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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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Jake Paul Believes COVID-19 Is a Hoax

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  • Internet star Jake Paul called COVID-19 a hoax, incorrectly compared it to the flu, called 98% of news fake, and doubted medical experts in an interview with The Daily Beast published Wednesday.
  • Many online slammed Paul for his misleading and false claims and praised the reporter, Marlow Stern, for repeatedly pushing back against them.
  • Readers also pointed to other notable moments in the interview as ones that expose Paul’s true character.

Jake Paul’s Thoughts on the Coronavirus Pandemic

YouTuber Jake Paul is facing major heat online after claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax in an interview with The Daily Beast.

During the interview, the outlet’s Senior Entertainment Editor, Marlow Stern, brought up the fact that Paul has hosted several parties throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Stern cites a July report from Kat Tenbarge for Insider, which quoted Paul saying at the time, “I personally am not the type of person who’s gonna sit around and not live my life.”

When asked if he still lives by that mindset, Paul essentially explained that he does. “It’s time for us to open up,” he said.

“This is the most detrimental thing to our society. COVID cases are at less than 1 percent, and I think the disease is a hoax,” he added.

Paul went on to compare the virus to the flu, which Stern push back against in an interesting exchange.

Stern: You think the disease is a hoax? It’s killed about 260,000 people so far this year.
Paul: Ugh. Yeah, and so has the flu.
No. The flu has only killed a fraction of that, and we also have a vaccine for the flu.
OK.
The flu kills between 20,000 and 70,000 people a year. And we have a mass-produced vaccine for it.
Don’t we have a vaccine for COVID?
Not yet. They’re hopeful we will soon. It’s been approved by the FDA based on early-stage trials but it hasn’t been introduced to the market yet. So they’re hopeful that there will be a vaccine out very soon, although distribution also poses a big problem. But I want to talk about why you think COVID is a “hoax.”
I don’t have to elaborate.
You don’t want to elaborate on that?
[Deep sigh] No.

This section of the interview caught the most heat online, however, at a later point, Paul made more false and misleading claims about the virus, which Stern again corrected.

Paul also suggested he had doubts about the information coming from health professionals, saying: “I don’t think we do know who the health professionals are. People like yourself, or people who go on Twitter and read articles all day, you know, 98 percent of news is fake, so how do we know what’s actually real, and what we’re actually supposed to do?

Reactions

Shortly after the article was published, Twitter users and some fellow content creators slammed his remarks.

Other Notable Moments

However, the outrage isn’t solely about his coronavirus comments. In the interview, Paul also refused to comment on several of his past controversies, including the FBI raid on his home and his this use of the n-word.

He also faced criticism for remarks he made about his criminal trespassing and unlawful assembly charges. Those charges came after video appeared to show him participating in a looting at a mall in Scottsdale, Arizona during Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.

“It looked like people in your crew were both shooting fireworks at the mall and also destroying some store windows inside of it. Do you feel you conducted yourself appropriately in that situation?” Stern asked.

“I was merely a reporter simply, like you are in this call, wanting to capture, document, and record what was happening,” Paul responded.

At one point, he even became frustrated that Stern was asking him about his past controversies.

“How does asking about these incidents help you learn more about me?” Paul said. “You didn’t ask me, “Yo, do you have any hobbies?” “What are you like as a person?” “What is your daily routine?” “Do you call your mom?” “Do you have friends?”

“You want me to ask you if you have friends or call your mom?” Stern replied.

“I mean, if you actually wanted to learn more about me, yeah, those are the types of questions you would ask,” Paul explained.

To that, Stern noted that he did spend time asking Paul about his passion for boxing and defended his line of questions as fair.

Because of this, and other notable moments in the piece, many are saying the interview gives a good glimpse and Paul’s true character. Readers have also praised Stern for how he conducted the interview and repeatedly corrected Paul’s dangerous claims.

Read the full interview here: The Daily Beast

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Belle Delphine Calls Out YouTube for Double Standards After It Terminated Her Channel

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  • Social media creator Belle Delphine, who is known for her risqué content and viral marketing stunts, had her YouTube channel terminated Sunday “due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy on nudity or sexual content.”
  • Soon after, Delphine asked YouTube why she had been banned without receiving three strikes or any previous warnings. She also found it suspicious that YouTube would do this when it allows and promotes music videos for songs like Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP.”
  • Fans agreed, comparing her content to other music videos on the site and calling it an example of YouTube’s uneven policy enforcement.
  • Team YouTube said it would take a look into what happened, but it’s unclear if the decision will be reversed.

