Citizen Journalists Who Exposed Beijing’s Lies In Wuhan Have Suddenly Vanished

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Citizen Journalists Who Exposed Beijing’s Lies In Wuhan Have Suddenly Vanished

As we reported late Thursday evening, the death toll from the viral outbreak on mainland China has surpassed 600. With global markets once again in the red, Bloomberg reports that Beijing has silenced two of the citizen journalists responsible for much of the horrifying footage seeping onto western social media.

As BBG’s reporter explains, Chinese citizen journalists Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin have effectively been “the world’s eyes and ears” inside Wuhan (much of the film produced by American news organizations has consisted of drone footage). In recent days, SCMP and other news organizations reporting on the ground and publishing in English have warned that Beijing has stepped up efforts to censor Chinese social media after allowing citizens to vent their frustrations and share news without the usual scrutiny.

On Wednesday, China said its censors would conduct “targeted supervision” on the largest social media platforms including Weibo, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s Douyin. All in an effort to mask the dystopian nightmare that life in cities like Wuhan has become.

But that brief period of informational amnesty is now over, apparently. Fang posted a dramatic video on Friday showing him being forcibly detained and dragged off to a ‘quarantine’. He was detained over a video showing corpses piled up in a Wuhan hospital. However, he has already been released.

Chen, meanwhile, seems to have vanished without a trace, and is believed to still be in government detention. We shared one of Chen’s more alarming videos documenting the severe medical supply shortages and outnumbered medical personnel fighting a ‘losing battle’ against the outbreak.

The crackdown on these journalists comes amid an outpouring of public anger over the death of a doctor who was wrongly victimized by police after attempting to warn the public about the outbreak. Beijing tried to cover up the death, denying it to the western press before the local hospital confirmed.

The videos supplied by the two citizen journos have circulated most freely on twitter, which is where most in-the-know Chinese go for their latest information about the outbreak. Many “hop” the “great firewall” via a VPN.

“There’s a lot more activity happening on Twitter compared with Weibo and WeChat,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. There has been a Chinese community on Jack Dorsey’s short-message platform since before President Xi Jinping rose to power, she added, but the recent crackdown has weakened that social circle.

Chen has now been missing for more than 24 hours, according to several friends in contact with BBG News.

Chen has been out of contact for a prolonged period of time. His friends posted a message on his Twitter account saying he has been unreachable since 7 p.m. local time on Thursday. In a texted interview, Bloomberg News’s last question to Chen was whether he was concerned about his safety as he’s among the few people reporting the situation on the front lines.

It’s all part of the great crackdown that Beijing is enforcing, even as the WHO continues to praise the Communist Party for its ‘transparency’.

“After lifting the lid briefly to give the press and social media some freedom,” said Wang about China’s ruling Communist Party, the regime “is now reinstating its control over social media, fearing it could lead to a wider-spread panic.”

With a little luck, the world might soon learn Chen’s whereabouts. Then again, there’s always the chance that he’s never heard from again.


Tyler Durden

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Facebook hammered for Nigerian child trafficking adverts on its platform | P.M. News

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Cameroonian children who fled the fighting in their country’s English-speaking regions are taking refuge in Adagom community in south-central Nigeria, where some have been exploited by people looking to take advantage of their vulnerability. [Photograph: Philip Obaji Jr.]

By Philip Obaji Jr.

The Africans Unite Against Child Abuse, United Kingdom, and Centre for Children’s Health, Education, Orientation and Protection, Nigeria, have criticised Facebook following revelations that children, especially girls, were being trafficked from a refugee camp in Ogoja, Cross Rivers State, after being advertised for labour exploitation on the popular social networking platform.

The groups slammed Facebook for permitting child trafficking to take place on its service and also being slack to take action when such incidents happen.

In a joint statement, the non-profit organisations expressed dismay that it took Facebook 29 hours to suspend the account of the suspect, after investigative journalist, Philip Obaji Jr, had reported the account in contravention of the company’s policies of responding to enquiries within 24 hours.

The report revealed details of a named person, who had used his Facebook page to advertise photos of Cameroonian girls fleeing the ongoing conflict in Southern Cameroon’s Anglophone region.

This conflict has so far displaced millions of people with several thousand staying in refugee camps across Southern Nigeria.

The NGOs were exceptionally concerned that despite this case being reported to Facebook, it took the online platform hours to take action, thereby putting the victims at further risk of harm.

In one of the Facebook posts cited, the person had uploaded an image of a girl he claimed was “intelligent, hardworking and about 17,” and asked persons “interested in hiring her as a maid to inbox me.”

