Jan 24, 2021

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News from all over the USA

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Big Tech nemesis Lina Khan is gaining traction for top Biden antitrust role 

By Jason Del Rey
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  • Lina Khan, an antitrust expert, Columbia law professor and thorn in the side of Big Tech, is gaining traction as a candidate to fill one of the commissioner roles at the Federal Trade Commission under President Joe Biden, three sources familiar with the discussions told Recode this week.
  • Khan played a crucial role as legal counsel for the House antitrust subcommittee’s 16-month investigation into the Big Tech giants, and in producing the 400-page House Democrat report that alleged that all of the tech giants engage in anti-competitive practices and need to be reined in.
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How the Biden administration can save the Postal Service

By Adam Clark Estes
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  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reintroduced the Postal Banking Act, which would not only bring basic financial services like low-cost savings and checking accounts to post offices but also take aim at predatory practices — payday loans, high-fee prepaid debit cards, overdraft fees — that have taken advantage of unbanked and underbanked Americans.
  • “There needs to be creativity and other things the post office can do, when it’s done its mission of binding the country together,” Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, told Recode.
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Kicking people off social media isn’t about free speech

By Aja Romano
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  • Many have expressed wariness about the power social media companies have to simply oust whoever they deem dangerous, while critics have pointed out the hypocrisy of social media platforms spending years bending over backward to justify not banning Trump despite his posts violating their content guidelines, only to make an about-face during his final weeks in office.
  • But thanks to Trump and many of his supporters, it has inevitably become a permanent part of the discourse involving free speech and social media moderation, and the responsibilities that platforms can and should have to control what people do on their sites.
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How Trump could theoretically get his Facebook back

By Rebecca Heilweil
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  • On Thursday, Facebook said that it asked an independent group called the Facebook oversight board to review the company’s decision earlier this month to indefinitely suspend the now-former US president.
  • The oversight board, a group of academics, journalists, and policy experts from around the world, was created to review Facebook’s content moderation decisions.
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How will Trump handle life without Twitter and Facebook? Ask Alex Jones.

By Peter Kafka
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  • So it may be useful to look at the experiences of some of the fringe figures who have had their social media plugs pulled over the last few years, like Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones — who, not coincidentally, helped set the stage for Trump and the post-truth world he created for the last four years.
  • We also don’t know what will happen to Trump’s reach and power without access to Twitter and the rest of his social media bullhorns.
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Platforms are cracking down hard on political misinformation, but it’s still easy to find

By Rebecca Heilweil
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  • In the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection on January 6 that left five people dead, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube promised to crack down harder on false claims that the US presidential election was stolen and on dangerous fringe movements like QAnon.
  • But in the week leading up to his inauguration, the false claim that his inauguration had been canceled racked up about 15,000 mentions on social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit and other websites, according to data from Zignal Labs, a misinformation tracking firm.
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