Tag Archives: Twitter

‘Deeply Sinister’: Emails Reveal Big Pharma Pushed Twitter to Silence Vaccine Equity Voices

“At a time when online mobilizations were one of the few forms of protest available to the public, Twitter was seemingly asked to shield the powerful from criticism,” said one campaigner. “That should worry all those who care about accountability.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-16-2023 by Common Dreams

lobal Justice Now and The People’s Vaccine projection campaigning for global vaccine equality in London on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Jess Hurd/Global Justice Now via Flickr)

Drugmaker BioNTech and the German government pushed Twitter to “hide” posts by activists calling on Big Pharma to temporarily lift patents on Covid-19 vaccines—a move which would have given people the Global South greater access to the lifesaving inoculations, a report published Monday by The Intercept revealed.

Twitter lobbyist Nina Morschhaeuser “flagged the corporate accounts of Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca for her colleagues to monitor and shield from activists,” according to The Intercept‘s Lee Fang. An email from Morschhaeuser said the German Federal Office for Information Security also contacted Twitter on behalf of BioNTech, whose spokesperson, Jasmina Alatovic, asked the social media giant to “hide” activist tweets targeting her company’s account for two days. Continue reading

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Concerns Over Disinformation Grow After Musk Relaxes Twitter Ban on Political Ads

Critics expressed concern about the social media giant serving as “a major new forum for massive amounts of money to be spent to influence politics.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 1-4-2023 by Common Dreams

As advertisers depart Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s recent takeover, the billionaire owner continues to shake up the social media platform, which on Tuesday relaxed a ban on political and issue-based advertising put in place for over three years.

When then-CEO Jack Dorsey announced the ban in October 2019, he explained that “this isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.” Continue reading

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Amid Eli Lilly-Twitter Fiasco, Groups Call for End to Insulin Price Gouging

“The fake Eli Lilly account was right. Insulin should be free.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 11-14-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Brian J. Matis/flickr/CC

Dozens of progressive advocacy groups marked World Diabetes Day on Monday by urging Congress to pass legislation that would ensure people in the United States have access to the insulin on which their survival depends and prevent Big Pharma from price gouging on the lifesaving medicine.

In a letter addressed to Senate and House leaders, Public Citizen, T1International, and more than 50 other organizations wrote: “World Diabetes Day marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin and famously sold its patent for $1 and stated, ‘Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world.’ Despite its discovery more than 100 years ago and the generosity of Banting and the co-inventors, many people living in the United States still struggle to afford access to the insulin they need.” Continue reading

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Groups Warn SCOTUS May Gut ‘Foundational’ Digital Rights Law

“Weakening Section 230 would be catastrophic—disproportionately silencing and endangering marginalized communities,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 10-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Rights advocates warn weakening Section 230 would disproportionately silence and endanger “marginalized communities including LGBTQ+ people, Black and Brown folks, sex workers, journalists, and human rights activists around the world.” Photo: Public domain

Digital rights advocates responded with alarm to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday decision to take up a case that could enable right-wing justices to gut Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

“Section 230 is a foundational and widely misunderstood law that protects human rights and free expression online,” said Fight for the Future director Evan Greer in a statement late Monday. Continue reading

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Calls Mount for Release of Saudi Woman Facing 34 Years in Prison Over Tweets

The United Nations human rights office urged Saudi authorities to quash Salma al-Shehab’s conviction and “release her immediately and unconditionally,” arguing that “she should never have been arrested and charged in the first place for such conduct.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Salma Al-Shehab, a 34-year-old graduate student and mother of two, faces 34 years in prison for tweets critical of the Saudi monarchy. (Photo: European Saudi Organization for Human Rights/Twitter)

Human rights advocates around the world this week called on Saudi Arabia to free Salma al-Shehab after she was sentenced to 34 years in prison and a 34-year travel ban for tweets criticizing the kingdom’s repression of women.

Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Friday that “we are appalled by the sentencing” of al-Shehab, a 34-year-old mother and graduate student in the United Kingdom. Continue reading

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EU Enacts Landmark Social Media Law to End Self-Regulation by Big Tech

“As the U.S. agonizes over misinformation and hate speech on social media and the harm it does to democracy,” said one journalist, the European Union passed the Digital Services Act “to tackle the problem.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 4-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Jason Howie/flickr/CC

The European Union on Saturday passed a landmark law that seeks to reduce social media’s harmful effects by requiring Big Tech corporations to quash disinformation and illicit content on their platforms or else face multibillion-dollar fines.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) would compel Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms “to set up new policies and procedures to remove flagged hate speech, terrorist propaganda, and other material defined as illegal by countries within the European Union,” the New York Times reported. Continue reading

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Media Networks Suspend Reporting in Russia Over Censorship Law

The Russian government also blocked access to Facebook, which RSF called the “Kremlin’s latest move to isolate the population from uncontrolled sources of information.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 3-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo:Anonymous Operations/Twitter

International media companies and journalists around the world on Friday sharply condemned a new Russian law that effectively criminalizes critical reporting of the war on Ukraine, with some outlets even suspending broadcasts or reporters’ work across Russia.

Amid global outrage over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin also blocked access to Facebook on Friday, which was met with intense criticism. The moves come ahead of anti-war protests planned on multiple continents this weekend. Continue reading

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How social media – aided by bots – amplifies Islamophobia online

Islamophobia has changed in the 20 years since Sept. 11. Now, much of it plays out on social media.
Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Saif Shahin, American University

In August 2021, a Facebook ad campaign criticizing Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the United States’ first Muslim congresswomen, came under intense scrutiny. Critics charged that the ads linked the congresswomen with terrorism, and some faith leaders condemned the campaign as “Islamophobic” – that is, spreading fear of Islam and hatred against Muslims.

This was hardly the first time the pair faced Islamophobic or racist abuse, especially on the internet. As a communications professor who studies the politics of race and identity online, I have seen that Omar is often a target of white nationalist attacks on Twitter. Continue reading

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Creative Associates International (CAI): It’s Not Exactly the CIA, But Close Enough

While mercenary armies like Blackwater have at least been subject to inquiry, making the company’s name infamous around the world, Creative Associates International has largely flown under the radar — exactly where the organization’s board wants it to be.

By Alan Macleod   Published 8-13-2021 by MintPress News

Graphic by Antonio Cabrera

You have likely not heard of them, but Creative Associates International (CAI) is one of the largest and most powerful non-governmental organizations operating anywhere in the world. A pillar of soft U.S. power, the group has been an architect in privatizing the Iraqi education system, designed messenger apps meant to overthrow the government of Cuba, served as a front group for the infamous Blackwater mercenary force (now rebranded as Academi), and liaised with Contra death squads in Nicaragua. As such, it has functioned as “both as an instrument of foreign policy and as a manifestation of a broader imperial project,” in the words of Professor Kenneth Saltman of the University of Illinois, Chicago. Continue reading

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To achieve press freedom, we must rewrite journalism

It is time to liberate our media systems from the political and economic forces that have long subtly controlled them

By Dan Hind.  Published 4-30-2021 by openDemocracy

Monday will mark World Press Freedom Day. It’s a moment to celebrate the work that journalism does in holding power to account. It’s also a moment to raise awareness of the dangers facing journalists in many countries. At least 1,400 journalists have been killed for doing their job in the three decades since the first World Freedom Day in 1991. Many of those were killed by their own governments, or by organised crime groups linked to political elites. This year’s coverage will focus on this violence, and on the culture of fear it is intended to promote. And this is right and proper. As long as people can’t go to work without fear of violent retribution there is a pressing need to bear witness. Continue reading

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