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Facebook Employees Hold Virtual Walkout Over Zuckerberg’s Stance on Trump Posts

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Source: Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock

  • Twitter put a warning message over a Tweet from President Donald Trump Thursday which it said “glorifies violence.”
  • In that tweet, Trump criticized the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, warning that“when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
  • The move escalated tensions between Trump and Twitter. Last week the feud prompted Trump to issue an executive order aimed at restricting social media platforms’ ability to police their own content.
  • Employees at Facebook, which did not issue any sort of warning for the exact same post, are furious at CEO Mark Zuckerberg for allowing that post to remain.

Facebook Employees Angry

Twitter angered President Donald Trump last week after issuing warnings on several of his tweets, and now, Facebook employees are now targeting their CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, for not doing the same.

Twitter’s issued a fact-check warning on Trump’s May 26 tweets, which falsely claimed that increased access to mail-in voting will lead to extensive voter fraud.

Then, Thursday night, the company followed up by hiding a different tweet from the president that it said “glorifies violence.”

Notably, these are the first instances where Twitter has corrected or censored Trump, something many have called on them to do for years. 

Facebook, however, has stuck to its policy to not censor the president’s speech, even if it could be interpreted as violence. 

“I’ve been struggling with how to respond to the President’s tweets and posts all day,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Friday. “Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric.”

“But I’m responsible for reacting not just in my personal capacity but as the leader of an institution committed to free expression,”  he added. 

“I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open.”

Zuckerberg’s post was yet another defense of his long-held stance regarding the platform’s responsibility to censor violent speech and misinformation from politicians. 

Still, Zuckerberg’s unwavering stance has resulted in a number of Facebook employees publicly disagreeing with their boss. 

“Inaction is not the answer,” employee Diego Mendes said on Sunday. “Facebook leadership is wrong.” 

@DiegoMendes

Other employees continued to take to Twitter to express their opposition to Zuckerberg’s philosophy, one saying, “I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up. The majority of coworkers I’ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard.”

Monday, dozens of Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout in further protest of Zuckerberg’s “inaction.” Many also took to Twitter with #TakeAction.

During the virtual protest, The New York Times reported that two senior employees threatened to resign if Zuckerberg does not change course on Facebook’s policy.

“We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC in a statement Monday. “We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership. As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we’ll continue seeking their honest feedback.”

Zuckerberg will meet with his staff Tuesday to discuss disputes over those posts, moving his weekly meeting up from Thursday in response to the walkout.

Twitter Flags Trump Tweet

Trump’s tweet Thursday was critical of the protests that became violence following the death of George Floyd.

In the first of two tweets, Trump says he can’t stand by and watch the situation in Minneapolis. He goes on to jab Mayor Jacob Frey for being a “weak radical left mayor.”

But that tweet was never flagged. It was actually Trump’s second tweet that Twitter targeted because, in it, Trump said, “…when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” Twitter wrote above the tweet, which is hidden and must be clicked into while on the site. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

While Twitter did not delete the tweet, it has disabled all likes and replies on the post. Currently, the only way to directly share the tweet is to retweet it with a comment.

Early Friday morning, Twitter followed up with another statement, where it explained that the tweet violated “policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”

As many online have also noted, the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” carries with it a deeply dividing history. 

It’s first known use was in 1967 by Miami police chief Walter Headley to describe his department’s plans to crack down on protests in black neighborhoods. According to historians, that phrase was even considered to have contributed to the city’s race riots in the late 1960s.

White House Quotes Censored Trump Tweet

In opposition to Twitter’s decision, Friday morning, the White House Twitter account quoted Trump’s censored tweet. That tweet then got hit with the same warning.

The White House later posted another tweet defending the president, saying he didn’t glorify violence.

“He clearly condemned it,” the account said. “@Jack [Dorsey] and Twitter’s biased, bad-faith “fact-checkers” have made it clear: Twitter is a publisher, not a platform.”

In addition to the White House, Trump continued his battle against Twitter Friday morning in a series of tweets that accused the site of having an anti-conservative bias. 

“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot,” Trump also said in defense of his original comment. “I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means.”

“It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!” 

Trump’s Executive Order

Prior to posting this original comment on Thursday, Trump signed an executive order aiming to restrict social media platforms’ ability to police their own content.

Following this, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promised to continue issuing fact-checks and even warnings against Trump if he’s found in violation of Twitter’s policies.

