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Technology Social Media Becomes Battleground for Street Protests

03:55  02 june  2020
03:55  02 june  2020 Source:   online.wsj.com

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  9 Arrested In Violent Fontana Police Protests The protesters threw rocks at businesses and passing cars, police said.The protests also came after an incident earlier in the day in which a man was shot and killed by Fontana police after he allegedly attacked an officer and a police K9 with a crowbar following a standoff. The suspect had also attacked a disabled man prior to their arrival, police said.

Social media has become a central battleground for the protests across the U.S., with tech platforms amplifying tensions while also providing a real-time chronicle of the riots and police responses that might not have otherwise gained widespread attention.

Media experts say social media has played a significant role in the documentation, organization, and assembly of the large-scale protests . Social media has been used by both demonstrators and authorities "as a tool in the battle for public opinion," says Tracy Loh, senior lecturer of communication

a group of people on a motorcycle in front of a crowd © Vanessa Carvalho/Zuma Press

Social media has become a central battleground for the protests across the U.S., with tech platforms amplifying tensions while also providing a real-time chronicle of the riots and police responses that might not have otherwise gained widespread attention.

A lone video of the violent arrest that led to the death of George Floyd posted last Monday on Facebook by a bystander, Darnella Frazier, has been shared by 52,000 people there and found its way to Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms, widening awareness of the episode. Since then, those outlets have been a tool to spread dissent and anger by those upset at Mr. Floyd’s death and those disturbed by the sometimes violent actions of both protesters and police in cities across the country.

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  Police chief: Over 300 people arrested in D.C. during fourth night of protests D. C. Police Chief Peter Newsham announced Tuesday that over 300 people were arrested during the fourth night of protests in the city. 194 protesters were arrested on Swann Street in the city and Newsham says most of the arrests were due to curfew violations. Newsham addressed the situation on Swann Street Monday night. "There was a lot of misinformation on Twitter and other media outlets, says Newsham. "There was no resistance by anyone that was being arrested."RELATED: 'Trying to stay alive': 70 protesters sheltered in stranger's home during D.C.

“ Social media is misused to mobilise youth during anti-militant operations,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces in India-held Kashmir for decades. But the violent civilian protests , which often mobilise around the anti-militant operations

Popular online video game "Grand Theft Auto V" has become a battleground between protesters in the They shared the discovery last week on LIHKG, a social media platform and discussion forum similar to Hong Kong has been rocked by anti-government protests for more than six months, with

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Social media played a critical role in galvanizing the protesters through the quickly shared video around Mr. Floyd’s arrest, said Alex Stamos, director of Stanford University’s Internet Observatory. “It nationalizes local issues like this,” he said, adding that “maybe 20 years ago this might have only been covered at the local press.”

The unrest also has fueled an online battle over how they are viewed, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford law professor and co-director of the California university’s Cyber Policy Center, said the riots also have turned into an online battle of opposing viewpoints. “There is a fight on social media as to how to portray the events on the ground,” he said.

Twitter disables Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright complaint

  Twitter disables Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright complaint Twitter disables Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright complaintThe clip, which is a collation of photos and videos of protest marches and instances of violence in the aftermath of Floyd's death, has Trump speaking in the background.

Government condemns protesters for deviating from approved march route and vandalising China’s national emblem at liaison office. ‘We have nothing to lose now, I am not afraid’, protester shouts as late-night clashes erupt between riot police and masked, helmeted youths in black.

Bloomberg Media Distribution. Advertising. Alberto Gallo, portfolio manager and partner at Algebris Investments, discusses the coming election in France and gaps in power that he says may create fertile ground for a protest vote.

In some cases, distortions are fanning the anger. One photo pairing widely shared last week purported to show Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck during the fatal arrest, having previously worn a red cap resembling those favored at President Trump’s rallies but with the slogan “Make Whites Great Again.” Twitter slapped a label saying “Manipulated media” on tweets containing the photos—including one from the rapper Ice Cube that has been liked more than 148,000 times—taking users to a post where it said several photos purporting to show Mr. Chauvin were of other people.

