Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah included in Time’s 2019 influential people list

Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah has been named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2019. (Screenshot/Time Magazine)
Updated 17 April 2019

Egypt and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah included in Time’s 2019 influential people list

  • The star footballer was listed within the “Titans” section of the list
  • Salah is joined by fellow Arab and Muslim celebrities such as Rami Malek and Mahershala Ali

LONDON: Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah has been named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2019.
The star footballer was listed within the “Titans” section of the list — which includes a record 48 women — and was championed by British comedian and US TV host John Oliver.
Oliver said of the Egyptian: “Mohamed Salah is a better human being than he is a football player. And he’s one of the best football players in the world.
“Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.”
Also in the “Titans” section were fellow sport stars LeBron James and Tiger Woods. The darling of women’s tennis Naomi Osaka was also in the list.
Salah is joined by fellow Arab and Muslim celebrities such as Rami Malek and Mahershala Ali, as well as Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
Various world leaders have been named in 2019’s list — including US President Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping, Pope Francis, Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern, as well as the prime ministers of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed.
Time Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal wrote of the list: “We all have teachers, some we know intimately, others who inspire from the page or the screen. This holds true even for the most accomplished people on earth.
“Our annual Time 100 issue is filled with tributes from teachers to students; in many cases, the surprise is who is playing which role today.”


Google says misinformation campaign used YouTube to target Hong Kong protests

Updated 23 August 2019

Google says misinformation campaign used YouTube to target Hong Kong protests

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Google on Thursday said it disabled a series of YouTube channels that appeared to be part of a coordinated influence campaign against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The announcement by YouTube’s parent company came after Twitter and Facebook accused the Chinese government of backing a social media campaign to discredit Hong Kong’s protest movement and sow political discord in the city.
Google disabled 210 YouTube channels that it found behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the Hong Kong protests, according to Shane Huntley of the company’s security threat analysis group.
“This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter,” Huntley said in an online post.
Twitter and Facebook announced this week that they suspended nearly 1,000 active accounts linked to a coordinated influence campaign. Twitter said it had shut down about 200,000 more before they could inflict any damage.
“These accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,” Twitter said, referring to the active accounts it shut down.
Facebook said some of the posts from accounts it banned compared the protesters in Hong Kong with Daesh group militants, branded them “cockroaches” and alleged they planned to kill people using slingshots.
China has “taken a page from Russia’s playbook” as it uses social media platforms outside the country to wage a disinformation campaign against the protests, according to the non-profit Soufan Center for research, analysis, and strategic dialogue related to global security issues.
“Beijing has deployed a relentless disinformation campaign on Twitter and Facebook powered by unknown numbers of bots, trolls, and so-called ‘sock puppets,’” the center said on its website, referring to fake online identities created for deception.
“China’s behavior will likely grow more aggressive in both the physical and virtual realms, using on-the-ground actions to complement an intensifying cyber campaign characterized by disinformation, deflection, and obfuscation.”

Misused by autocratic regimes
While social media platforms have been tools for people to advocate for rights, justice or freedom in their countries, the services are being turned on them by oppressive governments, according to the Soufan Center.
“Autocratic governments are now using these same platforms to disparage demonstrators, divide protest movements, and confuse sympathetic onlookers,” the center said.
Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous southern Chinese city and one of the world’s most important financial hubs, is in the grip of an unprecedented political crisis that has seen millions of people take to the streets demanding greater freedoms.
China’s government has publicly largely left the city’s leaders and police force to try and resolve the crisis, but behind the scenes online, Beijing is seeking to sway public opinion about Hong Kong, according to Twitter and Facebook.
“We are disclosing a significant state-backed information operation focused on the situation in Hong Kong, specifically the protest movement and their calls for political change,” Twitter said.
It said it had pulled 936 accounts originating in China that were spreading disinformation.
Twitter and Facebook are banned in China, part of the government’s so-called “Great Firewall” of censorship.
Because of the bans, many of the fake accounts were accessed using “virtual private networks” that give a deceptive picture of the user’s location, Twitter said.
Facebook said it had acted on a tip from Twitter, removing seven pages, three groups and five Facebook accounts that had about 15,500 followers.
“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government,” Facebook said.