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Social media history fair game in political campaigns: Professor – CTV News

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REGINA —
Using opposition research against the competition is a strategy as old as politics itself.

The rise of social media has added another tool for political parties.

“The boundaries between what’s public and what’s private are blurrier than they’ve ever been and they’ve changed rapidly,” Jim Farney, a political science professor at the University of Regina, said.

“Because so much more of our lives are public, I think we do see the social media side played up.”

This past weekend, Saskatchewan Party candidate Daryl Cooper in Saskatoon was replaced after making controversial posts on social media and Regina Rosemont candidate Alex Nau had to issue an apology over participating in a derogatory game about women in 2016.

On Monday, the Sask. Party attacked Regina Elphinstone-Centre NDP candidate Meara Conway over a Facebook post labelled as an attack on the province’s oil industry.

“This is getting to be a thing,” Sask. Party Leader Scott Moe said. “We saw it in the federal election, we saw it in the last Saskatchewan election and we’re seeing it again.”

NDP Leader Ryan Meili said whether a candidate’s social media posts should be used against them is something that needs further discussion.

“How much do we want to dig into people’s social media, certainly the further back you go, the more murky it gets,” Meili said.

How someone conducts themselves online can be a window into who they are as a person, which Farney said is important in selecting who to vote for on election day.

“There is stuff that people say or do before they’re candidates that really does throw light on who they are and there is a public interest argument to be said for that,” Farney said.

“What we’re really trying to assess is people’s judgement and character. Arguably some of these show poor judgment.”

The way a party responds to controversial old social media posts from a candidate can also provide the public with information on what’s important to the party, according to Farney.

“What we can look to in these examples is not just the individual candidates, but also what does the party leadership feel is appropriate or inappropriate or forgivable,” he said.

Farney added digging up old social media posts can be effective, but needs to be used responsibly.

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InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 16:05 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 info@investorintel.com

Watchlist Companies:
– Glacier Media Inc. (GVC.TO) CAD 0.23 (0.0%)
– GVIC Communications Corp. (GCT.TO) CAD 0.14 (0.0%)
– Lingo Media Corp (LM.V) CAD 0.09 (0.0%)
– Media Central Corp Inc (FLYY.CN) CAD 0.01 (0.0%)
– Moovly Media Inc (MVY.V) CAD 0.07 (0.0%)
– Postmedia Network Canada Corp (PNC-A.TO) CAD 1.68 (0.0%)
– Quizam Media Corp (QQ.CN) CAD 0.50 (0.0%)
– HubSpot Inc (HUBS) USD 297.53 (-2.31%)
– Corus Entertainment Inc. (CJR-B.TO) CAD 3.53 (-3.55%)
– MediaValet Inc (MVP.V) CAD 2.30 (-4.17%)
– Adobe Inc. (ADBE) USD 456.97 (-4.51%)
– Network Media Group Inc (NTE.V) CAD 0.13 (-10.34%)

InvestorChannel

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IRVING: Time for social media giants to pay up – Toronto Sun

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Article content continued

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That’s why their practices have been as lethal to digital-only new media, such as BuzzFeed and Slate, as they have to the so-called “legacy” media.

But no amount of distractions or excuses can hide the fact that countries around are taking action against monopolistic practices that have grown dangerous for both democracy and the free market.

Of particular relevance to Canada is how Australia is standing up to the web giants and empowering local news.

With all-party support in their national parliament, the Australians are taking a comprehensive approach that allows their new publishers to negotiate for compensation as a group with Google and Facebook, mitigating the huge power imbalance.

They’re also putting in place codes of conduct and enforcement with real teeth.

And they’re doing all this without the need for additional government funding, or new taxes or consumer fees.

The massive margins of both Google and Facebook are such that they can afford to start paying fairly for what they’ve been getting for free.

Australia and Canada have a lot in common. Our economies are similar. So are our parliamentary and legal systems. We’re both federal states. And we both have strong regions.

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In short, there’s no reason why the approach being adopted in Australia can’t also work here in Canada.

That’s why we’re urging the government – and all parties in the House of Commons – to adopt the Australian model in Canada.

It’s not the role of democratic governments to pick winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas.

But it is their role to step in when monopolistic practices are preventing that marketplace from functioning. That’s happening around the world.

Now it’s time for Canada to step up.

— Jamie Irving is Vice President of Brunswick News Inc. and chair of News Media Canada’s working group.