Gideon Blocq, chief executive officer of VineSight, a startup that tracks social-media activity and hunts for misinformation, said there have been competing narratives about who is behind looting and rioting in several cities, from those placing blame on far-left groups and those saying far-right groups and white supremacists have been the cause.

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 NFL boss Goodell on player protests: © MADDIE MEYER Supports the fight against racism: Roger Goodell NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has described the league's previous handling of player protests against racism and police violence as wrong . "We, the NFL, admit that we have been wrong in the past. We have not listened to our players and have not encouraged them to speak out and protest peacefully," Goodell said in a video message posted on social media was spread.

" Social media is misused to mobilise youth during anti-militant operations," said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces in Indian Kashmir for decades. But the violent civilian protests , which often mobilise around the anti-militant operations

Kashmiris say they use social media to show the world what is done to them generation after generation. PHOTO: AFP. The move followed an upsurge in violence in the region, where authorities say social media are being used to mobilise stone-throwing protesters behind increasingly frequent

President Trump on Sunday said the protests involved radical left anarchists and Antifa, which he said would be designated a terrorist organization. Minnesota officials Saturday said that white supremacists and perhaps organized drug cartels could be infiltrating protests.

It couldn’t be learned who is behind some incendiary posts. Over the weekend Twitter suspended an account named “ANTIFA America” that appeared to call for racially charged violence, saying it violated the company’s rules. Some users interpreted the tweet as a warning of actual violence, while others pointed out suspicious elements—for example, it includes a misspelled hashtag “#BlacklivesMaters”—and said they believed it was planted to fuel anger at the protests. Twitter wouldn’t immediately specify what rules the suspended account violated.

The competing viewpoints can help intensify conflict, said Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert at the University of California, Berkeley. “People are going into their same camps to tell their side of the story,” he said. “That’s the hard part about consuming news over social media.”

Johnson - UK protests "infiltrated by riot of destruction"

 Johnson - UK protests © Reuters / HANNAH MCKAY Protest against the death of George Floyd, in London London (Reuters) - Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes that peaceful anti-racism protests in Britain infiltrated violent troublemakers. "These demonstrations have been undermined by devastation - and they are a betrayal of the cause they are supposed to serve," Johnson wrote on Twitter. Those responsible would be held accountable.

“ Social media is our media , everyone’s media . We’re in it to show the world what is done to us generation after generation,” said the activist, who asked not to be named. “Indian politicians and media misrepresent us. This has to end. How else do we protest without being called terrorists?”

Beijing kicks out journalists hours after US brands state media outlets ‘foreign mission’ but insists move was prompted by ‘sick man of Asia’ opinion piece. US newspaper says two Americans and an Australian, all of whom had covered Xinjiang, have been given five days to leave China.

The platforms not only can fuel the emotions underlying the protests, they can also shape on-the-ground tactics on both sides. Some of the protesters and their supporters appear to be using social media to avoid clashing with law enforcement, said Lorenzo Boyd, assistant provost for diversity and inclusion and director of the Center for Advanced Policing at the University of New Haven. These protesters are telling one another what areas to avoid and which ones are safe—and faster than police in many cases can react, he said.

“Protesting in the time of social media is instantaneous,” said Dr. Boyd. “You don’t need a single leader to do this anymore.”

People on Twitter said they were issuing alerts to protesters about police movements by using scanners to listen in to official communications. One user allegedly relaying L.A. police department activity warned that police were trying to lure protesters toward a certain area to conduct arrests, and urged followers to share the tweet. It was retweeted over 120,000 times and liked more than 240,000 times.

The strategy has been used by law enforcement as well. The New York Police Department on Sunday said it was monitoring social media to track protesters.

Moments of upheaval have long defined social media. Twitter, then only five years old, became a central tool for protesters during the Arab Spring unrest in 2011. The #blacklivesmatter hashtag on Twitter began in connection with the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin and soon spread. Last year, footage of attacks on a pair of mosques that left 50 dead in New Zealand was streamed live on Facebook and posted on YouTube and Twitter. The social-media platforms scrambled to remove them.

