of society relies on social networking sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to communicate.

People share thoughts, ideas, opinions and more. But for a period of time after Floyd’s death, social media became an echo chamber for Black Lives Matter.

“This is a window into how younger generations feel about this issue,” said Jeffrey Walters, a professor of sociology at the University of Regina. “If it’s amped up to that much of a megaphone, you know it’s something serious.”

Walters has taught courses in mass communications and is considered the university’s resident expert in social justice and sociology.

Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police in Minneapolis in late May. After his death, protests exploded online and around the world as people reacted to the high numbers of Black lives lost due to police brutality in the United States.

“The only reason why we have this movement for change now as opposed to pre-George Floyd is precisely, oddly enough, because of social media,” Walters said.

“Social media itself is really the new communication with regard to how people like to actually correspond with each other so it’s not surprising that it becomes really almost a go-to.”

As a caution, Walters noted the importance of social media to individuals in society should not be overblown, but still strongly considered.

“It’s really a small part of the population that actually corresponds through Twitter,” Walters said. “Sometimes we are skewing our knowledge towards a certain viewpoint that’s not necessarily representative of the population.”

Despite not everyone placing utmost importance in it, Walters said social media was the tipping point for the Black Lives Matter movement to erupt after Floyd’s death.

Its power came through showing people the brutality Floyd experienced in his final moments at the hands of four police officers.

“If we aren’t faced with it, we can actually easily ignore it and say that it’s not existing, not there or not a problem,” Walters said. “However, what happened with George Floyd and the reason that it all of a sudden blew up is because everybody quite literally had to experience it. And that’s thanks to social media.

“If it wasn’t for the videos of independent citizens showing what happened, it would be easy to ignore it.”

The Black Lives Matter movement was founded in 2013 following the killing of Trayvon Martin. The man responsible was acquitted on all charges.

The movement gained momentum in August of 2014, after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. The officer wasn’t charged.

“We didn’t have an in-your-face view of what happened in Ferguson, and so Black Lives Matter, for the most part, was not extraordinarily popular with the rest of society,” Walters explained.

Walters says social media is a major reason the movement has gained momentum over the years, especially since the death of Floyd.

“Things are evolving and changing and that’s really just how society rolls,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we all now have to deal with it. We can’t run away anymore and say, ‘Well, the police said this initially so we’re going to go with that even though now we can see it’s completely contradicted.’ The mirror has been put up in our society and now we have to deal with the consequences of that.”

But social media still comes with distortions, Walters cautions. Users often see only a snapshot in time through a tweet, with context filled in by the poster.

“Social media is an echo chamber. We see what we are going to see within the confines of what our own interests are. And again, we don’t see the outside context of it,” he said.

But the death of Floyd was a different phenomenon for social media, partly because of the footage and information shared repeatedly after the incident.

“It can’t be explained away because we literally can see it with our own eyes now,” Walters said.

The professor said COVID-19 also played a role.

“A lot of us are, at this moment in time, kind of bored. Most of us are unemployed or not working or going to university or school, so we’re cooped up,” Walters said. “We have stress by virtue of COVID-19 that’s going around. In many ways, this was kind of a tipping point for us to explode into activity.”

In these times of uncertainty, many have turned increasingly to social media for information and entertainment.

“For millennials and Generation Z, if you want to call them that, Twitter and social media and just technology in general is their life, that’s how they express themselves,” Walters said.

“It woke us up and now, this is essentially the perfect backdrop to be able to express it and do something about it and to be able to show our support for a social movement precisely because we’re not distracted.”

Walters called it a “perfect storm.”

“With the blackouts, with the posting, (with) people just changing their profile pics in general to a black circle, (with) all of these things coming together … there’s nothing normal with what’s going on right now. Our economy is cratered. We are beset by a plague, essentially,” Walters explained.

“Our entire lives have been completely altered and now we recognize that our society in and of itself needs changes.”

But without this perfect storm, society may not have stood up so strongly against racism and violence against minorities, Walters said.

“We wouldn’t have known it for the most part if this was not posted …,” he said. “If it wasn’t captured on video and posted to social media, then most people wouldn’t have known or even cared.”

Seeing where we are now, however, the question remains: How will Canadians move forward knowing what they do now?

“The bigger issue is all of us, again, are realizing for the first time, perhaps, in many of our lives that we are in the midst of a massive social change that is about to happen,” Walters said.

