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Facebook’s Zuckerberg faces public outrage over inaction against Trump’s controversial post

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing rare public outrage from his employees as they rebuked him on a real-time feedback tool over inaction on incendiary remarks posted by President Donald Trump. People tend to believe that freedom of expression exists but it is more of an ‘exploited word’. If social networking sites will not keep a check on the violent or radicalised content then it will reshape the thinking and decision making process of million of users without even becoming unaware that their minds are being controlled by a certain section of people or propagandists.

Trump’s tweet, about the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis, reference the unrest in the city, with the president saying, “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him the military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Globally, the people will be divided by these microblogging sites. Zuckerberg seams to have shunned its earlier policy of not promoting any content that promotes “sensationalism and polarization” in any manner.

During a company-wide town hall, Zuckerberg defended the company’s decision but was confronted by his employees who reminded him of promises to remove content that calls for violence or that could lead to imminent physical harm.

On May 25, Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody after being arrested. A video of the arrest posted online shows a white police officer pressing on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes while he was laying on his stomach handcuffed and saying he can not breathe. The incident sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, but many turned into riots.

Writing on his Facebook page on Sunday night, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the biggest single donation, that the company will contribute $10 million to “groups working on racial justice,” and telling followers that he’s working with advisers and employees to find organizations that “could most effectively use this right now.”

There are reports that some employtees have left the job citing as unfeasible to “keep excusing Facebook’s behavior.”

On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order that could allow the U.S. government to take oversight of political speech online.

Facebook needs to “ensure our systems don’t amplify bias,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“I know that $10 million can’t fix this. It needs sustained, long term effort,” he added. “This week has made it clear how much more there is to do.”

Zuckerberg said that though Trump’s tweet provoked in him a “visceral negative reaction,” he felt Facebook was dedicated to “free expression.”

On the contrary, Twitter acted and termed Trump’s violent remarks on microblogging site as violating the platform’s rules on “glorifying violence.”
Trump’s tweets on Thursday that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

But recently, it was reported by the Wallstreet Journal that Facebook have shelved their own research to understand how the social media platform shaped user behaviour and how the company might address potential harms of polarizing its users.

Even a survey revealed that Americans were drifting apart on fundamental societal issues well before the creation of social media, decades of Pew Research Center surveys have shown. But 60 per cent of Americans think the country’s biggest tech companies are helping further divide the country, while only 11 per cent believe they are uniting it, according to a Gallup-Knight survey in March.

Fixing the polarization problem would be difficult. Most importantly, how it prioritized “user engagement”–a metric involving time spent, likes, shares and comments which had been the lodestar of its system for years..

When the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) became a prominent threat for the world in 2014 after it seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and When Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was recruiting, propagating their views on social networking sites , twitter and facebook, on the orders of leaders of some countries, acted strongly and unitedly by removing the violent and radicalised content, fearing that it will turn the society more violent but when the leaders of some countries promote radicalism or support violence than the so called heads of these social sites shows their incapabilities to act.

When the world is struggling to develop a vaccine to treat covid 19, social-media giants have cracked down on misinformation on novel coronavirus, promoting bogus Covid-19 cures and conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus.

It is the most opportune time that these social-media giants focus on products that increase empathy, understanding.

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Pilot stays in hunt for bigger role, to be rewarded in 2021 by high command

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur/New Delhi, Aug 11 : The can may well have been kicked down the road in Rajasthan but the vexed leadership issue remains wide open. Contrary to popular perception, former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who camped in Gurugram these past few days, has not beaten a hasty retreat.

Optically, he may have lost the skirmish, but he is very much in the game. This was a battle in a long drawn-out war. A war based on principles and one of anger over maltreatment.

Sources close to developments told IANS that his meeting with the Gandhi siblings – Rahul and Priyanka – at the former’s residence was one where he did not merely reveal his state of mind and reservations but was equally given cast iron assurances about the future.

Pilot, it is believed, didn’t hanker for any position but told them that belittling him by levelling charges of sedition was nothing short of outrageous. The Special Operations Group and Anti-Corruption Bureau charges were a travesty and he was pained and appalled at the charges levelled against him.

IANS has gathered that Pilot did not want to be a Deputy CM with a car and a bungalow for he had worked hard on the ground over the last six and a half years to help the Congress storm back to power in the state in the late 2018 election. To be viciously targeted by his own government was an abomination, according to him.

Apparently, he was given a fair hearing and while a decision on the party leadership in Rajasthan may have been kept in abeyance for the time being, a view will be definitely taken on this issue in early 2021. This assurance was given to him.

What is more is that Pilot has managed to get a fair and equitable settlement for all his followers, particularly those who camped with him in the last few days when they went underground. In a mockery of democracy, these MLAs were spied upon by the state CID which kept them under daily surveillance under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s orders. This was intolerable for Pilot.

These things rankled with Pilot and while he was adamant that he won’t join the BJP from the outset, he was clear that he would stay with the Congress. All he wanted was a proper hearing and a just recourse to the problems and issues that he and his followers were facing in Rajasthan.

The Gandhi siblings have also come to realise that their footprint continues to shrink with the BJP trying to topple their state governments, the most recent case being Madhya Pradesh.

