H&R Block, Other Tax Prep Services Sending ‘Sensitive Financial Information’ to Facebook: Report

Major tax preparation services have reportedly been sending sensitive personal financial information to Facebook as part of a potential advertising scheme, according to a report released Tuesday. 

Companies such as H&R Block, TaxAct, and TaxSlayer have allegedly been sending Facebook “not only information like names and email addresses but often even more detailed information, including data on users’ income, filing status, refund amounts, and dependents’ college scholarship amounts,” a report from the Verge said on Tuesday.

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Commentary: Government Colludes with Big Tech to Censor Americans

Despite plenty of negative media attention this year on the now-dissolved Disinformation Governance Board, government collusion with social media platforms is ramping up.

This collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security and companies such as Twitter and Facebook to police the speech of Americans requires a legislative remedy.

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Documents Show AG Ellison Spoke at Conference Partially Funded by Companies He’s Investigating

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison claims to be the “People’s Lawyer.” But documents say he spoke at a lavish Hawaii retreat in June 2021 partially funded by companies he’s investigating, including Meta and Google.

A 2021 retreat agenda of the Attorney General Alliance says Ellison participated in a lunch conversation at the Grand Wailea hotel with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas about managing high-profile criminal matters.

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Facebook Allegedly Gives The FBI Users’ Info Without Their Consent

The FBI allegedly accepts private user information with “a partisan focus” from Facebook without users’ permission, avoiding the normal legal process the bureau would require to seek such information on its own, a new report from House Judiciary Committee Republicans claims.

The alleged information transfer between Facebook and the FBI is part of a program likely named “OperationBronze Griffin,” according to a report released Friday. Facebook allegedly gives the bureau data “tending only to concern users from one side of the political spectrum,” according to whistleblower intelligence.

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Government Officials Have a Special Portal to Flag Facebook Posts for Censorship

The Department of Homeland Security has left open a special feature that allows government officials to flag Facebook posts for misinformation after scrapping a controversial advisory board tasked with developing guidelines for social media censorship, the Intercept reported Monday.

DHS announced plans for a Disinformation Governance Board to “develop guidelines, standards, guardrails to ensure that the work that has been ongoing for nearly 10 years does not infringe on people’s free speech rights, rights of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in May, according to The Hill. While DHS shuttered the initiative after an onslaught of bipartisan opposition decrying the potential censorship, the Intercept found through an analysis of public and leaked documents that government efforts to police tech companies goes on.

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Facebook ‘Whistleblower’ Teams Up with Ex-Feds, Left-Wing Billionaire to Police Social Media

Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen is heading a new initiative, featuring a slew of former intelligence officials and bankrolled by a left-wing billionaire, that aims to influence how social media companies moderate speech and content.

Haugen will co-chair the Council for Responsible Social Media, according to a Wednesday press release from Issue One, a non-profit sponsoring the initiative. The council’s members includes Leon Panetta, former CIA Director and secretary of Defense under Barack Obama, Chris Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency under Donald Trump, and Bush administration CIA Director Porter Goss; members also include the Biden administration’s former Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council Nicole Tisdale and Obama administration Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

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Arizona AG Brnovich Discusses Settlement with Google over Deceptively Obtaining Users’ Location Data for Profit

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has sued numerous big players throughout his two terms, including the Biden administration, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Arizona State University, and the City of Tucson. Perhaps the biggest entity he sued was Google in 2020, for “deceiving consumers” by tracking their location on smartphones without their knowledge and then selling the information. After over two years of litigation, the tech giant capitulated, settling for $85 million, more than the country of Australia snagged in a similar settlement with Google, $60 million. 

The first attorney general in the country to sue Google over the practice, Brnovich told The Arizona Sun Times that what prompted him in part to file the complaint was the shocking extent of how much personal information was obtained. “Google knew more about where you were going and who you hung out with, more than your travel agent or spouse,” he said. He found out about the practice after a news article revealed that Google was tracking users through its app preloaded on Android smartphones even after they’d disabled their “Location History” setting. Google was told to stop and did not.

