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Trump loses social media megaphone as Facebook, Twitter act – BNN

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Facebook Inc. and other internet giants stripped Donald Trump of his social media megaphone after his online posts encouraged violent rioters that stormed the U.S. Capitol, an unprecedented move that will leave the president without one of his favorite and most volatile powers in his final days in office.

Facebook on Thursday said it was extending a ban on Trump’s posts “indefinitely,” or for at least two weeks, until President-elect Joe Biden takes over. Snap Inc. has also banned the president from posting on its Snapchat app until further notice, while Twitter put the president on a 12-hour hold after requiring him to delete tweets that supported the rioters, and warned that he may be banned permanently. Twitch, the live-streaming service owned by Amazon.com Inc., also disabled Trump’s account indefinitely.

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a post Thursday. The restrictions in place will be extended “until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” Biden is to be sworn in on Jan. 20.

Facebook’s move extended an initial 24-hour ban — its first-ever ban on the president — on both its main social network and photo-sharing app Instagram. Twitter Inc. asked Trump to remove three tweets, including one video message of Trump expressing love for the insurgents and calling the election “fraudulent.”

On Google’s YouTube, if Trump makes false claims about the election in another video, he’ll get a “strike,” which will temporarily prevent him from uploading new content or live-streaming, a spokesperson said. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from the site.

Trump has used his social media accounts to start debates, attack rivals, set policies, spread misinformation and provoke fights during his four years in office. The platforms have become potent tools for him, outside the traditional media and government structures that usually act as checks and balances on a president. The insurrection in Washington on Wednesday caused public outrage, much of it targeted at social media companies, who were blamed for continuing to provide the president with a digital pulpit from which to incite violence. Trump used Twitter as well as other services, including Facebook and YouTube, to urge supporters to strike out, and he remained silent for hours as the mob scene grew dangerous.

Many observers said the actions were long overdue. For years, social media critics have called on the companies to get tougher on Trump. Twitter and Facebook last year had begun to remove some of the president’s content or put it behind a warning screen if it contained misinformation or incendiary language, but neither company had ever completely suspended his account, saying his messages had inherent news value.

Zuckerberg on Thursday said that although Facebook has allowed Trump’s posts with few restrictions for years, the current context is “fundamentally different.”

Trump’s decision to “use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the U.S. and around the world,” Zuckerberg said. The social network removed those statements because they judged their effect and “likely their intent” would be to provoke further violence.

Silencing the president on their networks underscores the power these platforms have to shape political discussion and real-world events, based on their choices about what to amplify or tamp down. Members of Congress have called technology executives to several public hearings to discuss whether they’re using their power responsibly and explore the need for further regulation, especially to remove legal liability protections granted by the Communications Decency Act.

“These isolated actions are both too late and not nearly enough,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, said in a statement Thursday. “These platforms have served as core organizing infrastructure for violent, far right groups and militia movements for several years now.” Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, called on Twitter to extend its ban on Trump for at least 13 days, until after inauguration, “in the interest of public safety.”

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed late Wednesday that Trump had deleted the tweets as the company required, meaning the president should have access to his account, though he has yet to post on Thursday.

Zuckerberg addressed Facebook workers in a companywide question-and-answer session, in which he repeated his reasoning and condemned Trump’s actions. Other Facebook leaders put the decision in context of the work the company has tried to do to prevent violence — for instance, taking down groups organizing armed protests.

Amazon’s Twitch streaming service, meanwhile, says it has suspended the president’s channel until at least the inauguration, at which point it will reassess the situation, a spokeswoman said.

The sanctions against Trump started to spread beyond social media on Thursday. Shopify Inc., an e-commerce platform, said it pulled all digital stores affiliated with Trump, including the official retail site of the Trump Organization, Trumpstore.com.

“Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence,” a spokeswoman said by email. Trump’s actions violate the company’s Acceptable Use Policy, “which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause,” she said. “As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.”

