Accidental Cat Filter Turns Pakistan Minister’s Live Stream Presser Into Viral Sensation


This post is by Caleb Howe from Mediaite


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Pakistani children look at a computer screen showing a screen grab of a press conference attended by provincial minister Shaukat Yousafzai and streamed live on social media, in Islamabad on June 15, 2019. Shaukat Yousafzai is a regional minister in Pakistan, but that’s not what he’s known for. Not anymore. He’s now the guy who had his press event streamed live on official channels with kitty cat ears and whiskers over his face, thanks to a filter that was accidentally left running. His party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is also the Prime Minister’s party and the ruling one in the nation, ran the cat filter video live on their social media, including Facebook, and deleted it about three minutes after it ended and they realized what happened. In a statement, they blamed “human error” for the hilarious incident. The Kitty Conference was captured mostly in the form of still images and screenshots that were shared on social media after the fact, along with some raw screen recordings.

Trump Rails Against Tech Giants When Asked If They Should Be Broken Up: ‘They Discriminate Against Me’


This post is by Joe DePaolo from Mediaite


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Break up big tech? During an interview on CNBC Monday morning, anchor Joe Kernen asked President Donald Trump about whether tech behemoths should be broken up. “Do you think Facebook, and Google, and Amazon, are these companies too big now?” Kernen asked. “Do you think the antitrust scrutiny is warranted and do you think they should be broken up?” The president took the opportunity to rant against the tech giants — and baselessly accused them of colluding with Democrats. “Well I can tell you they discriminate against me,” Trump said. “You know, people talk about collusion. The real collusion is between the Democrats and these companies. ‘Cause they were so against me during my election run. “Everybody said, if you don’t have them, you can’t win. Well, I won. And I’ll win again.” Watch above via CNBC.

ProPublica’s Facebook-monitoring political ad tool (which Facebook fought) is alive again with a new home at the Globe and Mail


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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The Globe and Mail is the new home to the Facebook Political Ad Collector, a browser extension that ProPublica built and released in 2017. As Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson — names that are familiar to you if you’ve been following The Markup … thing — wrote at the time:
The tool is a small piece of software that users can add to their web browser (Chrome). When users log into Facebook, the tool will collect the ads displayed on the user’s news feed and guess which ones are political based on an algorithm built by ProPublica. One benefit for interested users is that the tool will show them Facebook political ads that weren’t aimed at their demographic group, and that they wouldn’t ordinarily see.
ProPublica used to the tool to supplement reporting around the German federal elections and the U.S. midterms. Facebook didn’t like the tool, urged ProPublica
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Facebook is offering new subscription tools for publishers via Instant Articles


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Facebook is introducing more tools for users to kick in subscriptions for publishers, but it’s unclear how many subscriptions it will meaningfully drive. The platform has hosted subscription and membership boot camps for publishers before, helping dozens of local news outlets refine their reader revenue strategies. But Facebook has still taken a hands-off approach to, you know, sharing revenue with content creators or members of the industry decimated by Facebook’s and other companies’ digital advertising. Now Facebook is giving the reins of subscriptions via its Instant Articles to publishers, and it won’t be taking the 30 percent cut it usually takes from a similar product for creators. This new product, News Funding, has been in testing for the past 18 months with 40 publishers worldwide, including Tribune Publishing and India’s Business Standard, Mexico’s Animal Político, and paywall tech company Piano, according to Facebook’s announcement:
News Funding Continue reading "Facebook is offering new subscription tools for publishers via Instant Articles"

GOP Senator Muses That Breaking Up Big Tech May Not Be Enough: ‘Should These Platforms Exist?’


This post is by Connor Mannion from Mediaite


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A freshman GOP senator said in an interview with NBC that breaking up tech companies like Facebook or Amazon may not be enough. “Should these platforms exist at all?” asked Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in an interview with NBC News published Saturday. In his questioning of big tech companies, he shares some common cause with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has called for the break-up of tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon. “Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren wrote in a Medium post. “They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.” According to Hawley, Warren’s call to break-up the companies may not go far enough. “If we broke Facebook up into Continue reading "GOP Senator Muses That Breaking Up Big Tech May Not Be Enough: ‘Should These Platforms Exist?’"

