Facebook critics launch rival oversight board – Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Critics of Facebook Inc FB.O, including the organizers of an advertising boycott against the company, on Friday launched their own oversight board to review the company’s content moderation practices.FILE PHOTO: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about privacy during his keynote at Facebook Inc’s annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California,…

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Critics of Facebook Inc FB.O, including the organizers of an advertising boycott against the company, on Friday launched their own oversight board to review the company’s content moderation practices.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about privacy during his keynote at Facebook Inc’s annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The launch comes a day after Facebook’s officially-mandated Oversight Board said it would start work in mid-late October, nearly a year behind schedule.

The new group, which bills itself as the “Real Facebook Oversight Board,” counts among its initial members the heads of three U.S. civil rights groups, the former president of Estonia and the former head of election integrity at Facebook.

The delay of the launch of the official Facebook-funded board means it is unlikely to review cases related to the Nov. 3 U.S. election, which has generated some of the most contentious issues faced by the world’s biggest social network.

The rival board plans to move faster, it said in a statement. It will hold its first general meeting next week, and focus squarely on election topics, including voter suppression, election security and misinformation, it said.

Facebook “responds to criticism with bad faith statements and cosmetic changes,” said board member Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook who turned critical of its leaders over their handling of misuse of the platform in the 2016 election.

“The Real Oversight Board will act as a watchdog, helping policymakers and consumers defend against a renegade platform.”

Members of the rival board plan to broadcast their meetings in weekly shows on Facebook Live, according to the statement.

A Facebook company spokesman hit back in a statement on Friday.

“We ran a year-long global consultation to set up the Oversight Board as a long-lasting institution that will provide binding, independent oversight over some of our hardest content decisions,” he said. “This new effort is mostly longtime critics creating a new channel for existing criticisms.”

The new group said it was being funded by Luminate, a philanthropy backed by The Omidyar Group, but did not disclose a funding amount.

Facebook has committed $130 million to its Oversight Board project, which it said would cover operational costs for at least six years.

Reporting by Katie Paul; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Tom Brown and Sonya Hepinstall

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

Facebook will reject political ads claiming an early victory in November

Facebook will reject ads from Donald Trump and Joe Biden claiming victory before the winner of the US election is declared. The change is an update to a policy CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on September 3rd, which banned political ads the week before the election, as reported by Fast Company. That policy would not have…

Facebook will reject ads from Donald Trump and Joe Biden claiming victory before the winner of the US election is declared.

The change is an update to a policy CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on September 3rd, which banned political ads the week before the election, as reported by Fast Company. That policy would not have stopped Trump or Biden from running ads directly after the election. Either presidential candidate could have started claiming victory at 12:01AM PT on November 4th.

While the results of the presidential race are typically announced the night of the election, this year, the process is expected to take longer due to mail-in voting. Experts say that because more Democrats are expected to vote by mail than Republicans, Trump could hold a lead the night of the election but slip behind Biden as more votes are counted. This scenario makes it critical that misinformation about the results of the election doesn’t go viral before a winner is officially announced. While the new policy is not directed at Trump, fears about the current president refusing to concede could be behind the clarification.

“We will be rejecting political ads that claim victory before the results of the 2020 election have been declared,” the tech giant said in a statement to Fast Company.

In early September, Zuckerberg announced that the company would stop accepting new political ads the week before the election. “It’s important that campaigns can run get out the vote campaigns, and I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

As part of the expanded policy, Facebook said it will also label posts that seek to spread doubt about the legitimacy of the election as well as content from political campaigns claiming a premature victory. The new rules are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to stop election interference across its platforms.

Trump Facebook Ads With ‘Real People’ Actually Feature GOP Political Operatives

Kim Sherk, president of the Georgia Federation of Republican Women, identified only as a “small business owner” in a new Trump ad (left) and Sherk at the White House in an undated photo.Screenshot: Facebook/Cobb County Republican PartyPresident Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is currently running Facebook ads with “real people” who support the president. And while…

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Trump Facebook Ads With 'Real People' Actually Feature GOP Political Operatives

Kim Sherk, president of the Georgia Federation of Republican Women, identified only as a “small business owner” in a new Trump ad (left) and Sherk at the White House in an undated photo.
Screenshot: Facebook/Cobb County Republican Party

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is currently running Facebook ads with “real people” who support the president. And while it’s accurate to say these people are “real” in the sense that they’re human beings and not robots from the TV show Westworld, they’re not just average people off the street. Many are political operatives.

Take this ad that’s currently running on Facebook. It shows Kim Sherk, who’s not identified by name in the ad, and yet is the president of the Georgia Federation of Republican Women. A Georgia newspaper, the Marietta Daily Journal recognized Sherk, which might be why these ads are running in states like California, Illinois, and Mississippi, according to the Facebook ad library, rather than her home state of Georgia.

“As a small business owner, President Trump has been the greatest president we have seen,” Sherk says in the video, which is also available on Trump’s official YouTube page. “He has increased jobs. I know there are more women who have been employed and minorities than ever before.”

Sherk ends the video by thanking President Trump for the “greatest economic environment” she’s ever seen in her lifetime. But the ad never identifies Sherk as a political operative, let alone one who’s visited the White House, as we can see from a photo posted to the Cobb County Republican Party website.

As the Cobb County Republican Party website explains:

Kim Sherk has served in numerous positions in the Republican Party and the Republican Women. She is currently the President of the Georgia Federation of Republican Women and immediate past President of the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club.

Before being elected 1st Vice-Chairman, she served as Political Director and Secretary for the Cobb County Republican Party.

G/O Media may get a commission

Sherk’s group, the Georgia Federation of Republican Women, is currently recruiting volunteers to “monitor” polls on Election Day to make sure the election is “free from fraud.” President Trump has repeatedly said that the election will be rigged, and that the only valid outcome is a victory for his campaign. In fact, Trump said at a press conference yesterday that he wouldn’t accept a peaceful transition of power if he loses to Joe Biden, adding that it would only be peaceful if they got rid of the “ballots.” Trump was presumably referring to mail-in ballots, which he incorrectly insists are inherently fraudulent.

Sherk appears to be one of many people who are showing up in Trump ads on YouTube and Facebook who aren’t acknowledged as being close to the Trump campaign. Instead, they’re called “real people,” which, again, is technically accurate. These are human beings, as far as Gizmodo can tell. But the average voter probably has a different idea of “real people” in political ads that doesn’t include a current operator in a given state’s political machinery. Sherk did not immediately respond to an email early Thursday morning.

Another ad currently being run by the Trump campaign on Facebook shows viewers a group of people sitting in a circle and talking about the dangers of a potential Biden presidency. While it might look like a typical focus group, featuring average people off the street, the video is anything but. Some of the people in the video are former and aspiring politicians, including one woman who’s currently running for the U.S. House in Minnesota and a man who was a delegate at the Republican National Convention in both 2016 and 2020.

The new ad, which is being pushed out hard in Iowa, according to data from Facebook’s political ad library, includes women like Fern Smith, who’s not identified by name in the ad, but says she would be “very scared if Joe Biden became president.”

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Trump Facebook Ads With 'Real People' Actually Feature GOP Political Operatives

Fern A. Smith, a Republican candidate for the Minnesota legislature in 2020, appearing unnamed in a new Trump ad.
Screenshot: Facebook

Incidentally, Smith is running as a Republican in Minnesota’s House District 51B. Smith has endorsements from the Minnesota Gun Owners PAC, the Minnesota Police, and Peace Officers Association, according to her campaign website. Smith also has the endorsement of Minnesotans For Affordable Health Insurance, a group that opposes Medicare For All and supports private health insurance. The group also opposed Obamacare in 2014, according to its Facebook page, though it’s not clear who funds the PAC.

Curiously, there doesn’t appear to be any mention of Trump on Smith’s website, despite the fact that she’s appearing in ads for him. Fern did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Thursday.

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Trump Facebook Ads With 'Real People' Actually Feature GOP Political Operatives

Screenshot: Fern A. Smith campaign website

Another person seen in the focus group-style ad is Steve Wenzel who says in the Facebook ad that “President Trump is the right person for this nation’s economy.” Wenzel is also not named in the ad.

Wenzel was a Minnesota state legislator in the 1970s and ‘80s and served as a Democrat, something that local media seems to relish. But most importantly, Wenzel was a delegate at the Republican National Convention in both 2016 and 2020, according to the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper in Minnesota. Wenzel attended the convention in 2016; this year’s convention was virtual.

“I was greatly honored to be again elected a delegate from Minnesota to the Republican National Convention and to be able, again as in 2016, to vote to re-nominate President Trump for a second term as our president,” Wenzel said in a press release, according to the Dispatch.

“President Trump’s leadership led our nation to a great economic boom and will again restore our economy when the China virus/pandemic is gone,” Wenzel continued. “President Trump also restored America’s national defense and our military to one of strength following President Obama’s decimation of our national defense budget and military strength.”

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Trump Facebook Ads With 'Real People' Actually Feature GOP Political Operatives

Steve Wenzel, a delegate for the Republican National Convention in 2016 and 2020, in a Facebook video ad being billed as “real people” for President Trump.
Screenshot: Facebook

Wenzel told the Star Tribune newspaper last month that he used to be a Democrat back when they supported labor, but now the Democrats only support “regulations and environmentalism,” according to Wenzel. The Star Tribune story didn’t mention anything about Wenzel calling covid-19 the “China virus.”

There’s nothing wrong with a political delegate giving their testimony about why they support a candidate, but there’s something a little weird about explicitly calling them “real people” in your social media advertising.

