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Facebook is ‘biased against facts’, says Nobel prize winner

The campaigning Philippines journalist Maria Ressa, who was last week awarded the Nobel peace prize, has launched a stinging attack on Facebook, accusing the social media firm of being a threat to democracy that was “biased against facts” and failed to prevent the spread of disinformation.

She said its algorithms “prioritise the spread of lies laced with anger and hate over facts”.

Ressa, who co-founded the news website Rappler, won the Nobel prize on Friday for her work to “safeguard freedom of expression”, along with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.

Ressa said Facebook had become the world’s largest distributor of news, “yet it is biased against facts, it is biased against journalism … If you have no facts, you can’t have truths, you can’t have trust. If you don’t have any of these, you don’t have a democracy.”

Ressa’s rebuke came days after former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the company placed profits over people. UK politicians are also raising concerns about Facebook’s ability to protect children from harmful content, with one senior Tory MP accusing it of deploying a “ridiculous scouts-honour system” for verifying the age of its users.

There are now cross-party calls for action from Facebook and the government in the wake of Haugen’s explosive testimony, in which she accused the firm of steering young users towards damaging content. She also suggested that the minimum age for social media accounts should be raised from 13 to 17.

Julian Knight, Tory chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, called on Facebook to demonstrate that it was capable of enforcing even its existing rules. “It’s less about the minimum age, more about the way social media companies police this at present,” he said. “They rely on a ridiculous scouts-honour system when actually we need them to actively pursue proper, regulated, robust age assurance. Time is long past that they took responsibility.”

Other parties also called on the government to step in and strengthen measures in its online harms bill, which is designed to protect children from dangerous content. The NSPCC is among those claiming that the current plans do not go far enough. Ministers insist it will force social media companies to remove and limit the spread of harmful content or face fines of billions of pounds.

Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, said that Facebook had proved “time and time again” that it could not be trusted and the government now needed to step in. “It has entirely lived up to its internal strategy to ‘move fast and break things’ no matter what the cost, provided it doesn’t affect its bottom line,” she said.

“Four years on from the Conservative government’s promise of tough legislation against online harms, all we have is a weak and watered-down bill that will still allow Facebook to self-regulate. It doesn’t matter what age limits are adopted, Facebook cannot be trusted to put public safety before its profits.”

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, called for schools to teach children about how to use social media safely and responsibly.

Revealed: anti-vaccine TikTok videos being viewed by children as young as nine
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Our pioneering online safety bill will make the internet a safer place and is the most comprehensive in the world at protecting children. It will require internet companies to enforce age limits so underage kids can’t access pornography or content that is harmful to them, such as promotion of self harm and eating disorders.”

Facebook denied that the company put profits above people and said it was using sophisticated methods to weed out children not old enough to have an account. “Protecting our community is more important than maximising our profits,” it said. “To say we turn a blind eye to feedback ignores these investments, including the 40,000 people working on safety and security at Facebook and our investment of $13bn since 2016.

“We use artificial intelligence and the age people provide at sign-up to understand if people are telling the truth about their age when using our platforms. On Instagram alone, these processes helped us remove over 600,000 underage users between June and August this year. We will continue to invest in new tools as well as working closely with our industry partners to make our systems as effective as possible.” by Michael Savage


Arnab Goswami- a journalist without integrity and credibility:

Senior television journalist Arnab Goswami illegally tampered with the TRPs in connivance of the then CEO of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) Partho Dasgupta to improve ratings of Republic TV channels and paid him for his help, as per the supplementary chargesheet filed by the Mumbai Police who cited Whatsapp chats between the duo as a “crucial evidence”.

The Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) of the Mumbai Police on Tuesday filed a third chargesheet before a magistrate’s court here in the alleged fake Television Ratings Points (TRP) scam.

Besides Goswami, the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, and ARG Outlier Media that runs Republic TV channels, the police also named six other accused including some employees of Republic group channels in the latest chargesheet.

“We have found evidence to show they (Goswami and Dasgupta) had exchanged confidential information about the BARC repeatedly to benefit Goswami’s channels,” the chargesheet said.

During the period between June 2017 and March 2018 when Dasgupta was working with the BARC, the TRP ratings of an English news channel were illegally manipulated so that they fall below the TRPs of Republic TV channels, which resulted in Rs 431 crore loss to that channel, police said, citing the statement of an executive of the news channel.

Police further said they possess the evidence to show that Goswami had paid Dasgupta in return for the latter’s assistance in manipulating the TRPs, “which was evident from the jewellery and expensive items seized from Dasgupta’s residence”, the chargesheet said.

