Ten police officers in Philadelphia have been placed on desk duty after an investigation uncovered “racist, intolerant, and otherwise offensive” Facebook posts by the cops. Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Richard Ross said in a statement that the entire 6500- member police force would undergo anti-bias training. This, in response to the publication of The Plain View Project, a database professing to catalog activity from police in eight jurisdictions nationwide, including Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) reports, The Plain View Project published the database Saturday, saying it included offensive material from about 330 Philadelphia cops. Some of them were identified as high-ranking officers. In his statement, Police Commissioner Ross said the department had asked a law firm to help evaluate the Facebook posts and comments to help identify who may have made the post, and if those posts violated the departments’ social media policy.
“When a police officer’s expression of his or her opinions erodes the police department’s ability to do its job and maintain the public’s trust, the department is permitted to act. Those officers that we have identified that appear to have engaged in explicit bias against any protected class of individual or who advocated any form of violence, will be immediately removed from street duty during the course of these investigations.”
Police Sgt. Eric Gripp said that the 10 officers whose posts were considered among the most egregious had been placed on desk duty pending an Internal Affairs investigation. Some of the posts made by the cops included posts that celebrated acts of violence against Muslims, immigrants and black people. Some posts captured long, “hate-filled”, exchanges that appeared to involve multiple officers, according to the database. Some of the posts have allegedly been contributed to at least one police inspector, six police captains, and eight lieutenants.
Apple removed Alex Jones’ Info Wars app from their app store on Friday. That move alone would be a major loss for anyone considering the amount of Apple users. But for Jones and his Info Wars program, the Apple ban is another set of cement shoes that are surely about to ensure that Jones and his brand get buried at the bottom of the ocean right alongside other unwanted trash.
Jones’ Info Wars built up a huge loyal viewership that garnered a large following on practically every social network and streaming site. As far as I can tell, Info Wars is mainly a wild conspiracy theory vehicle with Jones himself at the wheel. The rise of a person like Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States probably played very well into the Info Wars agenda. Jones took advantage of this and grew his brand. The crazier the conspiracy theory (and the host), the more attention Jones and Info Wars garnered. This was likely good news for Jones and the sites that hosted his shows and allowed Jones to interact with his fans.
The problem with conspiracy theories are that at some point, conspiracy theories can become a danger to the public. No example bigger than the “pizzagate” conspiracy. The story behind this was that Hilary Clinton was kidnapping kids and holding them hostage in the basement of a pizza shop. (I wish I could tell you that this was a joke, but it’s not) The danger with crazy conspiracy theories is that some people believe them wholeheartedly. Which was what happened here. After hearing Jones’ pizzagate rants, a disgruntled Jones listener decided it was his civic duty to take action. A man went to the pizza shop armed with weapons and demanded that the kids being held hostage by Hilary Clinton in the basement be freed. Fortunately, no one was hurt in that incident. The fanatic Info Wars listener was arrested without incident. Oh, by the way…..the pizza shop didn’t have any kidnapped kids inside…..or a basement at all.
In my personal opinion, that alone was enough of an incident to have social media and other platforms drop the hammer on Info Wars, but they didn’t. The conspiracy theories continued. Jones had temporary bans from sites here and there, but those bans were never enough to really slow down or hurt the Info Wars brand or Alex Jones’ pockets. Recently things changed though. Facebook hit Jones with a permanent band, that was shortly followed by Youtube and most recently Twitter. If you can’t promote your products on those sites, you’re pretty much over and done with. The Apple move is another nail in the Info Wars coffin.
The New York Times (@NYTimes) spoke to an Apple spokesperson who said Info Wars was removed under company policy that prohibits apps on its site from including content that is “offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste.” The spokesperson declined to say if any specific content in the app led to Info Wars removal.
Cambridge Analytica, the company that combines data mining and data analysis, and also the company who claimed victory in helping to elect Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States has come under fire for some of its information gathering tactics. From bribes, to hiring ex-spies, to hiring prostitutes to sleep with politicians in an attempt to frame them. Channel 4’s undercover investigation catches top executive making some startling admissions. Cambridge Analytica has been in the news lately for being kicked off of Facebook for illegally gathering information on millions of Facebook users. A revelation that sent some users into a panic and may have caused Facebook stock prices to take a dive on the stock market today. You can check out Channel 4 News’ documentary/undercover operation below:
Video courtesy: Channel 4 News
Filmmaker Kevin Smith says he suffered a massive heart attack last night. Smith tweeted that the complications that caused the heart attack and sent him to the hospital may have saved his life, because if he had not gone to the hospital, he would’ve died.
Smith had been scheduled to perform two comedy shows at the “Alex Theatre” in Glendale, California. Smith left the venue after his first show and headed to the hospital. USA Today (@USAToday) reports that Smith elaborated a little more in a Facebook post
“After the first show, I felt kinda nauseous. I threw up a little but it didn’t seem to help. Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy. Turns out I had a massive heart attack. Death was always the thing I was most terrified of in life. I’ve had a great life: loved by parents who raised me to become the individual I am. I’ve had a weird, wonderful career in all sorts of media, amazing friends, the best wife in the world and an incredible daughter who made me a dad. But as I stared into the infinite, I realized I was relatively content.”
Kevin Smith is 47-years old. Smith went on to write in the post that he hopes to make a Jay and Silent Bob reboot. Smith ended his Facebook post by saying “I don’t want my life to end but if it ends. I can’t complain. It was such a gift.”