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tv   The Media Show  BBC News  July 18, 2021 3:30pm-4:01pm BST

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should burn off through the day. the cloud tending to thin out across scotland and northern ireland and temperatures here pushing up a couple of degrees on sunday as maximums, whereas i think it willjust be a touch cooler but far from chilly, as you can see, with temperatures in the high 20s across england and wales. but here's our week ahead. we carry on with high pressure until we get to thursday, but looking changeable friday onwards. hello, this is bbc news. the headlines... the prime minister and chancellor accused of a u—turn after deciding to self—isolate after coming into contact with the health secretary sajid javid. initially the government said both men were exempt from some self—isolation because they were part of a pilot scheme. labour have called it "chaos". it really was one rule for them and another for the rest of us, and they have only u—turned because they have been caught out by this.
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there's lots of questions as to what this trial is, how you access it, and i hope a minister can come to the house of commons tomorrow and explain. german chancellor angela merkel visits the region of western germany hit by unprecedented floods. more than 180 people have died in flooding in germany and belgium. england, scotland and wales say that from tomorrow fully—vaccinated travellers returning from france must self—isolate for ten days — a restriction that doesn't apply to other amber list countries. two athletes and an official at the tokyo olympic village have tested positive for coronavirus — five days before the start of the games. now on bbc news, the media show. hello. after the torrent of racial abuse that england's footballers suffered
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after that penalty shoot—out, you might wonder why they'd want to be on social media at all. do the benefits of direct access to the fans and being able to tell their own unedited story outweigh the really horrifying negatives? and what about the platforms themselves? why can't they quash the abuse more effectively? it is an example of much broader issues around the power and accountability of social media giants, and that is the subject a behind—the—scenes book written by two new york times journalists about facebook. so, let me introduce you to our guests. firstly to new york and to sheera frenkel. sheera, you've called your book the ugly truth, which means, i guess, that you're not secretary of the mark zuckerberg fan club. i wonder what facebook makes of you. have they been in touch with you directly about what they think of the book?
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in the weeks leading up to the publication of the book, facebook was in touch with us multiple times a day. there were days where it was dozens of times a day. they made it very clear that they objected to many things in the book, which was interesting because we had gone through a four—month fact checking process with them in which we had gone over every detail and every scene and really given them every chance to respond. but it was only when the book was actually printed and about to hit the shelves that they seemed to sort of realise that this was going to be hitting the public soon. and then, it was going to, i think, raise a lot of concerns about the way the company has been run. we'll hear more about that later. celia kong, the cover of your book, actually, has a list of apologies from facebook, things like, "we never meant to upset you, we need to do better." what is it they're apologising for? they're apologising for a whole history of mistakes and scandals and promises to do better. we thought the real power of putting those quotes
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in the back of the book, "i'm sorry, i'm sorry, i'm sorry," from sheryl sandberg and mark zuckerberg, really actually gave readers a sense of what would be in the book, which is a very powerful pattern of mistake, apology, promises to do better, wash, rinse and repeat — that cycle over and over again. that, really, is one of the most powerful things that we took away from our reporting, that surprised us, which was this kind of pattern for this very powerful company. great, well, we'll hear more about that later on. also with us today are three sports journalists. henry winter is chief football writer for the times. henry, england player tyrone mings used social media to criticise the home secretary, priti patel. he accused her of stoking the fire of racism. and so, keir starmer quoted that social media post in prime minister's questions. i wonder if that means that you find that you are fighting to keep political journalists off your turf at the moment. well, not really because i think if you look at the cover, - it's certainly from the print media with the echoing the sentiments.