Dasgupta, who had been named as accused in the previous chargesheet, was arrested in December last year. He is currently out on bail.

The first chargesheet in the TRP rigging case, filed in November last year, had named Dasgupta and Republic TV CEO Vikash Khanchandani.

The alleged fake TRP scam came to light in October last year when the rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group (HRG), alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers.

The HRG had been tasked with installing barometers for recording channel viewership data at sample households.

Police had arrested dozens of people, including the top officials of BARC and Republic TV. Most of them are currently out on bail.

In March this year, the Bombay High Court had asked the Mumbai police why Republic TV and Goswami had not been named as accused in the case if the investigators believed to possess adequate evidence against them.

The ARG Outlier Media and Goswami had approached the high court last year, filing a bunch of petitions seeking several reliefs in the alleged TRP scam.

They had alleged that the whole case was malafide and they had been targeted for Republic TV’s reportage in connection with the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput and Palghar lynching case last year
a letter from MB Rajesh : Dear Mr Arnab Goswami
I am writing this open letter regarding the show [on Republic TV] aired on 26 May at 10 pm, in which I too was a participant. During the course of that show, you arrogantly told me, “I have handled bigger leaders than you”. Perhaps that was the only truth you said in that entire show.

This one sentence alone is enough to highlight your ego, arrogance and pettiness. I have never claimed that I am a big leader. Just as you have handled much bigger leaders than me, I have had the privilege of talking to anchors who are more honest, gentle, decent, civilised and knowledgeable than you.

You have every right to imagine that you have a larger than life image. But my impression of you is that you are not only biased and prejudiced but that you also lack substance, integrity, credibility and even confidence as a journalist. I am sure that you are well aware of your weaknesses and I have always felt that your screams and outbursts are your frustrated attempts to cover up this confidence deficit. You are the most unethical journalist I have ever seen.

Arnab Goswami lacks integrity credibility as a journalist Full text of Kerala MPs open letter to Republic TV editor
File image of Pallakad MP MB Rajesh. Image courtesy: Facebook/MB Rajesh

On 26 May, I got a call from your channel requesting my time for a debate – ‘On three years of the Narendra Modi government’, between 10 to 10:15 pm. When I reached the Asianet studio (with whom you have a tie up), as directed by your office at around 9:50 pm, I saw Ravi Shankar Prasad on the screen and came to know that the discussion on Modi government was about to conclude.

I immediately asked the Asianet employees in the Palakkad studio to reconfirm the topic for which I had been invited. Aravind, an Asianet employee, contacted your channel in my presence and reconfirmed the topic as ‘three years of Modi government’.

Then suddenly, I came to know on air that you had changed the topic to Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s alleged ‘speech against the army’. I could have boycotted the show at that moment but I chose to remain because, in my absence, you may repeatedly scream the lie that I ran away from the show. I wanted to avoid such a situation and tried to present my views on the fabricated story.

Whatever little time I got, in between your uncivilised outbursts, I repeatedly countered your biased statements that Kodiyeri had insulted the Indian Army. I said that not a single TV channel in Kerala, including your own Asianet, had taken up this story as a topic of debate. I said that this was not a controversy in Kerala because everybody knew that his comments were only against the atrocities committed in the name of Armed Forces Special Powers Acts (AFSPA), and not against the army.

Still, you continued your accusations against the CPM as part of your prepared screenplay. I drew your attention to a Supreme Court order, issued on 27 April, 2016, to investigate all the 1,528 murders in Manipur done by security forces under AFSPA. You ignored that inconvenient fact, probably because you might not have keenly observed such issues related to AFSPA. (After all, this sort of journalism, anchoring in your case, depends more on the ability to make as much noise as possible and does not require careful reading, updating, thorough knowledge of the topic and keen observation. People like you can survive with your voice alone, without using your brain.)

Then you, like a coward safely surrounded by the Sangh brigade, continued spitting venomous lies against CPM without even giving me an opportunity to intervene. Despite my repeated statements, that we have never insulted the Indian Army, you deliberately put the subtitle “against army” next to my picture on the screen. This can only be seen as the dirty act of a loyal servant to appease your immediate boss, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and your ultimate masters, the Sangh Parivar.

It was evident from your substandard and abusive remarks against the CPM that your sense of history is poorer than that of a primary school student. Your teacher of history in school would have been much ashamed to see the shameless and naive expression of your ignorance on the subject. If you wish to learn the role of Communists in the Indian freedom struggle, I can suggest some pamphlets used for beginners because you may not be able to digest any serious work of history.