Since Trump’s inauguration, the nation has rarely gone so long without hearing from the president via the internet. When he came down with COVID-19 in October, observers took it as a sign he was truly sick when the tweets stopped for a few hours. Critics have long called on the platforms to enforce their own rules against Trump. After Biden’s inauguration, Trump becomes a private citizen and is more vulnerable to permanent bans if he breaks social media rules.

–With assistance from Danielle Bochove.

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GUEST OPINION: Is social media complicit in the mob attack on the American capital? – The Guardian

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Kent Bruyneel
Guest opinion


My friend Dave said to me recently that whatever anyone thought of social media, we human beings at this point in our evolution were not ready for these tools. Hard to argue, even for someone who makes part of his living teaching that very tool. Using social media as our primary source for both news and truth, we have arrived at a chaotic time in public discourse like people swept up in a mob who don’t quite know what we are doing. Or, why we are doing it. Or, what will become of all that private and personal information shared and shouted. We only know, as mob members, that everyone else is doing it; parts of it seem like entertainment; and we had better do it lest we miss out on something – that most modern of motivations.

I tell students and clients that one of the tenets of modern communications, especially social media, is that if you do not define your online voice, someone else will do it for you. Sure, they probably will anyway (see: Yelp). But, I remind them, you have to enter the arena to at least hear what is being said. I encourage its use broadly and pervasively, so even though I am not an active social media poster, I am connected to the ridiculous and deadly spectacle that happened in the American capital this past week in myriad ways. In a sense all of those in the social network are: the lurkers and the over-sharers. Not culpable, or guilty or anything, but not quite innocent either: we are responsible for how widely, vigorously and seriously we read. And, of course, we are responsible for what signs we hold over our head; and what weapons we bear in our arms. But the basic underlying algorithm that controls the news we unprepared-humans now are fed has made social media so dangerous that its standard bearer is being linked in legitimate publications to the machine that will destroy mankind.

Put simply, an algorithm is a specific set of instructions to solve a problem. Broadly speaking, social media algorithms find out what you like and then feed you more of it. This process is always been part of the internet experience: more cute than deep (endless cat videos), more seedy than dangerous (endless pornography), more annoying than threatening (endless spam). What has fundamentally changed is that now, mostly through Twitter and Facebook, we are fed not just larks or stimuli, we are fed news and truth.

Different truth, and different news according to what we already believe. News and truth, actually, that have specifically designed and delivered for us. News and truth that have been curated to please us and turn off our critical faculties. The Atlantic recently published an article called “Facebook is a Doomsday Device” that is both chilling and worth the read. This is what Dave meant. We are not prepared for these tools.

The eleventh hour banning of President Trump’s Twitter account and the Big Tech move that comes against Parler, Twitter’s conservative wannabee doppelganger, is too late in the process, poorly and cynically timed; but also necessary. Though it may seem futile, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg must chase down the horses that have so violently erupted from their barns. Even if they do, they will almost certainly face more regulatory and legislative oversight going forward from all nations. Good.

In the United States, the protections social media companies have been granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act will be further scrutinized. The best way to quickly explain Section 230 is that it allows social media companies to be platforms, not publishers: a publisher is responsible for the veracity of whatever it publishes, a platform is not responsible for whomever stands on it and shouts. It appears that the companies themselves have now realized that line can no longer be so easily delineated in the still nascent empires of influence.

Though it is possible to understand the banning of the MAGA crowd as the violation of the rules of a platform, it can be just as easily read as the editorial decisions of a publisher. The president’s quixotic and ill-informed attack on Section 230 notwithstanding, I expect the investigation, regulation and scrutiny to only grow on the companies that control the information age; and the most prominent web companies do too based on their recent actions. Good.

We know now and have always known that disinformation has consequences. It seems unavoidable to conclude that absent the ability of social media companies to curate and choose news and truth for people based on scraped personal information and preferences; and those companies’ concurrent ability to group those people together with relative ease, these acts of mob terrorism would have been far harder to organize. This is not to excuse or explain away the brutality and violence, this is to understand how it all got together in one place. Understanding the later, does not lessen the contempt, disgust or scorn for the former.

