Facebook considers forming an election commission

Facebook and other social media platforms have received much criticism over their handling of political advertising. (File/AFP)
Facebook and other social media platforms have received much criticism over their handling of political advertising. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 August 2021

Facebook considers forming an election commission

Facebook and other social media platforms have received much criticism over their handling of political advertising. (File/AFP)
  • Facebook has approached academics and policy experts about forming a commission to advise it on issues relating to global elections
  • Facebook is expected to announce the commission this fall in preparation for the 2022 US midterm elections, although nothing is confirmed yet

DUBAI: Facebook has approached academics and policy experts about forming a commission to advise it on issues relating to global elections, the New York Times reports.

The commission could potentially decide on the viability of political ads and the best way to handle misinformation around elections, according to five people with knowledge of the matter.

They added that Facebook is expected to announce the commission this fall in preparation for the 2022 US midterm elections, although nothing is confirmed yet.

Facebook declined the Times’ request for comment.

Facebook and other social media platforms have received much criticism over their handling of political advertising. Two of the five people who spoke to the Times said that outsourcing election matters could help Facebook avoid such criticism in addition to preventing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from being seen as the sole decision-maker on political content.

Starting Aug. 25, Facebook introduced tools and policies that aim to provide increased transparency and controls on electoral and political ads in Iraq ahead of parliamentary elections on Oct. 10.

Speaking to Arab News in a separate interview, Tara Fischbach, Facebook’s public policy manager for the Levant, said the move was part of the company’s “ongoing commitment to raise the bar for transparency and accountability on our platform, and to help prevent foreign interference in elections.”

The commission, if formed, would not be the first time Facebook has set up external groups to help it make major decisions. In 2018, the company created the Oversight Board, a panel that includes former politicians, academics and policy experts to rule on whether Facebook is right to remove certain content from its platform. In May, the Oversight Board upheld Facebook's suspension of former US President Donald Trump, but said the company was wrong to make the ban indefinite.


Google to ban political advertising ahead of Philippine elections

Google to ban political advertising ahead of Philippine elections
Updated 01 December 2021

Google to ban political advertising ahead of Philippine elections

Google to ban political advertising ahead of Philippine elections
  • Move comes amid pressure on social media platforms over their handling of political advertising during the US presidential election in 2020

MANILA: Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday it will ban political advertising on its platform in the run-up to Philippine elections in May next year to choose a successor to President Rodrigo Duterte.
The move comes amid pressure on social media platforms over their handling of political advertising during the US presidential election in 2020.
Social media platforms have become political battlegrounds in the Southeast Asian nation, with studies showing Filipinos top the rankings globally for time spent on social media.
Election advertisements that promote or oppose any political party or the candidacy of any person or party for public office, would not be allowed to run between Feb. 8 to May 9, 2022, Google said in an update to its political content policy.
The dates cover the period of campaigning in the Philippines up to election day on May 9.
Google said notifications would be sent to affected advertisers about the policy update.
Google has banned political advertising on its platform before, including in Canada’s federal election in 2019 and before an election in Singapore in 2020.
Social media platforms like Facebook have helped strengthen Duterte’s support base, with analysts regarding them as instrumental in his election victory in 2016 and a rout by his allies in mid-term polls last year.
The Philippines will choose a successor to Duterte, who under the constitution is not allowed to seek another term, but will be standing for a senator’s seat.


CNN’s Chris Cuomo suspended over role in ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sex scandal

 In this combination of photos New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (AP file photo)
In this combination of photos New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (AP file photo)
Updated 01 December 2021

CNN’s Chris Cuomo suspended over role in ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sex scandal

 In this combination of photos New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. (AP file photo)

LOS ANGELES: CNN on Tuesday suspended its top news anchor, Chris Cuomo, for his role in defending his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations.
The cable news channel said in a statement the suspension followed the release of new court documents on Monday.
“These documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” CNN said.
Andrew Cuomo was forced to step down https://www.reuters.com/world/us/new-york-governor-cuomo-resigns-after-sexual-harassment-findings-2021-08-10 as governor in August after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Chris Cuomo did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his suspension.
Cuomo, who hosts CNN’s most-watched prime time news show, had admitted in May he breached some of the network’s rules in advising his brother how to handle the allegations from a public relations perspective. He also pledged not to report on the case on air.
CNN said on Tuesday that at the time it “appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second,” but said the new documents “raise serious questions.”
The documents released by New York Attorney General Letitia James showed text and other messages in which Cuomo sought to use his own sources in the media to find out information on the case and the women involved in it.
A criminal complaint https://www.reuters.com/world/us/misdemeanor-complaint-related-sex-crime-filed-against-ex-ny-governor-cuomo-court-2021-10-28 charging Andrew Cuomo with a misdemeanor sex offense was filed on Oct. 29 in a New York court.


Twitter bans sharing of photos without consent

Twitter bans sharing of photos without consent
Updated 01 December 2021

Twitter bans sharing of photos without consent

Twitter bans sharing of photos without consent

SAN FRANCISCO:Twitter launched new rules Tuesday blocking users from sharing private images of other people without their consent, in a tightening of the network’s policy just a day after it changed CEOs.
Under the new rules, people who are not public figures can ask Twitter to take down pictures or video of them that they report were posted without permission.
Twitter said this policy does not apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”
“We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service,” the company added.
The right of Internet users to appeal to platforms when images or data about them are posted by third parties, especially for malicious purposes, has been debated for years.
Twitter already prohibited the publication of private information such as a person’s phone number or address, but there are “growing concerns” about the use of content to “harass, intimidate and reveal the identities of individuals,” Twitter said.
The company noted a “disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”
High-profile examples of online harassment include the barrages of racist, sexist and homophobic abuse on Twitch, the world’s biggest video game streaming site.
But instances of harassment abound, and victims must often wage lengthy fights to see hurtful, insulting or illegally produced images of themselves removed from the online platforms.
Some Twitter users pushed the company to clarify exactly how the tightened policy would work.
“Does this mean that if I take a picture of, say, a concert in Central Park, I need the permission of everyone in it? We diminish the sense of the public to the detriment of the public,” tweeted Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York.
The change came the day after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced he was leaving the company, and handed CEO duties to company executive Parag Agrawal.
The platform, like other social media networks, has struggled against bullying, misinformation and hate-fueled content.


Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed
Updated 01 December 2021

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed
  • Marketing intelligence firm WARC’s annual rankings are compilation of most important industry awards

DUBAI: International marketing intelligence company WARC has released its creative, effective, and media 100 suite of global rankings for marketing communications featuring the most awarded campaigns, agencies, and brands in the world for 2020.

The annual league tables compiled by the firm are produced by combining the winners’ lists from the industry’s most important global and regional awards shows.

The events chosen are determined by WARC’s rankings advisory board and a worldwide industry survey as well as by applying a proprietary three-step methodology.

Amy Rodgers, managing editor for research and rankings at WARC, said: “The results of the WARC Rankings 2021 bring together the most awarded campaigns and companies of 2020 and are a fantastic showcase of a combination of the best work the industry produced pre-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as well as exceptional work notable for its response to the volatility caused by COVID-19.”

Due to the global health crisis many award shows were paused last year, resuming in 2021 to judge work from both years, resulting in the WARC Rankings 2021 being postponed from the first quarter (Q1) of the year until now. The WARC Rankings 2022 (work tracked during 2021) will be released in Q1 next year.

The most highly ranked campaigns and companies of the WARC Rankings 2021 are as follows.

In the Creative 100 rankings, the top brands were Burger King, holding its No. 1 position, IKEA, and Diesel, and the leading agencies were DAVID Miami (part of Ogilvy), which climbed up from No. 23, Impact BBDO Dubai, and Publicis Milan.

Liz Taylor, Ogilvy’s global chief creative officer, said: “Topping the WARC Creative 100 speaks to the borderless creativity that unites Ogilvy’s global creative network, and what’s possible when creative thinking stretches across departments, geographies, and cultures to become a shared mission.”

In the Media 100 Rankings, the top brands were McDonald’s, Nike, and new entrant Always, with Mindshare Shanghai, MediaCom Connections Tel Aviv, and Mindshare Ho Chi Minh City heading up the agencies.

Mark Read, chief executive officer of WPP, said: “If our role is to make the best work, connect brands seamlessly with audiences, and produce outstanding results for our clients, then there’s no better endorsement than to top the WARC 100 rankings for creative, media, and effectiveness.”

In the Effective 100 rankings, the headline brands were McDonald’s, KFC, and Coca-Cola. The top agencies were categorized into creative, media, and digital/specialist.

Among the top creative agencies were FP7 McCann Dubai, and new entrants Colenso BBDO Auckland, and BMF Sydney; the leading media agencies were new entrant Carat London, Mindshare Istanbul, and Carat Auckland; and the top digital/specialist agencies were Ingage Istanbul and newcomers AFFINITY Sydney, and Tribal Worldwide Bogota.

Suzanne Powers, global president and chief strategy officer at McCann Worldgroup, said: “The WARC honor as the No. 1 most effective network for 2021, is a testament to our teams’ unwavering dedication to using the power of creativity to drive impact for our clients’ brands across all of our regions.”

The full rankings can be found here.


Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor

Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor
Updated 01 December 2021

Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor

Criticism of UK media’s Islam coverage ‘valid,’ admits Sunday Times editor
  • Emma Tucker said she would seek to hire more diverse voices
  • Muslim Council of Britain report finds widespread media bias

LONDON: The editor of the UK’s Sunday Times has admitted that newspapers need to do more to improve their coverage of Islam and Muslim-related issues.

Emma Tucker made the comments ahead of a report from the Muslim Council of Britain which concludes that UK media coverage of Islam is highly critical.

Tucker said she welcomed the MCB report “in the full knowledge that it contains criticisms of the press, my own paper included.”

She told The Guardian: “Some of those criticisms are valid. Some I would respectfully disagree with. All, though, are useful. To move forward in serving that broad readership, we want to hear views from every part of it.”

Tucker said her paper needed to hire more diverse staff to ensure it improved its coverage of Islam, but made clear that “sometimes we will just see the issues differently.”

She was not in charge of the paper when the MCB survey was conducted, but avoided criticizing her predecessor.

“By its nature, a report like this must focus on the past. My job is to focus on the future. I want our news coverage to be fair but fearless, and our commentators to be robust but responsible,” she said.

The MCB report, convened by the council’s Centre for Media Monitoring, analyzed 48,000 articles published between late 2018 and 2019.

It found that 59 percent of articles associated Muslims or Islam with negative behavior or qualities.

Right-wing outlets were generally more critical of Islam than left-leaning publications, with The Spectator faring the worst by being classed as “antagonistic,” with 37 percent of pieces categorized as such.

Behind the report’s investigation was Miqdaad Versi, who has spent years urging British media to change the language it uses when reporting on Muslims, often by using the UK’s press regulator to push for story corrections.

The report’s authors said they did not want uncritical coverage of Muslims, but sought to improve the quality of reporting in the British media.

They told The Guardian: “Even stories which report on a Muslim having achieved something noteworthy are framed by their supposed embrace of Western liberal values whilst breaking free of the shackles of their own faith or tradition.”