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of the supporters and i the players in particular. you mentioned tyrone mings - and the way he put away priti patel with his very succinct message i to her when she had a go earlier in the tournament about players'| gesture politics by taking a knee. i think what you saw with the racist abuse of the three black players i who missed penalties shows why players will take a knee. - and also, particularly- with tyrone mings, and i've interviewed him on this subject — he's a very eloquent, _ intelligent individual — i and it was tyrone mings who on his england debut in bulgaria was racially abused. _ iand his family had travelled outi to see their son make this debut, and he was racially abused - by a minimum of 50 bulgarians. so, he's very aware of the racist issues in this country— and in other countries far more than many politicians. - well, mayowa quadri is a freelance football writer and a broadcaster. he's also editorial officer at versus, which describes itself
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as a platform championing the future of football. mayowa, i know you don't have the backing of a major newspaper like the times, for example, so i imagine that you don't get the same access to top players, or do you? and i wonder how helpful footballers�* social media profiles are to you. we do to a certain extent. i think ultimately, that has come across social media. i feel that a lot more footballers are going to be in control of the narrative around themselves and tell authentic stories. i mean, print does an amazing job, but of course, broadcasters traditionally are focused on the result and the matter of facts of the game, whereas new media can focus on societal issues, personal habits and things that footballers really want to talk about. for instance, someone like rashford, jaden sancho, these young footballers who are really in touch with their culture and where they come from. versus enables them
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to speak about that. well, joey d'urso is investigations writer for the atlantic, covering football. sorry — for athletic, rather — not atlantic. and joey, you've been investigating social media and football for quite a long time now. obviously, online racism towards sportspeople isn't new, but can you give us an idea of the scale of the abusive social media messages and comments that were aimed at england's footballers this week? yeah, so it'sjust everywhere and it's really depressing and it's really dark. as soon as those three black players missed their penalties on sunday night, they were inundated with the most horrendous kind of abuse, things like monkey emojis. the kind of ways that people get around these filters because they know if they use certain slur words that the social media filters will pick them out, whereas maybe emojis are harder. people do things like direct messages on instagram, which are harder to filter than the comment feed. i did a story a few months ago
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about fantasy premier league, a game where you pick your favourite players and you win points and stuff, and we found thousands of accounts with nazi names and things like that, the most depraved stuff. it'sjust everywhere, and every time the sites say, "we're going to do more," it's never quite enough and they never... it continues. there's something quite dark in human nature that makes people want to do that after these players, who were heroes, who were brave, who played brilliantly for their country — someone like saka who was fantastic in his tournament — to shout at him with racial abuse isjust awful. what social media sites do is never quite enough. sheera and cecilia will probably be able to speak more to this, but in my eyes, what they need to do is spend more money on human moderators because the automatic algorithms are not working. they need to put their hands in their extremely deep pockets and pay more people to do better at this, but that's obviously a very expensive solution. mayowa quadri, is this something that you were actually expecting when events unfolded
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on sunday night? 100%. it first dawned on me probably before this. i just thought to myself, it could go absolutely sour. against liverpool very early on, and it's something that people just come to expect. i think the situation in particular was even harder because it's the first major final for england. you've got loads of people out going to watch the game because you've not have this moment before. i personally had to message friends after the first penalty saying leave now, because i don't know what's going to happen. we saw reports of some of the incidents happening across the country, which were just inexcusable. it's completely wrong. so, that feeling, it's not a new feeling, but ultimately for black players to fall short of what they want to achieve.
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they're going to be racially abuse, and it makes me almost laughed because imagine if all of those penalties had gone in, the same people who abuse them would be celebrating and we would've never known. not that we would've never known, but it would've been completely hidden in the split moment. you can see the true reality. cecilia, your dayjob is tech and regulation correspondent for the new york times. ijust wondered, the prime minister said that fans who post race of utes will be banned from matches, but i wonder, is that going to be enough? will there not be a better option to prevent racial abuse being posted? i wonder if it isn't that quite simple. it seems to me that you could stop these platforms posting this kind of abuse because footballers are verified, and if the message has got their name in it, it wouldn't get through. what's stopping facebook
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and the rest of them doing that? is that their principles around free speech, or have i oversimplified the technicalities of moderation? definitely, there's a very strong free speech. there's also a very convenient event for facebook's business model. we cover that in our book. a lot of the decisions were focused on growth. and growth of the business and growth of revenues and profits. as one of your guests said, we should not have been surprised to see the racial epithets that were thrown out during the game. but time and time again, what facebook has shown is that they don't look at, not even just around the corner, but what's in front of them. they are focused on a different metric. free feature is absolutely an important thing —— free speech. i think it's a way that facebook