I also acknowledge that Facebook can help facilitate many wonderful things too and connect people in a certain way. But, at the moment, that feels akin to people fighting the opioid epidemic by acknowledging that heroin makes you high … Sure, it does that too. That’s how this all got started.

I come bearing no solutions other than this: Read more. I would doubt anyone who said they know exactly what social media will look like, or how it will impact us, in10 years, or even five. I’ll just close by paraphrasing George Orwell, who was prescient about the danger of a degraded public discourse: Those who do not read well cannot think well, and those who do not think well will have their thinking done for them.

Kent Bruyneel teaches modern business communications and social media and applied digital communications at the University of Prince Edward Island and is the editor-in-chief of Forget Magazine. With his wife, Dr. Shannon Bruyneel, he runs a strategic consulting firm, The Eastsizing Company, that focuses on socially actionable research.

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GUEST OPINION: Is social media complicit in the mob attack on the American capital? – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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Kent Bruyneel
Guest opinion


My friend Dave said to me recently that whatever anyone thought of social media, we human beings at this point in our evolution were not ready for these tools. Hard to argue, even for someone who makes part of his living teaching that very tool. Using social media as our primary source for both news and truth, we have arrived at a chaotic time in public discourse like people swept up in a mob who don’t quite know what we are doing. Or, why we are doing it. Or, what will become of all that private and personal information shared and shouted. We only know, as mob members, that everyone else is doing it; parts of it seem like entertainment; and we had better do it lest we miss out on something – that most modern of motivations.

I tell students and clients that one of the tenets of modern communications, especially social media, is that if you do not define your online voice, someone else will do it for you. Sure, they probably will anyway (see: Yelp). But, I remind them, you have to enter the arena to at least hear what is being said. I encourage its use broadly and pervasively, so even though I am not an active social media poster, I am connected to the ridiculous and deadly spectacle that happened in the American capital this past week in myriad ways. In a sense all of those in the social network are: the lurkers and the over-sharers. Not culpable, or guilty or anything, but not quite innocent either: we are responsible for how widely, vigorously and seriously we read. And, of course, we are responsible for what signs we hold over our head; and what weapons we bear in our arms. But the basic underlying algorithm that controls the news we unprepared-humans now are fed has made social media so dangerous that its standard bearer is being linked in legitimate publications to the machine that will destroy mankind.

Put simply, an algorithm is a specific set of instructions to solve a problem. Broadly speaking, social media algorithms find out what you like and then feed you more of it. This process is always been part of the internet experience: more cute than deep (endless cat videos), more seedy than dangerous (endless pornography), more annoying than threatening (endless spam). What has fundamentally changed is that now, mostly through Twitter and Facebook, we are fed not just larks or stimuli, we are fed news and truth.

Different truth, and different news according to what we already believe. News and truth, actually, that have specifically designed and delivered for us. News and truth that have been curated to please us and turn off our critical faculties. The Atlantic recently published an article called “Facebook is a Doomsday Device” that is both chilling and worth the read. This is what Dave meant. We are not prepared for these tools.

The eleventh hour banning of President Trump’s Twitter account and the Big Tech move that comes against Parler, Twitter’s conservative wannabee doppelganger, is too late in the process, poorly and cynically timed; but also necessary. Though it may seem futile, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg must chase down the horses that have so violently erupted from their barns. Even if they do, they will almost certainly face more regulatory and legislative oversight going forward from all nations. Good.

In the United States, the protections social media companies have been granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act will be further scrutinized. The best way to quickly explain Section 230 is that it allows social media companies to be platforms, not publishers: a publisher is responsible for the veracity of whatever it publishes, a platform is not responsible for whomever stands on it and shouts. It appears that the companies themselves have now realized that line can no longer be so easily delineated in the still nascent empires of influence.

