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Wild turkey roaming Manitoba Town gains social media fame – CTV News Winnipeg



The town of Gimli, Man. has a feathered celebrity roaming the town.

A wild turkey has decided to call the town located on the west side of Lake Winnipeg home.

Brittany Isfeld, a Gimli native, manages a Facebook group for residents and is at the forefront of the turkey trend.

“This turkey has just turned the town crazy,” she said. “They are really passionate about it.”

Isfeld said she decided to make a post about naming the turkey, only to find out it was already well established in the town.

“I decided for fun to start a contest to name it because I heard Gimli Gobbler and thought it could use a better name,” said Isfeld. “Pictures and comments came flooding in saying it was named Gertie.”

According to Isfeld, Gertie roams the downtown area of Gimli, visiting various storefronts on its way.

No one knows where the turkey originally came from but it was first seen on the outskirts of town before it moved downtown.

With hundreds of comments and photos, the bird now has a Tik Tok and Instagram account.

Gertie, now internet famous, has brought some cheer to the town during tough times.

“She’s just taken over our social media feeds and brightened our days,” Isfeld said. “She’s a nice breath of fresh air.”

Worrying that the town’s centre is not a good place for a turkey to live, some Gimli residents are looking for a refuge for Gertie to stay long-term.

-With files from CTV’s Michael D’Alimonte 

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GameStop, BlackBerry, AMC stocks see trading halts as social media hype drives volatility – Global News



Stocks of GameStop, BlackBerry and AMC Entertainment Holdings all saw trading halts on Wednesday morning amid continued volatility widely attributed to social media chatter.

The New York Stock Exchange briefly paused trading on GameStop and AMC stocks shortly before 10:15 a.m. ET, while the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) announced at 9:54 a.m. ET a temporary suspension of BlackBerry shares.

READ MORE: Does Bitcoin have a place in every investment portfolio?

The moves come as all three stocks have been soaring for a fourth day running, sparking calls for scrutiny of a social media-driven trading frenzy.

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The rally has also forced some hedge funds to retreat with heavy losses. Short-seller Citron, a target for some of the individual traders who have helped drive huge gains for a number of niche Wall Street stocks in the past week, said in a video post it had abandoned its bet on GameStop shares falling.

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With commentators and lawyers calling for scrutiny of the moves, Nasdaq chief Adena Friedman said exchanges and regulators needed to pay attention to the potential for “pump and dump” schemes driven by chatter on social media.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declined to comment.

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Mainstream commentators have questioned the justification of moves in a number of heavily-hyped stocks in recent days, at a time when some on Wall Street are wondering if months of stellar overall gains have driven shares into bubble territory.

GameStop’s stock has surged nearly 700 per cent in the past two weeks, upping the struggling video retailer’s market value from $1.24 billion to more than $10 billion. BlackBerry is up 185 per cent and on course for its best month ever.

Along with AMC and Nokia Oyj, the two were again among the most heavily traded in pre-market deals, with Reddit discussion threads again humming with chatter about the stocks.

“These are not normal times and while the (Reddit) … thing is fascinating to watch, I can’t help but think that this is unlikely to end well for someone,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.

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The advent of easily access apps like Robinhood that allow ordinary Americans to make stock market trades at almost no initial cost has spurred a boom in direct investment over the past year as trillions of dollars in official stimulus drove markets higher.

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On GameStop, the retail army have pitched themselves against some of the institutional short-sellers — a traditional area for hedge funds — who promote and bet on falls in companies they judge as weak.

Overall, short-sellers in GameStop were down $5 billion on a mark-to-market, net-of-financing basis in 2021, which included $876 million of losses early Tuesday, according to analytics firm S3 Partners.

Barron’s reported late on Tuesday that the top securities regulator in Massachusetts believes trading in GameStop stock suggests there is something “systemically wrong” with the options trading around the stock.

Others say that the trades are at the end of the day up to the investors who make them.

“The SEC has investigated Robinhood before, but when you have a structure in place that allows the zero-cost trading platforms to operate – how do you stop that flow?” said Neil Campling, head of tech media and telecom research at Mirabaud Securities.

Trading in GameStop stock was halted for volatility nine times on Monday and five times on Tuesday.

