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Media Bits and Bytes – November 14, 2023

Workers’ rights vs owners’ tech

Bill Bramhall / Copyright 2023 Tribune Content Agency
  1. The Threat of a Cowardly News Media
  2. When Reporting is a Death Sentence
  3. Posts About Palestinians Disappear
  4. SAG-AFTRA and AI
  5. Weeklies Closing
  6. Jezebel and Women’s Anger
  7. Meta Whistleblower
  8. The Omegle Shutdown
  9. Medicare Advantage and AI
  10. Product Safety Regulations for Social Media


The Threat of a Cowardly News Media

By Will Bunch
The Philadelphia Inquirer

In one of the most perilous moments of crisis the world has seen in 75 years, and with the basic notions of free speech under assault, most newsrooms aren’t fighting back. They are, instead, pulling their punches in a defensive, “rope-a-dope” crouch, and thus failing to truly inform — when democracy itself is at risk.

When Reporting is a Death Sentence

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By Azad Essa
Middle East Eye

Over and above the twisted mainstream coverage, another war is playing out. A narrative war involving realms of disinformation, lies and obfuscation, emanating from the Israeli state. The deliberate targeting of Palestinian journalists represents another layer of war crimes that the western mainstream press doesn’t appear to be taking seriously.

Posts About Palestinians Disappear

By Karen Gullo and Jillian C. York
Electronic Freedom Frontier

In the weeks since war between Hamas and Israel began, social media platforms have removed content from or suspended accounts of Palestinian news sites, activists, journalists, students, and Arab citizens in Israel, interfering with the dissemination of news about the conflict and silencing voices expressing concern for Palestinians.


By Gene Maddaus

The union was worried that studios could use artificial intelligence to reanimate dead actors, or to create a digital Frankenstein out of the body parts of real actors. Those were among the last deal points to fall into place before the union could end its 118-day strike. In the end, SAG-AFTRA did not get every AI restriction it was looking for. But it did get most of it.

Weeklies Closing

By Marc Edge
Canadian Dimension

Dozens of community newspapers have been closed across Canada just since Facebook began blocking news in August to comply with the Online News Act, which was passed by Parliament at the behest of newspaper publishers who demanded payment from it and Google for linking to their news stories. 

Jezebel and Women’s Anger

By Anna Holmes
The New Yorker

Note: Since this remembrance of the feminist website Jezebel was published, the owner, G/O Media, announced they were suspending publication.

Meta Whistleblower

By Sara Morrison

There’s a new Meta whistleblower in town: Arturo Béjar, a longtime employee who came forward to the Wall Street Journal last week to accuse the social media giant of knowing, through its own research, that its platforms were hurting children. Not only did Meta refuse to act on that information, Béjar asserted, but it also tried to cover it up. 

The Omegle Shutdown

By Amanda Hoover 

Omegle, the video and text chat site that paired strangers together to talk, ultimately shut down as part of a legal mediation with a female user who sued the company, claiming its defective and negligent design enabled her to be sexually abused through the site.

Medicare Advantage and AI

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

As Medicare Advantage plans rely increasingly upon artificial intelligence to determine—and often deny—payment for patient care, a group of Democratic U.S. lawmakers urged Medicare's top official to strengthen oversight of AI and algorithmic tools used to make coverage determinations.

Product Safety Regulations for Social Media

By Laura Edelson
Scientific American

Like cars and medicines, social media needs product safety standards to keep users safe. We still don’t have all the answers on how to build those standards, which is why social media companies must share more information about their algorithms and platforms with the public.