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Tech consortium flags more than 800 versions of New Zealand attack video

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A consortium of global technology firms has shared on its collective database the digital fingerprints of more than 800 versions of the video of New Zealand’s mass shootings that killed 50 people, it said on Monday.

While it was not the first internet broadcast of a violent crime, the livestream of the massacre showed that stopping gory footage from spreading online persists as a major challenge for tech companies despite years of investment.

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Last Friday, social media users intent on sharing the mosque shooting video were said to have used several methods to create a new version with a digital fingerprint different from the original, so as to evade companies’ detection systems.

“This incident highlights the importance of industry cooperation regarding the range of terrorists and violent extremists operating online,” the grouping, which includes Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter Inc, said of the attack.

The gunman who attacked the two mosques in New Zealand live-streamed the attacks on Facebook for 17 minutes using an app designed for extreme sports enthusiasts, with copies still being shared on social media hours later.

Late on Saturday, Facebook, the world’s largest social media network with around 2.3 billion monthly users around the world, said it had removed 1.5 million videos within 24 hours after the Christchurch attack.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she wants to discuss live streaming with Facebook, and some of the country’s firms are considering whether to pull advertising from social media.

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The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) was created in 2017 under pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of deadly attacks.

It shares technical solutions for the removal of terrorist content, commissions research to assist its efforts to fight such content and works more with counter-terrorism experts.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandezre

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Controversial Contractors for Trump’s highly-criticized $3 billion food aid program hire lobbyist to tout their work

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Companies receiving taxpayer dollars as part of President Donald Trump’s signature food aid program hired a longtime lobbyist to push back on criticism that the government is relying on unqualified contractors, such as an event planner.

“We’re working to take the stories of the impact this is having on farmers, processors, distributors and end users and making sure some positive aspects of the program, from both the economic and social standpoints, are out there too,” said the lobbyist and industry consultant, Dale Apley, who reached out to ProPublica on behalf of the contractors. “It’s not all just certain stories about certain companies that maybe shouldn’t have been awarded contracts.”

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Ivanka Trump ‘urged’ Trump’s Bible photo-op — which could become a ‘defining moment’ of his presidency: NYT

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First daughter and senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump "urged" her father to take part in a controversial photo-op with a Bible according to a new report from The New York Times.

"After a weekend of protests that led all the way to his own front yard and forced him to briefly retreat to a bunker beneath the White House, President Trump arrived in the Oval Office on Monday agitated over the television images, annoyed that anyone would think he was hiding and eager for action," the newspaper reported.

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The psychology of protesters — and the psychology of people who hate them

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It is hard to imagine that anyone who watched the horrific video of George Floyd being asphyxiated by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin would come away feeling empathy for the police force that stood by and let it happen. And yet, amid the biggest coordinated civil rights protests in the United States since 1968, there are many voices out there who find excuses to defend cops like Derek Chauvin, who is now facing charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
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