Obama personally warned Zuckerberg over fake news: report

US President Barack Obama takes off his jacket as he attends a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters with CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Palo Alto on April 20, 2011. (File photo by Reuters)
Updated 25 September 2017
0

Obama personally warned Zuckerberg over fake news: report

WASHINGTON: Former US President Barack Obama personally urged Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to counter the rise of fake news on the social network during a meeting held shortly after last year’s election, the Washington Post reported Sunday.
The encounter reportedly took place on the sidelines of a meeting of global leaders in Lima, Peru on November 19, two months before Trump’s inauguration and days after Zuckerberg had dismissed as “crazy” the idea that misleading stories driven by Russian operatives had made a major impact on the outcome of the vote.
“Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem posed by fake news. But he told Obama that those messages weren’t widespread on Facebook and that there was no easy remedy,” the newspaper said, quoting people it said had knowledge of the exchange.
The report comes days after Facebook announced it would be handing over to Congress advertisements it discovered were bought by Russia-linked fake accounts, aimed at inflaming political tensions ahead of and following the election.
The Kremlin has denied any involvement.


Austria FM’s bow to Putin at wedding dance goes viral

Updated 30 min 16 sec ago
0

Austria FM’s bow to Putin at wedding dance goes viral

  • Putin was one of around 100 guests at Karin Kneissl’s wedding to a businessman in southeastern Austria
  • The opposition has criticized Kneissl, saying the country’s reputation for political neutrality has been damaged

VIENNA: The Austrian foreign minister’s deep bow to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a dance at her wedding made waves Monday, causing more furor for the already-controversial visit.
Putin was one of around 100 guests at Karin Kneissl’s wedding to a businessman in southeastern Austria on Saturday.
Since the private visit was announced last week, the opposition has criticized Kneissl, saying the country’s reputation for political neutrality has been damaged. Austria currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.
Adding to the fire Monday was a screen grab from a video made by the pro-Kremlin RT television network that shows Kneissl, radiant, bending her knees in a deep curtesy bow in front of Putin at the end of a dance with him.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a floral bouquet to Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl during her wedding to entrepreneur Wolfgang Meilinger in Gamlitz, Austria. (AFP)

The photo was widely published in Austrian media on Monday with headlines such as “Kneissl prostrates on her knees in front of Putin.”
“How unprofessional can a foreign minister be — to produce photos that show you kneeling in front of Putin? Even if it’s just a funny courtesy gesture after a dance, one knows that one should not produce such photos,” left-wing essayist Robert Misik said.
Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), who was also a wedding guest, defended Kneissl, saying she had attended the prestigious Vienna dance school Elmayer and knew her manners as the gesture was a tradition after the dance and Putin in turn bowed.
“Dancing wedding diplomacy with politeness, friendliness and good manners, one can’t represent Austria any better than this!” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Though Kneissl is independent, she was nominated for the foreign minister post by Strache’s FPOe, which since 2016 has had a “cooperation pact” with Putin’s United Russia party.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz after talks following the wedding of Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl with Austrian businessman Wolfgang Meilinger in Gamlitz, southern Austria. (AP)

 

Thomas Schaefer-Elmayer, head of the Vienna dance school Elmayer, reportedly confirmed that the gesture was done at the end of the dance as “a deep compliment.”
After briefly attending the wedding, Putin was accompanied to the airport by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and then headed to Germany for a planned meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Even before the wedding, Austrian opposition politicians had criticized the invitation to Putin, saying it undermined the country’s claim to be an “honest broker” between Europe and Russia, with the Green party calling for Kneissl’s resignation.
Russia has been accused of seeking to weaken and divide the EU, notably by maintaining links with populist parties in several European countries.