NY Gov. Cuomo Ends Political Career as More Women Came Forward w/ Sexual Harassment Claims

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political career came to a crash as charges of sexual harassment have intensified; driving him to announce his resignation last Tuesday. This was after a report of the related investigations recently released by the office of NY Attorney General Letitia James divulged that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, nine of whom are state employees.

There have been mixed reactions among his constituents as the New York Governor somehow stood as a beacon of hope during the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak. Yet the sexual harassment claims ended Cuomo’s political future since they violated a number of different federal and state laws. His resignation will take effect after 14 days, ending a decades-long political career, which started when he first worked as an adviser to his late father, the former NY Governor Mario Cuomo.

The sixty-three year old Andy Cuomo who served three terms as NY governor, has been facing demands for his resignation during the past few months. This was after multiple women publicly accused him of inappropriately touching them. One of the victims is a former executive assistant who narrated how Cuomo had groped her breasts while at the Executive Mansion last November 2020.

The New York governor denied all allegations, even as AG James reported that they found the victims’ claims as credible. The only thing that the governor acknowledges are the inappropriate jokes and embraces, which he said have offended a lot of women.

Incumbent Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul to Replace Cuomo

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul of Buffalo is making history as the first woman to become New York governor, as she is the next in line to assume the position after Cuomo’s resignation. Also a Democrat, Hochul’s swearing-in will maker her governor until the end of Cuomo’s term in 2022.

Additionally, Cuomo’s administration has been receiving criticisms for ordering the holding back the real number of coronavirus death toll in New York nursing homes. As a result, Brooklyn federal prosecutors are currently conducting investigations that have been going on for months now.

UK Citizens Liberated from Lockdown and Some COVID-19 Health/Safety Restrictions

On Monday (May 17, 2021) the UK’s lockdown and social distancing restrictions will be relaxed; allowing UK citizens to gradually return to living in normalcy. Moreover, restaurants, hotels, museums bars and theaters will also reopen; albeit still subject to certain precautionary measures.

However, British authorities still express worries about a possible rise in cases where the coronavirus strain is linked to those identified as India variant. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson jas voiced concerns that the new India variant could still cause a disruption on the country’s progress toward recovery.

Still, due to efforts to vaccinate as many UK citizens as possible, health authorities are saying that they have not seen evidence of any increase in the number of infections caused by the new coronavirus variant.

Vaccination Status in the UK

UK health authorities have so far administered vaccines to 36 million people, not only in hospitals but also in churches and soccer stadiums across the country. An estimated 19 million are now fully vaccinated, while sixty-eight% of the adult population have already received their first shot.

Public health officials say they will speed up with the administration of the second dose for Britons 50 and older, in order to increase their COVID-19 vaccine protection.

What Changes Will Transpire?

Citizens in the UK will now have greater choices for entertainment and leisure, as dining places and watering holes like bars and pubs, will now be able to serve customers indoors.

1. Indoor entertainment venues like theaters, sports stadiums, museums, concert halls, conference centers and children’s play areas are now allowed to operate fully.

2.  Hotels and hostels, including Bed & Breakfast lodges are allowed to reopen.

3.  Indoor training areas for sports and exercises, as well as saunas and steam rooms are likewise allowed to reopen.4.

4. When meeting up with friends and relatives in groups it should be held outdoors and up to a maximum of 30 people.

5. When inviting people over as house guest, and especially if involving overnight stay, the number of guests should be limited to six people or to two households only.

6. During weddings and similar life-event celebrations, up to 30 people can be invited.

7. The number of people paying homage in funerals will no longer be capped, although depending on the size of venue where the body of the deceased lies in state.

8. Residents of care homes can now have as many as five visitors, as well as have more time to make visits out of homes.

TikTok’s New Q&A Tool Rolls Out for All TikTok Users

TikTok officially released its Q&A tool, to improve creator-fan interactions, allowing creators to increase the value of their roles as marketing influencers. Through the Comment section, fans can opt to ask questions instead to creators, which the latter in turn can choose to answer by way of live streams or video clips. This new Q&A feature can also help creators keep their followers as they’ll have more opportunities for communicating with them.

