‘Devin Nunes’ Cow’ Parody Account Gets More Followers Than Nunes After His Twitter Lawsuit

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A parody Twitter account cited in a $250 million lawsuit filed by Devin Nunes has now exceeded the California congressman’s total number of Twitter followers.

In his lawsuit filed Monday, Nunes, a Republican representing the state’s 22nd district, accused Twitter of censoring conservative voices and knowingly permitting abusive behavior. He is seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages from the social media site, as well as several unnamed users.

One of those users is the creator of an account called “Devin Nunes’ Cow.” The profile, which frequently criticizes and mocks Nunes, had 1,000 followers at the time he filed the suit, and was virtually unknown. Nunes’ lawsuit had the unintended consequence of drawing attention to it, and by Wednesday, the account had around 536,000 followers.

Also Read: Inside Facebook, YouTube and Twitter’s Struggle to Purge Video of the New Zealand Mosque Attacks

Currently, Nunes himself has around 396,000 followers.

In addition to the monetary damages, Nunes’ lawsuit seeks to compel Twitter to reveal the names of the people behind “Devin Nunes’ Cow,” and also accounts called “Devin Nunes’ Mom,” “Fire Devin Nunes” and “Devin Nunes Grapes.” He also wants the site to permanently suspend a number of users whose posts contain what he says are “false and defamatory statements.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request from TheWrap for comment. Nunes’ office also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Devin Nunes’ Cow On Way To 500K Twitter Followers, Stampeding Congressman, After $250M Lawsuit

Read on: Deadline.

Two days after California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes sued Twitter and two parody accounts for $250 million for being mean to him, the number of people following one of those accounts, Devin Nunes’ Cow, skyrocketed, eclipsing the congressman’s own…

The Economist Apologizes for Tweet Asking Whether Transgender People Should Be ‘Sterilized’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Economist deleted and apologized for a tweet in which the magazine appeared to suggest that transgender people should be “sterilized.”

“We deleted an earlier tweet which mischaracterised our article on transgender rights in Japan. Here is that article, which remains unchanged,” the British magazine said in a tweet Tuesday evening.

“The article explores in detail a question that was put to Japan’s Supreme Court. Our tweets often use a line from the articles they link to. We were wrong to use the first line of this article out of its context. Sorry,” they added in an update Wednesday morning.

The original tweet had asked — without context — “Should transgender people be sterilised before they are recognized?”

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Reps for The Economist did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Far from a question from the magazine itself, the tweet linked to an Economist article about a debate currently unfolding in Japan over the issue, which the paper itself labeled “the unkindest cut.”

“Should transgender people be sterilised before they are recognised? Earlier this year Japan’s Supreme Court decided that the answer is yes,” read the opening of the piece, while also noting shortly after that “Human-rights groups say demanding irreversible surgery is outrageous. Although several Asian countries, including South Korea, have similar laws, Western countries that once also used to require sterilisation, such as Norway, France and Sweden, no longer do.”

The original tweet was immediately flagged on Twitter by prominent users, who attacked the magazine for asking the question.

“You know… f– @TheEconomist. F–ing sick of this f–ing garbage. How f–ing dare they? Really. F– them,” Media Matters editor Parker Molloy said in a tweet. “‘Should [literally any group of people] be sterilized before being [legally] recognized?’ There is absolutely no context where that is an okay question to ask, you genocidal s–weasels.”

It’s far from the first time the magazine has faced criticism over it’s coverage. Similar bad feeling ensued in 2016 when they reported that “the key to a successful marriage” was “not having daughters.”

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Donald Trump Vows To Investigate Facebook, Twitter, TV News Outlets, “Different Shows” In Rose Garden Presser

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Congressman Devin Nunes Files $250M Complaint Against Twitter

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes is suing Twitter and several of its unnamed users for $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages, and is accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” to influence the 2018 elections.

