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Trump sues Facebook, Twitter, Google after social media ban – Financial Post

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Without access to the broad reach afforded by social media giants, Trump has struggled to maintain an online presence

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Former President Donald Trump sued Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and their chief executives, raising the stakes in his battle against social media giants who have blocked him.

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Billing the effort during a Wednesday press conference as a move to defend First Amendment rights, Trump filed three separate class-action lawsuits in federal court in Florida against the tech giants and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

The lawsuits seek court orders to restore his social-media accounts, along with punitive damages, to ensure other users can’t be banned or flagged by the tech giants. The legal team is being led by John P. Coale, a trial attorney involved in lawsuits against big tobacco companies.

“We’re going to hold big tech very accountable,” Trump said during the press conference at his Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone.”

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Twitter permanently banned Trump in January for his role in stoking the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 in a deadly riot to stop the counting of Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden. Facebook last month said Trump would remain suspended from its networks for at least two years, with the possibility of being reinstated in 2023 if risk to public safety has subsided.

YouTube, Google’s giant video service, also froze Trump’s account following the Jan. 6 riot. The former president’s videos are still accessible, but he isn’t permitted to post new videos. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s chief executive, has said that the company will reverse its policy when it decides that the “risk of violence has decreased,” without providing details.

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Facebook, Google and Twitter declined to comment on the suits, which were criticized by tech-funded advocacy groups. NetChoice, whose members include Amazon and other tech companies, said the action shows a “deliberate misunderstanding of the First Amendment” and is without merit.

“President Trump has no case,” NetChoice CEO Steve DelBianco said in a release. “The First Amendment is designed to protect the media from the President, not the other way around.”

President Trump has no case. The First Amendment is designed to protect the media from the President, not the other way around

NetChoice CEO Steve DelBianco

Trump is seeking to overturn a federal law that shields internet companies from liability for content posted by users. Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act protects social media platforms from lawsuits accusing them of unfairly removing posts or accounts, among other legal challenges. The First Amendment prohibits the government from forcing tech companies to leave up or take down certain categories of posts.

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In the lawsuits, Trump argues the liability protections under Section 230 means social media companies should be considered government actors that can be sued.

The banishment of Trump by major tech platforms reignited Republican calls to revoke the legal shield, arguing that it has enabled social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor conservative viewpoints.

The lawsuits aren’t the first time Trump has taken aim at Section 230. While in office, he tried to get Congress to repeal Section 230 by threatening to veto a Defense Department spending bill. Democrats have also proposed bills to curtail the legal shield to encourage tech companies to more aggressively rid their platforms of bigotry, abuse, and harassment.

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Tech companies have largely resisted changes to the law, fearing that the proliferation of lawsuits will force them to clamp down on the free-flowing user-generated content. However, both Zuckerberg and Dorsey have expressed openness in recent months to Section 230 reforms.

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Without access to the broad reach afforded by social media giants, Trump has struggled to maintain an online presence. He shut down his blog-like “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” though he frequently sends out several press statements a day — often targeting fellow Republicans he believes are insufficiently loyal.

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Trump recently stepped up his public activity by restarting rallies and making a trip to the southern U.S. border last week to criticize Biden’s immigration policies. He’s backing candidates in the 2022 midterm elections and actively opposing others. He has also held out the prospect of running again for president in 2024.

The former president has been teasing that he’ll launch a new platform that can’t remove him. He said on Dave Rubin’s “Rubin Report” podcast on June 25 that “there’s a lot of platforms out there, that’s what we’re looking at, getting the right platform, a perfect platform, and I think you’ll see something fairly soon.”

During his presidency, Trump used Twitter for everything from insulting rivals to major policy announcements, and he relied on Facebook especially to raise money from small-dollar donors.

A Florida law prohibiting social media platforms from suspending the accounts of political candidates was blocked by a federal judge earlier this month. Likening the state’s law to “burning the house to roast a pig,” U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee said the legislation passed by a Republican legislature and a priority of Governor Ron DeSantis, violates the companies’ free speech rights.

The case is Trump et al v Twitter Inc et al, 21-cv-22441, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami).