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Trump Facebook Ads With 'Real People' Actually Feature GOP Political Operatives

Screenshots of the Trump video ads appearing on Facebook, with text that says these are “real people” giving testimonials.
Screenshot: Facebook Ad Library/Donald J. Trump Facebook

Every political campaign in history has stretched the truth a bit to put out a positive message. But Trump’s campaign, aside from being racist and fascist, has been particularly deceitful when it comes to using “real people” in their ads. Even Trump’s “opponents” like antifa aren’t represented accurately. There are real people on the street right now who identify as anti-fascist, but the Trump campaign has repeatedly used old photos and photos of political demonstrations in other countries.

Again, technically all of the people in these latest Facebook ads are “real” people. But it starts to make you wonder why they can’t just talk exclusively to small business owners that don’t also happen to be working for the Republican Party. There are a lot of people out there who support President Trump. Millions, in fact. But perhaps those aren’t the ones that Trum

Facebook Will Ban New Political Ads in Week Before Election Day

Here’s what you need to know: President Trump’s comments about Russia came as pressure has increased for him to sound alarms about the poisoning of Aleksei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader. Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times At a small campaign rally in Latrobe, Pa., President Trump on Thursday praised himself for wanting to…

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

At a small campaign rally in Latrobe, Pa., President Trump on Thursday praised himself for wanting to “get along” with Russia and said that when he hears people talking about Russia in the news he “turns it off.”

“They always say, ‘Trump is radical, he is off the — he is too radical, he will get us in wars,’” Mr. Trump said. “I kept you out of wars. What happened in North Korea? I got along with Kim Jong-un. They said that’s terrible. It’s good that I get along. If I get along with Russia, is that a good thing or bad thing? I think it’s a good thing.”

He went on, mentioning Representative Adam Schiff, “These maniacs always talk about Russia. They never talk about China. It is always Russia. I heard it starting again. They said somebody spoke to Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia. The total maniacs, shifty Schiff is a total maniac. I can’t even listen.”

“Getting along with countries and a good — is a good thing,” he added. “It is a very good thing, not a bad thing. It is a very good thing.”

Mr. Trump’s comments came as pressure has increased on the president to sound alarms about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader. It also came a few weeks after a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report detailed ties between the Trump campaign in 2016 and Kremlin officials, and as the Department of Homeland Security issued a fresh warning on Thursday that Russians were trying to foment disinformation by amplifying language about voter fraud.

At the rally, Mr. Trump also mocked his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., for wearing a mask, and suggested it was a sign he has a psychological need to feel safe.

“Did you ever see a man who likes to mask as much as him?” Mr. Trump asked the crowd, to laughter, after offering a caveat that people should wash their hands and wear masks in close quarters.

“A lot of times he has it hanging down because it gives him a feeling of security,” Mr. Trump said, bringing his hand to his ear to imitate how Mr. Biden’s mask drapes one side of his face when he takes it off.

“If I was a psychiatrist, I would say this guy has some big issues. I don’t know. Hanging down,” Mr. Trump said. Until Thursday night, Mr. Trump had been more subdued about mask-wearing to prevent the coronavirus. After months of playing down the coronavirus and making fun of people who wore protective masks, the president had to be persuaded to advocate mask-wearing, which top health experts have said is crucial to limiting the spread of Covid-19.

And he again suggested that people vote twice — once by mail and once in person — a suggestion that is illegal, and the kind of voter fraud that he has railed against.

Video

transcript

transcript

‘Fear Doesn’t Solve Problems,’ Biden Says During Kenosha Visit

The Democratic nominee for president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., said he was optimistic about progress that can be made toward racial justice and discussed his visit with Jacob Blake’s family in Kenosha, Wis.

I just spent an hour or more with the family as I got off the airplane — had an opportunity to spend some time with Jacob on the phone. He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him. How whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up. I think ultimately what’s been unleashed with a lot of people is they understand that fear doesn’t solve problems, only hope does. I am, I really am optimistic. I promise you, win or lose, I’m going to go down fighting, I’m going to go down fighting for racial equality, equity across the board. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their creator. Well that may be what your birthright was, but it’s very different than actually being treated equally. Being treated the same. Everything from Black mortality rates and pregnancy straight to educational opportunities, and everything in between. But the country’s ready. And if they’re not, it doesn’t matter because there are certain things I ain’t going to change, certain things worth losing over. And this is something worth losing over — if we have to — but we’re not going to lose.

03elections briefing ledeitem2 videoSixteenByNine3000 - Facebook Will Ban New Political Ads in Week Before Election Day
The Democratic nominee for president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., said he was optimistic about progress that can be made toward racial justice and discussed his visit with Jacob Blake’s family in Kenosha, Wis.CreditCredit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

Two days after President Trump visited Kenosha, Wis., without meeting with the family members of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot by a white police officer, Joseph R. Biden Jr. sought to send a very different message with his own trip to the city, which is at the center of the national upheaval over policing and protests.

Mr. Biden met privately with several of Mr. Blake’s closest relatives for an hour as soon as his plane landed in Milwaukee, and he spoke by phone with Mr. Blake.

“The family was grateful for the meeting and was very impressed that the Bidens were so engaged and willing to really listen,” a lawyer for the family, Ben Crump, who participated by phone, said in a statement.

Mr. Crump said that they had discussed the treatment of minorities by the police, Mr. Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate and Mr. Biden’s plans to bring about change. Mr. Crump said that it “was very obvious that Vice President Biden cared” and that Mr. Biden had extended to Mr. Blake “a sense of humanity, treating him as a person worthy of consideration and prayer.”

Mr. Biden then convened a community meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, which is still reeling after the shooting of Mr. Blake and subsequent protests that saw sporadic outbreaks of violence and looting.

Mr. Biden listened as a series of speakers talked about issues ranging from racism in the legal system to the challenges facing business owners who are confronting unrest in the city.

“Hate only hides,” Mr. Biden said, as he described the ways, in his view, Mr. Trump has emboldened bigots. But he predicted that the country had reached an “inflection point.”

“I really am optimistic,” Mr. Biden said as he described the possibilities of a more just future. “I promise you, win or lose, I’m going to go down fighting. I’m going to go down fighting for racial equality, equity across the board.”

He added: “There are certain things worth losing over, and this is something worth losing over if we have to, but we’re not going to lose.”

Mr. Biden has largely remained close to his Delaware home since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the United States, and the trip to Kenosha was a significant moment for him.

Republicans spent their convention last week painting a picture of a Democratic Party that condones street violence and is eager to slash funding from the police, distorting Mr. Biden’s stance on police funding in the process. Mr. Biden repudiated that characterization in a speech in Pittsburgh on Monday, declaring: “Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting.”

Also on Thursday, Mr. Trump is headed to Latrobe, Pa., east of Pittsburgh, where he will rally supporters in a pivotal state and trumpet a federal grant for the city’s airport.

The dueling events illustrate the growing pressure each candidate is facing from his own party. Democrats are eager for Mr. Biden to start appearing in battleground states, particularly in Midwestern states like Wisconsin where Hillary Clinton assumed victory but fell short.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump on Thursday expanded on his suggestion that people in North Carolina stress-test the security of their elections systems by trying to vote twice in the same election, a move state election officials have explicitly called out as a felony.

In a series of tweets Thursday morning, Mr. Trump sought to clarify his call for voters to both send in an absentee ballot and vote in person, arguing that by doing so, voters would provide a check against the mail voting system he has assailed and ensure that their vote was being tallied.

“In order for you to MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS & IS COUNTED, SIGN & MAIL IN your Ballot as EARLY as possible,” he wrote on Twitter. “On Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).”

Twitter added a warning label to his tweets, saying that they violated the company’s terms of service and its policies around election integrity but that the company would leave them up because it was “in the public interest” to do so.

Patrick Gannon, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections, told The Times in an interview on Wednesday that officials would “strongly discourage voters from going to the polls on Election Day to find out whether their absentee ballot has been counted, especially since they can determine that at home.”

“There will be social distancing in place on Election Day,” he said. “We want to make sure the process flows smoothly.” He also noted that the state’s voting system would prevent a person from voting twice, because only the first vote recorded would be counted.

Karen Brinson, the executive director of the state board of elections, reiterated in a statement on Thursday that there were “numerous checks in place” to prevent “double voting” in North Carolina, and made plain: “It is illegal to vote twice in an election.”

Mr. Trump made his initial comment in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday.

“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” the president said. “If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote.”

Reyna Walters-Morgan, the director of voter protection and civic engagement for the Democratic National Committee, said Thursday that Mr. Trump had “encouraged his supporters to commit voter fraud” and stressed that “voting by mail is a safe and secure way for Americans to participate in our democracy.”

As the number of people planning to mail in their ballots has increased, Mr. Trump has repeatedly made false claims about widespread fraud in mail voting. His latest suggestion, that voters commit that same sort of fraud he has denounced, is one he has discussed privately with aides in recent weeks amid concerns he is depressing turnout among his base by raising alarms about the security of the process.

The day after President Trump suggested that North Carolina voters attempt to vote twice to test if “their system’s as good as they say it is,” Facebook said it would remove posts of users who shared video supporting the president’s suggestion, or reposted it without proper context.

Voting twice is illegal across the country and is a felony in North Carolina.

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, said that any shared video that showed only Mr. Trump’s comments “violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud, and we will remove it unless it is shared to correct the record.” Facebook said it would leave the initial video and news reports up and would allow shares of the video if they contained correct information.

