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Vice Media Lays Off 155 Employees With Deepest Cuts in Digital Group – Variety

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Vice Media Group, which includes Refinery29, is laying off 155 employees, or more than 5% of its total worldwide headcount, in response to revenue declines stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

About two-thirds of the staff cuts (around 100) will be international, with 55 layoffs affecting U.S. employees, Vice Media Group CEO Nancy Dubuc wrote in an internal memo Friday obtained by Variety. The international layoffs will happen over the next few weeks, while the Brooklyn-based company’s U.S. staffers will be let go Friday.

In the memo, titled “The Course Ahead,” Dubuc wrote, “While losing even one job feels like too many, these decisions ultimately rest with me and I assure you that we went to great lengths to preserve jobs.”

Vice Digital’s teams will be disproportionately affected by the layoffs. Currently, the company’s digital organization accounts for 50% of headcount costs, “but only brings in about 21% of our revenue,” Dubuc said in the memo. “Looking at our business holistically, this imbalance needed to be addressed for the long-term health of our company.”

A former Vice Media employee told Variety that the company already has been making layoffs over the last several weeks.

According to Dubuc, Vice Media was able to retain about 90% of the jobs in the digital organization by eliminating open roles across the company. In addition, the company is moving “as many individuals as possible” over to the growing Vice News division.

After many years of economic headwinds in digital advertising, Dubuc wrote, the situation has become even worse: “[T]he squeeze is becoming a choke hold. Platforms are not just taking a larger slice of the pie, but almost the whole pie.”

In statement, Vice Union, which represents editorial and other employees, claimed that for more than a month company management “repeatedly refused to discuss workshare programs, like the one the Los Angeles Times used to avoid layoffs.”

“We understand that the entire news industry is hurting,” Vice Union’s statement said. “We do not understand why Vice chose to lay off many of our colleagues in the middle of a global pandemic instead of exhausting all options to save these jobs.”

The layoffs come after Vice Media implemented belt-tightening moves at the end of March, extending for a 90-day period. Those steps, which are currently effective through June 30, include a sliding scale of pay cuts for employees earning $100,000 or more; a temporary suspension on promotions; and a halt on company-matched 401(k) contributions.

Vice Media staff who are being pink-slipped will receive severance pay; in addition, “everyone will be able to keep their work-issued laptops” as well as receive outplacement services, Dubuc said in the memo. In the U.S., laid-off employees will receive extended health benefits coverage through the end of 2020.

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Tyler Babiy fosters connections and community through social media – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Depending on your outlook, connecting through social media can be as interactive or isolated as each user prefers.

For Tyler Babiy, that choice is easy. Interacting with local creators and other like-minded people is the focus of his business, Social Made Local.

It originally started out as a T-shirt brand — an offshoot of his other business, T Squared Social. Since then, it has also fostered a community of like-minded, local creatives looking to connect, collaborate and share their creativity.

“With this T-shirt company I could just try to instil a sense of social responsibility in terms of taking ownership of the things you create,” Babiy says.

“It’s really cool to offer (creators) a space to have a voice and be heard — but to also plant that seed of consciousness in people that the things that we do on social media are not private and they can deeply affect the people around us in ways we don’t even know … so it’s just planting that idea that you’re not just throwing things into the wind.”

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Facebook places state media labels on Russian, Chinese broadcasters – Reuters Canada

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc will start labeling Russian, Chinese and other state-controlled media organizations, and later this summer will block any ads from such outlets that target U.S. users, it said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The world’s biggest social network will apply the label to Russia’s Sputnik, Iran’s Press TV and China’s Xinhua News, according to a partial list Facebook provided. The company will apply the label to about 200 pages at the outset.

Facebook will not label any U.S.-based news organizations, as it determined that even U.S. government-run outlets have editorial independence, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in an interview.

Facebook, which has acknowledged its failure to stop Russian use of its platforms to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has since stepped up its defenses and imposed greater transparency requirements for pages and ads on its platforms.

The company announced plans last year to create a state media label, but is introducing the tool amid a deep crisis over its hands-off treatment of misleading and racially charged posts by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The new measure comes just months ahead of the November U.S. presidential election.

Under the measure, Facebook will not use the label for media outlets affiliated with individual political figures or parties, which Gleicher said could push “boundaries that are very, very slippery.”

“What we want to do here is start with the most critical case,” he said.

Facebook is not the first company to take such action.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, in 2018 started identifying video channels that predominantly carry news items and are funded by governments. But critics charge YouTube has failed to label some state news outlets, allowing them to earn ad revenue from videos with misinformation and propaganda.

In a blog post, Facebook said its label will appear on pages globally, as well as on News Feed posts within the United States.

Facebook also said it will ban U.S.-targeted ads from state-controlled entities “out of an abundance of caution” ahead of the November presidential election. Elsewhere, the ads will receive a label.

Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Leslie Adler

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Facebook starts labeling ‘state-controlled media’ pages – The Verge

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Facebook has begun labeling media outlets that are “wholly or partially under the editorial control of their government,” following an announcement of the policy in 2019. It will start labeling ads from these outlets later this year, as well as banning state-controlled media from advertising inside the US.

The company is labeling these pages because “they combine the influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government.”

Facebook labels “state-controlled media” outlets based on a variety of factors, including information about their ownership and funding, the level of transparency around their sources, and the existence of accountability systems like a corrections policy. Outlets can appeal with evidence that they operate independently, including laws that protect editorial freedom and a credible assessment from an outside source. Otherwise, Facebook will add a notice to the outlets’ pages worldwide, and labels will appear on News Feed posts in the US.

You can already see labels on the pages and posts of some outlets that have been blamed for spreading propaganda in the US, including Sputnik and RT. They’re both now defined as state-controlled media, along with other outlets like China Daily. Facebook isn’t the first to do something like this; YouTube experimented with labeling state-funded news channels in 2018, although enforcement has been inconsistent.

Facebook says state-controlled outlets “rarely” advertise in the US. But it’s blocking those ads “out of an abundance of caution to provide an extra layer of protection against various types of foreign influence in the public debate ahead of the November 2020 election in the US.” This supplements Facebook’s existing removal of “inauthentic” pages that spread propaganda or disinformation.

This labeling feature is part of a larger effort to protect the 2020 election’s integrity. However, Facebook has still faced criticism for choosing not to fact-check politicians — including President Donald Trump — on its platform.

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