Premier League clubs lost £600 million in season before virus, says report

first_imgPremier League clubs made a combined loss of £600 million in the 2018/19 season, even before suffering the financial pain of the coronavirus pandemic, a report revealed on Tuesday.Analysis from football finance experts Vysyble shows the 20 clubs in the English top-flight combined to post the huge loss despite record revenues of £5.15 billion ($6.6 billion)The financial impact of COVID-19 is set to have a huge impact on the Premier League, even if plans to complete the current season behind closed doors go smoothly. Premier League sides face paying a reported £330 million to broadcasters in rebates as matches could not be completed on schedule.An estimated £126 million could also be lost in matchday income from gate receipts and hospitality.”The COVID-19 virus is not the cause of football’s financial distress. It is merely the accelerant on what our data has very clearly and very correctly identified as a much longer-term problem,” said Vysyble director Roger Bell.”The 2018/19 numbers are a disturbing and profoundly worrying financial outcome from England’s senior football divisions and is symptomatic of the deeper issues with the overall financial model.” Wage costs for Premier League clubs have risen to £3.12 billion.Everton posted alarming losses of £111 million, while Chelsea’s failure to qualify for the Champions League saw the Blues lose £96 million.Yet the most worrying sign for the future financial health of the league may come from Tottenham.Spurs posted a league-high profit of £68.6 million for the 2018/19 season on the back of a run to the Champions League final.But the London club announced last week they had borrowed £175 million from the Bank of England. They fear they could lose £200 million over the next year due to the loss of matchday income, cancellation of non-football events such as NFL matches and concerts and rebates owed to broadcasters.”Our data has consistently demonstrated that football has been the master of its own misfortune with an over-reliance on TV revenues, staff cost-to-revenue ratios regularly in excess of safe operating limits (UEFA guidance recommends 70 per cent) and a failure to recognize key financial dynamics and trends,” added Bell.The economic outlook for the Championship is also bleak.Four Championship clubs have yet to release their full 2019 accounts, but the second tier of English football has so far combined for economic losses of £307 million.The final economic loss total for all 24 EFL Championship clubs is expected to be at least £350 million.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Facebook pulls Trump ads which used Nazi symbol

first_imgFacebook on Thursday removed ads by President Donald Trump’s campaign containing a symbol used by Nazi Germany, the latest move in a heated battle over inflammatory political content on social media.The leading social network, which has drawn fire over its hands-off approach to political speech in recent months, said the campaign messages with an inverted red triangle and used in Nazi camps violated a policy against “organized hate” and were taken down.”We don’t allow symbols that represent hateful organizations or hateful ideologies unless they are put up with context or condemnation,” Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said at a House of Representatives committee hearing.”That’s what we saw in this case with this ad, and anywhere that that symbol is used we would take the same actions.”Facebook’s move comes as it faced intense pressure to remove incendiary comments from the president which critics said promoted violence.Recently Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that the platform will steer away from moderating political speech but would enforce its rules barring content promoting physical harm.In a tweet from a “Trump War Room,” the campaign contended the upside-down red triangle symbol at issue was “widely used” in reference to left-wing activist group Antifa.Watchdog group Media Matters replied with a tweet saying that is not the case.Since early this month, the Trump campaign has been running “fearmongering” ads about what it says is a far-left group called “antifa,” according to Media Matters.The upside-down red triangle was apparently a new addition to the ad, according to Media Matters, which found at least 88 ads on Facebook pages with that symbol.”Despite violating Facebook’s terms of service, the ads were approved by Facebook in the first place,” said Media Matters president Angelo Carusone.Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said that “Facebook still has an inverted red triangle emoji in use, which looks exactly the same, so it’s curious that they would target only this ad.”Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, said the president’s campaign “needs to learn its history, as ignorance is no excuse for using Nazi-related symbols.”Greenblatt added on Twitter: “The Nazis used red triangles to identify their political victims in concentration camps. Using it to attack political opponents is highly offensive.” Battling over ‘facts’ The move by Facebook is unlikely to end a raging battle between social media firms and the White House, which has claimed the Silicon Valley companies are biased against conservatives, despite Trump’s large following.Trump has also pointed this ire at Twitter, which recently labeled some of the president’s tweets as potentially false or as violating their rules about promoting violence. On Thursday evening the platform tagged a video tweeted by Trump as “Manipulated media” for portraying an edited version of a viral clip that showed two toddlers hugging. The version tweeted by Trump makes it appear that news outlet CNN labeled one of the children a “racist” Trump supporter.But Facebook has steadfastly rejected calls to fact-check politicians, including a plea from Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden to clamp down on what he called rampant disinformation from the White House.The California tech giant noted that it has removed Trump ads in the past for policy violations, including a ban on interfering with the US census.Facebook is under pressure to clamp down on political misinformation following failures to block foreign influence campaigns in the 2016 US election, while at the same time remaining an open platform for election debate.Earlier this week, Facebook made a new move by allowing users to turn off all political adsThe feature being rolled out in the United States and some other countries will give Facebook and Instagram users the option of blocking paid ads from candidates and political groups.The large platform has split from Twitter, which earlier this year decided to label comments by Trump as misleading and in another case to limit the reach of the president’s comments for violating the platform’s policy on promoting violence.Zuckerberg has maintained that “the best way to hold politicians accountable is through voting, and I believe we should trust voters to make judgments for themselves.” Topics :last_img read more