The move came as the president seemed to attempt to clean up his comments on Twitter Thursday morning, telling supporters to mail in ballots as soon as possible, then go to the polls on Election Day to check if their vote had been recorded.

He later posted those same comments to Facebook, which slapped a warning label under the post: “Voting by mail has a long history of trustworthiness in the US and the same is predicted this year.” The label linked to Facebook’s voting hub, which includes fact checks on voting information and more details on voting, including by mail.

Facebook has been putting warnings under posts from Mr. Trump that have carried dubious claims and falsehoods about voting, but until Thursday the labels had largely been generic warnings to “get the facts” with links to the voting hub. The direct language on the label addressing the claim was a new step.

Also on Thursday, the social network said it would ban any new political ads in the week before Election Day and would strengthen measures against posts that try to dissuade people from voting. Postelection, Facebook said it would quash any candidates’ attempts at claiming false victories by redirecting users to accurate results.

Facebook has become a key battleground for both Mr. Trump’s campaign and that of Joseph R. Biden Jr. The Trump campaign ran Facebook ads falsely accusing Mr. Biden of corruption. Mr. Biden’s campaign has criticized Facebook for allowing lies, while spending millions on ads to appeal to voters.

Thursday’s changes, a tacit acknowledgment by Facebook of its power to sway public discourse, was not enough to satisfy critics who said temporarily blocking ads would do little to reduce misinformation.

Separately, Twitter added a warning label to the president’s tweets on voting, saying that they violated its terms of service and its election integrity policies, but said that the president’s post would remain up as a matter “in the public interest.”

“As a result of the application of the notice, engagements with these tweets will be limited and their visibility will be reduced,” a Twitter spokesperson said, adding that people could retweet them with comments — but not reply, like or simply retweet them.

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Gerald Holmes, a forklift operator from Kenosha, Wis., was so passionate about the election four years ago that he drove people to the polls. But this year, Mr. Holmes says he is not even planning to vote himself.

The outcome in 2016, when Wisconsin helped seal President Trump’s victory despite his losing the popular vote and amid reports of Russian interference, left Mr. Holmes, 54, deeply discouraged.

“What good is it to go out there and do it?” he said. “It isn’t going to make any difference.”

As protests have unfolded across the country over the death of George Floyd and the police’s treatment of Black people, activists and Democratic leaders have pleaded with demonstrators to turn their energy toward elections in November.

A block party on Tuesday honoring Jacob Blake, the Black resident of Kenosha who was paralyzed after being shot by a white police officer, included voter registration booths near where the shooting occurred. Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to visit Kenosha on Thursday, two days after Mr. Trump appeared in the city in the wake of unrest over the shooting.

But people like Mr. Holmes reflect the challenges Democrats face as they try to channel anger over police violence into votes.

In interviews with more than a dozen Black residents of the Kenosha area, many said they were outraged over the shooting of Mr. Blake, but some said they had grown dispirited and cynical and that shooting showed that decades of promises from politicians have done little.

“Let’s say I did go out and vote and I voted for Biden,” said Michael Lindsey, a friend of Mr. Blake’s who protested after the shooting. “That’s not going to change police brutality. It’s not going to change the way the police treat African-Americans compared to Caucasians.”

During the block party near where Mr. Blake was shot, James Hall, the interim president of the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha, tried to get a young woman and man to register to vote.

“Does my vote really matter?” the woman asked, then answered herself, “I know my voice doesn’t count.”

“The people feel disengaged,” said Corey Prince, a community organizer. “They feel disenfranchised.”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

For decades, President Trump has sought to undermine opposition by sowing distrust and relying on conspiracy theories, leaving people uncertain about what to believe.

In the last week alone, Mr. Trump has reposted messages asserting that the real death toll from the coronavirus was only around 9,000 and not 185,000, talked cryptically about a planeload of “thugs” in black uniforms flying to Washington to disrupt the Republican National Convention and asserted without a shred of evidence that his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was “on some kind of an enhancement” drug.

People who have known the president for years say one of his most sustained assaults, on the integrity of the 2020 election, is straight from tactics he used as a businessman in New York.

The president has said with no evidence that “millions and millions of ballots” have been sent to dead people and dogs and cats. He has floated the possibility of postponing the election because of the coronavirus pandemic — an idea swiftly shot down by his own party. And at the opening of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., he asserted that mail-in voting “is going to be one of the greatest scams,” pushing a false argument about fraud.

Mr. Trump’s critics point out that as president he has never had more power to shape public opinion and bend outcomes to his will. Early indications suggest he has created significant doubt about the 2020 election: According to a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, about 45 percent of voters do not believe that the election results can be counted accurately — a jump from 36 percent ahead of the 2016 election.

Asked about Mr. Trump’s behavior over decades, Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, did not respond directly. “The American people know they never have to wonder what the president is thinking or how he feels about a particular topic, which is one of the many reasons why they chose to elect him over the same old recycled politicians who just use the poll-tested talking points,’’ Mr. Deere said.

Credit…David Degner for The New York Times

The Department of Homeland Security warned federal and state law enforcement agencies on Thursday that individuals and groups allied with Russia have amplified allegations that mail-in voting could lead to “vast opportunities for voter fraud,” echoing a baseless claim that President Trump has made repeatedly.

The department said in the intelligence bulletin, “Russia Likely to Continue Seeking to Undermine Faith in U.S. Electoral Process,” that Russian state media and proxy websites have spread disinformation about mail-in ballots since March, claiming the system lacks transparency and procedural oversight, according to two law enforcement officials who reviewed the bulletin.

The people allied with Russia have also amplified claims that voters would not receive their ballots in time to cast their votes, according to the bulletin, which was first reported by ABC News.

“We assess that Russian state media, proxies and Russian-controlled social media trolls are likely to promote allegations of corruption, system failure and foreign malign interference to sow distrust in democratic institutions and election outcomes,” Homeland Security intelligence analysts said in the bulletin. The analysts wrote that they had “high confidence” in their assessment.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly made claims, without evidence, about widespread fraud in mail-in voting, even as his advisers have warned such comments scare his own supporters, among them older voters.

The distribution of the intelligence briefing on Tuesday follows an earlier revelation that the department had not yet published an intelligence briefing from July warning of attempts by entities supporting Russia to denigrate the mental health of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential candidate. That bulletin also said agents of Iran and China had amplified criticisms of Mr. Trump’s mental health status, although the document focused a majority of its contents on the attacks by Russian allies on Mr. Biden.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

A batch of polls released on Thursday reflected a rigidly divided electorate in three key states, with Joseph R. Biden Jr. holding onto his advantage but failing to break away from President Trump in the wake of the party conventions.

A Quinnipiac University poll of Pennsylvania voters showed Mr. Biden with an eight-point lead. But even as he held the upper hand there, the survey reflected that he had not yet won the full confidence of Pennsylvania voters: More than half said they saw Mr. Trump as the better economic steward. (An earlier version of this item misstated which candidate most Pennsylvania voters said they would prefer to lead them in a crisis. A slim majority chose Mr. Biden, not Mr. Trump.) In a Monmouth poll of the state released Wednesday, Mr. Biden had a slimmer, four-point edge.

Quinnipiac also released a new poll of Florida, where it found an even closer race: Mr. Biden’s advantage there was just three points among likely voters, a difference within the poll’s margin of error.

Monmouth released another poll on Thursday from North Carolina, showing a tight race there. Mr. Biden had 48 percent support among likely voters, while 46 percent backed Mr. Trump.

All three of the polls out Thursday demonstrated that the main question on Election Day will be voter participation, not persuasion. In both Florida and Pennsylvania, well over 90 percent of voters who selected a candidate said that their minds were made up, according to Quinnipiac. In North Carolina, Monmouth found 88 percent of voters who selected a candidate were firmly set in their choice.

There are some exceptions to the trend, however, particularly in groups that tend to express dissatisfaction with both candidates. Among voters under 50 in North Carolina, who favored Mr. Biden by a razor-thin three-point margin, 13 percent said they were undecided or planned to vote for a third-party candidate, considerably higher than for other age groups, according to the Monmouth poll. Third-party preference tends to drop significantly as Election Day draws nearer, suggesting that young voters could make the difference if they break one way or the other.

Florida voters can cast early ballots in person or by mail, and just 42 percent of likely voters said they planned to go to the polls on Election Day. Nearly a quarter said they would vote early in person, and another third planned to mail in their ballots. In Pennsylvania, where in-person early voting is not an option, three in 10 voters said they would vote by mail.

Credit…Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

Richard Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., on Thursday morning accused President Trump of breaking his promises to bring more manufacturing and infrastructure jobs to working Americans.

They were some of Mr. Trumka’s strongest comments to date — and a recognition that even labor leaders who were willing to give Mr. Trump a chance four years ago are no longer open to finding common ground.

“The jobs he said were coming never came,” Mr. Trumka said during a virtual breakfast with reporters, hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. “Instead of rebuilding America, he’s torn it apart.”

Mr. Trumka’s denunciation of the administration’s policies affecting working Americans came a week after the president promised to turn America into the “manufacturing superpower of the world.” The Trump campaign still needs the support of white, working-class voters in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in order to win.

In his nomination acceptance speech last week at the Republican National Convention, Mr. Trump said that he would “cut taxes even further for hardworking moms and dads.” But on Thursday, Mr. Trumka blamed the president for a tax cut that benefited the rich and “accelerated the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs and worsened inequality.”

