Cinnabon Posts, Then Quickly Delets, Carrie Fisher Tweet Some Deemed In Poor Taste

Cinnabon posted – and quickly deleted – a tweet Tuesday that was intended to honor Carrie fisher, but struck some observers as offensive, in poor taste, or even attempting to capitalize on the Star Wars actress’ death, KVUE (Austin) is reporting. Although Cinnabon quickly deleted the tweet, nothing stays hidden in the world of social media. By the time the company had corrected its mistake, the damage had already been done, and several Twitter users had captured it for all eternity. And the award for “Most Tasteless Brand Reaction To A Celebrity Death” goes to @Cinnabon. #fox5dc pic.twitter.com/XCraFJTZX2 — Jim Lokay #fox5dc (@LokayFOX5) December 27, 2016 In case the symbolism of the Cinnabon tweet is lost on you, an artist sprinkled cinnamon on a surface to create an image of Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher’s iconic Star Wars role. A Cinnabon roll serves as a visual metaphor for the hair style Leia war in the original movie. Cinnabon’s tweet was inspired by Carrie Fisher’s iconic look in the original Star Wars film. [Image by WP-NFCC#4 via Wikimedia Commons by Fair Use] Twitter users were outraged, alleging that Cinnabon was capitalizing on Carrie Fisher’s death. @mrmedina @Cinnabon It was only a matter of time until brands started promoting their products using her death — Sky Hartman (@Skyhartman) December 27, 2016 Other users weren’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon. I feel like Carrie Fisher would have gotten a kick out of the Cinnabon tweet to be honest. — Calvin (@calvinstowell) December 27, 2016 For its part, Cinnabon posted a follow-up tweet, claiming that they intended no offense. Our deleted tweet was genuinely meant as a tribute, but we shouldn’t have posted it. We are truly sorry. — Cinnabon (@Cinnabon) December 28, 2016 Cinnabon is, of course, not the first company to post a tweet that some observers took the wrong way. In fact, it tends to happen frequently, as ABC News reported in 2013. For example, in December 2013, Campbell’s Soup tweeted an image of a Spaghetti-O mascot holding an American flag, with the caption, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” The tweet, which was sent out on Pearl Harbor Day, angered thousands of Twitter users who thought it made light of a deadly attack to sell product. Similarly, in October 2013, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a tweet “congratulating” a Georgia Lottery winner by saying he could purchase “40 acres and a whole lotta mules,” a reference to a post-Civil War proposal to give freed blacks “40 acres and a mule.” In this day and age, a company’s social media presence could make a huge difference with regard to the company’s public image, according to a 2014 Forbes report. The benefits include increased brand loyalty, an enhanced customer experience, and the opportunity for the company to gauge the public’s opinion about the company and respond to criticisms, among other benefits. Similarly, mistakes on social media can have devastating consequences for a company, according to a 2013 CIO report. One particular danger, says writer Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, is what she calls “Newsjacking.” That is, taking a news event – such as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, or the death of a famous actress – and inserting yourself into the conversation. “Exercise caution before inserting yourself into the conversation. Without evaluating the implications, your company risks looking insensitive or ignorant, which can [harm] your reputation.” Unfortunately, too many companies treat social media as an afterthought, often outsourcing the job to third party providers who may not fully understand the company’s culture or its customers. For this reason, a single ill-advised tweet or Facebook post, made by an employee who failed to think things through, can create ill will in an instant. Do you think Cinnabon’s tweet about Carrie Fisher was insensitive? [Featured Image by Adam Gregor/Shutterstock]

Cinnabon Posts, Then Quickly Delets, Carrie Fisher Tweet Some Deemed In Poor Taste