When I told you that it is not the Communists but VD Savarkar who had betrayed the freedom struggle by sending repeated clemency petitions to the British Government, it appeared as if you were hearing about it for the first time in your life. I can send the copies of those clemency petitions for your kind perusal so that the next time you can be better prepared to defend your ‘patriotic’ Hindutva masters. You can also think of arranging a tuition to help you acquire some basic facts about our history.

Anyway, if you work hard to overcome your deficiencies, you may be able to improve your understanding of various topics to some extent. But I am not sure, whether at this age you will be able to develop the basic norms of conduct, culture and civilised behaviour. Many of these qualities owe much to the manner in which we were brought up in our childhood.

Here, I must tell you that to me, the army is not just a newsroom experience. I was born in a military hospital and my entire childhood was spent in an army environment. Arnab, I am the proud son of a father who served in the Indian Army for long years. He fought in the 1971 war as well. As the ward of a veteran, I’ve also partaken in the sacrificial living of an army family, like several others. Now, tell me, apart from your highly hypocritical and extremely dramatic expressions in the name of the army, aimed only to raise the ratings, what have you genuinely done for our army?

My last piece of suggestion to you, the self-proclaimed ambassador of the army, is to find time to watch recordings of your ‘performances’ at least once. Then, you will realise how disgusting it is and will definitely search for some other career options. Till you find time to do that, we will have no other option but to bear with the high levels of pollution created by your senseless utterances.

I dare to write this letter to you because neither am I a big leader, as you rightly pointed out, nor do I wish to become one.

My best wishes and regards,

MB Rajesh


3 news channels fined Rs 1 lakh for ‘objectionable’ coverage of Tablighi Jamaat case
The NBSA has fined a national news channel and two regional news channels for their reporting of the Tablighi Jamaat case at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.

Channels fined for Tablighi Jamaat coverage
Members of Tablighi Jamaat outside the Nizamuddin Markaz building in March 2020. (PTI)
The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has fined a national news channel and two regional news channels for their reporting of the Tablighi Jamaat case at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.

NBSA has imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the three news channels for biased coverage of the incident ‘targeting Muslims’, reported The News Minute.

One of the three channels has also been asked to issue an apology to its viewers.

In March 2020, when the first cases of Covid-19 were being reported across states, Tablighi Jamaat had organised a congregation that saw the participation of thousands of believers, including hundreds who had come from other countries.

Several cases of Covid-19 were detected at the Nizamuddin Markaz of Tablighi Jamaat, triggering a blame game accusing the Muslim community of spreading the virus.

NBSA has said that the manner in which the three news channels reported the incident was highly objectionable and based on conjecture.

“The tone, tenor and language (of the programmes) was crass, prejudiced and disrespectful. The programmes were prejudiced, inflammatory, and crossed all boundaries of good taste without concerns for feelings of a religious group. It was aimed at promoting and inciting hatred between communities,” the NBSA has said in its order.


TRP scam: Pulwama martyrs’ kin slam Arnab Goswami, demand strict action against him . . GUWAHATI :
Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, whose name surfaced in the past few days in the Television Rating Points (TRP) rigging scam, has been slammed by the military veterans and aggrieved family members of the Pulwama attack martyrs. Goswami was attacked for his vulture journalism and demands have been made for strict action against the journalist for compromising national security. The Pulwama martyrs’ kin has claimed that Goswami should be shameful for his acts and should stop playing such incidents for TRP gains. Furthermore, they also say that the government should probe how the Republic TV editor-in-chief got the sensitive information


News anchor’s tooth falls out during live TV. She keeps her cool and carries on

Live TV can be unpredictable sometimes. However, the way this Ukrainian new anchor handled a bizarre situation during a broadcast has left many impressed. A video that’s gone viral shows the moment the anchor’s tooth fell out while she was delivering a news report. The presenter, however, kept her cool and didn’t so much as flinch as she continued on with the report. Marichka Padalko herself posted the clip on her Instagram profile, sharing her reaction to the incident. “This is probably my most curious experience in twenty years as a presenter,” she wrote. She even added how a colleague told her, “You reacted as if you were losing your teeth every day”.

“No, not every day,” she added.

She explained that the loose tooth was the result of an incident that took place 10 years ago. Her daughter was playing with a metal alarm clock that hit her and broke her tooth.

“Honestly, I thought the incident would go unnoticed,” she mentioned in her post. “But we underestimated the attention of our viewers,” she added.

The clip has since gone viral. It shows Padalko covering her mouth with her hand, holding the falling tooth and continuing with the report as if nothing had happened. Several people have praised Padalko for remaining unfazed and handling situation like a complete boss.