Where’s Zuck? Facebook CEO silent as data harvesting scandal unfolds
|| The Guardian UK
Amid calls for investigation and a #DeleteFacebook campaign, company releases an official statement but its figurehead keeps quiet
“The chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has remained silent over the more than 48 hours since the Observer revealed the harvesting of 50 million users’ personal data, even as his company is buffeted by mounting calls for investigation and regulation, falling stock prices and a social media campaign to #DeleteFacebook.
Facebook’s shares slid 6.77% on Monday following the news, knocking $36bn off the company’s valuation as investors worried about the consequences of the revelations. Zuckerberg owns 16% of the company and personally saw his fortune fall $5.5bn to $69bn, according to Forbes’ live tracker of the world’s wealthiest people.
The embattled social media company announced on Monday that it will engage a digital forensics firm to conduct an audit of Cambridge Analyticato determine whether or not the firm still has copies of the data in question.
The Observer reported this weekend that a company called Global Science Research (GSR) harvested tens of millions of Facebook profiles and sold the data to Cambridge Analytica. The New York Times reported on Saturday that Cambridge Analytica still possesses “most or all” of the harvested data. Cambridge Analytica has denied knowing that the data was obtained improperly.
“If this data still exists, it would be a grave violation of Facebook’s policies and an unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments these groups made,” Facebook said in a statement.
The engagement of the digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg is unlikely to assuage officials in the US or UK, where lawmakers have issued calls for Zuckerberg to testify about the data breach. Representatives of Stroz Friedberg were at Cambridge Analytica’s office in London on Monday evening when the UK Information Commissioner’s Office asked them to leave so the authorities could pursue its own investigation, Facebook said hours after the first announcement.
On Monday, the US senator Ron Wyden sent Zuckerberg a detailed list of questions related to the breach, with a demand for answers by 13 April. Two members of the Senate judiciary committee, Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican John Kennedy, called for hearings with the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google.
“It’s time for Mark Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page,” said the Conservative MP Damian Collins, chair of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee.
Referencing the government’s request for Facebook’s auditors to leave Cambridge Analytica’s offices, Collins tweeted: “These investigations need to be undertaken by the proper authorities.”
The three social media companies testified in Washington last fall, following the revelation that their platforms had been used by foreign agents seeking to illegally influence the US presidential election. All three companies sent their general counsels, a move that was criticized at the time. It is unlikely that Zuckerberg will be able to avoid congressional questioning a second time.
Experts have long criticized Facebook’s privacy practices, but their warnings have done little to dissuade users – now numbering more than 2 billion around the world – from signing up for the platform.
Whether the scandal will result in actual change in user trust of the company remains to be seen, but the hashtag #DeleteFacebook trended on Twitter on Monday as users shared their intention to log off the social network for good. Others tweeted #WheresZuck, in reference to the executive’s silence.
Also on Monday, the New York Times reported that Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, would be leaving the company following disagreements with other executives over the handling of the investigation into the Russian influence operation.”
“Reuters has found that more than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. staff are immigrants employed through H-1B temporary work visas.
Based on a review of U.S. Labor Department filings for 2016 regarding temporary visa programs, Reuters found 3,339 workers of approximately 22,000 Facebook employees working in the U.S. were employed directly through H-1B temporary visas.
At over 15 percent, Facebook had the highest percentage of H-1B contractors of any U.S. tech operating company.
Breitbart News has reported that although there are only new 85,000 H-1B temporary visas granted by the U.S. State Department each year, there are about 650,000 H-1Bs working in the American private sector, roughly 100,000 H-1Bs employed at U.S. universities, and an unknown number of H-1B spouses issued green card work permits.”
15% of Facebook employees are vulnerable to Trump’s likely changes for H-1B visas
“(Reuters) – Among Silicon Valley’s top tech employers, Facebook could be the most vulnerable to U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected crackdown on guest-worker visas, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. Labor Department filings.
More than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, giving the social media leader a legal classification as a H-1B “dependent” company. That is a higher proportion than Alphabet ‘s Google, Apple, Amazon, or Microsoft.
That could cause problems for Facebook if Trump or Congress decide to make the H-1B program more restrictive, as the president and some Republican lawmakers have threatened to do.
Both Trump and Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions have opposed the program in its current form. They have also indicated that they are open to reforming it to “ensure the beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest,” according to a draft executive order seen by Reuters. Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft.