In the complaint filed Monday in the Circuit Court for the county of Henrico, Virginia, Nunes says Twitter attempted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee by “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

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In addition to the monetary damages sought, the lawsuit — which cites “negligence, defamation per se, insulting words, and civil conspiracy” — seeks to compel Twitter to reveal the names of the people behind the accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom,” “Devin Nunes’ cow,” “Fire Devin Nunes” and “Devin Nunes Grapes,” and to permanently suspend a number of users whose posts “contain false and defamatory statements.”

Nunes’ personal attorney, Steven S. Biss, tells Fox News, “Twitter is a machine. It is a modern-day Tammany Hall. Congressman Nunes intends to hold Twitter fully accountable for its abusive behavior and misconduct.”

Services like Twitter are usually legally exempt from defamation liability suits, but Nunes’ team says, “Twitter is ‘responsible’ for the development of offensive content on its platform because it in some way specifically encourages development of what is offensive about the content.”

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Testifying before Congress in September, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reiterated that Twitter doesn’t make decisions based on “political ideology,” adding that it wouldn’t make business sense for Twitter to dump large groups of Republicans, and calling the platform a new-age “public square” where almost anything should be allowed to be said.

Nunes’ complaint says the user called “Davin Nunes’ Mom,” used his name, falsely impersonated his mother, and created the account solely to defame him “with Twitter’s consent.”

That account has since been suspended, but the lawsuit includes screenshots of tweets, including a lewd drawing of President Vladimir Putin, President Trump and Nunes based on the film “Human Centipede.” According to the complaint, “Twitter did nothing to investigate or review the defamation that appeared in plain view on its platform” and has “consciously allowed the defamation of Nunes to continue.”

Also Read: Bill Maher Mocks Devin Nunes in ’25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me’ List

Accused of having “made unauthorized disclosures of classified information,” Nunes became a target of an ethics investigation in April 2017 and stepped aside from the House’s Russia probe.

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YouTube Blocked 1 Video Upload Per Second of New Zealand Mosque Shooting

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YouTube has struggled to keep video of the New Zealand mosque shooting off its platform, with Neil Mohan, chief product officer of the world’s biggest video hub, telling The Washington Post on Monday that the site’s moderators were pulling …

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YouTube Star PewDiePie “Sickened” By New Zealand Shooter Reference During Massacre

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YouTube content star PewDiePie has issued a response to having his name attached to the New Zealand mosque massacre, saying he was “sickened” by any connection to the incident.
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Inside Facebook, YouTube and Twitter’s Struggle to Purge Video of the New Zealand Mosque Attacks

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The daunting, near-impossible challenge of purging violent attacks from major tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube was made clear on Friday in the minutes and hours after the horrifying mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques that killed 49 people and left dozens of others wounded.

The attack, and others like it, isn’t something that can be proactively blocked from social media. Instead, the shooting, which the shooting suspect livestreamed using Facebook Live and then recirculated on other platforms, is something that forces human moderators and artificial intelligence tools to act quickly to block. But the reaction isn’t instantaneous or flawless.

The responses of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube underscore the whack-a-mole nature of policing massive social media platforms — with massive audiences. Facebook has more than 2 billion users. YouTube pulls in more than 1 billion views each day and has hundreds of hours of content uploaded each minute. Twitter has 321 million users.

Entirely eradicating the video is immensely difficult, if not impossible. While the platforms are busy deleting posts, some users are working to share the attack. It’s the digital equivalent of capping a busted fire hydrant.

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The attacker, a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant, may have known this would be the case. By livestreaming the bloodshed as he entered a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and opened fire, he was able to maximize the anguish while allowing a faction of the internet to pick up where he left off, re-sharing the attack and thereby searing it into the memory of anyone that watches it.

And as one person familiar with Facebook’s review process told TheWrap, taking the draconian measure of banning new uploads that mention keywords like “mosque” or “shooting” isn’t feasible. Not only would it fail to block all uploads of the attack video, it would stifle innocuous reports and commentary on the tragedy.