Ellen Pompeo shocked by police violence

 Ellen Pompeo shocked by police violence © Bang Showbiz Ellen Pompeo Ellen Pompeo is shocked by police weapons in the 'Black Lives Matter' protests. The 'Grey's Anatomy' actress was present at a demonstration against racism in the USA last week and subsequently complained about the appearance of the police there. In an Instagram story, Ellen said, "I've been to other protests. I've never seen police with submachine guns there. I've never seen the National Guard with submachine guns.

The coronavirus pandemic has added to social media’s reach. Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. both have seen big growth in user numbers during the health crisis as people looked for information on the disease and for ways to remain connected.

Discussion related to the George Floyd video and the ensuing protests now have overtaken the coronavirus as the hottest topic online, said Mr. Blocq of VineSight. He warned that bad actors have infiltrated online discussion over Mr. Floyd’s death to heighten division. Many accounts tweeting content appear to be automated accounts known as bots, he said. Conspiracies that point to different political figures being behind the protests abound online, Mr. Blocq said.

Past moments of racial tensions have been used by foreign actors to try to foment divisions in the U.S. Workers behind Russian-linked Facebook accounts in 2016 sought to exploit social divisions after outrage swelled over fatal shootings in Dallas and Minneapolis. Facebook said it closed such accounts.

A Twitter spokeswoman said the company was using existing teams and tools to police riot-related content on its site and was taking action on any coordinated attempts to disrupt the conversation around the issue. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said the company is using tools to combat misinformation around the protests while trying to avoid hindering people’s ability to share information.

What helped trigger the outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death were several race-related events that were widely publicized before the video of his arrest, said Joan Donovan, director of a Harvard University project on technology and social change.

FOCUS 1-Over 50 arrests in Hong Kong - Further protests planned

 FOCUS 1-Over 50 arrests in Hong Kong - Further protests planned * Police use pepper spray against demonstrators * Street blockades in the center of the financial metropolis (New: Further demonstrations announced) Hong Kong, Jun 10 (Reuters) - At protests in Hong Kong On the anniversary of the pro-democratic demonstrations in 2019, the police arrested more than 50 people and used pepper spray. 53 people were detained for unauthorized rallies and participation in gatherings, police said on Wednesday.

Days earlier, Americans were wrestling with the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was pursued by armed white residents in Georgia. A video of the incident spread across social media. That video was followed by one of a white woman in New York’s Central Park calling the police on a black man who had asked her to leash her dog.

“It takes a special kind of moment for something like this to kick off,” Dr. Donovan said.

As the reach of social-media companies has grown, they have faced increasing pressure to moderate some of their content. That debate is taking place within the companies and has become a political flashpoint for the nation.

Twitter on Monday flagged a tweet from Matt Gaetz, a Republican congressman from Florida, that said “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?” Twitter left the post up but applied a label saying the tweet violates its rules about glorifying violence.

Twitter last week similarly flagged one of President Trump’s tweets about the unrest in Minneapolis, where Mr. Floyd died, saying it glorified violence. That action kept Mr. Trump’s tweet in place, but prevented his more than 80 million followers from commenting, retweeting or liking it.

The same post remained on Facebook untouched. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he had a “visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric,” but wouldn’t remove the post because Facebook wants to enable as much expression as possible.

Mr. Trump and his backers have attacked Twitter for its moves, which earlier included placing a fact-check notice on two of the president’s tweets about voting by mail, saying the tweet violated its rules around voter misinformation. After Twitter applied its fact-check labels, Mr. Trump signed an executive order Thursday seeking to limit the broad legal protection that federal law currently provides to social-media and other online platforms. The move is expected to draw immediate court challenges.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at sarah.needleman@wsj.com and Sebastian Herrera at Sebastian.Herrera@wsj.com

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