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It successfully raised public awareness of the severity of the problem and the need for real reforms. It brought together a broad coalition of civil rights groups, major advertisers, nonprofits, marquee celebrities and others who all shared the same goal: to press Facebook to stop profiting off hate. It had the effect of convincing other social media companies to step up their game in removing hate speech and disinformation. Many of them have made significant changes to their platform policies since last summer.

And, perhaps most importantly, Stop Hate for Profit pressured Facebook to start making its own changes that had been sought for years. We believe many of the policy reforms Facebook has made over the past year (banning Holocaust denial; removing QAnon content; taking Donald Trump off the platform in the wake of the insurrection; releasing its Civil Rights Audit; hiring a vice president of civil rights) can be ascribed to the pressure brought to bear during and after the campaign’s monthlong ad pause. Still, policies are only as good as their enforcement and what we have learned is that Facebook’s policies are lackluster at best. So, we will not relent, and instead, keep up the pressure.

What else can be done to turn back this trend toward authoritarian impulses? Are there any hopeful signs?

I have tremendous hope that we can turn back the tide of hate in this country. The good news is that there are many good people who are willing to get into the trenches to fight back against pernicious stereotypes. We saw this after Pittsburgh, when so many good people came forward — Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of no faith — to help support the community and turn a tragedy into an opportunity to do good. We see this happening now in the wake of the hostage crisis in Colleyville.

This is a new feature I will post from time to time calling attention to the worst and also the best things to happen in tech and media this week.

Lovely: The huge success enjoyed by the epic animated movie, “Encanto,” from Disney and, most especially, the fertile imagination of Lin-Manuel Miranda, due to his earworm of a song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” As The Times noted, “the song recently topped the Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes charts in the United States and reached No. 1 on the global YouTube music videos chart.” It currently sits at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. A lot of that has been due to explosion as a meme on social media, especially TikTok, where creators are having a ball paying tribute. It’s a moment that shows just how good digital music can be. And don’t miss this side-by-side of the reference choreography on YouTube and TikTok.

Loathsome: The Beijing Olympics next month may come with a giant dose of digital surveillance. Chinese authorities are trying to create a zero-Covid bubble for the athletes, but, one report noted, “researchers at the University of Toronto’s The Citizen Lab said a virus-monitoring app all attendees must use was found to have a ‘simple but devastating’ encryption flaw that could allow personal data including health information and voice messages to leak.” Count me a fan of The Citizen Lab, despite The International Olympic Committee and The Beijing Winter Olympic Organizing Committee saying the software problems have been fixed.




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