Today was an important day of the year as the Union Budget 2020 was presented by the Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman. The major highlight of the budget is the new income tax slabs but the government has given an option to the citizens, they can either choose to continue with the old tax rates with exemption or can opt for the new tax rates in which the exemptions are not provided.
As per the Finance Minister, Union Budget 2020 is focused on three points – improving the standards of living, economic development for each section and a caring society. The Finance Minister has also called the Goods and Service Tax (GST) as a historic reform in the Indian tax regime. Nirmala Sitharaman emphasized on the need of making compliances easy to fulfill for the startups too.
Every person tries to find out what this budget has for him and after the 2.5 hours long speech of the Finance Minister, the micro-blogging site Twitter is flooded with reactions. While some expressed their happiness or annoyance, there were some who felt that the speech was unnecessarily long and compared it with Sajid Khan’s movie. Here are some of the selected reactions:
Middle class people trying to understand #Budget2020 . pic.twitter.com/LVp4vOrfVf
— Hunटरर (@nickhunterr) February 1, 2020
Nirmala Sitharaman talking about government’s achievements #BudgetSession2020 pic.twitter.com/wOsKn4GPR6
— Sir Yuzvendra (parody) (@SirYuzvendra) February 1, 2020
#BudgetSession2020 #Budget2020 *Rahul Gandhi trying to understand the Budget* pic.twitter.com/uIrkC4294Z
— Ashutosh Singh (@ashusarcastic) February 1, 2020
1. Indians before budget speech. 2. Indians after budget speech.#Budget2020 pic.twitter.com/4G9WD2BIaQ
— Nirmala Tai Halwe wali (@Vishj05) February 1, 2020
Income Tax slabs over the years#Budget2020 #BudgetSession2020 #NirmalaSitaraman pic.twitter.com/RIDt3ykkVQ
— Siddharth Patni (@aageSeLeftLelo) February 1, 2020
Salaried taxpayers waiting for tax cuts be like:#BUDGET2020 pic.twitter.com/0vbG4XGMuC
— VJ (@CA_Hemwani) February 1, 2020
A friend just said “budget chaahe jaisa marzi aa jaye, hum month end tak gareeb ho hi jaayenge”, and it hit me hard. #BudgetSession2020
— Pakchikpak Raja Babu (@HaramiParindey) February 1, 2020
People : Is bar ka #Budget2020 Middle class wala hoga !!
Nirmala : pic.twitter.com/IUiK97hcTg
— Sourabh (@SourabhJainIET) February 1, 2020
The #Budget2020 was a Sajid Khan movie #BudgetSession2020
— HOLLA! (@AshokaHolla) February 1, 2020
#BudgetOnZee #Budget2020 #BudgetSession2020
When tax Rates and you realise Gets Reduced no deduction will Be allowed as well pic.twitter.com/4XjvY05Au6
— CUagain (@RECinaction) February 1, 2020
Everybody right now. #Budget2020 pic.twitter.com/U0GVYbe24Z
— अंकित जैन (@indiantweeter) February 1, 2020
Common Man trying to understand #Budget2020 listening to #NirmalaSitharaman’s speech. pic.twitter.com/oXLCjKHp1c
— Godman Chikna (@Madan_Chikna) February 1, 2020
Middle class people checking the budget benefits #Budget2020 pic.twitter.com/oJVhN90lIF
— Aishthetic ?? (@Badassgirlll) February 1, 2020
New income tax regime #Budget2020 pic.twitter.com/l2QmPyfjWH
— Megha Mandavia (@MeghaMandaviaET) February 1, 2020
New Tax slab … #Budget2020 https://t.co/CGwLmE0coJ pic.twitter.com/uUJE77gbeS
— Mr. Dua (@koolmunddaa) February 1, 2020
The share market doesn’t seem to be happy with the budget as it closed almost 900 points down today. The experts feel that the government has not talked clearly on the matter of dealing with economic slowdown.
What is your opinion on the Union Budget 2020? Let us know your views.
The post Twitter Flooded With Hilarious Memes After Nirmala Sitharaman Presented Union Budget 2020 appeared first on RVCJ Media.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney’s decision to side with Democrats and vote for witnesses in the impeachment trial earned him much criticism and now a dis-invitation.
The Utah lawmaker was “formally not invited” to attend this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, referred to as CPAC, after his stunt in a Senate vote Friday when he voted in favor of hearing from witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial.
“The ‘extreme conservative’ and Junior Senator from the great state of Utah, @SenatorRomney is formally NOT invited to #CPAC2020,” American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a mocking tweet on Friday.
