Media Beat: January 18, 2021
Today’s column is a mix of fact and fictions. The former is easily spotted, the latter laughable were they not embraced by a growing number of conspiracists in the US and to a lesser degree here in Canada. The radical right has grown exponentially under Trump with as many as 20-percent of Americans saying they supported the rioters. The growing number of anti-vaxxers and covid disbelievers is significant. Finding the fuel that feeds these extremists isn’t something that shows up in regular news feeds. The conspiracists have their own siloed sites and today’s column unearths some of the alarming disinformation that is being spread by opportunists working under various flags or simply camouflaged as anons. For those not smitten with the bug of rebellion their “facts” seem ludicrous, but in today’s world of misinformation the radical right is not to be ignored and Big Tech’s role in fomenting the mob can no longer be dismissed as a necessary evil with free speech as the arbiter of open democratic expression.
Canada’s first Inuit-language TV channel launches today
At noon. today, Nunavut Independent Television (NITV) makes history when it launches Canada’s first all-Inuit Inuktut TV channel.
Uvagut TV (“Our” TV) will broadcast 168 hours a week of Inuit-produced culture, arts, movies and information programming available nationally to more than 610,000* Shaw Direct customers as well as Arctic Co-ops Cable subscribers in Nunavut and NWT. Other satellite and cable systems will be added over the months ahead. Viewers around the world can stream Uvagut TV online 24/7 at uvagut.tv – Media release
Quebec-based conspiracy theorist Alexis Cossette-Trudel booted from Twitter
After YouTube and Facebook last fall, it's Twitter's turn to remove conspiracy theorist Alexis Cossette-Trudel from its site.
Cossette-Trudel, 48, has made a name for himself as one of the French-speaking world's busiest producers of videos and other content relating to QAnon, a fictional conspiracy created in 2017 by a video producer and two moderators at the now-defunct 4chan message board.
Two months ago, Cossette-Trudel opened an account on Parler, a social platform home to many extremists who have been banned from Twitter and Facebook. He indicated on the site early Saturday morning that he would restrict his social media presence to it as well as VK, a similar platform based in Russia. – The Canadian Press
Facebook has been showing military gear ads next to insurrection posts
Facebook has been running ads for body armour, gun holsters, and other military equipment next to content promoting election misinformation and news about the attempted coup at the US Capitol, despite internal warnings from concerned employees.
These ads for tactical gear, which were flagged internally by employees as potentially problematic, show Facebook has been profiting from content that amplifies political and cultural discord in the US. – Ryan Mac & Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed News
After being called out, Facebook temporarily halts ads for weapons and protective equipment
Facebook announced on Saturday that it was banning ads that promote weapons accessories and protective equipment until Jan. 22, after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, “out of an abundance of caution.”
The company’s announcement came after a BuzzFeed News investigation found that Facebook was delivering ads for body armor, gun holsters, and other military equipment next to content promoting election misinformation and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. According to BuzzFeed, the ads were also shown to people who followed right-wing extremist pages or groups on Facebook. – Jody Serrano, Gizmodo
Alex Jones claims he paid for rally that preceded Capitol riot
Multiple photos from the day show Jones, the founder of right-wing media group Infowars, addressing crowds of Trump supporters on a bullhorn, or standing in a crowd. He also spoke at a Trump rally on Freedom Plaza on Jan. 5.
In the Jan. 7 video filmed in Washington, D.C, Jones claimed he was asked by the White House to lead the march to the Capitol three days prior to the event.
In the video, Jones said the Secret Service would pull him out of the front row during the president’s speech, about 30 minutes before it ended, so he could go to the place where he would start the march. Jones said he ultimately did not end up leading the march because there was already a crowd ahead of him.
Jones also said he paid close to $500,000 dollars to book the Ellipse, the park where President Donald Trump’s supporters initially gathered, and other areas near the Capitol. He said 80% of the money came from an unnamed donor. – Karla Carlson, Austin American-Statesman
Are we entering a new era of social media regulation?
The violence at the U.S. Capitol — and the ensuing actions taken by social media platforms — suggest that we may be at a turning point as far as how business leaders and government bodies approach social media regulation. But what exactly will this look like, and how will platforms balance supporting free speech with getting a handle on the rampant misinformation, conspiracy theories, and promotion of fringe, extremist content that contributed so significantly to last week’s riots? The author argues that the key is to understand that there are fundamental structural differences between traditional media and social media, and to adapt approaches to regulation accordingly. The author goes on to suggest several areas of both self-regulation and legislative reform that we’re likely to see in the coming months in response to both recent events and ongoing concerns with how social media companies operate. – Dipayan Ghosh, Harvard Business Review
Covid conspiracy: Brighteon’s far right view
Mass shootings are staged in order to induce people to turn over their weaponry
Debunking the need for vaccines
All Trump supporters will be arrested as domestic terrorists
Dr. Fauci says there is no reason to be wearing a mask
Now back to reality: Quantum stealth creates invisibility
Canadian camouflage company Hyperstealth Biotechnology has patented the technology behind a material that bends light to make people and objects near invisible to the naked eye.