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U.S. border agency fires 4, suspends 38 for social media posts – CBC.ca

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The U.S. Border Patrol’s parent agency said Friday it fired four employees and suspended 38 others without pay for inappropriate social media activity following revelations of a secret Facebook group that mocked members of Congress and migrants.

The investigation began in July 2019 after posts surfaced in a Facebook group called “I’m 10-15.” The posts questioned the authenticity of images of a migrant father and child dead on the banks of the Rio Grande River and depicted doctored images of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez purporting to perform a sex act on President Donald Trump.

Customs and Border Protection said another 33 employees were disciplined with reprimands or counselling. Of 138 cases investigated, 63 were deemed unsubstantiated. Six cases remained open to investigation Wednesday.

The agency said the disciplinary actions, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, addressed violations of its standards of conduct and behaviour that is “contrary to our core values of vigilance, service to country, and integrity.”

The Facebook 10-15 group, which had 9,500 members and is named for someone in Border Patrol custody, included graphic posts that referred to Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Veronica Escobar as “hoes.”

A news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in Border Patrol custody elicited a response from one group member, “If he dies, he dies.” Another member posted a GIF of the Sesame Street character Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.”

Escobar, a Texas Democrat, said on Twitter that the investigation should have addressed why other group members didn’t report the activity. She said the posts mocked “vulnerable people dehumanized by a broken system” and that Facebook is a “cesspool.”

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Trump threatens defence veto over social media protections – Preeceville Progress

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defence policy bill unless it ends protections for internet companies that shield them from being held liable for material posted by their users.

On Twitter Tuesday night, Trump took aim at Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects companies that can host trillions of messages from being sued into oblivion by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else has posted — whether their complaint is legitimate or not.

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Trump called Section 230 “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity,” adding, “Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill.”

Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against conservative voices.

In October he signed an executive order directing executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies.

Since losing the presidential election, Trump has flooded social media with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Twitter has tagged many such Trump tweets with the advisory, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

Tuesday’s veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defence policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers. The measure, which has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis, guides Pentagon policy and cements decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.

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'Netflix tax' for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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David Paddon, The Associated Press


Published Tuesday, December 1, 2020 7:13PM EST

TORONTO – The cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies like Netflix will go up under a taxation plan the government wants to put in place next year, experts said Tuesday.

Ottawa said in its fiscal update released Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, which it said would add up to $1.2 billion over five years.

Sometimes labelled a “Netflix tax,” the measure would also apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products such as software applications.

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it’s only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same.

KPMG tax partner Joe Micallef said it’s likely Canadians will end up paying the taxes collected for the government by foreign multinationals.

“Right now, the way in which they’re delivering their services, they’re not responsible for the collection,” Micallef said.

“And so, effectively, it would mean that these charges would be appearing on (their) invoices.”

A regular monthly subscription for a streaming service that delivers video or music would be a simple calculation, with the tax rate applied to the purchase price.

But Micallef said it is be more difficult to estimate how much additional tax individual consumers, or businesses, will pay for other types of digital purchases, he said.

Something like gaming software might cost little or nothing itself, but offer the option for subsequent charges to add features that make the experience better.

“How many times? How many transactions? It adds up,” Micallef said.

Dwayne Winseck, a media industry researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, also expects companies will add the price of the tax to the total sale price.

“I mean, this is really not a very substantial amount, when we’re talking about corporate finances,” said Winseck, who is a professor of journalism and communication.

He said that the term “Netflix tax” has become highly politicized and is often used as “code” for levelling the playing field between U.S.-based digital media companies and traditional Canadian broadcasters.

“And if the idea is to create a level playing field between those two services, then that by all means that makes great sense,” Winseck said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.

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'Netflix tax' for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say – OrilliaMatters

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TORONTO — Experts in taxation and media say a plan to make taxable the digital services sold by foreign companies such as Netflix Inc. will ultimately add to the cost consumers pay for those services. 

Ottawa said in its fiscal update released Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, forecasting it would receive $1.2 billion over five years.

Sometimes labelled a “Netflix tax,” the measure would apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products such as software applications. 

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it’s only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same. 

KPMG tax partner Joe Micallef says the plan may be fair but it’s likely Canadians will end up paying the taxes collected for the government by foreign multinationals.

Dwayne Winseck, a media industry researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, says he also thinks the companies will add the price of the tax to the total sale price. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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