Australia looking to restrict return of citizens amid coronavirus outbreak

first_img“I can imagine the frustration … we don’t have control over the virus as such, but we do have control over how we respond.”With the Victoria shutdown putting pressure on other states, Morrison said he would take a proposal on Friday to the national cabinet created to deal with the pandemic, seeking to slow down the return of Australian citizens and permanent residents by reducing the number of repatriation flights. The two groups have been the only arrivals allowed since Australia closed its international border in March.Neighboring New Zealand has already taken that step, announcing on Tuesday that its national airline will not take new inbound bookings for three weeks to reduce the burden on overflowing quarantine facilities.There has been growing public concern in Australia about security lapses that have led to returnees spreading the virus, despite undertaking quarantine on arrival. Victoria has begun an inquiry into how the state went from the brink of eradicating the virus to soaring infection numbers. Australia will likely slow down the return of its citizens from abroad, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, as it grapples with a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus that has led it to isolate its second most populous state.The border between Victoria and New South Wales, the busiest in the country, was closed overnight and around 4.9 million residents in the Victorian capital of Melbourne will return to partial lockdown at midnight following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city.”The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice that you’re going through right now is not just for you and your own family, but it’s for the broader Australian community,” Morrison said during a televised media conference. The state reported 134 new infections in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, down from the previous day’s record 191 but well over the low single digit daily increases of the other states and territories.Of the new cases, 75 were occupants of nine public housing towers that were earlier this week placed under the country’s strictest lockdown so far. Around 3,000 residents have been banned from leaving the buildings, which are under police guard, for five days. All residents are being tested for COVID-19.Border controlAt the border with NSW, cars banked up on both sides as police checkpoints caused delays of more than an hour for drivers. The state line is heavily trafficked by daily commuters who live and work on either side.”I got a permit but with all the checks, my commute across was heavily delayed,” Amanda Cohn, who crosses the border from her home in NSW each day to reach the Victorian hospital where she works, told Reuters by telephone. “Plenty of others need to get across and they don’t have a permit.”Authorities had hastily set up a system to issue travel permits for a select group, mostly commuters in border towns, but a website created to dispense passes crashed soon after its launch on Tuesday evening with officials saying more than 44,000 people applied. Officials reassured that regular commuters could instead show residential and employment documentation.Victoria’s only other internal border, with South Australia, has been closed since mid-March.In Melbourne, renewed lockdown measures will kick in at midnight for at least six weeks, closing down cafes, bars, restaurants and gyms, and confining residents to their homes except for essential business.The Australian economy will take an economic hit of up to A$1 billion ($700 million) per week from the border closure and Melbourne lockdown, federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.Nationwide, Australia has reported about 9,000 COVID-19 cases and 106 deaths from the virus, a level that remains low compared to other nations.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Acting mayor Akhyar Nasution leaves PDI-P, joins Dems to contest Medan mayoral race

