Facebook parent company Meta will require its in-person workers to receive a booster shot in addition to a COVID-19 vaccine, the company announced Monday.
By March 28, Meta employees must have received the booster to use the in-person offices of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, The Wall Street Journal reported. Meta is reportedly delaying the reopening of its offices until late March due to the requirement.
“We’re focused on making sure our employees continue to have choices about where they work given the current COVID-19 landscape,” Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement, CNBC reported. “We understand that the continued uncertainty makes this a difficult time to make decisions about where to work, so we’re giving more time to choose what works best for them.”
Former President Donald Trump, who is building his own social media solution, on Monday night called Twitter and Facebook a “disgrace to our Nation” for their continued censorship of conservative voices and implored Americans to abandon their platforms.
Trump’s statement was released after a tumultuous 24-hour period in which freshman Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was banned permanently from Twitter and given a 24-hour timeout on Facebook for information she posted on COVID-19.
“Twitter is a disgrace to democracy. They shouldn’t be allowed to do business in this Country,” the former president said. “Marjorie Taylor Greene has a huge constituency of honest, patriotic, hard-working people. They don’t deserve what’s happened to them on places like low-life Twitter and Facebook.
Facebook permanently suspended the ads account of Heroes of Liberty, a conservative children’s book publisher, claiming the company’s ads violated the tech giant’s policies against “Low Quality or Disruptive Content.”
“We began investing in Facebook four months before we launched our first book,” Bethany Mandel, Heroes of Liberty editor and board member, told Fox Business. “We invested most of our marketing budget on the platform, and now our budget (the money we’ve already spent), as well as our assets and data are gone. Marketing-wise we are back in square one, financially it’s even more challenging.”
Facebook initially banned Heroes of Liberty’s Facebook Ads account on Dec. 23, according to Mandel, claiming the account “didn’t comply with our policy on Low Quality or Disruptive Content.”
Facebook suspended the account of Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for 24 hours on Monday, one day after Twitter permanently suspended her account over repeated violations of COVID-19 misinformation policies.
Greene posted on Telegram that Facebook blocked her from posting or commenting for 24 hours for not abiding by the company’s “Community Standards” on Monday.
“This is because you previously posted something that didn’t follow our Community Standards,” Facebook’s temporary restriction announcement said, according to Greene.
A majority of Americans don’t trust major social media platforms, including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, to keep their data safe, according to a new poll.
Over 70% of American internet users say they don’t trust Facebook to responsibly manage their personal information or data related to their internet activity, according to the results of The Washington Post/Schar School poll released Wednesday. Similarly, 63% say they don’t trust TikTok to handle their data and 60% say they don’t trust Instagram.
Amazon and Apple were deemed the most trustworthy major tech companies, with just 40% of Americans saying they distrust the tech giants, according to the poll results.
Jefferson County, Alabama, Judge Nakita Blocton was removed from her job after numerous accusations of abuse against employees, colleagues and litigants while reportedly under the influence of Phentermine or other prescription drugs.
Blocton was accused of calling another judge a “fat bitch” and “Uncle Tom,” according to the judgment of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
One employee accused Blocton of forcing her and others to take Phentermine, a diet pill, to “pep” them up after working late in a complaint to the Alabama Judiciary.
A Chicago-based nonprofit funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to local election offices in what critics charge was a bid to elect Democrats in the 2020 elections, newly released IRS filings show.
The Center for Technology and Civic Life’s IRS Form 990 filing for 2020, which Just the News obtained, reveals thousands of grants to election offices across the country. IRS 990s detail where organizations received and spent money.
There is growing bipartisan concern over the power Silicon Valley’s oligopolies wield over American society. Amazon alone controls 72% of U.S. adult book sales, Airbnb accounts for a fifth of domestic lodging expenditures and Facebook accounts for almost three-quarters of social media visits. Just two companies, Apple and Google, act as gatekeepers to 99% of smartphones, while two others, Uber and Lyft, control 98% of the ride-share market in the U.S. Yet, for government to take robust antitrust action against Silicon Valley requires the kind of data it currently lacks: documenting the harm this market consolidation inflicts on consumers. A new RealClearFoundation report offers a look at how amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to require platform transparency could aid such antitrust efforts.
