WASHINGTON: Former US president Donald Trump is urging Facebook to reinstate his account two years after it was deactivated, his aides said Wednesday, as he gears up for a third bid for the White House.
The social media giant banned Trump a day after the January 6, 2021 insurrection, when a mob of his supporters tried to halt the certification of his election defeat to Joe Biden by storming the US Capitol in Washington.
The former reality TV star had spent weeks falsely claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him and he was subsequently impeached for inciting the riot.
Trump’s lawyer Scott Gast said in a letter to Facebook parent company Meta, obtained by AFP, that the ban had “dramatically distorted and inhibited the public discourse.”
He asked for a meeting to discuss Trump’s “prompt reinstatement to the platform,” where he had 34 million followers, arguing that his status as the leading contender for the Republican nomination in 2024 justified ending the ban.
“We also believe that a continued ban would basically constitute… a deliberate effort by a private company to silence Mr. Trump’s political voice,” Gast wrote.
A US congressional committee recommended in December that Trump be prosecuted for his role in the Capitol assault.
His Twitter account, which has 88 million followers, was also blocked after the riot, leaving the 76-year-old Republican to communicate through his own platform, Truth Social, where he has fewer than five million followers.
California-based Facebook had said it would review Trump’s ban on January 7, after two years had elapsed.
“We will announce a decision in the coming weeks in line with the process we laid out.” the company told AFP on Wednesday.
Trump’s shock victory in 2016 was credited in part to his leverage of social media and his enormous digital reach.
New Twitter owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account last November, days after the tycoon announced his decision to run for another term in the White House. He has yet to post.
DAVOS: During a discussion at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting on Wednesday, a panel of regulators and other experts stressed the importance of striking a balance between privacy and protection when addressing user safety in the digital world.
The participants in a session titled “Tackling Harm in the Digital Era” discussed the challenges related to harmful online content and conduct, and the role of public bodies in tackling the issue.
“Digital harm is changing faster than we realize,” said Pranjal Sharma, a contributing editor at Indian magazine BW Businessworld.
The challenge will be to understand “how we can come together to make sure all stakeholders and all players have a common idea to ensure the internet is a safe space for everybody,” he added.
The panelists agreed that “regulators walk a fine line” when attempting to govern the internet, adding that “there is not a black and white answer” to the challenges. They said experts have repeatedly highlighted the importance of anticipating and preventing problems, and that governments, the private sector and civil society all have important roles to play in tackling online abuse and exploitation, particularly when it threatens the most vulnerable in society.
Experts have warned against the fragmentation of regulatory practices, calling for leaders and regulators to develop a global framework of systems and processes that international stakeholders can agree on.
“We expect a global network of online safety regulators over the coming years,” said Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner.
In June 2021, the WEF announced the launch of a Global Coalition for Digital Safety to help accelerate public-private cooperation in efforts to tackle harmful content online. The panelists stressed the importance of capitalizing on this initiative, pointing out that self-regulatory practices “have failed” and governments should adopt “a top-down approach.”
They also highlighted the growing role of users in efforts to tackle harmful content but warned that computer literacy alone is not a “silver bullet” for addressing the issue.
“User empowerment and supporting the users in how, for example, they want their data to be used, is also important but I think is also overemphasized in this debate,” said Melanie Dawes, chief executive for British competition authority Ofcom. “I do not think we can expect users to protect themselves.”
Grant said that if the world wishes to properly address the challenges, technological innovations should be used to build safer digital spaces. Risk-assessment tools and safety by design are some of the practical solutions the panelists suggested regulatory bodies and technology companies should be focusing on.
“We are never going to have a safer online world if the fundamental building blocks are not built with safety and human centricity in mind,” Grant said.
The panel also noted that young people are accessing the digital world at an ever-younger age and, as a result, parents are increasingly concerned about the safety of their children, particularly because they themselves often “feel outpaced” by technological innovations.
LONDON: A project featuring the personal accounts of 25 Gazans living under Hamas rule has attracted media coverage from around the world, all eager to share the stories of the coastal Palestinian strip, where the ruling party keeps the media under tight control.
The US-based Center for Peace Communications on Monday launched its “Whispered in Gaza” project, which sheds light on the climate of fear and repression created by the Hamas movement across the territory it controls.
To protect the speakers’ identities, CPC created a series of animated videos in place of images in the original materials, all of which Arab News has authenticated by viewing the original footage used for drawing the reproductions.
Al Arabiya, CPC’s Arabic presenting partner, said the initiative aims to “help overcome” the “informational blockade” in the Hamas-controlled strip by interviewing a diverse group of 25 individuals living there.
According to Reporters Without Borders, in July 2020, Hamas issued a ban prohibiting journalists from working for Al Arabiya news channel in response to a report about the arrest of several members of the movement for allegedly working for Israel.
Some of the accounts in the videos expressed longing for the days before Hamas seized power in 2007. One woman, Maryam, spoke about growing up singing and dancing the dabke, an Arab folk dance, and how her dreams of making a career out of her talent were hijacked by Hamas, who threatened her brothers with imprisonment if she pursued her ambition.
CPC President Joseph Braude told Al Arabiya that “Whispered in Gaza” provides a constructive challenge to the international discussion of Gazan affairs.
“On the one hand, it challenges those who justify Hamas militancy to choose between supporting Hamas and supporting the Palestinians it oppresses,” he said.