The organisations recalled that this would not be the first time Facebook would be accused of enabling child trafficking on its platforms.

“In 2018, Facebook was severely criticised by NGOs in South Sudan and across the world that its site had been used for the auctioning of a child bride in the country.

“Human trafficking is a growing global problem with over 40 million people at risk, according to the International Labour Organisation.

“Nigeria is known as a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking victims with over one million trafficked each year, according to the Global Slavery Index.

“Human trafficking and slavery is illegal in most countries around the world, including Nigeria,” the NGOs said.

Debbie Ariyo, Chief Executive Officer of UK-based AFRUCA, an anti-child trafficking organisation, said, “It is concerning that social media platforms are increasingly being used by human traffickers to facilitate the sale of human beings, with little being done to address this. Social media platforms have become the 21st century slave markets. This has to stop.”

Betty Abah, Executive Director of CEE-HOPE Nigeria, stated that it appears Facebook has a discriminatory approach to addressing crimes against vulnerable children in Africa than other more advanced parts of the world.

“I do not believe Facebook would have failed to act if this was happening in a European country,” she added.

Both organisations urged the relevant government agencies in Nigeria to act to secure the well-being of refugee children in the country, and investigate the child trafficking allegations to ensure all perpetrators are brought to book.

They also called on Facebook to investigate the case as well as tighten its safeguard mechanisms to ensure that crimes such as human trafficking are completely eradicated on its platforms.

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‘His killers must be brought to book’– outrage as police ‘torture’ mechanic to death

'His killers must be brought to book'-- outrage as police 'torture' mechanic to death

The alleged killing of Chima Ikwunado, a mechanic in Port Harcourt, Rivers, by some officers of the Nigerian police force in the state, has sparked outrage on social media platforms.

Comrade Phils, an activist, had taken to his Facebook page to disclose that the brother and a client of the deceased narrated to him how men attached to the E Crack, Mile 1 police station, carried out the act.

According to him, the client disclosed that he gave his car to the deceased to fix its air-conditioning system on December 19, 2019.

The next day, he tried reaching Chima, the deceased, via phone but he was unreachable. He then decided to visit the mechanic shop and still couldn’t find Chima and his car. Upon further inquiry from other mechanics at the shop, it was discovered that the deceased was apprehended by the police.

He said the client subsequently visited different police stations till he got to the Mile 1 police station and saw his car parked outside the Eagle Crack division.

The client said upon identifying himself as the car owner, he had a gun pointed at him and was chased out of the station. For fear of being shot at, he left as instructed.

As he went home to restrategise on how to tackle the issue, he said he was visited by Obinna, a brother to the deceased, who explained that Chima and some other colleagues were testing two cars, his and a Toyota Camry, after repairs.

Due to the terrible traffic at the time they decided to drive through a one-way route where they were apprehended by the police.

Obinna said that the policemen asked for bribes but were not satisfied with the amount offered by Chima and his colleagues and immediately accused them of stealing the two cars.

The police allegedly took the cash on them, a total of N150,000, handcuffed them and took them to the police station where they were subjected to “brutal torture”.

One of the arrested suspects, who couldn’t bear the torture anymore, confessed to them breaking into a lady’s home and stealing the cars.

With the knowledge of the reason behind the arrest, Chima’s client proceeds to claim his car. Accompanied by an Airforce commander, he takes copies of the original car documents to the station.

After much back and forth, the car was eventually released to him but Chima and his colleagues remained in the custody of the police.

On January 2, the client disclosed he received a call from a barrister who was defending Chima’s colleagues.

It was during this conversation, it was discovered Chima had died from the torture and his colleagues had been sent to prison with decaying sores from wounds inflicted on them during torture.

activities
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arrest
Ask
car
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The heart-wrenching tale has since sparked outrage on Twitter as users have united with the hashtag #JusticeForChima to register their annoyance.
“Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book,” a Twitter user demanded.
“To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.
I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.
Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed. #JusticeForChima,” another user said.
Here’s what some Nigerians had to say:
Chima deserves justice
Chima was a son
Chima was a brother
Chima was a husband
Chima was an expectant father
Chima was an employer of labor
Cha was an innocent citizen
Chima deserves justice
What happened to Chima can happen to anybody #JusticeForChima

— saggibabe (@iiamfloxycutey) 17 January 2020

Almost every family in Nigeria has a relative who is a police officer. Either nuclear or extended family. Pls let us start talking sense into their skulls. Ask them this question “what if I’m d one?” This wickedness mixed wit madness must stop #EndPoliceBrutality #JusticeForChima

— Iyalaya (@Lollylarry1) 17 January 2020

To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.

