John Stossel sues Facebook for $2M alleging defamation over fact-check labels: ‘I’m taking them to court’

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – Former television journalist John Stossel is suiting Facebook for $2 million dollars in damages, alleging the company defamed him by adding fact-checking labels to two of his videos posted about climate change.

Stossel claimed in lawsuit documents that Facebook’s actions caused “his viewership plummeted due to both Facebook’s censorship and the reputational harm caused by the false labels.”

According to the lawsuit, Stossel posted two short video reports of interviews he conducted with “experts in the climate change arena.”

One video was titled “Government Fueled Fires,” which related to the 2020 wildfires in California. Stossel claimed:

“(Facebook’s fact-checkers) falsely attributed to Stossel a claim he never made, and on that basis flagged the content as ‘misleading’ and ‘missing context,’ so that would-be viewers would be routed to the false attribution statement.”

The complaint says that Stossel’s video “explored a scientific hypothesis” that “while climate change undoubtedly contributes to forest fires, it was not the primary cause of the 2020 California fires.”

Per the suit, Stossel says he never made the claim that “Forest fires are caused by poor management. Not by climate change,” which was in Facebook’s fact-check.

On the second video, “Are We Doomed?AB $1 million and exemplary and punitive damages of at least $1 million.

Stossel often presents issues reflecting his libertarian political philosophy and his strong support for free market economy. He went on to build fame as the consumer editor and reporter on Good Morning America. He then moved to ABC News for many years before joining the weekly news magazine program 2020.

He has received 19 Emmy Awards and five awards from the National Press Club. Stossel has written three books: Give Me a Break in 2004, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity in 2007, and No They Can’t! Why Government Fails but Individuals Succeed in 2012.

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 Censorship strikes again: Facebook won’t allow distillery to run a paid ad to promote “back the blue” event

May 26, 2021

 

BRADENTON, FL- According to a local distillery, Facebook as repeatedly rejected the distillery’s multiple attempts to promote its “Back the Blue” fundraising event through paid advertising.

KTVT reported that the Loaded Cannon Distillery said it will soon be unveiling a five-bottle series honoring first responders, including nurses, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and law enforcement officers. 

The colors of each bottle represent a different group of first responders. Part of each sale will be donated back to each first responder group.

To kick off the new bottle series, the distillery has planned a “Back the Blue New Spirits Launch” on May 29th will all proceeds going to the non-profit S.O.L.E., which stands for Supports of Law Enforcement.

Michelle Russell, marketing and creative director for the distillery, said in a statement:

“It helps raise money for people in law enforcement that need this little extra help, this little push to help them get through hard times.”

Unsurprisingly, with big tech companies censoring anything that has to do with supporting law enforcement, the distillery is having an issue with promoting the event on Facebook through paid advertisement.  Russell said:

“First on April 20th, rejected; 28th, rejected; 5th rejected.”

Russell said she is able to post the event on the Loaded Cannon Distillery Facebook page, but to reach a larger audience, she has tried to place multiple $200 adds. However, each ad has been rejected by the big tech company. Among the reasons give during the rejections, Facebook said:

“Your ad may have been rejected if it mentions politicians or sensitive social issues that could influence public opinion, how people vote and may impact the outcome of an election or pending legislation.”

Russell explained:

“I have tried to advertise it in multiple different versions and multiple different ways. They have rejected me every single time.”

Russell said there is only one goal for “Back the Blue” and it is not political. She added:

“I’m just trying to show our support for how much they’re done for us that they deserve some recognition.”

The distillery plans to forge ahead with their fundraising event, with or without the boost of advertising on social media. Russell said:

“I’m not really sure how to move forward, other than to do it old school and print flyers and go door to door and let everybody know we are here in this community and we support every first responder.”

Steven Milligan founded Loaded Cannon Distillery in Lakewood Ranch in 2019. He said that 2020 proved to be a tough year for everyone, especially for first responders. When discussing the new line of spirits honoring frontline heroes, he said:

“It is a wonderful cause for all of the great duty they do and all the work they do for our neighborhood. We have been through some trying times here not only Loaded Cannon, but the Bradenton area and all over the United States and the world. It is just a way to give back, it is just important.”