Belle Delphine Banned From YouTube

Social media star Belle Delphine called out YouTube on Sunday for what appear to be double standards in the enforcement of its content guidelines.

Delphine is a cosplay Instagram model known for posting risqué content. She received a lot of attention last year after telling her followers she would make Pornhub account if she earned 1 million likes on a post. When she did, she trolled everyone with videos that looked like they would be porn but weren’t actually porn.

Others may recognize Delphine as the girl who sold her bathwater to “thirsty gamer boys” online.

This time, however, Delphine isn’t catching attention for one of her unique stunts. Instead, she tweeted Sunday, “Hey @TeamYouTube why was my youtube account terminated with no warning/no strikes for ‘sexual content’ when you allow and promote songs like ‘W.A.P’? seems a lil sus.”

Her remarks came the same day that her channel, which had 1.7 million followers, was shut down. A notice on her page confirmed that the ban was “due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy on nudity or sexual content.”

YouTube typically takes this kind of action after a channel earns three strikes, but Delphine’s post suggests this decision came suddenly.

Comparisons to Music Videos

Delphine’s tweet also included a video shared by Keemstar that seemed to have been originally posted by a user named Lord Vega. That video compares Delphine’s content to popular music videos that have been allowed on the platform without issue. In fact, in some cases, those videos have been promoted by YouTube on its trending page.

At one point, that comparison edit even shows Delphine’s June parody of “Gooba” by rapper 6ix9ine, which also served as a promo to her newly launched Instagram, TikTok, and OnlyFans accounts at the time.

The comparison essentially showed Delphine dressed and dancing in similar ways that women in the “Gooba” video were. The clip also shows other music videos from rappers like Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, who are also dressed and dancing provocatively.

With this in mind, many of Delphine’s fans agreed that YouTube wasn’t equally enforcing its policies.

In response to Delphine’s tweet, Team YouTube said it would look into the situation.

“Thanks for reaching out – mind sharing your channel URL so that we can take a look?” it said. “Keep us posted!”

As of now, it’s unclear if YouTube is planning on reversing its decision.

See what others are saying: (HITC) (GameRant) (PopBuzz)

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Twitch Apologizes for Mishandling Copyright Crackdowns After Months of Controversy

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  • Twitch has been contacting hundreds of users with copyright infringement notifications since June, but its inconsistent responses have been heavily criticized by streamers.
  • Before this massive influx of copyright claims, Twitch had no tool to let streamers mass-delete or even identify clips that contained copyrighted material. 
  • After complaints, it only implemented a tool that allows streamers to mass delete all of their old clips.
  • Now, Twitch is apologizing for its lack of transparency and for not putting more nuanced tools in place that allow streamers to manage their clip archives. 

Twitch Begins DMCA Strikes

Twitch apologized to its streamers on Wednesday after a months-long controversy involving its inconsistent response to copyright crackdowns on the platform. 

“Creators, we hear you,” the company said in a blogpost. “Your frustration and confusion with recent music-related copyright issues is completely justified. Things can — and should — be better for creators than they have been recently.”

The situation first began in early June when several popular Twitch streamers revealed that they had received multiple copyright strikes all at once. For those streamers, it was an unexpected and fear-inducing warning, as under normal rules, three infractions would result in their account being permanently deleted by Twitch. 

Many found it odd that some of the strikes were coming from clips that were years old — a fact that made it easier for long-time streamers to be hit multiple times.

Twitch streamer Leslie Fu, who goes by Fuslie and has over 500,000 followers on Twitch, received two strikes during that June crackdown: one for playing DNCE’S “Cake by the Ocean” and another for Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings.” After speaking with Twitch staff, she said they recommended that she delete all of her clips.

“On top of it being near impossible for me to delete >100,000 clips,” she said, “the creator dashboard isn’t loading any of my old clips. How am I supposed to protect myself here?”

