Kobe Bryant's widow Vanessa testified she was only beginning to grieve the loss of her husband and their 13-year-old daughter in a helicopter crash when she was faced with the fresh horror of learning that deputies and firefighters had shared photos of their remains. Bryant cried frequently during the three hours she spent on the witness stand in Los Angeles federal court Friday. She's suing LA County for invasion-of-privacy over the photos. She testified that they have left her living in fear that they may surface publicly and her daughters may see them on social media.
Nicaraguan police have raided the residence of a Roman Catholic bishop, detaining him and several other people holed up inside for two weeks. Friday's pre-dawn raid came after Nicaraguan authorities accused Matagalpa Diocese Bishop Rolando Álvarez of allegedly “organizing violent groups” and inciting them “to carry out acts of hate against the population.” President Daniel Ortega’s government has moved systematically against voices of dissent. Dozens of political opposition leaders were arrested last year, including seven potential candidates to challenge him for the presidency. He has also increasingly clashed with the Catholic church, Nicaragua's predominant religion and the main independent institution.
A former Virginia official has filed a defamation lawsuit against Attorney General Jason Miyares and his staff after she lost her job over social media posts praising the Capitol rioters as “patriots” and falsely claiming Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Monique Miles alleges in her lawsuit that Miyares and members of his staff damaged her professional reputation when a spokesperson told the media she had resigned and that she was not transparent during her initial interviews for the job. Miles said she was forced out of her job and that she was never asked about her political views during her interviews. The lawsuit seeks $1 million in damages.
Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: An IRS job posting for an armed special agent position does not apply to most potential new employees that the IRS will hire in the coming years. The virus that causes polio has been detected in New York sewage samples, not tap water. Los Angeles County disqualified signatures on petitions calling for a vote to recall its district attorney, not ballots or ballot signatures. Denmark hasn't banned COVID-19 vaccines for children.
A Pennsylvania man has been charged with abuse of a corpse, receiving stolen property and other charges after police say he allegedly tried to buy stolen human remains from an Arkansas woman for possible resale on Facebook. A spokeswoman for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock confirmed that the remains were donated to UAMS’s facility but they were allegedly stolen after they had been sent to a mortuary for cremation. UAMS spokeswoman Leslie Taylor says a federal investigation is underway. Police in East Pennsboro Township, Pennsylvania, have arrested Jeremy Pauley, accusing him of buying human body parts from an Arkansas woman.
An anti-vaccine group that has harassed doctors and public officials in Italy and France is still active on platforms like Facebook despite efforts to rein in its abuse and misinformation. The organization is known as V_V and bombards its victims with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of abusive posts. V_V has also put up bounties for anti-vaccine graffiti and tried to disrupt vaccine clinics. Facebook took action against the network last year, but V_V remains active on that platform and others, showing just how difficult it can be for tech companies to stop coordinated harassment or potentially dangerous claims about vaccines.
An anti-vaccine group that has harassed doctors and public officials in Italy and France is still active on platforms like Facebook despite efforts to rein in their abuse and misinformation. The organization, known as V_V, bombards its victims with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of abusive posts. V_V has also put up bounties for anti-vaccine graffiti, and tried to disrupt vaccine clinics. Facebook took action against the network last year but V_V remains active on that platform and others, showing just how difficult it can be for tech companies to stop coordinated harassment or potentially dangerous claims about vaccines.
Instagram and Facebook have suspended Children's Health Defense for repeated violations of policies on COVID-19 misinformation. The nonprofit led by Robert Kennedy Jr. is regularly criticized by public health advocates for its misleading claims about vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic. Kennedy objected to his group being kicked off, but under Facebook and Instagram's policies, anyone can be suspended indefinitely if they repeatedly spread potentially harmful misinformation. Kennedy himself remains active on Facebook, though he was kicked off Instagram last year. Both platforms are owned by parent company Meta.
An Arizona judge has ruled that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may not use the state's “clergy-penitent privilege” to refuse to answer questions or turn over documents in a child sex-abuse case. Clergy in Arizona and many other states are required to report information about child sexual abuse or neglect to authorities. But there's an exception if they learn of the abuse through spiritual confessions. Judge Laura Cardinal said the late Paul Adams waived his right to keep his confessions secret when he posted videos of himself sexually abusing his two daughters on the Internet and boasted of the abuse on social media.
Florida International University says football player Luke Knox has died. The university announced the player's death Thursday and said police do not believe foul play was involved. The school did not reveal the cause of death. Knox was the brother of Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox. Luke Knox appeared in 23 games at Mississippi before joining the Panthers. Mike MacIntyre is in his first year as coach at FIU. He coached Luke Knox at Ole Miss as well and says he will remember the player's “genuine love for his family and teammates." Knox was 22 years old.
An Arkansas state senator must unblock critics from his social media accounts under a settlement with a national atheists group that had sued him. American Atheists on Wednesday announced the settlement in its federal lawsuit against Arkansas over Republican Sen. Jason Rapert's social media. Rapert will be required to remove any restrictions on his Facebook and Twitter accounts under the settlement. The state will also have to pay the group about $16,000 for expenses related to the case. American Atheists had argued that blocking critics was a First Amendment violation. Rapert leaves office in January.