The Trump administration has not proposed any new rules that would target companies with the H-1B “dependent” classification. But the fact that Facebook alone among major tech companies falls into that category suggests it is the most exposed in the industry to any changes in H-1B visa policy.
Facebook declined to comment on the matter.
Companies say they use them to recruit top talent. But a majority of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, sparking criticism by skeptics that those firms use the visas to fill lower-level information technology jobs. Critics also say the lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications.
H-1B dependent status is mostly held by these outsourcing firms such as India’s Tata Consultancy Services or Infosys. The status was introduced in the late 1990s in an effort to ensure that companies did not use the visas to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor. The status requires companies to prove they cannot find U.S. workers for the jobs.”
Facebook Will Let Workers Join Glorious May Day Protests
|| Bloomberg Tech
“Facebook Inc. said it won’t punish employees who take time off to join pro-immigrant protests on May 1. And, in a nod to security staff, janitors, shuttle-bus drivers and others who work for Facebook contractors on campus, the company also said it will investigate if any of its vendors illegally crack down on their employees’ protest rights.
“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”
Facebook notified employees of its policy in a posting on an internal forum April 14. A spokesman said it applies regardless of whether workers notify the company ahead of time. The Menlo Park, California, company also said it would re-evaluate its ties to any vendor if it breaks the law that protects workers’ rights to organize and protect themselves.
“It’s important not just to the engineers and H-1B holders that are traditionally thought of as the immigrants in tech but also to folks who are subcontracted but work side-by-side on those campuses,” said Derecka Mehrens, co-founder of Silicon Valley Rising, a union-backed coalition. “Immigrants play a critical role in the tech sector — both as engineers and coders but also in keeping tech campuses running smoothly.”
Many tech companies have been vocal in their opposition to aspects of Trump’s agenda. Facebook has criticized Trump’s immigration moves. At a rally in January at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin spoke against Trump’s executive order that closed U.S. borders to people from several majority-Muslim nations. Both companies, along with Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., are among more than 120 firms that signed a February court filing opposing the travel ban.”
Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump
“An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.
Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.
John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.
A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”
The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.
Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).”
Wellesley Students Editors Endorse Silencing Opposing Speakers and Declare “Hostility May Be Warranted”
“We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses across the country. Much of that trend is the result of faculty members who have taught that free speech itself is a threat to students. The erosion of free speech has come in stages. First, schools began to declare speech to be hate speech while creating “safe zones” from the exercise of free speech. Second, schools began to enforce the ill-defined “microaggressions” to punish speech that is deemed as contributing to hostile environments or fostering stereotypes.
Now, faculty and students are increasing declaring opposing views as simply outside of the definition of free speech. That extreme argument was advanced this week by the editors of The Wellesley News who published a column entitled “Free Speech Is Not Violated At Wellesley.” It is chilling message from the Editorial Board composed of Co-Editors in Chief Sharvari Johari and Michele Lee and opinion editors Maya Nandakumar, Genae Matthews, and Tabitha Wilson. Once the champions of free speech, students have become the new censors and have adopted the perfectly Orwellian notion that the protection of free speech requires the denial of free speech.
The editors heralded the Wellesley students who refuse to respect the free speech rights of those deemed to be hateful. Simply defining such people as unworthy of free speech protections then allows the editors to become actual advocates of mob action to silence them:
“Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government.”
So speech deemed as “undermining the existence and rights of others” is all that is needed to relieve the conscience of these students and allow them to indulge in their desire to forcibly silence those with whom that disagree. There is no attempt of course to define what constitute speech that “undermines.” Rather the thrust is to legitimize the denial of free speech in the name of free speech.
Their bizarre understanding of free speech is laid out further in the statement that “The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.” Again, there is no definition of what is deemed “hateful” or “damaging” but it clearly does not include things that the editors agree with or have been taught are the products of ignorance: “We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way.
Now that the editors have been properly educated that some views are unworthy of protection, they are ready to take the final step in calling for the silencing of those who “refuse to adapt their beliefs.” If those people still insist on being heard, the editors declared that “hostility may be warranted.” “Hostility”?
The war on free speech appears to have produced a perfect generation of petty tyrants “mentored” in the necessity — even the moral imperative — of silencing those with whom we disagree.