— With files from Global News money reporter Erica Alini

© 2021 Reuters

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Social media companies should face new legal duty to 'act responsibly,' expert panel finds –



Social media companies can’t be trusted to moderate themselves, so it falls to the government to enforce new restrictions to protect Canadians from harmful content online, according to a report currently under review by the federal heritage minister.

The Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression, an expert panel of seven members, including former chief justice Beverley McLachlin, said it had become difficult to ignore the fact too many real-world manifestations of online interactions are turning violent, destructive or hateful, despite social media’s parallel role in empowering positive social movements.

The panellists were particularly struck by the role they saw social media play last fall in “sowing distrust” in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, culminating in the lethal invasion of the U.S. Capitol. And they found, with the Quebec mosque shooting, the Toronto van attack and the armed invasion of Rideau Hall, that “Canada is not immune.”

“We recognize the charter, we recognize the ability of people to express themselves freely,” said Jean La Rose, former chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) and one of the seven commissioners, in an interview.

“But there must be limits at one point. There has to be limits as to where free speech becomes a racist discourse, or a hurtful discourse, or a hateful discourse.”

These limits would come in the form of a new law passed by Parliament, the commission recommended, that would force social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, search engines like Google and its video-sharing site YouTube and others to adhere to a new “duty to act responsibly.”

The panel purposefully did not spell out what responsible behaviour should look like. Instead, it said this determination should be left to the government — as well as a new regulator that would oversee a code of conduct for the industry and a new “social media council” that would bring together the platforms with civil society and other groups.

La Rose said his experience in the journalism world demonstrated how there needed to be reasonable limits on what people can freely express so they are not permitted to call for the killings of Muslims, for example, or encourage violence against an individual by posting their home address or other personal details online.

“Having worked in media, having worked at APTN, for example, we have been at the receiving end of racist threats, of severe injury to our people, our reporters and others because of the view we present of the situation of the Indigenous community in Canada,” he said.

“Literally, we’ve had some reporters run off the road when they were covering a story because people were trying to block the telling of that story. So as a news entity, we have seen how far sometimes misinformation, hate and hurtful comments can go.”

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has himself recently indicated that legislation to address “online hate” will be introduced “very soon.”

The minister has pointed to the popularity of such a move: a recent survey by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), for example, found that fully four-fifths of Canadians are on board with forcing social media companies to rapidly take down hateful content.

“Canadians are now asking their government to hold social media companies accountable for the content that appears on their platforms,” Guilbeault said after the CRRF survey was published.

“This is exactly what we intend to do, by introducing new regulations that will require online platforms to remove illegal and hateful content before they cause more harm and damage.”

Guilbeault has met with the commission to discuss their recommendations and is currently reviewing their report, press secretary Camille Gagné-Raynauld confirmed.

Representatives from Facebook Canada and Twitter Canada were among several people who provided witness testimony and participated in commission deliberations, the report said. Twitter declined comment to Canada’s National Observer.

“We haven’t reviewed the full report yet, so we can’t comment on the specific recommendations,” said Kevin Chan, global director and head of public policy for Facebook Canada. “We have community standards that govern what is and isn’t allowed on our platform, and in most cases those standards go well beyond what’s required by law.”



Chan also said Facebook agreed regulators should make “clear rules for the internet” so private companies aren’t left to make decisions themselves.

Google spokesperson Lauren Skelly said the company shares Canadians’ concerns about harmful content online and said YouTube takes its responsibility to remove content that violates its policies “extremely seriously.” She said the company has significantly ramped up daily removals of hate speech and removed millions of videos last quarter for violations.

“Any regulation needs to reflect the inherent complexity of the issue and the scale at which online platforms operate,” said Skelly. “We look forward to continuing our work with the government and local partners on addressing the spread of online hate to ensure a safer and open internet that works for all Canadians.”

The nine-month study by the commission, an initiative led by the Public Policy Forum, found that with everything from disinformation campaigns to conspiracy theories, hate speech and people targeted for harm, toxic content was being “amplified” by the actions of social media companies.

The study rejected the notion that social media platforms are “neutral disseminators of information,” finding instead that they curate content to serve their own commercial interests.

“The business model of some of the major social media companies involves keeping people engaged with their platforms as much as possible. And it turns out that keeping people engaged means feeding them sensational content because that’s what keeps people clicking,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and another commissioner.

“The incentives for social media companies are not aligned with the public interest. These are private companies whose obligation is to make money for their shareholders.”