They didn’t want the BJP to take advantage of the fluid situation and hence sought closure. Once Pilot had given his side of the story, it was appreciated by the siblings.

It is clear that the Congress will want to hit the ground running with a young Pilot at the helm in the race for the state in 2023. It appears that Pilot may well become Chief Minister of Rajasthan in early 2021 to prepare for the battle in late 2023.

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Political circles mourn Rahat Indori’s demise

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Rahat Indori

New Delhi, Aug 12 : Condolences have poured in for noted Urdu poet Rahat Indori, who passed away on Tuesday after suffering a cardiac arrest. The poet had also tested positive for Covid-19.

Offering his condolences, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted in Hindi, “I am deeply saddened by the news of the demise of noted poet Rahat Indoriji. He was an ardent personality of Urdu admiration. He has left an indelible mark on the hearts of people by his memorable poetries. It is a great loss for the literary world. I extend my condolences to his loved ones in this hour of grief.”

“My heart sank after I got to know about your demise. It has created a vaccum in the literary world which will be difficult to fill,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted in Hindi.

Quoting pne of Indori’s couplets, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Ab na main un na baki hai zamane mere, phir bhi mashhoor hai shahron mein fasane mere… Alvida Rahat Indori sahab.”

Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said in his condolence message, “He will be remembered for his free, fair and fearless poetic expressions.”

“India has lost a great Urdu poet; I salute the departed soul of Rahat Indori, the voice of millions of Indians,” Azad tweeted.

Indori, a poet and painter, taught Urdu literature at the Indore University before foraying into Bollywood as a lyricist.

Among the many memorable verses he created for Hindi films are “Neend churayi meri” and “Dekho dekho jaanam” (“Ishq”), “Chori chori jab nazrein mili” (“Kareeb”), “M bole toh” and “Chhan chhan” (“Munna Bhai MBBS”), “Dil ko hazaar baar” (“Murder”), “Tumsa koi pyaara” (“Khuddar”) and the title song of “Sir”.

His popular books include “Do Kadam Aur Sahi”, “Maujood”, “Chand Pagal Hai”, “Mere Baad” and “Naraz”.

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Operation Rajasthan: Ahmed Patel the ace troubleshooter

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ahmed-patel

New Delhi, Aug 11: By saving the Congress government in Rajasthan and ensuring a seemingly seamless return of rebel leader Sachin Pilot and his followers to the party fold, veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel has once again proved why his troubleshooting skills are indispensable for the party leadership.

All eyes are on Patel, whenever there is trouble brewing for the Congress. Not for nothing is the man credited with being instrumental in the smooth running of two successive UPA governments in alliance with a number of parties between 2004 and 2014.

He is still a key negotiator for the Congress, which he proved by thwarting BJP’s attempts at toppling the Gehlot government in Rajasthan, after the party’s bad experience in Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress did not want to lose the second state within six months of the Madhya Pradesh fiasco and hence fell back on the negotiating skills of its veteran leader.

In case of Sachin Pilot, it was the Congress Treasurer who managed the return of four MLAs on Day One of the revolt by the then Rajasthan Deputy CM, ensuring fissures in the Pilot camp.

Patel, a five-term Rajya Sabha member, led the party fight against the rebels and backed Ashok Gehlot to save the state government. The fight was fought on several fronts — legal team of Congress fighting it out in the courts, Gehlot holding on to his flock of MLAs, and simultaneous attempts to win over some BJP MLAs.

Patel’s style of functioning has helped build bridges between warring factions. He can take along different voices in the party and yet remain behind the curtains while conducting big political operations. He is also not loathe to give all credit to the First Family of the Congress. No surprises then that so far as optics are concerned, it was Rahul Gandhi who was in the forefront of the Pilot comeback, said a party leader.

Party sources say there were ‘Trojan horses’ in the Pilot camp who were in regular touch with the Congress leadership. Once the Pilot camp opened negotiations, the first move by the Congress was to scrap sedition charges against them by the Rajasthan Police SOG to send out feelers.

The sources said the reluctance of rebel Congress MLAs to join ranks with the BJP was anticipated by the Congress over a period of time and it seized the initiative.

Once the nod came from Rahul Gandhi, the return of Pilot and his band of followers into the party fold was worked out in typical Congress style wherein a committee was formed to listen to their grievances. Patel put together the panel led by Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi and it met the MLAs and Pilot on Monday night.

It may seem a happy ending for the Congress at the moment, but party leaders say that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was initially reluctant about the ‘ghar wapsi’ of the rebel leader though he wanted the rebel MLAs back.

He was told that the party leadership wanted Sachin Pilot back and thus not to interfere in the reconciliation process, throwing light on the tough negotiating skills of Ahmed Patel.

The party had dispatched Avinash Pandey, Randeep Singh Surjewala and Ajay Maken to show the seriousness of the party that it doesn’t want to take risks like in Madhya Pradesh, where Jyotiraditya Scindia-led coup cost it the state government.

The sources said a task has now been cut out for the Congress managers to keep a united face after the Rajasthan political drama that played out before the nation on various platforms.

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