Cinnabon posted – and quickly deleted – a tweet Tuesday that was intended to honor Carrie fisher, but struck some observers as offensive, in poor taste, or even attempting to capitalize on the Star Wars actress’ death, KVUE (Austin) is reporting. Although Cinnabon quickly deleted the tweet, nothing stays hidden in the world of social media. By the time the company had corrected its mistake, the damage had already been done, and several Twitter users had captured it for all eternity. And the award for “Most Tasteless Brand Reaction To A Celebrity Death” goes to @Cinnabon. #fox5dc pic.twitter.com/XCraFJTZX2 — Jim Lokay #fox5dc (@LokayFOX5) December 27, 2016 In case the symbolism of the Cinnabon tweet is lost on you, an artist sprinkled cinnamon on a surface to create an image of Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher’s iconic Star Wars role. A Cinnabon roll serves as a visual metaphor for the hair style Leia war in the original movie. Cinnabon’s tweet was inspired by Carrie Fisher’s iconic look in the original Star Wars film. [Image by WP-NFCC#4 via Wikimedia Commons by Fair Use] Twitter users were outraged, alleging that Cinnabon was capitalizing on Carrie Fisher’s death. @mrmedina @Cinnabon It was only a matter of time until brands started promoting their products using her death — Sky Hartman (@Skyhartman) December 27, 2016 Other users weren’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon. I feel like Carrie Fisher would have gotten a kick out of the Cinnabon tweet to be honest. — Calvin (@calvinstowell) December 27, 2016 For its part, Cinnabon posted a follow-up tweet, claiming that they intended no offense. Our deleted tweet was genuinely meant as a tribute, but we shouldn’t have posted it. We are truly sorry. — Cinnabon (@Cinnabon) December 28, 2016 Cinnabon is, of course, not the first company to post a tweet that some observers took the wrong way. In fact, it tends to happen frequently, as ABC News reported in 2013. For example, in December 2013, Campbell’s Soup tweeted an image of a Spaghetti-O mascot holding an American flag, with the caption, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” The tweet, which was sent out on Pearl Harbor Day, angered thousands of Twitter users who thought it made light of a deadly attack to sell product. Similarly, in October 2013, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a tweet “congratulating” a Georgia Lottery winner by saying he could purchase “40 acres and a whole lotta mules,” a reference to a post-Civil War proposal to give freed blacks “40 acres and a mule.” In this day and age, a company’s social media presence could make a huge difference with regard to the company’s public image, according to a 2014 Forbes report. The benefits include increased brand loyalty, an enhanced customer experience, and the opportunity for the company to gauge the public’s opinion about the company and respond to criticisms, among other benefits. Similarly, mistakes on social media can have devastating consequences for a company, according to a 2013 CIO report. One particular danger, says writer Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, is what she calls “Newsjacking.” That is, taking a news event – such as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, or the death of a famous actress – and inserting yourself into the conversation. “Exercise caution before inserting yourself into the conversation. Without evaluating the implications, your company risks looking insensitive or ignorant, which can [harm] your reputation.” Unfortunately, too many companies treat social media as an afterthought, often outsourcing the job to third party providers who may not fully understand the company’s culture or its customers. For this reason, a single ill-advised tweet or Facebook post, made by an employee who failed to think things through, can create ill will in an instant. Do you think Cinnabon’s tweet about Carrie Fisher was insensitive? [Featured Image by Adam Gregor/Shutterstock]

Facebook Bans Writer Who Called Trump Supporters 'Nasty, Fascistic Lot'. Is Social Media Censoring Anti-Trump Rehtoric?