Mr. Trumka, a union leader who at the beginning of the Trump presidency was criticized by some for being open to an alliance with Mr. Trump, has since become an outspoken critic of the president. And in May, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Four years into the Trump presidency, Mr. Trumka said, “We’ve learned that working people cannot afford Donald Trump. We’ve learned that workers might not be able to survive another four years with Donald Trump. ”

He added: “After months of pandemic politics and generations of systemic racism, Trump is pouring gasoline on the fire. It is a transparent, ugly, last-ditch effort to scare some people into voting for him and scare others away from voting at all.”

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

WAUWATOSA, Wis. — Outside Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha Thursday, where Joseph R. Biden Jr. was inside addressing members of the community, Justin Blake said that his family would not rest until the officer who shot his nephew, Jacob Blake, and left him paralyzed, had been indicted and convicted.

“When all the cameras go away, I can’t stand my nephew back up,” he said, speaking through a megaphone. Mr. Blake said he believed Mr. Biden would be part of the “healing” of the country.

While he did not take part in the family’s meeting with Mr. Biden earlier in the day, Mr. Blake said he had talked to his brother, Jacob Blake’s father, who said he had found Mr. Biden to be “a hell of a guy.”

Neighbors living on a narrow side street next to the church took in the scene from porches or lawns, surveying the swarm of reporters, Secret Service agents and onlookers.

Calvin Cooks, 49, said he understood the anger over the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, but said he was also disturbed by the destructive nature of some of the protests that followed.

He said that he supported Mr. Biden and appreciated how the former vice president spoke on policing and issues of race.

Mr. Cooks said he himself was sprayed with Mace several weeks ago by a police officer as he tried to pull his family away from a shooting scene and a crowd that had grown angry with the police.

Still, he said, he thought that the officer who shot Mr. Blake might have been legitimately worried that he had been reaching for a weapon.

“I’d never say it was cool or good he shot him, but that man was thinking about his life,” Mr. Cooks said of the officer.

A few houses down, April Valdez was hanging a large Trump 2020 banner on her porch after taking it inside on a windy day.

Ms. Valdez said the demonstrations grew so destructive last month that she and her husband briefly sent their three young children out of the area, fearing they would be hurt. She was frustrated that the National Guard had not been sent in immediately.

“The fires, I think, could have been prevented,” she said. “Change-wise, I unfortunately think anything Democratic-handled at this point is going to put us further into destruction.”

Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill R. Biden, ended their trip Thursday afternoon with an unannounced stop. Sitting down with a small group of teachers and parents at a backyard picnic table in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, they talked about education. The couple’s arrival surprised residents of the quiet, leafy neighborhood, and by the time they left about an hour later, hundreds of people flooded the sidewalks and lawns and broke into chants of “Let’s go, Joe!”

Chris and Karri Tait, donors to the Biden campaign, said they had only learned the night before that Mr. Biden might want to use their backyard for the meeting.

“We talked a lot about just funding mechanisms, what are the challenges the teachers are facing right now and how they’re going to overcome that,” Mr. Tait said. “It gives a lot of optimism of, if Joe is elected, that he’s going to make some changes.”

Credit…Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

President Trump’s call for people to test the integrity of the elections system by trying to vote both by mail and in person has created new headaches for state election officials, who are already dealing with the formidable task of holding an election during a pandemic.

Douglas A. Kellner, co-chairman of the New York State Board of Elections, accused Mr. Trump on Thursday of fueling concern in the minds of voters and, in doing so, adding more work to county elections boards already “stretched to the limit” by a presidential election and coronavirus.

“It’s hard to imagine how we could add any more stress to the system,” said Mr. Kellner, a Democrat.

Maggie Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, a Republican, said, “Ohio voters are encouraged to choose one way to vote, as any additional effort to cast a ballot will not be counted and unnecessarily burdens election officials.”

And Jena Griswold, Colorado’s secretary of state and a Democrat, said, “2020 has been unprecedented in so many ways, but I never imagined that as secretary of state I would have to inform both the president and the U.S. attorney general that it is illegal to vote twice.”

That was after Attorney General William P. Barr suggested during an interview with CNN that he was not sure whether voting twice was illegal in North Carolina.

A group of Democratic senators on Thursday urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to impose economic sanctions on individuals and government entities tied to Russia who are seeking to interfere in the general election.

In a published letter co-signed by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York along with nine other senators, cited an assessment by American intelligence officials last month that said Russia was using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr. and interfere in the 2020 election to help President Trump. Russia tried to sway public opinion ahead of the 2018 midterm election, but it did not successfully tamper with the voting infrastructure.

A statement last month by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, described the activities of Andriy Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s Parliament who supports Russia and who has been involved in releasing claims to undermine Mr. Biden’s candidacy. Intelligence officials have said he has ties to Russian intelligence.

“Congress has mandated a broad range of sanctions tools, and it is long past time for the administration to send a direct message to President Putin: The U.S. will respond immediately and forcefully to continuing election interference by the government of the Russian Federation and its surrogates,” the letter said. “There is virtually no national security threat more serious than that posed by those who would undermine confidence in, and the effective operation of, our democratic elections.”

A spokesman for the Treasury Department said the department does not generally comment on correspondence with Congress.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

House Democrats on Thursday called on the Office of Special Counsel, the independent agency charged with enforcing a law against partisan political activity by government employees, to investigate what they described as “multiple, repeated violations” of the statute, the Hatch Act, during last week’s Republican convention.

“Throughout the convention, administration officials repeatedly used their official positions and the White House itself to bolster President Trump’s re-election campaign,” Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote in a letter to the office. “We are alarmed that President Trump and some senior administration officials are actively undermining compliance with — and respect for — the law.”

Among the examples: Video of a pardon and naturalization ceremony featuring Chad Wolf, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security; a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while he was on official travel in Jerusalem; a segment in which a federal housing official interviewed New York City tenants who later said they were not told their testimonials would be used at the convention; and multiple other segments filmed on federal property, including an elaborate ceremony on the White House grounds.

The president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act, a 1939 law limitng political activities by federal employees, but it applies to the rest of the administration. Still, despite multiple violations the O.S.C. has found under Mr. Trump and past presidents, the act has rarely been enforced. Penalties for violating it include removal from federal employment and fines up to $1,000.

The Democrats also cited a New York Times article that reported that Mr. Trump had “enjoyed the frustration and anger” he elicited by holding political events on the White House grounds and that he had “relished the fact” that he could not be stopped, according to Mr. Trump’s aides.

A Republican candidate in Texas who is locked in a tight House race has come under scrutiny for campaign ads run this summer that show him shaking hands with and walking alongside a campaign volunteer dressed as a border patrol agent.

The candidate, Tony Gonzales, a former Navy cryptologist, narrowly won the Republican primary and will face Gina Ortiz Jones, a Democrat and a former Air Force intelligence officer, in November. They are vying for the seat of U.S. Representative Will Hurd, who announced last year that he would retire. The 23rd District stretches along the southwest border of the state, from San Antonio to El Paso.

The ads, which were first spotlighted by The San Antonio Express-News, were posted on Facebook in June and July during Mr. Gonzales’s primary race against Raul Reyes and at least one ran on TV. They sought mainly to attract conservative voters by highlighting Mr. Gonzales’s ties to President Trump and his desire to, as one ad put it, “finish the wall.”

In a news release Thursday that flagged the Express-News report, Sharon Yang, a spokeswoman for the Jones campaign, said Mr. Gonzales was on “the wrong side” of the border wall issue.

“South and West Texans overwhelmingly oppose President Trump’s wasteful border wall that is taking private land from families and raiding funding from military bases in this district,” she said.

Matt Mackowiak, a Gonzales campaign spokesman, confirmed that the person in the ads wearing what appeared to be the border patrol’s signature green uniform and patches was not an actual agent.

In a statement, the campaign’s lawyer stressed that government emblems and symbols can be used for the purpose of political debate and “the campaign remains confident that its advertisement complies with all legal and ethical standards.”

“Tony Gonzales has toured the southern border with courageous border patrol agents to see firsthand the security challenges that we face,” Mr. Mackowiak said in his own statement.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection said only that the agency was “looking into this issue.”

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors (bbc.com) Posted by EditorDavid on Monday September 21, 2020 @07:34AM from the underage-ads dept. The BBC reports: Tech firms have been urged to stop advertising to under-18s in an open letter signed by Members of Parliament, academics and children’s-rights advocates. Behavioural advertising not only undermines…


google 64 - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

advertising 64 - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

facebook 64 - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

microsoft 64100 - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

uk 64 - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

youtube 64 - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

apple 64 - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors


Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors (bbc.com)






Posted
by

EditorDavid

from the underage-ads dept.

The BBC reports:
Tech firms have been urged to stop advertising to under-18s in an open letter signed by Members of Parliament, academics and children’s-rights advocates. Behavioural advertising not only undermines privacy but puts “susceptible” youngsters under unfair marketing pressure, the letter says. It is addressed to Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

In a separate move Google-owned YouTube is accused of unlawfully mining data from five million under-13s in the UK…

“The fact that ad-tech companies hold 72 million data points on a child by the time they turn 13 shows the extent of disregard for these laws, and the extraordinary surveillance to which children are subjected,” the letter reads.


