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Social Media Increasingly Linked With Mass Shootings – Forbes

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On Wednesday, authorities in Texas identified Salvador Ramos as the 18-year-old shooter who had opened fire in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos, who had killed at least 19 students and two teachers during his shooting spree on Tuesday, had allegedly posted disturbing images online prior to carrying out the senseless attack.

According to reports, an Instagram account allegedly connected to Ramos featured disturbing photos. That account has since been taken down.

It was just last week that New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, announced that her office was investigating social media companies after another mass shooter had used the online platforms to plan, promote and stream a massacre in a Buffalo grocery store that left 10 dead. James said her office would investigate Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord along with other platforms that the shooter used to amplify the attack.

Many are asking if warning signs were missed.

“It is impossible to prevent people from making threats online,” explained William V. Pelfrey, Jr., Ph.D., professor in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Yet he suggested that social media organizations do have a moral responsibility to identify and remove threatening messaging.

“They are generally abysmal at this task. Direct threats (i.e. I want to shoot the President, I want to kill myself) frequently are flagged and investigated. Indirect threats are much harder to identify and rarely receive any attention,” Pelfrey continued. “Many social media companies will need to make decisions – protect individual’s rights to make oblique threats or protect safety. Compromising freedom of speech seems abhorrent until we weigh that compromise against the lives lost in Buffalo or the many other places where radicalized violent extremists found their motivation to kill.”

The Anti-Social Networks

As the United States remains very much in what President Joe Biden has identified as an “Uncivil War,” where the country remains so politically divided, the platforms that were once about friendly discussions have evolved very much into “anti-social networks” where people now find themselves in echo chambers that support their opinion and views.

“Social media has compounded a growing racial, cultural and gender divide in America and the world,” explained Anthony Silard, professor at the Luiss Business School, Rome, and the author of The Art of Living Free in the Digital Age.

Social media has enabled the actions of extremists to be live-streamed to the masses.

“One facet of the Buffalo shooting that is critical for understanding its conception and operation is that it was not the work of one person,” added Silard. “The shooter brought his thought community with him via live stream. They were poised and ready to send out the horrific imagery of innocent people being slaughtered before the social media site, Twitch, could take it down, in an impressive two minutes. They succeeded, yet millions watched from the comfort of their screens.

“With his thought community virtually present and at the ready, the shooter felt less alone and propped up by the hate-imbued ideology of his group,” Silard added. “Herein lies an important point for lawmakers to consider about the role of social media in this tragedy: it enabled rapid, collective action by a hate group.”

Lack Of Empathy

Social media has also been seen as responsible in lowering the empathy of most Americans. It is easy to “speak your mind” about someone on social media based on a tweet they made or something they posted on Facebook. Even like-minded individuals with similar interests can find themselves in serious flare ups that turn hostile.

This has been common with email, posts on Newsgroups and online forums, but has increased significantly in the era of social media.

“One of the primary reasons social media has become so dangerous to a healthy society is that it erodes empathy. The reason town hall meetings became a healthy medium for cross-aisle conversations is that people had to listen to each other, even when they disagreed,” said Silard.”Now that these conversations have gone online, empathy has fallen to the wayside. A recent meta-analysis of seventy-two studies conducted between 1979 and 2009, for instance, found that the empathy levels of American college students have dropped 40 percent, which the authors primarily attribute to the rise of social media.”

The social media platforms have largely failed to address the issue, and in some cases it has only served to radicalize individuals, such as the recent mass shooters.

“Social media companies like Facebook promised us that its services would encourage people to care more for each other and express their authentic views more both online and in person. None of this has happened,” warned Silard. “Instead, recent Pew research has found that people speak up less in person now for fear of retribution. Why? Social media has helped them realize there are many opposing views out there they would prefer not to confront.”

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Hollywood Enlists Asian Media in US-Led $71 Billion Piracy Fight – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Hollywood studios battling online piracy have enlisted the first Asian members of an industry coalition set up to seek out and shut down illegal streaming sites.

The Hong Kong-based streaming service Viu and True Visions, a leading Thai pay-TV provider, will be the first Asian companies to join the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, whose members include Netflix Inc., Walt Disney Co. and other major media companies.

The alliance is part of the US Motion Picture Association and has 39 members, with plans to enlist other players in Latin America and elsewhere. Dues from the media organizations are used to finance legal fights against the theft of content.

Piracy has been on the rise during the pandemic, costing US entertainment companies an estimated $29 billion to $71 billion in lost revenue annually, according to executives at the organization. And media companies typically notice, and act on, copyright and intellectual property theft before police.

“We now have local partners fighting this local fight, who can connect to local law enforcement,” Charles Rivkin, chairman of the alliance and the Motion Picture Association, said in an interview. “It’s a whole lot more effective when you have a local player come in with the MPA than the MPA just parachuting in on our own and trying to make headway.”