A Facebook user who called supporters of Donald Trump a “nasty, fascistic lot” and was temporarily suspended is accusing the social media giant of censoring anti-Trump sentiment, The Guardian is reporting. Kevin Sessums is a British blogger and journalist, known for celebrity pieces, best-selling memoirs, and his work for Vanity Fair. He claims that he uses Facebook as his own “personal blog.” So naturally he was quite upset when he was banned for 24 hours for “violating community standards” following a comment he wrote on another journalist’s post. #KevinSessums at #70thAnnual #TonyAwards #BeaconTheatre #Broadway #NYC #DavidGoodmanPhotos #Photographer #Theatre pic.twitter.com/HWGjghb05h — David Goodman (@DavidGoodmanPix) June 18, 2016 Sessums recently shared Facebook post from ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd, wherein Dowd was complaining about the things Trump supporters had called him (“jew, f****t, retard”). Sessums added his own commentary about Dowd’s post. His post included his own thoughts on supporters of Donald Trump. “But as those who do hold Trump to the standards of any other person have found out on Twitter and other social media outlets these Trump followers are a nasty fascistic lot.” That was apparently enough to get him banned from Facebook for 24 hours, for the vague offense of “violating community standards.” Once contacted by The Guardian, however, Facebook changed its tune and restored Sessums’ original post. “We’re very sorry about this mistake. The post was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong.” For Sessums, Facebook’s apology rings hollow. “It’s chilling. It’s arbitrary censorship. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, do I have to be careful about what I say about Trump now?’” Facebook indeed walks a fine line when it comes to policing and censoring content posted by users. For one thing, the term “community standards” varies from place to place; for example, in some parts of the world, a photo of a woman’s face is considered nothing short of an appalling act of ography. In parts of Europe, denying the Holocaust is a crime that can get you fined or even jailed. Here in the U.S., where Facebook is headquartered, it’s largely a matter of “anything goes,” at least, up to a point. Facebook’s “community standards” section makes it clear that the social media giant will remove posts that are deemed as bullying and harassing, advocating for criminal activity, or involve ual violence or exploitation, among other objectionable content. That means that Facebook will, for example, remove a photo of a naked child. Even if that photo is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack, having survived by tearing off her burning clothes. That particular act of censorship took place earlier this year, and it caused international outrage. Facebook later backed off from censorship of the photo. Facebook censored this historical photo for violating “community standards.” [Image by Huynh Cong Ut via Wikimedia Commons by Fair Use] However, Facebook also let stand a post by Donald Trump, calling for a ban on Muslims, in which even Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself admitted violated the company’s rules against hate speech. “Mr Zuckerberg acknowledged that Mr Trump’s call for a ban [of Muslims] did qualify as hate speech, but said the implications of removing them were too drastic.” For Kevin Sessums, his temporary ban from Facebook for what he deems a minor insult at best has troubling implications for the future of free speech under a Donald Trump presidency. “What will the cyber world be like under a Trump administration? This is chilling to me.” Do you believe that Facebook is censoring anti-Trump content? [Featured Image by tuthelens/Shutterstock]

Leslie Jones Hack And Cyberbullying: Can Twitter's Rumored New Feature Stop The Online Abuse?

Incidents like the recent hack of Leslie Jones’ website, and the stream of social media abuse that she dealt with before it, have brought the cyberbullying topic to the forefront for Twitter once again. In the past, Twitter has been criticized for the way they’ve handled cyberbullying; there have been multiple reports of teenagers committing suicide because of negative interactions on the website over the years, and Leslie Jones isn’t the only celebrity to deal with that type of abuse. According to Tech Times, Twitter is reportedly considering a safety feature that will make it easier for its users to block abusive language and content. Sources from Twitter spoke anonymously, since the tool cannot be made public yet. Reportedly, it will allow users to filter offensive content like curse words or racial slurs. Twitter has had it in the works for about a year now. Eventually, the tool will be sophisticated enough for users to filter and block any content at all including, for example, hashtags they aren’t interested in seeing on their timelines. Tech Times notes that bullies may be forced to get creative to escape the filter, like using symbols to replace certain letters, but this initiative from the Twitter team would still be a step in the right direction. Celebrities are becoming bigger targets of social media attacks, with Ghsotbusters star Leslie Jones probably being one of the more saddening incidents to date. Not only have bullies attacked her character, but also her race and gender using disturbing insults and imagery. In her case, Leslie Jones’ position allowed her to meet Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, personally and deal with the situation, but not everyone has been so fortunate. Plus, the situation eventually extended beyond Twitter, even after some cyberbullying users had been suspended. Jones’ website was hacked later, her personal information and nude photos leaked to the world. As The Inquisitr previously reported, a journalist who was suspended from Twitter for attacking her may have been behind the hack, but that is currently just a rumor. Paul Feig and others call out hateful trolls who hacked Leslie Joneshttps://t.co/9V2VMoAxV6 pic.twitter.com/27Id9KAgju — Mashable (@mashable) August 24, 2016 Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei, as Billboard reports, told her followers she was leaving Twitter after the racist tweets simply became too much. To my fans: pic.twitter.com/7yICp10G5Z — Normani Kordei (@NormaniKordei) August 7, 2016 “I am taking a break from Twitter for now,” Kordei wrote. “I want to take this moment to say love goes further than hate in this world.” Normani from @FifthHarmony was bullied off Twitter by vile racists #IStandWithNormani https://t.co/6tp7cuariR pic.twitter.com/YXtpL4sRre — Revelist (@heyrevelist) August 8, 2016 Highly publicized incidents like these do bring out the more positive humans of the world, though, with fanbases banding together to show their favorite celebrities how much they appreciate them and to help them rise above the hate. Hashtags like #IStandWithLeslie and #IStandWithNormani trended on Twitter for days. Leslie Jones’ fans sent in video clips to Seth Meyers encouraging her to keep her head high, while Fifth Harmony fans showed their support with signs during concerts on the group’s tour. The harder social media sites make it for the negativity and hatred to grow, the better off everyone will be. It’s going to be next to impossible to stem the tide entirely, especially in the rapidly changing landscape of the internet, but steps in the right direction surely can’t hurt. Instagram has a similar feature to the Twitter tool mentioned above, but it’s only available for business and “high profile” users right now. Celebrities on the platform could certainly stand to benefit from that tool on Instagram, if the outrageous Justin Bieber and Sofia Richie saga is any example. That entire mess led the 22-year-old pop star to delete his Instagram a few days ago, as Rolling Stone reported. As people spend more time on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and countless others, it only stands to reason that the teams behind the sites should help make sure attacks like those on Leslie Jones and Normani Kordei happen less over time. [Image via Bloomicon / Shutterstock.com]

