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Controversial billboard tribute to JK Rowling in East Van taken down


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The famous British author was criticized this summer for a series of tweets based on her own experience of domestic abuse that were cited as discriminating against trans women.

The tweets opened the flood gates to comments from members of the LGBTQ community and gender activists, as well as from actors  Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, all of whom starred in the movies based on the author’s Harry Potter novel series.

Rowling tweeted about an opinion piece with the headline: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate. Rowling said: “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

In later tweets, Rowling said: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth. The idea that women like me, who’ve been empathetic to trans people for decades, feeling kinship because they’re vulnerable in the same way as women – ie, to male violence – ‘hate’ trans people because they think sex is real and has lived consequences – is nonsense.”


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‘Troll factory’: Facebook, Twitter suspend Russian network ahead of U.S. election – National


Facebook said Tuesday that it removed a small network of accounts and pages linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the “troll factory” that has used social media accounts to sow political discord in the U.S. since the 2016 presidential election.

Twitter also suspended five related accounts. The company said the tweets from these Russia-linked accounts“were low quality and spammy” and that most received few, if any, likes or retweets.

The people behind the accounts recruited “unwitting” freelance journalists to post in English and Arabic, mainly targeting left-leaning audiences. Facebook said Tuesday the network’s activity focused on the U.S., U.K., Algeria and Egypt and other English-speaking countries and countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

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The company said it started investigating the network based on information from the FBI about its off-Facebook activities. The network was in the early stages of development, Facebook added, and saw “nearly no engagement” on Facebook before it was removed. The network consisted of 13 Facebook accounts and two pages. About 14,000 accounts followed one or more of the pages, though the English-language page had a little over 200 followers, Facebook said.

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Still, its presence points to ongoing Russian efforts to disrupt the U.S. election and sow political discord in an already divided country. To evade detection, the people behind the network recruited Americans to do their bidding, likely unknowingly, both as journalists and as people authorized to purchase political advertisements in the U.S.

Facebook said the people behind the network posted about global events ranging from racial justice in the U.S. and the U.K., NATO, the QAnon conspiracy, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The network spent about $480 on advertising on Facebook, primarily in U.S. dollars. However, Facebook said less than $2 worth of those ads targeted the U.S.

The network’s posts directed people to a website called PeaceData, which claims to be a global news organization that, according to a report by research firm Graphika, “took a left-wing stance, opposing what it portrayed as Western imperialism and the excesses of capitalism.”






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‘Anarchists, rioters’ on plane: Trump echoes months-old Facebook conspiracy theory

The FBI said in a statement Tuesday that it provided information to the platforms “to better protect against threats to the nation’s security and our democratic processes.”

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“While technology companies independently make decisions regarding the content of their platforms and the safety of their members, the FBI is actively engaged with our federal partners, election officials, and the private sector to mitigate foreign threats to our nation’s security and our elections,” the statement said.

Separately, Twitter said Tuesday it will start adding context to its trending section, which shows some of the most popular topics on the service at any given moment. Experts and even Twitter’s own employees have expressed concerns that the trending section can be gamed to spread misinformation and abuse.

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Twitter uses algorithms and human employees to determine what topics are trending _ it is not simply the most popular topics, but topics that are newly popular at any given time. But it’s not difficult to artificially elevate trends.

In the coming weeks, Twitter said, users in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, India and several other countries will see brief descriptions added to some trends to add context.

“To be clear, we know there is more work to do to improve trends and the context updates we’re announcing today are just a small step in the right direction,” said Liz Lee, a product trust partner and Frank Oppong, a product manager, in a blog post. “We need to make trends better and we will.”

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_

Associated Press Writer Eric Tucker contributed to this story from Washington, D.C.




© 2020 The Canadian Press





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‘Tough Day for Twitter:’ Users React to Massive Platform Security Breach



Following the recent hijacking of multiple high-profile Twitter accounts, users on the platform have begun to analyze the cyber attack and the effects it may have on the platform’s future.

Twitter recently faced a major security breach as the accounts of multiple high-profile individuals and companies were hijacked, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Former President Barack Obama, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and the official accounts of ride-sharing service Uber and tech giant Apple.

Now, many individuals from multiple fields are reacting to the news that major accounts were apparently easily hijacked in the space of a few hours, and how the platform could prevent such an attack again in the future.

Motherboard reporter Jason Koebler tweeted that photos of internal Twitter tools shared with Motherboard by sources claiming to have knowledge of the hack are being removed from Twitter for containing “personal information,” despite the screenshots simply showing an internal Twitter dashboard with no identifying info.