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Report: Facebook Spies on Private Messages of Users Skeptical of 2020 Election Results

One of the biggest social media platforms in the world has allegedly been spying on the private messages and personal data of users who believe that voter fraud took place in the 2020 election, and has subsequently been handing this information over to the FBI.

According to the New York Post, the alleged surveillance operation by Facebook and its coordination with the government was confirmed by several anonymous sources in the Department of Justice (DOJ). The sources allege that employees at Facebook have been red-flagging any suspicious private messages over the last 19 months, sending the information directly to the FBI’s domestic terrorism operational unit in Washington, D.C. These actions have been carried out without the use of an official subpoena.

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DHS Encouraged Children to Report Family to Facebook for Challenging U.S. Government COVID Claims

In the cartoon below, you will see the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encourage a young female protagonist to report her “Uncle Steve” to Facebook for posting “disinformation”. 

DHS’s rationale? “Uncle Steve” posted that “Covid-19 is no worse than the flu”:

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Arizona Reps Blast FBI for Directing Facebook to Censor Hunter Biden Laptop Story

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted on “The Joe Rogan Experience” that he worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to censor the now-infamous Hunter Biden laptop story in the lead-up to the 2020 election, Arizona’s elected officials are speaking out.

“The FBI’s collusion with Big Tech unquestionably constitutes election interference. Every single American should be appalled,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) told The Arizona Sun Times Friday. “This is yet another example of the politicization and weaponization of bad actors in the FBI to protect Democrats’ political allies and go after their political opponents. If House Republicans win back the majority, we will hold these bad actors in the FBI accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

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Corporate Media Shifts Blame to Facebook After Mom Allegedly Performs Late-Term Abortion on Teen, Hides the Body

News outlets inaccurately suggested a 17-year-old girl was being prosecuted for obtaining an illegal late-term abortion in recent headlines about a Nebraska case.

Numerous outlets covering the story emphasized Facebook’s role in the prosecution of this abortion-related case and highlighted concerns about tech companies protecting people’s data in light of new abortion restrictions going into effect. Headlines generally didn’t acknowledge the baby’s late gestational age, the concealment of the corpse or the suspicious autopsy that led the the warrant for their Facebook messages.

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Ohio Takes Lead in Class Action Lawsuit Against Facebook

The Ohio Employees Retirement System will lead the effort in a class action lawsuit that seeks to recover millions of dollars from Facebook and force the company to reform its internal practices.

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Northern California on Wednesday chose Ohio to be lead plaintiff in the securities case Attorney General Dave Yost originally filed in November 2021, according to a release from Yost.

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Biden Climate Czar Urges Big Tech to Censor Energy Debate

President Joe Biden’s top adviser on environmental issues called on technology companies to censor debates on environmental issues and energy policy during a Thursday event.

“The tech companies have to stop allowing specific individuals over and over again to spread disinformation,” White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, a former EPA Administrator, said during a virtual event, according to Axios. “We need the tech companies to really jump in.”

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Commentary: Team Zuckerberg Masks the Heavily Pro-Democrat Tilt of 2020 Election ‘Zuck Bucks,’ Study Finds

The $332 million that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan provided to a progressive group to help run the 2020 elections was distributed on a highly partisan basis that favored Democrats, according to a new analysis by election data experts.

While these “Zuckerbucks” or “Zuck bucks” were touted as a resource meant to help all jurisdictions administer the election during the COVID crisis, tax records filed by the progressive Center for Tech and Civic Life show that the group “awarded all larger grants – on both an absolute and per capita basis to deeply Democratic urban areas,” particularly in swing states, according to the new report. Its authors are William Doyle, research director at the right-leaning Caesar Rodney Election Research Institute, and Alex Oliver, chief data scientist at Evolving Strategies, a nonpartisan research group.

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Conservative Investors Launch Campaign to Take On America’s ‘Wokest’ Corporations

A group of conservative investors plan to take on four of the “wokest” corporations at upcoming shareholder meetings over allegedly discriminatory policies in an effort to defend shareholders, according to a press release.

The Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Boardroom Initiative (BI) coalition member, will make proposals at Walmart, Twitter, Facebook and Comcast shareholder meetings held over the next two weeks to hire outside firms to investigate whether or not the companies are placing merit behind “equity” considerations, according to the release.

