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Facebook: Nick Clegg avoids questions on whistleblower Haugen’s testimony

Nick Clegg

Facebook: Nick Clegg avoids questions on whistleblower Haugen’s testimony

The Facebook executive Nick Clegg took a damage-limitation tour of US political talkshows on Sunday, but remained evasive over questions about the social media giant’s contribution to the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January this year.

The former British deputy prime minister, now Facebook vice-president of global affairs, was responding to a barrage of damaging claims from the whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Appearing before a Senate committee this week, Haugen said a proliferation of misinformation and unchecked hate speech on Facebook helped encourage the pro-Trump mob that stormed Congress, seeking to overturn the election result.

Haugen will also meet with the House committee investigating the Capitol attack.

Clegg insisted individuals were responsible for their own actions on 6 January, and would not say if he believed Facebook bore any responsibility for amplifying toxic messaging such as Donald Trump’s baseless claims of a stolen election.

“Given that we have thousands of algorithms and millions of people using it, I can’t give you a yes or no answer to individual personalised feeds each person uses,” Clegg told CNN’s State of the Union.

“Where we see content we think is relevant to the investigation, to law enforcement, of course we cooperate. But if our algorithms are as nefarious as some people suggest, why is it that those systems have reduced the prevalence of hate speech on our platforms to as little as 0.05%?”

A week ago, Clegg blasted suggestions that social media contributed to the insurrection as “ludicrous”, and strongly resisted claims that Facebook ignored problems on its platform.

But after Haugen’s searing testimony that Facebook was harming children and damaging democracy globally in its quest to place “astronomical profits before people”, Clegg cut a more contrite figure on CNN, NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week.

He outlined steps he said the company was taking to “reduce and mitigate the bad and amplify the good”, including new tools to direct users, especially teenagers, away from harmful content on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. He also said Facebook was open to discussions over stricter regulation including internet privacy legislation.

“We will, of course, seek to make ourselves ever more transparent, so people can hold us to account,” Clegg told ABC. “We understand that with success comes responsibility, comes criticism, comes scrutiny.

“We’re going to give new tools to adults, to parents, so they can supervise what their teens are doing online. And we want to give users more control. We give users the ability to override the algorithm, to compose their own newsfeed. Many people who use Facebook in the US and elsewhere want to see more friends, less politics.”

Pressure is growing in Congress for tighter restrictions on social media companies, including moves to break up Facebook dating from the Trump administration.

The Democratic Massachusetts senator Ed Markey said last month Facebook was “just like big tobacco, pushing a product that they know is harmful to the health of young people, pushing it to them early, all so Facebook can make money”.

Clegg said legislators should step in.

“We’re not saying this is a substitution of our own responsibilities,” he told NBC, “but there are a whole bunch of things that only regulators and lawmakers can do. I don’t think anyone wants a private company to adjudicate on these difficult trade-offs between free expression on one hand and moderating or removing content on the other.

“Only lawmakers can create a digital regulator … we make the best judgment we possibly can but we’re caught in the middle. Lawmakers have to resolve that themselves.”

Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota and former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, welcomed Clegg’s stance but said social media companies had missed the opportunity to govern themselves.

“I appreciate that he is willing to talk about things but I believe the time for conversation is done, the time for action is now,” she told CNN. “If they’re willing to sign on I’m all for it, but so far we haven’t seen that.

“Look, where we are now, you know, the guy down the street[’s] mother-in-law won’t get a vaccine because she read on social media that it would implant a microchip in her arm. We need privacy legislation. We’re one of the few countries that doesn’t have a federal privacy policy.”

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Gov Eno visits family of late makeup artist, directs renovation of family house

…offers automatic employment to elder sister

…promises assistance to the undergraduate sisters

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno has visited the family of late Nollywood make- up artist. Abigail Edith Frederick, in Ikot Udoma, Eket Local Government Area, where he consoled the bereaved family.

Showing deep emotions, Governor Eno, sat with the grieving family members and told them he feels their pain.

“This is deeply unfortunate, a young girl, 24 years old, who, finished her Youth Service just last year, and decided to pursue her passion.

“This is a reflection of our Arise spirit. It shows that our young people are willing to go out there, not begging, not waiting for handouts, but to pursue their passions.

“It is sad and unfortunate that her life ended the way it did.