Many across Twitter have begun to worry about the impact of the hack, game developer Mark Kern best known for working as a team lead on the popular game World of Warcraft tweeted that the hack could have “some really, really, big impacts.”

Journalist and eSports commentator Richard Lewis claimed in a twee that the leaked internal tools prove that the company lied to Congress about the types of tools they had in place, this likely refers to what appears to be “blacklisting” options for accounts in Twitter’s internal tools. Dorsey and his staff have long claimed that the act of “shadowbanning” or preventing users’ tweets from being seen is a conspiracy theory.

Journalist Tim Pool came to a similar conclusion, stating that blacklisting options are clearly labeled in the leaked internal screenshots:

Kim Dotcom, the German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur and founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload.com who is fighting 2012 charges of copyright infringement and money laundering related to the site, commented that the hack has revealed that evidence from social media is no longer reliable in Court as it can be edited by Twitter employees or anyone with access to Twitter’s internal tools.

The account of the cryptocurrency wallet MyCrypto posted a number of tweets outlining when certain accounts posted tweets containing links to Bitcoin donation scams and the Bitcoin addresses linked to the scam.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that it was a “tough day” at the company following the events of the hack:

Many made light of the situation including British television host Piers Morgan who tweeted that he would not be tweeting “Bitcoin advice”:

Breitbart News will continue to follow this story and update readers on the latest events as more information comes to light.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address [email protected]





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Twitter hack alarms experts already concerned about platform’s security – National


The extraordinary hacking spree that hit Twitter on Wednesday, leading it to briefly muzzle some of its most widely followed accounts, is drawing questions about the platform’s security and resilience in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election.

Twitter said late Wednesday hackers obtained control of employee credentials to hijack accounts including those of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama, reality television star Kim Kardashian, and tech billionaire and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

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In a series of tweets, the company said: “We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”

The hackers then “used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”

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The company statements confirmed the fears of security experts that the service itself — rather than users — had been compromised.

Twitter’s role as a critical communications platform for political candidates and public officials, including President Donald Trump, has led to fears that hackers could wreak havoc with the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election or otherwise compromise national security.






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Facebook and Google suspend China’s data requests, TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

Adam Conner, vice president for technology policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank, said on Twitter: “This is bad on July 15 but would be infinitely worse on November 3rd.”

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Bitcoin bounty

Posing as celebrities and the wealthy, the hackers asked followers to send the digital currency bitcoin to a series of addresses. By evening, 400 bitcoin transfers were made worth a combined $120,000. Half of the victims had funds in U.S. bitcoin exchanges, a quarter in Europe and a quarter in Asia, according to forensics company Elliptic.

Those transfers left history that could help investigators identify the perpetrators of the hack. The financial damage may be limited because multiple exchanges blocked other payments after their own Twitter accounts were targeted.

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The damage to Twitter’s reputation may be more serious. Most troubling to some was how long the company took to stop the bad tweets.

“Twitter’s response to this hack was astonishing. It’s the middle of the day in San Francisco, and it takes them five hours to get a handle on the incident,” said Dan Guido, CEO of security company Trail of Bits.

An even worse scenario was that the bitcoin fraud was a distraction for more serious hacking, such as harvesting the direct messages of the account holders.






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Donald Trump signs executive order on social media

Twitter said it was not yet certain what the hackers may have done beyond sending the bitcoin messages.

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“We’re looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it,” the company said.

Mass compromises of Twitter accounts via theft of employee credentials or problems with third-party applications that many users employ have occured before.

Wednesday’s hack was the worst to date. Several users with two-factor authentication — a security procedure that helps prevent break-in attempts — said they were powerless to stop it.

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“If the hackers do have access to the backend of Twitter, or direct database access, there is nothing potentially stopping them from pilfering data in addition to using this tweet-scam as a distraction,” said Michael Borohovski, director of software engineering at security company Synopsys.

In 2010, Twitter reached a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission after it was found the company had lied about efforts to protect users’ information during an extended hack the year before.

Under the terms of the settlement, Twitter was barred for 20 years from misleading users about how it protects the security and confidentiality of private information.

U.S. Rep. Josh Hawley wrote to Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey during the hack calling for the company to work with the FBI and Department of Justice to secure its platform, and then answer questions publicly about the effects of the hack.

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One of his questions is how the hack may have affected the account of President Donald Trump.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco and Raphael Satter in Washington; Additional reporting by Anna Irrera in New York; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Lincoln Feast.)

With files from Global News’ Sean Boynton








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