The livestream, which captured the anguished cries pierce the brief moments between gun shots, remained up for nearly 20 minutes before Facebook was alerted by New Zealand police officers that the attack was being broadcast.

Also Read: Death Toll in New Zealand Mosque Shootings Rises to 49

Facebook spokesperson Mia Garlick said the company then “immediately removed” the livestream and deleted both the suspected shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Facebook is also “removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters,” Garlick said, adding that the social media giant is continuing to work with police on its investigation of the case.

TheWrap has been unable to find video of the livestreamed attack on Facebook on Friday. That’s largely due to the measures Facebook took after removing the livestream — which include producing a scan of the video that allowed the company to detect new uploads that include the same scenes as the livestream.

According to one Facebook rep, the company’s AI technology is also able to spot blood and gore from the livestream — enabling Facebook to immediately remove uploads showing the most gruesome aspects of the livestream while allowing news reports on the massacre (which are unlikely to include graphic footage). The company is actively looking for links to the livestream on other sites, then alerting those sites to take the video down, the rep added.

But the recorded shooting continues to linger on other platforms, despite a unified push to remove it.

A person familiar with Twitter’s review process said the company is using a combination of AI and an international team of moderators to scan the platform and remove the offending video. This process hasn’t been foolproof, however; several tweets sharing video of the attack have remained easily findable on Twitter on Friday, with many of the tweets remaining up for hours at a time. An individual familiar with Twitter’s moderation team said the company strongly encourages users to flag tweets sharing the video so that its moderators can more quickly remove the clips. (Sharing the video violates Twitter’s rule against “glorification of violence.”)

Twitter declined to share how many tweets of the video it has removed.

Also Read: PewDiePie Is ‘Sickened’ After New Zealand Mosque Shooter Names Him in Attack Video

YouTube, the biggest video hub on the planet, has run into similar issues keeping the video off its site. A person familiar with YouTube’s response said it has removed thousands of uploads of the shooting on Friday. News reports showing segments of the attack will not be removed from YouTube, as the company allows exceptions to its ban on graphic content if it contains news value. But the company, like Facebook and Twitter, is leaning on machine-learning tools and its human moderation team to remove uploads of the raw video.

Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.

— YouTube (@YouTube) March 15, 2019

Even after thousands of uploads have been removed, a constant stream of new uploads are added each hour by users looking to skirt YouTube’s enforcement mechanisms. Most are quickly caught and taken down, as a YouTube search of the last hour of uploads showed, but some slip through the cracks and allow viewers to watch the attack.

Right now, these tech giants are left with an imperfect solution — a reliance on flawed technology and moderators with a finite amount of time and energy —  to the problem of completely blocking video of violent attacks from spreading.

Jon Levine contributed to this report. 

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New Zealand Shooting Videos Ricochet Around Online World As Facebook, YouTube And Twitter Scramble To Remove Them

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Multiple People Killed in New Zealand Mosque Shootings

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Multiple people were killed Friday in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand by a gunman who appears to have streamed the attacks.

The number of people killed has not been disclosed, but police say a single suspect is in custody. It is not known if more suspects were involved. The shootings are “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” the country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said in a statement.

The identity of the suspect in custody has not been made public, but the New York Times reports that a man claiming responsibility for the killings posted links on Twitter and 8chan to an anti-immigrant manifesto. The 8chan posting also linked to a Facebook page where, according to the Times, a 17-minute video, taken with what appears to be a helmet camera, showed a man attacking two mosques and shooting an unspecified number of people.

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Representatives for Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TheWrap.

The person claiming responsibility for the attacks said he is a 28-year-old white man from Australia who went to New Zealand solely to commit the attack, and said he used guns specifically to cause discord over the Second Amendment in the United States, according to the Times.

The Times also reported that the Facebook page and Twitter posts by the person claiming to be the shooter displayed images of weapons covered with the names of men who have carried out mass shootings, as well as notable military generals. And the Associated Press reported that the man said he considered his actions to be a terrorist attack.