Doctors and other staffers at Boston Children’s Hospital are being threatened with violence over its surgical program for transgender youths. Other U.S. children’s hospitals are also being harassed online. Boston Children’s is home to the first U.S. pediatric and adolescent transgender health program. It became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers last week after they found informational videos published by the hospital weeks ago about surgical offerings for transgender patients. The hospital removed the videos and is now working with law enforcement. Some of the same social media accounts are now targeting similar gender care programs in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
A Republican group in Alabama is apologizing after accidentally using a picture of a GOP elephant that contained Ku Klux Klan imagery. The Lawrence County Republican Party posted an image on its Facebook page of the GOP elephant in which the white spaces between the animals' legs were drawn to resemble hooded Klansmen. A party official said the image was grabbed from a Google search for the GOP symbol and was a mistake. A party official said the image didn't represent the views or beliefs of the Lawrence County Republican Party and apologized. The image had been used in a 2020 article in Mother Jones about racism within the GOP
Social media companies are sharing their plans for safeguarding the U.S. midterm elections, although they have offered scant details. Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter are generally staying the course they were on in the 2020 voting season — which was marred by conspiracies and culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Meta Platforms Inc., which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, said its approach to this election cycle is “largely consistent with the policies and safeguards” it had in place in 2020. TikTok announced an election center that will help people find voting locations and candidate information.
The world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are sparring on Twitter over climate policy, with China asking if the U.S. can deliver on the landmark climate legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden this week. U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns took to Twitter to say the U.S. was acting on climate change with its largest investment ever — and that China should follow. China’s Foreign Ministry responded with its own tweet: “Good to hear. But what matters is: Can the U.S. deliver?” The exchange is emblematic of a broader worry. U.S.-China cooperation is considered vital to the success of global climate efforts. With the breakdown in relations, some question whether the two sides can cooperate.
Federal authorities and experts who study online extremism are warning of a risk of additional attacks on federal law enforcement following the FBI's search of ex-President Donald Trump's Florida home. Following the Mar-a-Lago search, online posts blaming the FBI soared, as did open references to civil war. A Pennsylvania man was arrested Monday after authorities say he posted violent threats against the FBI on Trump's social media platform. Last week, a man armed with an AR-15 tried to breach FBI offices in Cincinnati and was killed after firing on police. Extremism experts warn the violence could escalate as investigations into Trump play out.
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)
Liz Cambage announced on social media she is stepping away from the WNBA “for the time being.” It's the first time the Australian has addressed her contract divorce from the Los Angeles Sparks last month. The Sparks were in the hunt for a playoff spot when Cambage left the team on July 26. The team lost eight of their final nine games and finished out of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Cambage also withdrew from the Australian national team last summer.
Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says prison officials ordered him to serve at least three days in solitary confinement, citing a minor infraction, in retaliation for his activism behind bars. A post about it appeared in Navalny’s social media accounts on Monday. It wasn’t immediately clear how the politician got the information out. Navalny was arrested in January 2021 upon returning from Germany, where he had been recuperating from nerve-agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. He received a 2½-year sentence for violating the conditions of his parole while outside Russia. In March, Navalny was sentenced to nine years on charges of fraud and contempt of court in what he calls an attempt to keep him behind bars for as long as possible.
We’ve all seen commencement speakers give advice to graduates as they’re about to enter the workforce. In much the same way, financial experts are in the unique position to impart money advice to the younger generation. I asked personal finance authors, columnists and podcast hosts who have figured out a thing or two about money to share the nuggets of wisdom they wish they could tell their younger selves. Among their advice? Invest in the stock market early, save as much as you can, steer clear of credit card debt and don’t worry so much about having it all figured out.
The children and teens who remain in eastern Ukraine are retreating into social media, video games and other digital technology to cope with the isolation and stress of Russia's war that rages on the nearby front line. Cities have largely emptied after hundreds of thousands have evacuated from the embattled Donetsk region. The youth who remain face loneliness and boredom as painful counterpoints to the fear and violence Moscow has unleashed on Ukraine. More than 6 million Ukrainians have fled. They are overwhelmingly women and children. Millions of others are internally displaced. Countless childhoods have been upended not only for those having to start a new life after seeking safety elsewhere. But also for the thousands who stayed behind.
Facebook failed to detect election-related misinformation in ads ahead of Brazil's 2022 election, a new report from Global Witness has found. The group said the company's persisting pattern of not catching material that violates its policies is “alarming.” The advertisements contained false information about the country's upcoming election, such as promoting the wrong date for the vote and questioning the integrity of the election, including Brazil’s electronic voting system. It is the fourth such test of Facebook's moderation system that the human rights group has conducted over the past few months — and the fourth one Facebook has flubbed.
A private prison company has agreed to settle a federal lawsuit over a Tennessee inmate’s killing. The resolution comes after a magistrate judge last month received national attention for ordering the inmate’s attorney to delete fiery tweets about CoreCivic and stop publicly commenting about the company and the case. A CoreCivic spokesperson says the settlement terms are confidential. Plaintiff's attorney Daniel Horwitz says he remains unable to comment due to the gag order on the case surrounding Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. Horwitz is representing G. Marie Newby, the mother of Terry Childress. Court records show Childress died in February 2021 after his Trousdale cellmate assaulted him.
Some of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are trying to profit from their participation in the deadly insurrection while they face the legal consequences for their crimes. In some cases, rioters have used the attack as a platform for promoting their business endeavors, political aspirations or social media profiles. Many of those charged have used websites and crowdfunding platforms to raise money after their arrests. Efforts to capitalize on the riot haven’t gone over well with federal prosecutors or the judges who've sentenced more than 200 riot defendants so far. Prosecutors often cite the profit-chasing activities in seeking tougher punishments.
Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman is acknowledging he is lucky to be alive as he officially returns to the campaign trail. He's been sidelined for more than 90 days after suffering a stroke that threatened the Democrat's life and political strength in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests. Fetterman spoke Friday for nearly 11 minutes, haltingly at times, as he addressed several hundred voters packed inside an Erie convention center. The 52-year-old lieutenant governor says: “Tonight for me, it’s about being grateful — just grateful. Three months ago my life could have ended.” Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz has railed against Fetterman's prolonged absence throughout the summer.