Regulating the net is regulating us


This post is by Jeff Jarvis from BuzzMachine


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Here are three intertwined posts in one: a report from inside a workshop on Facebook’s Oversight Board; a follow-up on the working group on net regulation I’m part of; and a brief book report on Jeff Kosseff’s new and very good biography of Section 230, The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet.

Facebook’s Oversight Board

Last week, I was invited — with about 40 others from law, media, civil society, and the academe — to one of a half-dozen workshops Facebook is holding globally to grapple with the thicket of thorny questions associated with the external oversight board Mark Zuckerberg promised.

(Disclosures: I raised money for my school from Facebook. We are independent and I receive no compensation personally from any platform. The workshop was held under Chatham House rule. I declined to sign an NDA and none was then required, but details about to real case studies were off the record.)

You

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What do we do about the “shallowfake” Nancy Pelosi video and others like it?


This post is by Laura Hazard Owen from Nieman Lab


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The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

Facebook and the Pelosi video. A week ago, The Washington Post reported that altered videos (“shallowfakes”) of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — slowed down to make it look as if she were drunk and slurring her words — were spreading on social media. Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal attorney, tweeted one of them (though he later deleted the tweet). From the Post:

One version, posted by the conservative Facebook page Politics WatchDog, had been viewed more than 2 million times by Thursday night, been shared more than 45,000 times, and garnered 23,000 comments with users calling her “drunk” and “a babbling mess.”

YouTube took the videos down. Facebook said it would downrank
🇪🇺
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Hillary Clinton Calls Out Facebook for Refusing to Remove Doctored Video of Nancy Pelosi: It Was ‘Sexist Trash’


This post is by Reed Richardson from Mediaite


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During a commencement speech at New York City’s Hunter College, Hillary Clinton called out Facebook for refusing to take down a doctored video circulating on fringe, right-wing sites that falsely portrays House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slurring her speech and acting inebriated in public. “It wasn’t even a close call, the video is sexist trash,” she said. “YouTube took it down, but Facebook left it up.” Pelosi herself slammed the tech giant last week when it announced it would not seek out and remove the doctored videos of her that were being disseminated on the site. “We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians,” Pelosi said. “I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it’s wrong.” Facebook said it has put in place graphics accompanying posts of the doctored video — although Continue reading "Hillary Clinton Calls Out Facebook for Refusing to Remove Doctored Video of Nancy Pelosi: It Was ‘Sexist Trash’"

Pelosi Rips Facebook: Allowing Altered Videos Shows They Are ‘Enablers of Russian Interference’


This post is by Connor Mannion from Mediaite


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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) slammed Facebook for its refusal to remove doctored videos of her speaking faked to make her look drunk or incoherent, saying the company is “lying to the public” and enabling election interference efforts. “We have said all along, poor Facebook, they were unwittingly exploited by the Russians. I think wittingly, because right now they are putting up something that they know is false. I think it’s wrong,” Pelosi told KQED News. “I think they have proven—by not taking down something they know is false—that they were willing enablers of the Russian interference in our election,” she said. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Facebook has said it has heavily reduced the one of the videos appearances in people’s news feeds, and that the video now plays alongside a small informational box linking to fact checks indicating the video is false. The Continue reading "Pelosi Rips Facebook: Allowing Altered Videos Shows They Are ‘Enablers of Russian Interference’"

Videos Doctored to Show Pelosi Appearing to Be Drunk Rocket Across Social Media


This post is by Joe DePaolo from Mediaite


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Doctored videos showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeming to be drunk have been making the rounds on social media. The Washington Post uncovered the videos from an event in D.C. on Wednesday. The Post reports that the clips were “subtly edited” to slow down Pelosi’s speech — making it seem as though she was slurring her words. A conservative Facebook page called Politics WatchDog has, according to the Post, put up a version of the video which has garnered more than 1.4 million views. From the article:
“There is no question that the video has been slowed to alter Pelosi’s voice,” said Hany Farid, a computer-science professor and digital-forensics expert at University of California, Berkeley. “It is striking that such a simple manipulation can be so effective and believable to some,” he added. “While I think that deepfake technology poses a real threat,” he said, in reference Continue reading "Videos Doctored to Show Pelosi Appearing to Be Drunk Rocket Across Social Media"