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Senator Blackburn Says Facebook Removed Post About Biological Men Playing Women’s Sports

According to Friday reports, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was censored by Facebook for a post about biological males playing women’s sports. 

“Biological men have no place in women’s sports,” Blackburn reportedly said on the social media giant, linking to a fundraising page.

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Commentary: Americans Are Sounding the Alarm over Big Tech Monopolies

Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition — which can be summed up as the world’s wealthiest person buying one of the most powerful social media and news platforms — underscores one of the big problems with Big Tech.

In the absence of modernized anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws, Big Tech companies in the U.S. have amassed far too much economic and political control over society, and especially over the news and publishing industries.

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Corporations Stay Quiet on Abortion After Disney’s Disastrous Tangle with DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

Corporations previously outspoken about hot-button social issues have stayed quiet on the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade after a dramatic fight between Disney and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the company’s political activism.

Following the leak of a draft opinion indicating the Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats are trying to ram through a bill legalizing third trimester abortions; however, corporations are largely staying out of the fray, following Disney’s disastrous battle with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that ended with the company losing its special tax privileges.

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All-Star Panelist Ben Cunningham and the Tyranny of Social Media Companies

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Ben Cunningham to discuss the tyranny of social media companies and their censorship of conservative voices.

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Connecticut School Nurse Suspended over Facebook Comments Claiming District Hides Children’s Gender Issues from Parents

A Connecticut school nurse was suspended Monday over Facebook comments on a personal account, called “inappropriate” by the district superintendent, that warned parents school staff is hiding children’s supposed expressed gender identity issues from their parents.

Kathleen Cataford, 77, was suspended by Hartford Public Schools (HPS) after posting comments to her personal Facebook account, reportedly containing information about the number of pre-teen children who are claiming to have gender identity issues, including an 11-year-old “on puberty blockers,” and other children “identifying as non-binary.”

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Congressman Demands Internal Records from Facebook and Twitter over Suppression of Hunter Biden Laptop Story

Hunter Biden

On Thursday, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) demanded that Big Tech companies Facebook and Twitter preserve all internal documents related to the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Issa’s office sent letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, Facebook communications director Andy Stone, and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The letters all ordered the companies to “immediately initiate document preservation for all materials relating to questions, inquiry, conversation, strategy, and response to the media reporting of the Hunter Biden laptop and/or its contents that first appeared in the New York Post on October 14, 2020.” The companies were additionally instructed to notify employees, consultants, and subcontractors who may have access to the relevant information.

Issa’s requests are in reference to an apparently coordinated campaign by Big Tech companies and the mainstream media to suppress the bombshell story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. First reported on by the New York Post, the story broke less than one month before the 2020 election in which Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, was running against incumbent President Donald Trump. The laptop in question, retrieved from a repair shop in Delaware, contained numerous damning documents, photos, and videos depicting Hunter’s foreign business dealings through his father’s political connections, as well as Hunter’s personal habits involving drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.

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Russia Moves to Declare Facebook Parent Company an ‘Extremist Organization,’ Ban Instagram

Russian prosecutors asked a court to classify Facebook parent company Meta as “extremist” Friday, escalating tensions between Russia and the tech giant after Facebook was blocked in the country.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office asked a court to declare the tech giant an “extremist organization,” saying the company engaged in spreading “propaganda” and incited violence against the Russian people, Interfax reported. The move would effectively criminalize all of Meta’s operations in Russia, according to Reuters.

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GETTR Director of Media Affairs Sonny Joy Nelson on Record Enrollment and Platform Mission

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Director of Media Relations for GETTR social media, Sonny Joy Nelson to the newsmakers line to describe the new platform and its mission.

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Internet Accountability Project Accuses Big Tech of Siding with Russia

A Big Tech watchdog group is speaking out about the way Silicon Valley’s titans of industry have handled the war between Russia and Ukraine. 

“Apparently these Big Tech monopolists find everyday conservative Americans more objectionable than murderous foreign dictators,” Mike Davis, Founder and President of the Internet Accountability Project (IAP) told The Tennessee Star Thursday. “They’re willing to silence and censor political voices with which they disagree while welcoming war criminals like Putin with open arms. That alone should be enough to recognize these Big Tech monopolists are not our friends.”