On Friday, prompted by journalists, Google released a statement saying that undermining the statute that affords platforms their freedoms to moderate their content would “hurt America’s economy and its global leadership on internet freedom.” 

Still, both Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Representative Matt Gaetz have promised to introduce legislation that would roll back this statue. For his part, Trump has been very receptive of that idea.

However, there have been a number of reports that any restriction could face major hurdles with the Federal Communications Commission as well as in court over whether such a move would impinge on speech freedoms. 

See what others are saying: (Reuters) (Forbes) (CNBC)

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Tana Mongeau Seemingly Defends Talent Agency After Backlash

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  • YouTuber Tana Mongeau officially launched an influencer management division on Monday called Tana’s Angel’s Agency.
  • She wrote on Instagram that she is regularly asked for advice about how to build a following on platforms like OnlyFans and said this new venture will allow her to help people break into the business. 
  • Mongeau quickly faced backlash from those who believe she is not qualified to teach people how to build an audience from the ground up and from others who think the agency is a “scam.”
  • In response, Mongeau said she “hired an amazing team” of successful people and will only sign creators “that I truly feel I can benefit, and that I believe in & resonate with.”

Tana Mongeau Launches Management Division

YouTuber Tana Mongeau launched an influencer management agency on Monday named Tana’s Angels Agency.

The division is part of Unruly Agency, a social media marketing and management company owned by Tara Electra, who will be leading the launch alongside Mongeau and her manager, David Weintraub. Mongeau said she wants to use the agency to help aspiring content creators because when she was just starting out, she could have benefited from a mentor. 

“Throughout my career I’ve been taken advantage of more times than I can count,” she previously told Us Weekly.”I am starting TAA to teach people how to not make the mistakes I made early on in my career.” 

In a Monday Instagram post, Mongeau wrote that she regularly gets messages from people asking for advice about how to get started and make money on platforms like OnlyFans. Mongeau said that by starting this agency, she can now use her “experiences, platform, connections, knowledge and creativity” to help these small creators find her same success. She also said that the same people who helped her make millions of dollars on OnlyFans will be part of the TAA team.

“I brought on those people to TAA to finally be able to share their expertise, marketing knowledge, and much more with authentic creators I believe in- big, small, or starting today,” she wrote. 

TAA Receives Backlash

However, this pursuit has not come without a fair amount of backlash. Many people have shared Mongeau’s tweet announcing TAA and criticized her for the venture. Among other things, many believe she is not qualified to teach people how to build a following from the ground up because she was already famous when she started her OnlyFans.

Others accused her of taking advantage of OnlyFans users and sex workers who are already struggling enough, while others accused her of being a pimp and running a scam. 

Mongeau seems to be aware of some of this criticism, as she joked in a tweet early on Tuesday saying, “Someone commented ‘how she gon have a talent agency with no talent’ on my post i’m screaming.”

She then further explained the intent behind TAA.

“I hired an amazing team of lots of individuals who have helped me earn millions on OF and with other opportunities to help me alongside this project. I’m also only signing people onto Tana‘s Angels that I truly feel I can benefit, and that I believe in & resonate with.”

The backlash also does not seem to be slowing her down. Mongeau said that within the first 10 hours of the launch, 100,000 people applied to be part of TAA. 

See what others are saying: (BuzzFeed News) (Daily Dot) (Us Weekly)

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New Footage Shows YouTuber David Dobrik’s Role in Jeff Wittek’s Life-Threatening Accident

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  • The latest episode of YouTuber Jeff Wittek’s docuseries “Don’t Try This At Home” revealed that he sustained a serious facial injury last year while filming a dangerous stunt on an excavator that was operated by fellow creator David Dobrik.
  • Dobrik said he wanted to make major stunt videos with his Vlog Squad as a return to YouTube amid the pandemic. 
  • For one stunt, Vlog Squad members hung onto a rope that was attached to an excavator in a lake while Dobrik swung them around. When Wittek was on the rope, he swung so fast that he crashed into the excavator and fell into the water face-down.
  • Dobrik is now facing backlash online from people who are shocked that he endangered his friends’ lives for YouTube content. 

Footage Show Dangerous Stunt Gone Wrong

Footage from the second episode of YouTuber Jeff Wittek’s series “Don’t Try This At Home” shows that David Dobrik was involved in the accident that left Witteck with serious face injuries last year.

