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Author Stephen King quits Facebook: ‘Not comfortable with the flood of false information’

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Acclaimed horror author Stephen King announced Friday that he was quitting Facebook over the company’s unwillingness to clamp down on misinformation and privacy concerns.

“I’m quitting Facebook,” King announced on Twitter. “Not comfortable with the flood of false information that’s allowed in its political advertising, nor am I confident in its ability to protect its users’  privacy. Follow me (and Molly, aka The Thing of Evil) on Twitter, if you like.”

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King has since deleted his Facebook page. This is not the first time that the popular writer has spoken out about social issues. He is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.

Facebook came under heavy fire from critics for insufficiently cracking down on the fake news disseminated on its platform during the 2016 election. Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., claimed in a recent ad on the platform that what Facebook CEO Mark “Zuckerberg *has* done is given Donald Trump free rein to lie on his platform–and then to pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters.”

To justify its policy of allowing political actors to spread misinformation, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg explained in a speech that “we don’t believe, however, that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny.”

It was later reported that PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who is close friends with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was a key figure in pushing for Facebook to exempt political ads from its fact-checking policy. Thiel, a prominent Silicon Valley conservative, is a supporter of Trump. Conservatives generally take the position that political ads should not be censored on Facebook, while liberals point to the way that Trump benefited from the spread of misinformation in 2016.

There have also been criticisms of Facebook for insufficiently safeguarding users’ privacy. In 2018, it was revealed that — despite promising to respect user privacy after it came out that companies like Cambridge Analytica had used Facebook to manipulate potential voters in favor of Republican presidential candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Trump — the company had continued to harvest user data for other corporations.

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By the following year, Zuckerberg tried to rebrand the company as pro-privacy, saying in a statement that “as I think about the future of the internet, I believe a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms. Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks.


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Trump’s new plan for covering COVID-19 patients has administration officials scrambling once again: report

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According to Politico, President Donald Trump's decision not to reopen the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges, and to instead pay hospitals to treat uninsured coronavirus patients, blindsided not just insurance companies, but his own health officials — and left everyone scrambling to implement his orders.

"The rollout of the new hospital pay program capped a frenetic several days within the administration, prompted by a White House official’s confirmation Tuesday that there would be no reopening of the Obamacare markets," wrote Adam Cancryn, Nancy Cook, and Susannah Luthi. "That declaration surprised even some officials in the Health and Human Services Department, who believed the concept was still under consideration. And amid a crush of criticism from Democrats led by 2020 front runner Joe Biden, it worried officials who viewed the verdict as an unforced error in the middle of a historic pandemic."

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2020 Election

Trump is preparing the ground for a totalitarian dictatorship

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We're all going to know someone who has died of the coronavirus when this is over. The tragic news is all over Facebook and Twitter already. My friend Patricia Bosworth, the actress and biographer, died on Friday of the virus. Everyone has friends and acquaintances who have the virus, family members who have died, favorite musicians or actors and friends of friends who are sick and dying. The virus has taken them from us, but so has Donald Trump with his inaction and lying and childish finger-pointing and failure to take responsibility.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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HBO’s Bill Maher returns to rip Trump over the pandemic — and blast his fans who are rallying around ‘the guy who made it worse’

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HBO's Bill Maher returned on Friday night via YouTube to blast Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic and took on fans of the president who are rallying around him, calling their response "irrational."

Speaking from what appeared to be his backyard, the "Real Time" host noted that Americans tend to rally around their leaders in times of crisis but that this president is not deserving of support.

"Was the current crisis preventable? " he asked. "Not all of it, of course. But we could have done what South Korea did, their nightmare started the day our's did. But while Trump shut up experts, happy-talked and lied his ass off, South Korea put a strong testing program into place, tracing people, and today they have twenty-0ne times the cases and thirty times fewer deaths."

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