The commission also proposed a tribunal to deal with dispute resolutions quickly, as well as a “transparency regime” that would require social media companies to make certain information available to the regulator, including the “algorithmic architecture used to identify problematic content.”

Jaffer wrote a “concurring statement” in the report, where he confessed it was difficult to endorse the commission’s proposed “duty to act responsibly” without going further to define how that duty will work in reality. He said defining it will require “difficult tradeoffs” between free speech, privacy and other issues.

Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

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Report calls for powerful new federal body to regulate social media – The Globe and Mail



An iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019,

Jenny Kane/The Associated Press

A federally funded panel is recommending the creation of a powerful new government regulator to oversee social media companies such as Facebook and Google and to require them to have strong content-moderation practices and to comply with a new legal duty to act responsibly.

The report by the Public Policy Forum (PPF)’s Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression, to be released on Wednesday, also calls for the creation of a federal “e-tribunal” to hear complaints about specific social media posts.

The federal Liberal government plans to introduce legislation early this year to regulate social media companies, with a focus on online hate and harassment. The report’s recommendations are aimed at influencing that legislation.

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“It’s become pretty clear over the last few years that the major platform companies’ business models are causing democratic harms,” Jameel Jaffer, executive director of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, said in an interview. Mr. Jaffer is one of seven commissioners who worked on the report. He grew up in Canada and his career has focused on civil liberties and freedom of speech in Canada and the United States. Mr. Jaffer said the companies’ algorithms, which automatically determine which social media posts get priority, can highlight “sensational and extreme” views.

“I think it’s also become evident that self regulation isn’t sufficient here because the companies’ incentives aren’t aligned with the public’s,” he said, adding that a new regulatory framework that better aligns the companies’ incentives with the public interest is needed. “What that framework should look like is a really difficult question, because inevitably, it will require us to make difficult trade-offs between multiple important values.”

The challenge is underscored by the fact that Mr. Jaffer attached a statement to the report that said he could not fully endorse the panel’s call for a duty-to-act-responsibly law and the proposed e-tribunal process.

While the commissioners say the era of self-regulation by internet giants must end, the report cautions against the kind of “reactive takedown laws” that European Union nations such as Germany have adopted that require companies to remove objectionable content in as little as 24 hours or face heavy fines. The report suggests a new Canadian regulator have quick takedown power, however, for matters involving a credible and imminent threat to safety.

The report recommends the regulator focus on ensuring social media companies have strong and transparent policies for moderating content. It says companies should be required to disclose details such as how algorithms are used to detect problematic content, the number and location of human content moderators and their guidelines for Canada. Other proposed transparency measures would be a requirement that bots – computer-generated social media accounts that can appear to be run by a human – be registered and labelled.

“Citizens should know when they are engaging with an agent, bot or other form of [artificial intelligence] impersonating a human,” the report states.

The report says, that to be effective, the regulator must have the power to impose penalties such as massive fines and possible jail time for executives.

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The commission’s work was led by Public Policy Forum president and chief executive officer Edward Greenspon, a former editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail.

The study also relied on a Citizens’ Assembly on Democratic Expression, a gathering of 42 randomly selected Canadians who reviewed the topic of social media regulation and issued recommendations.

The PPF said its work was funded in part by a $625,000 contribution from Canadian Heritage through its Digital Citizens Initiative.

The commissioners’ report says the focus should be on regulating how social media companies enforce their own content rules and how they deal with complaints about content that is already illegal, such as hate speech. It argues against banning additional types of speech through the Criminal Code.

“We have clearly emerged in the regulatory camp, but with a bias toward regulating the system rather than the content. Given the nature and rapid evolution of the medium, an attempt to tick off an exhaustive list of harms, deal with them individually and move on would be fanciful, partial and temporary,” the report states.

The proposed e-tribunal does open the door to government regulation of specific posts. The report said it could be modelled on the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, an online body that resolves issues such as small claims and motor vehicle matters.

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Mr. Jaffer said the panel did not define the precise role of the e-tribunal, and left many questions unanswered. In his statement, he said he is not convinced a tribunal is preferable to requiring large platforms, at their own expense, to have an efficient and transparent review and appeals process for specific posts.

He wrote that before he could endorse an e-tribunal, he would want to know more about its mandate, and what relationship it would have to the processes some platforms already use. Mr. Jaffer also cited lack of detail as the reason he could not support the call for a legislated duty to act responsibly.

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