The conservative conference scheduled for the end of the month will feature Trump as the keynote speaker.
BREAKING: The “extreme conservative” and Junior Senator from the great state of Utah, @SenatorRomney is formally NOT invited to #CPAC2020. pic.twitter.com/f35tYy73V1
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) January 31, 2020
Romney and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine were the only Republicans who voted with Democrats on Friday in the failed attempt to allow additional witnesses to be heard in the trial. The final vote of 51-49 shot down a weeks-long Democratic effort to hear witnesses, such as former national security adviser John Bolton and others, and set the stage for a final vote to acquit the president next week.
Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were ultimately the swing GOP votes, sticking with the party and voting against the effort while Democrats began to discredit the process as a “sham.” Romney, who is not up for reelection until 2024, was roundly condemned for bucking the party though some, like Utah’s Republican senior Senator Mike Lee did come to his defense.
Mitt Romney is a good friend and an excellent Senator. We have disagreed about a lot in this trial. But he has my respect for the thoughtfulness, integrity, and guts he has shown throughout this process. Utah and the Senate are lucky to have him.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) January 31, 2020
Lee is a frequent CPAC attendee as is Romney who has spoken at the annual conservative gathering in the past, including in 2013, following his 2012 failed presidential bid. It was not clear if the former Massachusetts governor was even planning to attend this year’s event which will include Diamond and Silk, Candace Owens and California Rep. Devin Nunes as speakers as well as conservative commentator Mark Levin, and Brexit leader Nigel Farage.
CPAC and Schlapp were slammed by some Twitter users for the rebuke of Romney and display of “cancel culture” politics.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 31, 2020
oh what a calamity how will Mitt ever be able to carry on https://t.co/7vsYOPzEuh
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) January 31, 2020
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) January 31, 2020
CPAC has turned into an alt right clown show. I’m sure Mitt could care less.
— Marylou Culkar (@MarylouCulkar6) February 1, 2020
But many others on Twitter were happy to see the Utah senator get called out.
I am so disappointed in Romney. What a traitor and I don’t use that loosely. Trump supported him completely in his bid for the senate. Romney has done everything to betray Trump. I never would have believed it but there it is.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) January 26, 2020
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) February 1, 2020
Epic Burn. 🔥🤣
I am going to CPAC because my dreams became memes.
And I didn’t betray the president 40 times.
— Carpe Donktum🔹 (@CarpeDonktum) January 31, 2020
Good riddance… It’s about time Mitt Romney be held accountable for his actions.
Not sure why he’d want to be at #CPAC anyway, he’s no longer a conservative. https://t.co/KtXVM1tWZY
— Jason Lewis (@LewisForMN) February 1, 2020
Good! He’s NOT a Republican!
Senior Staff Writer
Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
The prospect of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage receiving a knighthood in the UK’s New Year Honours list has been met with a mixture of delight and dismay in equal measure on social media.
According to the UK government’s website, the annual list “recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people” across the country. One lucky recipient of such an honor could be Farage, who is rumored to be in line for a knighthood, primarily for his long-running campaign to see Britain leave the European Union.
Also on rt.com
The thought of such a prestigious accolade for the 55-year-old politician has, perhaps quite predictably, caused ructions on social media. An avalanche of comical memes and gifs have been tweeted by his allies and detractors.
Many of Farage’s supporters have come out to praise his contribution to the Brexit debate with some suggesting that the UK would “still be waiting for a [EU] referendum” without him.
Yes Yes Yes, Marvelous. Arise Sir Nigel.😉🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧👍 pic.twitter.com/ADp3K1BUam
— dave (@NorthBankDave1) December 23, 2019
Stand Up Sir Nigel Farage #NigelFarage . He has selflessly fought for British Democracy for over 25 years. #SirNigelFarage pic.twitter.com/pqeLuIwOLh
— Ken Shakesby (@ken_shakesby) December 23, 2019
A number of his critics appeared dumbfounded that such a title for the arch Brexiteer could even be contemplated. One person tweeted that if he is knighted then she’ll be having her “own Brexit and leaving the UK!!!”
— Tracy O’Shea (@TracymOshea) December 23, 2019
How is that even a question? He has achieved nothing! pic.twitter.com/cSVm54LDj9
— Lauren Rose 🌹 (@RedLeftie) December 23, 2019
The New Year Honours list consists of knights and dames, appointments to the Order of the British Empire, and gallantry awards to servicemen and women, and civilians. Individuals are nominated by UK government departments and members of the public with the Queen informally approving the list.
