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I’m a free speech champion. I don’t even know what that means anymore

The president of the United States is supposedly the most powerful man in the world. He also can’t post to Twitter. Or Facebook. Or a bunch of other social networks as we discovered over the course of the past week (He still has access to the nuclear launch codes though, so that’s an interesting dynamic to chew on).
The bans last week were exceptional — but so is Trump. There may not be another president this century who pushes the line of public discourse quite like the current occupant of the White House (at least, one can only hope). …

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Business Can’t Take Democracy for Granted

The fact that millions of Americans see nothing wrong with attempting to overturn the results of an election by force is a threat not only to democracy, but to the long-term health of the economy and to the strength of American business. And while few businesspeople are fans of government, a strong one is necessary for an innovative and entrepreneurial society. That’s why businesses need to finally step up and support democracy, in three key ways: speaking out, with both their voices and their wallets; acting collectively, particularly at the local and state levels; and addressing the roots of …

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Amazon Web Services gives Parler 24-hour notice that it will suspend services to the company

Parler is at risk of disappearing, just as the social media network popular among conservatives was reaching new heights of popularity in the wake of President Donald Trump’s ban from all major tech social platforms.Parler, whose fortunes have soared as users upset at the President’s silencing on mainstream social media outlets flocked to the service, is now another site of contention in the struggle over the limits of free speech and accountability online.
In the wake of the riots at the Capitol on Wednesday and a purge of accounts accused of inciting violence on Twitter and Facebook, …

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The deplatforming of a president

After years of placid admonishments, the tech world came out in force against President Trump this past week following the violent assault of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. From Twitter to PayPal, more than a dozen companies have placed unprecedented restrictions or outright banned the current occupant of the White House from using their services, and in some cases, some of his associates and supporters as well.
The news was voluminous and continuous for the past few days, so here’s a recap of who took action when, and what might happen next.
Twitter: …

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Why Twitter says it banned President Trump

Twitter permanently banned the U.S. president Friday, taking a dramatic step to limit Trump’s ability to communicate with his followers. That decision, made in light of his encouragement for Wednesday’s violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol, might seem sudden for anyone not particularly familiar with his Twitter presence.
In reality, Twitter gave Trump many, many second chances over his four years as president, keeping him on the platform due to the company’s belief that speech by world leaders is in the public interest, even if it breaks the rules.

Now that Trump’s gone for …

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Twitter permanently bans President Trump

Twitter permanently removed the president of the United States from its platform Friday, citing concerns over the “risk of further incitement of violence” and Trump’s previous transgressions.
“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action,” Twitter wrote. “… We made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules and cannot use Twitter to incite violence.”
Trump will not be able to get around Twitter’s ban by making a new account or using …

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State Department reportedly orders diplomats to stop posting on social media after U.S. Capitol riots

The State Department ordered diplomats to stop posting on social media after pro-Trump rioters stormed the United States Capitol, reports CNN, citing three diplomatic sources. Diplomats overseas were also told by the under secretary for public affairs to remove scheduled content for Facebook, Hootsuite and Twitter until told otherwise, and that planned social media posts from the State Department’s main accounts were also being suspended.
According to CNN, diplomats are usually only told to pause social media posts after a terrorist attack or major natural disaster.
As of late Wednesday evening in the United States, the main State Department …

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Social media allowed a shocked nation to watch a coup attempt in real time

Today’s historic and terrifying coup attempt by pro-Trump extremists in Washington, D.C. played out live the same way it was fomented — on social media. Once again Twitter, streaming sites and other user-generated media were the only place to learn what was happening in the nation’s capital — and the best place to be misled by misinformation and propaganda.
In the morning, official streams and posts portended what people expected of the day: a drawn-out elector certification process in Congress while a Trump-led rally turned to general protests. But when extremists gathered at the steps of the U.S. …

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Section 230 is threatened in new bill tying liability shield repeal to $2,000 checks

Tech got dragged into yet another irrelevant Congressional scuffle this week after President Trump agreed to sign a bipartisan pandemic relief package but continued to press for additional $2,000 checks that his party opposed during negotiations.
In tweets and other comments, Trump tied a push for the boosted relief payments to his entirely unrelated demand to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a critical but previously obscure law that protects internet companies from legal liability for user-generated content.

Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS …

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NSO used real people’s location data to pitch its contact-tracing tech, researchers say

Spyware maker NSO Group used real phone location data on thousands of unsuspecting people when it demonstrated its new COVID-19 contact-tracing system to governments and journalists, researchers have concluded.
NSO, a private intelligence company best known for developing and selling governments access to its Pegasus spyware, went on the charm offensive earlier this year to pitch its contact-tracing system, dubbed Fleming, aimed at helping governments track the spread of COVID-19. Fleming is designed to allow governments to feed location data from cell phone companies to visualize and track the spread of the virus. NSO gave several news outlets each a …

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