I suppose this is to be expected at a school with the motto: Non Ministrari sed Ministrare — Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”
“Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook, has donated tens of millions of dollars to defeat Donald Trump. Moskovitz is not one of the usual Democrat deep-pocketed suspects. Politico reports that his donations came “suddenly and without any advance warning to the top rung of Democratic party megadonors with two unheralded tears through his checkbook in the past six weeks. ”
The party is excited about adding their own Sheldon Adelson-esque donor into the political mix. Democrats don’t need as much money as Republicans do because Republicans don’t get billions of free media advocacy from the networks and cable stations, and they don’t get free promotion from the Hollywood crowd, from ESPN, from the NFL, and from “volunteers” from the labor unions.
“This is a unicorn-type campaign gift — you just don’t see someone basically walk into a campaign without a significant track record of activity and contribute at this level,” said veteran Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, a Clinton White House alum who works closely with top party donors in Silicon Valley.
Moskovitz is worth an astonishing $12.5B, money he made by profiting off of conservative and Republican use of the Facebook social media platform. Maybe it’s time to stop giving these folks the rope to hang us with?”
The Guardian: Facebook a Giant Political Echo Chamber for Millennials as Election Nears
“61% of millennials receive their political news from Facebook, according to a 2015 report by Pew Research, which Scott Bixby of The Guardian argues puts young people in the biggest political echo chamber ever during a presidential election.
Facebook, which runs on a series of complex algorithms and systems, tends to ensure that users see more of what they like and what their friends like, as opposed to different opinions and viewpoints from elsewhere.
CNN came just behind Facebook for news for millennials at 44%, followed by local TV at 37%, and Google News, the search engine that has frequently been linked to a pro-Hillary Clinton bias, at 33%.
Generation Xers also placed Facebook at the top of their news list, with 51% of people choosing it as their primary news platform. This was followed by local TV at 46% and CNN at 45%.”
Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News
“Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.
Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.
In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to thecompany’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”
“I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.”
These new allegations emerged after Gizmodo last week revealed details about the inner workings of Facebook’s trending news team—a small group of young journalists, primarily educated at Ivy League or private East Coast universities, who curate the “trending” module on the upper-right-hand corner of the site. As we reported last week, curators have access to a ranked list of trending topics surfaced by Facebook’s algorithm, which prioritizes the stories that should be shown to Facebook users in the trending section. The curators write headlines and summaries of each topic, and include links to news sites. The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the US alone—are reading at any given moment.
Stories covered by conservative outlets (like Breitbart, Washington Examiner, and Newsmax) that were trending enough to be picked up by Facebook’s algorithm were excluded unless mainstream sites like the New York Times, the BBC, and CNN covered the same stories.”
“In addition to suppressing stories, Gizmodo’s sources also confirmed that they were also directed to “inject” certain stories into the trending list even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion. Unsurprisingly, these included stories about Black Lives Matter, a movement that Mark Zuckerberg has personally defended from internal critics at the company.
Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black Lives Matter,” the individual said. “They realized it was a problem, and they boosted it in the ordering. They gave it preference over other topics. When we injected it, everyone started saying, ‘Yeah, now I’m seeing it as number one’.” This particular injection is especially noteworthy because the #BlackLivesMatter movement originated on Facebook, and the ensuing media coverage of the movement often noted its powerful social media presence.
The company also instructs its curators to avoid promoting stories about Facebook itself — a useful barrier against articles that could make the company look bad.
“When it was a story about the company, we were told not to touch it,” said one former curator. “It had to be cleared through several channels, even if it was being shared quite a bit. We were told that we should not be putting it on the trending tool.”
“According to Facebook, their trending news list is generated by an algorithm which automatically elevates stories that Facebook users are reading about. Such a list of trending stories does exist at Facebook but it is not the one seen by users. According to a story published Monday by Gizmodo, the public list is hand-selected by a small cadre of news “curators,” many of whom suppress conservative stories that are legitimately trending on the site:
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said.”
– Unfortunately, the comments section at Hotair is Facebook only.
Hot Air to move to Facebook comment system
“For almost ten years, Hot Air has utilized a proprietary, members-only comment system. In 2006, this kind of system made much sense, but Internet standards and technology have moved beyond this kind of system. Beginning tomorrow, Hot Air will move from its present proprietary closed-comment system to Facebook comments. At that time, native commenting functions will cease, and all comments will come through the Facebook interface.
We have certainly enjoyed the comment section and look forward to seeing it grow and become more diverse.”