“I think the longer the conditions remain the same, we will see a change and there’s no reason not to think the conditions will stay the same.”

Walters also said he doesn’t see a way around this issue for any politician, whether in Canada or the U.S. — and what happens in the U.S. often replicates itself somehow north of the border.

As these changes develop, they’ll surely be seen — posted, shared and retweeted on social media.

“Social media is at its best when we have all sides giving information out,” Walters said.

Source: – News Talk 650 CKOM

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InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 16:30 EST – InvestorIntel

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InvestorChannel’s Media Stocks Watchlist Update video includes the Top 5 Performers of the Day, and a performance review of the companies InvestorChannel is following in the sector.
Sources Include: Yahoo Finance, AlphaVantage FinnHub & CSE.
For more information, visit us at InvestorIntel.com or email us at [email protected]

Watchlist Companies:
– Lingo Media Corporation (LM.V) CAD 0.10 (16.67%)
– Stingray Group Inc. (RAY-A.TO) CAD 5.92 (10.24%)
– ZoomerMedia Limited (ZUM.V) CAD 0.07 (8.33%)
– Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.21 (5.0%)
– Zoom Video Communications Inc. (ZM) USD 470.11 (0.99%)
– Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 490.43 (0.22%)
– GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.15 (0.0%)
– Media Central Corporation Inc. (FLYY.CN) CAD 0.01 (0.0%)
– Network Media Group Inc. (NTE.V) CAD 0.14 (0.0%)
– Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.60 (0.0%)
– Quizam Media Corporation (QQ.CN) CAD 0.52 (0.0%)
– QYOU Media Inc. (QYOU.V) CAD 0.06 (0.0%)
– Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TBRD.V) CAD 2.04 (0.0%)
– Wix.com Ltd. (WIX) USD 254.85 (-0.25%)
– Slack Technologies Inc. (WORK) USD 26.86 (-0.41%)
– MediaValet Inc. (MVP.V) CAD 2.13 (-0.93%)
– HubSpot, Inc. (HUBS) USD 292.23 (-2.46%)
– Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 2.89 (-2.69%)
– WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. (WOW.V) CAD 0.36 (-5.26%)
– Moovly Media Inc. (MVY.V) CAD 0.07 (-13.33%)

InvestorChannel

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Quebec City police arrest man after social media threats targeting mayor – Global News

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Quebec City police arrested a man Wednesday in connection with online threats made toward the mayor.

The 41-year-old suspect was arrested shortly after 11 a.m. after an investigation led police to his home.

Police say the man is facing charges of criminal harassment. He was questioned by investigators and released on the promise to appear.

READ MORE: Quebec City police investigating online threats targeting mayor

Mayor Régis Labeaume filed a complaint with the local police department earlier this week, saying he was the target of threats on social media. The police launched an investigation Monday.

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At a press conference Tuesday, Labeaume confirmed the messages were related to the city’s decision to pull advertising from a local radio station.

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Officials claimed CHOI Radio X is promoting “opposition” to sanitary measures implemented by the provincial government to limit the spread of COVID-19. Several companies have followed suit, including Hydro-Quebec and Desjardins.

READ MORE: Quebec City yanks advertising at local radio station over opposition to coronavirus measures

RNC media, the owner of the radio station, issued a statement Monday saying that it wants to continue to inform listeners while maintaining a critical sense of the news.

Quebec City is set to enter the provincial government’s red zone of its coronavirus alert system after cases and outbreaks spiked in recent weeks. The designation calls for tighter restrictions for a 28-day period in the region.


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Coronavirus: Quebec City pulls advertising from controversial FM radio station


Coronavirus: Quebec City pulls advertising from controversial FM radio station

With files from the Canadian Press

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Social media helping First Nations push moderate livelihood – SaltWire Network

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When Alexander MacDonald headed up to Burnt Church in 1999, he didn’t bring a smartphone.

They didn’t exist yet.

As lobster traps were being cut and boats and trucks were getting rammed around the northern New Brunswick First Nation, then 15-year-old Mark Zuckerberg was still learning Atari BASIC programming from his dentist father in their Dobbs Ferry, NY, home.

“We didn’t have Facebook at Burnt Church,” said MacDonald, a member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation who now fishes commercially out of Digby.

“What social media does today is gives us more support. It shows our side. It shows what the non-natives are doing to us.”