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goes about moderating their content, it's also filled with holes. there's a lot of problems on that. they rely heavily on reports. if you have 3 billion users around the world, and even if you do have tens of thousands of human moderators and ai, you will never be able to suppress the amount of hate speech and misinformation and harm for confident that services —— harmful content. it's always after—the—fact. the racial epithets were already said and they were already amplified, which is important by facebook — there's a real problem, even the structure and approach. ijust wanted to add one thing to what you said, which is as one of your previous guests was talking, i found myself nodding and shaking my head. this tactic of using emojis and using emoticons as a way of abating hate speech has been
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used for years. we have an entire chapter of our book about myanmar, and how facebook was told over and over what was happening with hate speech. butjust by using little emojis and gifts, people are able to evade some of that censorship that facebook said it would impose to prevent real—world violence in the streets there. despite knowing that this is happening, despite knowing these emojis and whatnot are invented on the fly each time to try and perpetuate hate speech, facebook cannot seem to get a handle on it. ijust have a statement here from facebook, who own instagram. they told us no one should have to experience races abuse anywhere, and they don't want to own instagram. they quickly removed comments on sunday and will continue to take action against those who break their rules. mayowa, i wanted to ask you why a footballer
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would want to be on social media. can you explain the upside for them? there are many. you don't have to look any further than marcus rashford. he managed to galvanise the nation that there was a national issue in the country. he was able to speak to his fans via social media. you can look at other footballers who enable, jordan henderson, in terms of everything he speaks about. he has been able to do that because he can use his social media. there's been times where he wasn't playing because he's injured. he's used instagram for that publicity. we had a broadcast where the narrative was based on what was cut out. whereas with social media, you can control that. you can look at christian john for example. he's got millions and millions
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and millions of followers. but his value is much more thanjust him playing, so that brings him personal wealth. there are so many different reasons why you would want to have social media presence. we've seen situations where because of what we're talking about, footballers have gone away from social media because they thought to themselves, why would i be so open and accessible if i'm going to be abuse? t area tarea on t area on re—stepped away from it all. until something is done about this platform, he won't be on there. there are benefits, but there is a negative side. this negative side that keeps popping up, itjust confuses me because it's almost sophia how could you see there's not anything that can be done —— it's almost to say. it really confuses me. we see all the time at the moment, and i'm not trying to compare the two situations, but they put things into place to make sure
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they can instantly react to stuff. why is that not the case for other situations? especially when, and this is the most recent situation, but the monkey emojis, it's almost as if they've completely forgotten. imagine how any black person reading that feels. that's the element that's not spoken in out enough. henry? the online safety bill came in in march. i certainly, the draught of it. it's not simply about online abuse, there are other elements. - one of the key things which comes onto the statute books, _ the government can find that the tech giant, - 10% of their annual turnoverl and they have been indicated
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they could be charged for allowing hate - speech on their platforms. there's such an extra debate i here about how whether there are platforms or publishers. i if they are deemed as publishers, | they should absolutely be charged. if someone says what| marchioness rashford and jadon sancho have said, they would be put it away — i just back to the point - about the other things that get said on social media, - which the tech giants are very quick at taking down. if a football fan had tweeted a picture of the players, - taken off the television - or on his iphone, and posted on social media, twitter would've taken it down within seconds. - so, this feeling that... there is a feeling particularlyl amongst the players that they are not acting quickly enough. but they also use social media and they do see there's an upside to it. i just think a lot of newspapers wouldn't, for example,
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have written an awful lot about footballer charity, whereas now we can see they can directly use social media to talk about that. after the match, i got - messages from players that were slightly worried _ about the narrative playing out. so, i don't think the two sides that i work in and the players don't - work together on these. henry, would players actually ask you, how do you think this tweet will play out? should i say something on social media about that? would you advise them like that? no, i would suggest... because theyjust sayl how will this play out? obviously, very much football related, and they will - absolutely do that. but they also see the flip side, . the positive side, of social media
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forthem in their campaign. but also, let's notl forget commercial. ozul, when he did his deal from arsenal, there - were certain clauses in his— deal where he was able to retweet. i don't know the exact number, i but i think it's about two a week. so, huge commercial interest for them. i i'm just interested in that. you've written tweets for players, so are they often written by journalists? that is very rare and that's maybe when one of i had one _ in the last 24 hours. it's not that common, but it makes sense. .
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the world we live in, there's- nothing between you pressing send on your iphone and my back page. because we take the news quite - rightly, and because there's so much support for the players. we know that these players . are going to walk off the pitch because they're disgusted with the racist abuse. - it's been going on for 30 or 40 years in football. i i think it's an excellent point because it brings up on this idea that we tap into, that there is a contradiction in social media. it can be used as a force for good, but at the same time, it can spread abuse and disinformation. sheera frenkel and cecilia kang have been investigating for years and they not written about it.
