“Generally Discouraged Employees From Trying To Make The Site Safer”

According to the report, YouTube generally discouraged employees from trying to make the site safer for users. “Lawyers verbally advised employees not assigned to handle moderation to avoid searching on their own for questionable videos,” according to the report, fearing that making substantive content decisions would eliminate the protection YouTube receives from federal shield laws.

From here.

Close Your Eyes

This past weekend finally broke me of my news obsession; it’s taken years — literally, I’ve been like this since the one-two punch of the 2016 US election and the Brexit referendum — but it was another one-two punch that finally put paid to the fire in my eyes for “keeping up to date.”

As soon as news broke that the Mueller Report had been handed into the Department of Justice, I was done. I won’t be cynical and claim that I knew nothing would come of it, because I didn’t; I fully expected obstruction to be identified and a decision to be that a sitting President couldn’t be indicted, I admit. But the breathless rush to “explain” what was utterly unknown for two days, and now only partly unknown, finished me.

(Yes, I think something is hinky about Barr’s summary, too, but I also think something is hinky about a two year investigation ending with, “Eh, I dunno,” and a shrug, essentially. But what does that matter?)

This came after my growing sadness over everything Brexit, which breaks my heart with each new maddening story of a political process riddled with ineptitude, driving an entire country ever closer to utter disaster, so, so slowly. I can’t verbalize what it actually feels like, to be honest; it’s upsetting in a way that feels at once intensely personal and also at a remove, because I’ve not lived in the UK for close to two decades at this point. I just find myself hoping for the best and wanting to look away.

This impulse, this Okay, I’m done for awhile, feels like it’s probably healthy — disconnecting as self-care, just for a short time. I’ll come back, I know I will, but for now, it only seems sensible to look away from a feed that only offers Bad News day after day after day.

The New World

Winter has arrived with savage consequences for digital publishers, including BuzzFeed. In the space of two weeks, about 2,100 jobs have been lost across the media, with many disappearing from purely digital publishers. BuzzFeed’s layoffs amounted to 15% of its total staff, a loss of around 220 jobs across all departments, including in its widely admired New York newsroom. On Friday, Vice, another media company once associated with fast growth, said it would lay off 10% of its workforce, while last month, the phone company Verizon, which owns Huffington Post and Yahoo, cut 800 workers in its media division. In the UK, the Pool, a website aimed at women launched in 2015 by radio presenter Lauren Laverne and magazine editor Sam Baker, went into liquidation, with 24 journalists facing redundancy.

Many of these layoffs played out in real time on Twitter as journalists reported on the fumbling and often ineptly cruel ways in which they were let go. Reporters at Vice knew of the layoffs and sometimes had their email accounts closed before being told by the company they were among the casualties.

From here.

The Big Question

Following Stone’s indictment on Friday, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani scoffed, “Another false-statement case? God almighty.”

But it is unclear if the special counsel shares that view. While Mueller has not accused any American of criminally coordinating with Russia, the lies meticulously unspooled by his prosecutors over 20 months have not been mere quibbles.

They have documented various falsehoods by Trump advisers that masked efforts by people in his orbit to develop inroads with Russia and leverage that country’s hacking of Democratic emails.

The remaining question — for both Mueller’s team, as it works on a final investigative report, and for the American people — is why.

Did the president’s men lie to protect a still-hidden dark secret about the campaign’s interaction with Russia, engaging in a broad effort to obstruct the probe — one that included perhaps even Trump?

Did they lie to avoid diminishing Trump’s victory by acknowledging Russia played a role in his election?

Did they each lie for their own reasons, taking their cue from the president — who has told many whoppers of his own, including about Russia?

From here.