(Reuters) – Twitter Inc added a ‘manipulated media’ label on a video posted on U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed on Thursday that showed a doctored news clip with a misspelled banner flashing “Terrified todler runs from racist baby.”
The original video, which went viral on social media in 2019, showed a black toddler and a white toddler running towards each other and hugging. It was published https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/10/us/new-york-toddlers-hugging-trnd/index.html with the headline “These two toddlers are showing us what real-life besties look like” on CNN’s website last year.
The clip https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1273770669214490626 shared in Trump’s tweet first shows the part where one of those toddlers is seen running ahead of the other. At one point the banner reads: “Racist baby probably a Trump voter”.
The tweeted video, with more than 7.7 million views and 125,000 retweets, then goes on to show the original video and concludes : “America is not the problem. Fake news is.”
“We may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context,” Twitter says in an explanation of its policies posted on its website https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/manipulated-media.
Twitter has been under fierce scrutiny from the Trump administration since it fact-checked Trump’s tweets about unsubstantiated claims of mail-in voting fraud. It also labeled a Trump tweet about protests in Minneapolis as “glorifying violence.”
The president, who has battled Twitter and other tech companies over alleged censorship of conservative voices on social media platforms, said in late May he would propose legislation to potentially scrap or weaken the law shielding internet companies, in an extraordinary attempt to regulate outlets where he has been criticized.
(This story was refiled to correct typo in first paragraph.)
(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
Undaunted, US global media chief plows ahead with changes – 570 News
WASHINGTON — Despite a barrage of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, the new chief of U.S. global media is plowing ahead with changes to the Voice of America and other international broadcasters that are heightening concerns about their future as independent news organizations.
Although Agency for Global Media chief executive Michael Pack has assured Congress that VOA and its sister networks will remain independent and pledged he would consult lawmakers on significant developments, last week he initiated personnel changes and began a review of visas for foreign employees.
Some fear the moves will damage the institution’s credibility and its ability to fulfil its congressionally mandated mission to broadcast impartial news around the world by turning the operation into a propaganda machine for President Donald Trump. Others, though, see them as important and long-needed reforms.
Pack on Wednesday fired the executive editor of Radio Free Asia, Bay Fang, whom he had demoted from president shortly after assuming office last month. A day earlier, Pack installed a South Carolina politician with little, if any, relevant experience to run the Open Technology Fund, which works to provide secure internet access to people around the world.
In addition, Pack launched a case-by-case review of visas for foreign agency employees, many of whom bring critical language skills needed to communicate with the foreign populations that are the primary audiences for AGM broadcasts. Although the review is not complete and no visa actions have yet been taken, some believe the review itself sends a chilling message to journalists.
As those moves were happening, the agency on Thursday publicly boasted of removing the Iranian and North Korean flags from a display at its Washington headquarters, prompting questions about the priorities of its new leadership at a tumultuous time in world events amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China and disputes over how to handle the coronavirus pandemic.
“As of today, the flags of regimes hostile to America no longer fly in the halls @USAGMgov, the taxpayer-funded home of U.S. international broadcasting,” the agency’s public relations bureau tweeted. The post included before and after photos of the flag display and the hashtags: “#America” “#freedom” and “#SpotTheDifference.”
Pack, a conservative filmmaker and associate of former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, has defended the moves as necessary to reforming the agency, which critics have long said is beset by bureaucratic and journalistic issues. That criticism exploded earlier this year when the White House attacked VOA for its coverage of COVID-19.
Democrats, who suspect Pack wants to promote Trump over broader American values and interests, and some Republicans have demanded explanations for his abrupt dismissal of the heads of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Networks and the Open Technology Fund. (The director and deputy director of VOA resigned within days of Pack taking control of AGM.)
On July 1, seven U.S. senators, including four Republicans who voted for his controversial nomination, sent a letter to Pack expressing concern about the dismissals and possible politicization of AGM. “These actions, which came without any consultation with Congress, let alone notification, raise serious questions about the future of USAGM under your leadership,” they wrote.
Pack did not respond to the letter from Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Jerry Moran of Kansas until a week later, when he sent a polite but firm reply that said he was only doing what he had been hired to do.
“The president, the American people, and the Senate asked me to make bold and meaningful changes,” he wrote in his July 8 response, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. “Indeed, throughout the confirmation process, and in the weeks since taking the helm, I made clear my commitment to fixing the widely-known management issues that have long beleaguered USAGM and, in turn, its institutions.”