How TikTok’s Q&A Tool Works?

TikTok also believes that promoting community connection is important as it will make users think twice before migrating to other platforms like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. Especially since the two social media platforms have succeeded in luring many TikTok users in light of the two platforms’ greater profit potentials being the leading social networks on a global scale. .

People at TikTok explained that they are making it effortless for people to interact in the platform the Q&A feature will help creators easily distinguish which are questions and which are comments. TikTok users can ask their questions through a button located in the comment section. Creators on the other hand, can respond immediately or attach a sticker to a video created in response to a Q&A that will redirect users to the original video from whence the questions originated.

Additionally, creator accounts will have a Q&A section where answers to fan queries will be compiled; whilst containing links connected the original clip that prompted the original questions related to the creator’s content.

Trump Hosting Superspreader Holiday Tours and Parties Despite Increasing COVID-19 Deaths

Last week, Trump has been hosting dozens of festive holiday tours and parties at the White House, unmindful of the continuing increase in COVID-19 death toll. According to The Washington Post, the president seems to be forgetting that the number or deaths in the country, as a result of coronavirus outbreak is nearing 300,000.

While only 50 were invited as guests in the recent White House Christmas Party, the risk of getting infected and thereafter spreading the virus even to those who did not attend, is definitely high.

Apparently, Trump supporters still do not see the dangers of getting infected, since they keep attending jam-packed holiday events. In a video shared by a former Oklahoma Republican Party chair, Pam Pollard, Republican lawmakers can be seen gathered closely below a White House staircase awaiting Trump’s appearance. Through the video audio background included discernible sounds of someone coughing badly. Still, no one seemed to care as the attendees kept mingling throughout the duration of the party.

When Trump finally appeared, he used the moment as opportunity to avow that he will always oppose the presidential election results. However, he did not mention that he and his lawyers will be able to provide supporting evidence to prove that there was indeed widespread election fraud that could overturn the results in his favor. .

Show of Safety Guidelines Guests Were Supposed to Follow During Super-Spreader Events

During the holding of the event, written notice of safety guidelines that guests are supposed to follow during the events were prominently displayed but seemed to serve only as a publicity stunt. According to Melania Trump’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham told The Post WH correspondent, guests will be served with individually plated servings of food at food stations enclosed in acrylic glass partitions. She also gave assurance that all beverages served are adequately covered.

Furthermore, Grisham underscored that instructions were given to all service staffs to comply with food safety guidelines such as wearing gloves and masks. Other safety measures included making an abundance of hand sanitizers available to the limited number of guests that were invited. However one of the guests confided to the Post correspondent that the party organizers did not bother to send copy of the guidelines.

U.S Surgeon General Advice about Holding of Holiday Galas and Celebrations

U.S Surgeon General Jerome Adams appeared last month in a Good Morning America (GMA) to give advice to those who plan to throw holiday celebrations.

Aside from saying that it is important to make sure that the number of guests are as few as possible, the Surgeon General specifically stated that the health advisories are also addressed to those at the White House and not just the American public. Inasmuch as Trumps Super Spreader Events result to notable spike in new active cases, infectious experts are anticipating that the U.S. COVID-19 death toll could surpass the 500,000 mark.

The Problems with Facebook’s Political Ad Ban

While Twitter, Tik Tok, LinkedIn and Pinterest have already banned political ads in as early as 2019, Facebook will follow suit only in the week prior to Nov.03. Actually, the FB ban pertains only to submissions of political ads during pre-election week, but will still run those that were submitted before October 27, 2020.

FB Political Restrictions Include Redirecting/Fact-Checking Political Ads

FB’s Mark Zuckerberg sees the narrow political ad restriction as a way of strengthening measures against political ads that will try to discourage people from voting in the November general elections. The restriction includes disallowing any candidate from posting claims of unconfirmed victories by redirecting FB users to accurate sources of information about vote counts, such as the National Election Post and Reuters.

The same measures will apply to campaigns aimed at discouraging voters to go out and vote by using COVID-19 as the main reason not to do so. In his FB post last Thursday, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said the site will redirect users to a source that provides authoritative information, as their way of blocking misleading ads related to the pandemic.

