Politics

Sex trafficking investigation into Matt Gaetz and friend digs up their tech fails

We now have the digital receipts and it appears Florida GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz and his former tax collector friend don’t understand the concepts of “consequences,” “technology,” “digital paper trails,” the “laws of the United States of America,” or, more generally, “ethics.”  The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the staunch Trump ally’s connections to a scheme that included paying for sex, sex trafficking, and paying for sex with a minor, according to the New York… Read the rest

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TikTok's algorithm is sending users down a far-right extremist rabbit hole

TikTok’s recommendations algorithm is sending users down a far right wing rabbit hole QAnon. Patriot Party, Oath Keepers. Three Percenters. Videos promoting these far right wing movements are all banned on TikTok. Yet the viral app’s recommendations algorithm keeps pushing accounts that promote these groups and movements anyway.  According to a new report by the media monitoring group Media Matters for America, TikTok’s user recommendation algorithm is pushing its users toward accounts with the kinds… Read the rest

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Stephen Colbert roasts Jeff Bezos after Amazon CEO steps down

Stephen Colbert’s Tuesday night monologue was largely focussed on politics, but he did find time to go over the news that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos would be stepping down as CEO — and join in with the flurry of jokes already been cracked online. “Before leaving office he will be cocooned in bubble wrap and put in a box eight times his size,” says the Late Show host in the clip above. “Maybe throw in a… Read the rest

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YouTube removes Trump's latest video, blocks channel from posting for seven days

It’s been a bad week for President Donald Trump’s socials. First he was unceremoniously dumped by his longtime paramour Twitter. Then Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitch blocked him. Now YouTube has jumped into the fray, banning the president’s channel after it breached the website’s moderation policies. “After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube announced… Read the rest

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Seth Meyers excoriates Republicans calling for 'healing' after Capitol attack

Seth Meyers has never been one to mince words in his “Closer Look” segments, always opening and closing it with succinct, clear summations of Where Things Are At Right Now. On Monday night, he opened thusly: “The sitting President of the United States is the leader of a violent insurrectionist movement who incited a seditious mob of right wing terrorists to ransack the Capitol and overthrow American democracy, and every day that he remains in… Read the rest

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What is Signal? The basics of the most secure messaging app.

Existing Signal users might be getting more notifications than usual. “Jack is on Signal,” “Cathy is on Signal,” “Miriam is on Signal,” all pings showing phone contacts who are joining the secure messaging app. Those pings reflect the fact that there’s been an influx of new users. Known for its end-to-end encryption and independent structure as a non-profit organization run by a foundation — not a big tech company — Signal has previously been the… Read the rest

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Now you can check on the status of your second stimulus payment

From COVID-19 testing to passing legislation, the government’s slogan for its coronavirus response might as well be “better late than never.”  Now that slogan applies to the newly relaunched section of the IRS website that lets you check on the status of your second stimulus payment. On Monday, the IRS brought its “Get My Payment” portal back to life, finally allowing a little transparency into the economic impact payments we’ve been told are coming our… Read the rest

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Congress throws garbage copyright and streaming rules in with COVID relief bill

Because when you think coronavirus relief, you definitely think copyright and punishing illegal streamers.  The U.S. Congress unveiled the latest proposed spending bill Monday, and while the $900 billion package made news for the (arguably insufficient) unemployment aid and stimulus checks included within, those aren’t the details turning heads. Rather, it’s the language governing illegal streaming and copyright that are making waves.  For starters, the Hollywood Reporter highlighted a section of the proposed bill which… Read the rest

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A running list of American antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook

Christmas has come, like, a week early for anyone who cares about the American government enforcing its antitrust laws. In the last quarter of 2020, states and the federal government have filed multiple lawsuits against Big Tech companies Google and Facebook for abusing their monopoly power.  The lawsuits came after a year-long congressional investigation which culminated in a July hearing that saw CEOs Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google, Jeff Bezos of Amazon,… Read the rest

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Republicans and Democrats actually agree on something: Breaking up Facebook

Facebook says it’s all about connecting people and building community. And it’s done just that, uniting Republican and Democratic lawmakers against it. On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states (along with Washington, D.C., and Guam) filed two antitrust lawsuits against Facebook. In the Washington version of a rare lunar eclipse, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support the lawsuits.  One of their demands is that Facebook divest its ownership of Instagram and… Read the rest

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