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Puskaric to Ask Pennsylvania Agencies to Ditch Social Media Platforms That Censor

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Puskaric (R-Jefferson Hills) indicated Wednesday he will urge state agencies to ditch social-media platforms he says engage in censorship.

In a memorandum asking fellow representatives to cosponsor his upcoming resolution, the Pittsburgh-area legislator argued that especially large information-technology companies violate the state and federal constitutions when they make politicized publishing decisions. He insisted government institutions and officials should respond by cancelling their accounts on such sites and signing onto more permissive online venues instead.

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Lawsuit Alleges Michigan Secretary of State Allowed Facebook to Sway 2020 Election

A conservative group in Michigan is duking it out in court with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) claiming that the elected official allowed money from Silicon Valley titan Facebook to have a partisan impact on the state’s 2020 elections. 

“This is what happened in 2020,” co-founder of the Michigan Conservative Coalition Marian Sheridan said in a press release.  “Zuck Bucks, which is private money, was used by elected officials through public entities to promote voting, but only promoted among selected potential voter groups.  Not to all citizens.  Every voter should have received the benefit of a fair portion of the funds unfairly used by elected officials.  They cannot selectively promote anything.”

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Facebook Executive Resigns After Apparently Being Caught in Underage Sex Sting

A corporate director at Facebook is out of the company after the release of what appeared to be footage of him being caught in an underage sex sting operation.

Jeren Miles, formerly a manager of global community development at Facebook parent company Meta, departed the company after video of the apparent bust was posted to the YouTube channel of the amateur group PCI Predator Catchers Indianapolis.

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Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, over 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Shows

Major technology companies and social media platforms have removed, suppressed or flagged the accounts of over 800 prominent individuals and organizations, including medical doctors, for COVID-19 misinformation, according to a new study from the Media Research Center (MRC).

MRC’s Free Speech America CensorTrack, an initiative that monitors acts of censorship across online platforms, identified over 41 instances between March 2020 and February 2022 in which doctors, scientists and medical organizations were censored, according to the results of a study shared with Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Commentary: Time Is Running Out for the COVID Coverups

The Left has a word for misinformation that turns out to be true. They call it, “misinformation.” Over and over again, the tech giants, cheered on by power-drunk government officials, have censored and deplatformed people who have contradicted the official narrative regarding COVID and heavy-handed public health measures that restrict freedom with dubious health benefits.

Tellingly, the demands to censor Joe Rogan rarely identify the supposed “misinformation” he peddled. Even more tellingly, the censors totally fail to acknowledge that Rogan-promoted “conspiracy theories” have a better track record than many of the articles of faith his critics promoted.

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Senate Committee Advances Minnesota Sen. Klobuchar’s Legislation to ‘Rein in Big Tech’

Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on Fox News’ Special Report Thursday night, primarily to promote an antitrust bill aimed at reforming laws that govern Big Tech and increasing competition.

A bipartisan U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-6 Thursday to advance the legislation — The American Innovation and Choice Online Act — as bipartisan lawmakers seek to curtail the power and influence of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and others.

In short, the bill would prevent companies from “unfairly preferencing their own products and services” on their platforms while prohibiting “specific forms of conduct that are harmful to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and consumers.”

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Facebook Exec Promises to Crack Down on ‘Falsehoods’ Targeting ‘Marginalized Communities’

Roy Austin, vice president of civil rights for Facebook parent company Meta, pledged to crack down on “misinformation” and alleged discriminatory conduct propagated by the social media platform.

“We’re living in a time and a society where there are people who propagate obvious falsehoods,” Austin said in an interview with Axios. “My position is, when those falsehoods injure historically and systemically marginalized communities, that they don’t belong.”

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Amazon and Facebook Spent More Money Than Ever Lobbying in 2021

Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.

Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.

Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.

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Zuckerberg, Pichai Signed Off On Backroom Facebook-Google Collusion, Lawsuit Alleges

Facebook and Google CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai signed off on a deal between the two companies to rig the digital advertising market, a recently unredacted lawsuit alleges.

