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Facebook and Google profit from video of my daughter being murdered

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On Oct. 12, with assistance from Georgetown University’s Civil Rights Clinic, I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Facebook for its failure to abide by its own terms of service and remove videos of my daughter Alison’s murder. That same evening, I appeared on Erin Burnett’s program on CNN.

During my interview, Erin produced a note from Facebook stating they had removed all the videos my team had flagged. She read that statement on-air to me and millions of viewers. But as I have come to experience with my prolonged battle with Facebook, their statement wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

Wash, rinse, repeat – it’s the same tactic they’ve been using since it all began for me after Alison, a television reporter, was murdered while doing her job.

The response usually goes something like this: “We at Facebook (or YouTube, depending on the day) are so sorry for your unimaginable loss. Violence has no place on our platform. We take this very seriously. These videos have been removed.” And here we are, this time weeks later, with the videos Facebook claimed on national television that they removed, still up and easily found.

‘I’m not surprised’

Having lived through this cycle for six years now, I’m not surprised. Frances Haugen and another recent whistleblower confirmed what I’ve maintained all along – that Facebook has the ability to remove violent content, misinformation and harassment, but they won’t because this content is profitable. Alison’s murder can be monetized and highly shared for traffic, and so they do it because they can.

Dad speaks out: Google, YouTube should remove murder videos, father of slain journalist tells FTC

Andy Parker and his daughter, Alison, a news reporter who was fatally shot during a live TV broadcast near Roanoke, Va., in 2015.

What can be done? I had my turn testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee two years ago to rebut the claims of innocence coming from endless parades of Facebook and Google executives. I even got a perfunctory bit of empathy from Sen. Ted Cruz after the hearing. Obviously, that goodwill did not result in any meaningful action other than spawn more hearings with Mark Zuckerberg parroting the same disingenuous talking points.

Last year, Georgetown Law and I filed a similar FTC complaint against YouTube and its parent company Google because Alison’s murder video is still all over that platform as well. Since then, despite numerous updates and examples of videos still circulating on YouTube, we’ve heard nothing but crickets from the FTC.

Thanks to immunity from any liability provided by Section 230, Facebook and Google can get away with anything except copyright violation. In an effort to exploit that small opening, we’ve asked Gray Television, the owner of the video, to grant a co-copyright so we can use the “Al Capone” strategy – if we can’t bring Facebook to justice for their most egregious practices, at least we could hold them accountable in some measure. Gray has refused.

Will Congress react to the pressure?

My testimony, the FTC filings and our attempts to obtain copyright are the equivalent of throwing spaghetti on the wall, hoping something sticks. Currently, it all seems to be sliding off. The FTC could emerge from the shadows and fine Facebook and Google. Federal Trade Commission has levied multimillion dollar fines in the past, but for companies worth billions that’s little more than chump change. However, because of the current firestorm of accusations against Facebook, there is increased pressure on Congress to finally act and amend Section 230.

That will require something a dysfunctional Congress may be hard-pressed to accomplish.

So Facebook has a new name?: I’m pretty sure they’re going to keep the same practices.

Andy Parker is an activist and author of "For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father's Fight for Gun Safety."

Andy Parker is an activist and author of “For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father’s Fight for Gun Safety.”

Alison’s murder being shared on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube is just one of the egregious practices undermining the fabric of our society. Haugen confirmed that Facebook could use artificial intelligence to stop this shameful practice, but instead their algorithms are not designed to make using Facebook as helpful or as wholesome as possible. They are designed to keep users hooked.

To me, the fix is easy. Do away with the liability immunity Section 230 provides. If Facebook and YouTube find themselves in court and looking at thousands of legitimate lawsuits, they’ll stop the action that made my FTC complaints necessary. Congress, stop fiddling while Rome burns. Do your jobs. Do it for all those who have been harmed. Do it to save our country. Do it for Alison.

Andy Parker is an activist and author of “For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father’s Fight for Gun Safety.”

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: My daughter was murdered on television. And video is still all over the internet.





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College Student Dead After Frat’s Diabolical ‘Underground Fight Club’

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GoFundMe

On November 19, Nathan Valencia, a 20-year-old Las Vegas college junior and fraternity member, fought a member of another campus fraternity in the “main event” of an annual boxing match.

