Tag: media

Joe Brolly: Society has been infected by Social Media Tourettes and the GAA is no exception

The Reverend Travis Clarke, Catholic parish priest of the Pearl Saint Peter & Saint Paul diocese in Louisiana, was arrested last week on obscenity charges. Bored by lockdown, his empty schedule allowing his head to be filled with unclean temptation, the poor man finally succumbed and as you do, organised an orgy on the church altar with his two communion servers. I have to say I’ve never been a fan of orgies. One never knows who to thank at the end of the night.

ast Wednesday, after the arrest, the Archbishop of New Orleans travelled to the church with his resident exorcist (I kid you not) and they performed a lengthy ritual (behind closed doors) that was said to have “purified God’s altar and restored the sanctity of his holy church.”

Rev Clarke, who has been summarily suspended, must be sorely regretting videoing the whole thing on his phone, which according to the local police chief he had “set up on a tripod to get the best possible angles, which will be a great help to the prosecution team.” As a friend of mine from Dungiven commented, “Let he who has not organised an orgy on the church altar with his communion servers throw the first stone.”

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New law aims to protect finances, privacy of child social media stars

Some young children earn millions of dollars through social media influencing and promotion, but there’s little legislation or protection for most. A new law in France aims to try to safeguard children under the age of 16, protecting their finances and providing some privacy.

The legislation, which was passed unanimously by the French parliament on Oct. 6, creates a “legal framework” that gives social media stars the same protections as French child models and actors.

A press release about the law says videos of child influencers online raise “important questions about the interests of the children they portray” and raises questions about the “impact celebrity can have on the psychological development of children, the risks of cyber-harassment, even child pornography, and the fact that these activities are not regulated by labor law.”

Bruno Studer, the politician behind the bill, told the French newspaper Le Monde that the law would make France a pioneer in the rights of child social media stars.

“Children’s rights must be preserved and protected, including on the internet, which must not be a lawless area,” Studer told La Tribune, another publication.

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The multi-part legislation “guarantees that the conditions of employment” for social media influencers under the age of 16 are “compatible with his schooling and the safeguard of his health.” The majority of a child’s income garnered from social media influencing must be paid to a specific French public sector financial institution, which will hold and manage that money until the child comes of age. The law also places limits on how many hours a child can work as an influencer.

Another part of the law also gives children some protection from the platforms on which they post. One piece of the legislation “makes platforms participate more actively in the detection of problematic audiovisual content” and “creates an obligation of cooperation with public authorities.” Platforms face a fine of 75,000 euros, or around $88,700, for not complying with these obligations.

The legislation also includes a “right to erasure,” which means that minors can ask platforms to take down images of themselves and requires platforms to comply.

Children can earn millions of dollars online. According to Forbes, an American child named Ryan Kaji made more than $20 million in 2018 by reviewing toys on YouTube.

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Social media impacts our elections, protests, and politics

Last April, states began to sporadically reopen after weeks of being shut down. Georgia was among the first to begin the process, while some states didn’t start lifting restrictions until June. The uncoordinated reopening caused chaos, according to Sinan Aral, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy.

Why? Because Georgia pulled in hundreds of thousands of visitors from neighboring states — folks hoping to get a haircut or go bowling.

Aral was tracking Americans on social media, and it became clear to him that having uncoordinated policies for the coronavirus doesn’t make sense. As people watched their social feeds fill with images of people heading back outside, they stepped out too — even if their state wasn’t at the same phase.

Aral, the author of “The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health — and How We Must Adapt,” has used social media as a tool to gain insight into everything from pandemic reopenings to protests and politics. And core to what he’s learned is that “social media is designed for our brains.”

Humans have an intrinsic need to seek out and process social signals, he says — something we’ve used to our advantage throughout history.

But the invention of social media? It’s “like throwing a lit match into a pool of gasoline,” he said.

We can’t look away, no matter the cost.

Three takeaways:

  • Social media is immensely powerful, Aral says. The “tremendous leverage” it has to “influence opinions and behaviors in the physical world” can be captured for good or bad. How do we hang on to the good and scrap the bad? Aral says creating more competition could go a long way.
  • There’s a strange dance between real people tweeting fake stuff and fake accounts amplifying those tweets. That was clear in 2014 when Russians used social media to reframe the annexation of Crimea as an “accession,” rather than a takeover, Aral says. This changed its perception on the ground and internationally, as diplomats struggled to decide whether or not to intervene.
  • The Russian social media strategy in 2020 is “much more sophisticated” than it was in 2016, Aral says — and the US intelligence community agrees. As platforms have cracked down on fake accounts, Russia has covertly encouraged US citizens to “start and spread false propaganda and manipulative content.” Plus, they’ve moved their servers to US soil, which makes them harder to find.

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Turkey Says Facebook Risks Fines If Flouts New Social Media Law

(Bloomberg) — Turkey will penalize Facebook with escalating fines and could make it excrutiatingly slow to use the platform if the company flouts a new social media law that could be used to stifle dissent.



