Facebook and Twitter face growing scrutiny for their role in sparking France’s ‘Gilets Jaunes’ protests
- The French government announced it is investigating possible manipulation by Russia of social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter to foment discord that has inspired growing protests across the country.
- But there had been growing suspicion in recent weeks, particularly as the protests turned more violent, that outside groups may be using social media to manipulate residents — as happened the Brexit vote and the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
- In many cases, these accounts, led in part by such Russian-controlled media outlets as Sputnik news and RT, have been reporting blatantly false stories, such as that French police are sympathizing with protestors and turning their back on the government.
- Whatever the role of third parties, the role of social media has led to a growing debate in France about whether services such as Twitter and Facebook are fundamentally undermining the ability of democratic governments to function.
Google workers just publicly called on the tech giant to end plans for a censored search product in China
- Google workers signed a public letter asking their company’s management to cancel controversial plans to build a censored version of the company’s search product in China, referred to as Project Dragonfly.
- The letter is in support of Amnesty International’s public campaign against the project, which includes planned protests outside several Google offices today.
- About nine workers have signed the letter so far, including two of the organizers of the recent Google Walkout protests.
- This isn’t the first time Google employees have taken issue with Google’s ambitions to build a censored search app for China.
- In August, around 1,400 employees signed a letter internally raising ethical concerns about the project.
- In April, thousands of employees criticized the company’s involvement in a project with the Pentagon to use Google artificial intelligence technology for military purposes.
Trump mocks Emmanuel Macron as rioters set Paris ablaze in a second week of anti-government protests
- President Donald Trump continued mocking his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, as Paris was swept by violence and rioting for a second weekend.
- Trump observed in a tweet on Saturday that "The Paris Agreement isn't working out so well for Paris," referring to the angry protests rocking the French capital, which were originally sparked by fuel taxes linked to France's climate change policy.
- Trump's message was a continuation of his feud with Macron, which Trump has tied to their policy disagreement on the Paris climate change pact.
- It was born of objections to a steep new tax on diesel, designed to make the French economy more green, in line with the Paris Agreement's aims.
- In the following days, Trump lobbed a series of insults at Macron, mocking France's military, its wine, and Macron's personal approval ratings, all of which foreshadowed his apparent pleasure at the violence engulfing Paris.
Charlottesville Jury Finds Self-Proclaimed Neo-Nazi Guilty of First-Degree Murder in Death of Protester Heather Heyer During White Nationalist Rally
- Fields Jr., the driver who plowed through a crowd of protesters last year at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, guilty of first-degree murder.
- Fields, a 21-year-old self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi, was on trial for the bloody crash which ended the life of Heather Heyer.
- The section of the street where she was killed has been renamed Heather Heyer Way. The trial began last week and closing arguments were delivered on Thursday, with jurors deliberating the case for about a day.
- The first-degree murder verdict indicates jurors were convinced Fields intended to kill.
- Evidence shared by prosecutors included text messages between Fields and his mother on the day of the rally, in which she asks Fields to be safe.
- Three months prior to the crash, Fields also reportedly shared a meme on social media that showed a car plowing into a crowd.
Why a 43-year-old nursery aide is joining the violent 'yellow vests' protests in France
- VILLENEUVE-LA-GARENNE, France (AP) — With a yellow safety vest tied to her backpack, Mathilde Pouzet set out for Paris on November 17 for her first protest with a grassroots movement that is now shaking France.
- Now, Pouzet, a 43-year-old aide in a public nursery, and a handful of fellow protesters from her working class town north of Paris are plotting their next blockade.
- Pouzet, who is raising two children alone and can barely make ends meet, is among the rank-and-file French, including retirees, passionately protesting against a government they say has forgotten the people while pandering to the rich.
- French authorities trying to grapple with the restive citizenry have stressed the right to protest — while preparing extraordinary security measures ahead of Saturday's demonstrations, including putting armored vehicles on Paris streets.
Yellow Vest Riots in Paris Hit Economy With $1.1 Billion Retail Loss and Closed Tourist Sites
- Major tourist attractions are closing on Saturday and retailers are losing sales.
- Retailers have lost 1 billion euros, or $1.1 billion, since the protests began in November, the French retail federation told Reuters.
- Shop and restaurant owners near the Avenue des Champs-Élyséess and the Bastille are being asked by police to close Saturday.
- The protests, named for yellow vests that drivers are required under law for roadside emergencies, began over an additional tax on diesel fuel proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
- Although Macron withdrew the tax policy on Wednesday, the riots—some of the worst since 1968—have continued with right-and left-wing interests combined to escalate the actions.
- “The average demonstrator in this protest is a working class person who wants to have an affordable lifestyle, wants the resignation of Macron, and is either centrist, sympathetic to the left or sympathetic to the right,” Dartmouth College historian Mark Bray told Fortune.
Protestors Chained Themselves to Chairs Over Google's Plan to Bring 20,000 Jobs to San Jose
- Google has been approved to buy $110 million worth of public land in San Jose, Calif., following a unanimous vote by the San Jose City Council after midnight Tuesday night.
- The plan to add roughly 20,000 jobs by 2035 would make (goog) the largest private employer in San Jose, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- With the San Francisco Bay Area in the midst of a housing crisis, protestors said the search giant’s expansion in San Jose would further drive up housing prices and cause additional displacement of residents already struggling to afford the area’s sky-high rents.
- “San Jose is still technically a bedroom community,” she said at the hearing, according to the Chronicle “Our job growth has not kept pace.” And unlike recent deals Amazon inked in New York and Virginia, Google is not receiving subsidies and tax breaks from San Jose, according to the Mercury News.