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The big tech companies have announced aggressive steps to keep trolls, bots and online fakery from marring another presidential election — from Facebook’s removal of billions of fake accounts to Twitter’s spurning of all political ads.
But it’s a never-ending game of whack-a-mole that’s only getting harder as we barrel toward the 2020 election. Disinformation peddlers are deploying new, more subversive techniques and American operatives have adopted some of the deceptive tactics Russians tapped in 2016. Now, tech companies face thorny and sometimes subjective choices about how to combat them — at times drawing flak from both Democrats and Republicans as a result.
This is our roundup of some of the evolving challenges Silicon Valley faces as it tries to counter online lies and bad actors heading into the 2020 election cycle:
1) American trolls may be a greater threat than Russians
Russia-backed trolls notoriously flooded social media with disinformation around the presidential election in 2016, in what Robert Mueller’s investigators described as a multimillion-dollar plot involving years of planning, hundreds of people and a wave of fake accounts posting news and ads on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube.
This time around — as experts have warned — a growing share of the threat is likely to originate in America.
“It’s likely that there will be a high volume of misinformation and disinformation pegged to the 2020 election, with the majority of it being generated right here in the United States, as opposed to coming from overseas,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
Barrett, the author of a recent report on 2020 disinformation, noted that lies and misleading claims about 2020 candidates originating in the U.S. have already spread across social media. Those include manufactured sex scandals involving South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a smear campaign calling Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) “not an American black” because of her multiracial heritage. (The latter claim got a boost on Twitter from Donald Trump Jr.)
Before last year’s midterm elections, Americans similarly amplified fake messages such as a “#nomenmidterms” hashtag that urged liberal men to stay home from the polls to make “a Woman’s Vote Worth more.” Twitter suspended at least one person — actor James Woods — for retweeting that message.
“A lot of the disinformation that we can identify tends to be domestic,” said Nahema Marchal, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda Project. “Just regular private citizens leveraging the Russian playbook, if you will, to create … a divisive narrative, or just mixing factual reality with made-up facts.”
Tech companies say they’ve broadened their fight against disinformation as a result. Facebook, for instance, announced in October that it had expanded its policies against “coordinated inauthentic behavior” to reflect a rise in disinformation campaigns run by non-state actors, domestic groups and companies. But people tracking the spread of fakery say it remains a problem, especially inside closed groups like those popular on Facebook.
2) And policing domestic content is tricky
U.S. law forbids foreigners from taking part in American political campaigns — a fact that made it easy for members of Congress to criticize Facebook for accepting rubles as payment for political ads in 2016.
But Americans are allowed, even encouraged, to partake in their own democracy — which makes things a lot more complicated when they use social media tools to try to skew the electoral process. For one thing, the companies face a technical challenge: Domestic meddling doesn’t leave obvious markers such as ads written in broken English and traced back to Russian internet addresses.
More fundamentally, there’s often no clear line between bad-faith meddling and dirty politics. It’s not illegal to run a mud-slinging campaign or engage in unscrupulous electioneering. And the tech companies are wary of being seen as infringing on American’s right to engage in political speech — all the more so as conservatives such as President Donald Trump accuse them of silencing their voices.
Plus, the line between foreign and domestic can be blurry. Even in 2016, the Kremlin-backed troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency relied on Americans to boost their disinformation. Now, claims with hazy origins are being picked up without need for a coordinated 2016-style foreign campaign. Simon Rosenberg, a longtime Democratic strategist who has spent recent years focused on online disinformation, points to Trump’s promotion of the theory that Ukraine significantly meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, a charge that some experts trace back to Russian security forces.
“It’s hard to know if something is foreign or domestic,” said Rosenberg, once it “gets swept up in this vast ‘Wizard of Oz’-like noise machine.”
3) Bad actors are learning
Experts agree on one thing: The election interference tactics that social media platforms encounter in 2020 will look different from those they’ve trying to fend off since 2016.
“What we’re going to see is the continued evolution and development of new approaches, new experimentation trying to see what will work and what won’t,” said Lee Foster, who leads the information operations intelligence analysis team at the cybersecurity firm FireEye.
Foster said the “underlying motivations” of undermining democratic institutions and casting doubt on election results will remain constant, but the trolls have already evolved their tactics.
For instance, they’ve gotten better at obscuring their online activity to avoid automatic detection, even as social media platforms ramp up their use of artificial intelligence software to dismantle bot networks and eradicate inauthentic accounts.
