YouTube has suspended President Donald Trump’s channel from uploading new videos to the platform for at least a week over concerns about the “ongoing potential for violence”, the company announced in a tweet late on Tuesday evening.
YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, said it suspended the President’s channel, which has over 2.7 million subscribers, due to content uploaded on Tuesday that violated the platform’s policies. A YouTube spokesperson clarified that the company had removed content for violating the company’s policies for inciting violence but declined to say which video or videos were taken down.
YouTube has also indefinitely disabled comments on Trump’s channel over “safety concerns found in the comments section.”
In a statement issued to BuzzFeed News, a YouTube spokesperson said: “After careful review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to the Donald J. Trump channel and issued a strike for violating our policies for inciting violence. As a result, in accordance with our long-standing strikes system, the channel is now prevented from uploading new videos or livestreams for a minimum of seven days—which may be extended. We are also indefinitely disabling comments under videos on the channel, we’ve taken similar actions in the past for other cases involving safety concerns.”
The move makes YouTube the latest in a string of technology platforms that have moved to limit Donald Trump online after he used his Twitter account to incite an insurrection on Capitol Hill last week that led to several deaths.
In the wake of the riot, Twitter permanently suspended the President, while Facebook and Instagram banned him from posting to the platform for at least two weeks. Twitch and Snap also moved to suspend him, Shopify banned his online stores, and Stripe kicked his campaign off its payment platform.
Tech giants also acted against the anything-goes social network Parler after the storming of the Capitol. Last week, Apple and Google kicked Parler off their app stores, and on Monday, Amazon banned the network from using the company’s hosting services, effectively taking it offline. Parler had been used to allegedly plan the attack on the Capitol, and in recent days was brimming with violent rhetoric.
After Trump was de-platformed by most major tech companies, critics had called upon YouTube to suspend him, as well.
This is a developing story.
US attacks Australia’s ‘extraordinary’ plan to make Google and Facebook pay for news | Media
The United States has urged the Australian government to ditch draft media laws that would force tech giants Google and Facebook to pay news organisations for sharing their content.
The US, in a submission to an Australian parliamentary inquiry, has said that the proposed legislation is unreasonable, impractical, “fundamentally imbalanced” and could run counter to the US-Australia free trade agreement.
The media laws would impose a mandatory code of conduct on digital platforms which would allow for both individual and collective bargaining by Australian media companies to determine payment for displaying news content in Google Search and on Facebook.
It also allows for an arbiter to have the final say if news companies and the US tech giants can’t agree on a fair price and it requires the latter to provide media outlets with 14 days advance notice of algorithmic changes that would affect their business.
The laws were tabled in parliament in December and are currently before a Senate committee. In a submission to that committee, the office of the US trade representative said the proposed world-first laws “may result in harmful outcomes”.
It called on the Australian government to shelve the proposal, arguing that directly intervening in the market to distribute advertising revenue was “extraordinary” and “a significant step that needs to be carefully thought through and justified”.
“In the view of the United States, it would be preferable to pursue additional market study and consultation to identify a specific market failure that might be addressed first though a voluntary code, and if demonstrably ineffective, through Australia’s regulatory rule-making process where stakeholders can participate by weighing in on options and providing evidence in support of or opposition to specific proposals,” the submission states.
“We respectfully request that Australia reconsider whether legislation is needed.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was initially asked to develop a voluntary code but the federal treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, requested in April 2020 that it instead pursue a mandatory code following a sharp dive in advertising revenue and the closure of several regional newspapers in April.
The mandatory code has broad support from the news industry in Australia including from Guardian Australia.
The US made the same points in an earlier submission to the ACCC when the mandatory code was first announced.
The submission to the Senate inquiry by the assistant trade representative for services and investment, Daniel Bahar, and the assistant trade representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Karl Ehlers, said that while some changes had been made to the proposed legislation it “does not substantially address key US concerns”.
The US is concerned the draft code grants the responsible minister broad discretion to nominate a tech company as being subject to “a highly prescriptive, burdensome code without having first established a violation of existing Australian law or a market failure”. The submission states the legislation is “designed to exclusively target (as an initial matter) two US companies”.
It also said the process for determining compensation for news companies was “fundamentally imbalanced” in favour of media outlets to the point of “preferential treatment” because it requires the arbiter to take into account the cost of news production and its value to the digital platform – but not the cost of running and hosting content on a digital platform and the value that gives to the news company.
The submission said the US government “urges Australia” to consider whether allowing an arbitrator to mandate remuneration would allow full compliance with article 20.5 of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement which “requires Australia and the United States to provide for appeals against administrative or bureaucratic decisions”.
The US said it was “inappropriate” for the draft code to allow for collective bargaining, a measure introduced to allow smaller media players to band together, saying it was “a departure from broadly accepted competition principles”.
It said provisions that effectively prevent Google and Facebook from circumventing the bargaining process by displaying content from aggregating news sites was “disproportionately punitive”. At best, it said, that measure should only apply to Australian media companies.
“If the price of withdrawing from the Australian domestic news market is essentially a requirement to forgo making any news-related content available in Australia, that price appears both unreasonable and impractical,” the submission said.