‘Parks And Recreation,’ Facebook and The New Privacy
– CIO / Opinion
“If you tuned into Parks And Recreation Tuesday night, you were treated to an episode where social media startup Gryzzl attempts to win over the hearts and minds of its new neighbors in the fictional town of Pawnee with boxes full of gifts, delivered via Amazon-esque drones.
The problem was that the gifts were perfect — too perfect. Gryzzl had been data mining every interaction the residents of Pawnee were having online and custom-tailoring their gifts to suit their exact interests. This didn’t go over so well, even as Gryzzl retorts that it did nothing that wasn’t perfectly legal. And besides, wasn’t everybody happy with the result?
The episode culminates in a speech given on a public access court show, where character Ben Wyatt (played by Adam Scott) delivers a short argument on how Gryzzl may not be breaking the law, but it obviously knows it’s not doing something good or else it would have been more forthright about the whole data mining thing.
“A person should not have to have an advanced law degree to avoid being taken advantage of by a multibillion dollar company. You should be upfront about what you’re doing and allow people the ability to opt out,” Wyatt proposes.
Don’t worry, Computerworld hasn’t become a TV review site (follow me on Twitter for my TV opinions). Nor am I suggesting that the world look to Tuesday night television for policy advice (though you could do worse than Parks And Recreation, which has won a bunch of Emmys — and how many Emmys has FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler won, huh).
But the cast and crew of Parks And Recreation hit on an important idea — not a new idea, necessarily, but one that’s reverberating around the web and that needs to be formally addressed.
We already know that privacy is the new killer app, and that events like last year’s iCloud hack and the Target data breach are turning security from a nice-to-have to a major competitive differentiator.
There’s another shift happening, too: Facebook, it is generally accepted, will never stop data mining the heck out of its users, because it makes a lot of money, and companies that make a lot of money tend to like the idea of continuing to make a lot of money. Users, who like the benefits and connections that Facebook brings to their lives, aren’t going anywhere, no matter how exploitative the means. The same goes for Google and basically any other “free” service on the Internet. Or look at Uber, which got into trouble recently for being straight-up creepy and pretty threatening towards women thanks to all the data it scrapes — but that same data is a valuable source for civic planners. It’s a give-and-take.
Creepiness is just a fact of life for people living the plugged-in lifestyle circa 2015.
Which is where Parks And Recreation comes in. What people want, more than ever, isn’t necessarily for Google to stop being creepy; people like personal data-mining services like Google Now, which can tell you when you have to leave the restaurant to catch a delayed flight without requiring your intervention at all.
No, what people want instead now is visibility — the insight to know what data, exactly, is being scraped, and the option to opt out. The choice of what to make public and what to keep private is paramount. Call it the new privacy if you have to call it anything at all.”
…Continue reading the insightful opinion piece by Matt Weinberger @ CIO.com
No Surprise: CIA Reportedly Funds Companies That Can Spy On You Via Twitter, Facebook And Instagram
– Tech Times
“The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is reportedly funding companies that spy on Twitter and Instagram feeds to monitor any signs of “unusual activity.”
Through its venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel (IQT), the CIA has made investments in “social media mining and surveillance” companies previously undisclosed. These include PATHAR, TransVoyant, Databricks, Dataminr, and Geofeedia.
The information was obtained from a document released by The Intercept, detailing the schedule of a recent “CEO Summit” of 28 IQT portfolio companies concluded in February. From the itinerary, the standout companies provided “unique tools to mine data from platforms such as Twitter.”
PATHAR has a product called “Dunami” that monitors social media sites for “networks of association, centers of influence and potential signs of radicalization.” These social media sites include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
TransVoyant offers procedures that analyze multiple data points to determine potential “decision-makers” who could organize “gang incidents” and situations threatening to the press. The tech company recently worked with the U.S. military to utilize satellite, radar, and drone surveillance data.
Dataminr has automated learning machines that mark trends in streams from Twitter by cross-referencing data gathered from other unusual clusters. These processes “directly license” Twitter data streams, for clients such as police departments, to “visualize” any sign of purported tendencies.
Geofeedia employs geotagging technology to monitor real-time movements, such as Greenpeace mobilizations, student protests, minimum wage rallies and other political activities. The data is utilized by corporations, including McDonald’s and the Mall of America, and law enforcement agencies in Detroit, Oakland, and Chicago, among other police departments.
