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Utah Governor to Sue Social Media Companies for Knowingly Harming Children

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Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said on Sunday that he’s preparing to sue social media companies for causing harm to young children in the state.

In an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation” on July 9, Mr. Cox said that “when you look at the new research that’s coming out, there’s not just a correlation between social media use and an increase in suicide, anxiety, depression, self-harm, there is a causal link there.”

“In the coming months, you will see lawsuits being filed by the state of Utah to hold them accountable,” Mr. Cox added. “We believe they’ve known about the dangers. Some of this has been leaked out—Meta and others—very clear evidence that they knew the harms that their products were causing to kids, and that they intentionally tried to hide that information. And of course to not make changes that are necessary to protect our kids, and so we’re looking forward to having our day in court on that issue.”

We’re looking at all social media businesses right now, Mr. Cox said, without giving a schedule for which companies his administration could try to suit first or for what reasons.

The possibility of suing social media corporations had already been mentioned by the Republican governor. Mr. Cox and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced they were looking at a number of measures to address how young people are using social media at a press conference on January 23.

“While we hope to work cooperatively with tech companies to address these many concerns, we feel litigation is likely a necessary step to increase the urgency and seriousness of implementing child safeguards,” the Utah attorney general said in January.

New Social Media Control Rules

Utah’s Senate Bill 152, known as the Utah Social Media Regulation Act, was passed in March and imposes additional regulations on social media firms, including the requirement that users must be at least 18 years old before creating a social media profile. The law would compel social media businesses to get a parent or guardian’s permission before enabling anyone under the age of 18 to create a social media presence. The law would go into effect in March 2024.

Other protections for children were included in SB 152, including a requirement that social media firms prohibit direct messages from those who the minor has not added as friends or followed on the network. A default option that prevents children from accessing social media sites from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. must also be implemented, along with features that allow a parent or guardian to change the time limitations.

“What we’re trying to do is give families more control over what is happening on social media,” he said.

Just as his administration is ready to prosecute social media corporations, the governor of Utah anticipated that social media giants would target his state with lawsuits against the new law.

“I’m sure we’ll have social media companies suing the state of Utah,” he said. “In fact, we’re going to be suing social media companies for the harm and damage that they’re causing our young people. I suspect that at some point, the Supreme Court will weigh in on this decision when it comes to restricting youth access.”

Mr. Cox has admitted that it will be challenging to enforce Utah’s new social media laws even outside of the judicial system.

“We understand that there are definitely going to be enforcement issues anytime you wade into this type of an industry,” the Utah governor said during a March 26. “It’s going to be tough. We don’t expect that we’re going to be able to prevent every, you know, every young person from getting around this. Kids are really smart. That’s one of the problems.”

2024 Race

Facebook, Instagram and Threads suffer major global outages on Super Tuesday

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Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, the trio of social media platforms under Meta’s umbrella, encountered a significant worldwide outage on Tuesday, disrupting user experiences across the globe.

During the outage, Facebook users found themselves unexpectedly logged out of their accounts and faced difficulties logging back in or changing passwords. Similarly, Instagram users encountered a frustrating “Couldn’t refresh feed” message, while Threads presented itself as a blank page.

The impact of the outage was widespread, with over 560,000 Facebook users initially reporting issues on Downdetector.com, a website that tracks service outages. As the situation progressed, the number of reported outages decreased to approximately 130,000 by shortly after 11 a.m. ET. Likewise, Instagram witnessed a surge in reported problems, with nearly 90,000 users affected at the peak of the outage. However, this figure diminished to around 25,000 users as the situation unfolded.

Meta’s spokesperson, Andy Stone, utilized X, formerly known as Twitter, to acknowledge the ongoing issues, stating, “We’re aware people are having trouble accessing our services. We are working on this now.”

This recent outage isn’t the first time Meta’s platforms have experienced such widespread disruption. In 2021, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger, all subsidiaries of Meta, suffered a five-hour outage attributed to a faulty server update, according to statements from the company.

The recurrence of such outages raises concerns about the reliability and robustness of Meta’s infrastructure, particularly given the massive user base relying on its platforms for communication, networking, and content consumption. Users and observers alike are left questioning the adequacy of Meta’s measures to prevent and swiftly address such disruptions in the future.

As Meta works to resolve the current outage and restore normalcy to its platforms, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities inherent in our digital dependencies and the need for continuous vigilance in maintaining online services at scale.

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Censorship

BOMBSHELL: New documents reveal that CISA tried censoring pro-Trump tweets in attempt to hide potential election fraud

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Today, America First Legal (AFL) released documents obtained from litigation against the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), revealing CISA flagged text messages supporting President Donald J. Trump for potential censorship. 

Documents previously obtained by AFL reveal that CISA was actively working to censor narratives about mail-in voting risks as “disinformation” ahead of the 2020 election. These new documents released today reveal that even after the election took place, CISA continued to be more concerned with securing Director Krebs’s narrative that this was “the most secure in American history,” rather than investigating whether the election was actually secure.

CISA Flagging Pro-Trump Political Text Messages

On November 9, 2020, the day after the 2020 election, Brian Scully, a member of the “DHS Countering Foreign Interference Task Force” of CISA, sent an email with the subject “Text Msgs.” The email contained screenshots of fundraising texts for President Trump and the #StopTheSteal effort.

In his email, Scully noted, “A text message I just received. Fundraising around stop the steal.” 

A colleague at CISA replied “What’s your thoughts on how to handle? Or just for FYSA?” This email suggests that CISA was looking for every opportunity to take action to potentially censor conservative pro-Trump speech. 

Scully replied, “I think FYSA. Not sure we can do anything with something I get on my own.”

CISA’s Post-election “Disinformation Sitrep”

After election day, CISA continued to collect mis- and dis-information reports through “official channels” and “3rd Party fact checkers.” Despite CISA’s understanding that the 2020 election actually presented more risks due to the widespread adoption of mail-in voting, CISA officials automatically assumed all reported suspicions of fraud to be part of a “False Narrative” that required “counter-messaging.”

VIEW DOCUMENTS REVEALED BELOW:

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Censorship

Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton Wins $700 Mil­lion Set­tle­ment with Google for Anti­com­pet­i­tive Practices

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, together with attorneys general from every state and many territories, have reached a $700 million settlement with Google for their anticompetitive behavior related to the Google Play Store.

Google has been ordered to pay $630 million in reparations to customers who purchased on the Google Play Store between August 2016 and September 2023 who were injured by Google’s anticompetitive actions. In addition, the internet behemoth will pay the states an extra $70 million in fines. The deal also compels Google to improve its business operations in order to reduce its unfair market advantage over other firms and consumers.

In 2021, a group of state attorneys general sued Google for illegally monopolizing the market for Android app distribution and in-app payment processing. Google, in particular, entered into anticompetitive arrangements to prohibit other app shops from being installed on Android devices, bribed important app developers not to launch items on competitor app stores, and erected technical obstacles to discourage users from directly downloading apps to their devices.

“Texas has led the nation in the fight to hold giant tech companies accountable for monopolistic activity,” said Attorney General Paxton. “I am proud that this settlement brought together so many states who recognized the importance of protecting free markets.”

To read the settlement, click here.

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