Industries can harm health in many ways: Here are 3 that aren’t so obvious

Some products and practices are directly linked to avoidable ill health, planetary damage and social and health inequity, especially by large transnational corporations

Sameera Mahomedy

Down To Earth | March 30, 2023

Research confirms the adverse effects of social media on mental health. Photo: Shutterstock Research confirms the adverse effects of social media on mental health. Photo: Shutterstock

A recent ground-breaking series of reports in the science journal The Lancet unpacks what commercial determinants of health are, and how they affect public health. It uses a new, broader definition of the determinants:

the systems, practices and pathways through which commercial actors drive health and equity.

Some commercial entities contribute positively to health and society. However, research shows that some commercial products and practices are directly linked to avoidable ill health, planetary damage, and social and health inequity. Large transnational corporations are especially to blame.

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How the FBI Hacked Twitter: The answer begins with Russiagate

Lee Smith

Tablet Magazine | January 05, 2023

AFTER journalist Matt Taibbi published the first batch of internal Twitter documents known as the Twitter files, he tweeted that the company’s deputy general counsel, James Baker, was vetting them.

“The news that Baker was reviewing the ‘Twitter files’ surprised everyone involved,” Taibbi wrote. That apparently included even Twitter’s new boss, Elon Musk, who added that Baker may have deleted some of the files he was supposed to be reviewing.

Baker had been the top lawyer at the FBI when it interfered in the 2016 presidential election. News that he might have been burying evidence of the spy service’s use of a social media company to interfere with the 2020 election, is rightly setting off alarm bells.

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Twitter IS “State-Affiliated Media”

Caitlin Johnstone

British politician and broadcaster George Galloway has made headlines in the UK with his threat to press legal action against Twitter for designating his account “Russia state-affiliated media”, a label which will now show up under his name every time he posts anything on the platform.

Galloway: He fights. Others may follow. The big question now is whether millions of manufactured morons can finally be shaken out of their brainwash.

“Dear @TwitterSupport I am not ‘Russian State Affiliated media’,” reads a viral tweet by Galloway. “I work for NO Russian media. I have 400,000 followers. I’m the leader of a British political party and spent nearly 30 years in the British parliament. If you do not remove this designation I will take legal action.”

Galloway argues that while his broadcasts have previously been aired by Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik, because those outlets have been shut down in the UK by Ofcom and by European Union sanctions he can no longer be platformed by them even if he wants to. If you accept this argument, then it looks like Twitter is essentially using the “state-affiliated media” designation as a marker of who Galloway is as a person, rather than as a marker of what he actually does.

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Documents Show How the US Government Used Social Media to Intervene in Venezuela

Tim Gill and Christian Lewelling

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro speaks during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, August 2021. (Manaure Quintero / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In recent months, US lawmakers have condemned Facebook for harming children’s health, amplifying violence from Washington to India, and disseminating misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and its vaccine. The criticisms follow a leak of thousands of internal company documents known as the Facebook Papers, which reveal that despite knowledge of its products’ role in fueling a range of toxic behaviors, Facebook has refused to take any meaningful action in response, putting its profits before social health.

Yet while lawmakers are exploiting the leak’s political fallout to ramp up ongoing attacks on the tech giant, taxpayers might also be interested to know that the US government has funded programs to assist opposition political parties and activists in using Facebook to undermine foreign governments. Venezuela is a case in point.

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The Ugly Truth Behind WhatsApp’s Data Privacy

Sasank and Prabir Purkayastha

People’s Democracy | January 17, 2021

WHATSAPP, a company owned by Facebook since 2014, has issued a new privacy policy changing its data-sharing rules, which will come into effect by February 8, 2021. In this new policy, WhatsApp has declared that it will share data with Facebook, its parent company, about users’ chats, connections, location and device information, transactions and payments. It will also share data of our interactions with other businesses that use Facebook as a platform. The public outcry over the new privacy policy has prompted an exodus to much safer alternatives like Signal. The weekly downloads of Signal and Telegram, another popular messaging app, has increased by millions, coupled with a significant drop in WhatsApp’s new downloads.Read More »


Facebook will Stop Australians from Posting News

Casey Tonkin

INFORMATIONAGE | September 01, 2020

Soon you won’t be able to share news articles on Facebook. Source: Shutterstock

Facebook said Australian users will no longer be able to post news stories on its platforms in protest of proposed media bargaining legislation.

“Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram,” Managing Director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand, Will Easton, said in a statement.

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Facebook: “serious setbacks for civil rights”

by Terry Everton

The Verge reports:

A team of civil rights auditors has delivered a scathing and unexpected indictment of Facebook’s recent moderation choices after a two-year examination of the platform’s practices and internal policies.

“While the audit process has been meaningful and has led to some significant improvements in the platform,” the report reads, “we have also watched the company make painful decisions over the last nine months with real world consequences that are serious setbacks for civil rights.”

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Twitter blocks accounts of Venezuelan vice-president who deals with combating covid-19 | March 20, 2020

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, on Friday said Twitter blocked the accounts of Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez, who heads the country’s presidential commission on the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, on Friday said Twitter blocked the accounts of Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez, who heads the country’s presidential commission on the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez leads the presidential commission against COVID-19.

“The inhuman and reckless gesture is that Twitter restricts @DrodriguezVen and @ViceVenezuela accounts, which are the sources of information necessary for the people of Venezuela in these unforeseen circumstances,’’ Arreaza said on Twitter.

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MoveOn Sends Letter to Facebook Leaders in Response to Definers News, Other Concerns | November 21, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, MoveOn executive directors Anna Galland and Ilya Sheyman sent the following letter to Facebook leaders Mark Zuckerberg and Cheryl Sandberg in response to the recent news on Facebook’s hiring of Definers Public Affairs and the company’s Civil Rights Audit and advertising standards.Read More »

Social Media Giants Choking Independent News Site Traffic to a Trickle

by Whitney Webb

The Greanville Post | June 21, 2018

(The Hacker News*)

MINNEAPOLIS – For much of the year, independent media has felt the sting of increased social media censorship, as the “revolving door” between U.S. intelligence agencies and social-media companies has manifested in a crackdown on news that challenges official government narratives. With many notable independent news websites having shut down since then as a result, those that remain afloat are being censored like never before, with social media traffic from Facebook and Twitter completely cut off in some cases. Among such websites, social media censorship by the most popular social networks is now widely regarded to be the worst it has ever been – a chilling reality for any who seek fact-based perspectives on major world events that differ from those to be found on well-known corporate-media outlets that consistently toe the government line.Read More »