When it comes to Silicon Valley’s social media platforms, they have long argued that antitrust laws don’t apply to them because their services are provided free of charge. In reality, users do pay for their services: with their data rather than their money. Companies today harvest vast amounts of private information about their users every day, using that data to invisibly nudge their users toward purchases and consuming ads, or the companies simply sell that data outright.
Facebook is remaining silent as to whether it will change its content policy regarding Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty of several charges Friday.
During riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 after the shooting of Jacob Blake, Rittenhouse, then seventeen years old, shot three men in self-defense during an altercation, killing two of them. Rittenhouse was later arrested and charged with intentional homicide before being acquitted on all charges Friday afternoon.
A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general launched a probe into Instagram on Thursday to examine whether the company violated state-level consumer protection laws.
The states are investigating whether Meta (formerly known as Facebook), which owns Instagram, promoted the image-sharing platform “to children and young adults” despite being aware of its negative effects, according to statements from the attorneys general. The probe cites internal Facebook communications and research leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen and published by The Wall Street Journal showing Meta was aware that use of Instagram could contribute to body image and mental health issues among teens.
“When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws,” Republican Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement.
The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System claims Facebook violated federal securities law and purposely misled the public in a lawsuit filed to recover investor losses of more than $100 billion, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.
The lawsuit Yost filed on behalf of the state retirement system and Facebook investors says Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and other company officials knew they were making false statements regarding the safety, security and privacy of its platforms.
Despite massive public interest in the court proceedings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week, Facebook has blocked search results for the name “Kyle Rittenhouse.” Facebook shows zero posts when the query “Kyle Rittenhouse” is entered into the social media platform’s search bar. A message appears that states that “832,000 people are talking about this,” but no results show up.
An attempt to find Kyle Rittenhouse posts brings up a message informing the user that Facebook did not find any results with a prompt to make sure your spelling is correct.
Rittenhouse, 18, is currently on trial for shooting three people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two of them outright during a riot in August 2020. He is charged with two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, recklessly endangering safety and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
In a PolitiFact article titled “Why the COVID-19 Survival Rate Is Not Over 99%,” staff writer Jason Asenso argues that about 1.7% of U.S. residents who contract COVID-19 die from it. However, he uses a naive approach to calculate this figure, and legitimate methods show that the average COVID-19 survival rate is firmly over 99%.
Medical journals have documented the deadly harms of exaggerating the fatality rate of COVID-19. Nevertheless, Facebook is amplifying PolitiFact’s false claim by using it to censor genuine facts about this issue.
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a bipartisan bill Friday intended to restrict how major tech companies acquire and merge with smaller firms.
The bill, titled the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, is a companion to antitrust legislation advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee in June. If enacted, the law would shift the burden in antitrust cases to the acquiring party for mergers greater than $50 million, meaning that the acquiring firm would have to prove that its acquisition of another company was not anti-competitive.
The bill explicitly targets Big Tech companies, and it applies to firms with market capitalizations over $600 billion, at least 50,000,000 U.S.-based monthly active users or 100,000 monthly active business users. This would include Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.
Executives of a now-defunct photo app filed an antitrust complaint against Facebook on Thursday alleging the company schemed to end their company.
The complaint, filed by executives of a start-up image app called Phhhoto, alleges that Facebook employed anti-competitive business tactics to throttle the smaller company after it refused a business deal with the tech giant. Specifically, the suit alleges that Mark Zuckerberg personally downloaded the app, approached Phhhoto for a partnership and later pursued a campaign against the start-up after no deal materialized.
Facebook announced Tuesday it was shutting down its Face Recognition system and deleting the scans of over one billion people’s faces.
Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, announced the changes in a blog post Tuesday, citing the technology’s possible negative effects as well as regulatory uncertainty as reasons behind the decision.
Facebook lobbyists are struggling to meet with lawmakers, Politico reported, as the tech giant faces congressional scrutiny and negative press surrounding its business practices.
Several lawmakers’ offices are ignoring Facebook’s policy team and even refusing to meet with lobbyists, Politico reported. Several congressional aides told the outlet that recent news reports on Facebook’s business practices, including its knowledge of how its platform affects teen users and its amplification of “misinformation,” have contributed to lawmakers’ hostile attitudes.
“Mark Zuckerberg has done more to polarize the country probably than anyone else and yet despite that, the antipathy towards him is one of the most bipartisan things that remains in the country,” a Democratic House staffer told Politico.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday the tech giant was changing its name to “Meta.”
