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Social media rules. That's bad in a pandemic – CNN

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Fauci tells Congress that states face serious consequences if they reopen too quickly
One study found that more than one in four of the most popular YouTube videos about the novel coronavirus contained misinformation. Another found that vaccine skeptics were winning the battle for Facebook engagement.
More than 70% of adults turn to the internet to learn about health and healthcare, a team of researchers in Canada said. They analyzed popular YouTube videos on a single day earlier this year, filtering for those that mentioned coronavirus.
Excluding videos that weren’t in English, that ran for more than an hour, or didn’t have audio or visual content, they wound up with 69 videos twith a total of 257,804,146 views. They rated each based on factual content covering symptoms, prevention, treatments epidemiology and viral spread.
Technology companies can help fight Covid-19Technology companies can help fight Covid-19
The videos came from a variety of sources such as network news — which made up the largest portion of videos — entertainment videos, internet based news operations, professional YouTube stars, newspapers, educational institutions and government agencies.
Nearly 50 of the videos, or 72%, got the facts right. The one in four that didn’t had either misleading or inaccurate information, Heidi Oi-Yee Li of the University of Ottawa and colleagues in Canada wrote in the online journal BMJ Global Health.
More than 62 million people looked at the most misleading YouTube videos,
Anthony Fauci's quiet coronavirus rebellionAnthony Fauci's quiet coronavirus rebellion
Past studies looking at YouTube usage found the platform has been key in spreading vital information about how to keep people safe in a pandemic or public health emergency.
If this many videos are inaccurate, there’s a “significant potential for harm,” Li and colleagues wrote.
“YouTube is a powerful, untapped educational tool that should be better mobilized by health professionals,” they wrote. Too often, government information is static and not interesting. Public health agencies could benefit if they were to team up with people who understand how to best communicate on YouTube, the researchers said.
Fact check: McConnell claims Obama didn't leave Trump a pandemic 'game plan.' Obama left a 69-page playbookFact check: McConnell claims Obama didn't leave Trump a pandemic 'game plan.' Obama left a 69-page playbook
In another study, researchers looked at scientific information on Facebook and found a similar static message from official public health leaders made these messages less impactful.
People who have not made up their minds about vaccines may be more influenced by what they see on social media this study published Wednesday in the journal Nature found, and that could be a real problem during the coronavirus pandemic,.
This research collaboration between scholars at George Washington University, University of Miami, Michigan State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory looked at comments from more than 100 million Facebook users in a variety of online communities that discussed vaccines during the 2019 measles outbreak. The conversations were spirited and the contributors spanned several countries and communicated in several languages.
Among Facebook users, opinions seemed to fall into three camps: people who were pro-vaccine, those who were anti-vaccine and the undecided. Even undecided social media users were still highly engaged with the topic, researchers said.
The researchers looked to see how individuals from one group interacted with the others, and created a map to track these conversations.
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What they found was that while there were fewer people who did not believe in vaccines, there were nearly three times the number of anti-vaccination groups on Facebook. That larger number of groups, in part, allowed those communities to become more entangled with the undecided communities, which swayed some opinions. The anti-vaccine communicators tended to have a variety of messages and could join more conversations because of that variety.
“Even though they are numerically small, they appear big online because they have so many flavors of arguments and narratives,” said study co-author Neil Johnson. Some messages focused on ideas that vaccines caused health problems. Other messages emphasized free choice. Others spun conspiracy theories.
Pro-vaccine posters, like members of state public health departments, tended to concentrate their communication efforts on one message: vaccines protect public health. Having just one message cost them the opportunity to communicate with some of the medium-sized groups that weren’t as visible as others.
Some anti-vaxxers are changing their minds because of the coronavirus pandemicSome anti-vaxxers are changing their minds because of the coronavirus pandemic
Johnson, a professor of physics at the George Washington University who heads the initiative in Complexity and Data Science, said that the team was about to wrap up the study when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. They continue to monitor these groups and found the distrust of establishment and science had transferred to the pandemic.
Conservative groups boost anti-stay-at-home protestsConservative groups boost anti-stay-at-home protests
“It’s just morphed. It’s almost like it become the perfect storm for Covid, this kind of online behavior that distrust science, and because they’re already organized and embedded in groups like the local pet lovers association,” Johnson said. “Previously they may have had a hard job talking with the local pet lovers association about vaccines, but now everybody’s talking about Covid and possible vaccines, so it’s kind of their moment.”
Johnson said we tend to trust people in our own communities, so when our Uncle Arthur tells us something about our dog that is absolutely correct, that the vet hasn’t mentioned yet, you start to trust your Uncle Arthur most.
Facebook Fast FactsFacebook Fast Facts
“We trust people in our communities because of this kind of interaction,” Johnson said. “Then when they turn around and tell me something about how Bill Gates is behind a particular vaccine, and you better watch out because he’s going to inject you with something, you might actually give it some kind of credence.”
The people who are spreading the anti-vaccine message online are not “crazies” or “flat Earth” people, instead they are people that are sort of “grabbing somewhere” and putting two and two together and “just getting the wrong answer,” Johnson said. But then “everyone around them thinks they’ve got the right answer.”
Johnson said he was “very skeptical” when he started the study.
Fauci: 'You don't make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline' on relaxing public health measuresFauci: 'You don't make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline' on relaxing public health measures
He thought the conversations online would look like a battle between government establishment science, with health recommendation in the middle, and then small disorganized communities trying to pick away at it. But that’s not it at all.
“It’s more like the anti-vaxxers are embedded with the local pet club and with the parent teachers and you know, the establishment science health public health experts, it’s almost like they were sitting in an entirely different battlefield,” Johnson said. “And to them it looks like they’ve won, but they haven’t, because it’s just them on that battlefield.”
Johnson said he is already seeing people in these groups saying that they won’t get a Covid-19 vaccine and they will rely on others to be vaccinated so they will be safe. He hopes this study will help public health officials think through new communication strategies to reach more with their message.