I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.

Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed.#JusticeForChima

— Mr Integrity (@Intergrity56) 17 January 2020

The police is our friend I’ve never understood that statement and I’m not sure if I ever will. U think that holding a gun to ur hand makes u a God, constantly disregarding the lives of civilians news flash #JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/R8lkqVulaj

— Dat stubborn girl😁💦💦❣️✍️ (@Jojo101Stan) 17 January 2020

I woke up to the sad news of the murder of one Chima In Portharcourt by men of @PoliceNG. We’re gradually getting to the point where citizens will take laws into their hands & challenge the madness of the @PoliceNG. The State CP must account for the life of Chima #JusticeForChima

— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFash) 17 January 2020

This country is so messed up. To imagine our law enforcement agencies are the ones doing the work of Armed Robbers and Hired killer. The governments are definitely sleeping. #JusticeForChima

— The Olanrewaju♠️ (@tobiloba_II) 17 January 2020

The Nigerian Police is the most corrupt, insensitive & reckless public institution in the world.

An institution that is supposed to protect our lives, is the same institution that indiscriminately murders our own people.

Such an alarming contradiction!#JusticeForChima
😢

— The King🖋 (@Kingsleymaximo) 17 January 2020

I always say this, if u ever hear I’m running for the office of d president or my husband is, I advice the Nigerian police force to ensure we dont win cos if we do, I will be coming for them all. I will even visit the sins of the fathers on d newer generations#JusticeForChima 😭 pic.twitter.com/E8T4OZYYJF

— Kate-Nnaji (@nnaji_kate) 17 January 2020

Somebody once said that the armed robber is far better than the @NigeriaPolice, it was fun to me but i later got into deep thought about it and saw some sense in it. Reading the story on #JusticeForChima makes me weep bitterly for my beloved country.😭😭

— Akin joshua a🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 (@Akinjoshua2017) 17 January 2020

The law is clear, it’s better to let a 100 criminal abscond than to convict one innocent person, the number of innocent persons the @PoliceNG has ruined their lives is unimaginable, innocent lives in prison and dead as a result of activities from rogue officers! #JusticeForChima https://t.co/9ylyPg6qzD

— jgagas🗨 PhD (affidavit) (@JGagariga) 17 January 2020

Nigeria is a failed state. The lives of common citizens can be wasted for no reason by the police.

I would have been dead like chima, or in prison like the other 4 boys 10 years ago from the hands of Area F police station in Lagos.

God is watching. #JusticeForChima https://t.co/8ws2otKaQy

— Truthfully (@Truthfully83) 17 January 2020

Because you’re police officer
Because you need money
Because you holds a gun
You guys beleive you’re a god
You guys have failed the citizens
The Nigeria government as been failing since 1960 and they are still failing till date!!! Back to back #JusticeForChima

— shellykeen (@Ade_kelvin94) 17 January 2020

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‘His killers must be brought to book’- outrage as police ‘torture’ mechanic to death – TheCable Lifestyle

person

The alleged killing of Chima Ikwunado, a mechanic in Port Harcourt, Rivers, by some officers of the Nigerian police force in the state, has sparked outrage on social media platforms.

Comrade Phils, an activist, had taken to his Facebook page to disclose that the brother and a client of the deceased narrated to him how men attached to the E Crack, Mile 1 police station, carried out the act.

According to him, the client disclosed that he gave his car to the deceased to fix its air-conditioning system on December 19, 2019.

The next day, he tried reaching Chima, the deceased, via phone but he was unreachable. He then decided to visit the mechanic shop and still couldn’t find Chima and his car. Upon further inquiry from other mechanics at the shop, it was discovered that the deceased was apprehended by the police.

He said the client subsequently visited different police stations till he got to the Mile 1 police station and saw his car parked outside the Eagle Crack division.

The client said upon identifying himself as the car owner, he had a gun pointed at him and was chased out of the station. For fear of being shot at, he left as instructed.

As he went home to restrategise on how to tackle the issue, he said he was visited by Obinna, a brother to the deceased, who explained that Chima and some other colleagues were testing two cars, his and a Toyota Camry, after repairs.

Due to the terrible traffic at the time they decided to drive through a one-way route where they were apprehended by the police.

Obinna said that the policemen asked for bribes but were not satisfied with the amount offered by Chima and his colleagues and immediately accused them of stealing the two cars.

