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Facebook to curb livestreaming amid pressure over Christchurch massacre

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Facebook announced Wednesday it is tightening access to livestreaming to prevent the rampant sharing of graphic video as took place with the Christchurch massacre.

People who have broken certain rules, including those against “dangerous organizations and individuals,” will be restricted from using the Facebook Live streaming feature, said vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.

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“Following the horrific recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand, we’ve been reviewing what more we can do to limit our services from being used to cause harm or spread hate,” he said in a statement.

A self-described white supremacist gunned down 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March, and broadcast live footage of the violence on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

A “one-strike” policy at Facebook Live will be applied to a broader range of offenses, with those who violate serious policies suspended from using the feature after a single offense.

Such violations would include sharing a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context, according to Rosen.

“We plan on extending these restrictions to other areas over the coming weeks, beginning with preventing those same people from creating ads on Facebook,” Rosen said.

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He added that technical innovation is needed to get ahead of the kind of “adversarial media manipulation” seen after the New Zealand mosque massacre, such as users modifying videos in order to slip past filters.

“One of the challenges we faced in the days after the attack was a proliferation of many different variants of the video of the attack,” Rosen said.

“People — not always intentionally — shared edited versions of the video which made it hard for our systems to detect.”

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Facebook announced that it was putting $7.5 million into research partnerships with three US universities to improve image and video analysis technology.

handout/AFP/File / HANDOUT This image grab from a self-shot video that was streamed on Facebook Live on March 15, 2019 by the man involved in two mosque shootings in Christchurch shows the man reaching for guns from the boot of his car before he enters the Masjid al Noor mosque

“This work will be critical for our broader efforts against manipulated media, including deepfakes,” Rosen said, a reference to videos altered using artificial intelligence.

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“We hope it will also help us to more effectively fight organized bad actors who try to outwit our systems as we saw happen after the Christchurch attack.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the move as “a good first step”.

“The March 15 terrorist highlighted just how easily livestreaming can be misused for hate. Facebook has made a tangible first step to stop that act being repeated on their platform,” she said.

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Ardern was set to join other world leaders in launching the “Christchurch Call” to curb online extremism at an international meeting in Paris on Wednesday.

Top executives from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Twitter were also expected to attend, though Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was to be represented by another executive from the social media giant.


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Lindsey Graham leveled by Jim Clyburn for ‘out of touch’ comments on police brutalizing African-Americans

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In response to protests over the police killing of George Floyd, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had this to say: "I've come to believe that young black men rightly or wrongly perceive the police to be a threat when many times they're not, and we've got to deal with that problem."

On Saturday's edition of MSNBC's "AM Joy," Graham's fellow South Carolina lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, laid into Graham for his comments. "He is from Seneca, South Carolina," said Clyburn. "I know the history of Seneca, South Carolina. Where has he been?"

"You know, I've been really interested, we had some foolishness the other day," said Clyburn. "Drew Brees has gotten himself in some difficulty with his teammates, how his grandfather and father thought about anybody kneeling would be disrespecting the flag as if these, his teammates, did not have parents and grandparents who fought for this country and came back to this country with all kinds of indignities. One of which has just been written about in a great book from South Carolina. Isaac Woodard was in his uniform, coming home from the war, when he was stopped by a sheriff, a law enforcement officer who beat him, punched his eyes out with a night stick. That's the thing that led Harry Truman to sign the executive order to integrate the armed services, because of the in indignities charged to a black man by a law enforcement officer, and that black man was in his uniform coming home from a war we had just won."

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Can it happen here? Bill Moyers says it’s happening right before our very eyes

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At 98, historian Bernard Weisberger has seen it all. Born in 1922, he grew up watching newsreels of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler as they rose to power in Europe. He vividly remembers Mussolini posturing to crowds from his balcony in Rome, chin outthrust, right arm extended. Nor has he forgotten Der Fuehrer’s raspy voice on radio, interrupted by cheers of “Heil Hitler,” full of menace even without pictures.

Fascist bullies and threats anger Bernie, and when America went to war to confront them, he interrupted his study of history to help make history by joining the army. He yearned to be an aviator but his eyesight was too poor. So he took a special course in Japanese at Columbia University and was sent as a translator to the China-Burma-India theater where Japanese warlords were out to conquer Asia. Bernie remembers them, too.

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2020 Election

Republicans fear Trump’s boast the economy is roaring back will blow up in his face before the election: report

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Republican campaign consultants and advisers are hoping Donald Trump will tone down his boasting that the economy will quickly come roaring back as businesses begin re-opening due to COVID-19 concerns.

With the White House preparing a "recovery summer" roll-out that will tout the economic recovery as a way to reverse the president's collapsing poll numbers, some GOP officials worry Trump's words could come back to haunt him in November.

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