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Social media promotes positive messages – Farm Weekly

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MANDY Matthews is a sheep farmhand who has made a name for herself as an agriculture influencer using her popularity on social media to help educate people on the various aspects of rural life and the livestock industry.

With 16,300 Instagram followers and 227,000 following her on TikTok (a platform where people create personalised videos), Ms Matthews said the popularity of her accounts came about organically.

Having found she had a lot of opportunities to take great photos and snapshots of life in the country, she decided to invest in a decent digital camera and join Instagram in 2017.

“I used to think Instagram was just pictures of pretty girls showing off, but once I joined I realised there are actually a lot of people from the agricultural sector on it and some really talented photographers – so that’s where it all started for me,” Ms Matthews said.

TikTok was a later addition for Ms Matthews, who created her own account while quarantining in Western Australia after returning home from a trip to New Zealand early last year.

Late last year a video of her kelpie border collie-cross dog, Blue, jumping up on hay bales to the song ‘The Real Slim Shady’ went viral, attracting about six million views.

Resulting in a dramatic increase in her number of TikTok followers, the video continues to be shared on various social media networks and online pages, making its total audience hard to determine.

Comparing the two social media platforms, Ms Matthews said she experienced greater engagement with her Instagram followers.

“TikTok tends to draw a wider audience who will still follow you but might not have a great amount of interest in who you are, but with Instagram I feel you have a bit more of a connection and discussion with your followers,” Ms Matthews said.

Uploading pictures and videos of everyday occurrences on farms, such as a lamb being born, the practices of mulesing and trimming a ram’s horns, Ms Matthews said her goal was to provide a clear depiction of livestock practices to help educate the general public on what farmers did.

However like most online influencers, her raw view of farm life has also drawn backlash from animal activists and the like.

By participating in The Livestock Collective’s leaders workshop last year, Ms Matthews said she had learnt how to have conversations with people who might not completely understand the industry or disagree with some of its more controversial aspects.

More than 100 alumni have been put through the course which helps young people working in agriculture advocate for their industry via social media.

“It’s been a really supportive network for me and really helpful when my own social media blew up, as I didn’t feel like I was alone in managing how I responded to people’s different views,” Ms Matthews said.

Acknowledging that a lot of time does go into being a social media influencer, Ms Matthews is working on how she might be able to monetise her social media platforms.

If successful she plans to use the extra funds to buy better photography and video equipment.


With 16,300 Instagram followers and 227,000 following her on TikTok, Mandy Matthews uses her social media presence to help advocate for the agricultural industry.


With 16,300 Instagram followers and 227,000 following her on TikTok, Mandy Matthews uses her social media presence to help advocate for the agricultural industry.

Growing up on a sheep and cattle farm about an hour inland from New Zealand’s central North Island, Ms Matthews wanted to be a farmer ever since she can remember.

Her dad still manages the family farm which runs Romney sheep, red black suffolk rams and beef cattle over about 1200 hectares of land.

“In our primary school years my cousin and I tried to set up this thing called ‘easy farm, easy go’ to help educate our friends who didn’t know much about farming – so we were always super passionate about it, even at a young age” Ms Matthews said.

After finishing high school she stayed and helped on the family farm before completing a six month stint in Queensland to play polocrosse.

Following that trip, in 2013 she decided to move to Western Australia.

“I stayed with people I knew through polocrosse and started working on a live export quarantine sheep feedlot near Kojonup,” Ms Matthews said.

“I loved working there, it was busy and full on – each day I’d be counting sheep, picking up on any welfare issues, feeding them and moving them around and they also had a farm there which had some cattle.”

After two years Ms Matthews briefly worked as a farmhand for some sheep farmers down the road in Kojonup before being offered a job in Corrigin as a sheep manager.

“Those days would involve checking and feeding the sheep, a lot of checking water because most of it was on scheme and your general management practices such as shearing and yard work,” Ms Matthews said.

She has since moved on to a sheep and cropping farm in Brookton, which has about 7500 breeding ewes.

“I do everything on the sheep side of things and I’ve been working there about three years,” she said.

Looking forward, she plans to continue to advocate for the agricultural sector through her social media accounts.

With the number of farmers in WA continuing to halve about every 20 years, Ms Matthews said the city and country divide had continued to widen.

“I take it quite personally when people are anti-farming and they aren’t educated about the industry,” she said.

“But you can’t blame them either as there isn’t as much of a connection with the agricultural sector these days.

“When I was younger the country schools used to have exchanges with city schools but that doesn’t seem to happen as much now.