The police allegedly took the cash on them, a total of N150,000, handcuffed them and took them to the police station where they were subjected to “brutal torture”.

One of the arrested suspects, who couldn’t bear the torture anymore, confessed to them breaking into a lady’s home and stealing the cars.

With the knowledge of the reason behind the arrest, Chima’s client proceeds to claim his car. Accompanied by an Airforce commander, he takes copies of the original car documents to the station.

After much back and forth, the car was eventually released to him but Chima and his colleagues remained in the custody of the police.

On January 2, the client disclosed he received a call from a barrister who was defending Chima’s colleagues.

It was during this conversation, it was discovered Chima had died from the torture and his colleagues had been sent to prison with decaying sores from wounds inflicted on them during torture.

The heart-wrenching tale has since sparked outrage on Twitter as users have united with the hashtag #JusticeForChima to register their annoyance.

“Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book,” a Twitter user demanded.

“To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.
I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.
Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed. #JusticeForChima,” another user said.

Here’s what some Nigerians had to say:

I woke up to the sad news of the murder of one Chima In Portharcourt by men of @PoliceNG. We’re gradually getting to the point where citizens will take laws into their hands & challenge the madness of the @PoliceNG. The State CP must account for the life of Chima #JusticeForChima

— Olúyẹmí Fásípè 🇳🇬 (@YemieFash) January 17, 2020

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠

Chima POLICE killers MUST be brought to book😠#JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/A2QCFcCxh3

— 🍫 Chinonso Viktor 🍫 (@iamdlaw2) January 17, 2020

Almost every family in Nigeria has a relative who is a police officer. Either nuclear or extended family. Pls let us start talking sense into their skulls. Ask them this question “what if I’m d one?” This wickedness mixed wit madness must stop #EndPoliceBrutality #JusticeForChima

To start with, The IG of @PoliceNG should resign for how horrible the Force has become under him.

I hope by now, those police officers that killed Chima are already in detention. They should be charged for Murder.

Apparently, the Police can’t be reformed.#JusticeForChima

— Mr Integrity (@Intergrity56) January 17, 2020

Because you’re police officer
Because you need money
Because you holds a gun
You guys beleive you’re a god
You guys have failed the citizens
The Nigeria government as been failing since 1960 and they are still failing till date!!! Back to back #JusticeForChima

— shellykeen (@Ade_kelvin94) January 17, 2020

Nigeria is a failed state. The lives of common citizens can be wasted for no reason by the police.

I would have been dead like chima, or in prison like the other 4 boys 10 years ago from the hands of Area F police station in Lagos.

— Truthfully (@Truthfully83) January 17, 2020

Nigerian Police is your number one enemy!!!

I repeat, Nigerian police is your number one enemy!!

Fear them same way you fear armed robbers.

They’re not protecting us anymore, they’re killing us everyday.

Untill FG reforms police, Police is not your friend.#JusticeForChima

— Chukwuma Gordian™ (@chumagordian) January 17, 2020

This is extremely horrible and sad at the same time. Feels like a movie script that no one would ever imagine innocent lives are being treated like this.

Hopefully this won’t end up as one of the regular 24-hours social media noise without justice. #JusticeForChima https://t.co/QEsXPu5xxd

— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) January 17, 2020

The police is our friend I’ve never understood that statement and I’m not sure if I ever will. U think that holding a gun to ur hand makes u a God, constantly disregarding the lives of civilians news flash #JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/R8lkqVulaj

— Dat stubborn girl😁💦💦❣️✍️ (@Jojo101Stan) January 17, 2020

This story is so sad, I feel defeated reading this. How is this even a country? How do we live like this ?
Re the Nigerian police even human ?
Who did this to us? #JusticeForChima pic.twitter.com/g1N0zL6ZKp

Chima deserves justice
Chima was a son
Chima was a brother
Chima was a husband
Chima was an expectant father
Chima was an employer of labor
Cha was an innocent citizen
Chima deserves justice
What happened to Chima can happen to anybody #JusticeForChima

— saggibabe (@iiamfloxycutey) January 17, 2020

When you caution a policeman against torture, they think you’re stoping them from doing their job but in the real sense, you’re actually saving them. How do you explain #JusticeForChima tweets to his parents/loved ones? How do the police culprits explain to their families too?

— M. M. Obono (@martobono) January 17, 2020

My heart bleeds for Nigeria. How did we get here? What happened to our values? Is it too much money or lack of it? No more regard for human lives… now we have to run away from the people who are meant to protect us???