The attack is New Zealand’s first mass shooting since 1990, when a man killed 13 people in the city of Aramoana. New Zealand passed sweeping changes to its gun laws in response to the event, including restrictions on what were classified as “military-style semi-automatic” weapons, and stricter gun licensing requirements.

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Tucker Carlson’s Very Bad Week Leads to 39 Percent Drop in Advertisers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Paid advertisements for “Tucker Carlson Tonight” have dropped by 39 percent since liberal group Media Matters for America unearthed old recording in which Carlson made disparaging comments about women and minorities, a new analysis shows.

Data company Samba TV said the show went from 36 advertisers on the Monday before the release of the tapes to 14 advertisers the day after.

Carlson remains the most-watched show at 8 p.m. in all of cable. But more than 30 advertisers have pulled their ads since December, when Carlson said that “an endless chain of migrant caravans” was making “our own country poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.” Media Matters has called on people to boycott businesses that advertise on the show.

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Fox News declined to comment Wednesday, but has criticized the Media Matters campaign as politically motivated.

The drop in advertisers appears even more dramatic when compared to a year ago. As of the second Monday of March 2018, the show had 54 advertisers. The 14 advertisers on Carlson’s Monday, March 11 show, the day after the audio was released, represent a 74 percent drop.

Before the boycott, Carlson’s show featured ads by giants such as IBM, Ford, Subaru, Infinity, GMC, Lincoln and Volvo.

On Monday, as Carlson steadfastly proclaimed that Fox News was standing by him, the only big national brand still holding court was Bayer. (Bayer’s ads were not featured on Tuesday night’s show. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment by TheWrap).

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The most prominent brand ads on Carlson’s Monday show were for the anti-virus software PC Matic, and a whole lot of MyPillow, a bedding company owned by a proud Trump supporter. The show ran two separate MyPillow ads, each lasting two minutes. It also had only four commercial breaks, down from the usual five.

The decline in commercial spots also coincides with a rise in unpaid Fox promos. The Monday right before Media Matters released the audio, Carlson’s show featured 180 seconds of unpaid network promotions, according to Samba TV. That number jumped to 195 seconds the Monday after the tapes were released.

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Tuesday night’s episode was similar, with eight advertisers, 75 seconds of promos, and seven commercials lasting either one or two minutes, an oddity in primetime cable news.

MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes,” which airs opposite Carlson, had 23 advertisers on Monday night, despite 41 percent lower ratings in 2019 so far.

Carlson’s show also slipped in demo ratings, drawing 2.895 million viewers, with 495,000 of those in the key adults 25-54 demographic. Those numbers topped all of Tucker’s cable news competition, but were down from his quarter-to-date averages.

“This is a sizable fall-off in advertisers,” Brad Adgate, a media analyst former advertising executive, told TheWrap. “This doesn’t seem to be blowing over.”

Also Read: Tucker Carlson Once Called Fox News ‘A Mean, Sick Group of People’ Back in 2003

“When you’ve cut back on the number of commercial breaks and most of your non-programming time is spent on promos or direct response ads for a show that’s one of your top rated programs, that’s not going to help you financially,” he added.

Media Matters culled the audio from appearances Carlson made on shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show between 2006 and 2011. Carlson defended Utah polygamist Warren Jeffs, a cult leader who is serving a life sentence for child rape, calling the charges against him “bulls–t.”

Carlson went on to argue that “arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old is not the same as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her.”

Carlson also used the c-word, called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” who don’t use toilet paper or forks, and used homophobic slurs.

Also Read: Tucker Carlson’s Ratings Dip in 1st Show Since Resurfaced Comments About Rape, Women

Carlson has declined to apologize.

“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago,” he said. “Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”

Last month, Fox News told TheWrap the network hasn’t lost any money because of Media Matters or other groups critical of its coverage. Despite boycotts, Fox News generated about $2.6 billion in revenue in 2018, a record year for the network.