“Most people would have had at least one family friend or a second cousin or someone that lived out in the country so they were able to have some involvement and understanding of agricultural and rural life, but that is also less common now.

“These days, I think social media is probably one of the best ways to help educate the general public about what we do.”

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Reese Witherspoon’s Media Company Hello Sunshine Reportedly Sells for $900 Million – Vanity Fair

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“This is a meaningful move in the world because it really means that women’s stories matter,” Witherspoon said of the sale to a media firm backed by private-equity group Blackstone Group Inc.

Reese Witherspoon’s five-year-old media company, Hello Sunshine, is expanding its reach. The starry entity, which was founded by Witherspoon in 2016, has been sold to a media firm backed by private-equity group Blackstone Group Inc, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Hello Sunshine has reportedly been valued at $900 million, people familiar with the deal told WSJ.

The company, which has already spawned a film and TV production company, its own VOD network (complete with Witherspoon’s first-ever talk show, Shine on with Reese), and book club, centers on stories by and for women. Hello Sunshine has produced films such as Gone Girl and Wild and shows including HBO’s Big Little Lies, Apple’s The Morning Show, and Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere. “I’m going to double down on that mission to hire more female creators from all walks of life and showcase their experiences,” Witherspoon said in a statement. “This is a meaningful move in the world because it really means that women’s stories matter.”

Reports began to circulate last month that Hello Sunshine was considering a sale and could receive a $1 billion valuation. The currently unnamed media partnership between Blackstone and Hello Sunshine will be headed by former Walt Disney Co. executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs. Hello Sunshine is the first acquisition for the firm, which will retain Witherspoon and her company’s Chief Executive, Sarah Harden, as members of their board. Blackstone is reportedly shelling out more than $500 million in cash to purchase shares from Hello Sunshine’s investors.

The sale of Hello Sunshine to Blackstone is “part of a plan to build an independent entertainment company for Hollywood’s streaming era,” WSJ reports. It comes amidst a time when high-profile stars like Scarlett Johansson are bucking against the idea of their films debuting simultaneously on streaming and theatrically. Like projects of Hello Sunshine’s past, its upcoming slate includes adaptations of popular novels—the film Where The Crawdads Sing and Amazon series Daisy Jones and The Six.

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— Sign up for the “HWD Daily” newsletter for must-read industry and awards coverage—plus a special weekly edition of Awards Insider.

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Senators Introduce Bill to Help Agencies Counter Deepfakes and Deceptive Media – Nextgov

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Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee leaders moved to form a new federal task force to explore setting standards and deploying technologies for determining facts about the origins of digital content.

That cadre—the National Deepfake and Digital Provenance Task Force—would draw insights from across the public, private and academic landscapes and operate within the Homeland Security Department, according to legislation introduced by ranking member  Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., on Thursday. 

It’s meant to help chart a path forward for how DHS and other feds can work to counter the online spread of maliciously-made synthetic media.

Former U.S. diplomat Mounir Ibrahim told Nextgov Monday that this marks Congress’ first piece of legislation to explicitly hone in on digital content provenance, or the verifiable chronology of the inception and history of images, videos, documents, recordings or other electronic media. After years serving as a foreign service officer for the State Department, he’s now vice president of strategic initiatives for Truepic, a technology company specializing in image authenticity. 

Ibrahim explained that while many people base personal, financial, political and other vital decisions on what they see and hear online, they’re also facing “an explosion in the proliferation of image deception, fraud and fabrication tools readily available on any smartphone or computer.” 

“The most advanced of these image deception techniques are known as deepfakes, or wholly fabricated synthetic videos, which are already very, very realistic—but are still improving at a rapid rate,” he said.

Such videos use emerging technologies to make people appear to do or say things that they didn’t in reality. Bad actors have weaponized standard image deception methods through cheapfakes, which can be manipulated with cheaper and more accessible software than machine learning, for a variety of illicit purposes. Experts, Ibrahim noted, are also seeing advanced image deception via the more sophisticated, AI-enabled deepfakes, like those “used in illegal non-consensual pornography, which is very damaging.” Such weaponization could also be tapped for illicit purposes across government, business and society. The FBI warned several months ago that the methods are “almost certain” for corporate espionage and business fraud. 

But to Ibrahim, “perhaps worse than the fraud itself is the second-order effect of the erosion of trust online”—a concept known as the liar’s dividend. The idea is that as cheapfakes and deepfakes proliferate, they’ll increasingly undermine the trust in anything humans encounter online, even if it is true. 