There shall be no peace for the wicked!#JusticeForChima https://t.co/nM3HDzUtw6

— ‘Lekan ‘Feyisan (@Lekan_Feyisan) January 17, 2020

I stay in Port Harcourt & the rate the Police are extorting money from people is ludicrous. They & the bad guys work hand in hand. A thug will collect someone’s phone & wallet right in the Police nose & they’ll just ignore & in the end, they’ll get their shares #JusticeForChima

— 🇳🇬 ™Follow Me | Follow Tacha🔱🔱™ 🇳🇬 (@Mhizta_Daniels) January 17, 2020

The law is clear, it’s better to let a 100 criminal abscond than to convict one innocent person, the number of innocent persons the @PoliceNG has ruined their lives is unimaginable, innocent lives in prison and dead as a result of activities from rogue officers! #JusticeForChima https://t.co/9ylyPg6qzD

— jgagas🗨 PhD (affidavit) (@JGagariga) January 17, 2020

Somebody once said that the armed robber is far better than the @NigeriaPolice, it was fun to me but i later got into deep thought about it and saw some sense in it. Reading the story on #JusticeForChima makes me weep bitterly for my beloved country.😭😭

— Akin joshua a🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬 (@Akinjoshua2017) January 17, 2020

I always say this, if u ever hear I’m running for the office of d president or my husband is, I advice the Nigerian police force to ensure we dont win cos if we do, I will be coming for them all. I will even visit the sins of the fathers on d newer generations#JusticeForChima 😭 pic.twitter.com/E8T4OZYYJF

— Kate-Nnaji (@nnaji_kate) January 17, 2020

Life is hard, Africa is difficult, Nigeria is hell!! Safe return to your home ain’t guaranteed even if you go to the next street. May my children not witness this hardship 🤢. May God give the deceased family the fortitude to bear the loss.#JusticeForChima

— timi (@kvng__timmy) January 17, 2020

The Nigerian Police is the most corrupt, insensitive & reckless public institution in the world.

An institution that is supposed to protect our lives, is the same institution that indiscriminately murders our own people.

Such an alarming contradiction!#JusticeForChima
😢

This country is so messed up. To imagine our law enforcement agencies are the ones doing the work of Armed Robbers and Hired killer. The governments are definitely sleeping. #JusticeForChima

— The Olanrewaju♠️ (@tobiloba_II) January 17, 2020

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Facebook stops plans to put ads on WhatsApp

cell phone

In 2019, it was announced at the Facebook Marketing Summit that advertisements would be appearing in WhatsApp Status. Recently, Facebook disclosed it has quit plans to start posting ads on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp will bring Stories Ads in its status product in 2020. #FMS19 pic.twitter.com/OI3TWMmfKj

— Olivier Ponteville (@Olivier_Ptv) May 21, 2019

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the team that was set up to work on integrating ads to the app were dissolved and as a result, their work was “deleted from WhatsApp’s code”. Though the app up to this time is ad-free, Facebook still plans to harmonise ads into WhatsApp’s Status feature.

The report further said that Facebooks’s plan to monetise WhatsApp is part of what made WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum exit the company in 2018 and closely followed months after by his fellow co-founder Brian Acton.

Also, the drawback in putting ads on WhatsApp has led Facebook to alternatively focus on WhatsApp features that will “allow businesses to communicate with customers and organize those contacts.”

Acquired for $22 billion (₦7,974,956,000) in 2014 by Facebook, WhatsApp is one of the most used social media platforms in the world and in Nigeria especially, according to a report. And with new features been added to the Facebook-owned apps, it may seem that the company is unrelenting in making its platform indispensable.

It can be recalled that in 2019, Facebook introduced ‘catalogs’ to its WhatsApp Business app and also Facebook Pay to the market. Although, these features are yet to be available in the African market.

Presuming that ads on WhatsApp would be ultimately launched, the WhatsApp status feature which was copied from Snapchat stories might be carrying ads in between the status just like Instagram stories.

On a brighter note, ads in between WhatsApp stories would be of an advantage to small business owners who already use their WhatsApp status as a tool to market their services. Additionally, these businesses could also create ads to target their prospective customers on the app.

It would also be another huge source of revenue for Facebook as WhatsApp is yet to be monetised while Facebook and Instagram are already generating revenue for the company via customer replies through its new WhatsApp Business API, Facebook Marketplace, ads placement on Instagram and so on.

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Woman in Tech | I write about social media and internet culture | Photography enthusiast.