According to an Instagram flyer leading up to Kappa Sigma Fight Night, proceeds for the annual event were supposed to support Center Ring Boxing, a youth boxing club in Las Vegas.

But the friendly match quickly turned tragic.

According to KLAS-TV, Valencia, a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, collapsed shortly after his bout. Four days later, the outlet reported, he was dead.

His family told the outlet that Valencia suffered brain injuries that led to his death in a hospital.

Joe Castro, a friend of Valencia’s who witnessed the fight, described the atmosphere to KLAS-TV as an “underground fight club” and said Valencia decided to participate in the event even though he had zero boxing experience.

Castro said that at some point Valencia collapsed and a brawl broke out. He said that amid the chaos, Valencia received no medical help. “I saw no medical, no doctors, nothing,” Castro said.

The referee appeared to be poorly trained, and Valencia received several fatal blows as the crowd kept cheering, a boxing expert told KLAS-TV after reviewing footage of the fight.

11 Indicted in Fraternity Pledge’s ‘Tragic’ Hazing Death

Nicholas Lasso, an attorney representing Valencia’s family, told The Daily Beast in a statement that a “preliminary investigation” revealed that “mistakes were made and safety precautions overlooked.”

“College students should not be placed in a situation where they are pitted against each other for combat,” Lasso said. “We will leave no stone unturned to determine how a 20 year old ended up in a school-sanctioned amateur fight that cost him his life.”

In a statement on Friday, Keith Whitfield, President of UNLV, put some distance between the university and the event, calling the boxing match an “off-campus event intended to raise money.”

Whitfield did not take responsibility for the event and its safety precautions, but said the university would be reviewing the incident to determine how future off-campus events can be “as safe as possible.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the incident. The police department did not respond to a request for comment.

A GoFundMe page raising money for Valencia’s funeral expenses said Valencia died on Nov. 23, days before his 21st birthday.

The page described Valencia as having a smile that “lit up every room he walked into.” It also described him as an active member of his fraternity. “He had so much love for his chapter and valued the genuine connections he was able to make.”

As of Saturday afternoon the page had raised nearly $46,000 for Valencia’s family.

The Kappa Sigma chapter of the university did not respond to a request for comment. In an Instagram post, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter that Valencia was part of expressed condolences to his family. The chapter did not respond to a request for comment.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Eye Opener: New COVID variant discovered in South Africa

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Washington State pummels Washington 40-13 in Apple Cup

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SEATTLE (AP) — Travell Harris rode on the shoulders of the crimson fans that engulfed the field. Jayden de Laura waived a version of Ol’ Crimson before spiking the unmistakable flag into the turf field.

Even Butch, the Washington State mascot, took his turn crowd surfing on the field at Husky Stadium.

After seven straight losses to its rivals, Washington State had a celebration to remember after the most lopsided Cougars’ victory in the history of the rivalry matchup against Washington.

“It’s special. Coug Nation deserves it, this team deserved it, the seniors deserved it,” Washington State running back Max Borghi said. “I can’t really put words into it yet, it hasn’t really sunk in. But holding that Apple Cup trophy is something we’ve all dreamt about and it was incredible.”

Borghi rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and Washington State handed Washington a 40-13 defeat in the Apple Cup on Friday night.

The Cougars snapped a seven-game losing streak to their rivals, picking up their first win in the series since 2012 and first at Husky Stadium since 2007.

And the Cougars (7-5, 6-3 Pac-12) did it in grand, record-setting fashion with a dominant and complete thumping that left those in crimson rushing the field to celebrate while those clad in purple made an early move to the exits.

The 27-point margin of victory topped the previous high of 26 points when Washington State won 52-26 in 1973, a game also played in Seattle.

“This win, it wasn’t just for us,” Washington State linebacker Justus Rogers said. “It was for the people that came before us, the teams that came before us that I’ve been a part of as well.”

Borghi scored on a 32-yard touchdown run on Washington State’s opening possession and set the tone for the night. He added a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter and only the Cougars’ inability to finish drives in the first half kept the game from being even more one-sided.

De Laura hit 21 of his first 22 pass attempts and finished 27 of 32 for 245 yards. Dean Janikowski kicked four field goals for Washington State as well.

The victory may have locked up the head coaching position permanently for interim head coach Jake Dickert, who was already receiving significant support for the job he’s done in the wake of Nick Rolovich being fired in mid-October. The Cougars went 3-2 in Dickert’s five games in charge.