It said the requirement for tech companies to compensate Australian news companies for coverage – including coverage of international news – while foreign media companies offering the same news would not be compensated “could raise concerns with respect to Australia’s international trade obligations”
The requirement that tech companies provide data on users accessing news content and advance notice of changes to proprietary algorithms could also be in breach of the Australia-US free trade agreement, the submission stated. “Given the United States’ significant outstanding concerns, we urge Australia not to rush the passage of this legislative proposal.”
Submissions to the Senate committee closed on Monday. It will hold its first hearing on Friday.
Google denies claim of anticompetitive agreement with Facebook
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai gestures during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 22, 2020.
(Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
Google on Sunday disputed claims from a group of attorneys general, led by Texas’ Ken Paxton, that its ad-buying arrangement with Facebook was anticompetitive.
In a blog post, Google’s director of economic policy Adam Cohen called the lawsuit from 10 Republican-led states “misleading.” The statement is Google’s most extensive response yet to the lawsuit, which is also the only one to name Facebook as a “co-conspirator.” The company faces two other complaints from a bipartisan group of attorneys general and from the Justice Department.
The statement followed a New York Times article earlier on Sunday that described more details of the alleged arrangement, citing an unredacted draft of the complaint. The Wall Street Journal previously reported on the unredacted draft in December.
According to that version of the complaint as described by the Times, a Google executive saw an “existential threat” in Facebook’s 2017 announcement that it was testing a move into the ad space. Facebook was considering a project in header bidding at the time, a form of ad buying that allows publishers to circumvent dependence on Google’s platforms.
But that project came to an end when the two reached an agreement in 2018 for Facebook to become a partner in Google’s Open Bidding project, which allows competing ad exchanges alongside its own, but takes a fee from winning bids. That agreement was unlike others offered to partners in the alliance, according to members interviewed by the Times who declined to be identified for fear of endangering their relationship with Google.
Google allegedly offered Facebook more time to bid for ads than other members of the alliance, according to the documents and interviews presented by the Times. Google also allegedly offered Facebook more insight into who would be on the receiving end of ads and a guaranteed “win rate” for bids, the Times reported. The two agreed to “cooperate and assist” each other in the event the agreement was investigated for competition concerns, the documents showed.
In the blog post responding to the allegations, Cohen defended Open Bidding as a tool that benefits publishers. Cohen wrote that Open Bidding addresses some of the problems with header bidding, like slow-loading pages, and that header bidding is still a growing market, citing a 2019 eMarketer report.
Cohen noted that Google’s agreement with Facebook had been widely reported at the time and said that it simply allows Facebook and its advertisers to participate in Open Bidding.
“We absolutely don’t,” manipulate auctions in Facebook’s favor, Cohen wrote. The agreement doesn’t prevent Facebook from pursuing header bidding and still requires the company and its advertising network to make the highest bid to win, Cohen wrote. He also said that Google’s fees for advertisers are lower than the industry average and said there is plenty of competition in the space.
“Partnerships like this are common in the industry, and we have similar agreements with several other companies,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “Facebook continues to invest in these partnerships, and create new ones, which help increase competition in ad auctions to create the best outcomes for advertisers and publishers. Any suggestion that these types of agreements harm competition is baseless.”
One day after the Texas-led group filed its lawsuit against Google, a bipartisan coalitions of 38 states and territories sued Google over another set of antitrust concerns, including allegedly exclusionary contracts and discriminatory behavior against competitors on its search results pages. The Justice Department and a group of Republican-led states earlier sued Google over some of the same concerns over contracts.
Facebook separately faces complaints from the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from 48 states and territories claiming it violated anti-monopoly law.
Super Meat Boy Forever review – a gristly challenge | Games
Ten years ago, attempting to conquer Super Meat Boy became a weekly ritual for me and my friends. We’d take turns throwing ourselves at the latest torturous arrangement of spinning blades, lava, missiles and near-impossible wall jumps until we couldn’t take it any more, passing the pad around until someone finally made it one level further. Mistime a jump and you’d explode in a splatter of red that stained the level, etching a record of your failures on the architecture. It’s one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played, and yet I remember it so fondly – I can still summon the exact layouts of particularly cruel levels, and the rush I felt on conquering them.
Super Meat Boy Forever was conceived as a smartphone-friendly version of the original, but over time it evolved into a sequel. This time, Meat Boy (or Bandage Girl, the damsel elevated to a player character) moves under their own unstoppable momentum, and our job is to jump and dash at the right time. The levels are now randomly generated, with enemies and layouts that remix themselves every time you start a new game. In theory this makes it infinitely replayable, a fount of continual, unpredictable challenge – but it loses so much in the transition that I didn’t feel like returning to it.
The pain and the pleasure of platformers such as this is their precision: the controls must be so tight, the jumping and running so perfectly predictable, that your failures are always your own. In Super Meat Boy Forever, though, enemies can turn up in especially unfair places, and the architecture of the levels sometimes feels thrown together as opposed to carefully placed by human hand. Its difficulty feels vindictive rather than playful, and oddly soulless, like trying to beat a computer at chess. For all its challenges, it felt as if I could feel the creators cheering me through the original Super Meat Boy’s death chambers, willing me onwards. Here, the algorithm is coldly indifferent to your efforts, and, despite the offbeat art and quirky vibe, the game is a punishing gauntlet that’s not worth running.
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