A citizenry who didn’t have the time or interest to read the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions or the 250 year old treaties on which they’re based, looked at their phones last week and for a few minutes at a time were transported to St. Mary’s Bay where the large Cape Islanders of commercial fishermen came right at them.

Unlike in 1999 on Miramichi Bay, everyone on St. Mary’s Bay over the past two weeks was a potential publisher.

The Mi’kmaw got that.

“’Ninety-Six, ’97, ’98, ’99, we had all these fights – it didn’t start at Burnt Church, this was an every year thing,” said MacDonald.

“I can remember when I was a kid fishing in a brook, DNR coming at me telling me I’m not allowed to practice my right. So we knew that with them having H-Division, SWAT, Coast Guard, DFO, they had an army down there ready to put the Indian down if he tried to push back.”

Law and order was represented by two helicopters (one RCMP, one Coast Guard), Fisheries and Oceans enforcement boats, RCMP boats staged in Meteghan, an armoured vehicle and a Coast Guard Cutter.

But institutions and individuals all found themselves taking new roles this time around.

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan didn’t return to Nova Scotia, and, unlike her predecessor during the Burnt Church crisis, didn’t direct federal authorities to intervene.

In the vacuum left by the federal government and a battle playing out on the water, the Nova Scotia Assembly of Mi’kmaw Chiefs took on the role of governing body.

They declared a state of emergency, set up a command centre, and along with the Sipekne’katik First Nation seized control of the Lower Saulnierville Wharf, provided regular public updates and media access.

Meanwhile, traditional media outlets coming out of Halifax were supplanted as the prime explainers of the local reality by a bearded Hants County weir fishermen who got 50,000 plus views on each of the unedited videos of him looking down at his cellphone and explaining both the Mi’kmaw and commercial fishermen’s perspectives.

Darren Porter assessed that the parties had been pitted against one another by Fisheries and Oceans – first by the federal government’s refusal to negotiate the implementation of a moderate livelihood fishery and then by its declaration that traps set by the Sipekne’katik First Nation were “unauthorized.”

“Fishing without a license is a violation under the Fisheries Act and anyone fishing outside the activities authorized under a license may be subject to enforcement action,” read a statement put out by the minister’s office on Sept 17.

“When (Bernadette Jordan) came out and said it was ‘unauthorized,’ she incited those (commercial) fishermen to believe they were doing the right thing in hauling the First Nations traps and that they had the moral high ground and the backing of Fisheries and Oceans,” said Porter.

“Which was incorrect. (First Nations) had a right to set those traps. Then she quickly changed her position to the opposite side. It was very craftily done.”

Asked if it was unfair to label the impact of the minister’s shifting positions as intentional, Porter responded, “Does it matter? The result is the same.”

On Tuesday, Porter, who is also spokesman for the Fundy United Fishermen’s Association, was in his open aluminum boat researching marine life in the Minas Passage with two Mi’kmaw representatives and a scientist.

He warned the real damage done by the recent conflict was to relations between two communities who will be sharing St. Mary’s Bay.

“All the parties need to get to a point of respectful dialogue. Once (they) get to that point – they can say ‘let’s do something together,’” said Porter.

“The answer is joint science – send out representatives working together to answer the core questions about the resource and the fishery that both sides believe they are right on. While they are doing that and coming to conclusions they can both agree on because they worked together, they will also be building relationships.”

The Sipekne’katik First Nation issued a press release Tuesday saying a “respectful” dialogue had begun in the negotiations with Fisheries and Oceans Canada over the implementation of its moderate livelihood fishery.

But for his part, MacDonald remains skeptical.

He expects to the federal government to try and buy the First Nations off from pursuing a moderate livelihood fishery by offering up more commercial licenses. Sipekne’katik currently has 15 licenses in lobster fishing areas 33, 34 and 35. Provided by Fisheries and Oceans, the band leases the majority out to non-aboriginal fishermen. So while they provide revenue, they don’t provide the access to the fishery for individual members acknowledged as a right by the Supreme Court.

After Burnt Church, MacDonald went to work on commercial fishing boats on the South Shore.

He got his captain’s papers, built an enterprise and his own lobster pound.

Even fishing commercial licenses, he says he’s had his traps cut and no help from Fisheries and Oceans.

“The difference between 1999 and today is that because of social media, because of cell phones, we share our story with the world and we can reach one another quickly and shut this country down,”said MacDonald, referring to blockades of railways and roadways across Canada earlier this year.

“We’re connected right across Canada. You can’t ignore us anymore.”

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