Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: February 22, 2021

Canadian class action over Facebook data scandal dismissed

An Ontario judge has dismissed one proposed class-action lawsuit against Facebook related to the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach, while a second, broader claim remains outstanding.

Facebook has estimated that the personal data of 87 million users — including that of 622,161 Canadians — may have harvested and shared with the British data analytics firm without consent. – Christine Dobby, The Star

Canada vows to be next country to make Facebook pay for news

Canada vowed on Thursday to make Facebook pay for news content, seeking allies in the media battle with tech giants and pledging not to back down if the social media platform shuts off the country's news as it did in Australia.

Facebook blocked all Australian news content on its service over proposed legislation requiring it and Google to pay fees to Australian publishers for news links.

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, in charge of crafting similar legislation to be unveiled in coming months, condemned Facebook's action and said it would not deter Ottawa.

"Canada is at the forefront of this battle … we are really among the first group of countries around the world that are doing this," he told reporters. – David Ljunggren, Thomson Reuters

B.C. Supreme Court denies province's request for injunction against three churches defying COVID-19 health orders

The three churches are attempting to take legal action to overturn the provincial health order prohibiting indoor church services with parishioners. The churches are arguing that the health measures infringe upon their rights to religious freedom. –  Craig Takeuchi, The Georgia Straight

Rebel Media lawsuits target journalists, chill speech, says reporter facing litigation

Rebel Media has launched a number of lawsuits against reporters and their news outlets, two of which were recently dismissed under anti-SLAPP laws (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). – Samantha Wright Allen, Hill Times

Major brands funding Covid anti-vax nonsense

As if adtech hasn't done enough damage to the world already, it is now a major cause of COVID anti-vaccination horseshit. Ad Age reported this week that  tens of millions of ad impressions from brands on creepy anti-vax websites are being unwittingly bought by major advertisers through adtech's idiotic "programmatic" ad system.

Believe it or not, here are some of the organizations whose ad dollars are supporting  websites promoting anti-vax stupidity: Pepsi, Sprint, Macy’s, Rite Aid, Kroger, Walmart, Starbucks, Acura, Marriott, Pfizer (which makes a COVID vaccine!) Stanford Health Care, Emory Healthcare, United Healthcare, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, New York Presbyterian and the Mayo Clinic.

The misinformation is coming  from websites like WorldTruth, TheGateWayPundit, and IntelliHub which promote nonsense like: the COVID-19 vaccine contains a tracking microchip, Anthony Fauci will make billions from the vaccine, and the vaccine will alter your DNA.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found that there is a measurable drop in peoples' willingness to get vaccinated after being exposed to such nonsense. A study by NewsGuard, an organization that monitors the web for misinformation, has found "42,000 programmatic ads from 4,315 brands running on websites spouting misinformation about the vaccine and COVID..."

Think this bullshit doesn't matter? According to the NY Times, 1/3 of US military personnel have refused COVID shots.

If you need further proof of how insanely stupid and dangerous adtech and the programmatic ecosystem is, one of the organizations unwittingly buying ad space on COVID misinformation websites is the Centers for Disease Control. I kid you not. – Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian

YouTube TV is adding 4K streaming and offline viewing

Currently, YouTube TV’s base plan supports six individual user accounts and up to three simultaneous streams. But YouTube says the same 4K add-on will also support “unlimited concurrent streams at home,” which might be an attractive feature for, as an example, larger families or in households with multiple people who split the cost of the plan. – Catie Keck, Gizmodo

Obit: 'Big fat idiot,' Dead at 70

Not since Roger Ailes passed away nearly four years ago have I felt moved to write an obit about as vile and divisive a conservative media industry character.

Ailes, in fact, was one of Limbaugh's mentors and served as the executive producer of his TV show in the 1990s, which is when I first got to know both of them. Little did I know back then that they would be planting the seeds of political and civic division that would lead to the coldest civil war in American history. – Joe Mandese, Media Post

The costs of war

  • Over 801,000 people have died due to direct war violence, and several times as many indirectly

  • Over 335,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the fighting

  • 37 million — the number of war refugees and displaced persons

  • The US federal price tag for the post-9/11 wars is over $6.4 trillion dollars

  • The US government is conducting counterterror activities in 80 countries

  • The wars have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties, in the US and abroad. -- Watson Institute

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