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Source: Proposed FCC rule undermines Trump’s rural broadband directives

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A source close familiar with the internal machinations of the Federal Communications Commission told Big League Politics the panel, now controlled by Republican-appointed members and chairman, intends to resist President Donald J. Trump’s program to bring broadband Internet to rural communities.

 

In play is a move pushed by the mobile phone industry that reverses the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service rules adopted in 2015 by the FCC in a unanimous vote by all five commissions, by expanding the tracts of land for each license, the Priority Access Licenses, from the current regions based on the Census Bureau’s sub-division of the country to much larger Partial Economic Areas.

Big League Politics has seen the draft of a coalition letter being circulated by advocates for rural broadband to conservatives organizations and operatives as the first step in their push to convince the FCC to maintain the current license map.

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Advocates of rural broadband champion the smaller Census Bureau regions because they more precisely isolate out urban and non-urban populations.

The smaller regions also provides opportunities to smaller Internet providers, who have the capitization to bid on the smaller tracts, but not the larger ones that would become the province of the national mobile providers.

If the FCC goes forward with the larger regions, the advocates argue that mobile phone companies have the economic incentive to bid for the larger regions with the pockets of urban density that they want, while leaving the rural communities in the rest of the region back where they started: white space on the map.

In his Jan. 8 Executive Order 13821, “Streamlining and Expediting Requests to Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America,” Trump directed the federal bureaucracy to drive the expansion of Internet service in the non-urban centers.

Currently, too many American citizens and businesses still lack access to this basic tool of modern economic connectivity.  This problem is particularly acute in rural America, and it hinders the ability of rural American communities to increase economic prosperity; attract new businesses; enhance job growth; extend the reach of affordable, high-quality healthcare; enrich student learning with digital tools; and facilitate access to the digital marketplace.

It shall therefore be the policy of the executive branch to use all viable tools to accelerate the deployment and adoption of affordable, reliable, modern high-speed broadband connectivity in rural America, including rural homes, farms, small businesses, manufacturing and production sites, tribal communities, transportation systems, and healthcare and education facilities.

In the FCC’s 2016 “Broadband Progress Report,” the commission said that roughly 23 million rural Americans did not have access to the quality of broadband that is the everyday expectation of urban and suburban American–39 percent of the country’s rural population.

 

 

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Facebook to Impose New Policy of Investigating Posts for “Misinformation”

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Facebook has announced that the social media company will begin implementing a new policy of removing “misinformation” that “leads to violence”.

While it is currently a violation of Facebook’s terms of service to post content that directly calls for violence, the new policy will cover what Facebook is calling “Fake News”, that the company is now arguing can lead to violence.

“There are certain forms of misinformation that have contributed to physical harm, and we are making a policy change which will enable us to take that type of content down,” Facebook said in a statement. “We will begin implementing the policy during the coming months.”

According to Facebook, the policy is being implemented in response to what they are calling the spread of “anti-Muslim hate speech “ on the platform. Facebook has been accused of allowing anti-Muslim rhetoric on their platforms, which some say has led to attacks against Muslims in South East Asia.

“We have identified that there is a type of misinformation that is shared in certain countries that can incite underlying tensions and lead to physical harm offline,” said Tessa Lyons, a Facebook product manager. “We have a broader responsibility to not just reduce that type of content but remove it.”

Facebook has faced a lot of criticism throughout the years for the way the social media platform has been used to spread threats of violence. However, the company has struggled to create a healthy balance between respecting free speech and banning violent content.

United Nations investigators and human rights groups have accused Facebook of facilitating violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by allowing anti-Muslim hate speech and false news.

On the flip side, Facebook has also been accused of allowing Muslim terrorists, specifically ISIS, to use the social media platform as a way to spread terrorist propaganda and recruit for the Islamic state.

The new policy will also be implemented on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

During an interview, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, said the company is working to differentiate between offensive speech and speech that incites violence. He used the example of those who deny the Holocaust, as speech that is offensive but doesn’t incite violence. Zuckerberg’s comments became a controversy in itself, causing Jewish groups to question whether he was suggesting Holocaust denial should be allowed on Facebook.

Zuckerberg later released a statement, saying, ““I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.”

Posts that currently violate the company’s community standards and are removed by Facebook include “hate speech”, nudity and direct threats of violence.

Facebook has also begun targeting posts that are classified as “fake” by a group of “independent fact checkers” the company has implemented as a way to control political discourse, which many have argued is a form of Conservative censorship. If the “fact checkers” decide that a post is “fake”, the post is “downranked” on a user’s News Feed so that they are not promoted or given a lot of exposure across the social media platform.

In other words, Facebook has hired independent “fact checkers” from various left wing organizations that are deciding whether or not what a user posts is factual or worthy of exposure.

Recently, Facebook also began labeling certain posts as “fake news” by placing information boxes under those posts as a way to encourage users to look at other Facebook approved news sources.

Welcome to the information war, where you are only allowed to post and believe what the Left-wingers in Silicon Valley decide is appropriate and “factual”.

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