A Violation of Privacy Rights?
Senior staff attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union, Lee Rowland, believes such surveillance tactics employed by the CIA and other government bodies, along with private sectors, may infringe upon the public’s rights due to unwarranted suspicion.
“The courts have rightly recognized that when millions of bits of data are aggregated into a dossier about your behavior, that is no longer properly public and violates privacy rights,” said Rowland.
“When you have private companies deciding which algorithms get you a so-called threat score, or make you a person of interest, there’s obviously room for targeting people based on viewpoints or even unlawfully targeting people based on race or religion,” Rowland explained.”
“Facebook is working to combat a decline in people sharing original, personal content, the fuel that helps power the money machine at the heart of its social network, according to people familiar with the matter.
Overall sharing has remained “strong,” according to Facebook. However, people have been less willing to post updates about their lives as their lists of friends grow, the people said.
Instead, Facebook’s 1.6 billion users are posting more news and information from other websites. As Facebook ages, users may have more than a decade’s worth of acquaintances added as friends.
People may not always feel comfortable checking into a local bar or sharing an anecdote from their lives, knowing these updates may not be relevant to all their connections.
According to one of the people familiar with the situation, Facebook employees working on the problem have a term for this decline in intimacy: “context collapse.”
Personal sharing has shifted to smaller audiences on Snapchat, Facebook’s Instagram and other messaging services.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken at Facebook staff meetings this year about the need to inspire personal sharing, the people said. Facebook has tried several tactics to encourage more of these posts, such as an “On This Day” feature launched last year that brings up memories from past years that users might want to talk about again, or reminders about special occasions like Mother’s Day.
Facebook has also prompted users to post the most recent photos and other recently accessed content from their phones.
Original sharing of personal stories — rather than posts about public information like news articles — dropped 21 percent year over year as of mid-2015, The Information, a tech news site, reported Wednesday. Facebook said in a statement that “the overall level of sharing has remained not only strong, but similar to levels in prior years.”
Obama: ‘Hopefully, We Can Learn From’ Cuba About Improving Human Rights In America
“Speaking to reporters in Havana Monday, President Barack Obama said that, “hopefully,” the United States can learn a thing or two from Cuba’s record on improving basic, human rights.
“Our starting point is that we have two different systems,” Obama explained. “What I have said to President Castro, is that we are moving forward and not looking backwards.”
“President Castro, I think, has pointed out that it, in his view making sure that everybody is getting a decent education or health care, has basic security in old age, that those things are human rights as well.”
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Meets with China’s Propaganda Chief
“BEIJING (AP) — Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a rare meeting with China’s propaganda chief, at a time when Chinese authorities are tightening control over their cyberspace.
Liu Yunshan told Zuckerberg in their meeting Saturday that he hopes Facebook can share its experience with Chinese companies to help “Internet development better benefit the people of all countries,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported. Zuckerberg was in Beijing to attend an economic forum.
China has called for the creation of a global Internet “governance system” and cooperation between countries to regulate Internet use, stepping up efforts to promote controls that activists complain stifle free expression.
Facebook and other Western social media, including Twitter, are banned in China. Zuckerberg has long been courting China’s leaders in a so far futile attempt to access the country with the world’s largest number of Internet users – 668 million as of last year.
China has been increasing control over its Internet, dubbed the Great Firewall because it is already heavily censored. Liu, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the ruling Communist Party’s top leadership panel, recently said that all Internet users must not cross the “baseline” when discussing China’s governance.
Chinese censors have introduced a slate of new regulations to better enable them to police digital and social media as closely as traditional publications. The country’s top Internet regulator has repeatedly warned that an untamed cyberspace would pose a risk to domestic security, and that the government should decide who to allow into “its house.”
DiCaprio: Communist China Is Becoming A ‘Hero On Climate Change’
“Leonardo DiCaprio said China, one of the most polluted countries in the world and ruled by a communist government, has an opportunity to become the “hero of the environmental movement” for its concerted efforts to curb carbon emission output.
DiCaprio, coming off his big Oscar win, heaped praise on China while promoting his new movie “The Revenant” in Beijing Sunday.
“As we all know, the United States and China are the two biggest contributors, and I think that China has made radical movements forward as far as alternative energy and ways to be sustainable,” he said at a press conference.
China has the opportunity “to change the world and I have all the confidence in the world that that is their intention,” DiCaprio added.”