FB Political Ad Restrictions “Too Little, Too Late”

Critics are calling Facebook’s political restrictions and measures, “too little, too late.” While the ban applies only to political ads, FB users and private groups are free to post content carrying toxic messages and misleading information; including posts that allude to mail-in voting as fraudulent. As a measure and perhaps as a compromise, FB CEO Zuckerberg said the site will addimore information about mail-in voting.

Critics are saying that the ban on political ads in the week prior to election, will only leave the playing field open to right-wing FB users who follow Trump, Breitbart and Fox News. Mainly because their posts will not be considered as political ads. After all, Trump himself uses social media in sending out messages to his supporters. In fact, he has already suggested that he will continue to challenge the election results as rigged, if the outcomes do not turn out in his favor.

WFH FB Employees Stage Own Protest Actions : Calling for Ban vs Trump Inflammatory Posts

Work-from-home Facebook employees are staging virtual walkouts, while some have resigned, in protest of FB CEO’s inaction on Trump’s inflammatory posts.

Background to Trump’s Incendiary Posts and FB Employee Walkouts

The Minneapolis demonstrations that started out as a cry for justice over the senseless killing of George Floyd has spread into becoming a Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement throughout the country, and in other major cities across the globe. However, instead of acting as the nation’s leader by listening to the grievances being aired by the protesters, Trump considers the growing demonstrations as an affront to his powers as president of the U.S.

Trump Spreading Messages in Praise of Violence

Rather than spread messages of unity and calm, Trump has been posting FB content being shared by his blind supporters, in about 29.75 million Facebook accounts; followers who like himself are racists, but to which he has no control over any actions they may take to show their support for Trump.

Although Twitter used to be Trump’s go-to social media site for incendiary messages and in spreading false information, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey approved adding fact-check labels and of banning Trump tweets that only encourage violence that could have been spurred by agitators.

While local and world leaders from various sectors are denouncing Trump for threatening the use of military might and encouraging the use of brutal force, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to care that Trump’s FB media posts are doing more harm than good.

The Director of Facebook’s product management, Jason Toff, had tweeted

“I am not proud of how we at Facebook are showing up.” “Majority of co-workers I have spoken to, feel the same way and we are making our voices heard.”

Timothy Aveni, an engineer who does work on Facebook’s misinformation tools, announced his decision to resign. In a post in his FB account he said FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg had vowed to us that he would draw the line at speeches that call for violence. Apparently, Aveni came to realize that Zuckerberg’s promise was a lie.

CNET Warns about Typo Errors as Gateways for Security Fails

CNET recently published an article that reiterates previous warning about Twitter hacking activities targeting accounts of famous people. When the Twitter account of an important or famous person is hacked, the accounts of hundreds of thousands of followers following that account are at risk of being directed to malicious websites.

In the CNET report, Twitter typo errors have established that hackers are focusing on Twitter typo errors in sending out tweets, specifically mentioning those made by former New York City Mayor and now Trump’s personal legal representative, Rudy Guiliani. According to CNET’s tech experts, hackers have been taking advantage of Guiliani’s typo errors in tweets. The cyber attackers buy the domain name of the mistyped address tweeted by Rudy Guiliani.

When followers of the former NY Mayor access the mistyped web address that Guiliani tweeted, they will be directed to a malicious web page designed to spread malware. The explanation further denotes that if Guiliani’s followers retweet the Twitter post containing the mistyped web address that the hackers used, hundreds of thousands more will be directed to visit the virus-infected website.

Two Notable Twitter Hacking Incidents that Previously Transpired

In August 2017, the Twitter account of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey himself was hacked. In a matter of 18 minutes, hackers who called themselves Chuckling Squad took control of Dorsey’s account, sending malicious tweets whilst marking them with the hashtag #ChucklingHella.

 

Donald Trump who is known to spend most of his presidential working hours tweeting, had experienced getting his Twitter account taken over by hackers. Fortunately the hacking incident lasted for only a few seconds but enough for the hacker to post a tweet that thousand of Trump’s followers retweeted.