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Police investigating threatening social media post captured near Pointe-Claire school – CTV News Montreal

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Montreal police were on site at John Rennie High School Thursday after threatening images were posted to social media, which may have featured a firearm.

The post included two images: the first showed what appeared to be the side of the school. The second image depicted a young man holding what appeared to be a firearm in an unknown location. 

Police say the post is related to a conflict between two people who have yet to be identified, and that they were likely going to meet at the school. The threats were not directed toward the school itself. 

Police got a call reporting the post at around 9:40 a.m.

Students remained in class while officers stationed themselves at the school. The board notified parents of the situation and asked them not to pick up their kids.  

School board officials said in an internal note to parents that “at no point were staff or students in danger.”

School officials decided to send students home in the early afternoon as officers continued their investigation. Some were bussed out of school property at around 1 p.m.

Police say their firearm division is trying to learn more about the threats. There have been no arrests.

In a statement released later in the day, the Lester B. Pearson School Board thanked the police for acting quickly.

“Today’s incident was extremely regrettable and troubling,” the board said.

“We are extremely relieved and thankful for the prompt and thorough response of law enforcement and the professional way our staff managed the situation.”

A school spokesperson confirmed classes would resume Friday morning. 

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Media Advisory: Minister Osborne to Speak at YMCA Annual Enterprise Olympics Conference – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

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The Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Education, will bring remarks at the YMCA Annual Enterprise Olympics Conference today (Friday, May 27).

The event takes place at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel, 5 Navigator Avenue, St. John’s at 12:30 p.m.

Enterprise Olympics is a program that encourages the growth of entrepreneurial thinking among students and teachers and provides a quality experience for young people considering careers in entrepreneurship.