first_img“The 2020 Medan mayoral election. It’s official, the people’s coalition [Democrats-PKS] will be running against a giant coalition supporting President Jokowi’s son-in-law,” Arief tweeted along with a picture of Akhyar wearing the Democratic Party’s blue uniform.Pilkada Kota Medan 2020, Sah.. Koalisi Rakyat (Demokrat-PKS) menghadapi koalisi raksasa pendukung Mantu Pak Presiden Jokowi.— andi arief (@AndiArief__) July 24, 2020The head of the Democratic Party’s Medan chapter, Burhanuddin Sitepu, confirmed on Saturday that Akhyar had joined the party, which was founded by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.”Akhyar Nasution is now a Democratic Party politician,” he told The Jakarta Post.Burhanuddin said the Democrats and the PKS would nominate Akhyar as their candidate for the Medan mayoral election in December. With support from both parties, which own seven and four council seats respectively, Akhyar has passed the minimum 10-seat requirement needed to secure a nomination. The Democratic Party Central Executive Board head, Jansen Sitindaon, said Akhyar decided to switch party lines because he shared the “the same goals” and “common interests” with the Democrats.Read also: Dynasty in the makingThe PKS had previously announced that the party would nominate Akhyar in the mayoral race following a meeting between the party’s North Sumatra chairman, Hariyanto, and the incumbent on July 14.Meanwhile, the acting chairperson of the PDI-P’s North Sumatra branch, Djarot Saiful Hidayat, regretted Akhyar’s decision, saying that the latter had betrayed the ruling party, which had helped him grow as a politician.Djarot said the PDI-P refused to back Akhyar in the race because of his relatively poor performance as acting mayor. “The evaluation reports were bad, so [the PDI-P] decided not to nominate him again.”Although the PDI-P has yet to officially confirm Bobby’s nomination, Djarot said that the ruling party would likely throw its support behind him.Bobby officially joined the PDI-P in March in a bid to run in the 2020 Medan mayoral race. The NasDem Party, one of the political parties in Jokowi’s ruling coalition, previously confirmed its plan in February to also nominate Bobby. (nal) Topics :center_img Akhyar Nasution, the acting mayor of Medan in North Sumatra, has switched parties from the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to the Democratic Party in a bid to secure his candidacy in the city’s mayoral election.The former PDI-P senior politician, who previously led the party’s North Sumatra chapter, joined the Democrats after the ruling party refused to nominate him as it leaned toward supporting President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s son-in-law Bobby Nasution instead.Democratic Party politician Andi Arief announced Akhyar’s decision through a post on his Twitter account, in which he also revealed the Democrats teamed up with the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) to back the acting Medan mayor in the upcoming race.last_img read more