Let’s organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.

adbanner - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors
purple - Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple Urged to Stop Advertising to Minors

Working…

Facebook to block new political ads 1 week before Nov 3, adds more tools and rules for fair elections

We’re now 61 days away from the U.S. presidential election, and Facebook is once more ramping up its efforts to level the playing field and attempt to keep its platform from being manipulated to influence how people vote. CEO Mark Zuckerberg today announced a series of new measures, including the news that it will block…

We’re now 61 days away from the U.S. presidential election, and Facebook is once more ramping up its efforts to level the playing field and attempt to keep its platform from being manipulated to influence how people vote.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg today announced a series of new measures, including the news that it will block new political and issue ads in the final week of the campaign — although campaigns can still run ads to encourage people to vote, and they can still run older political ads. Other announcements today detailed more work to counter misinformation, and stronger rules to counter voter suppression, including misleading references to COVID-19 at the polls.

The news today is significant not just because it’s a sign of how Facebook continues to work on more proactive measures around the election, but that it is definitely past the point of trying to present itself as an innocent bystander to forces that would have been in play even if Facebook didn’t exist.

“This election is not going to be business as usual,” he wrote in the post. “We all have a responsibility to protect our democracy. That means helping people register and vote, clearing up confusion about how this election will work, and taking steps to reduce the chances of violence and unrest.”

Other measures will include placing its Voter Information Center — a hub for voting information, with deadlines and guides on how to vote by mail and other related details that it announced in August — at the top of Facebook and Instagram “almost every day until the election.” (Originally, the hub was going to be accessible — and somewhat hidden — in the menu; now it’s being moved into a more prominent slot.)

Zuckerberg said that the political ad blocking is being put in place because Facebook — another admission — doesn’t believe that there would be enough time to contest any new claims that might come in the ads.

But while blocking those last-minute political ads is an important move, it’s not a complete block of all political ads. Facebook said that political ads posted more than a week before the election can still stay up, and targeting for those ads can still be adjusted. In other words, they can essentially be re-run, or run as new campaigns.

Zuck’s explanation is that the older ads have time to be researched. “Those ads will already be published transparently in our Ads Library so anyone, including fact-checkers and journalists, can scrutinize them,” he noted.

But others are already coming out with criticism against the measures, saying they do not go far enough.

“This is a first step, but it doesn’t address the myriad of issues that could actually influence election outcomes,” said Lisa Kaplan, founder and CEO, Alethea Group, a specialist consultant on disinformation, in a statement. “The fact that you can alter advertising takes the teeth out of the proposed policy changes, and political advertising is only one piece of the disinformation puzzle. What’s more pressing is addressing that individuals have been fed a steady misinformation and disinformation diet for months, and one week of allegedly limiting advertising cannot be expected to make much of a difference. While this is a nice gesture — it’s unlikely to make an impact and leaves voters vulnerable to disinformation.”

The company said that its efforts so far have driven 24 million clicks to voter registration sites, but how those translate into actual registrations is not clear. The company has set a goal of helping 4 million people register to vote, and Zuckerberg himself has donated $300 million to organizations working on that effort.

Other efforts announced today include a number of moves to try to combat misinformation — one of the key ways that Facebook has been leveraged in past elections to influence voting.

Specifically, Facebook said it is extending the window beyond 72 hours — its original timescale — where it’s going to try to identify and remove false claims about polling conditions, given that many may try to vote early this time around.

And given how a lot of misinformation is also shared through direct channels off Facebook itself, it’s also going to limit how things can be forwarded on Messenger to stem how content goes viral on there. “You’ll still be able to share information about the election, but we’ll limit the number of chats you can forward a message to at one time,” Zuckerberg noted. This will, of course, cut both ways (those trying to put out accurate information might also get dinged) but ultimately is a direct result of how Facebook has altered forwarding on WhatsApp around elections in other countries, such as India.

One of the other issues that has been highlighted previously has been how the high percentage of people voting by mail might be exploited to the advantage of candidates that take strong early leads in live voting: the worry is that the live results get called as early victories, before other votes are tallied, which could, for example, dissuade people from going to polling stations and voting. Facebook now says that it will be adding labels to candidates and campaigns that try to declare victory before the official calls (but won’t be removing those posts). It’s working with Reuters and the National Election Pool to determine more accurate results, it said.

Another big theme in misinformation has been around COVID-19 and how scare tactics around this are used to dissuade people from voting. Facebook said it will “remove posts with claims that people will get Covid-19 if they take part in voting,” with links to more accurate information. The rule will also include ads with this message.

Misinformation also comes through Facebook by way of sending false details about how polling stations or how voting works, for example not just trying to discourage people from going to polls, but also intentionally giving specific groups of voters the wrong information about how to vote, for example telling them that it’s okay to send in their ballots past the deadline.

All of these policies will work in tandem with how Facebook deals with a completely different threat, coming not from candidates and their campaigns but other actors intent on destabilising how democratic processes work, or simply to influence how they go.

Just this week, Facebook took down a network of 13 accounts and two pages sending out misleading claims about political candidates. The company says that it’s investing more into its security to continue fighting this, but it’s a huge problem, stretching back years now to the previous U.S. presidential election, and apparently not going away anytime soon. While originally the threats were identified as coming from countries like Russia, Zuckerberg now admitted that “We’re increasingly seeing attempts to undermine the legitimacy of our elections from within our own borders.”

It’s going to be a long 61 days….

us 2020 election footer - Facebook to block new political ads 1 week before Nov 3, adds more tools and rules for fair elections

Free Speech Champion Mark Zuckerberg Announces Plan to Censor His Employees

Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool (Getty Images)Facebook employees have recently been wondering if perhaps Facebook—which lets politicians lie in ads, festers with extremist movements like QAnon, and by design amplifies authoritarian propaganda, misinformation, and hate speech—is actually the bad guy.Hey, pal, why don’t you shut the fuck up, CEO Mark Zuckerberg responds. According to reports in CNBC…

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Free Speech Champion Mark Zuckerberg Announces Plan to Censor His Employees

Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool (Getty Images)

Facebook employees have recently been wondering if perhaps Facebook—which lets politicians lie in ads, festers with extremist movements like QAnon, and by design amplifies authoritarian propaganda, misinformation, and hate speech—is actually the bad guy.

Hey, pal, why don’t you shut the fuck up, CEO Mark Zuckerberg responds.

According to reports in CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg told employees on Thursday that the company plans to crack down on discussion of polarizing political and social issues on internal message boards. The Journal wrote that Zuckerberg said staff shouldn’t have to discuss social issues at work and outlined potential steps like establishing rules on where these discussions can pop up on the company’s messenger, making sure those conversations are monitored and moderated:

The steps will include delineating which parts of the company’s internal messaging platform are acceptable for such discussions, and careful moderation of the discussions when they occur, Mr. Zuckerberg told employees at a company meeting, according to a spokesman. Employees shouldn’t have to confront social issues in their day-to-day work unless they want to, the CEO said.

Specific details of the new policy are still being decided, with more information to come next week, but Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook plans to “explore ways to preserve our culture of openness and debate around” its work, according to a spokesman.

The apparent inability of Facebook to handle criticism from its staff on social and political issues is, to put it lightly, not a good omen of its ability to handle its role as a mass conduit for discussion of social and political issues in the U.S. and around the world.

It’s probably no coincidence that Zuckerberg’s policy announcement follows a virtual staff walkout in June and increasing pressure from employees, anti-hate groups, civil rights attorneys, and a months-long boycott campaign, to push Facebook to stop enabling the growth of hate, militia, and conspiracy movements.

G/O Media may get a commission

Numerous reports have documented widespread employee backlash to Facebook’s willingness to look the other way on misinformation and threats of violence, even when they come from powerful politicians like the president of the United States—and that its management deliberately ignored reports warning of issues like automated racial bias by its moderation systems and that its algorithms actively promote paranoia and far-right groups. Last month, large swathes of the staff were reportedly in an uproar after company moderators failed to act on numerous user reports of a self-described militia mobilizing to confront protesters with firearms in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after which a 17-year-old militia member shot two people to death and injured another.

“Longtime current and former employees” recently told Bloomberg of their suspicion that Zuckerberg is deliberately maneuvering the company’s policies to avoid angering the Trump administration. It’s actually the opposite of ironic that Zuckerberg has previously cast himself a free speech hero who “stands for voice and free expression,” because hypocritical posturing is exactly what you expect from him at this point.

The Workplace software that Facebook employees use to discuss these issues have often been the source of leaks. On Monday, BuzzFeed published details of an internal whistleblower memo written by a former data scientist alleging Facebook ignored organized campaigns to manipulate elections outside the U.S. and Europe when they weren’t the subject of press attention; that memo was posted to Workplace. Other previous reports detailing internal strife at Facebook have been sourced to those message boards.

Zuckerberg reportedly told employees that the intent of the new rules is avoiding a hostile environment for employees who are Black or members of other underrepresented groups, rather than telling them to can it and get back to work. Google, facing its own internal strife over drone work for the Pentagon, reports it was developing a censored search engine for China, and handling of sexual assault reports, implemented similar policies telling staff to shut the fuck up about politics last year. Google later fired four employees for allegedly leaking damaging info to the media.

“We deeply value expression and open discussion,” Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne told the Journal. “What we’ve heard from our employees is that they want the option to join debates on social and political issues, rather than see them unexpectedly in their work feed.”

If you have a tip, ple

Facebook addresses political controversy in India, monetization opportunities, startup investments

At the beginning of the previous decade, Facebook had a tiny presence in India. It had just started to slowly expand its team in the country and was inking deals with telecom operators to make access to its service free to users and even offer incentives such as free voice credit. India’s internet population, now…

At the beginning of the previous decade, Facebook had a tiny presence in India. It had just started to slowly expand its team in the country and was inking deals with telecom operators to make access to its service free to users and even offer incentives such as free voice credit.