In discussing why Facebook is blocking their ads, Milligan said:

“It was real surprising. We were trying to get the word out there so everyone would participate and have a good time and so when you get a block like that it’s like, why us? What did we do wrong?”

He said he does not see anything wrong with trying to do something good. He explained:

“It is nothing political. It is just thanking those people who do services for us every day, day in and day out.”

“Back the Blue” and the new spirits launch will take place on Saturday, May 29th, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Loaded Cannon Distillery located at 3115 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Suite 110, Bradenton, Florida.

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Censorship strikes again: Facebook won’t allow distillery to run a paid ad to promote “back the blue” eventLET Unity

Report: Facebook linked to more than 20 million reports of child exploitation

March 1st, 2021

UNITED STATES- The Daily Beast recently reported that according to new data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipLine, a shocking amount of online child exploitation reports were linked to Facebook.

The study identified over 20.3 million reported incidents related to child pornography or trafficking, classified as “child sexual abuse material” on the social media platform. To get a better picture of this, below is where other websites stand in comparison:

“Google cited 546,704 incidents, Twitter had 65,062, Snapchat reported 144,095, and TikTok found 22, 692. Facebook accounted for nearly 95 percent of the 21.7 million reports across all platforms.”

Additionally, MindGeek, the Canada-based parent company of multiple porn websites, including Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn, reported far less incidents than Facebook. MindGeek reported a total of 13,299 incidents. 

2020 was the first year MindGeek participated in the study, following a year-long campaign called #Trafficinghub, which aimed to shut down Pornhub for its alleged role in promoting underage human trafficking by hosting content featuring minors.

Statistics on child exploitation can be misleading. For example, the most commonly-cited data point, which was mentioned in a 2010 congressional testimony by the then-president of NCMEC, was based on decades-old data.

That data relied on two studies, both collected during the 1990s, which included runaways, abandoned kids, and unhoused children. One of the studies, a Washington Post fact-check found, was compiled in a way that allowed some incidents to be counted two or three times.

The CyberTipLine operates a little differently where the centralized system collects reports from the public and “electronic service providers,” a category which includes social media platforms, but also companies like eBay, Dropbox, and Microsoft.

The latter group makes up the bulk of their data. For example, back in 2020, of more than 21.7 million reports reviewed by the CyberTipLine, 21.4 million of them came from electronic service providers.

However, there are still points of confusion in the reported data. Both Pornhub and Facebook have alleged that the data they provided may include duplicates. Pornhub alleges that the 13,229:

“Includes several thousand duplicates, with most reports submitted multiple times in an abundance of caution.”

They claim that the number of single or unique incidents is really 4,171. Facebook released a similar statement alleging that 90 percent of the failed incidents were “the same as or visually similar to previously reported content.”

If this statement is correct, Facebook’s total number of unique reports would still be 2,030,722, the largest number in the data pool by far. Facebook published a press release titled “Preventing Child Exploitation on Our Apps” and announced new measures to monitor child exploitation.

Reportedly, the tools include new informational pop-up for related search terms, a policy for removing profiles associated with child-related flagged content, and an “involved a child” option for reporting “Nudity and Sexual Activity” on the platform. In the release, Facebook said:

“Using our apps to harm children is abhorrent and unacceptable. Our industry-leading efforts to combat child exploitation focus on preventing abuse, detecting and reporting content that violates our policies, and working with experts and authorities to keep children safe.”

In a statement to the Daily Beast, a MindGeek spokesperson wrote:

“Eliminating illegal content and ridding the internet of child sexual abuse material is one of the most crucial issues facing online platforms today and it requires the unwavering commitment and collective action of all parties.”

The statement added:

“MindGeek voluntarily registered with NCMEC to automatically report every instance of CSAM we are aware of so that this information can be disseminated to and investigated by authorities across the globe.”



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