Monday, November 19, 2018
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This Week’s Under-reported News Summary Nov. 7, 2018

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Facebook disinformation influence and censorship is a reality
  • Miami’s top prosecutors tell high court Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is unconstitutional
  • Many different progressive constituencies unite to pressure and bargain with Blackstone.

• Three years ago, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko asked Facebook to stop Russia’s use of the widely used social media platform to promote fake news about the conflict in Ukraine. The PBS Frontline program reports that Ukraine was the proving ground for Russian attempts employ social media strategies to influence domestic politics of rival nations. Similar tactics were used during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and in other countries including the Philippines and Myanmar. Former Facebook employees were aware of Russia’s cyber-warfare in the Ukraine, but top company executives ignored the warnings.

(“Russian Disinformation on Facebook Targeted Ukraine Well Before 2016 US Election,” Washington Post, Oct. 28, 2018; “That Facebook Will Turn to Censoring the Left Isn’t a Worry—It’s a Reality,” FAIR, Aug. 22, 2018)

• Top prosecutors in south Florida, including Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, are calling on the Florida Supreme Court to overturn an expanded version of the notorious Stand Your Ground gun law, that has been used as a defense in high-profile murder cases.

(“Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is unconstitutional, Miami’s top prosecutors tell high court,” Miami Herald, Oct. 30, 2018)

• Activists in New York and California converged last winter to expose and protest the housing abuses of financial giant Blackstone Group, run by billionaire Stephen Schwartzman, an ally of Donald Trump. Blackstone is worth over $400 billion. According to the American Prospect, companies owned by Blackstone employ over 450,00 people and manage nearly 300,000 residential housing units. Blackstone also owns mortgage and installment loan companies.

( “The Silver Lining of the New Gilded Age: fewer targets,” American Prospect, Oct. 22, 2018)

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