Connect with us

Published

on

Sen. Richard Blumenthal discussed his office’s research during a hearing about the effects social media can have on young people’s mental health and well-being

A quick glance at Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s verified Instagram account shows he knows how to take a selfie. But to find out what it’s like for a 13-year-old girl to use the social media app, he and his staff created a fake account and posed as one.

Blumenthal’s office conducted the research ahead of a hearing Thursday in order to examine the “toxic effects of Facebook and Instagram” on young people.

With the fake account, Blumenthal’s team “followed a few easily findable accounts associated with extreme dieting and eating disorders,” he said at the hearing. “Within a day its recommendations were exclusively filled with accounts that promotes self-injury and eating disorders. That is the perfect storm that Instagram has fostered and created.”

Facebook’s Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis was on hand, via video, to answer questions by the Senate’s consumer protection subcommittee. She defended the company, which owns Instagram, saying, “We’ve been working with suicide prevention experts since 2006. We also work with eating disorder experts. We don’t allow the promotion of either kinds of content on our platform.”

Blumenthal cited recent reporting in The Wall Street Journal as well as information provided by a whistleblower to his office about Facebook’s attempts to market to young users despite research that shows it can be harmful to their emotional and mental health.

“Instagram’s recommendations will still latch on to a person’s insecurities, a young woman’s vulnerabilities about their bodies, and drag them into dark places that glorify eating disorders and self-harm,” he said.

The Journal said it obtained research from Facebook that indicated “teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression” and “thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”

“As long as there’s one person dealing with the issue on our platform, we consider it a problem,” she replied.

Advertisement

She also explained ideas the company is considering to mitigate it. “We’re looking at nudges towards uplifting content,” she said. “We’re also looking at something called ‘take a break,’ where we would encourage somebody to take a break when we think they may be rabbit holing down certain kind of content or on the app too long.”

The questioning that got the most attention, however, was when Blumenthal asked Davis, “Will you commit to ending Finsta?”

Sen. Blumenthal asks Facebook “Will you commit to ending Finsta?”

Facebook’s safety chief has to explain that Finsta is slang for a fake account. pic.twitter.com/jMYy5AIZjY — Eric Morrow (@morroweric)

September 30, 2021

Davis took a pause before answering.

“Senator, again let me explain, we don’t actually do Finsta,” she said in a moment that went viral (video of the exchange has millions of views online). “What Finsta refers to is young people setting up accounts where they may want to have more privacy.”

More broadly, “Finsta” is a term for a fake Instagram account that some users set up in secret to control who sees the content they’re posting there.

“Finsta is one of your products or services,” the senator continued. “We’re not talking about Google or Apple, it’s Facebook, correct?”  

“Finsta is slang for a type of account,” Davis said, “it’s not a product.”

As the hearing ended, Blumenthal made it clear that he would like Facebook to end those types of accounts.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Donald Trump

Bob Woodward says he’s never seen so much political strength from a former president as Trump has

Published

on

By

“Trump’s popularity, his power in the Republican party has grown since he left office. It has not shrunk,” said Woodward

Famed journalist Bob Woodward says he’s never seen a former president retain as much political strength as Donald Trump.

“What’s going on now really is an iron curtain of obedience to Trump,” told CNN. “It’s not just polite deference, it is obedience. And it really is an iron curtain because it’s so strong.”

Woodward spoke after Trump’s appearance at a rally Saturday night alongside Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a mainstream Republican running for election at age 88.

“These people, like Senator Grassley, can count,” Woodward said. “They can look at the polls. They go to their home states, they talk to constituents. And there’s tens of millions of people who support Trump.”

During the rally, Trump awarded Grassley his customary “complete and total endorsement.” 

Advertisement

Grassley later commented that it “wouldn’t be too smart” not to accept “the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa.”

A recent Iowa poll shows Trump with  a higher approval rating in the state than he ever did as a sitting president. And despite Grassley’s popularity as a senator – 81% of GOP voters in Iowa support him – he is not as popular as the ex-president.

“This is a political strength that we have rarely seen, never seen from a former president … Let’s face it: Trump’s popularity, his power in the Republican Party has grown since he left office. It has not shrunk,” said Woodward.

Continue Reading

Conservatives

Mollie Hemingway’s ‘Rigged’: How Dems have outmaneuvered the GOP in elections for years

Published

on

By

“It’s amazing [Republicans] won any elections, given this,” the author and Fox News contributor said.

The Federalist’s Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway released her new book Tuesday called “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections,” which analyzes the issues with the 2020 election, the Democrats’ history of refusing to accept Republican-won elections, and how Republicans are repeatedly outmaneuvered by the Democratic Party in election litigation.

In her book, Hemingway notes how, until 2020, Democrats had been concerned about absentee ballots and voting machines since 2000, when George W. Bush won the presidency. Since that presidential election, she claims, Democrats have refused to accept any presidential elections won by Republicans.

But in the case of the 2020 election, when the use of those methods significantly increased, those who questioned them were labeled conspiracy theorists by Democrats in political, media, and corporate elites as social media seeks to censor reports of election irregularities. 

Hemingway argues the new voting and election methods implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic make the whole process less private and secure, more like it was in the early years of America, when people’s votes were public and easily manipulated.

These changes are partly due to how the Democratic Party exploits the legal system to its advantage with elections, she explains, starting with Marc Elias, who chaired the political law practice at the party’s law firm Perkins Coie for years.

Elias, who was general counsel for both John Kerry’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, hired Fusion GPS in 2016, which created the Steele dossier at the center of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. 

He also has a long history of using courts to benefit Democrats in elections, as was the case with the overturning of Al Franken’s apparent loss in a Minnesota Senate election, which ultimately gave the Democratic Party a 60-seat supermajority in the Senate to bypass the filibuster and pass Obamacare, according to Hemingway. Franken’s slim, 312-vote victory was brought into question over a year later, when 393 votes in two of Minnesota’s largest counties were found by a conservative group to be illegally cast. 