Wittek had previously spoken about his injuries but never revealed the details behind what caused them. His latest episode, titled “How I Broke My Face,” was posted Wednesday night and answered many long-asked questions about the incident.

The video starts with Wittek and other Vlog Squad members discussing how the coronavirus pandemic shut the world down and paused the group’s ability to make videos together. Dobrik, one of the most popular creators on YouTube, said he wanted to make major stunt videos as their return to the platform. 

For one of these stunts, Dobrik put an excavator in a lake that he said was roughly one foot deep. Dobrik then operated the machine as Vlog Squad members wakeboarded and surfed on the lake while attached to it, but they wanted to take things to the next level. 

“I’m sitting there watching Todd wakesurf for hours and great, but we’re here trying to make a funny video,” Wittek explained. “If you want wakeboarding videos, go to Youtube and type ‘cool guy wake surfing’ and I’m sure you’ll see a ton of them.” 

Members of the group then proceeded to hold onto a rope that was attached to the excavator while Dobrik operated it and swung them around the lake. Vlog Squadder Corinna Kopff was the first to give it a try but eventually asked to be taken down because it felt dangerous. 

“You take things too far,” she said to Dobrik as she was hopping off the rope.

Wittek then opted to give it a try. He had just spent time skydiving with members of the Vlog Squad for a separate part of Dobrik’s return video, so he figured he could handle this seemingly easier stunt.

“So I grabbed the rope and I tried to make a goddamn funny video for people,” Wittek said. “But this is where I made a mistake. I forgot the biggest fucking idiot I knew was driving it.” 

The footage then shows Wittek swinging incredibly fast into the excavator and then cuts to black. The next shot shows him falling face-down into the lake. 

“Time literally slows down,” Dobrik said while describing the moment. 

“The whole side of his face is just open,” Vlog Squadder Todd Smith added.

Dobrik Faces Backlash for “Reckless” Behavior

Dobrik trended on Twitter Thursday morning as people accused him of endangering Wittek’s life in the name of making YouTube content.

“David Dobrik needs to be stopped. He’s always been irresponsible at his friends expense for YOUTUBE videos,” one person wrote. “He COULD have been charged with manslaughter had Jeff been inches closer to the excavator.”

The comments on the video are filled with similar outrage. 

“You’re lucky to be alive,” one YouTube user wrote. “I still can’t believe what I saw. It’s so reckless what he did to you and the extreme lengths and measures that people do at other people’s expenses just to get Youtube video views is insane.” 

“It’s amazing David Dobrik hasn’t killed someone for a Youtube video yet,” another person added. 

Major creators like Trisha Paytas, who has long been vocal about her issues with Dobrik and the Vlog Squad, also expressed her disgust at the video.

“The fact that he has Natalie THERE + three assistants , Meghan the pr fairy, and dumbass jack manager guy and not one person could get a stunt coordinator / medic for this is another level of negligence,” she said.  

Dobrik’s Month of Scandals

So far, Dobrik has not responded to the wave of outrage. He has been facing intense criticism for the last month over his involvement with a separate issue with the Vlog Squad. Former member Dom Zegalitis, also known as Durte Dom, was accused in March of raping a woman who was too drunk to consent in 2018. 

The alleged assault happened when the woman was with Dobrik’s Vlog Squad to film a video. The woman, who was under 21 at the time, said members of the group supplied her and her friends with alcohol. 

Zeglaitis recently denied the rape allegation and said “as far as I am concerned, everything that occurred during the night in question was completely consensual.”

Dobrik released two videos addressing the incident, claiming he no longer associates with Zeglaitis and wants to take accountability for what happened in the Vlog Squad under his watch. He said he would be taking time away from the Internet to reevaluate the way he creates content. 

Dobrik has lost major brand deals as a result of this controversy. He also had to step away from the social media app he founded, Dispo, following the accusation.

See what others are saying: (Newsweek) (Dexerto) (Seventeen)

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Mark Rober Faces Backlash Over NEXT For Autism Fundraiser

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  • YouTuber Mark Rober is facing backlash for hosting a star-studded fundraiser with Jimmy Kimmel for the charity NEXT for Autism. 
  • Rober announced the fundraiser in a video on Friday where he shared that his son is on the autism spectrum.
  • Many online, including several people in the autistic community, said NEXT supports finding treatments and cures for autism, something the community does not believe in. Some also were frustrated that the group supports the controversial practice of Applied Behavioral Analysis, a therapy that targets and changes certain social skills..
  • Following the criticism, NEXT released a statement saying it does not support finding a cure for autism and that while it does deal with ABA, the practice has changed over the years and it does not support dangerous variations. 