India’s internet population, now the second largest with more than 500 million connected users, itself was very small. In early 2011, the country had fewer than 100 million internet users.

But Facebook ended up playing a crucial role in the last decade. So much so that by the end of it, the social juggernaut was reaching nearly every internet user in the country. WhatsApp alone reaches more than 400 million internet users in India, more than any other app in the country, according to mobile insight firm App Annie.

This reach of Facebook in India didn’t go unnoticed. Politicians in the country today heavily rely on Facebook services, including WhatsApp, to get their message out. But it has also complicated things.

Rumors have spread on WhatsApp that cost lives, and politicians from both the large political parties in India in recent weeks have accused the company of showing favoritism to the other side.

To address these issues, and the role Facebook wishes to play in India, Ajit Mohan, the head of the company’s business in the country, joined us at Disrupt 2020. Following are some of the highlights.

On controversy

A recent report in WSJ claimed that Ankhi Das, one of Facebook’s top executives in India, decided against taking down a post from a politician from the ruling party. She did so, the report claimed, because she feared it could hurt the company’s business prospects in India.

In Mohan’s first interview since the controversy broke, he refuted the claims that any executive in the country holds power to influence how Facebook enforces its content policy.

“We believe that it’s important for us to be open and neutral and non-partisan,” he said. “We have deep belief and conviction that our enabling role is as a neutral party that allows speech of all kinds, that allows expression of all kinds, including political expression, and a lot of the guidelines that we have developed are to make sure that we really enable our diversity of expression and opinion so long as we’re able to make sure that the safety and security of people are protected.”

Mohan said the internal processes and systems inside Facebook are designed to ensure that any opinion and preference of an employee or a group of employees is “quite separate from the company and the company’s objective enforcement of its own policies.”

He said individuals can offer input on decisions, but nobody — including Ankhi Das — can unilaterally influence the decision Facebook takes on content enforcement.

“We do allow free expression inside the company as well. We don’t have any constraints on people expressing their point of view, but we see that separate from the enforcement of our content policy. […] The content policy itself, in the context of India, is a team that stands separate from the public policy team that is led by Ankhi,” he added.

GettyImages 995049800 - Facebook addresses political controversy in India, monetization opportunities, startup investments

This photo illustration shows an Indian newspaper vendor reading a newspaper with a full back page advertisement from WhatsApp intended to counter fake information, in New Delhi on July 10, 2018. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP)

On India and monetization

Even as Facebook has amassed hundreds of millions of users in India, the world’s second largest market contributes little to its bottom line. So why does Facebook care so much about the country?

“India is in the middle of a very exciting economic and social transformation where digital has a massive role to play. In just the last four years, more than 500 million users have come online. The pace of this transformation probably has no parallel in either human history or even in the digital transformation happening in countries around the world,” he said.

“For a company like ours, if you look at the family of apps across WhatsApp and Instagram, we believe we have a useful role to play in fueling this transformation,” he said.

Even as Facebook does not generate a lot of revenue from India, Mohan said the company has established itself as one of the most trusted platforms for marketers. “They look to us as a material partner in their marketing agenda,” he said.

He said the company is hopeful that advertising as a GDP will go up in India. “Therefore ad-revenue will become substantial over time,” he said.

For Facebook, India is also crucial because it allows the company to build some unique products that solve issues for India but could be replicated in other markets. The company is currently testing an integration of WhatsApp, which currently does not have a business model despite having over 2 billion users, with new Indian e-commerce JioMart, to allow users to easily track their orders.

“We think there is opportunity to build India-first models, experiment at scale, and in a world where we succeed, we see huge opportunity in taking some of these models global,” he said.

Facebook as a VC

Facebook does not usually invest in startups. But in India, the company has invested in social-commerce firm Meesho, online learning platform Unacademy — it even participated in its follow-up round — and it wrote a $5.7 billion check to Jio Platforms earlier this year. So why is Facebook taking this investment route in India?

“We wanted to create a program for taking minority investments in early-stage startups to figure out how we could be helpful to startup founders and the ecosystem as a whole. The starting point was backing teams that were building models that in some ways were unique to India and could go global. Since we made an investment in Meesho, they have made a strong thrust in Indonesia. These are the kind of companies where we feel we can add value as well as we can learn from these startups,” he said.

The partnership with Jio Platforms follows a different rationale. “The transformation we talked about in India in the last few years, Jio triggered it,” he said. Other than that, Facebook is exploring ways to work with Jio, such as with its partnership with Jio’s venture JioMart. “It can really fuel the small and medium business that is good for the Indian economy,” he said.

Mohan said the company continues to explore more opportunities in Indian startups, especially with those where the teams think Facebook can add value, but he said there is no mandate of any kind that Facebook has to invest in, say dozens of startups in three to four years. “It’s not a volume play,” he said.

But would these firms, including Reliance Industries, which operates Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail, will receive any special access on Facebook’s services. What if Amazon, BigBasket, Grofers, or Flipkart want to integrate with WhatsApp, too? Mohan said Facebook platform is open for every firm and everyone will receive the same level of access and opportunities.

In the interview, Mohan, who ran the Disney-run Hotstar on-demand streaming service in India, also talked about the growing usage of video in India, the state of WhatsApp Pay’s rollout in the country, what Facebook thinks of India’s ban on Chinese apps, and much more. You can watch the full interview below.

Facebook warns that Apple’s privacy changes will decimate a small part of its advertising business

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for August 27. I’m Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at ljohnson@businessinsider.com Today’s news: Facebook warns Apple about ad revenue drop, 2020’s biggest marketing-tech execs, and McDonald’s investigates its ex-CEO. Drew…

Hi! Welcome to the Insider Advertising daily for August 27. I’m Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter at Business Insider. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. Send me feedback or tips at ljohnson@businessinsider.com

Today’s news: Facebook warns Apple about ad revenue drop, 2020’s biggest marketing-tech execs, and McDonald’s investigates its ex-CEO.


svg%3E - Facebook warns that Apple's privacy changes will decimate a small part of its advertising business



Drew Angerer/Getty Images


Apple’s new iPhone operating system is making it harder for Facebook to track people, and Facebook warns it will decimate part of its business

  • Rob Price reports that Apple’s plan to make it harder for apps to track users’ data without their consent in iOS 14 will impact Facebook’s ad business.
  • Facebook says that the changes could cut revenues for its Audience Network ad network by up to 50%. Facebook’s Audience Network makes money by placing ads on websites outside of Facebook but does not represent the bulk of Facebook’s revenue.
  • “This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS 14 have forced this decision. We know this may severely impact publishers’ ability to monetize through Audience Network on iOS 14, and, despite our best efforts, may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.

Read the full story here.


svg%3E - Facebook warns that Apple's privacy changes will decimate a small part of its advertising business



Braze; Drift; Adobe; Oracle; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider


Meet 20 of the most important executives shaping the future of marketing technology in 2020

Read the full story here.


svg%3E - Facebook warns that Apple's privacy changes will decimate a small part of its advertising business

New York Police Officers watch as the “Ronald McDonald” balloon passes by during the 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Andrew Kelly/Reuters


McDonald’s investigates its ex-CEO for covering up executive misconduct, following a shakeup within the fast-food giant’s HR department

Read the full story here.


More stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow! You can reach me in the meantime at ljohnson@businessinsider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

— Lauren

Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Facebook is getting back to its roots as a college-focused social network. The company announced today the launch of a new social networking platform, Facebook Campus, which offers college students a private place to connect with classmates, join groups, discover upcoming campus events, get updates from their school’s administration and chat with other students from…

Facebook is getting back to its roots as a college-focused social network. The company announced today the launch of a new social networking platform, Facebook Campus, which offers college students a private place to connect with classmates, join groups, discover upcoming campus events, get updates from their school’s administration and chat with other students from their dorm, clubs or any other campus group.

The new platform requires a school email address (@.edu) to join and will live within a dedicated section of the Facebook app. It will be accessible from a tab at the bottom of the screen or from the “More” menu alongside sections like Watch, Dating, Gaming, News, Marketplace and others.

“We wanted to create a product where it was easy for classmates to meet each other, foster new relationships and also easily start conversations,” explains Facebook Campus Product Manager Charmaine Hung. “And we really think that Campus is more relevant than ever right now. With COVID-19, we see that many students aren’t returning to campus in the fall. Now, classes are being held online and students are trying to react to this new normal of what it’s like to connect to clubs and organizations that you care about, when you’re not together,” she added.

More broadly, Facebook likely wanted to address its “teen problem,” and Facebook Campus is its solution.

Still Onboarding - Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook, according to reports, has been losing its grip on the younger demographic, as they’ve shifted their attention to other social apps, like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. According to a 2018 study from the Pew Research Center, only 51% of U.S. users ages 13 through 17 said they used Facebook, down from 71% who said the same in 2015. Meanwhile, a 2019 survey by Edison Research indicated that Facebook had lost 15 million users since 2017, with the biggest drop coming from the 12 to 34-year-old group.

Facebook Campus is built to bring these users back by offering a more exclusive place for private networking within Facebook. It’s similar, in some ways, to Facebook’s effort to address the needs of corporate users with Facebook Workplace. Instead of being new ideas for social networking, these platforms leverage Facebook’s existing technology, like News Feed and Groups, to deliver solutions for particular demographics.

At launch, Facebook Campus is only available at around 30 colleges and universities across the U.S. (see full list below), but the company plans to expand over time.