Formula One slammed over swelling tobacco advertising

first_img‘Harm for generations’ “Promoting these products attracts new tobacco users, especially among young people, causing harm for generations to come.” The WHO estimates that tobacco use kills more than seven million people each year.PMI and BAT last year formed partnerships with their scientific research subsidiaries and Formula 1 teams Ferrari and McLaren, more than a decade after cigarette advertising was all but banned from the sport.The tobacco companies are no longer advertising for their traditional cigarette brands, but do appear to be pushing new, so-called “smoke-free” heated tobacco products, although they do not mention them by name.The International Automobile Federation (FIA), Formula 1’s ruling body, has since 2006 been opposed to any advertising or sponsoring of cigarettes or tobacco.But Wednesday’s report lamented that FIA’s previous public commitment to fully ban tobacco sponsorship had been watered down to a mere recommendation in 2003.  “The FIA claims that it wants to promote a net positive contribution to society. That’s not possible while it is still linked to an industry that causes such harm,” Mary Assunta of STOP said in the statement. Contacted by AFP, FIA insisted in an email that it “remains firmly opposed to tobacco advertising and continues to stand by its 2003 recommendations.”However, it said, “we are not in a position to interfere with the private commercial arrangements between the teams and their sponsors.””We will continue to monitor the compliance with the applicable laws.”PMI meanwhile slammed STOP’s “ideological attacks” and “misguided campaigns” against the company, insisting its partnership with Ferrari “does not and will not be used to advertise or promote any PMI-branded tobacco or nicotine-containing products.”  “Our partnership activities respect all applicable laws,” spokesman Ryan Sparrow said in an email.Phil Chamberlain of STOP described such arguments as “a typically slippery move.””PMI and BAT claim that they aren’t directly advertising cigarette brands. But according to trademarks registered by the companies, these brands are associated with tobacco products.”Wednesday’s report certainly indicated that the tobacco companies benefit from their involvement in the sport.It found that media coverage of the 2019 races alone generated exposure worth “at least $150.3 million” for PMI’s ‘Mission Winnow’ brand, and $27.6 million for BAT brands.”For tobacco companies, the benefits are clear,” co-author Caroline Reid of Formula Money said in the statement.”This is a global sport that draws more than 500 million fans worldwide, mostly young and male — a prized demographic. And tobacco companies receive a real return on investment.” And after years of declining sponsorship spending, brought on by growing awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco products, national bans and a supposed ban within F1, the report said that spending last year reached “a staggering $100 million”, putting it back at levels not seen since 2011.The spending, by tobacco giants Philip Morris and British American Tobacco on the F1 Ferrari and McLaren teams, is this year expected to rise to $115 million, it said.The findings prompted concern from the World Health Organization, with health promotion chief Ruediger Krech insisting in a statement that “we must not go backwards in the fight against tobacco.” Topics :center_img Tobacco giants have spent billions on advertising with Formula One teams over the years, and are again swelling their spending despite a supposed ban, industry monitors said Wednesday.In a fresh report entitled “Driving Addiction: F1 and Tobacco Advertising”, F1 industry monitor Formula Money and tobacco industry watchdog STOP pointed to data indicating cigarette-makers were aggressively stepping up spending.Since F1 was established 70 years ago, its teams and events have sold $4.4 billion in advertising and sponsorship to tobacco companies, the report said.last_img read more

