ACCC wants social giants to police news

This is a truly frightening prospect.

Page 21 of the ACCC report says:

… accessing news and journalism through digital platforms may increase consumers’ risk of exposure to less reliable and lower quality news. This is because news and journalism accessed via digital platforms has been de-coupled from the news media business, often limiting a consumer’s familiarity with and knowledge of the original source of the story.

Leading digital platforms have taken or are taking steps to help users identify the reliability, trustworthiness and provenance of news. For example, Facebook, Google and Bing work with the ‘Trust Project’ to incorporate independent assessments of news sources into the way they display news to users and prioritise different sources through algorithms. Both Facebook and Twitter use badges to verify the authenticity of public figures and organisations distributing information on their services.

While these are important initiatives, the ACCC is of the view that efforts in this area should not be designed and implemented at the sole discretion of the digital platforms. The ACCC therefore recommends that an independent regulator such as the ACMA provide oversight of these voluntary initiatives by monitoring digital platforms’ efforts to enable users to identify reliability, trustworthiness and provenance of news content featured on their services. This would ensure that these initiatives continue to protect the interests of Australian news consumers.

The entire Russia hoax story was promoted almost daily on CNN, with the support of The New York Times and the Washington Post. These are the most ‘trusted’ new sources and they got the story wrong. Wrong from Day One.

The Trust Project referenced by the ACCC looks benign but from a competition perspective, it is an abject fail and a frightening proposition for conservatives. The aim is to cement the major players in journalism at the cost of independent voice (yes, like The Daily Breakdown):

… the Trust Project’s media partners, involved in creating these new “standards” for news algorithms, include major publications owned by wealthy oligarchs: the Washington Post, owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos; the Economist, directed by the wealthy Rothschild family; and the Globe and Mail, owned by Canada’s richest family, the Thomsons, who also own Thomson Reuters. Other Trust Project partners include The New York Times, Mic, Hearst Television, the BBC and the USA Today network.

The Trust Project will make it easier for the algorithms to be designed to block conservative voices with the authority of government. Scary.

The Boris bounce

The UK Conservatives are up 10 points since Boris walked past the enamel doors at Number 10.

But before anyone celebrates, get a load of the numbers:

The Sunday Times newspaper said the “Boris bounce” had pushed support for Johnson’s Conservatives to 31 per cent, up six percentage points from the previous poll, while Labour was on 21 per cent, up two points.

The newspaper said the poll by YouGov could fuel speculation that Johnson, who faces a Brexit deadlock in Britain’s Parliament, will call an early election.

The poll gave the Conservatives their biggest lead over the opposition in five months and it was the first time their support has risen above 30 per cent since April, the Sunday Times said.

The Liberal Democrats were down three points on 20 per cent and the new Brexit Party, led by veteran eurosceptic Nigel Farage, was down four points on 13 per cent, half its peak level in May.

The UK electoral system is first past the post. But that the most popular party has just tipped 30 per cent is truly pathetic.


Jacob Rees-Mogg style guide

The Jacob Rees-Mogg style guide is simple and elegant. Superb work, sir, simply superb.

The new Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has instructed all staff in his new office to use imperial measurements and refer to ‘non-titled males’ as ‘esquire’.

Issuing a style guide in the first week of his job, he also bans colleagues from using various words in correspondence with other MPs and the public.

Among the list of bizarre rules, he asks staff not to use the words “got”, “very” or “equal”.