“Once I was fully briefed, I decided to come here personally with the full complement of Government to console and encourage the family.

“You are not just the Governor when people are celebrating. In times and moments like this, you become the Mourner- in-Chief and give them hope.

“I trust the Holy Spirit will perfect the hope in their lives.

“Coming here means we care. You know Akwa Ibomites are like Americans. We don’t leave each other behind. Government will be with the family and support them.”

The Governor thereafter gave an automatic employment in the State Civil Service to the surviving elder sister of the deceased, and directed the SSA on Humanitarian Services, Umo Ekpo to renovate the family house and bring it to modern standards.

The Governor also assured of Government’s assistance to the two sisters of the bereaved who are undergraduates at the University of Uyo, said to be sponsored by the late Nollywood make- up artist.

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Jnr. Pope’s death; ‘heart wrenching and unfortunate- Gov Mbah’,

Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, mourning Nollywood actor, Obumneme Odonwodo, a.k.a Jnr. Pope, says Enugu State has lost one of its talented sons.

The governor said Jnr. Pope’s death came at a time Enugu State was working hard to develop the creative potential of its youths for self reliance.

Mbah stated this in a statement issued by the State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Aka Eze Aka, on Saturday night in Enugu.

Pope, who hailed from Ukehe in Igbo-Etiti Council Area of the State, alongside three of his colleagues, lost their lives in the tragic boat accident on River Niger while returning from a movie location on Wednesday.

The governor, who described Jnr. Pope’s death as ‘heart wrenching and unfortunate’, said he received the news with sadness.

He said, “Indeed, the death of Jnr. Pope
came at a time Enugu State was working so hard to develop the creative potential of its youths for self reliance, job creation and export of their talents outside the shores of Nigeria”.

Mbah expressed deep regrets that such talented, young Nigerians could lose their lives in such unfortunate circumstance.

The governor commiserated with the bereaved families, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and the entire Nollywood industry on the loss of their members in an ill-fated boat accident.

He promised that the state shall work in concert with the family to ensure a befitting burial for the late movie icon.

The governor stressed that Enugu State Government had opened a condolence register for Nigerians to pay their tributes to the fallen Nollywood Star.

Mbah explained that the condolence register would be opened at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information and Communication, State Secretariat, Enugu, on April 15.

“Those who may not get to the office of the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communication, may use the following email address condolencejuniorpope@gmail.com to register their condolences,” he said.

 

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Junior Pope: Movie producer, Adanma Luke, breaks her silence on the loss of cast and crew in boat mishap

Adanma Luke, the producer of the movie Jnr Pope and four others were working on before they died in a boat mishap on April 10, has broken her silence.

In a video she posted on her Instagram page, Adanma said she was also supposed to be on the ill-fated boat. She captioned the video ;

‘’Why me? Life Jacket was free”

While speaking, she said she has not been quiet since the unfortunate incident. In her words;

’I have been so traumatized, so cold. This whole thing still feels like a dream to me. I have not been able to make any statement since because we have been trying to recover the bodies.

“I have been providing fuel money to those that have been looking for the bodies. I provided caskets, ambulances to make sure the bodies were conveyed to their villages to the families that wanted it to be done. I have not been quiet. I have been doing things just so these people can rest.

“It is so sad this had to happen on my set. I blame myself because I would have been doing my thing in Lagos. I blame myself for coming to Asaba.

“I was supposed to be on that boat. My production manager was calling me to bring the memory card so they could start filming and I told him to come and collect it. He said ‘Mama, you know this place is far, just bring it for us’.

” I said why haven’t you people crossed? Why haven’t you people gone to work? He said they were waiting for Junior Pope to arrive.

“Before now, on the 9th, they went there on their own. Junior Pope came on his own. On this 10th, while I was getting ready to go drop the card with them, I was accompanied by my brother’s two children who were supposed to be with me on that boat together. On getting there, I saw Emeka. He was my DOP. He was just sitting. I was surprised because I didn’t see others.

“I asked him what is it? People surrounded him. He was quiet. I said Emeka, talk to me, what is it? why haven’t you crossed? Where is Ogolo? Where is everybody? has JP come? He was quiet.

“Emeka now said ‘’JP Don go! Abigail don go! Friday don go! Precious don go! I still did not understand what he meant by that. I said Emeka what do you mean? Don go where? He said ‘’Them dey inside water!”

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