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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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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China Cuts Checks to American Social Media Influencers to Hype Olympics, Downplay Boycotts

China’s government is paying social media influencers in the U.S. to promote the Beijing Olympics and distract from diplomatic boycotts over its human rights violations, according to disclosures filed with the Department of Justice.

The Chinese consulate is paying Vippi, a New Jersey based public relations firm, $300,000 to have influencers on Instagram, TikTok and Twitch promote the Beijing Olympics, according to the disclosures. The influencers will also be required to promote U.S.-China cooperation on issues including energy and climate change.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have inspired diplomatic boycotts from the U.S., Australia and the U.K. due to China’s purported ethnic cleansing and torture of Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic minority in Western China.

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Instagram Rolls Out Teen Safety Features One Day Before CEO Will Testify in Congress

Adam Mosseri

Instagram unveiled a host of child safety measures and parental controls for its app just one day before chief executive Adam Mosseri is due to testify in Congress.

“At Instagram, we’ve been working for a long time to keep young people safe on the app,” Mosseri wrote in a blog post. “As part of that work, today we’re announcing some new tools and features to keep young people even safer on Instagram.”

The new features include controls allowing parents to set time limits for their kids’ use of Instagram, providing resources on how Instagram works and options allowing kids to notify parents if they report another user. Instagram will also launch its “Take A Break” feature, which asks users to take some time away from Instagram if they’ve been scrolling for a while.

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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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Tennessee Sen. Blackburn Blasts YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat Execs for Allowing Dangerous Content

A U.S. Senate committee investigating the promotion of material harmful to young people on social media expanded beyond Facebook and Instagram Tuesday to include the video-sharing sites YouTube and TikTok as well as the Snapchat messaging application.

Therein, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) deplored the health-threatening viral challenges (e.g. binge drinking, the infamous “cinnamon challenge”), enticements toward illegal drugs, encouragements to engage in drastic dieting and presentations of child-sex abuse that she said have been purveyed to children and teens via these websites. She raised particular alarm regarding minors she said have been led into illicit sexual relationships on Snapchat.

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Tennessee Attorney General Slatery Credited with National Role in Anti-Social Media Effort

The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has credited Tennessee’s top prosecutor with a major role in leading NAAG’s support for the U.S. Senate’s inquiry into social media’s impacts on mental health and safety. 

The association announced Tuesday it sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security backing that subcommittee’s efforts to probe Facebook and other companies regarding their effects on children and teens.

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Big Tech Down: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Experience Widespread Outages

Smartphone with display of social media apps

Platforms owned by Facebook all experienced outages at the same time late Monday morning, and could not be accessed.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all went down Monday morning, according to outage tracking site Downdetector. Facebook was first reported down around 11:15 a.m., with reports peaking around 12 p.m. with over 100,000 reported outages, according to the site.

When users attempted to access Instagram, a message reading “5xx Server Error” appeared. A message reading “Sorry, something went wrong” appeared when users tried to access Facebook.

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Tennessee Senator Blackburn Grills Facebook Head of Safety on Teen Health and Safety Impacts

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) led a bipartisan grilling of Facebook’s Antigone Davis Thursday about apparent troubles the company’s photo-sharing platform causes for teenagers.

Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, testified before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security, of which Blumenthal and Blackburn are respectively chair and ranking member. The meeting focused largely on the psychological hazards that Facebook has quietly acknowledged its photo-album application Instagram has posed to children and teens.

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Tennessee Sen. Blackburn Spearheading Bipartisan Probe with Connecticut Sen. Blumenthal of Facebook’s Impact on Youngsters

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) and her Connecticut colleague Richard Blumenthal (D) announced this week they’re launching an inquiry into revelations, reported that morning in The Wall Street Journal, about Facebook’s knowledge of harms its products may pose to their young users.

Blumenthal chairs the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, through which the investigation of the social network will proceed. Blackburn serves as the subcommittee’s ranking member.

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Report: Facebook Aware Instagram Makes Teen Girls Feel Bad, Leaked Research Shows

woman with blonde hair in bed on her laptop

Facebook is aware that Instagram, an image-sharing social media platform it owns, has harmful effects on the self-esteem of teen girls, according to leaked research seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Internal research, documents and research reportedly show that Facebook has studied the harmful effects Instagram can have on its users, especially teen girls, according to the WSJ.

“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” one slide from an internal research report read, with another saying that “teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression.”

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Mother of Slain Marine Suspended from Facebook, Instagram After Criticizing Joe Biden

Shana Chappell

The mother of a U.S. Marine who died during the ISIS-affiliated attack on Kabul’s airport has been suspended from Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram. 

“Shana Chappell, mother of Marine Kareem Nikoui who was killed in Kabul, had her FB and Instagram accounts suspended for posts she made about her son and her feelings about the President and Vice President,” Lynn Afendoulis, former Michigan State Representative, said on Facebook. “This is horrifying. Her son GAVE HIS LIFE FOR OUR COUNTRY. She can say what she wants. Her FB account is back up. For now. God be with her.”