“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants. Attempts were made last month to bully and terrorize Tucker and his family at their home,” Fox News said. “He is now once again being threatened via Twitter by far left activist groups with deeply political motives. While we do not advocate boycotts, these same groups never target other broadcasters and operate under a grossly hypocritical double standard given their intolerance to all opposing points of view.”

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NBC News Corrects Report That Twitter Is Considering Hiding Retweet and Like Counts

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

NBC News issued a major correction to a piece which originally reported that Twitter was considering hiding publicly available user engagement information like retweets and likes in the name of creating a more “friendly” environment for users and to promote a “healthy conversation” on a prototype new app called twttr.

The news raced around Twitter on Wednesday — with some even saying the change might have been inspired by Kanye West — before an update to the bottom of the piece from reporter Chiara Sottile revealed that the news organization was walking back the story’s central claim.

“An earlier version of this article misstated the changes that Twitter is testing in a prototype app. Twitter is testing putting engagement counts on replies behind a user tap, not removing the engagement counts for tweets,” it read.

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The original language of the report that read, “The prototype also removes the engagement counts showing the number of retweets or ‘likes’ a tweet receives” was changed to read “The prototype also moves the engagement counts for replies behind a tap.”

Reps for NBC News declined TheWrap’s request for comment on this story. Reps for Twitter referred TheWrap to an online statement.

“Yesterday, we started giving people access to our prototype app twttr which we’re using to test new ideas and get feedback. Putting likes and retweets behind a tap is just an idea to help make conversations easier to read,” the company said. “The features in Twitter and twttr will be different. twttr is the place where we’ll experiment with explorations and ideas (like a new look for conversations) that may or may not come to Twitter.”

Other elements of the article remained unchanged Wednesday, including reporting that the social network was considering “new features to enhance pictures and video on the app in an effort to encourage users to make more use of the cameras on their smartphones” and is testing them for the new app.

“We’ve really intentionally tried to make the images and footage that are captured on the ground at an event look different than other images and videos that you might attach to a tweet,” Keith Coleman, Twitter’s head of consumer product, told NBC.

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Twitter’s Camera-Driven Redesign Mirrors Popular Snapchat and Instagram Features

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Twitter is rolling out a major redesign on Wednesday, aiming to encourage users to share more pictures and videos, with its new features mirroring some of the more popular aspects of competitors like Snapchat and Instagram.

The app update’s key difference is that it will make it easier for users to quickly access the camera function. Once the app update hits their phone, users can swipe left from their timeline in order to take pictures. Previously, users had a more circuitous route to adding a picture or video, needing to tap the camera icon after clicking its compose tweet button on the bottom right of its app. Another swipe allows users to record video or live audio.

The easy-access camera isn’t the only change that’s similar to Snapchat. Users can add color, hashtags, location, and up to its standard 280 characters of text on pictures, drawing on some of the staple features of Snapchat and Instagram.

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Twitter will also recommend locations for users to tag in their pictures based on events that they’re close to, with Engadget reporting that Twitter will initially place an emphasis on sports games and other big events. Twitter wants the new features, which were unveiled at South-by-Southwest in Austin, Texas, to allow users to better engage with topics and events that they’re interested in or nearby.

“It knows where you are and what’s going on around you,” Keith Coleman, Twitter’s head of product, told NBC. “So if you’re at SXSW, it knows that, and it will suggest you add the SXSW hashtag.”

Additional major changes could also be released. Twitter is experimenting with hiding the number of likes and retweets each tweet gets behind a tap, according to NBC. The outlet had to issue a correction on Wednesday afternoon after initially reporting Twitter was considering completely removing the number of likes and retweets each tweet receives, something that would’ve fundamentally altered the app. The move could be another push towards improving the “health of the conversation” on Twitter, something that chief executive Jack Dorsey and other company execs have stressed in the last year.

NBC has a CORRECTION on its New Twitter story and it’s important pic.twitter.com/6VEHv34XCg

— Gene Park (@GenePark) March 13, 2019

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