Cinnabon Posts, Then Quickly Delets, Carrie Fisher Tweet Some Deemed In Poor Taste

Cinnabon posted – and quickly deleted – a tweet Tuesday that was intended to honor Carrie fisher, but struck some observers as offensive, in poor taste, or even attempting to capitalize on the Star Wars actress’ death, KVUE (Austin) is reporting. Although Cinnabon quickly deleted the tweet, nothing stays hidden in the world of social media. By the time the company had corrected its mistake, the damage had already been done, and several Twitter users had captured it for all eternity. And the award for “Most Tasteless Brand Reaction To A Celebrity Death” goes to @Cinnabon. #fox5dc pic.twitter.com/XCraFJTZX2 — Jim Lokay #fox5dc (@LokayFOX5) December 27, 2016 In case the symbolism of the Cinnabon tweet is lost on you, an artist sprinkled cinnamon on a surface to create an image of Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher’s iconic Star Wars role. A Cinnabon roll serves as a visual metaphor for the hair style Leia war in the original movie. Cinnabon’s tweet was inspired by Carrie Fisher’s iconic look in the original Star Wars film. [Image by WP-NFCC#4 via Wikimedia Commons by Fair Use] Twitter users were outraged, alleging that Cinnabon was capitalizing on Carrie Fisher’s death. @mrmedina @Cinnabon It was only a matter of time until brands started promoting their products using her death — Sky Hartman (@Skyhartman) December 27, 2016 Other users weren’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon. I feel like Carrie Fisher would have gotten a kick out of the Cinnabon tweet to be honest. — Calvin (@calvinstowell) December 27, 2016 For its part, Cinnabon posted a follow-up tweet, claiming that they intended no offense. Our deleted tweet was genuinely meant as a tribute, but we shouldn’t have posted it. We are truly sorry. — Cinnabon (@Cinnabon) December 28, 2016 Cinnabon is, of course, not the first company to post a tweet that some observers took the wrong way. In fact, it tends to happen frequently, as ABC News reported in 2013. For example, in December 2013, Campbell’s Soup tweeted an image of a Spaghetti-O mascot holding an American flag, with the caption, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” The tweet, which was sent out on Pearl Harbor Day, angered thousands of Twitter users who thought it made light of a deadly attack to sell product. Similarly, in October 2013, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted a tweet “congratulating” a Georgia Lottery winner by saying he could purchase “40 acres and a whole lotta mules,” a reference to a post-Civil War proposal to give freed blacks “40 acres and a mule.” In this day and age, a company’s social media presence could make a huge difference with regard to the company’s public image, according to a 2014 Forbes report. The benefits include increased brand loyalty, an enhanced customer experience, and the opportunity for the company to gauge the public’s opinion about the company and respond to criticisms, among other benefits. Similarly, mistakes on social media can have devastating consequences for a company, according to a 2013 CIO report. One particular danger, says writer Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, is what she calls “Newsjacking.” That is, taking a news event – such as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, or the death of a famous actress – and inserting yourself into the conversation. “Exercise caution before inserting yourself into the conversation. Without evaluating the implications, your company risks looking insensitive or ignorant, which can [harm] your reputation.” Unfortunately, too many companies treat social media as an afterthought, often outsourcing the job to third party providers who may not fully understand the company’s culture or its customers. For this reason, a single ill-advised tweet or Facebook post, made by an employee who failed to think things through, can create ill will in an instant. Do you think Cinnabon’s tweet about Carrie Fisher was insensitive? [Featured Image by Adam Gregor/Shutterstock]