And there could still be one more game to come besides a bowl trip for Washington State. If Oregon State can beat Oregon on Saturday it will be the Cougars as the Pac-12 North representative opposite Utah in the Pac-12 championship game next Friday in Las Vegas.

“They’ve given me everything they can and they stay together and they trusted each other. They’ve kept believing,” Dickert said. “It’s very fitting for these guys to go out there and to enjoy this moment to bring the Apple Cup back home.”

Washington (4-8, 3-6) capped its worst season since going winless in 2008. The Huskies were already assured of a losing record after last week’s loss at Colorado and their performance against the Cougars was bland and at times lifeless.

Highly-touted Washington freshman quarterback Sam Huard made his first start of the season as Dylan Morris was relegated to spectator for the season finale. Fans have called for Huard as the offensive struggles have continued all season.

Huard was put into a tough position and his performance matched his inexperience. Huard threw four interceptions, the last one a deflection that should have been caught by Devin Culp and was returned 28 yards by Armani Marsh for a touchdown, his second interception of the game.

Huard finished 17 of 31 passing or 190 yards. He threw the first touchdown of his career as Rome Odunze made a terrific catch for a 16-yard TD early in the fourth quarter.

“It’s been a crazy season,” Washington running back Sean McGrew said. “It would have been nice to end on a positive note but (stuff) happens and can’t change it now. It’s definitely sad.”

STREAK ENDS

Washington’s streak of holding opponents under 36 points came to an end at 86. The last team to score 36 or more against Washington was UCLA in a 44-30 loss to the Bruins in 2014. It was the longest active streak in the country.

THE TAKEAWAY

Washington State: It was the 12th time in the history of the Apple Cup the Cougars won by double figures and the first double-digit winner since 23-6 in 1994. Washington State’s last six wins in the series had all been by seven points or less. … Washington State led 13-7 at halftime, its first halftime lead in the Apple Cup since 2013.

Washington: The Huskies are facing a major rebuild whoever ends up with the head coaching job after the firing of Jimmy Lake. Washington started the season in the AP Top 25 and will end with four straight losses.

UP NEXT

Washington State: The Cougars will wait to find out if they’re playing in the Pac-12 title game or if a bowl game is their next stop.

Washington: The Huskies are scheduled to open next season at home vs. Kent State.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25





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Beautiful sunsets across the US bring a thankful close to Thanksgiving

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The War on Thanksgiving Is America at Its Worst

GettyThe culture war doesn’t take Thanksgiving week off, and its two main participants aren’t big on giving thanks, anyway.The illiberal left wants to radically transform an inherently evil America that was founded on slavery and colonialism. The post-liberal right wants to forfeit the idea of liberal democracy, contending that modern America is weak, secular, and decadent.Let’s start with the left. On Tuesday, the Women’s March issued an apology for sending out an email noting that their averag



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Canadian man who traveled to Texas for Cowboys Game missing, last seen in Deep Ellum

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A 29-year-old Canadian man has been reported missing after traveling to Texas to see the Dallas Cowboys game on Thursday. According to a social media post by the man’s wife, he never showed up to the game.

Aaron Tschritter was last seen on Thursday leaving the Vinty Club, at 2810 Elm St. in Deep Ellum, around 3 a.m., his wife Melissa said in a social media post Friday. He was not in his hotel in the morning and did not show up for the game in the afternoon, she said.

Tschritter is 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 190 pounds with short brown hair and hazel eyes. He has a birthmark on his right forearm.

Tschritter has uncharacteristically made no contact with family and his phone is going straight to voicemail, his wife said. His family has checked his location, credit card statements and called 10 area hospitals for him with no luck, according to the post.

“We need everyone in Dallas to see his face,” Melissa said in her Instagram story Friday afternoon. “I need someone to come forward with a tip so we can trace his steps.”

A police report has been filed with the Dallas Police Department.

On Friday, Melissa Tschritter posted on her Instagram story about her husband Aaron’s disappearance.



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How could U.S. respond to new COVID-19 variant?

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Some governments have already started imposing travel restrictions because of a new potentially dangerous COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa. Britain has banned flights from South Africa and other neighboring countries, and Israel and Singapore also announced tighter border restrictions in response to the latest threat. CBS News chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes joined CBSN to discuss a possible U.S. response.



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