On Wednesday, more than 500 companies officially kicked off an advertising boycott intended to pressure Facebook into taking a stronger stand against hate speech. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to meet with its organizers early next week. But whether Zuckerberg agrees to further tighten the social network's carefully crafted rules probably boils down to a more fundamental question: Does Facebook need big brand advertisers more than the brands need Facebook?
For years, social media platforms have fueled political polarization and hosted an explosion of hate speech. Now, with four months until the U.S. presidential election and the country’s divisions reaching a boiling point, these companies are upping their game against bigotry and threats of violence. What's not yet clear is whether this action is too little, too late — nor whether the pressure on these companies, including a growing advertiser boycott, will be enough to produce lasting change.
"President Donald Trump was particularly repugnant on Tuesday, as he set forth the themes of his 2020 campaign to supporters in Phoenix. It was also a terrifying signal of how he intends to divide the country further to try to hold on to his job," writes Nicholas Goldberg. " Trump sounded like many fear-mongering demagogues before him, but he sounded like no one so much as Sen. Joe McCarthy — fighting, exhorting, fulminating against a monolithic, un-American enemy. Trump’s words came from a playbook that has worked well in the past: They’re coming for you, his words implied. For your towns, your homes and your freedom. I can protect you."
"Picture, if you will, four Russian nesting dolls, each roosting inside another. Imagine the largest figurine is of President Donald Trump, and gestating inside are dolls representing the civil rights crisis, inside a financial disaster, inside the coronavirus pandemic," writes Bill Ballas. "All of these calamities, in my opinion, are made worse than they should have been by Trump’s ill temper, keen self-interest and inability to show empathy for others. Why? Because the president suffers from low emotional intelligence, or EQ."
A conservative social media user whose far-right memes have been praised and reposted by President Donald Trump has been kicked off Twitter for repeated copyright violations. Logan Cook, a Kansas man who posts under the name Carpe Donktum, was permanently banned from the platform Tuesday night, days after he posted a video criticizing CNN that used doctored footage from the news channel.
The Justice Department proposed Wednesday that Congress roll back long-held legal protections for online platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, putting down a legislative marker in President Donald Trump's drive against the social media giants. The proposed changes would strip some of the bedrock protections that have generally shielded the companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms.
You can now buy one of those unnerving animal-like robots you might have seen on YouTube — so long as you don't plan to use it to harm or intimidate anyone. Boston Dynamics on Tuesday started selling its four-legged Spot robots online for just under $75,000 each. The agile robots can walk, climb stairs and observe their surroundings with cameras and other sensors. But people who buy them online must agree not to arm them or intentionally use them as weapons, among other conditions.
On Sunday, the governor announced that low-risk sports in regions that have reached phase three of reopening can begin in early July; that the state is extending open enrollment in the state healthcare marketplace for an additional 30 days; and that he has signed legislation requiring the study of how COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the health of minority communities in New York state. Meanwhile, the number of hospitalizations due to coronavirus has reached the lowest level the state has in more than 85 days.