Bloomberg.com

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CBC grapples with how to program an Olympics in the social media age – The Globe and Mail

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After dozens of Olympics on television, you might think it would be easy for a network programmer to figure out which sports Canadian audiences want to watch. But conventional wisdom goes only so far. “In a Winter Games, it’s pretty much: hockey, figure skating, curling – and then you sort everything else out,” said Chris Irwin, the executive producer and head of production for CBC Olympics, in a recent interview. “But a Summer Games, once you get past the big three – athletics, aquatics, gymnastics – everyone in the room has a different opinion.”

In the entertainment realm, TV networks that are programming a new show might base decisions on the performance of similar fare: if CSI Miami pulls in 10 million viewers on Thursdays in primetime, it’s a safe bet CSI: Poughkeepsie would do more or less the same. That works for sports, too: Networks can project with some accuracy the viewership numbers for a typical Yankees or Maple Leafs game.

But the relative rarity of the Olympic Games, combined with their changing locations and the head-swirling developments in both technology and viewer habits, have made historical comparisons of little use for the Tokyo Games, which will unfold 11½ to 16 hours ahead of viewers watching across Canada.

“It’s definitely part science, part art form,” Irwin said.

What to watch at the Tokyo Olympics: Everything you need to know about the Summer Games

Looking at data from the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, “you have the right time zone [as Tokyo], but it’s winter sports, so nothing is relevant. You go back to Rio, and it’s summer sports on the same schedule, but nothing is relevant from a time-zone perspective,” he said. “So, when you get people weighing in and saying, ‘The highest-rated sporting hour in Rio was this [particular event],’ you say, ‘Yes, but that’s because it was at 9 o’clock eastern time and it followed that big, huge other thing.’ And then you try to map that to Tokyo, and [that same sport] is at 8 a.m. and the available audience is one-tenth of what it is [in primetime].

“So, the last comparable Olympics with information that could help you make better decisions was [the Beijing Games in] 2008 – and you can imagine how irrelevant that research is. Nobody was watching streaming. There wasn’t even an app in 2010,” for the Vancouver Games. “So the idea that people [might watch the Olympics] on their phones, and in their beds and on trains and planes and everything, was just non-existent until this cycle.”

Canadians will have a dizzying array of ways to access these Games: five broadcast channels (the main CBC network, which will devote 23 hours every weekday, and 24 hours on weekend days, to coverage; two channels each of CBC’s sub-licensees, TSN and Sportsnet); up to 20 livestreams at once on CBC’s Gem app, the new CBC Olympics app, and the CBC Olympics website. Amazon Prime will have a CBC Olympics hub filled with live games and replays. Select bits of content will run on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. CBC Sports even started up a TikTok account for Tokyo.

“As we look at these Olympics and [the 2022 Winter Games] coming up, and Paris [in 2024] down the road, I’m convinced it’s our responsibility not to just expect Canadians to come to the main channel and watch it like they used to,” said Chris Wilson, the executive director of CBC Sports and Olympics. We’ve got to challenge ourselves to present the Olympic content in different ways, on different platforms and be very creative with our partners.”

Mindful of its role as a public broadcaster, the CBC will be offering the opening ceremony, which airs Friday morning, in eight Indigenous languages on its online platforms: Eastern Cree, Dehcho Dene, Denesuline, Gwichʼin, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, Sahtu Dene and Tlicho.

And while TSN and Sportsnet are only available to paying subscribers, all of the action airing on those cable networks will also be available free on the CBC’s streaming platforms.

That free and universal access – at least for those who have broadband internet – contrasts with the United States, where NBC will spread content across its over-the-air network and several of its pay cable channels. And it is using the Games to push subscriptions to its new streaming service, Peacock.

The CBC is also treating these Games as a promotional opportunity. “We’re certainly interested to see if we can drive additional awareness and additional free subscriptions to Gem,” Wilson said. “There’s no question that Gem is a massive part of our future.”

During the Games themselves, all of those online platforms will help Irwin and his team take the country’s pulse on a continuing basis: They’ll be able to see, in real time, what people are engaging with, what they’re sharing. “Actual clicks, actual minutes, actual numbers, when [viewers] joined, when they left: There are some very specific things that the digital and social metrics can tell us all about what the country is thinking, what the users are thinking,” Irwin said. But, he adds, those numbers need to be read with some caution. Social media is not a perfect proxy for the wider world.