Whatsapp Blocked In Brazil Ahead Of 2016 Rio Olympic Games For Protecting User Privacy

Foreign and Brazilian Whatsapp users alike attending the 2016 Rio Olympic Games may find themselves unable to access the popular instant messaging service after it was blocked by a judge on Tuesday. After Whatsapp has repeatedly been unable to hand over its users’ messages to police, one particular case has caused Judge Daniela Barbosa Assunção de Souza to shut down the service entirely. What exactly that investigation entails won’t, however, be released to the public; at least, that is, until the communications in question have been passed on to authorities, Reuters reported. WhatsApp BANNED: Millions could lose access to chat app during Olympics https://t.co/415CS9FjhQ pic.twitter.com/Y22VuDPYEW — Daily Express (@Daily_Express) July 19, 2016 The burden of this judicial order actually falls on Brazil’s mobile carriers and not Whatsapp itself. The big five — Telefonica, Oi, América Móvil’s Claro, TIM, and Nextel — must cut off use of the app across their networks or face a daily fine of up to 50,000 reais (US$15,265). Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum has taken to Facebook to condemn the decision and confirm that the company’s vision will remain the same on the issue of its users’ privacy. “In recent months, people from all across Brazil have rejected judicial blocks of services like WhatsApp. Indiscriminate steps like these threaten people’s ability to communicate, to run their businesses, and to live their lives. As we’ve said in the past, we cannot share information we don’t have access to. We hope to see this block lifted as soon as possible.” While scant information is available about the block, some clues may be found in the two other occasions that Whatsapp has been banned in Brazil during the past year. Both of the previous cases dealt with the use of end-to-end encryption, a system of communication that does not allow any third party access to the conversations between two individuals. Facebook, the current owner of the app, has faced legal action in several countries for being unable to produce such data when called upon to do so by investigators. As even Whatsapp is not privy to the data sent between its users, it is impossible for it to cooperate with such orders. When the last such ruling in Brazil came down in May, The Intercept noted that the country had become a symbolic battleground for digital rights. “In a country with turbulent political conflicts and a highly engaged online population, the debate over internet freedom has become very prominent. Along with Germany, the Brazilian government, in the wake of the Snowden revelations, was the most vocal in denouncing the U.S. for excessive NSA surveillance… In 2014, the government enacted what it claimed was a law to protect internet freedom, ‘Marco Civil da Internet,’ that did provide some privacy protections but also granted new surveillance powers to the government. Just last month, the government demanded, and received, a new draconian anti-terrorism law that provided it with extreme new law enforcement powers.” As one of the world’s major population centers, Brazil accounts for a hefty portion of Whatsapp’s global users. Nearly 10 percent of the app’s users are Brazilian, with a total of about 100 million people communicating on the app in the Olympic host country. UPDATE: WhatsApp has issued a statement on the Brazil ban https://t.co/6eN66BKcQY pic.twitter.com/tYWTMfvjnh — The Next Web (@TheNextWeb) July 19, 2016 Brazil has faced waves of doubt internationally that the troubled nation will be able to rise to the challenge of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. With a president facing impeachment and an economy in crisis, some say that the country is too unstable domestically to properly host Rio’s upcoming global sporting event. Even several athletes, including the world’s number one men’s golfer, have opted out of the competition. Do you think Whatsapp will still be blocked in Brazil when the 2016 Rio Olympic Games hit? [Photo via Andre Penner/AP Images]

