Prop 22 was only the beginning

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Photo illustration; sources: JOSH EDELSON, FREDERIC J. BROWN, peepo/Getty Images

Earlier this month, a confident Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Uber, told investors that Proposition 22 was only the beginning. The contentious ballot measure, which was voted into law by millions of Californians this month, allows Uber and Lyft to subvert a new state labor law that required them to reclassify drivers as employees. On a November 5 earnings call, Khosrowshahi said that going forward, “You’ll see us more loudly advocating for… laws like Prop 22.”

Proposition 22 was a response to Assembly Bill 5, which gave gig economy workers in California protections such as health benefits, paid sick leave, and a minimum wage by defining them as employees. The measure instead defines these workers as independent contractors, directing companies like Uber to provide relatively meager protections such as a health care stipend for some drivers and an earnings floor. Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and other gig companies spent a whopping $200 million lobbying for the law, which was widely condemned by labor activists. …

The presidential Twitter account will pass to Biden on inauguration day

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Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

In January, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, and inauguration plans are underway despite attempts by President Trump and his supporters to delegitimize the election’s outcome.

However, it’s become clear that Trump has no intention of peacefully transferring power to his predecessor. And since he’s refused to provide the Biden team access to government email, for example, one’s left to wonder if he’ll refuse to relinquish his social media accounts, as well.

But Twitter confirms to OneZero that should Trump decline to hand over the keys to @POTUS, they will be removed from him. …

Despite recent purges, two ‘Stop the Steal’ Facebook groups count nearly 100,000 users

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Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Two large Facebook groups are actively promoting “Stop the Steal” propaganda, weeks after the platform banned similar groups for attempting to delegitimize the election process and potentially inciting physical violence. Together, the groups count nearly 100,000 people among their members. These members regularly share misinformation about election fraud, echoing far-right conspiracy theories that falsely assert the race was stolen from President Trump.

Both groups are facets of the Stop the Steal movement, a Republican-funded disinformation campaign that culminated in dozens of rallies last weekend in states where Trump has baselessly demanded a recount. Numerous Stop the Steal groups and pages appeared on Facebook this month after Joe Biden became the clear presidential front-runner. CNN traced the slogan to a 2016 political action committee founded by Trump ally Roger Stone, who at the time accused Republicans of trying to steal the nomination from Trump. …

Parler, MeWe, and Rumble are attracting users who feel spurned by Facebook and Twitter

A protester in a Guy Fawkes mask stands in front of the Oregon State Capitol building during a Stop the Steal rally on Nov. 7
A protester in a Guy Fawkes mask stands in front of the Oregon State Capitol building during a Stop the Steal rally on Nov. 7
Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Trump supporters are flocking to a trinity of alternative social platforms — Parler, MeWe, and Rumble — to protest the presidential election results, following Joe Biden’s victory this weekend, and the banning of a massive “Stop the Steal” Facebook group last week. As major platforms enforce policies around misinformation and election meddling, smaller so-called free speech sites are experiencing a renewed interest from conservatives who feel targeted by Facebook and Twitter’s moderation efforts.

The most popular of these sites is Parler (pronounced “par-lay”), which functions similarly to Twitter and is currently the top free download on the App Store and Google Play. Former members of the largest “Stop the Steal” Facebook group — which had more than 300,000 members when it was removed from the platform for delegitimizing election processes and potentially inciting physical violence — have publicly encouraged their peers to migrate to Parler. …

The pro-Trump group attracted 300,000 members in just two days

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Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

As of Thursday morning, a massive Facebook group called “Stop the Steal” was raising funds to challenge election results across the country, falsely claiming that Democrats were stealing the election in states where President Trump has fallen behind.

On Thursday afternoon, Facebook banned the group on the basis of attempting to delegitimize the election process, and for its role in potentially instigating physical violence.

“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events. …

Results were mixed

Twitter and Facebook logos.
Twitter and Facebook logos.
Photo: DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images

As election results trickled in overnight, President Trump falsely declared victory on social media, demanding that votes stop being counted and threatening to take his cause “to the Supreme Court.” In response, Twitter and Facebook jumped into action, rolling out disclaimers on the posts to curb any potential fallout.

The election has been a major test for Facebook and Twitter, which spent the last four years reckoning with their role in the 2016 election, which was marked by conspiracy theories, targeted misinformation, and hyperpartisan propaganda that went largely unchecked by social media platforms. …

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Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When Americans wake up on Wednesday, the United States will have officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, the international climate accord embraced by nearly 200 countries across the globe. Our exit will make the U.S. the only signatory to have abandoned the landmark agreement, fulfilling a promise made by President Trump three years ago, Vox noted. The country’s membership expires at midnight on Tuesday.

The United Nations (UN) pact demands nations keep global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a widely accepted benchmark for preventing catastrophic warming in many parts of the world. As Earth’s second largest polluter following China, and “the largest economy from climate geopolitics,” the U.S. is influential in shaping climate policies, Politico reported. …

Hours before the presidential election, leaked copies of Facebook’s internal moderation guidelines reveal a confusing set of rules around voter suppression. The documents, published by VICE News on Monday, raise questions about the platform’s preparedness for election interference and civil unrest.

According to Facebook’s standards, “Don’t risk contracting COVID, avoid the polling station today,” is an acceptable statement, while “If you want to guarantee catching COVID, go vote today!” is not.

Moderators are advised to remove comments such as, “If you are [protected characteristic], your vote will not be counted.” …

Days before the presidential election, Facebook has temporarily paused its algorithmic recommendation of groups dealing with political or social issues. It’s unclear when Facebook enacted this measure, and it was not publicly announced, BuzzFeed News reported on Friday. At a congressional hearing on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey about Facebook group recommendations ahead of the election. Zuckerberg told Markey that “we have taken the step of stopping recommendations in groups for all political content or social issue groups as a precaution for this.”

The Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing, at which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai also testified, partly focused on Facebook’s role in election influence — the spread of disinformation, foreign interference, and the harboring of militant civilian groups. Zuckerberg vowed that Facebook also had safeguards in place for post-election unrest. …

Far-right groups are increasingly relying on an ecosystem of alternative apps and platforms like Zello, MeWe, Parler, Gab, and Rocket.Chat

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Photo: NurPhoto/Contributor/Getty Images

“Right now, if everybody’s ready, we can have a real quick course on what they call the use of force contingency,” announced the moderator of a militia chatroom on Zello, a walkie-talkie app where far-right groups have been organizing, often anonymously, over the past several years. “Lethal force is where you shoot or use a weapon to kill somebody in self-defense.”

The moderator, who described himself as a combat vet, was readying the group for the upcoming presidential election. …


Sarah Emerson

Staff Writer, OneZero at Medium

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