Oct 22, 2019
Andrew Free (@ImmCivilRights) is an abolitionist lawyer fighting alongside immigrant communities in the Deep South and across the country to defend deportations and advance civil rights.
A Good Provider is One Who Leaves by Jason DeParle
Mark Zuckerberg defends decision to allow misinformation by politicians
Zuckerberg delivered remarks on Thursday at Georgetown defending his company’s policy to leave up false political ads. But his speech was roundly criticized.
Both Democrats and civil rights organizations blasted Zuckerberg for deliberately refusing to fact-check ads placed by politicians. Leadership Conference for Civil Rights President Vanita Gupta, NAACP Legal Defense Fund head Sherrilyn Ifill, and Bernice King—the daughter of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.—all pointed to the historical role that disinformation has played in suppressing the voices of and inciting hatred against people of color.
Elizabeth Warren also escalated her attacks against Zuckerberg, challenging Facebook to remove an ad that her campaign posted. In order to illustrate the absurdity of Facebook’s policy to leave up false ads placed by politicians, Warren’s ad contained a deliberately false claim that Zuckerberg had endorsed Donald Trump for president. Facebook responded that it would prioritize free speech over facts and that it wouldn’t step in to police false claims made by politicians.
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign sent a letter to Facebook after a political action committee posted an ad that falsely claimed that Biden blackmailed the Ukrainian government to stop investigating his son, Hunter Biden, by threatening to withhold aid. Biden’s campaign says the ad wasn’t posted by a politician—it was posted by a PAC—and should’ve been taken down. The ad has since been removed.
On Monday, Facebook announced that it found and disabled misinformation campaigns apparently being conducted by Russia and Iran. The company also announced plans to label content posted by state actors.
Warren pledges to reject donations from big tech
In a blog post ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic debate, Elizabeth Warren also pledged to reject campaign funding from executives at Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Lyft, and other big tech companies. Those executives would otherwise be allowed to donate up to $2,800.
Harris and Warren spar over Twitter
During the Democratic debate Tuesday night, Kamala Harris went after Elizabeth Warren for the latter’s refusal to support Harris’ call for Twitter to disable Trump’s Twitter account. Warren responded that her goal is to get Trump out of the White House not off Twitter. Twitter has said that it would not disable Trump’s account unless he specifically violates the social media company’s rules against threatening individuals, promoting terrorism or self-harm, or posting private information like a phone number.
Bernie Sanders wants to break up big media
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is taking a slightly different tack. The presidential candidate released a plan to dismantle the mergers of large media companies that have been approved during the Trump era. Sanders specifically mentioned Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox as an example of corporate greed that he would seek to tamp down as president.
Facebook loses support from major Libra allies
Facebook has lost the support of major banks it relied on to make its cryptocurrency, Libra, a reality. Mastercard, Visa, Ebay, Stripe and Latin American payments company Mercado Pago all pulled out of the partnership with the so-called Libra Association, citing regulatory concerns and a number of other factors. The companies joined PayPal, which left the association the week before last. Lyft and Vodafone are still in, according to Reuters.
FCC approves Sprint T-Mobile merger
The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines to approve the Sprint-T-Mobile merger last week, with Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks opposing based on pricing concerns, including the lack of a resolution regarding the broadband subsidy program known as Lifeline. The deal got the DOJ’s stamp of approval in July. But the merger still faces a multistate lawsuit from ten states seeking to block the merger.
AT&T ‘s keeps hiking prices
AT&T has continued to hike prices by as much as 50%, according to Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica. The company’s new “TV Now” package is rising by $15 per month, from $50 to $65. The company is also raising prices on its “Live a Little” plan from $50 to $60 in November. This is the second time the company has raised prices for this plan. In April, it hiked it from $40 to $50—that’s a $20 monthly increase over the span of just 7 months.