And while the CBC can simply run all of the available sports on its online platforms, it needs to aggregate the largest possible audience for the five broadcast channels at its disposal, especially the main CBC network. That’s where it will aim to show the biggest event of interest to Canadians at any given moment. Long-form competitions – including team sports, road races, golf – will be carried on TSN and Sportsnet, with the CBC main channel possibly cutting in to the final minutes.

Recognizing that many viewers can and do access results on their phones as soon as they occur, the CBC decided years ago it would prioritize live events. “That’s where the change has come to the global media [landscape],” Irwin said. “You can no longer stage the release of information in a way that makes a show [of tape-delayed content] work, or make an audience play along.”

So the broadcaster decided “live trumped everything, and that your filters to make decisions started with live – live Canadian, live of Canadian interest – and worked its way down, to delayed international events that aren’t for medals.” That made it immediately clear where an event might end up on its matrix of outlets.

Irwin knows that makes it challenging to bring in a primetime audience, but he says there is still a hunger for that communal, narrative experience. “The audience, if they love [a particular sport], they did see it when it happened live,” possibly hours before. “And we told them about it on our digital platforms and in our shows and social [media] talked about it, and our daytime show reviewed it, and we’ve interviewed athletes since it happened. But now we have a very captive audience that has made an appointment to come and watch us tonight, when they have a chance to sit down. And we’ve made them a promise that we’re going to tell them a story.”

Sign up for The Globe’s Olympic newsletter and follow all of the news, features and opinion in the leadup to the Summer Games in Tokyo.

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U.S. senators want social media to be held liable for spreading health misinformation – Global News

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Two Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday will add to the stack of bills going after Section 230 — a law that protects tech companies from being sued over content posted by users — making such platforms responsible for health-related misinformation.

The legislation introduced by Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan requires internet platforms such as Facebook to take down health and vaccine-related misinformation during public health emergencies or be held liable for that failure.

It also directs the Department of Health & Human Services to issue guidelines on what constitutes health misinformation.

Read more:
How conspiracy theorists are using a CDC database to spread misinformation and fear

“These are some of the biggest, richest companies in the world and they must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation,” Klobuchar said.

The bill quotes a study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate that found social media platforms failed to act on 95% of coronavirus-related disinformation reported to them.

Kevin Martin, a vice president of public policy at Facebook, said the company supports reforming Section 230.


Click to play video: 'Increasing concerns about COVID-19 misinformation'



5:04
Increasing concerns about COVID-19 misinformation


Increasing concerns about COVID-19 misinformation – Feb 26, 2021

“We believe clarification on the difficult and urgent questions about health related misinformation would be helpful and look forward to working with Congress and the industry as we consider options for reform.”

The Health Misinformation Act is not the first bill targeting tech firms’ liability shield from Senator Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate antitrust subcommittee.

Read more:
Influencers say they got offered thousands to spread fake news on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Earlier this year, she co-sponsored another bill called the Safe Tech Act with two fellow Democrats. It aims to make social media companies more accountable for enabling cyber-stalking, targeted harassment and discrimination on their platforms.

The chief executives of Google, Twitter and Facebook have said Section 230 is crucial to free expression on the internet. They said it gives them the tools to strike a balance between preserving free speech and moderating content, even as they appeared open to suggestions that law needs moderate changes.


Click to play video: 'Health officials warn about disinformation, conspiracies'



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Health officials warn about disinformation, conspiracies


Health officials warn about disinformation, conspiracies – Feb 26, 2021

Several Republican lawmakers have separately pushed to scrap the law entirely over decisions by tech platforms to moderate content critical of former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

There are several other pieces of legislation aimed at changing the law that have been making the rounds for over a year, including a bipartisan bill from Democrat Brian Schatz and Republican John Thune.

Trump repeatedly pushed for the legal protection to be stripped away over what he alleged was censorship against conservatives.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sam Holmes)

© 2021 Reuters

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Current's 2021 Public Media Salary Survey – Current

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Earlier this year, we asked our readers to take an anonymous survey about what they earn as a public media employee. We received more than 1,900 responses. Below, you can enter your salary and use the filters to explore the results and see how you compare to similar public media professionals. Read more about our key findings and email us with any questions, comments and observations.

This survey was conducted as part of On the Money, our special coverage of money in pubmedia.

Thanks to Eric R. Schuler, quantitative/computational research methodologist with American University, who advised us on designing and fielding the survey.

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