The existence of the deal, dubbed Jedi Blue, was first revealed in a complaint filed by Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in December 2020 which alleged that Google unlawfully abused its dominance in the digital ads market. The complaint alleged that Google struck a deal with Facebook in 2018 to give the social company secret advantages in its ad exchanges, known as Open Bidding auctions, to the detriment of competitors.

An unredacted version of the complaint filed Friday alleges that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally signed off on the deal. The complaint alleges Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg brokered the deal with top Google executive Philipp Schindler and pushed Zuckerberg to approve.

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Democratic U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna Calls out Twitter for Trying to Hide Hunter Biden Laptop Story

Ro Khanna

Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna criticized Twitter and Facebook for censoring the New York Post’s story on Hunter Biden, saying the story should not have been blocked.

“I thought it was a mistake for Twitter to take down some of this stuff about Hunter Biden, or Facebook to do that,” Khanna said during an interview with Joe Lonsdale on the American Optimist podcast while promoting his book “Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us.”

The New York Post published a story in October 2020 detailing a meeting between Hunter Biden, then-Vice President Joe Biden and a top executive at Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2015, relying on data recovered from a laptop reportedly belonging to Hunter. Shortly after the story was published, Twitter blocked users from sharing the link and suspended accounts that attempted to tweet it out.

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Facebook Parent Company Will Make Its Office Workers Get the Vaccine Booster

Facebook parent company Meta will require its in-person workers to receive a booster shot in addition to a COVID-19 vaccine, the company announced Monday.

By March 28, Meta employees must have received the booster to use the in-person offices of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, The Wall Street Journal reported. Meta is reportedly delaying the reopening of its offices until late March due to the requirement.

“We’re focused on making sure our employees continue to have choices about where they work given the current COVID-19 landscape,” Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement, CNBC reported. “We understand that the continued uncertainty makes this a difficult time to make decisions about where to work, so we’re giving more time to choose what works best for them.”

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Trump Calls Twitter, Facebook ‘Disgrace to Our Nation,’ Urges Americans to Abandon Platforms

Former President Donald Trump, who is building his own social media solution, on Monday night called Twitter and Facebook a “disgrace to our Nation” for their continued censorship of conservative voices and implored Americans to abandon their platforms.

Trump’s statement was released after a tumultuous 24-hour period in which freshman Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia was banned permanently from Twitter and given a 24-hour timeout on Facebook for information she posted on COVID-19.

“Twitter is a disgrace to democracy. They shouldn’t be allowed to do business in this Country,” the former president said. “Marjorie Taylor Greene has a huge constituency of honest, patriotic, hard-working people. They don’t deserve what’s happened to them on places like low-life Twitter and Facebook.

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Facebook Bans Conservative Kid’s Book Publisher Heroes of Liberty From Running Ads

Facebook permanently suspended the ads account of Heroes of Liberty, a conservative children’s book publisher, claiming the company’s ads violated the tech giant’s policies against “Low Quality or Disruptive Content.”

“We began investing in Facebook four months before we launched our first book,” Bethany Mandel, Heroes of Liberty editor and board member, told Fox Business. “We invested most of our marketing budget on the platform, and now our budget (the money we’ve already spent), as well as our assets and data are gone. Marketing-wise we are back in square one, financially it’s even more challenging.”

Facebook initially banned Heroes of Liberty’s Facebook Ads account on Dec. 23, according to Mandel, claiming the account “didn’t comply with our policy on Low Quality or Disruptive Content.”

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Facebook Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene for 24 Hours

Smart phone with Facebook etched out

Facebook suspended the account of Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for 24 hours on Monday, one day after Twitter permanently suspended her account over repeated violations of COVID-19 misinformation policies.

Greene posted on Telegram that Facebook blocked her from posting or commenting for 24 hours for not abiding by the company’s “Community Standards” on Monday.

“This is because you previously posted something that didn’t follow our Community Standards,” Facebook’s temporary restriction announcement said, according to Greene.

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Most Americans Don’t Trust TikTok, Facebook to Keep Their Data Safe: Poll

Facebook logo with smartphone showing lock in front

A majority of Americans don’t trust major social media platforms, including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, to keep their data safe, according to a new poll.