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Facebook keeps policy protecting political ads | ABS-CBN News

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Facebook logos are seen on a screen in this picture illustration taken Dec. 2, 2019. Johanna Geron, Reuters/file

SAN FRANCISCO — Defying pressure from Congress, Facebook said on Thursday that it would continue to allow political campaigns to use the site to target advertisements to particular slices of the electorate and that it would not police the truthfulness of the messages sent out.

The stance put Facebook, the most important digital platform for political ads, at odds with some of the other large tech companies, which have begun to put new limits on political ads.

Facebook’s decision, telegraphed in recent months by executives, is likely to harden criticism of the company heading into this year’s presidential election.

Political advertising cuts to the heart of Facebook’s outsize role in society, and the company has found itself squeezed between liberal critics, who want it to do a better job of policing its various social media platforms, and conservatives, who say their views are being unfairly muzzled.

The issue has raised important questions regarding how heavy a hand technology companies like Facebook — which also owns Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp — and Google should exert when deciding what types of political content they will and will not permit.

By maintaining a status quo, Facebook executives are essentially saying they are doing the best they can without government guidance and see little benefit to the company or the public in changing.

In a blog post, a company official echoed Facebook’s earlier calls for lawmakers to set firm rules.

“In the absence of regulation, Facebook and other companies are left to design their own policies,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management overseeing the advertising integrity division, said in the post. “We have based ours on the principle that people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”

Other social media companies have decided otherwise, and some had hoped Facebook would quietly follow their lead. In late October, Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, banned all political advertising from his network, citing the challenges that novel digital systems present to civic discourse. Google quickly followed suit with limits on political ads across some of its properties, though narrower in scope.

Reaction to Facebook’s policy broke down largely along party lines.

The Trump campaign, which has been highly critical of any attempts by technology companies to regulate political advertising and has already spent more than $27 million on the platform, largely supported Facebook’s decision not to interfere in targeting ads or to set fact-checking standards.

“Our ads are always accurate so it’s good that Facebook won’t limit political messages because it encourages more Americans to be involved in the process,” said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign. “This is much better than the approaches from Twitter and Google, which will lead to voter suppression.”

Democratic presidential candidates and outside groups decried the decision.

“Facebook is paying for its own glowing fake news coverage, so it’s not surprising they’re standing their ground on letting political figures lie to you,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

Warren, who has been among the most critical of Facebook and regularly calls for major tech companies to be broken up, reiterated her stance that the social media company should face tougher policies.

The Biden campaign was similarly critical. The campaign has confronted Facebook over an ad run by President Donald Trump’s campaign that attacked Joe Biden’s record on Ukraine.

“Donald Trump’s campaign can (and will) still lie in political ads,” Bill Russo, the deputy communications director for Biden, said in a statement. “Facebook can (and will) still profit off it. Today’s announcement is more window dressing around their decision to allow paid misinformation.”

But many Democratic groups willing to criticize Facebook had to walk a fine line; they have pushed for more regulation when it comes to fact-checking political ads, but they have been adamantly opposed to any changes to the ad-targeting features.

On Thursday, some Democratic outside groups welcomed Facebook’s decision not to limit micro-targeting, but still thought the policy fell short.

“These changes read to us mostly as a cover for not making the change that is most vital: ensuring politicians are not allowed to use Facebook as a tool to lie to and manipulate voters,” said Madeline Kriger, who oversees digital ad buying at Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC.

Other groups, however, said Facebook had been more thoughtful about political ads than its industry peers.

“Facebook opted against limiting ad targeting, because doing so would have unnecessarily restricted a valuable tool that campaigns of all sizes rely on for fundraising, registering voters, building crowds and organizing volunteers,” said Tara McGowan, chief executive of Acronym, a non-profit group that works on voter organization and progressive causes.

Facebook has played down the business opportunity in political ads, saying the vast majority of its revenue came from commercial, not political, ads. But lawmakers have noted that Facebook ads could be a focal point of Trump’s campaign as well as those of top Democrats.

Facebook’s hands-off ad policy has already allowed for misleading advertisements. In October, a Facebook ad from the Trump campaign made false accusations about Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The ad quickly went viral and was viewed by millions. After the Biden campaign asked Facebook to take down the ad, the company refused.

“Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is,” Facebook’s head of global elections policy, Katie Harbath, wrote in the letter to the Biden campaign.

In an attempt to provoke Facebook, Warren’s presidential campaign ran an ad falsely claiming that the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was backing the reelection of Trump. Facebook did not take the ad down.