News outlets post way more pictures of men than women to Facebook


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Just like in newsrooms, men are overrepresented in the images U.S. news organizations use in news stories posted to Facebook, a new study from Pew Research Center found. Men comprised more than half of the faces in photos accompanying links from news outlets, with as many as two-thirds of the faces pictured. Pew used machine vision to assess this: Researchers analyzed images from 17 U.S. national news outlets — ABC News, BuzzFeed News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, HuffPost, NBC News, The New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, Time, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, The Washington Post, Yahoo News, Vice, and Vox — that were included in links posted to Facebook between April 1 and June 30, 2018:
There are several ways to measure how often men and women appear in news photos. One way is to think about all the photos together as making
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Solving the Facebook Problem at Home and Abroad


This post is by WNYC Studios from On the Media


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When former Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes penned a New York Times op-ed calling for the breakup of the platform, he was lauded by anti-corporate politicians and the press. Then came a series of hard questions: how exactly would breaking up Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, address free speech concerns? Or help stifle the spread of propaganda on the platform? And how would American regulations affect the majority of Facebook users, who live in the global south? According to Michael Lwin, an American-born antitrust lawyer living in Yangon, Myanmar, US regulators should tread lightly. He and Bob speak about how calls to break up Facebook could have wide ranging unintended consequences, especially outside of the US.

Facebook Co-Founder Warns Mark Zuckerberg has ‘Near-Unilateral Power’, is Accountable to No One


This post is by Connor Mannion from Mediaite


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Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who is calling for the break-up of the company he helped CEO Mark Zuckerberg create, tells CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that “Mark Zuckerberg has too much power.” On his Sunday program Fareed Zakaria GPS, Zakaria asked Hughes about his op-ed for the New York Times “where the biggest concern you say in the piece is the degree to which Mark Zuckerberg has almost total control over what information we all read about, access.” “Mark’s the CEO, there is a board but because he owns 60 percent of the voting shares he’s not accountable really to that board,” Hughes said. “He’s not really accountable to users, and thus, far he’s not been accountable to government.” “The world that we’re in right now is one where I do think Mark Zuckerberg has too much power, near unilateral power,” Hughes said. Hughes notes what he Continue reading "Facebook Co-Founder Warns Mark Zuckerberg has ‘Near-Unilateral Power’, is Accountable to No One"

Kamala Harris Says Facebook Essentially an Unregulated ‘Utility’ We ‘Have to Seriously Take a Look’ at Breaking Up


This post is by Connor Mannion from Mediaite


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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tells CNN’s Jake Tapper that Facebook “is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated” and lawmakers should take a serious look at breaking up the company. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, the 2020 presidential candidate told Tapper that Facebook “has prioritized its growth over the best interest of its consumers, especially on the issue of privacy.” Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes recently called for the company to be broken up in an opinion piece for the New York Times that said CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “focus on growth led him to sacrifice security and civility for clicks.” Facebook executive Nick Clegg responded in an op-ed published Saturday that argued breaking up Facebook won’t fix the problems inherent in social media overall. According to Harris, “there needs to be more oversight and that is not happening.” When Tapper asked if the California senator Continue reading "Kamala Harris Says Facebook Essentially an Unregulated ‘Utility’ We ‘Have to Seriously Take a Look’ at Breaking Up"

Facebook Exec Responds to Chris Hughes Saying It Should Be Broken Up: ‘Success Should Not Be Penalized’


This post is by Connor Mannion from Mediaite


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A top Facebook official is hitting back at co-founder Chris Hughes’ call to break-up the social media giant, arguing in a New York Times op-ed that Facebook’s “success should not be penalized.” Facebook vice president for global affairs and communications Nick Clegg responded to Hughes’ own op-ed that argued Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has too much power in modern life. Clegg agrees with Hughes on some points, saying “companies should be held accountable for their actions. If people were writing the rules for the internet from scratch today, they wouldn’t want so many important social, political and ethical questions left in the hands of private companies.” However, Clegg argues breaking up Facebook won’t fix the problems inherent in social media and states the company is asking for increased government oversight. Clegg, a former deputy prime minister for the British Parliament, notes “we employ 38,000 people globally, and every day Continue reading "Facebook Exec Responds to Chris Hughes Saying It Should Be Broken Up: ‘Success Should Not Be Penalized’"

