Google announced today that Village Media will be part of a new billion-dollar worldwide licencing program for news publishers when it launches in this country.
Google dubs the Google News Showcase its “biggest move yet to support the future of journalism,” and says it will spend $1 billion worldwide on the the project over the next three years. Brazil and Germany will see the first rollout, with Canada’s participation announced today.
“We are always exploring new ways to attract readers to our network of local, community based media sites,” says Jeff Elgie, CEO of Village Media, in an announcement published this morning by Google. “The new Google News Showcase program will allow us to drive meaningful new revenue for our business, help us further develop our audience, and provide trusted, in-depth news to our readers in partnership with Google.”
The first Canadian partners to sign on are Village Media, which is headquartered in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Toronto-based Narcity Media.
Google says its News Showcase will let publishers add “deeper storytelling and more context” by choosing which stories to add and how their articles are displayed in story panels that will appear first in the Google News app for Android (and soon for the iOS version). The company says News Showcase will let readers follow the publishers they want to see those stories more prominently featured.
Village Media operates KitchenerToday, in partnership with 570 NEWS.
U.S. FCC lawyer says agency can change rules on social media liability shield – Reuters Canada
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top lawyer at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said Wednesday the telecommunications regulator has legal authority to redefine the immunity shield protecting social media companies that could make it easier for users to file lawsuits challenging content removal decisions.
In July, President Donald Trump’s administration asked the agency to limit protections for social media companies under Section 230, a provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that shields them from liability for user-generated content and allows them to remove lawful but objectionable posts.
FCC General Counsel Tom Johnson said in a blog post Wednesday “the scope of the Section 230 immunity shield must be interpreted by someone… the only question is whether the FCC or a federal court will do the interpreting.”
Johnson added that if the FCC narrows social media companies’ liability shield it “would simply allow private parties to bring lawsuits, as appropriate, under other sources of federal and state law.”
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said last week that the agency will move forward to set new rules after pressure from Republicans in Congress seeking quick action to limit legal protections for social media after Twitter blocked some links to an unsubstantiated New York Post article critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Johnson noted the ultimate decision “whether this legal framework should be adopted” is up to the five commissioners.
Many legal experts and internet companies say the FCC has no authority to issue regulations under Section 230.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said Wednesday “the FCC has no business being the President’s speech police.”
Trump in May directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to petition the FCC for changes after Twitter TWTR.N warned readers to fact-check his posts about unsubstantiated claims of fraud in mail-in voting.
The Internet Association, a group representing major internet companies, including Facebook Inc FB.O, Amazon.com Inc, AMZN.O Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s Google GOOGL.O said the FCC “lacks the authority to make the changes proposed in the NTIA’s petition because they conflict with the plain language of Section 230.”
Pai for months refused to offer comment on the petition. Still any final regulation could take at least another year.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio
Social Media Stocks Jump After Snap Results Suggest Ad Strength – Yahoo Canada Finance
(Bloomberg) — Oil plummeted and gasoline futures tumbled after a U.S. government report showed swelling fuel stockpiles and slowing demand as the coronavirus pandemic rages.Crude futures in New York declined as much as 3.9% on Wednesday, while gasoline futures dropped over 4%. Domestic gasoline inventories rose 1.9 million barrels last week, the biggest increase since May, while a measure of gasoline consumption slid to the lowest since late September, according to an Energy Information Administration report. The mounting fuel supplies and lackluster demand may worsen during the normally sluggish winter driving months.“The resurgence in Covid-19 has put a pause in the expectation that we’d see increased demand,” said Brian Kessens, a portfolio manager at Tortoise, a firm that manages roughly $8 billion in energy-related assets. “The build in gasoline is an indicator that we are seeing that truly play out.”Rising coronavirus infections worldwide are putting a damper on an already murky demand outlook, with governments imposing or considering tighter restrictions. Milan, Italy’s financial capital, will be under night-time curfew beginning this week, while Germany’s new infections reached a record. In the U.S., New York posted more than 2,000 new Covid-19 cases for the first time since May.JBC Energy cut its outlook for oil-products demand this year and early 2021, saying that “the persistent lack of recovery in U.S. gasoline demand remains particularly worrisome.”Flagging fuel demand highlights the importance of ongoing discussions over the next round of U.S. virus aid to reviving energy consumption. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the goal in talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a deal on a coronavirus relief package within the next 48 hours, though any agreement likely faces a roadblock in the Republican-controlled Senate.“There’s concern about the growing virus caseload in a lot of places hitting demand, especially if there’s not some fiscal stimulus,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. “Global inventories are still quite high and they’re not going to come down until we get a stronger demand recovery. Now, it looks like that will be pushed further out into the future.”The surprise gasoline build led to another leg lower for refining margins. The so-called crack spread for combined gasoline and diesel against WTI futures slumped to the lowest since early April, providing little incentive for refiners to churn out more product in the midst of depressed demand.“There’s no reason for these guys to run the refinery. It’s a losing proposition,” said Bob Yawger, head of the futures division at Mizuho Securities. “There’s nobody that’s in a hurry to bring refinery utilization rates back up.”In another sign of weakness, the EIA report showed a fifth straight weekly build at the nation’s biggest storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma. Crude inventories there are now over 60 million barrels for the first time since May. The spread between WTI’s nearest contracts weakened to its widest contango structure in about a week, signaling concerns of oversupply.Still, distillate stockpiles decreased 3.83 million barrels last week and crude stockpiles dropped just over 1 million barrels, the government data showed.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Social Media and the Hunter Biden Report – The New York Times
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Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have invested a significant amount of time and money trying to avoid the mistakes made during the 2016 election.
A test of those new policies came last week, when The New York Post published a story that contained supposedly incriminating documents and pictures taken from the laptop of Hunter Biden. The provenance and authenticity of that information is still in question, and Joe Biden’s campaign has rejected the assertions.
While YouTube largely did nothing, Facebook deprioritized the Post story and Twitter initially moved to ban all links to the piece on its platform. Those actions infuriated some Republican lawmakers and conservative media figures, who accused the social networks of censorship and election interference.
We speak to Kevin Roose, a technology columnist for The Times, about how the episode reveals the tension between fighting misinformation and protecting free speech.
Here’s Kevin’s full report on the efforts by Twitter and Facebook to limit the spread of the Hunter Biden story.
The New York Post published the piece despite doubts within the paper’s newsroom — some reporters withheld their bylines and questioned the credibility of the article.
Joe Biden’s campaign has rejected the assertions made in the story.
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Kevin Roose contributed reporting.
“The Daily” is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi and Rachelle Bonja. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan and Desiree Ibekwe.
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