“We hope as well that governments and international bodies striving to help the Palestinian people in Gaza through direct aid to Hamas will consider the substantial evidence of Hamas financial impropriety that emerges from this testimony. At the same time, the series also challenges the many who oppose Hamas to recognize that countless Gazans want a brighter and more peaceful future, and ask what can be done to empower them.”
The Times of Israel, which has partnered with CPC to present the series in English and French, opened one of its two articles on the topic with the quote “I want Gaza to be liberated from the government of Hamas,” which features in the episode “Bring Back the Dabke.”
In reference to the video “My Brother is Gone,” the Jerusalem-based online newspaper wrote that “under Hamas rule, the line between taxation and racketeering is a blurred one,” citing a Palestinian poll which revealed that “73 percent of Palestinians believe Hamas institutions are corrupt.”
Many Gazans, according to Braude, already speak out on social media in an attempt to convey their suffering to the world, but are often pressured by Hamas to remove their posts.
The series was also covered by the London-based independent Iranian newspaper Kayhan Life, which cooperated with CPC to translate the stories into Farsi, making them available to an audience that can relate to the Gazans’ suffering.
The Spanish edition of the project has been presented by Infobae a US-based online newspaper, while the Brazilian free-to-air television network Record TV supported the Portuguese version.
DAVOS: The UAE is utilizing science and technology to “leapfrog” its way to becoming a global leader in various fields, including space travel and tackling climate change, Emirati ministers told a World Economic Forum panel in Davos on Wednesday.
Sarah Al-Amiri, the UAE minister for public education and future technology, and Omar Sultan Al-Olama, minister for artificial intelligence, discussed how, since its independence more than 50 years ago, the UAE has a proven record of design thinking in governance and what lessons it can teach the developing world.
Al-Amiri said the secret behind the UAE’s recent successes had been its skill at harnessing and combining individual human potential and institutional, governmental potential while instilling a sense of urgency among the population to achieve certain goals.
“What drove us? A real sense of urgency, knowing that science and technology is required and a fundamental part of the growth of the future of our economy and the future of our industrial sectors,” she said.
“We have a technology transformation program (in the UAE), developed with and embedded within our industrial strategy. How do you sustainably and effectively increase the impact of your economic sectors?
“We are working closely with key local players to do that, but also fostering more global partnerships so we can create the necessary relevance and impact.”
Al-Olama said that the spirit of advancement has been part of the psyche of Emiratis and the wider Gulf region for millennia.
“We see that there is a constant need to adapt, to reinvent ourselves, and to face all challenges and opportunities equally,” he said.
“With every single era, the people of the UAE choose an industry and they go all in into it. If you look at the (ancient) trade of pearls as an example, it became a key industry, but we did not focus on local markets, we wanted to become global players.
“Moving forward (to today), the UAE has taught 1 million people in the Arab world how to code, and as that program concluded last year, it has ended up creating tens of thousands of companies and business endeavors across the Arab world.”
Al-Olama said that attracting global talent is key and that globalization should be welcomed, not shunned, but added that should a globalized world collapse tomorrow and fall back into global blocs, the UAE would have the talent and “future thinking” required to face that challenge.
DAVOS: The World Economic Forum announced on Wednesday the launch of the Center for Trustworthy Technology.
To be based in Austin, Texas, in the US, it will focus on promoting a “responsible production and use” of new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, virtual reality, and quantum computing.
Jeremy Jurgens, the WEF’s managing director and head of its Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said: “When it comes to the application of technology in society, people have legitimate concerns over how their data is used, whether what they are reading and seeing is real, and whether their jobs are safe.
“Societal trust in and acceptance of technology is dependent on the technologies in question being designed in an inclusive, ethical, and responsible manner. We are proud to launch the Centre for Trustworthy Technology to tackle exactly that,” he added.
The center’s role will be to develop tools and frameworks that promote ethical technology development and use and understand how new technology can be implemented to advance the UN sustainable development goals.
The Center for Trustworthy Technology will become part of a global consortium of 17 centers that lead the conversation around emerging technology and its ethical implementation and commercial potential.
The network aims to facilitate the shared knowledge between technology leaders across the public and private sectors, publishing insights to raise awareness about the importance of trustworthy technology.
Created in collaboration with Deloitte and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, the center will engage government, business, academia, and society to shape its agenda and scale responsible, ethical, and safe technology through projects and activities at national and international levels.
Vilas S. Dhar, president of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, said: “As technology becomes an increasingly fundamental part of the human experience, our future will be defined by our ability to today build trust and define ethical societal norms around tech design, development, and deployment.
“The center promises to bring representation from across sectors and geographies to deliver on a shared vision of a human-centric, tech-enabled future.”
LONDON: More than 500 of Twitter’s advertisers have paused spending on the micro blogging site since Elon Musk’s takeover last year, The Information reported on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with its ad business.
The social media company’s daily revenue on Jan. 17 was 40 percent lower than the same day a year ago, the report added.
The drop in the company’s revenue was first reported by technology newsletter Platformer on Tuesday.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment on both the media reports.
Since Musk took over Twitter last October, corporate advertisers have fled in response to the billionaire laying off thousands of employees and rushing a paid verification feature that resulted in scammers impersonating companies on Twitter.
The social media platform recently reversed its 2019 ban on political ads and said that it would relax advertising policy for “cause-based ads” in the United States and align its ad policy with TV and other media outlets.
Trump presses Facebook to restore his account – Arab News