‘During the confirmation process, I pledged to respect and protect the independence of the USAGM journalists, and I stand by that pledge,” he said. “I also wish to reiterate my firm commitment to honouring the VOA Charter and to supporting the missions of the other USAGM networks and our heroic journalists around the world. As an agency, through accurate and reliable reporting, we have to get the truth to those starved for it.”
Yet, the review of visas, known as J-1 visas, for foreign staffers and the appointment of 78-year-old former South Carolina Secretary of State James Mills to run the Open Technology Fund have raised questions about that commitment.
The visa review, in particular, “will be perceived as a threat to many reporters,” said Matt Armstrong, a former Republican appointee to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which was the AGM’s predecessor. “Mr Pack is finding his ways to influence VOA’s output without direct intervention. Failing to renew (visas) may result in harsh penalties for some of these reporters and their families, from jail to even death.”
In response to reports that visas had already been or were about to be cancelled, the agency responded that the review was not yet complete and that “it appreciates the value of critical-language skills offered by U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.”
“To improve agency management and protect U.S. national security, it is imperative to determine that hiring authorities and personnel practices are not misused,” it said. “As such, USAGM is undertaking a comprehensive, case-by-case assessment of personal services contractors who are J-1 visa holders.”
It did not give a projected date for the completion of the review.
Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
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After issuing social media plea, Saint John, N.B., woman still waiting for live kidney donor – Globalnews.ca
A Saint John woman who made a social media plea last year for someone to donate a kidney to her is still waiting and hoping.
Kara Phinney was born with small kidneys. She said her health has been pretty good since childhood, despite numerous medical appointments and constant bloodwork.
“I’m working two jobs, so, I mean, I’m doing okay,” said the 26-year-old.
“You have your good and bad days.”
A bad day can include extreme fatigue, among other things.
Phinney has been on home dialysis for more than year. It runs nine hours per day. She said she does it at night and sleeps through the majority of it, but it does wake her up if she inadvertently rolls over on the tubing.
Phinney’s mother, Patti, went through a lengthy testing process to become a potential donor for her daughter, but was rejected.
“All in all it was quite a disappointment, thinking you’re going to give her this gift and it’s not going to happen,” Patti Phinney said.
“And then, you know, what’s the next phase?”
Just over a year ago, Kara posted a plea on Facebook asking for someone to donate a kidney to her. She said it was shared thousands of times, and got another round of shares when it popped up as a memory on her profile.
She said she turned to social media to help raise awareness about the need for donations, both for herself and others.
“I don’t really tell people about it,” Kara said of her condition.
“A lot of people found out from it because you don’t really see that I’m sick. It looks like everything is fine, but it’s not.”
Emergency goalie David Ayres supports Green Shirt Day organ donation campaign
Interim Health Services Manager of the Multi-Organ Transplant Program (MOTP) of Atlantic Canada Shelby Kennedy said social media is becoming a more common way for people seeking organs to try to find someone willing to make a live donation.
However, she cautioned that some posts include too much personal information, which could be misused.
Kennedy said she sees merit in the use of social media, but stressed that it needs to be done safely.
“So we’re trying to work with recipient and donor sides to make that more of an option if that’s the route that you choose to go to try to get a transplant,” Kennedy said.
“We’ve seen some successes across Canada with those, but we have not seen it happen here in Atlantic Canada.”
MOTP performs all transplants for Atlantic Canadians in Halifax. Kennedy said there have been nine kidney transplants on New Brunswick residents in 2020, including two live donations.
She admits that’s about half the usual figure for this time of year, but the numbers were impacted by COVID-19-related cancellations of all transplants for more than six weeks.
The Phinneys are hopeful New Brunswick follows Nova Scotia’s lead in enacting a presumed consent law, which will require people to opt out of donating organs, rather than opting in.
That Nova Scotia law comes into effect in January.
“I think it’s going to help a lot of people,” Kara said.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Patti. “And I think they’re going to have to encourage doctors and specialists to come to Halifax to be able to perform (these surgeries).”
Kara’s brother-in-law is now being tested to see if he could donate to her. He went through testing once before, but the tests expired and had to be redone.
As she seeks a live donor, Kara is not on the wait list for a kidney from a deceased person. She said people on the wait list have to drop everything and rush to the hospital once they get the call that a kidney is available for them.
As long as she stays reasonably healthy, she said, she’ll continue to aim for a live donor.
“You get stressful some days,” she said. “I think if you overthink about it, is when it gets a little more stressful and frustrating.
“And it is frustrating, you know. It’s a wait.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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