Criticism seemed to stiffen Zuckerberg’s resolve. Company officials said he and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s president, had ultimately made the decision to stand firm.

In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University in October, Zuckerberg said he believed in the power of unfettered speech, including in paid advertising, and did not want to be in the position to police what politicians could and could not say to constituents. Facebook’s users, he said, should be allowed to make those decisions for themselves.

“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” he said.

Facebook officials have repeatedly said significant changes to its rules for political or issue ads could harm the ability of smaller, less well-funded organizations to raise money and organize across the network.

Instead of overhauling its policies, Facebook has made small tweaks. Leathern said Facebook would add greater transparency features to its library of political advertising in the coming months, a resource for journalists and outside researchers to scrutinize the types of ads run by the campaigns.

Facebook also will add a feature that allows users to see fewer campaign and political issue ads in their news feeds, something the company has said many users have requested.

There was considerable debate inside Facebook about whether it should change. Late last year, hundreds of employees supported an internal memo that called on Zuckerberg to limit the abilities of Facebook’s political advertising products.

On Dec. 30, Andrew Bosworth, the head of Facebook’s virtual and augmented reality division, wrote on his internal Facebook page that, as a liberal, he found himself wanting to use the social network’s powerful platform against Trump.

But Bosworth said that even though keeping the current policies in place “very well may lead to” Trump’s reelection, it was the right decision. Dozens of Facebook employees pushed back on Bosworth’s conclusions, arguing in the comments section below his post that politicians should be held to the same standard that applies to other Facebook users.

For now, Facebook appears willing to risk disinformation in support of unfettered speech.

“Ultimately, we don’t think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies,” Leathern said. “Frankly, we believe the sooner Facebook and other companies are subject to democratically accountable rules on this, the better.”

2020 The New York Times Company

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‘If Secularism Means Changing ‘Nadeem’ to ‘Rajesh’, Set Secularism On Fire’- Deepika Padukone’s Chhapaak Trolled

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Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has become the talk of the town and is getting heavily trolled by netizens for her recent appearance during JNU protest as many believe that she visited the varsity campus for the ‘promotion’ of her upcoming movie Chhapaak- a story based on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.

Soon after the actress visited Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Tuesday to support the students, different social media platforms got flooded with mixed reactions. But Deepika’s stand for JNU agitators sparked controversy and seems to have landed the entire Chhapaak team in trouble after the makers of the movie have reportedly changed the name of the acid attack survivor’s assailant Nadeem Khan’s name to Rajesh.

Moviegoers are well aware that Deepika’s upcoming movie is based on a real-life incident in which the acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal was brutally attacked with acid by the assailant Nadeem Khan. Laxmi was only 15-years-old when the assailant burned her face with acid for rejecting his marriage proposal.

Changing the character’s name in the movie certainly didn’t go well with many. In Chhapaak, Laxmi’s character played by Deepika has been named as Malti while the acid attacker’s name has been changed to Rajesh.

Twitteriates have trolled Deepika and the makers for changing the name of the acid attacker. The netizens trolled the makers and hurled nasty comments and have raised demands to boycott Chhapaak.

The comments read, “How how how????From NADEEM KHAN TO RAJESH OR RAKESH….from “MUSLIM TO HINDU”…..if your movie is based on true events then why would you change the RELIGION OF ACID ATTACKER….FEELING SORRY FOR THE PEOPLE LIKE YOU.#boycottchhapaak.”

Some tweets read,

If crime has no religion, then why does Bollywood feel the need to change the religion of perpetrators even in biopics? Chappak is about an acid-attack survivor, attacked by one Nadeem Khan. Apparently, in the film his Muslim identity has been hidden and he is given a Hindu name.

— Sonam Mahajan (@AsYouNotWish) January 8, 2020

If secularism means changing “Nadeem” to “Rajesh”, set secularism on fire

— Nupur J Sharma (@UnSubtleDesi) January 8, 2020

I don’t have any right to comment against deepika, that she joined tukde tukde gang. It’s her personal decision..

But, I have all the right to comment on the shitty movie, which targets one community in order to be in the good books of other one !#boycottchhapaak #UnitedHindu pic.twitter.com/stcmmlYOjh

— Vinita Hindustani🇮🇳 (@Being_Vinita) January 8, 2020

One user commented, “I was going to watch chhapak….but now I will go for TANAJI
Also changing name of acid attacker from nadeem khan to rajesh doesn’t make any sense
What if bollywood make movie on 9/11… will they rename osama bil laden as om bhatt??”