Nazi Propaganda Tolerated On Twitter While Islamic Accounts Suspended

When it comes to Twitter, you are far less likely to receive any consequences for a controversial tweet if you’re a Nazi than if you are a Muslim, or so claims a new study. The report on Nazis (Nazi sympathizers or Neo-Nazis) says that Nazis use Twitter with “relative impunity.” The Nazi Twitter study was conducted by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, and it found that Nazi Twitter accounts usually have far more followers than militant Islamist accounts. As part of the study, 18 different prominent Nazi Twitter accounts were researched. The authors of the report noted that there has been a recently sharp increase in the number of these prominent Nazi Twitter accounts, up to 25,000from about 3,500 just four years ago. That may not seem like a huge number, but the study pointed out that the research only focused on an extremely small amount of Nazi accounts, and nowhere near the total number of accounts operated by all of the White Nationalists and Nazi sympathizers on Twitter. [Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]One of the study authors, J.M. Berger, summed it up this way. “White nationalists and Nazis outperformed ISIS in average friend and follower counts by a substantial margin. Nazis had a median follower count almost eight times greater than ISIS supporters, and a mean count more than 22 times greater.” Twitter has had extensive focus on suspected ISIS – or Islamic State – members as of late. In August alone, Twitter said that it had shut down over 36,000 accounts that they believed were associated with ISIS. However, on the flip side, the Nazi accounts seem to be out of bounds when it comes to the Twitter patrol. However, what is the Twitter patrol? How does Twitter monitor tweets that promote terrorism, threaten abuse or hateful conduct? Largely, Twitter leaves it up to its own users to point out tweets or other users that go against Twitter’s terms of service. So, if that’s true, what does it say about the overall Twitterverse’s reaction to Nazi posts versus ISIS posts? The report from George Washington University points out that three of the top 10 hashtags used by both Nazi and White Nationalist sites are #Trump2016, #Trump, and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain – the slogan trumpeted by Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign. If they are not worth defending, what is?#WhiteLivesMatter #WhiteRace #WPWW #Trump2016 #Republican #TeamWhite #NS pic.twitter.com/5Rc3pFWcGD — Public Outreach (@NEW_ORDER_1488) July 12, 2016 Get out and Vote tomorrow Let’s keep America looking like America vote #Trump2016 #WPWW pic.twitter.com/Xj7RIAEVRb — White Devil of MD (@whites4whites) April 25, 2016 Jews killed 10 million Ukrainian Christians: Nothing.#Holodomor#WR#WPWW#14Words#Trump2016#Pegida#PJNET#NShttps://t.co/sFOGdCEk8W — Strength & Honor #WR (@HeedThisWarning) February 19, 2016 The study from George Washington University also points out that the possible reason why Nazi and White Supremacist Twitter accounts aren’t policed as much as ISIS accounts is because, on the whole, modern Nazis really aren’t that organized. The groups exist, propagandizing their hate, but they aren’t as much of a militant threat in the 21st Century as ISIS has turned out to be. During the course of the Nazi ISIS Twitter study, over 1,100 ISIS accounts were suspended or shut down compared to seven Nazi or White Supremacist Twitter accounts. [Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]Neo-Nazism is post-World War II social and political movements that echo the far right wing ideology of Nazism as defined by the Third Reich. Neo-Nazi groups exist worldwide today, and their existence is so feared that their organizations and symbols have been banned in numerous European and Latin American countries. Nazism, or National Socialism, was devised in Germany following the end of the First World War. Nazism is essentially a form of fascism that incorporates so-called “scientific” racism and antisemitism. [Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]

