Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: April 23, 2018

 Six questions for Joe Natale

After a year at the helm, what does Rogers’ CEO see from the 10th floor of 333 Bloor St. E.? Cartt.ca editor and publisher Greg O’Brien sat down for a quick interview with him after the company’s AGM on Friday. What follows is an edited transcript. – Subscription required

Rogers e-mail service terms allow access to users’ contacts, raising privacy concerns

A new set of terms and conditions recently sent to Rogers e-mail users includes a Canada-specific provision that would allow the service provider to mine their friends’ and contacts’ personal information.

Toronto-based Rogers Communications Inc. has outsourced its e-mail service for internet customers to Yahoo for several years. Verizon Communications Inc. acquired Yahoo last year and merged it with AOL to create a digital and media brand called Oath.

More than halfway through a 27-page document of terms and conditions sent to Rogers e-mail users over the past week, a section specific to Canada states: “By using the services you agree that you have obtained the consent of your friends and contacts to provide their personal information (for example: their email address or telephone number) to Oath or a third party, as applicable, and that Oath or a third party may use your name to send messages on your behalf to make the services available to your friends and contacts.” – Christine Dobby, the Globe & Mail

Leaked Internal memo on election coverage roils journalists at Toronto Sun

Toronto Sun journalists and their union say they will not compromise their independence and integrity by following marching orders laid out in a leaked management memo that sets out the newspaper’s editorial stance in the upcoming provincial election.

The leaked memo, which was not shared with the newsroom, has now resulted in disparaging public comments about the independence of Toronto Sun journalists. The union representing the Toronto Sun newsroom rejects any notion the newspaper’s award-winning multimedia journalists would sacrifice their journalistic integrity based on the newspaper's editorial policy.

"This memo names reporters and their proposed duties in shaping coverage,” said Zen Ruryk, assistant city editor and union co-chair at the Toronto Sun. “None of the named reporters ever saw the memo, was made aware of it, or approved its contents.”

Columnist Sue-Ann Levy, one of the journalists mentioned in the memo, rejected the idea that someone could tell her what to write.

The named reporters are seasoned veterans who prize their integrity and fairness and are recognized in the journalism community for the same, Ruryk said. "These journalists have always done their best to supply truthful and correct information. And rest assured, they will continue to do so."

Stan Behal, also a union co-chair at the Sun, said the leaked memo has left the impression that the lines between good independent reporting and the newspaper's editorial policy are blurred.

“Our multimedia journalists constantly strive to provide topnotch journalism to the Postmedia chain," Behal said. "To suggest otherwise is inaccurate and unfair." – Unifor Local 87-M media release

Seattle public radio station receives anonymous $10M donation

Here’s all we know: Her name was Suzanne. She was generous with her money. She wanted to remain anonymous. And she loved music.

So much so, that before she died, Suzanne made the largest-ever philanthropic gift — just under $10 million — to Seattle radio station 90.3 KEXP FM.

It is believed to be among the largest bequests to an individual station in public-radio history, save for a $200 million donation made to National Public Radio by Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. (That donation included $5 million to her local NPR station in San Diego.)

“It’s pretty intense,” said Betsy Troutman, KEXP director of development, who was called to Suzanne’s attorney’s office and told the news. – Nicole Brodeur, Seattle Times

If you’re going to break the law, maybe don’t document it on social media

One of the two Canadian women who documented a lavish cruise trip to Australia on Instagram as a front for smuggling cocaine has been sentenced to at least four and a half years in prison.

Melina Roberge, along with two accomplices, had embarked on a round-the-world cruise, taking in a number of exotic locations, before the 95 kg (210 lb) haul valued at AUD$23M was discovered on their cruise ship when it docked in Sydney. – CNN

Facebook’s brazen duplicity

One good thing about Facebook - their duplicity is so transparent that anyone who claims he "didn't know" has to be an idiot.

After Zuckerberg promised our bewildered representatives in Washington two weeks ago that Facebook would abide by the "spirit" of the GDPR privacy regulations scheduled to go into effect next month in Europe, this week Facebook moved 1.5 billion accounts out of Europe to the US to avoid the consequences of those regulations.

Just another good faith gesture from your friends at Facebook. According to The Guardian, "...for tax purposes, Facebook will continue to book their revenue through Facebook’s Irish office, but for privacy protections, they (consumers) will deal with the company’s headquarters in California." Yeah, good luck with that.

Meanwhile, Facebook was also busy "protecting our privacy" (c'mon, you heard the Z-man -- it's their number one priority!) by re-writing their data policy. In a blog post last month I calculated that FB's terms of service and privacy policies are longer than the US Constitution. Well, to maintain a perfect track record, this week they increased the language of their data policy by 55%, you know, just to make things more convenient for us.

The Wall Street Journal summarized Facebook's data policy this week, and I'm going to recap a few of the lovely things FB does so we can all see how wonderfully they are guarding our privacy:

   - FB maintains the right to collect your phone number and other information about you when anyone, including people you don't know, uploads their contacts that may include you.

   - Even when you turn off location services, FB tracks your location through Wi-Fi access points, cell towers and IP addresses.

   - You probably think FB is collecting data about you from the device you're using. Silly you. If you are anywhere near any other devices on your network, they are gathering info from those devices as well. It's magic!

   - FB tracks you through third parties whether or not you are logged into Facebook.

   - And the pièce de résistance -- Facebook's new data policy asserts that they follow you even if you don't have a Facebook account.

I'm going to say it once more (but not for the last time) -- these creeps have got to be stopped. – Excerpted from Bob Hoffman’s weekly newsletter. You can subscribe to it here.

YouTube ran ads for big firms on Nazi, pedophilia channels

YouTube has been accused of showing ads from multinational companies on channels promoting extremism, Nazis and even pedophilia.

The likes of Adidas, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and Under Armour are among the 300 firms who unwittingly helped these channels, a CNN investigation revealed.

Other channels found to be running high-quality commercials from as many as 300 firms spewed North Korean propaganda and white nationalists.

CNN claims to have found ads for Jewish groups, including the Jerusalem’s Friends of Zion Museum, running on a video about KKK grand wizard David Duke. – NY Daily News

Meet the CEOs who decide what you see online

New Rule: The 'What Were You Thinking' Generation

In his editorial New Rule, Bill Maher argues that it's unfair to impose today's "woke" standards on yesterday's art.

The vetting files: How the BBC kept out ‘subversives’

For decades the BBC denied that job applicants were subject to political vetting by MI5. But in fact, vetting began in the early days of the BBC and continued until the 1990s. Paul Reynolds, the first journalist to see all the BBC's vetting files, tells the story of the long relationship between the corporation and the Security Service. – BBC News

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