“One of the challenges for the platforms is that, on the one hand, the public understandably demands more transparency from them about how they take down or identify state-sponsored attacks or how they take down these big networks of authentic accounts, but at the same time they can’t reveal too much at the risk of playing into bad actors’ hands,” said Oxford’s Marchal.
Researchers have already observed extensive efforts to distribute disinformation through user-generated posts — known as “organic” content — rather than the ads or paid messages that were prominent in the 2016 disinformation campaigns.
Foster, for example, cited trolls impersonating journalists or other more reliable figures to give disinformation greater legitimacy. And Marchal noted a rise in the use of memes and doctored videos, whose origins can be difficult to track down. Jesse Littlewood, vice president at advocacy group Common Cause, said social media posts aimed at voter suppression frequently appear no different from ordinary people sharing election updates in good faith — messages such as “you can text your vote” or “the election’s a different day” that can be “quite harmful.”
Tech companies insist they are learning, too. Since the 2016 election, Google, Facebook and Twitter have devoted security experts and engineers to tackling disinformation in national elections across the globe, including the 2018 midterms in the United States. The companies say they have gotten better at detecting and removing fake accounts, particularly those engaged in coordinated campaigns.
But other tactics may have escaped detection so far. NYU’s Barrett noted that disinformation-for-hire operations sometimes employed by corporations may be ripe for use in U.S. politics, if they’re not already.
He pointed to a recent experiment conducted by the cyber threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, which said it paid two shadowy Russian “threat actors” a total of just $6,050 to generate media campaigns promoting and trashing a fictitious company. Barrett said the project was intended “to lure out of the shadows firms that are willing to do this kind of work,” and demonstrated how easy it is to generate and sow disinformation.
Real-life examples include a hyper-partisan skewed news operation started by a former Fox News executive and Facebook’s accusations that an Israeli social media company profited from creating hundreds of fake accounts. That “shows that there are firms out there that are willing and eager to engage in this kind of underhanded activity,” Barrett said.
4) Not all lies are created equal
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are largely united in trying to take down certain kinds of false information, such as targeted attempts to drive down voter turnout. But their enforcement has been more varied when it comes to material that is arguably misleading.
In some cases, the companies label the material factually dubious or use their algorithms to limit its spread. But in the lead-up to 2020, the companies’ rules are being tested by political candidates and government leaders who sometimes play fast and loose with the truth.
“A lot of the mainstream campaigns and politicians themselves tend to rely on a mix of fact and fiction,” Marchal said. “It’s often a lot of … things that contain a kernel of truth but have been distorted.”
One example is the flap over a Trump campaign ad — which appeared on Facebook, YouTube and some television networks — suggesting that former Vice President Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine into firing a prosecutor to squelch an investigation into an energy company whose board included Biden’s son Hunter. In fact, the Obama administration and multiple U.S. allies had pushed for removing the prosecutor for slow-walking corruption investigations. The ad “relies on speculation and unsupported accusations to mislead viewers,” the nonpartisan site FactCheck.org concluded.
The debate has put tech companies at the center of a tug of war in Washington. Republicans have argued for more permissive rules to safeguard constitutionally protected political speech, while Democrats have called for greater limits on politicians’ lies.
Democrats have especially lambasted Facebook for refusing to fact-check political ads, and have criticized Twitter for letting politicians lie in their tweets and Google for limiting candidates’ ability to finely tune the reach of their advertising — all examples, the Democrats say, of Silicon Valley ducking the fight against deception.
Jesse Blumenthal, who leads the tech policy arm of the Koch-backed Stand Together coalition, said expecting Silicon Valley to play truth cop places an undue burden on tech companies to litigate messy disputes over what’s factual.
“Most of the time the calls are going to be subjective, so what they end up doing is putting the platforms at the center of this rather than politicians being at the center of this,” he said.
Further complicating matters, social media sites have generally granted politicians considerably more leeway to spread lies and half-truths through their individual accounts and in certain instances through political ads. “We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an October speech at Georgetown University in which he defended his company’s policy.
But Democrats say tech companies shouldn’t profit off false political messaging.
“I am supportive of these social media companies taking a much harder line on what content they allow in terms of political ads and calling out lies that are in political ads, recognizing that that’s not always the easiest thing to draw those distinctions,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state told POLITICO.