While Deepika’s Chhapaak is all set to release on January 10, it is to see whether her action along with the moviemakers’ such a ‘narrow-minded name-changing’ move of the accused will prove dearer for the movie.

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Easy way to set Facebook to Private 2020 – Facebook.com

Hey guys we are on again to show you an easy way to set Facebook to private 2020. Basically, it’s no doubt that security is one major form of our lives right now. However, most people on social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and so on like to keep their accounts private. This is not just because they love to but because they want to keep some standard of their information secret.

Easy way to set Facebook to Private 2020 – Facebook.com

Particularly, it is never a doubt as well that Facebook is one of the most used social media platforms today. Therefore, Facebook is a unique place to connect with old friends and as well make new ones. More so you can as well sell and buy with the Facebook marketplace feature and promote your business also with the Facebook advertising feature.

Basically, this is to say there is so much activity you can do using the Facebook platform. However, sometimes keeping your Facebook account private is a way of keeping your Facebook account safe from unwanted people. Furthermore, this also helps you to regulate the kind of persons you want on your Facebook friend list. So without wasting more of your time let me show you how to go about getting the easy way to set Facebook to private 2020.

Steps on How to Make Your Facebook Private 2020

  1. Locate the privacy shortcut at the top right corner of your screen. Therefore, you will see a three-stripe horizontal like icon click on it or you will see an arrow-like icon click it and a menu will dropdown.
  2. Scroll down to the settings icon at the bottom and click on it.
  3. Furthermore, it will then take you to the Privacy and tools page. Therefore, on this page, you can then edit your Activities on Facebook and set how people can find and contact you. Also, make your Facebook account public or private.

Basically, with this easy way you can edit your Facebook account to suit your profile. Also, you can set your privacy status in any way you prefer it to be. This is the easy way to go about setting your Facebook account private.

The post Easy way to set Facebook to Private 2020 – Facebook.com appeared first on Bingdroid.

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‘Delete Netflix app on your system’ ⁠— Apostle Suleman reacts to film about ‘gay Jesus’ – TheCable Lifestyle

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Johnson Suleman, general overseer of Omega Fire Ministries, has called on Christians to unsubscribe and delete their accounts on Netflix, an American streaming service, over its movie that depicted Jesus Christ as a closeted homosexual.

The movie, ‘The First Temptation Of Christ’ is a Netflix christmas special from Porta Dos Fundos, a Brazil-based YouTube comedy group.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the cleric rallied all “true” Christians to delete their Netflix accounts in his condemnatory tirade.

“Delete Netflix app on your system. Unfollow them if you are a true Christian. The movie ‘gay Jesus’ is an insult to Christianity and abuse to our sensibilities. We stand to condemn it and all it stands for. Mad people,” he wrote.

Delete Netflix app on your system..unfollow them if you are a true Christian..The movie ‘gay jesus’ is an insult to christianity and abuse to our sensibilities..we stand to condemn it and all it stands for…Mad people…

— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) December 15, 2019

He also urged all “believers of Christ” on earth to boycott the movie-streaming giant if they go ahead with the “rubbish”.

“We have 2.5 billion Christians on earth, if Netflix goes ahead with this rubbish, we should boycott them.. that movie is evil, it’s not right and it will not stand,” he wrote.

We have 2.5billion Christians on earth,if Netflix goes ahead with this rubbish,we should boycott them.. that movie is evil,its not right and it will not stand.

— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) December 15, 2019

The pastor also predicted the fall of Netflix by saying the release of the movie is the beginning of its end.

“The glory of present-day cinema is Netflix. But since they have decided to blaspheme, its crash is inevitable. You want to do a film ‘gay Jesus’? Its the beginning of your end. We are not cowards cause we are tolerant,” he added.

The glory of present day cinema is Netflix..but since they have decided to blaspheme,its crash is inevitable..you want to do a film ‘gay jesus’?…its the beginning of your end..we are not cowards cause we are tolerant..

— Apst Johnson Suleman (@APOSTLESULEMAN) December 15, 2019

Since it’s release on December 3, the movie has faced intense backlashes on social media platforms.

Last week, 1.34 million people signed a petition for the movie to be pulled down from the streaming service.

It is believed that the comedy group responsible for the film had first created a movie titled ‘The Last Hangover,’ which depicts Jesus’ disciples looking for him on the morning after the Last Supper.

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Why the fight against disinformation, sham accounts and trolls won’t be any easier in 2020

2020 Election

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.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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