Though it is possible to understand the banning of the MAGA crowd as the violation of the rules of a platform, it can be just as easily read as the editorial decisions of a publisher. The president’s quixotic and ill-informed attack on Section 230 notwithstanding, I expect the investigation, regulation and scrutiny to only grow on the companies that control the information age; and the most prominent web companies do too based on their recent actions. Good.

We know now and have always known that disinformation has consequences. It seems unavoidable to conclude that absent the ability of social media companies to curate and choose news and truth for people based on scraped personal information and preferences; and those companies’ concurrent ability to group those people together with relative ease, these acts of mob terrorism would have been far harder to organize. This is not to excuse or explain away the brutality and violence, this is to understand how it all got together in one place. Understanding the later, does not lessen the contempt, disgust or scorn for the former.

I also acknowledge that Facebook can help facilitate many wonderful things too and connect people in a certain way. But, at the moment, that feels akin to people fighting the opioid epidemic by acknowledging that heroin makes you high … Sure, it does that too. That’s how this all got started.

I come bearing no solutions other than this: Read more. I would doubt anyone who said they know exactly what social media will look like, or how it will impact us, in10 years, or even five. I’ll just close by paraphrasing George Orwell, who was prescient about the danger of a degraded public discourse: Those who do not read well cannot think well, and those who do not think well will have their thinking done for them.

Kent Bruyneel teaches modern business communications and social media and applied digital communications at the University of Prince Edward Island and is the editor-in-chief of Forget Magazine. With his wife, Dr. Shannon Bruyneel, he runs a strategic consulting firm, The Eastsizing Company, that focuses on socially actionable research.

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Firstlight Media Teams with Google Cloud to Deliver Next-Gen OTT – Canada NewsWire

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Unlocks Service Agility, Scalability, Extensibility Across Partner Ecosystems

TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2021 /CNW/ – Firstlight Media today announced that it has partnered with Google Cloud to support rapid deployment and expansion of OTT video streaming services.

Firstlight Media’s microservices-based architecture takes full advantage of Google Cloud capabilities, including:

  • Agility to launch services in weeks, rather than months;
  • Scalability for cost effective growth with customers’ businesses and support for complex use cases; and
  • Extensibility that futureproofs platforms with simplified integrations into best of breed technology solutions, as well as product features that drive innovation and deliver on customer acquisition, retention and revenue.

By combining Firstlight Media’s extensive background in solving complex issues for Tier 1 operators with the scale, reach and tools of Google Cloud, Firstlight Media now enables video providers to capitalize quickly and efficiently on new market opportunities in delivering AI/ML-powered personalization and monetization. Customers can leverage Firstlight’s OTT headend in San Diego and digital expertise in the media and entertainment industry to navigate the increasingly complex world of advertising and subscription direct-to-consumer business models with confidence.

“For the industry, our partnership with Google Cloud exponentially expands options for new services that can rapidly address viewer demand,” said Andre Christensen, CEO and co-founder of Firstlight Media. “Our customers can leverage three formidable resources—Firstlight Media’s cloud native platform, Google Cloud’s platform, and the technology of other Google Cloud partners—all to create opportunities that maximize the long-term value of each subscriber.”

“Increasingly, media and entertainment need to deliver digital-first experiences to consumers, in person and online,” said Kip Schauer, Global Head of Media and Entertainment Partnerships at Google Cloud. “We’re excited to partner with Firstlight Media to scale and extend their platform on Google Cloud, and help businesses deliver exciting, new digital experiences to consumers.”

About Firstlight Media
Firstlight Media is expediting OTT’s transformation to ultra-scalable, cloud-based platforms that use artificial intelligence to drive true engagement and monetization for Tier 1 operators. Founded by a team with deep OTT video expertise and a strong track record of building successful B2B businesses, Firstlight Media is poised to capture the next wave of growth in premium OTT entertainment services. The company is headquartered in Toronto and has additional locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Chennai, India. For more information, visit firstlight.ai.

SOURCE Firstlight Media

For further information: Paul Schneider, PSPR, Inc. for Firstlight Media, [email protected], +1.215.817.4384

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