Buildings on the skyline of the European side sit on the horizon, framed beneath a Turkish flag flying from the Asian side, in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, April 27, 2020. Coming off a brief recession just over a year ago, the urgency is mounting for Turkey to loosen the screws on the economy as its currency and reserves come under pressure more than a month after it introduced social-distancing measures.


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Buildings on the skyline of the European side sit on the horizon, framed beneath a Turkish flag flying from the Asian side, in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, April 27, 2020. Coming off a brief recession just over a year ago, the urgency is mounting for Turkey to loosen the screws on the economy as its currency and reserves come under pressure more than a month after it introduced social-distancing measures.

A senior Turkish official said The Menlo Park, California-based company had not formally told the government whether or not it would not be appointing a local representative.

But the social media giant will face an initial 10 million lira ($1.3 million) fine on Nov. 2 if it defied the rules and the penalties would increase as non-compliance continued, the official said, asking not to be identified speaking about confidential matters. Turkish law was clear on the new rules and the government planned to ensure companies met them, he added.



a close up of a sign: Signage is displayed outside Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. Facebook Inc., which had warned of rising costs and slowing growth, reported quarterly revenue roughly in line with expectations and profit that beat analysts' forecasts. And despite scandals around fake news and election interference, it added more users, too.


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Signage is displayed outside Facebook Inc. headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. Facebook Inc., which had warned of rising costs and slowing growth, reported quarterly revenue roughly in line with expectations and profit that beat analysts’ forecasts. And despite scandals around fake news and election interference, it added more users, too.

The Financial Times reported earlier this week that Facebook had told Turkish authorities it would not comply with the legislation, which went into effect last week and seeks to tighten control over social media by requiring companies to name a representative in Turkey and store some data from users on local servers.

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Those measures could give the government more leverage against critics in a country that already monitors social media closely and has previously hampered access to websites, including Twitter.

Facebook, which has around 37 million users in Turkey, found the new legislation to be too restrictive, according to the FT. Turkey’s ministry of infrastructure, which is responsible for enforcing the new law, declined to comment. Facebook headquarters in the U.S. declined to comment. It was not clear if other social media companies planned to comply.

Draconian Laws

Turkey’s parliament swiftly gave authorities new powers to tighten their grip on social media in July, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was infuriated by what he described as insults over the birth of his eighth grandchild.

Turkey Tightens Social Media Control After Erdogan Cries Foul

The law also requires social media companies to respond within 48 hours to requests to remove content, a broad power that allows authorities to block access to anything they might consider illegal. Companies that do not abide also risk having their Internet bandwidth slashed by as much as 90%, making the platform practically too slow to use, and Turkish firms could

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Shares of Philippine Media Giant Shut by Government Surge 50% in Comeback

(Bloomberg) — Philippine media giant ABS-CBN Corp. rose by the 50% daily limit after announcing the return to free-to-air television of some of its entertainment shows three months since it was denied a congressional permit.

Shares closed at 13.50 pesos each on Wednesday in Manila trading, the highest since July 22, even as the index fell by 0.7%. It also rallied by 50% on Monday, then slumped 15% the next day. Shares of its parent company Lopez Holdings Corp. also rose by 21% on Wednesday.



a group of people standing in front of a store: Operations At The ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center as Media Giant Asks Top Court to Halt Closure


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Operations At The ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center as Media Giant Asks Top Court to Halt Closure

Technical staff work on videos and other reports inside the newsroom of the ABS-CBN Corp. Broadcasting Centre in Metro Manila, the Philippines, on May 12.

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Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

Philippine Media Giant Criticized by Duterte Returns to Free TV

ABS-CBN has stopped broadcast since May when the government ordered it to shut its free TV and radio stations after its franchise expired. The network — often the target of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades — said Tuesday that some of its shows and movies will be seen on Channel 11 through an agreement with Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc.

It will, however, take some time, for the media network’s earnings and share price to rebound to pre-shutdown levels, said Nicky Franco, head of research at Abacus Securities Corp. “The block time deal will probably give the company just a fraction of its old airtime, geographic reach and margins,” he said.

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Kyrgyz protesters break into government headquarters: media

ALMATY (Reuters) – People protesting the results of a parliamentary election in Kyrgyzstan broke into government and state security headquarters early Tuesday, local news websites Akipress and 24.kg reported.

The thousands-strong protests broke out after two establishment parties, one of which is close to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, swept Sunday’s vote, according to preliminary results.

Police had dispersed the rally late on Monday, but protesters returned to the central square of capital Bishkek hours later and broke into the building that houses both the president and parliament.

Protesters then broke into the headquarters of State Committee on National Security and freed former president Almazbek Atambayev, who was sentenced to a lengthy prison term this year on corruption charges after falling out with his successor, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

Jeenbekov said late on Monday he would meet on Tuesday with the leaders of all parties that had taken part in the election.

The Central Asian country of 6.5 million, which is closely allied with Russia, has a history of political volatility. In the past 15 years, two of its presidents have been toppled by revolts.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Gerry Doyle)

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6 whistleblowers allege misconduct by government media boss

“[T]he research was to be utilized in evaluating career civil servants’ abilities to carry out the duties of their positions,” the complaint reads.