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cecilia, i was fascinated by the access you must have had. you said in the book that you spoke to 400 of them. you write about how so many of them have nondisclosure agreements, and we know about that. you said some of them were putting their careers at risk. yet you've managed to give us a ringside seat on a lot of the biggest crises in facebook over the last five years. there have been quite a few. why did people speak to you? i wonder if you're a journalist and you pick up the phone and say hello, do you want to chat, they would run a mile. how did you do it? i think a lot want to see change. they're not unhappy with the company per se, but they're unhappy
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with the decisions made by the top leaders, mark zuckerberg and... a lot of people weren't willing to talk to us. we had to dig and dig and dig, but many of them felt compelled to talk to us, especially last year, when there is so much tumult. they were seeing president trump test the site. notjust in policies, but in at six. they want to see change. facebook has this narrative. a lot of the people who spoke to us were disgruntled or mad. it's not true. many of the people are there still. the majority of the people are still there and want to see change. they're speaking to us not
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because they're angry or they feel like they've been demoted or anything. it's because they feel like that's, by speaking to us, it's the only way the curtain can be pulled back behind a company that is so incredibly powerful. that affects sports fans around the world, as well as governments and so many countries, 3.4 billion across all of its apps. they want to make sure that this tool is used in a way that's healthy and safe for people around the world in democracy. sheera, ijust want to pick up on one of your book's examples. you talk about the storming of the capitol. talk about what facebook
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knew that day? people started to form facebook groups called stop the steal where they were telling americans the election had been stolen from donald trump. facebook watched from their offices as those groups... so they knew that this momentum had real power, and in the months leading up to january the 6th, they watched as that movement became more and more extreme. the day before the riots happen, journalist including myself send them e—mails with photographs of assault rifles posted to facebook pages, and asking if they would take those group down. what is your plan here? that's partly what we wanted to document, what was their plan? i think people reading the book will be shocked to find there was no plan. you write in the book that executives considered getting
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mark zuckerberg to get in touch with donald trump, but they didn't. why not? they were worried it would leak to the press. many things did in 2020, as cecilia said. people were unhappy with the leadership decisions, and they felt if mark zuckerberg called trump, he would seem complicit. rather than have that happen, they advocated against it. we do have a quick facebook spokesman that set our team are vigilant in removing content that violated our policies leading up to january the 6th. we were prepared for this and to be more aggressive than any other company. they have took down tens of thousands of qanon pages, groups and accounts from their app. cecilia, after the riots, president trump was banned by facebook, but how did the company come to that decision? well, there was a lot of internal debate on what to do with president trump. of course, this was
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after a whole four years of trump testing the site. they finally decided to not necessarily, not actually permanently ban him, but give him essentially the timeout, a two week you cannot be on the site. let's take this final decision to what they created, which is a facebook oversight. they describe it as a supreme court body that makes decisions on content moderation. and by doing that, they were essentially kicking the can down the road. they were absolving themselves of having to make a really tough political decision. after that, two months later, the oversight board picked that decision back to facebook, and it was very smart because they said you can't possibly expect us to make a final call on president trump when you don't even have policies put in place. you don't have actual laws, internal rules, and how you deal
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with figures like trump. figure that out first and make your decision, is what they said. there's a recurring theme. steve hoffman was clear he didn't want to make editorial decisions himself. it seems you are saying facebook has a similar policy. if tech giants don't want to do this, who should? of course tech giants don't want to do it. it is not good business for them to make editorial decisions. it's much easier to take an approach that platforms should be regulated, government should come up with regulation, because they know that most governments across the world are not very sophisticated and how they think about regulation. if a government creates a rule that facebook can have specific types of speech on the platform, that gives facebook a line in the sand that it has to adhere to. one thing that i was struck
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by earlier in facebook�*s statements was how similar it was to what we catalogue on the back of the book, the apologies facebook has been making for over a decade. it is still making and in some places, the language is almost identical. there's so much more we could talk about, but i'm afraid that's it for today. thank you very much to all my guess. sheera frenkel and cecilia kang, tojoey d'urso and to henry winter. i'll be back same time next week. goodbye. hello. the weekend has brought a lot of sunshine and a lot of warmth to the uk. and the week ahead will continue to do so.
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at least until the very end of the week. we have seen a bit more cloud pushing in to the northern half of the uk, particularly into scotland and northern ireland through sunday and some cooler air working in here too. that will mean perhaps a more comfortable night, though, with temperatures in the low teens. for englnad and wales, it stays very muggy and humid. 18, 19 the lows as we move into the small hours of monday. monday daytime more cloud down the coast, should burn off through the day. the cloud tending to thin out across scotland and northern ireland and temperatures here pushing up a couple of degrees on sunday as maximums, whereas i think it willjust be a touch cooler but far from chilly, as you can see, with temperatures in the high 20s across england and wales. but here's our week ahead. we carry on with high pressure until we get to thursday, but looking changeable friday onwards.
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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the german chancellor angela merkel says the world must urgently tackle global warming, as she visits the region of western germany hit by devastating floods. translation: i came here to get a real picture — translation: i came here to get a real picture and _ translation: i came here to get a real picture and i _ translation: i came here to get a real picture and i have _ translation: i came here to get a real picture and i have to _ translation: i came here to get a real picture and i have to say, - translation: i came here to get a real picture and i have to say, it - real picture and i have to say, it really surreal and eerie situation. it is terrifying. the uk prime minister and chancellor are self—isolating after being in contact with the health secretary sajid javid, who has coronavirus. but at first, the government said they were exempt from cell isolation because they were part of pilot

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