Facebook VP of Search Denies Censoring Conservative News From Trending Topics

Facebook has denied claims that it censored conservative news from its “Trending” section that displays viral topics. Facebook has been under media scrutiny since a report from Gizmodo alleged that former Facebook contractors who worked as news curators supressed conservative topics, such as Rand Paul and the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Conservative media, such as Breitbart News’s editor in chief, Alex Marlow lashed out at Facebook suggesting that these allegations confirm suspicion that conservative news is ignored on the social media giant. Other allegations include Facebook bias in “injecting” stories that weren’t viral enough to be included in trending news. The curator claims stories, such as Black Lives Matters and Syria were deemed important “for making the network look like a place where people talked about hard news,” according to the report. Tom Stocky, Vice President of Search at Facebook released a statement on Tuesday denying claims stating: “I want to address today’s reports alleging that Facebook contractors manipulated Trending Topics to suppress stories of interest to conservatives. We take these reports extremely seriously, and have found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true.” Stocky added that the alleged censorship would be not be “technically feasible” and that “reviewers’ actions are logged and reviewed.” He also denies that Facebook artificially injects stories to its trending feed. [Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]These allegations suggest that Facebook operates in similar fashion to traditional media or publishing companies that often has a political alignment and editorial standards. However, Facebook represents itself as a neutral platform and recent reports that Facebook will participate in both the RNC and DNC conventions so that its users can engage in political discussions attest to that neutrality. Whether Facebook has guidelines for curators or not, the Gizmodo report suggest that curators may implement their own personal bias when selecting the news by choosing topics of their own interest: “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.” Many Facebook users may have been under the impression that the trending topics displayed on Facebook were automated algorithms, rather than selected new stories by contracted workers. Facebook claims its it determines what topics its users see “are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location,” according to its help centre. Earlier this week, Gizmodopublished another report that alleges more bias in Facebook trending topic selection. The curators interviewed state that they were told to select articles from traditional media outlets, such as the New York Times and to avoid fringe media outlets like World Star Hip Hop and The Blaze. Facebook are no strangers to censorship as Matthew Ingram at Fortune writes, “Sometimes it’s when Facebook removes a breastfeeding photo, or censors a page about the war in Syria.” When discussing Facebook as a media entity, the Fortune adds: “Facebook routinely says that it doesn’t see itself as a media entity, and doesn’t see its algorithmic choices as being of any concern to anyone outside the company—even when those choices help influence the way people think and behave, like whether they decide to vote and how they see political issues.” How these allegations affect Facebook’s trust with its users is yet to be determined. Also, these claims may lead Facebook to making changes to its news feed, such as developing an algorism rather than using human editors or scrutinizing the curation process more closely. Read Tom Stocky’s full statement below: [Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

Facebook Bans Writer Who Called Trump Supporters 'Nasty, Fascistic Lot'. Is Social Media Censoring Anti-Trump Rehtoric?

A Facebook user who called supporters of Donald Trump a “nasty, fascistic lot” and was temporarily suspended is accusing the social media giant of censoring anti-Trump sentiment, The Guardian is reporting. Kevin Sessums is a British blogger and journalist, known for celebrity pieces, best-selling memoirs, and his work for Vanity Fair. He claims that he uses Facebook as his own “personal blog.” So naturally he was quite upset when he was banned for 24 hours for “violating community standards” following a comment he wrote on another journalist’s post. #KevinSessums at #70thAnnual #TonyAwards #BeaconTheatre #Broadway #NYC #DavidGoodmanPhotos #Photographer #Theatre pic.twitter.com/HWGjghb05h — David Goodman (@DavidGoodmanPix) June 18, 2016 Sessums recently shared Facebook post from ABC political analyst Matthew Dowd, wherein Dowd was complaining about the things Trump supporters had called him (“jew, f****t, retard”). Sessums added his own commentary about Dowd’s post. His post included his own thoughts on supporters of Donald Trump. “But as those who do hold Trump to the standards of any other person have found out on Twitter and other social media outlets these Trump followers are a nasty fascistic lot.” That was apparently enough to get him banned from Facebook for 24 hours, for the vague offense of “violating community standards.” Once contacted by The Guardian, however, Facebook changed its tune and restored Sessums’ original post. “We’re very sorry about this mistake. The post was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong.” For Sessums, Facebook’s apology rings hollow. “It’s chilling. It’s arbitrary censorship. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, do I have to be careful about what I say about Trump now?’” Facebook indeed walks a fine line when it comes to policing and censoring content posted by users. For one thing, the term “community standards” varies from place to place; for example, in some parts of the world, a photo of a woman’s face is considered nothing short of an appalling act of ography. In parts of Europe, denying the Holocaust is a crime that can get you fined or even jailed. Here in the U.S., where Facebook is headquartered, it’s largely a matter of “anything goes,” at least, up to a point. Facebook’s “community standards” section makes it clear that the social media giant will remove posts that are deemed as bullying and harassing, advocating for criminal activity, or involve ual violence or exploitation, among other objectionable content. That means that Facebook will, for example, remove a photo of a naked child. Even if that photo is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack, having survived by tearing off her burning clothes. That particular act of censorship took place earlier this year, and it caused international outrage. Facebook later backed off from censorship of the photo. Facebook censored this historical photo for violating “community standards.” [Image by Huynh Cong Ut via Wikimedia Commons by Fair Use] However, Facebook also let stand a post by Donald Trump, calling for a ban on Muslims, in which even Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself admitted violated the company’s rules against hate speech. “Mr Zuckerberg acknowledged that Mr Trump’s call for a ban [of Muslims] did qualify as hate speech, but said the implications of removing them were too drastic.” For Kevin Sessums, his temporary ban from Facebook for what he deems a minor insult at best has troubling implications for the future of free speech under a Donald Trump presidency. “What will the cyber world be like under a Trump administration? This is chilling to me.” Do you believe that Facebook is censoring anti-Trump content? [Featured Image by tuthelens/Shutterstock]