“I’m willing to do anything to keep my channel, even if it means deleting all my clips and memories from the past years. I feel so helpless right now. I’ve built this channel up for 5 years and to potentially lose it all so fast to something like this would be devastating.” 

As far as what appeared to be happening, it seemed like music companies were sending Twitch takedown notices related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — notices that Twitch had no choice but to respond to unless it wanted to be sued. 

Like Fuslie pointed out, Twitch’s response on how to fully correct the situation wasn’t exactly transparent. Many others also asked why Twitch couldn’t just mute the parts of their clips that contained copyrighted music.

As the situation unfolded, Twitch Support tweeted that it had, in fact, received a sudden influx of DMCA takedown requests, most related to clips from 2017 to 2019.

Similar to how Fuslie characterized her interaction with Twitch staff, the support account advised streamers to remove any clips they believed might violate copyright law. 

We know many of you have large archives, and we’re working to make this easier,” the account said. 

A few days later, Twitch Support said the company would begin using a program that could identify clips that might contain copyrighted music. It noted that those clips would then be deleted without penalty to streamers.

At the same time, Twitch said it was working on implementing a tool that would help streamers to be able to more easily delete all their clips at once. 

October Wave of DMCA Takedowns

In October, streamers faced another wave of DMCA takedown notices, but this time, they received a much different warning. In a blanket email, Twitch told affected streamers that it had identified and deleted all flagged copyrighted clips, without issuing any strikes. 

“We recognize that by deleting this content, we are not giving you the option to file a counter-notification or seek a retraction from the rights holder,” the email read. “In consideration of this, we have processed these notifications and are issuing you a one-time warning to give you the chance to learn about copyright law and the tools available to manage the content on your channel.”

Unlike earlier notices, these didn’t contain any information about what copyrighted work had been violated, who the claimant was, or how to contact them.

Jessica Blevins, FaZe Mongraal, and LIRIK were among a plethora of notable streamers who received this notice. Like LIRIK, many other popular streamers were confused by the warning and did not understand what aspect of their content had violated copyright law. 

With this notice, Twitch also told streamers that they had until Oct. 23 to find and delete any possible copyrighted material. After that, it would “resume the normal processing of DMCA takedowns.”

Because of that warning, many streamers began purging clips from their channel entirely, even if they hadn’t received this email. That included Pokimane, who said she deleted more than six years of clips and memories.

“It is INSANE that @Twitch informs partners they deleted their content – and that there is more content in violation despite having NO identification system to find out what it is,” one streamer, Devin Nash, said. “Their solution to DMCA is for creators to delete their life’s work. This is pure, gross negligence.”

On Nov. 2, Clix — a Fortnite streamer with 2.6 million followers — tweeted that he had received two DMCA strikes.

“One more and i’m banned forever,” he said. “I did everything they told me to legit all my vods and clips.”

The same day, another streamer by the name of SquishyMuffinz reported that he had been banned altogether. While that ban was overturned a couple of hours later, he eventually deleted every single video from his channel out of fear of another ban. 

Twitch Apologizes for Mishandling DMCA Takedowns

In its Wednesday apology, Twitch admitted that it should have made that October warning email much “more informative and helpful,” conceding that it had provided “frustratingly little information.” 

You’re rightly upset that the only option we provided was a mass deletion tool for Clips, and that we only gave you three-days notice to use this tool,” the company said. “We could have developed more sophisticated, user-friendly tools awhile ago. That we didn’t is on us. And we could have provided creators with a longer time period to address their VOD and Clip libraries – that was a miss as well.” 

“We’re truly sorry for these mistakes, and we’ll do better.” 

Before May of this year, Twitch said “streamers received fewer than 50 music-related DMCA notifications each year” on the platform. Since then, it has been receiving “thousands of DMCA notifications each week” from major record labels, something it doesn’t expect to slow down. 

“This means two things: 1) if you play recorded music on your stream, you need to stop doing that and 2) if you haven’t already, you should review your historical VODs and Clips that may have music in them and delete any archives that might,” the company went on to say.

Among the next steps Twitch says it’s taking, that includes expanding its technology to be able to detect copyrighted audio, introducing “more granular ways to manage your archive,” and giving streamers the ability to review which clips were hit with DMCA notices to help them more easily file counter-claims. 

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (PC Gamer) (IGN)

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