Zuckerberg announced the name change at the Facebook Connect 2021 conference. The new name reflects Zuckerberg’s goal to reorient his social media company to a technology conglomerate with several different products beyond the Facebook social network, focusing on “metaverse” technology.
The “metaverse” is a virtual environment in which individuals can interact with one another through avatars and across multiple platforms and devices. Facebook called it a “new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality” in which people interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person.”
As U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland sat down for his first hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, denying a conflict of interest in his decision to investigate parents for “domestic terrorism,” there is a mother in the quiet suburb of Annandale, N.J., who found his answers lacking. And she has questions she wants asked at Garland’s hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday.
On a recent Saturday night, Caroline Licwinko, a mother of three, a law school student and the coach to her daughter’s cheerleading squad, sat in front of her laptop and tapped three words into an internet search engine: “Panorama. Survey. Results.”
Facebook is being investigated over leaked company documents and allegations by a former employee, according to financial filings.
The company’s 10-Q form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday mentions that Facebook is “subject to government investigations and requests” seemingly related to documents leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen that detail tech giant’s business practices and internal research.
Two U.S. Border Patrol agents have been fired in connection with a probe that found roughly 60 of them committed misconduct while participating in a private Facebook group that mocked migrants and lawmakers, investigators said Monday.
Most agents’ penalties were significantly reduced from those recommended by an internal agency review board, according to a House Oversight and Reform committee staff report obtained by the Associated Press.
A new report reveals that multiple private grants tied to the Big Tech giant Facebook overwhelmingly backed Democratic candidates and counties in the state of Pennsylvania in 2020, as reported by the New York Post.
The report by the publication Broad + Liberty (BL) reveals that one such grant, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), spent more money on turning out registered voters in Democrat-majority counties than Republican-majority counties. In addition to the increased push for voter turnout, these counties were given a jumpstart on this grant and information on how to apply by state officials.
A series of new leaks from Big Tech giant Facebook has revealed even more bias against conservatives from the company’s employees, even to the point of causing internal debates between employees and upper management, according to the New York Post.
The latest leaks come from message board conversations reviewed by the Post, which showed back-and-forth discussions within Facebook about how to deal with conservative news outlets during last year’s race riots by far-left domestic terrorist organizations such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa.
Some employees expressed their desire to completely remove sites such as Breitbart from Facebook’s “News Tab” feature. When one such employee asked a manager about doing so, the manager responded by pointing out that “we saw drops in trust in CNN 2 years ago,” before rhetorically asking “would we take the same approach for them too?”
Two Pennsylvania state senators said recently they want to hold social media companies accountable for religious or political censorship.
Sens. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, and Scott Hutchinson, R-Oil City, said their Senate Bill 604, also called the Social Media Accountability Act, would create a private right of action to allow residents to sue social media companies like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter for banning or censoring their account due to sharing religious or political beliefs on the platform.
Another former Facebook employee filed a whistleblower complaint Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the tech giant misled its investors by failing to combat the spread of hate and misinformation on its platform, The Washington Post reported.
The former employee, whose name is not yet public, alleged that Facebook executives chose not to pursue adequate content moderation policies related to hate speech and misinformation for the sake of maximizing profits. The complaint also alleges that Facebook did not do enough about alleged Russian misinformation on the platform for fear of upsetting former President Donald Trump.
In particular, the complaint alleges that Trump and his associates received preferential treatment, according to the Post.
Major tech companies are continuing to require their employees to be vaccinated at their Texas facilities, in violation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning all vaccine mandates.
Abbott signed an executive order on Oct. 11 prohibiting “any entity,” including private businesses, government contractors and local schools, from imposing a requirement that employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. However, Google, Facebook, HPE, Twitter and Lyft have yet to lift their vaccine mandates in response to the order, Protocol first reported.
HPE spokesman Adam Bauer confirmed the company had not changed its vaccine policy, and told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the company was making “vaccination a condition of employment for U.S. team members to comply with President Biden’s executive order and remain in good standing as a federal contractor.”