‘State, what state?’ Lebanese together in solidarity and rage

first_img‘This is it’ Business owners swiftly took to social media, posting offers to repair doors, paint damaged walls or replace shattered windows for free. Abdo Amer, who owns window company Curtain Glass, said he was moved to make such an offer after narrowly surviving the blast.”I had driven by the port just three minutes earlier,” the 37-year-old said.He offered to replace windows for half the price, but said he was fixing some for free given the devastating situation for many families following the Lebanese currency’s staggering devaluation in recent months.”I’ve gotten more than 7,000 phone calls today and I can’t keep up,” said the father of four.”You think the state will take up this work? Actually, let them step down and leave.”Outrage at the government was palpable among volunteers, many of whom blamed government officials for failing to remove explosive materials left at the port for years.”They’re all sitting in their chairs in the AC while people are wearing themselves out in the street,” said Mohammad Suyur, 30, as he helped sweep on Wednesday.”The last thing in the world they care about is this country and the people who live in it.”He said activists were preparing to reignite the protest movement that launched in October.”We can’t bear more than this. This is it. The whole system has got to go,” he said.Topics : ‘Even a smile’ A few civil defense workers could be seen examining building structures but they were vastly outnumbered by young volunteers flooding the streets to help.In small groups, they energetically swept up glass beneath blown-out buildings, dragging them into plastic bags.Others clambered up debris-strewn stairwells to offer their homes to residents who had spent the previous night in the open air.”We’re sending people into the damaged homes of the elderly and handicapped to help them find a home for tonight,” said Husam Abu Nasr, a 30-year-old volunteer.”We don’t have a state to take these steps, so we took matters into our own hands,” he said.Towns across the country have offered to host Beirut families with damaged homes and the Maronite Catholic patriarchate announced it would open its monasteries and religious schools to those needing shelter.Food was quickly taken care of, too: plastic tables loaded with donated water bottles, sandwiches and snacks were set up within hours.”I can’t help by carrying things, so we brought food, water, chocolate and moral support,” said Rita Ferzli, 26.”I think everyone should be here helping, especially young people. No one should be sitting at home — even a smile is helping right now.” By Wednesday, a spontaneous cleanup operation was underway there, a glimmer of youthful solidarity and hope after a devastating night.Wearing plastic gloves and a mask, Fadlallah tossed a shard of glass as long as her arm at the door of the state electricity company’s administrative building that looms over the district. “For me, this state is a dump — and on behalf of yesterday’s victims, the dump that killed them is going to stay a dump,” she told AFP.The blast killed more than 110 people, wounded thousands and compounded public anger that erupted in protests last year against a government seen as corrupt and inefficient. In Beirut’s beloved bar districts, hundreds of young Lebanese ditched beers for brooms on Wednesday to sweep debris in the absence of a state-sponsored cleanup operation following a deadly blast.”What state?” scoffed 42-year-old Melissa Fadlallah, a volunteer cleaning up the hard-hit Mar Mikhail district of the Lebanese capital.The explosion, which hit just a few hundred meters away at Beirut’s port, blew all the windows and doors off Mar Mikhail’s pubs, restaurants and apartment homes on Tuesday. “We’re trying to fix this country. We’ve been trying to fix it for nine months but now we’re going to do it our way,” said Fadlallah.”If we had a real state, it would have been in the street since last night cleaning and working. Where are they?”last_img read more

As China tensions soar, US embraces Taiwan with visit, but cautiously

first_imgBut Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a hawk who rarely misses a chance to denounce China or declare Trump to be the toughest president ever, was uncharacteristically circumspect when asked about Azar’s trip, which has been denounced by Beijing.”Cabinet members have traveled to Taiwan previously. This is consistent with policies of previous times,” Pompeo told reporters.”He’ll go there and talk to them about public health issues” including the quest for a vaccine, Pompeo said.Experts say that even the Trump administration is aware of the real risks if tensions escalate over Taiwan, one of the most sensitive issues for Beijing’s communist leadership. Eager to find a foil for China, US President Donald Trump’s administration is stepping up support for Taiwan, although a high-level visit to the island shows it is still treading carefully on an especially explosive issue.Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is heading to Taiwan to showcase the island’s stunningly successful COVID-19 response as Trump, facing a tough re-election with pandemic deaths climbing at home, casts China as the culprit for the disease.The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy in Taipei, highlighted that Azar will be the highest-level US official to visit, based on presidential order of succession, since the United States severed relations and recognized Beijing in 1979. China considers Taiwan, where the mainland’s defeated nationalists fled in 1949, to be a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.Douglas Paal, who headed the American Institute in Taiwan during George W. Bush’s presidency, said that the Trump administration was still paying heed to China’s red line — that no US official handling national security visit Taiwan.Throughout the 1990s, the United States sent trade officials to Taiwan with regularity, Paal noted.The difference this time, he said, is the context — with Azar traveling at a time that relations between Washington and Beijing have hit a new bottom.”Sending him to Taiwan shows respect for the old framework while putting a finger in China’s eye at the same time,” Paal said.”The fact that they didn’t choose to send a national security advisor or someone else suggests they are trying to come as close as possible to China’s red line but don’t want to cross it.”The Trump administration has taken an increasingly hawkish turn on China, with Pompeo in a recent speech saying that the four-decade policy of engaging Beijing had failed.In recent days, Trump has ordered sweeping restrictions on popular Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, and the Treasury Department slapped sanctions on Hong Kong’s leader over a tough law that curbs dissent.Paal said it was possible that hawks in the Trump administration would push more dramatic action on China before the November 3 election as Trump trails in the polls.”I’m very clearly reading the Chinese as seeing that as a possibility and they are trying to avoid being drawn into that trip,” he said.Taiwan has built broad, bipartisan support in Washington. President Tsai Ing-wen has been hailed not only for her decisive coronavirus response but also, among US Democrats, for her progressive views including advocacy of gay rights, unusual for an Asian leader.An act of Congress requires the United States to sell weapons to Taiwan to ensure its self-defense against Beijing’s vastly larger armed forces.In one of the biggest sales in years, the Trump administration last year approved an $8 billion fighter jet deal to replace Taiwan’s aging fleet.The United States has also been more assertive in calling for Taiwan’s inclusion in international institutions, especially the World Health Organization.Gerrit van der Wees, a former Dutch diplomat who teaches the history of Taiwan at George Mason University, said that Trump had initially seemed hesitant, delaying the plane sale as he sought a trade pact with China.But recent actions including China’s clampdown in Hong Kong, its mass detention of Uighur Muslims and its military moves at sea have changed perceptions, he said.Now the Trump administration “primarily sees it as an opportunity to push the envelope in terms of strengthening and deepening support for a Taiwan that has built a dynamic democracy and is a ‘force for good in the world,'” he said, using a frequent phrase of US officials.Topics :last_img read more