Elias was also at the center of the 2020 election, when in January of that year he urged counting ballots without matching signatures, expanding no-excuse absentee voting dramatically, having the government pay for postage, counting ballots that arrive after Election Day, and implementing and expanding ballot harvesting. 

Advertisement

The 2020 presidential election was also the first since 1980 when the Republican National Committee was allowed to participate in Election Day operations. 

For nearly 40 years, “the Republican National Committee had been prohibited by law from helping out with poll watcher efforts or nearly any litigation related to how voting is conducted,” Hemingway writes.

It started with the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial race, when Democrats accused Republicans of voter intimidation. The two parties settled the case and entered into a court-ordered consent decree, under which Republicans were limited in poll watching operations. 

Judge Dickinson Debevoise, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, oversaw the agreement and didn’t let the Republicans out of it, as he kept changing it and following Democrats’ request to strengthen it for them. While he was only a judge for 15 years, he maintained senior status for 21 years, which is like a “semi-retirement that enables judges to keep serving in a limited capacity,” Hemingway writes.

After Debevoise’s death in 2015, his successor, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, took over the case and “let the agreement expire at the end of 2018.”

While the Democratic Party was able to build up its own coordination efforts for decades, the RNC was prohibited from doing so, as GOP candidates and state parties were left to do those things on their own. 

The RNC was also prohibited from any Election Day-related litigation and recounts. 

On “The Federalist Radio Hour” Tuesday, Hemingway said that when she was interviewing Republicans about the consent decree, they told her that it was just the way it was, which prompted her to think, “It’s amazing you people won any elections, given this.”

Continue Reading

Media

Harris raises questions with unexplained trip to California

Published

on

By

Reporters not allowed to watch vice president depart; reason for trip is not known.

Vice President Kamala Harris raised eyebrows late this week with an unexplained trip to California that appeared shrouded in secrecy going into the weekend.

Harris reportedly stayed in Palm Springs, Calif., for a “private visit,” according to at least one news outlet, but no public officials have indicated a reason for the visit. 

Advertisement

Vice President Kamala Harris will stay in the Coachella Valley overnight for a private visit.

— The Desert Sun (@MyDesert)

October 1, 2021

Harris departed from Maryland, but reportedly no journalists were permitted to watch her leave the airfield. 

The vice president is slated to return to Washington on Saturday. 

Continue Reading

Arizona

Arizona Senate president warns state could take control of Maricopa election after audit red flags

Published

on

By

“If we find that you are breaking the laws, and you can’t do the election yourself, then maybe the state ought to step in and do it,” said Karen Fann.

Following the release of explosive findings by an independent forensic audit of the 2020 election in Arizona’s Maricopa County, the state may step in to assume direct control of election administration there before the next election, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann hinted Friday. 

The long-awaited results of an outside audit of the county’s 2020 election process were announced Sept. 24. While confirming the rough accuracy of county vote tabulation giving Joe Biden a razor-thin victory in Arizona, the auditors flagged more than 50,000 suspect ballots for further investigation of issues ranging from people voting from addresses from which they had already moved to residents voting twice. 

The number of problematic ballots uncovered was almost five times Biden’s official margin of victory

Responsibility for determining whether and to what extent laws were broken during the 2020 election now rests with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican with 2022 Senate aspirations. 

“If you didn’t do your job, and the laws were broken, somebody has to answer for it, whether it was intentional or not,” said Fann on a recent episode of the John Solomon Reports podcast. 
 

Fann said she believes Brnovich will find evidence, based on the findings in the audit report, that chain of custody laws were broken, as well as laws pertaining to identifying duplicate ballots, among other issues.

The lawmaker told Solomon that one of her biggest takeaways from the audit and the contentious process surrounding the production of the report is that “if you don’t watch over your own elections, people start breaking the rules.” 

Advertisement

While the Maricopa County audit has acted as a roadmap for Republicans in some states to push for audits of their own, Arizona may now follow the model of Georgia and consider assuming direct responsibility for election administration from Maricopa County. 

Georgia officials are currently watching Fulton County election authorities extremely closely as Atlanta prepares for a November mayoral race. Following a 2020 election marred by numerous irregularities — many captured in a lengthy report by a state-assigned election monitor — Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Just the News he plans to recommend to Georgia’s Elections Board that the state take direct control of elections in Fulton due to habitual failures by the county. 

Fann told Solomon this model could potentially remedy some of Maricopa’s problems as well. In her opening statement at the audit report presentation, the state Senate leader  again expressed frustration with the failure of Maricopa officials to cooperate with the audit.

“They have refused time and time and time again [to sit down with us],” she told Solomon, 

If the state finds that, despite numerous chances, “you are breaking the laws, and you can’t do the election yourself, then maybe the state ought to step in and do it,” Fann said. “Maybe that’s the penalty.”

Continue Reading

Media

Lawrence Jones: The Black Elite Media Can’t Control Me

Published

on

By

Lawrence Jones joins Mark Levin on Life, Liberty & Levin tonight, September 26, at 8pm eastern on Fox News.

Poor inner-city Blacks will now have to compete with the millions of illegals for social services and Government aid. We have OUR OWN poor to take care of. We CAN’T afford to save the world. There is only so much water in the bucket;

Democrat strategy is to keep people down because that keeps them as voters;

Advertisement

Black and/or white liberals, progressives, and democrats please STOP with pity when looking at black people (I am one). We don’t need your pity! All we want is the same opportunities as everyone else and to be held to the same moral and ethical standards as any other American. One nation under God with liberty and justice for all: Followers’ Comment.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 Trending Lit