Expanding Ranks

While the organization is mostly made of US companies, including all of the major Hollywood studios and streaming services that form the MPA trade group, it also has international partners. BBC Worldwide and Vivendi SE’s Canal+ are two of its biggest European members. Rivkin said he has long sought to expand the group’s footprint in Asia-Pacific, where some of the largest illegal streaming sites are run.

Viu is one of the biggest streaming platforms in Asia, with 58.6 million monthly active users, according to the company. True Visions is a cable and satellite TV operator based in Thailand, and last month helped the alliance and local police arrest an alleged content pirate and shut down his website.

“We recognize the need to address the piracy that is widespread in our markets,” Marianne Lee, chief of content acquisition and development at Viu, said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring consumers move from illegal piracy sites to legal options.”

While Hollywood has battled film and TV piracy for years, it became particularly problematic after major studios made their content more readily accessible online during pandemic lockdowns. John Fithian, the head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, said in April piracy was so widespread in 2021 that studios scrapped plans to debut their big, new films online rather than in theaters.

The alliance says it’s also looking to partner with major sports leagues across the world, since they are also the target of digital content thieves. In April, ACE added beIN Media Group, one of the biggest international sports broadcasters, to its ranks.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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Boston media explodes after Red Sox blow it without unvaccinated closer Houck – Sportsnet.ca

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Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 situation, in sports and around the world, is constantly evolving. Readers in Canada can consult the country’s public health website for the latest.

The Boston media is known for being tough on their teams at all times.

It reaches another level, though, when something like Tuesday night happens.

Because Boston Red Sox closer Tanner Houck is unvaccinated, he had to be placed on the restricted list prior to this week’s series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

And wouldn’t you know it, his absence loomed large on Tuesday when the Blue Jays scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win over the Red Sox.

Longtime Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy and other members of the Boston media were quick to post their feelings on Twitter.

Without Houck, the Red Sox asked Tyler Danish, who pitched the eighth, to go back out for the ninth.

But Danish, who has zero career saves, let the first two runners on. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to replace him with Hansel Robles.

Robles wasn’t any more successful, giving up RBI singles to Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to end it.

When asked if the situation made him more frustrated about the vaccination situation, Cora said no.

“We go with the 26 that are here, and we try to get 27 outs and we didn’t do it,” Cora said.

The Blue Jays have now won five of six against the Red Sox in Toronto this season heading into Wednesday’s series finale when Toronto will start ace Alek Manoah.

And, maybe just maybe, the same two teams will play in the same venue in October.

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Media Release – June 29, 2022 – Guelph Police – Guelph Police Service

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Fake gun call doesn’t work

A male who reported a bogus firearms incident in an attempt to avoid being arrested instead faces additional charges.

Approximately 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Guelph Police Service officers located a stolen motorcycle in a downtown parking lot. Investigation led them to an apartment unit where they believed the responsible male was hiding.

While officers were on scene, a 911 call was received by the communications centre reporting a male with a firearm at a business on Eramosa Road. Several officers responded and determined the report was fake and intended to draw officers away from the downtown apartment.

After extensive negotiations, a male was arrested just before 9:30 p.m. A 38-year-old Guelph male is charged with possessing stolen property over $5,000, public mischief and failing to comply with a release order. He was held for a bail hearing Wednesday.

Male charged with impaired, mischief

A Guelph male was charged with mischief after smearing feces on a surveillance camera at the Guelph Police station following his arrest for impaired driving.

Just after 6 p.m Tuesday, the Guelph Police Service received reports of an erratic driver in the area of Woodlawn Road West and Imperial Road North. A short time later the running vehicle was located at the owner’s residence with the male still sitting inside. Officers detected an odour of alcoholic beverage on his breath and observed an empty beer can inside the vehicle. Testing at the police station confirmed the male had more than the legal amount of alcohol in his system.

While the male was being held awaiting his release, he began to cover a cellblock camera with a pillow. After the pillow was taken away he used his hand to smear feces on the camera lens.

A 47-year-old Guelph male is charged with impaired operation and mischief. His driver’s licence was suspended for 90 days and his vehicle was impounded for seven days. He will appear in a Guelph court July 12, 2022.

Male arrested for break and enter

A Guelph male has been arrested nearly two months after a north-end garage was entered.

On May 8, a resident in the area of Victoria Road North and Ingram Drive reported a break-in to his garage. Video surveillance showed a vehicle stopping in front of the house approximately 3:20 a.m. A male entered the garage and stole tools and other items.

A suspect was identified from the video and arrested Tuesday.

A 32-year-old Guelph male is charged with break and enter, prowl at night and breach of probation. He will appear in a Guelph bail court July 5, 2022.

Total calls for service in the last 24 hours – 240

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