‘Killing machines’: Charlie Hebdo trial revisits 2015 attack

first_imgTopics : Once the viewing started, some attack survivors left the room in tears.In the box of the accused, some watched while others looked away.Everybody else took in the images of the extreme violence of the attack in shock and icy silence. ‘Inhuman’ “What we’ve just seen is inhuman,” said Caty Richard, a lawyer for one of the civil parties. “They were killing machines.”It was 11:33 am on Wednesday, January 7, 2015, when the Kouachi brothers, Cherif and Said, entered Charlie Hebdo’s premises in Paris and killed 10 people in under two minutes.In total 12 people, including some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists, were gunned down at the scene.The former head of the Paris police’s anti-terror unit, Christian Deau, walked the court through the events, his calm, almost clinical delivery of the facts accentuating the horror of his account.The first of the graphic pictures, taken by police right after their arrival, shows the entrance used by the two brothers just before shooting down the paper’s webmaster, Simon Fieschi, who was later evacuated, seriously injured.In the adjacent room Moustapha Ourrad, a copy editor who worked at Charlie Hebdo for 30 years, is seen dying in a pool of his own blood.A picture of the main conference room shows a tangle of bodies, dead or dying amid printers and stacks of printing paper.In total, 33 bullet cartridges were found at the crime scene, 21 from Cherif Kouachi’s weapon alone.Police found seven rounds in the body of chief editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, fired at point-blank range of less than 10 centimeters, Deau said. Execution-styleThe trajectory of the bullets found in the bodies of most of the murdered cartoonists were consistent with execution-style killings from behind, Dead added.Closed-circuit video recordings showed the killers seemingly calm and determined during the attack, and also during their getaway when they casually killed a police officer, Ahmed Merabet, who was already on the ground.Following a sustained exchange of fire with several police units, the two killers abandoned their vehicle whose windows had been shot to pieces.Police later found enough extra weapons in the car to lead them to believe that the brothers may have been planning more attacks, Deau said.Police killed the brothers two days later after a manhunt.Fourteen suspected accomplices are on trial in connection with the Charlie Hebdo attack, and with a related attack on a Jewish supermarket.The killings sparked a series of attacks on French soil, including “lone wolf” attacks by people said to be inspired by the Islamic State group that have since claimed more than 250 lives.Hearings began last week under heavy security as eleven of the suspects faced the court on charges of conspiracy in a terrorist act or association with a terror group.Three others, including the wife of one of the gunmen, are being tried in absentia because they fled to IS-held territory in Syria days before the attacks.The court is to hear the testimony of attack survivors on Tuesday and Wednesday. A Paris court on Monday sat through a viewing of graphic images of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo newsroom attack scene, prompting horrified members of the audience to leave the room in tears.More than five years after the massacre at the satirical paper, the CCTV images and police pictures taken during and right after the attack stirred strong emotions in the courtroom.”Some people may find these scenes disturbing,” warned the court’s presiding judge Regis de Jorna as proceedings got under way.last_img read more