Some of the colleges have a deeper partnership with Facebook and have signed up to publish updates and news to their students’ Facebook Campus feed, as well. In these cases, the college or university may encourage various student leaders to join the network, too.

Still Profile - Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook will market the new app both within its app and offline. Students may be prompted to join Campus through a prompt in News Feed if Facebook has enough data to indicate they’re likely a student at a supported college. For example, if a Facebook user regularly visited a supported university’s Facebook Page, Facebook may display the Facebook Campus sign-up prompt. There are also student-led incentive programs where students who increase enrollment are rewarded with Facebook Campus swag, like t-shirts and towels.

In addition to requiring a .edu email address, Facebook Campus requires a graduation year — and it will need to be no more than five years out from the present. For now, Facebook will not remove Campus users after graduation, but the way those users participate may be modified in the future. The company says alumni play a large role in college communities, but it’s still evaluating how to best incorporate them in the product further down the road. The pilot will help Facebook with some of these decisions, but nothing is yet set in stone.

After signing up, students create their Facebook Campus profile. While this is linked on the back end to the student’s main Facebook profile, it lets them add college-specific details that won’t automatically appear anywhere else on Facebook. Here, Campus users can add their graduation year, dorm, major and minor, classes they’re taking, hometown, Instagram profile and more.

Still Directory - Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Image Credits: Facebook

This information can only be viewed by other Facebook Campus users who attend the same school (unless those users were already blocked on Facebook). It also helps power Campus’ student directory, where Facebook Campus users can search students by name, year, major or class, or browse to find classmates to add as friends, including those who are in their same dorm or clubs.

Still Events - Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Image Credits: Facebook

Within Facebook Campus, students can also discover and join Groups and Events for their school. These can be those associated with official student clubs or Greek organizations, those associated with a particular dorm or even those just focused on a particular interest, like photography, cooking, writing, hiking, etc. Students can create buy/sell groups or roommate search groups, too, or anything else not in violation of Facebook’s terms.

These groups and events essentially function like those on Facebook itself, with the exception being that they can only be viewed, joined and accessed by students.

Still Groups - Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook Campus also has its own private Chat section, which is kept separate from Facebook and Messenger. These group chats work a little differently, as users don’t actually have to find and invite members. Instead, students in a particular group can opt to join its associated chat, if they choose.

All updates from your groups, clubs and events are in the Facebook Campus News Feed. But unlike on Facebook proper, students can’t post to their personal profile within Campus. They can only post to groups, events or chats.

Still Chat - Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook says this decision helps cut down on spam and allows users to focus their energy on engaging with smaller communities they’re involved with.

A small handful of universities have already partnered with Facebook to distribute announcements to their Facebook Campus channel for their students to see. However, any school can choose to opt-in to this feature at launch.

At launch, the following universities and colleges will support Facebook Campus:

Benedict College; Brown University; California Institute of Technology; College of William & Mary; Duke University; Florida International University; Georgia Southern University; Georgia State University; Johns Hopkins University; Lane College; Lincoln University (Pennsylvania); Middlebury College; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Northwestern University; Rice University; Sarah Lawrence College; Scripps College; Smith College; Spelman College; Stephen F. Austin State University; Tufts University; University at Albany – State University of New York; University of Hartford; University of Louisville; University of Pennsylvania; University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Vassar College; Virginia Tech; Wellesley College; and Wesleyan University.

While Facebook’s early days saw it targeting Ivy League schools, the company says these first Facebook Campus schools were selected for diversity’s sake. That is, diversity of the student population, diversity of geography and diversity of school specialties (like liberal arts). They also represent a mix of public and private schools.

Still Feed - Facebook returns to its roots with Campus, a college student-only social network

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook Campus, notably, won’t include advertising in its Feed. But it will support Facebook’s advertising business. Advertisers won’t be able to specifically target Facebook Campus users, but they can target users by interest — even if the only place the user indicated they had that interest was within Campus. For example, a user who joined a cooking club in Facebook Campus could be targeted by an advertiser looking to reach users interested in cooking.

Hung said Facebook hasn’t tested Facebook Campus before today, even with small groups. Instead, this launch is considered a pilot for the new experience. The company did spend time conducting roundtables with universities and with student groups to gain product insight and feedback, however.

Facebook: Apple privacy changes will muck up online ads – CTV News

OAKLAND, CALIF. — Facebook is pushing back on new Apple privacy rules for its mobile devices — and putting app developers in the middle. Apple will soon require apps to ask users for permission to collect data on what devices they are using and to let ads follow them around on the internet. The social…

OAKLAND, CALIF. —
Facebook is pushing back on new Apple privacy rules for its mobile devices — and putting app developers in the middle.

Apple will soon require apps to ask users for permission to collect data on what devices they are using and to let ads follow them around on the internet. The social network said Wednesday that those rules could reduce what apps can earn by advertising through Facebook’s audience network.

Facebook said it expects “less impact” on its own advertising revenue than on the ad-supported businesses that rely on its audience network to promote their apps. The audience network allows Facebook and Instagram advertisers to place their ads elsewhere on the internet.

Apple says the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 14, is designed to protect people’s privacy. It will require apps to ask users for permission to collect and share data using a unique code that identifies their iPhones and iPads. The update is due later this fall.

Facebook said that because of this change, it will no longer collect the identifier for advertisers on its own apps for iOS 14 devices. It is also asking businesses to create a new ad account that is dedicated solely to running ads for apps for iOS 14 users in order to comply with Apple’s new rules.

In Facebook’s second-quarter earnings call last month, finance chief Dave Wehner said the company is “still trying to understand what these changes will look like and how they will impact us and the rest of the industry. But the very least, it’s going to make it harder for app developers and others to grow using ads on Facebook and elsewhere.”

He also called targeted ads “are a lifeline for small businesses, especially in a time of COVID.”

Apple, on the other hand, said it is intent on giving people more choice over how they want to be tracked by companies on the internet — and the ability to say no if they don’t.

Facebook slaps new label on Trump post about mail-in ballots

Facebook Previously, Facebook had labeled Trump’s post with a message encouraging users to visit the company’s voting information center. But that label, which is similar to ones the company has added to other voting-related posts, had been criticized for not taking a stronger stance on the president’s claims.Facebook’s new label comes after Mark Zuckerberg announced…

dims?image uri=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia mbst pub ue1.s3.amazonaws - Facebook slaps new label on Trump post about mail-in ballots

Facebook

Previously, Facebook had labeled Trump’s post with a message encouraging users to visit the company’s voting information center. But that label, which is similar to ones the company has added to other voting-related posts, had been criticized for not taking a stronger stance on the president’s claims.

Facebook’s new label comes after Mark Zuckerberg announced new steps the social network would take to prevent voter fraud and misinformation. The company will expand its voter suppression policy to “include implicit misrepresentations about voting… because it might mislead you about what you need to do to get a ballot, even if that wouldn’t necessarily invalidate your vote by itself,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook will also ban new political ads in the days leading up to the election, and add labels to posts that try “to delegitimize the outcome of the election” or declare victory before the results are final. The company will also limit message forwarding in its Messenger app. 

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

share - Facebook slaps new label on Trump post about mail-in ballots

788
Shares

Trump Campaign Starts Using Proper Grammar For ‘Democrat Party’ in Facebook Ads

President Donald Trump addresses supporters at Smith-Reynolds Regional Airport in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 8, 2020.Photo: Mandel Ngan (Getty Images)President Donald Trump is constantly whining about the “Democrat Party,” “Democrat cities,” and “Democrat programs,” all grammatically incorrect phrases that use a noun as an adjective. But Trump’s online ad creators started using proper grammar…

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Trump Campaign Starts Using Proper Grammar For 'Democrat Party' in Facebook Ads

President Donald Trump addresses supporters at Smith-Reynolds Regional Airport in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 8, 2020.
Photo: Mandel Ngan (Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is constantly whining about the “Democrat Party,” “Democrat cities,” and “Democrat programs,” all grammatically incorrect phrases that use a noun as an adjective. But Trump’s online ad creators started using proper grammar on Tuesday, referring to the Democratic Party rather than the “Democrat Party.” And despite being correct, it somehow feels wrong for Trump.

“The RADICAL Left has taken over Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. Don’t let them take over America,” reads one of the new Facebook ads.

The new ad is accompanied by a 15-second video that’s edited to make it look like Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, are laughing at vandalism and property damage, presumably from recent protests against police violence. But the misleading video really isn’t the surprising part.

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Trump Campaign Starts Using Proper Grammar For 'Democrat Party' in Facebook Ads

The new Facebook ad from the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, with highlighted text by Gizmodo
Screenshot: Facebook Ad Library/Donald J. Trump Facebook

It’s kind of shocking to see a Trump ad use the phrase “Democratic Party” instead of “Democrat Party,” largely because it’s not how the president speaks. Just last night, Trump complained about “violent crime in Democrat-controlled cities” and the “Democrat governor” of North Carolina during one of the president’s neo-fascist rallies in that state.

G/O Media may get a commission

Trump didn’t come up with the idea to call the Democratic Party the “Democrat Party,” a term that’s been used as an epithet since at least the 1940s. But Trump has taken the phrase “Democrat Party” to new heights, using it so frequently that mainstream international news outlets have even adopted the term, likely without knowing it’s wrong. Representatives from Facebook have even used the term, but it’s no secret the social media giant has plenty of fascist sympathizers on the payroll.

Trump himself has previously speculated that maybe the Democratic Party should adopt the name “democratic” instead of “democrat party,” signaling that he probably doesn’t know it’s grammatically incorrect.