Apparently, just like Guiliani, Trump’s typo-error ridden tweets can also pose as security fails once hackers figure out ways on how to take advantage of Trump’s frequent misspellings.

Twitter CEO Announces Ban on Paid Political Ads and On Tweets Promoting Political Issues

Last week, Twitter CEO and co-founder, Jack Dorsey, announced the company’s decision to bar politicians from using Twitter accounts in publishing political ads; including political issue contents that aim to circumvent Twitter’s political ad ban. The ban becomes effective on November 15, 2019; but will extend to November 22, 2019 for advertisers, to give them extra time to adapt to Twitter’s new policy.

 

The new policy of course earned praises and approval from members of the Democratic caucus. although Forbes noted that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have the biggest spending for Twitter political ads. Nonetheless, this refutes the Conservative’s claims that CEO Dorsey is biased, and that his approval of the political campaign ban is aimed at silencing Conservatives; asserting that the ban will allow the liberal media to run unchecked in publishing contents that attack Republicans.

Obviously, the main Republican persona affected by Twitter’s new policy is no less than president Donald Trump. After all, Trump has taken quite a liking to Twitter as demonstrated by the massive daily political issues he tweets and retweets regardless of the veracity or falsity of contents.

Twitter CEO Explains that Ban Applies to Paying for Political Reach and Not on Freedom of Expression

The Twitter CEO said that the ban is not about suppressing freedom of expression. It is about not paying for political ads in order to broaden the reach of political campaign speeches. In being well aware that the ban can be circumvented by expressions of political issues, the ban also includes paid ads for pushing such issues. According to Jack Dorsey, they believe that garnering massive reach without having to pay for political ads, is the right way to move forward.

To give additional clarity, Twitter’s legal lead, Vijaya Gadde, gave a working definition of political ads as those advocating for or against legislative matters of national importance, e.g. healthcare, immigration, climate change, taxes and national security.

YouTube’s Rounding-Off of Subscriber Count Takes Effect

The announcement made by Google last May 2019 about YouTube subscriber counts being rounded off to the nearest whole number, took effect Monday, September 02, 2019. The video giant intends to gradually phase out the reporting system of giving the exact-number-of-subscriber count on individual Youtube channels. However, the change will apply only to those with more than 1,000 in actual number of subscribers.

According to Google, the rationale behind the change is to promote better consistency across media places where subscriber counts are on display; accessed by way of either desktop or smartphone app. Although not a few contend that the change is mainly focused to deter comparisons made based on subscriber counts, the Google-owned video giant asserts that it is more about wanting the creators to focus largely on narrative content as a means of reaching fans; rather than just publishing something aimed at yielding hour-to-hour fluctuations in subscriber counts.

As it is, subscriber counts are regarded as veritable bases in gauging collective approval for Youtube video creators. A concept that tends to distort evaluations based on genuine user engagement and interest in viewing the video content.

Mechanics of the Round-Off Method in Reporting Subscriber Counts

Accounts affected by the modification in reporting subscriber counts, will not include those whose number of followers is less than 1,000. This denotes that if the subscriber count for a YouTube channel is 998, the number stays at 998. Rounded-off counts in thousands will start only when the number hits 1,000 or higher.

YouTube’s change has implications for third-party measurement companies like Social Blade and Tubular Labs. YouTube gives assurance that third parties using proprietary application programming interface (API) as a service, will not have access to the actual numbers because they will also be seeing, only the public-facing, rounded-off subscriber counts.

Tik Tok Faulted by UK’s ICO and NSPCC for Lack of Child Safety Controls

Tik Tok Faulted by UK’s ICO and NSPCC for Lack of Child Safety Controls

Tik Tok, the leading video-sharing app that enables users to create short videos from their smartphones, and at the same time livestream their videos via Musical. Ly, is now under scrutiny of UK media and child safety watch dogs.

In February this year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Tik Tok was slapped a fine amounting to $5.7 million (£4.2 million) for collecting personal information of children below 13 years old without securing parental consent.