Facebook to curb private groups spreading hate, misinformation

first_imgTopics : Facebook on Thursday said it is cracking down on private groups where hate or misinformation is shared among members.The move comes amid a wider crack down on malicious and false content at the social networking giant which has led people to turn to private groups of like-minded members who can share content that is not available to the wider Facebook community.”People turn to Facebook Groups to connect with others who share their interests, but even if they decide to make a group private, they have to play by the same rules as everyone else,” Facebook vice president of engineering Tom Alison said in a blog post. Alison said Facebook’s community standards “apply to public and private groups, and our proactive detection tools work across both.”Facebook uses artificial intelligence to automatically scanning posts, even in private groups, taking down pages that repeatedly break its rules or that are set up in violation of the social network’s standards.More than a million groups have been taken down in the past year for violating hate policies, according to Alison.In the past year, Facebook has removed about 1.5 million pieces of content in groups for violating its policies on organized hate, with 91 percent of those posts found by automated software systems, according to Alison.center_img Over that same period, the leading social network has taken down about 12 million pieces of content in groups for violating policies on  hate speech, 87 percent of which was found proactively.Facebook last month said it has removed hundreds of groups tied to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory and imposed restrictions on nearly 2,000 more as part of a crackdown on stoking violence.The moves, which were made across both Facebook and Instagram, were against accounts tied to “offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organizations and QAnon,” the social media platform said in a blog post.Under rules tightened on Thursday, administrators or moderators of groups taken down for rule-breaking will be temporarily blocked from forming new groups at Facebook.People tagged for violating social network standards in groups will need to get moderator or administrator permission for any new posts for 30 days, and if what is cleared for sharing continues to break the rules the entire group will be removed, according to Alison.Facebook will also start “archiving” groups that been without administrators for a long time, meaning they still exist but don’t appear in searches and members can’t post anything.And, to promote getting information from authoritative sources, Facebook will no longer show health-themed groups in recommendation results.Facebook has been struggling with hoaxes and misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to give users well-sourced information about the health emergency.last_img read more

Japan business confidence recovers slightly after pandemic plunge

first_imgThe June figure was the lowest since June 2009 when worldwide financial shocks hammered the planet’s third-largest economy.The modest recovery “has mainly been driven by an improvement in the Japanese economy, which has been gradually returning to normal following the lifting of the state of emergency in the country and the end of lockdowns in other major nations,” Naoya Oshikubo, senior economist at SuMi TRUST, said in a commentary.”However, a global –- and consequently Japanese — recovery may be hampered by a second wave of Covid-19,” he warned ahead of the release of the survey.Japan was struggling with the effects of natural disasters and a hike in consumption tax even before the pandemic crippled the global economy.Once it hit, there were no mandatory lockdowns in the country, the government instead asking people to stay at home — requests that were largely heeded.But that, coupled with a shuttering of the country’s borders, battered tourism and consumer spending, with the hospitality industry hit particularly hard.Confidence among big non-manufacturers improved to minus 12 — against a market consensus of minus 9 — after plummeting to minus 17 in June from plus 8 in March.Topics : Confidence among major Japanese manufacturers has recovered marginally after plunging on pandemic woes to its worst level since the global financial crisis, a key survey showed Thursday.The Bank of Japan’s September Tankan business survey — a quarterly poll of about 10,000 companies — showed a reading of minus 27 among big manufacturers, after recording minus 34 in the previous survey in June.The latest figure compared with a market consensus of minus 24.last_img read more