“One example of this is the few people who suggested the video of George Floyd’s murder was a deepfake. Though that was not widely accepted, that is a snapshot of how the liar’s dividend can be weaponized,” Ibrahim said. “In short, the erosion of trust will turn into the erosion of our shared sense of reality.”

To confront that threat, the lawmakers’ 14-page legislation outlines their proposals for the makeup and responsibilities of the fresh DHS task force. 

The strategic group would be co-chaired by DHS and Office of Science and Technology Policy officials and include 12 members equally representing the government, private and academic sectors. Each of those selected would have technical expertise in artificial intelligence, media manipulation, cryptography, digital forensics or other relevant fields. They would consult the Energy, Defense and State secretaries, National Institute of Standards and Technology and National Science Foundation directors, among other agency leaders, over the course of their work.

Broadly, the ultimate intent of the task force would be to map out a coordinated plan for investigating how a digital content provenance standard could assist with reducing the dissemination of deepfakes, help advance tools for content creators to authenticate their media and its origins, and improve how the public and private sectors relay trust and information about digital content sources to the public.

“This commonsense bipartisan bill will help strengthen our nation’s ability to combat malicious attempts to spread lies and further divide the American people,” Peters said.

Ibrahim pointed out that this legislation comes not only as image-based deception is advancing rapidly—but also builds on a notable recommendation from the National Security Commission on AI’s comprehensive review. Specifically, the group called for the making of a new task force to consider standards for using technology to certify content authenticity and provenance. The bill also emerges as the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity is building an open standard for widespread adoption across the internet. Truepic, Intel, Adobe and others participate in the coalition.

“This is the most direct and informed legislation I have seen associated with digital content provenance,” Ibrahim said. “However, we have seen other nations move towards ensuring there is transparency and information on image fabrication available to content consumers.” 

Norway passed a law last month mandating social media influencers to disclose what alterations are made to digital content. The approach was also referenced in Australia’s mis- and disinformation code of practice. In the U.S., the legislation follows Portman’s Deepfake Report Act, which passed the Senate last year as a provision in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

“I would expect to see the approach [to provenance] begin to be understood and included in additional legislation in the US and abroad in the coming year or two,” Ibrahim said. 

Technology leaders from Truepic, Adobe, Microsoft, Arm and elsewhere expressed support for the senators’ proposal. The bill was referred to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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City of Brandon – August 2nd Media Release – City of Brandon –

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For the last 24 hours:

Shoplifter:

At around 10:25 AM Sunday morning, an employee from Superstore reported that a male suspect had just stolen approximately $100 of meat from the store.  An officer on patrol spotted a male matching the description of the suspect, in the 200 block 10th Street and detained him.  Subsequently, the 30 year-old male was found to have the stolen product in his backpack and he was arrested for theft under $5000.  He was later released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on September 13th.

Breach of Probation:

Repeated reports were received from Superstore of a male, well known to both staff there and Police, being on their property despite being prohibited from attending.  The 27 year-old male was located on the store property and was arrested for failing to comply with a probation Order.  He was later released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on September 27th.

Flight from Police:

On July 20th, Police attempted to stop a moped / scooter that had been reported earlier for “ripping around” a south end parking lot.  The suspect was seen in the area of 1200 Hill Avenue and a stop was attempted; however, the suspect fled.  At the time of the incident, the license plate had been bent up to hide it.  Subsequent investigation revealed that an 18 year-old male had been the operator.  He was contacted and attended to the Police station on Sunday afternoon, where he was arrested for the criminal offence of flight from police, and issued tickets under the Highway Traffic Act.  He was released to appear in court on September 30th.

Drug Trafficking Charges:

Just before 2:00 AM this morning, a vehicle stop was conducted in the 2500 block Victoria Avenue.  A small quantity of cocaine was located in the vehicle.  As a result of the investigation, a 36 year-old male and a 25 year-old male, both from Brandon, were arrested for possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.  They were released from custody on appropriate police imposed conditions and are to appear in court on October 14th.  Additionally, the 36 year-old male was charged with theft under $5000 relating to him stealing a shop tool from Canadian Tire on June 30th.  He is to appear in court on October 18th on that charge.

Others:

Several other arrests related to intoxication which resulted in no charges but the subjects being held until sober. 

 

RELEASE AUTHORIZED BY:

Acting Staff Sergeant D. Lockhart, #101

B Platoon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Anyone with information on any unsolved crime is asked to call Brandon Crime Stoppers at 204-727-(TIPS) 8477, www.brandoncrimestoppers.com or by texting BCSTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637).  Crime Stoppers pays up to $2000.00 cash for information that leads to the solution of a crime.

CRIME STOPPERS 204-727-TIPS

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