Eight years after she shot to fame on The X Factor, Nelson describes how she navigated the trauma of being relentlessly bullied on social media
When Jesy Nelson was 19 and working behind the bar at a pub in Dagenham, Essex, she remembers watching The X Factor on TV, and thinking: I know I could win that. In 2011, she did just that, as part of the girl group Little Mix and thought: This is the worst day of my life.
Competing in Simon Cowells singing contest unleashed ceaseless criticism of her appearance and weight (although rarely her voice). All I cared about was what people were saying about me, she says now.
Winning offered no respite. When Little Mix were crowned, the first Facebook message she saw was from a stranger. It read: You are the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life. You do not deserve to be in this girl band, you deserve to die.
I should have been on cloud nine, she says. I had Leigh-Anne [Pinnock, also of Little Mix] in my room being like: This is the best! and I was like: No, this isnt.
Little Mix went on to become the biggest British girl group since the Spice Girls, but Nelson was consumed by the trolling and abuse on social media. Within two years of the finale, she had depression and an eating disorder and had attempted suicide.
The downward spiral and her eventual, slow recovery are the focus of an intensely personal BBC One documentary, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out. Before shooting it, she says, she had never spoken publicly about her struggles in the spotlight.
When we meet in a corner of BBC Broadcasting House in central London, Nelson, now 28, is friendly and glamorous, dressed in a double-breasted tangerine suit. It is the eighth anniversary of her X Factor debut and #8YearsofLittleMix has been trending on Twitter all morning, thanks to their fans, the Mixers.
Hailed as the Joan Didion of our times informed, funny and fearless the New Yorkers Jia Tolentino is making sense of the world one essay at a time
Until recently, one of New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentinos best-kept secrets was that she spent the summer of her 16th year filming a reality show called Girls v Boys: Puerto Rico. A cheerleader then, she got permission from her school, which was situated in the middle of a Texan megachurch so large they called it the Repentagon, by telling them shed be a light for Jesus, but on television. An essayist who explores what its like to live right now, no now, remains, at 30, rebellious and contradictory in ticklish ways.
For example, a person of the old world might not expect, when meeting the best young essayist in the world, to find her in denim cut-offs scrolling Instagram behind a Brooklyn caf. They might not expect a woman who grew up an evangelical Christian to write a piece that links the weightless grace of coming up on ecstasy to that of kneeling in church, in words like epiphany and glory. They might not expect a piece about the challenging year she spent in Kyrgyzstan to be headlined: I Joined the Peace Corps to Keep From Becoming an Asshole. She treats all her subjects (recent essays include anti-abortion propaganda and the internet trend of fans begging celebrities to kill them) with equal care and precision, and such academic tenderness that the reader barely notices their mind being changed after reading her interview with a woman whod had a late-term abortion, she received emails from pro-lifers rethinking their stance; hers are essays that talk to young women about old problems and old men about young memes. And they might not expect, in our interview of an hour-and-a-half, for the Joan Didion of our time (New York Magazine) to use the word like 1,035 times.
She has left her dog at home, which is sad. Luna is the size of eight dogs and appears often in her stories as comic relief. Usually, Tolentino works with Luna at her feet and talks to her as she picks her way through the rubble of an idea. She knows what she wants to write about when, I feel some sort of chemistry with the subject. The bar for me is when its interesting enough that I would talk about it on my own time. One example is womens optimisation, the project of getting better at being a woman which, in her new book Trick Mirror she investigates through chopped salad, her previous job at feminist website Jezebel, very expensive leggings, and Virgils Aeneid.
To read it as a person like me, brought up on girl power and the slogans of mainstream feminism, is to be stimulated and awakened to the small domestic truths of life. I like to write about modern instincts that are in some way good. And also in some way dangerous. She explores millennial issues with two hands, because, Maybe this things totally ridiculous, but also, secretly important. I enjoy those extremes.
Its easy to write about things as you wish they were, wrote Zadie Smith of Trick Mirror. Its much harder to think for yourself, with the minimum of self-delusion. Its even harder to achieve at a moment like this, when our thoughts are subject to unprecedented manipulation, monetisation and surveillance. One way Tolentino manages this is by offering one idea, then cracking it open to reveal a series of alternative ideas, Russian doll-like within. Her work, Smith added, filled me with hope.
Yep. And not just because of the kindness with which she approaches ideas, especially ideas we are used to seeing framed in black and white, but because the subjects she writes about today are the same subjects she once blogged about at Jezebel. What were once niche, womens magazine themes pop stars, beauty products, sex and rage are now, in the New Yorker, mainstream, and recognised as valid topics for study. This is not the old world any more.