Daily Bread for 6.29.20

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see afternoon thundershowers with a high of eighty-eight. Sunrise is 5:19 AM and sunset 8:37 PM, for 15h 17m 20s of daytime.  The moon is waxing gibbous with 63.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the one thousand three hundred twenty-ninth day. 

On this day in 1975, Steve Wozniak tests his first prototype of Apple I computer.

Recommended for reading in full —

Elizabeth Dwoskin, Craig Timberg, and Tony Romm report Zuckerberg once wanted to sanction Trump. Then Facebook wrote rules that accommodated him:

Facebook has constrained its efforts against false and misleading news, adopted a policy explicitly allowing politicians to lie, and even altered its news feed algorithm to neutralize claims that it was biased against conservative publishers, according to more than a dozen former and current employees and previously unreported documents obtained by The Washington Post. One of the documents shows it began as far back as 2015, when as a candidate Trump posted a video calling for a ban of Muslims entering the United States. Facebook’s executives declined to remove it, setting in motion an exception for political discourse.

The concessions to Trump have led to a transformation of the world’s information battlefield. They paved the way for a growing list of digitally savvy politicians to repeatedly push out misinformation and incendiary political language to billions of people. It has complicated the public understanding of major events such as the pandemic and the protest movement, as well as contributed to polarization.

And as Trump grew in power, the fear of his wrath pushed Facebook into more deferential behavior toward its growing number of right-leaning users, tilting the balance of news people see on the network, according to the current and former employees.

Facebook is now confronting a mounting advertiser boycott that has pushed down its stock price as companies demand stricter policies against hate speech. Starbucks became the latest on Sunday to say it would hit pause on social media advertising.

J. David McSwane reports He Removed Labels That Said “Medical Use Prohibited,” Then Tried to Sell Thousands of Masks to Officials Who Distribute to Hospitals:

“He kind of takes us on this tour of his facility, which is essentially a shelled out warehouse,” Rensko, 36, told me over the phone, detailing how Rivera described the work at the warehouse. “He was saying they were designated for personal or residential use, not for medical. And so what he was doing was basically putting them into other packaging where the city of San Antonio and the state of Texas are able to look at them and then sell them for medical purposes.”

Rensko knew something wasn’t quite right and walked away from the TaskRabbit gig. He told his wife, who told a friend, who told another friend, who told me.

Over weeks of reporting, I’d learn that Rensko had scratched the surface of a larger scheme involving a Silicon Valley investor named Brennan Mulligan to sell what Texas health officials later flagged as “fraudulent” masks to the agency directing protective equipment to hospitals. Mulligan had enlisted Rivera, who was desperate for money after the pandemic had sapped his primary source of income, building furniture and manual labor via TaskRabbit. As countless others have, the two had a chance to make money off of the country’s public health nightmare.

What Makes These Potatoes Stretchy:

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