Over 70% of American internet users say they don’t trust Facebook to responsibly manage their personal information or data related to their internet activity, according to the results of The Washington Post/Schar School poll released Wednesday. Similarly, 63% say they don’t trust TikTok to handle their data and 60% say they don’t trust Instagram.

Amazon and Apple were deemed the most trustworthy major tech companies, with just 40% of Americans saying they distrust the tech giants, according to the poll results.

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Judge Removed After Allegedly Calling Colleague Names, Making Employee Take Diet Pills, Using Fake Facebook Accounts to Threaten Litigants

Jefferson County, Alabama, Judge Nakita Blocton was removed from her job after numerous accusations of abuse against employees, colleagues and litigants while reportedly under the influence of Phentermine or other prescription drugs.

Blocton was accused of calling another judge a “fat bitch” and “Uncle Tom,” according to the judgment of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.

One employee accused Blocton of forcing her and others to take Phentermine, a diet pill, to “pep” them up after working late in a complaint to the Alabama Judiciary.

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Zuckerberg-Funded Nonprofit Heavily Favored Democrats in Allotting Millions in Election Aid: IRS Filings

A Chicago-based nonprofit funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to local election offices in what critics charge was a bid to elect Democrats in the 2020 elections, newly released IRS filings show.

The Center for Technology and Civic Life’s IRS Form 990 filing for 2020, which Just the News obtained, reveals thousands of grants to election offices across the country. IRS 990s detail where organizations received and spent money.

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Crom’s Crommentary: As China Insulates and Builds up Military, the Media Drumbeat for Tech Dominance Farce Continues

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary regarding the insulation and military build-up of China.

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Commentary: Platform Transparency Can Help Build Antitrust Cases

There is growing bipartisan concern over the power Silicon Valley’s oligopolies wield over American society. Amazon alone controls 72% of U.S. adult book sales, Airbnb accounts for a fifth of domestic lodging expenditures and Facebook accounts for almost three-quarters of social media visits. Just two companies, Apple and Google, act as gatekeepers to 99% of smartphones, while two others, Uber and Lyft, control 98% of the ride-share market in the U.S. Yet, for government to take robust antitrust action against Silicon Valley requires the kind of data it currently lacks: documenting the harm this market consolidation inflicts on consumers. A new RealClearFoundation report offers a look at how amending Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to require platform transparency could aid such antitrust efforts.

When it comes to Silicon Valley’s social media platforms, they have long argued that antitrust laws don’t apply to them because their services are provided free of charge. In reality, users do pay for their services: with their data rather than their money. Companies today harvest vast amounts of private information about their users every day, using that data to invisibly nudge their users toward purchases and consuming ads, or the companies simply sell that data outright.

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Georgia-Based Media Outlet Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Facebook and Google

The owners of a company that publishes newspapers in Georgia are suing Google and Facebook on the grounds that the two tech giants violated federal antitrust and monopoly laws. The Times-Journal Inc. announced the lawsuit in their newspapers this week, including The Northwest Georgia News. Company officials said in their lawsuit that Google and Facebook agreed to monopolize the market and subsequently damaged the newspaper industry.

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Facebook Silent on Whether It Will Allow Pro-Kyle Rittenhouse Posts

Facebook is remaining silent as to whether it will change its content policy regarding Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty of several charges Friday.

During riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 after the shooting of Jacob Blake, Rittenhouse, then seventeen years old, shot three men in self-defense during an altercation, killing two of them. Rittenhouse was later arrested and charged with intentional homicide before being acquitted on all charges Friday afternoon.

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State Attorney Generals Launch Investigation into Instagram’s Effects on Kids

Young person on Instagram

A bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general launched a probe into Instagram on Thursday to examine whether the company violated state-level consumer protection laws.

The states are investigating whether Meta (formerly known as Facebook), which owns Instagram, promoted the image-sharing platform “to children and young adults” despite being aware of its negative effects, according to statements from the attorneys general. The probe cites internal Facebook communications and research leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen and published by The Wall Street Journal showing Meta was aware that use of Instagram could contribute to body image and mental health issues among teens.

“When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws,” Republican Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement.

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