Mark Rober’s Fundraiser Faces Backlash

YouTuber Mark Rober is facing backlash for an upcoming livestream fundraiser he is hosting with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to support NEXT for Autism. 

The livestream, called Color the Spectrum, will be held on April 30 and will feature major television, film, and internet celebrities including MrBeast, Jack Black, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Andy Samberg, Paul Rudd, Mark Hamill, Sarah Silverman, Terry Crews, Rhett & Link, and John Oliver. Rober announced the event in a video on Friday titled “The Truth About My Son” where he revealed that his son is autistic. According to Rober’s donation tab on YouTube, the initiative has already brought in over $850,000 for NEXT for Autism. 

While some people have applauded his efforts, others are slamming Rober, Kimmel, and the other stars participating in the event for aiding the organization. Many people in the autistic community believe that NEXT for Autism’s work does not help autistic people; rather, they claim it actually harms them. 

On Twitter, many said the organization promotes and supports finding a “cure” for autism, something that many in the community do not believe in. NEXT is tied to a variety of groups, including Autism Speaks and The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, which have been criticized for similar reasons. 

While Autism Speaks has removed “cures” from its mission statement, the latter still says it is devoted to finding “treatments.” Many circulated a screenshot of a mission statement from CADB where prevention efforts were listed as a focus, as well; however, that no longer appears on its website. 

Others were critical of NEXT’s support for a practice called Applied Behavioral Analysis, which is a therapy that targets and changes certain social skills. Some have described this as a “conversion therapy” for autistic people. 

Additionally, people took issue with the fact that NEXT does not have a lot of autisic people on its board or working in leadership positions for the group. Some also disagreed with the way Rober painted autism in his video, feeling that he suggested autistic people’s main contributions to the world were limited to their positivity. 

Petition Calls for Event to Be Canceled

A petition calling for the event to be canceled currently has over 10,000 signatures. It compared some of NEXT’s practices to eugenics and said the group supports “other extremely harmful ideologies that all come down to the sole purpose of ending the existence of autistic people.” 

The petition suggested that people who want to donate to the autistic community should find other organizations like the Autism Self Advocacy Network.

A Twitter user named Dave Shaw wrote an open letter to those involved in the fundraiser asking them to not support NEXT.

“As an austistic adult, I can assure you that like any other marginalised community we want and need acceptance and to be included in society,” he wrote. “The organization behind the upcoming livestream, Next For Autism, does not provide nor aim for this.” 

He backed many of the other issues people have had with NEXT, calling ABA “traumatic” and a from of “child abuse.” He also stood against efforts to cure autism. 

“Autism is not a disease or a defect to be cured. It is simply a form of diversity,” he wrote. 

His letter caught the attention of YouTubers Rhett & Link, who were scheduled to appear in the livestream.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” they wrote back. “We are no longer participating in the event.”

NEXT For Autism Responds

Following the backlash, NEXT released a statement on Monday defending its practices and denying allegations that it is funding efforts to cure autism. 

“There have been some outrageous misinformation circulating about Next for Autism, its mission, methods, and partners,” that statement said. 

“Our mission has never been the cure or prevention of autism, in fact, NEXT was created to fill a void,” it continued, adding that when it was founded, most groups aiding the autistic community were working to fund biomedical research, while NEXT was focused on school services. 

The statement then addressed NEXT’s partnership with Autism Speaks and said it only works with the group to aid its mission of expanding access to programs and services. 

“Anyone using these partnerships to draw a line from NEXT to eugenics or anything related to the prevention and cure of autism is doing an enormous disservice to the people we serve by spreading this gross untruth.”

Regarding ABA, NEXT said the methodology has changed over the years and bears no resemblance to the conversion therapy-like treatments people are claiming the group supports. 

NEXT also said it is committed to including more Autistic board members in the future. 

For his part, Rober wrote that proceeds from Color the Spectrum will go directly towards services to helping autistic people after they graduate towards high school, a time period where programs are particularly lacking. His post did not directly address the backlash, but clarified where money raised will go. 

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