Facebook Co-Founder Calls For Break Up of Facebook: Zuckerberg Sacrificed ‘Security and Civility For Clicks’


This post is by Caleb Ecarma from Mediaite


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Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for the break up of Facebook today, arguing in a New York Times op-ed that the site needs to be reined in because its CEO Mark Zuckerberg has “unchecked power” in modern life. While Hughes noted that he hasn’t worked at Facebook in 15 years, he still feels “anger and responsibility” when the site is used as a vehicle for bad actors and nefarious content, like “Russian agents, violent rhetoric and fake news; and the unbounded drive to capture ever more of our time and attention.” “[Zuckerberg is] human. But it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic,” Hughes later notes in the piece. “Mark’s influence is staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government. He controls three core communications platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — that billions of people use every day.” Continue reading "Facebook Co-Founder Calls For Break Up of Facebook: Zuckerberg Sacrificed ‘Security and Civility For Clicks’"

Trump Decries ‘Horrible’ Treatment of Conservatives on Social Media, Shouts Out Diamond & Silk and James Woods


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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President Donald Trump threw a bit of flattery at pro-Trump vloggers and Fox News regulars Diamond and Silk on Friday. It all happened during his latest rant against Facebook and alleged censorship of conservative voices. “The wonderful Diamond and Silk have been treated so horribly by Facebook,” Trump kvetched. “They work so hard and what has been done to them is very sad – and we’re looking into. It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!” Trump’s tweet follows an earlier social media post where he said he was “monitoring” the censorship of American citizens on social media.

The View Debates Facebook Bans of Alex Jones and Others: ‘Slippery Slope,’ What if They Ban Ilhan Omar?


This post is by Ken Meyer from Mediaite


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The View panel had some differing opinions, Friday, as they debated Facebook’s ban on various political figures who’ve been classified as “dangerous” extremists. When Joy Behar raised the question of whether the ban infringes on any First Amendment rights, Sunny Hostin explained that as a private company, Facebook can monitor their content and decide how their service is being used. However, she also said it “makes me uncomfortable that you have this private organization being able to take away the speech of private individuals.” Ana Navarro was much less sympathetic, saying the figures who were banned — including Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Laura Loomer — are “horrible for our society,” and the First Amendment allows for certain restrictions on speech that carries a risk of hurting people. Behar brought the conversation back to the idea that the ban is a “slippery slope,” noting “you can say Continue reading "The View Debates Facebook Bans of Alex Jones and Others: ‘Slippery Slope,’ What if They Ban Ilhan Omar?"

Facebook Bans Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Other Extremists After Labeling Them ‘Dangerous’


This post is by Joe DePaolo from Mediaite


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Facebook has banned a series of well-known political provocateurs after labeling them as “dangerous.” According to CNN, the social networking giant has given the heave-ho to InfoWars, along with founder Alex Jones. Other notables banned include Louis Farrakhan, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer, and Paul Joseph Watson. Facebook gave a statement to CNN in which they explained their rationale for applying the “dangerous” designation to those individuals and banning them from the platform. “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.” The ban includes Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Twitter has previously banned a number of these individuals, including Loomer. Now, Facebook has followed suit. Watch CNN’s Oliver Continue reading "Facebook Bans Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Other Extremists After Labeling Them ‘Dangerous’"

Here are the social media and democracy research projects Facebook is giving data to


This post is by Christine Schmidt from Nieman Lab


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Facebook knows it screwed up, is trying to do better, and is spending some of this year actually listening to critiques and suggestions (supposedly). Zuckerberg even has a podcast now! But seriously, Facebook and a coalition of social science researchers have announced a group of 60 academics who will have access to some internal Facebook data to analyze “the role social media has on elections and democracy and help Facebook and other companies improve their products and practices.” That’s Facebook’s wording, but the company was not involved in the decision-making process, and it is not providing funding for the research either; that’s coming from eight foundations, including Knight, Charles Koch, and Omidyar Network. (Facebook has also emphasized the secure system Continue reading "Here are the social media and democracy research projects Facebook is giving data to"