The complaint says that Grant Turner, who was pushed out as USAGM’s chief financial officer in August, three months ago started telling the State IG that the media group’s CEO Michael Pack and top lawyer Mora Namdar were violating the law in pressuring his office to withhold congressionally appropriated money from USAGM’s Office of Cuba Broadcasting in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, a law that prohibits agencies from spending money that they don’t properly have on their books.

Turner, who testified in front of Congress last week, also alleges that Pack “crossed the firewall” that is meant to protect the journalistic independence of USAGM’s news networks from political interference, including by removing an Urdu journalist who had done a piece on former Vice President Joe Biden. All six of the officials who filed the whistleblower complaint were removed from their posts on the same day in August but remain at the agency on “investigative leave.”

The complaint also details concerns former chief strategy officer Shawn Powers raised internally about how a freeze on spending was putting the organization’s journalists in danger.

“Mr. Powers raised urgent concerns regarding the impact that Mr. Pack’s spending freeze was having on USAGM’s ability to support internet freedom tools in Hong Kong amidst the ongoing Chinese crackdown and takeover of local governing authorities,” the complaint says. “Mr. Powers specifically pointed out that the spending freeze was placing USAGM’s journalists at grave risk, and that the funds needed to be released to ensure that both USAGM’s journalists and its audience were safe from surveillance and persecution. Mr. Pack’s failure to support the internet freedom tools created a specific physical danger to USAGM journalists.”

Powers also made a “protected disclosure” to a staffer for Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about how Pack’s reorganization had led to a “substantial reduction” in his duties without first providing a mandatory 14-day notifcation to Congress. Powers, who was worried about reprisal for disclosing this information to Congress and was in fact removed from his job in August, also told the Menendez staffer that he feared Pack was going to circumvent a congressional hold on $7 million in appropriations in order to cover expenses for the Cuba broadcasting office.

Another of the six officials who filed the complaint, Marie Lennon, who was director of management services, alleges that the Office of Personnel Management had said that USAGM had exceeded its authority in trying to hire four new staffers for temporary positions and that she was worried that Pack was bringing these people on board to “politicize” USAGM.

After she raised concerns about this to Cullo and USAGM chief of staff Emily Newman, Lennon says, she lost her access to classified information in a “clear and explicit retaliatory action.”

Controversial hires have continued despite the criticism. The latest example is Robert W. Patterson, who

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Six whistleblowers allege misconduct by government media boss

Six senior officials at the U.S. Agency for Global Media have filed a whistleblower complaint with the State Department’s inspector general and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, alleging that they were retaliated against for raising concerns about the new political leadership installed earlier this year by President Donald Trump.

The 32-page complaint, obtained by POLITICO and being shared with Capitol Hill, accuses top officials at the taxpayer-funded media group of abusing their authority, violating the law and mismanaging the organization.

In perhaps the complaint’s most explosive allegation, its authors say one of them was told the media group’s CEO Michael Pack or one of his aides ordered a senior USAGM official to conduct research on the voting history of at least one employee at the media agency — a violation of laws protecting civil servants from undue political influence or reprisal.

“[T]he research was to be utilized in evaluating career civil servants’ abilities to carry out the duties of their positions,” the complaint reads.

The complaint says that Grant Turner, who was pushed out as USAGM’s chief financial officer in August, three months ago started telling the State IG that the media group’s CEO Michael Pack and top lawyer Mora Namdar were violating the law in pressuring his office to withhold congressionally appropriated money from USAGM’s Office of Cuba Broadcasting in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, a law that prohibits agencies from spending money that they don’t properly have on their books.

Turner, who testified in front of Congress last week, also alleges that Pack “crossed the firewall” that is meant to protect the journalistic independence of USAGM’s news networks from political interference, including by removing an Urdu journalist who had done a piece on former Vice President Joe Biden. All six of the officials who filed the whistleblower complaint were removed from their posts on the same day in August but remain at the agency on “investigative leave.”

The complaint also details concerns former chief strategy officer Shawn Powers raised internally about how a freeze on spending was putting the organization’s journalists in danger.

“Mr. Powers raised urgent concerns regarding the impact that Mr. Pack’s spending freeze was having on USAGM’s ability to support internet freedom tools in Hong Kong amidst the ongoing Chinese crackdown and takeover of local governing authorities,” the complaint says. “Mr. Powers specifically pointed out that the spending freeze was placing USAGM’s journalists at grave risk, and that the funds needed to be released to ensure that both USAGM’s journalists and its audience were safe from surveillance and persecution. Mr. Pack’s failure to support the internet freedom tools created a specific physical danger to USAGM journalists.”

Powers also made a “protected disclosure” to a staffer for Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about how Pack’s reorganization had led to a “substantial reduction” in his duties without first providing a mandatory 14-day notifcation to Congress. Powers, who was worried about reprisal for disclosing this information to Congress and

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