During Wednesday’s hours-long grilling of Attorney General Merrick Garland by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which mainly focused on the events of January 6 and Garland’s directive to investigate parents who speak School Board meetings, one critical question went almost unnoticed.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) questioned Garland about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s $400 million spending spree during the 2020 election. The money was allocated through Zuckerberg-funded non-profits the Center for Tech and Civic Life, described by Influence Watch as an “organization [that] pushes for left-of-center voting policies and election administration,” and the Center for Election Innovation and Research.
Facebook’s Oversight Board issued a transparency report Thursday scolding the tech giant for concealing details of its content review process and demanding more transparency.
The report criticized Facebook for failing to disclose the existence of its “cross-check” content review system, the details of which were leaked to The Wall Street Journal by Frances Haugen and published in September. The cross-check system applies different moderation standards to accounts belonging to celebrities or other popular accounts, which Facebook did not disclose when asked.
Facebook is reportedly planning on rebranding and is set to announce a new company name next week, according to The Verge.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg intends to announce the new name at the Facebook Connect conference on Oct. 28, a source familiar with the matter told The Verge. The rebrand is reportedly an attempt by Zuckerberg to shift public perception of the company as a social media platform to a technology conglomerate with several different products beyond the Facebook social network.
Facebook’s seemingly-unending stream of bad publicity continued this week, when it was fined nearly $70 million by the United Kingdom for what is being described as a deliberate lack of compliance into an anti-trust investigation.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy for nearly a year, and ordered the company to produce information “required information related to an initial enforcement order (IEO) placed on it by the watchdog, despite repeated requests for it to do so,” according to TechCrunch.
Facebook reached separate settlement agreements with the Department of Justice and Department of Labor on Tuesday, resolving claims that the tech giant discriminated against U.S. workers in hiring and recruiting.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Facebook in December 2020, alleging the company refused to hire or recruit qualified U.S. workers in thousands of open positions by reserving spots in its workforce for temporary visa holders through its permanent labor certification (PERM) program. The DOJ also alleged that Facebook intentionally tried to deter U.S. workers from applying for certain positions.
Author and Senior Editor at The Federalist Mollie Hemingway held nothing back in her forthcoming book “RIGGED,” detailing the irregularities in the 2020 election.
One chapter of that book is titled “Zuckerberg Should Be in Jail,” referencing Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg.
Another former Facebook employee says she is willing to testify before Congress on the tech giant’s business practices.
Sophie Zhang is a former Facebook data scientist and whistleblower who, in September 2020, revealed “influence” operations perpetrated by “authoritarian regimes” that took place on Facebook. Zhang told CNN in an interview Sunday that she provided information regarding “potential criminal violations” by Facebook to a U.S. law enforcement agency at the time. Zhang also said that she is willing to testify before Congress about her allegations of criminal conduct by Facebook.
Ritual humiliation of social media companies is becoming something of a tradition. Most typically, social media CEOs are hauled before Congress, harangued for a day, promise to “do better,” and then go back to business as usual.
Last week a new kind of social media witness appeared: a whistleblower. Frances Haugen emerged with a great deal of fanfare, complete with a public relations firm, a verified account on Twitter, and a fawning entourage, including members of the press and Congress. But instead of denouncing social media for its excessive power, wealth, and hostility to traditional American values, Haugen pleaded for regulations that happen to align with the peculiar values and interests of Silicon Valley.
Former President Trump has filed another lawsuit against Facebook, requesting that a federal judge order the Big Tech platform to reinstate his account.
Trump was suspended from most significant social media platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Later in the year, he filed class-action lawsuits against Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and their respective CEOs.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen late Tuesday, rebutting several of her allegations in a Facebook post.
“At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter to Facebook employees posted to his account. “Many of the claims don’t make any sense.”
After Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Commerce Committee Monday, a hearing which focused largely on Facebook’s negative impact on children, GETTR CEO Jason Miller released a statement.
In a press release, Miller said the following:
Parents who protest public school policies on race, gender and COVID-19 are crying foul after Attorney General Merrick Garland promised to “discourage” and prosecute “harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against school boards, administrators, teachers and staff.
His “mobilization of [the] FBI against parents is consistent with the complete weaponization of the federal government against ideological opponents,” Rhode Island mother Nicole Solas, who is waging a public records battle with her school district over race-related curriculum, told Just the News.
Facebook knowingly chooses to prioritize its profits over the safety of its users, Frances Haugen, a whistleblower and former Facebook employee, said in an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
“The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” Haugen told Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes” Sunday night. “And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.”
Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, leaked thousands of internal company documents to The Wall Street Journal last month which detail the inner workings of the company. The leaked documents showed that Facebook employs a separate content review system for high-profile accounts, the company has conducted research into the harms its Instagram platform has on teen users, and it stokes controversy by boosting inflammatory content.
Platforms owned by Facebook all experienced outages at the same time late Monday morning, and could not be accessed.
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all went down Monday morning, according to outage tracking site Downdetector. Facebook was first reported down around 11:15 a.m., with reports peaking around 12 p.m. with over 100,000 reported outages, according to the site.
When users attempted to access Instagram, a message reading “5xx Server Error” appeared. A message reading “Sorry, something went wrong” appeared when users tried to access Facebook.
Facebook researched how to market its products and services to preteen users, studying kids’ playdates and developing strategies to address parents’ concerns, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal.
The tech giant established a three-year project beginning in 2018 to study and develop marketing strategies geared towards preteen users, company documents seen by The Wall Street Journal revealed. Facebook conducted over a dozen studies to figure out which services most appeal to children under the age of 13, and what are parents’ chief concerns.
Facebook has paused development of a version of its image-sharing platform Instagram specifically geared towards children, the company announced Monday.
The tech giant decided to suspend work on the project in order to “work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators,” and “demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a statement Monday.
Facebook released its updated Content Distribution Guidelines on Thursday, shedding more light on how the tech giant decides what content it suppresses.
While Facebook has previously provided some details on the types of content that receive reduced distribution in Facebook’s News Feed, the updated guidelines are designed to provide clarity and accessibility, Director of Product Management Anna Stepanov announced in a blog post Thursday.
This week the Wall Street Journal unveiled “The Facebook Files” – an investigative series based on leaked internal Facebook materials that offer an unvarnished look at how the social media giant sees its platform and its impact on society. A central theme of the reporting is the degree to which Facebook’s own research is at odds with its public statements, and that internally it has recognized the harms the platform causes for society even while publicly touting its benefits.
The Journal’s reporting raises myriad concerns over the state of social platforms generally today, from Instagram’s toxic influence on teenage girls to the impact of algorithmic changes on political discourse to how Facebook secretly shields influential users from its content moderation rules.
Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to break up Big Tech and ban their business practices he believes are harmful.
“I think Republicans need to reacquaint themselves with their history of antitrust enforcement, and realize huge concentrations of power in private hands can violate people’s liberties just as much as government,” Masters said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Masters, who announced his candidacy in July, serves as chief operating officer at investment firm Thiel Capital and runs the Thiel Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He competes in a crowded Republican primary with fellow candidate and current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.
Facebook announced a grant program Thursday to fund fact-checking groups combating the spread of “climate misinformation.”
The program is designed to provide Facebook users with accurate and reliable information on topics related to climate change, such as sea levels and global warming, Facebook announced. The company said it launched the initiative partly in response to an August report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that highlighted the negative impact humans have on the environment.
Facebook is aware that Instagram, an image-sharing social media platform it owns, has harmful effects on the self-esteem of teen girls, according to leaked research seen by The Wall Street Journal.
Internal research, documents and research reportedly show that Facebook has studied the harmful effects Instagram can have on its users, especially teen girls, according to the WSJ.
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” one slide from an internal research report read, with another saying that “teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression.”
Facebook is spending $100 million to buy up the outstanding invoices of small businesses owned by women, racial minorities, veterans, disabled people and LGBTQ+ people, the company announced last week.
The Invoice Fast Track Program allows certain “small, midsize and diverse-owned businesses” to submit outstanding invoices to Facebook. The tech giant then buys the invoices, giving the business cash immediately, and the business’ customers pay Facebook instead.
The program is designed to help “diverse-owned” businesses improve their cash flow and hire more employees, according to the program’s description.
Thursday morning on Frist Principles with Phill Kline, host Kline welcomed The Star News Networks CEO and Editor in Chief Michael Patrick Leahy to the phone lines to discuss the changing landscape of journalism and Big Techs’ partnership with social media titans.
Thursday morning on First Principles with Phill Kline, host Kline welcomed Michael Patrick Leahy, CEO of The Star News Network and host of The Tennessee Star Report to weigh in on the developing oligopoly of Big Tech and social media giants.