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Social media CEOs rebuff bias claims, vow to defend election – Pique Newsmagazine

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WASHINGTON — Under fire from President Donald Trump and his allies, the CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google rebuffed accusations of anti-conservative bias at a Senate hearing Wednesday and promised to aggressively defend their platforms from being used to sow chaos in next week’s election.

Lawmakers of both parties, eyeing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech — the stated topic for the hearing but one that was quickly overtaken by questions related to the presidential campaign.

With worries over election security growing, senators on the Commerce Committee extracted promises from Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai that their companies will be on guard against meddling by foreign actors or the incitement of violence around the election results.

Testifying via video, the executives said they are taking several steps, including partnerships with news organizations, to distribute accurate information about voting. Dorsey said Twitter was working closely with state election officials.

“We want to give people using the service as much information as possible,” he said.

Republicans, led by Trump, have accused the social media platforms, without evidence, of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views, and they say that behaviour has reached new heights in the contest between the president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the committee’s chairman, said at the start of the hearing that the laws governing online speech must be updated because “the openness and freedom of the internet are under attack.”

Wicker cited the move this month by Facebook and Twitter to limit dissemination of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning New York Post about Biden. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.

“Twitter’s conduct has by far been the most egregious,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Dorsey. Cruz cited Twitter’s limitations on the newspaper story as part of “a pattern of censorship and silencing Americans with whom Twitter disagrees.”

“Who the hell elected you? And put you in charge of what the media are allowed to report?” Cruz asked.

Dorsey told Cruz that he does not believe that Twitter can influence elections because it’s only one source of information. He tried to steer senators away from conventional notions of political bias, noting that “much of the content people see today is determined by algorithms.” He endorsed a proposal from computer scientist Stephen Wolfram that would allow third parties to guide how artificial intelligence systems choose what postings people see.

GOP senators raised with the executives an array of allegations of other bias on the platforms regarding Iran, China and Holocaust denial.

There’s no evidence that the social media giants are biased against conservative news, posts or other material, or that they favour one side of political debate over another, researchers have found. But Republicans aren’t alone in raising concerns about the companies’ policies.

Democrats focused their criticism mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence, keep people from voting or spread falsehoods about the coronavirus. They criticized the tech CEOs for failing to police content, blaming the platforms for playing a role in hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S.

Amid the debate, the Trump administration has asked Congress to strip some of the protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms. The proposals would make changes to a provision of a 1996 law that has been the foundation for unfettered speech on the internet. Critics in both parties say that immunity under Section 230 of the law enables the social media companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.

Trump chimed in Wednesday with a tweet exhorting, “Repeal Section 230!”

The CEOs argued that the liability shield has helped make the internet what it is today, though Zuckerberg said he believes that Congress “should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended.” Dorsey and Pichai urged caution in making any changes.

But the executives also rejected accusations of bias. “We approach our work without political bias, full stop,” Pichai said. “To do otherwise would be contrary to both our business interests and our mission.”

The companies in recent years have wrestled with how strongly to intervene with speech. They have often gone out of their way not to appear biased against conservative views — a posture that some say effectively tilts them toward those viewpoints. The effort has been especially strained for Facebook, which was caught off guard in 2016, when it was used as a conduit by Russian agents to spread misinformation benefiting Trump’s presidential campaign.

Wednesday’s session lacked the in-person drama of star-witness proceedings before the coronavirus outbreak. The hearing room was nearly empty except for Wicker and a few colleagues, as most senators took part remotely, but their questioning was sharp as tempers flared among members.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, went after Republicans, saying the hearing was a “sham.” With their questions, Schatz said, the Republicans “are trying to bully the heads of private companies into making a hit job” on political leaders.

All three companies have scrambled to stem the tide of material that incites violence and spreads lies and baseless conspiracy theories. In their efforts to police misinformation about the election, Twitter and Facebook have imposed a misinformation label on some content from the president, who has about 80 million followers.

Trump has refused to publicly commit to accepting the results if he loses the presidential contest. He also has raised the baseless prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process. None of the five states that mail ballots to all voters has seen significant cases of fraud.

Starting Tuesday, Facebook isn’t accepting any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close Nov. 3, when all political advertising will temporarily be banned. Google, which owns YouTube, also is halting political ads after the polls close. Twitter banned all political ads last year.

___

AP Technology Writers Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, and Barbara Ortutay in Oakland, California, contributed to this report.

___

Follow Gordon at https://twitter.com/mgordonap.

Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press








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