When President George W. Bush was called out for using “Democrat Party” instead of “Democratic Party” in the 2000s, Bush acknowledged that he didn’t know it was wrong and later made jokes about the gaffe.

“Now, look, my diction isn’t all that good. I have been accused of occasionally mangling the English language. And so I appreciate you inviting the head of the Republic Party,” Bush told a bipartisan crowd in 2007 as Democrats laughed.

Bush’s joke was spot-on. Using “Democrat Party” is roughly the equivalent of calling the Republican Party the “Republic Party.” It’s goofy and sounds weird, but that’s precisely why Republicans have tried to push the incorrect pronunciation of their opponents’ party for almost a century.

Use of the phrase Democrat Party is much older than Trump and Bush, as any quick search through newspaper archives will reveal. Columnist Alan H. Olmstead wrote about the phrase in September 1976, shortly before that year’s presidential election between Republican incumbent Gerald Ford and Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter. Olmstead called the phrase “reprehensible grammarcide,” and noted that it was last in fashion about 20 years earlier, in the 1950s.

Writing in his Sept. 13, 1976 column in the Bridgeport Telegram in Connecticut, Olmstead explained:

Why do the Republicans have these recurrent passions for denying the Democrats their adjective?

First the Republicans are sensitive to the possibility that the form “Democratic” when applied as adjective to a party of a program sounds exactly the same as the word “democratic,” with its inference of being close to the people.

Second, the Republicans love the sound that results from the use of “Democrat Party.” It has a built-in sneer.

It obviously designated something low and ugly and not to be trusted. It conveys the righteous contempt of the Republican writer or speaker.

Olmstead’s third reason that Republicans used the phrase “Democrat Party” is one that many people here in the 21st century will recognize. It was to simply make the other party angry—“owning the libs,” in modern internet parlance.

Third, it is supposed to get under the Democrat skins of the Democrats, and make them furiously but futilely indignant.

Same as it ever was, I suppose, though Trump doesn’t seem to know that’s why he does it.

Using proper grammar to reach Trump supporters—a voting bloc that values “authenticity” with their hatemongering—is an admittedly bold decision, but it might help attract the elusive Suburban Pedant Moms demographic, a new group of voters that Gizmodo just invented. Biden already has the Rage Mom vote locked in, another new group of voters that political consultants recently invented.

No one knows who will win in November, but we can tell you this with certainty: Good people are angry and tired and want to get some sense of normalcy back in their lives. Even if they’re fascists, let’s demand better from our leaders. They’re not federal troops abducting people in unmarked vans on American streets, they’re federal agents abducting people in unmarked vans on A

Taboola and Outbrain call off their $850M merger

Online advertising is a game of scale, but one attempt to consolidate two competitors to better take on Google and Facebook has fallen apart. Taboola and Outbrain, startups that each provide publishers with ad-based content recommendation platforms, have called off a planned $850 million merger that would have valued the combined company at more than…

Online advertising is a game of scale, but one attempt to consolidate two competitors to better take on Google and Facebook has fallen apart. Taboola and Outbrain, startups that each provide publishers with ad-based content recommendation platforms, have called off a planned $850 million merger that would have valued the combined company at more than $2 billion. The news of the cancellation had been rumoured in the Israeli press, and TechCrunch has now confirmed it with both companies, too.

“We’ve seen changing conditions in the market due to COVID-19, and we decided to terminate the deal,” said a person close to the merger, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s been such a long road, and it’s not great…but walking away is the right move.” We understand that a formal announcement will be made in the next couple of days.

The deal had been years in the making but was only finally pulled together about 11 months ago, in October 2019. However, in the interim, a combination of factors got in the way of it progressing.

The first of those was the global health pandemic. Both Taboola’s and Outbrain’s businesses are based around widgets that they integrate with publishers’ sites, which provide a way for publishers both to recirculate their own content, as well as share it, alongside sponsored content and ads, on other sites that also run the widgets. But in the last eight months, the world of ad-based media has taken a nosedive as many large brands reined in their ad budgets, and that had a knock-on effect on other players within the ecosystem.

And that has impacted financing prospects. The merger between the two was originally intended to have cash and stock components — specifically 30% of the value of Outbrain for $250 million in cash to be paid to Outbrain’s shareholders and employees — but in the contracting market, the financiers who were providing the capital for the cash component stalled. That deal ultimately expired in August, and it didn’t get extended. And then, attempts to convert the deal into an all-stock transaction were unpalatable to Outbrain, we understand. “The cash was a critical factor in the deal,” said a source.

On top of that was what was described to me as a “challenging cultural fit” between the two companies, something that only became more apparent as the closing of the deal dragged on. That again pointed to the cash element of the deal being important: “If you get the cash, you reduce the risk, so without that we grew even more uncomfortable,” the source said.

The third hurdle was ongoing regulatory issues. While it appeared that the U.S. regulators nominally approved the deal, the merger was still being investigated both in the U.K. and in Israel, investigations that were due to go on for several more months. In the U.K., the companies currently do not have any significant competitors, raising antitrust concerns.

The two companies, both founded out of Israel but headquartered in New York, had described their planned deal as a merger, but the combined entity would have been called Taboola, with Taboola’s founder Adam Singolda taking the CEO slot. Both Taboola and Outbrain were profitable going into the deal, each claiming some $1 billion in annual revenues. Taboola has raised some $160 million from investors that include Comcast, Fidelity and Pitango. Outbrain had raised $194 million, with investors including Index, HarbourVest and Lightspeed.

From what we understand, both companies will continue looking at ways they can continue to grow, even if it’s not as a team. That will include weighing up other strategic acquisitions and other opportunities, since some truisms remain in the worlds of media and advertising. “Scale and reach are critical to being successful in this market,” said our source.

Facebook says Apple’s new privacy rules could hurt smaller app companies – Reuters Canada

By Stephen Nellis, Katie Paul, Paresh Dave(Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Wednesday warned that privacy changes coming from Apple Inc could hurt smaller developers such as gaming companies disproportionately but will likely leave its own apps mostly unscathed.FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25,…

By Stephen Nellis, Katie Paul, Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Wednesday warned that privacy changes coming from Apple Inc could hurt smaller developers such as gaming companies disproportionately but will likely leave its own apps mostly unscathed.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

In a blog post, Facebook said it was making a change to its own apps – which in addition to its flagship app also include WhatsApp and Instagram – that would likely spare them from having to ask iPhone users for data-tracking permissions that many advertising industry insiders believe users will refuse.

Facebook shares surged 8.2% on Wednesday to close at $303.91, a record high for a second straight day.

In a blog post, Facebook said it was also making changes that could hurt smaller developers that use a Facebook tool for serving apps in third-party apps. The changes come ahead of Apple’s new rules, which require increased user notifications for ad tracking and will take effect when new iPhones arrive this fall.

Facebook said it was considering discontinuing on iPhones a tool called Audience Network, which thousands of developers put into their apps to serve ads. Facebook collects data about users from the apps where it serves those ads, which it uses to inform highly tailored targeting throughout its business.

“Apple’s updates may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14,” Facebook said in a blog post bit.ly/3lh5zcp. (bit.ly/3lh5zcp)

The Audience Network business, while an important source of revenue and traffic to small developers such as gaming companies, is far from Facebook’s biggest business, said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at GroupM. “It would surprise me if it was greater than $1 billion on a net basis,” he said.

Apple previously provided a tool called the identifier for advertisers, or IDFA, that allowed Facebook and others to engage in such tracking of users across apps.

But in June, the iPhone maker said such activity will require a pop-up notification saying the app “would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies.” Digital advertising firms expect most users will decline to grant that permission.

“Apple is saying, we had an ‘opt out’ system before, and we’re going to switch to an ‘opt in’ system,” said Craig Danuloff, chief executive of The Privacy Co, which makes an app to help users assess how private their data is.

“What do advertisers say? They immediately assume it’s Armageddon. They just know nobody really wants this.”

As an alternative to the tracking tools it previously provided advertisers, Apple created a new advertising network technology that was better for privacy protection of users.

Facebook on Wednesday said it would stop using Apple’s older tracking tools in its own apps and adopt Apple’s new offering, though it said Apple’s new technology “limits the data available to businesses for running and measuring campaigns.”

The changes Facebook announced Wednesday will fall hardest on ads that prompt users to install new mobile apps, a format that is heavily used in the video game industry.

“Apple’s iOS 14 changes will certainly negatively affect the way that game studios and publishers currently raise revenue and gain users through sales targeted advertisements,” Renee Gittins, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, said in a statement.

John Nardone, chief executive of ad serving software company Flashtalking, said Apple’s move to restrict its ad business could be viewed as anti-competitive by raising prices for consumers used to free, ad-supported apps.

“There’s self-interest in Apple doing this because as the advertising revenue stream becomes more difficult, then apps have to charge users and Apple, as you know from the Epic Games case, takes 30% of that,” Nardone said. “Apple doesn’t have a stake in ads but they have a stake in paid apps.”

For publishers the burden may be less, said David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, which represents several major U.S. publishers.

Many rely on what is known as first-party data, such as which stories a user reads, to determine which ads to show, an activity which is not subject to Apple’s new rules.

“News publishers aren’t huge beneficiaries of cross-app tracking and, more broadly, we all see the ecosystem moving against highly targeted programmatic ads,” he said. “There may end up being benefits to publishers from that, such as a some move back to contextual advertising.”

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis and Katie Paul in San Francisco; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Bernadette Baum

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up