Cyberbullying: Five Things Leslie Jones And Others Can Do To Combat Cyberbully Internet Trolls

Cyberbullies badgered Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones yesterday on Twitter to the point that Jones left in tears. Jones received everything from racial slurs to ual harassment from several different cyberbullies who went on the attack after Leslie called them out for their behavior. I feel like I’m in a personal hell. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. It’s just too much. It shouldn’t be like this. So hurt right now. — Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016 While many of Hollywood’s elite are quite familiar with the vicious attacks of cyberbullying or internet trolls, it’s also a common problem for pretty much anyone on the internet these days. According to Cyberbullying.org, a recent research study shows that approximately 34% of middle schoolers have been the victim of some form of cyberbullying and as new social media platforms have emerged, the instances of cyberbullying among high schoolers has increased steadily according to the Megan Meier Foundation. While the cyber attacks against Leslie Jones were sickening and Jones’ subsequent breakdown over the bullies was heartbreaking, Jones received a show of support from fellow members of the film industry as well as fans resulting in the trending of the #LoveForLeslieJ hashtag for hours on Twitter, according to several news outlets including People. Despite the show of support for Jones, however, many were left wondering what if anything could be done to help prevent not only the future cyberbullying of Leslie Jones but others as well. Is there anything that can prevent the abuse of these keyboard warriors, internet trolls, or cyberbullies? While the legal system struggles to keep up with the ever-changing pace of the cyber world, here are some tips to help navigate your war against cyberbullies: 1) Immediately save any evidence of cyberbullying. One tool that exists out in the cyber world that could interfere with you making a case against the bully is the delete button. Immediately grab a screenshot of the offensive post before the bully can hide the evidence. ‘Cyberbullying’ is defined as the use of electronic communication or social media to bully a person, by sending messages or providing posts that intimidate or threaten someone. Image via Shutterstock. 2) Report any cyberbullying on social media, even if it’s not directed at you. All too often, others are afraid to stand up to cyberbullies allowing them to perpetuate the pain. In the case of Leslie Jones, so many people came to her defense that the Chief Executive of Twitter, Jack Dorsey personally reached out to her. While Jones is a celebrity and most people wouldn’t get the star treatment over cyberbullying, the more voices that rise up against internet trolls, the more likely social media platforms will be to improve their websites to combat cyberbullies. 3) Block the cyberbully. While this tactic cannot prevent disparaging your name and reputation, it can prevent future attacks. Be diligent. Cyberbullies are known to make multiple accounts with pseudonyms to perpetuate their trolling. Block, block, block. Also consider setting your social media accounts to private. While this option seems unlikely for those with a celebrity status, many of those who have become famous due to viral videos such as Peggy Hubbard or Nakia Jones have opened separate accounts that allow them to interact (and delete those who become abusive or bullying) while maintaining their private accounts for a trusted circle of friends of family. Actress Ashley Judd received several cyber bullying and ually threatening messages on her Twitter account following a post regarding her fandom of the University of Kentucky basketball team. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) 4) Check with your local law enforcement to see if there are any laws to protect you. In March of 2015, actress Ashley Judd found herself in Leslie Jones’ cyberbullied shoes. After multiple people sent Judd vicious tweets, Ashley pressed charges against the cyber bullies according to CNN. To see if your state currently has laws against cyberbullying, click here. For information on how Twitter and Facebook work with law enforcement to stop cyberbullying, click here and here. 5) Do not retaliate. Our first instinct to being attacked online may be to fight fire with fire. Personal attacks are a very emotional experience and can elicit the urge to defend ourselves. Responding to a cyberbully by cyberbullying, however, negates the whole purpose of attempting to stop the situation. If you calmly tell a cyberbully to stop and they continue their behavior, initiate the other above responses. Until more advanced solutions are available to the cyberbullying problem, the best we can do is model good internet etiquette to others. [Image via Shutterstock.]