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Facebook Threatens Legal Action Against Group Conducting Research on Algorithm Manipulations

Person looking on Facebook with trending topics

A research group that has been investigating the manipulation of algorithms by Instagram was forced to shut down its research after legal threats from Facebook, according to Breitbart.

The Germany-based group, AlgorithmWatch, was investigating how Instagram favors certain types of content over others, and thus promotes them more heavily on users’ timelines. The group had been utilizing a browser extension that specializes in collecting data from users’ Instagram feeds in order to determine certain trends.

Among other findings, AlgorithmWatch determined that Instagram, a photo-sharing website, more heavily prioritizes images that include faces rather than just text. In May, representatives from Facebook, which owns Instagram, requested a meeting with the project’s leaders; during that meeting, Facebook accused the group, without any evidence, of violating Instagram’s terms of service. They also claimed that the investigation was in violation of the European Union’s GDPR data laws, since the project was allegedly collecting user data without the consent of the users.

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Detroit Meteorologist April Moss: CBS 62 Employees Who Choose Not to Be Vaccinated Are ‘Segregated’

Meteorologist April Moss

CBS 62 Detroit Meteorologist and Multimedia Journalist, April Moss, was officially fired from the station this week after blowing the whistle on the network’s discriminatory practices regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

Moss decided to sit down with Project Veritas founder and CEO James O’Keefe to discuss the behind-the-scenes discrimination and bias after Fox 26 Houston reporter Ivory Hector last week used Veritas to expose how her superiors were trying to “muzzle” her reporting on  Hydroxychloroquine.

Moss told O’Keefe that, like Hector, she too was worried that the liberal slant at her station was negatively impacting the public.

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The Epoch Times Senior Editor-At-Large Roger Simon Talks Golden Globes Cancellation and Reflects on Being Nominated for an Academy Award

Golden Globe Awards

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist and The Epoch Times Senior Editor-At-Large Roger Simon in studio to discuss the woke cancellation of the Golden Globes and what it was like being nominated for a screenwriting Oscar.

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Tennessee Attorney General Urges Facebook to Cease Building an Instagram for Kids Under 13

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III submitted a letter this week urging Facebook to stop developing an Instagram specifically for children under 13. In addition to Tennessee, 44 other attorney generals signed onto the letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg. 

The attorneys general stated that research consistently links social media to physical, emotional, and mental health issues; that children can’t handle the challenges and responsibilities of social media, such as privacy and inappropriate content; and that Facebook fails to protect the safety and privacy of children.

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Facebook and Instagram Are Eliminating All Posts that Include the Phrase ‘Stop the Steal’

Facebook announced on Monday that it is purging both Instagram and Facebook, two major social media platforms, of all content that includes the phrase “stop the steal.”

“We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram,” Facebook said. “We removed the original Stop the Steal group in November and have continued to remove Pages, groups and events that violate any of our policies, including calls for violence.”

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UVA Students Create Website for Easy Access to Virginia Colleges’ COVID-19 News

Four University of Virginia (UVA) undergraduates have created a website called The Collegepedia that aims to make the process of finding the latest reliable, college-specific news about COVID-19 at universities throughout the Commonwealth easier.

“[Journalists] have been working tirelessly to keep communities informed about their health and safety, but there is no single media outlet or aggregator that compiles all of these stories, searchable by community, in an easy to read and straight to the point format. So, we wanted to fill that void.” UVA senior Nik Popli, one of the website’s creators, told The Virginia Star.

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Student Says Fordham University Imposed ‘Soviet-Style’ Punishment Over His Instagram Posts

A rising senior at Fordham University has provided Campus Reform with letters he allegedly received from the school’s dean of students notifying him that two of his posts shared on his personal social media violated the university’s student conduct code and that he has been placed on probation as a result.

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Ads for Children’s Book on 19th Amendment Written by Sen. Blackburn and Her Daughter Banned by Instagram

Instagram reportedly believes a children’s book written by U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and her daughter, about the history of the 19th Amendment, may “influence the outcome of an election,” so the tech giant has banned advertising for it.

The Federalist reported on the book’s ban.

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Pro-Life Group Claims Instagram Is Shadow Banning It, Suspects Pro-Choice Activists Played a Role

by Chris White   A pro-life group believes pro-choice activists likely pressured Instagram into suppressing and removing the group’s content and hashtags from the platform’s most popular feature. Let Them Live’s Instagram’s posts stopped appearing on numerous hashtags starting on April 18, the group claimed in a May 15 press…

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Instagram Stories Have the Potential to Sway 2020 Voters

  Three years counts as several lifetimes on social media. Twitter may have been the dominant platform mastered by then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 but it likely will not be the way most voters learn about the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Instead, Instagram – a photo platform…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Exposed in a Technological Age

classroom

An old and wise saying challenges us to: “Believe nothing you hear, half of what you read, and some of what you see.”  It is critical to examine issues from all angles, rejecting gossip, mistruths, bias or information not supported or misinterpreted.  Put what you see or read into proper context to make sure what you think you are seeing is factual. 

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