Yet the UK’s Information Commissioner’ s Office (ICO) is currently investigating Tik Tok beyond the data protection concerns raised by the FTC. The ICO is currently scrutinising the safety controls available on the app’s direct messaging system, in the wake of separate investigations being conducted by the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC),

The NSPCC has been receiving reports that young female users of Tik Tok and its Musical.ly website, are regularly receiving intrusive replies to their video posts from individuals they do not know, whom complainants described as “creepy.”.

ICO’s scrutiny of the TIK Tok social media site confirms that its app opens avenues for adults to send private messages to children who do not even know them.

Main Issue about Tik Tok App and Its Musical.ly Social Media Site

ICO’s investigation of Tik Tok’s Musical.ly is that unlike other social media sites, which prioritises and controls feeds according to user’s privacy settings, the site by way of its “For You” feature, regularly sends feeds that practically steer users toward posts of other Tik Tok live streamers. As a result, Tik Tok users who send “creepy” messages continue to find and like more posts of younger girls, streaming similar videos, soundtracks or using similar hashtags.

According to the NSPCC, since they record a daily average of as many a 22 cyber-related sex crimes committed against children, it is quite apparent that sex offenders continue to target children by getting in touch with them through live streaming apps like Tik Tok.

NSPCC’s research found that about 10,000 of every 40,000 children ranging in ages between 7 to 16 years old, have live streamed online with people they do not know or have never met. Of those 10,000 children, one in every 20 who has live streamed online with someone they have never met had received request to take off their clothes, via live streaming.

New Pew Research Shows U.S. Teens and Parents Alike Suffer from Smartphone Addiction

A recent Pew Research Center survey involving teens ages 13 to 17 indicate that they now acknowledge their addiction to their smartphones. Fifty-two percent (52%) of those who admitted to having spent too much time engaged in online activities, said they have tried reducing mobile phone use, while fifty-seven percent (57%) said they have made attempts to limit their visits to social media sites. Recognition of the problem though also came with admitting inability to control their smartphone dependency.

Of the 743 US teens interviewed between March 7 and April 10, 2018, fifty-four percent (54%) have become self-aware that they are devoting much time on their smartphones, while forty-one percent (41%) admitted to having spent much of those smartphone time on social media. Further analysis of the survey revealed the following:

* Girls more than boys (47% vs. 35%) are inclined to focus on social media sites during smartphone online engagements.

* On the other hand, forty-one percent (41%) of the boys involved in the study, spent much of their time online playing video games using their smartphones. In contrast, only eleven percent of (11%) of girls surveyed engaged in video games.

* Forty-four (44 %) percent of all teens surveyed have formed the habit of checking for messages or notifications as soon as they wake up. Only twenty-eight percent (28%) claim that they do this only occasionally

* Of the teens surveyed, forty-two percent (42%) admitted to suffer from anxiety and loneliness when deprived of phone use, to which the study shows more girls (49%) than boys (35%) experienced such emotions.

* Thirty-one percent (31%) admitted that their use of smartphones can distract them from focusing on their study, although only eight percent (8%) say that it happens frequently.

* Half of the number of teens surveyed think their parents are also distracted from work because of cellphone use. Fourteen percent (14%) thinks that their parent’s own tendency to lose focus on work occurs often.

What U.S. Parents and Experts Say about Teen Smartphone Addiction

In conjunction with this particular teen study, Pew Research also surveyed 1,058 parents of American teens. Approximately two-thirds or 65% parents expressed worries over the excessive number of hours spent by their children on their smartphones. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of the worried parents claim they either put limits on their kids’ online engagement, or on the use of their smartphone.

However since a number of the teens involved in the study have observed that their own parents have a tendency to lose focus on their work when engaged in online activities, MIT professor Sherry Turkle said the finding raises the issue even more. She said that parents themselves must start recognizing their own problems at smartphone addiction, as their technological behavior poses as example to their children.

 

Former Google in-house ethicist Tristan Harris, explains that teen addiction stems from the very way tech companies designed their products. During a conference about technology addiction, Harris, who co founded the Center on Humane Technology, said that the tendency of parents and kids alike, once they click on Youtube, is to keep watching as many Youtube videos as possible. The tendency often overpowers actions they need to take in meeting whatever goals they have thought of during their waking hours.