– 30 –

Media contact
Tina Coffey
Education
709-729-1906, 687-9903
tcoffey@gov.nl.ca

2022 05 27
9:05 am

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Texas school shooter warning signs drowned in sea of social media posts – Global News

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The warning signs were there for anyone to stumble upon, days before the 18-year-old gunman entered a Texas elementary school and slaughtered 19 children and two teachers.

There was the Instagram photo of a hand holding a gun magazine, a TikTok profile that warned, “Kids be scared,” and the image of two AR-style semi-automatic rifles displayed on a rug, pinned to the top of the killer’s Instagram profile.

Shooters are leaving digital trails that hint at what’s to come long before they actually pull the trigger.

“When somebody starts posting pictures of guns they started purchasing, they’re announcing to the world that they’re changing who they are,” said Katherine Schweit, a retired FBI agent who spearheaded the agency’s active shooter program. “It absolutely is a cry for help. It’s a tease: can you catch me?”

Read more:

Misinformation and conspiracy theories spiral after Texas school shooting

The foreboding posts, however, are often lost in an endless grid of Instagram photos that feature semi-automatic rifles, handguns and ammunition. There’s even a popular hashtag devoted to encouraging Instagram users to upload daily photos of guns with more than 2 million posts attached to it.

For law enforcement and social media companies, spotting a gun post from a potential mass shooter is like sifting through quicksand, Schweit said. That’s why she tells people not to ignore those type of posts, especially from children or young adults. Report it, she advises, to a school counselor, the police or even the FBI tip line.

Increasingly, young men have taken to Instagram, which boasts a thriving gun community, to drop small hints of what’s to come with photos of their own weapons just days or weeks before executing a mass killing.


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Husband of teacher killed in Texas school shooting dies of heart attack, family says


Husband of teacher killed in Texas school shooting dies of heart attack, family says

Before shooting 17 students and staff members dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, Nikolas Cruz posted on YouTube that he wanted to be a “professional school shooter” and shared photos of his face covered, posing with guns. The FBI took in a tip about Cruz’s YouTube comment but never followed up with Cruz.

In November, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley shared a photo of a semi-automatic handgun his dad had purchased with the caption, “Just got my new beauty today,” days before he went on to kill four students and injure seven others at his high school in Oxford Township, Michigan.

And days before entering a school classroom on Tuesday and killing 19 small children and two teachers, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos left similar clues across Instagram.

Read more:

Everything we know so far about the Texas mass school shooting

On May 20, the day that law enforcement officials say Ramos purchased a second rifle, a picture of two AR-style semi-automatic rifles appeared on his Instagram. He tagged another Instagram user with more than 10,000 followers in the photo. In an exchange, later shared by that user, she asks why he tagged her in the photo.

“I barely know you and u tag me in a picture with some guns,” the Instagram user wrote, adding, “It’s just scary.”

The school district in Uvalde had even spent money on software that, using geofencing technology, monitors for potential threats in the area.

Ramos, however, didn’t make a direct threat in posts. Having recently turned 18, he was legally allowed to own the weapons in Texas.

Read more:

Buffalo mass shooting: How should platforms respond to violent livestreams?

His photos of semi-automatic rifles are one of many on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube where it’s commonplace to post pictures or videos of guns and shooter training videos are prevalent. YouTube prohibits users from posting instructions on how to convert firearms to automatic. But Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, does not limit photos or hashtags around firearms.

That makes it difficult for platforms to separate people posting gun photos as part of a hobby from those with violent intent, said Sara Aniano, a social media and disinformation researcher, most recently at Monmouth University.

“In a perfect world, there would be some magical algorithm that could detect a worrisome photo of a gun on Instagram,” Aniano said. “For a lot of reasons, that’s a slippery slope and impossible to do when there are people like gun collectors and gunsmiths who have no plan to use their weapon with ill intent.”

Meta said it was working with law enforcement officials Wednesday to investigate Ramos’ accounts. The company declined to answer questions about reports it might have received on Ramos’ accounts.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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