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How Facebook, Twitter differ on labelling Donald Trump’s US election posts

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Social media companies put warning labels on multiple posts by President Donald Trump that falsely claimed victory in the US election and pushed unfounded allegations about the counting of legitimate ballots.

The companies differ in how directly they challenge false statements. Twitter labelled tweets as “misleading” and limited how they could be shared and seen. Facebook acted on more posts but did not describe the information as misleading or limit how they could be shared or seen.

Here is a sampling of how the companies handled Trump’s posts starting on election night:

Wednesday 12:45am ET (11:15am IST) – TRUMP: “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!”

Facebook placed a label below the post: “Votes are being counted. The winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election has not been projected.”

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Twitter opted not to label the tweet. A spokeswoman said it was unclear what Trump was referencing by “a big WIN.”

Wednesday 12:49am ET (11:19am IST) – TRUMP: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”

Facebook placed a label below the post: “Final results may be different from initial vote counts as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks.”

Twitter hid the tweet, requiring a user to click to view it and limiting replies. Its label stated: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”

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Wednesday 1:21am ET (11:51am IST) – TRUMP (in live video): “Frankly, we did win this election…This is a major fraud on our nation.”

Facebook placed a label below the video: “Final results may be different from initial vote counts as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks.”

Twitter opted not to label the tweet, saying clips of a press conference did not violate its policy and noting that numerous press organisations carried the video.

Wednesday 10:04am ET (8:34pm IST) – TRUMP: “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!”

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Facebook placed a label below the post: “Final results may be different from initial vote counts as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks.”

Twitter hid the tweet, requiring a user to click to view it and limiting replies. Its label stated: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”

Wednesday 10:17am ET (8:47pm IST) – TRUMP: “How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?”

Facebook placed a label below the post: “As expected, election results will take longer this year. Millions of people across the U.S. voted by mail, and mail ballots take longer to count.”

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Twitter did not label the tweet.

Wednesday 10:35am ET (9:05pm IST) – TRUMP: “WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT” (quote-tweet of claim questioning the legitimacy of ballot returns in Michigan)

Twitter hid the quoted tweet, requiring a user to click to view it and limiting replies, but did not label Trump’s post.

The comment did not appear on Facebook.

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Wednesday 11:55am ET (10:25pm IST) – TRUMP: “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!”

Twitter did not label the tweet.

The comment did not appear on Facebook.

Wednesday 12:01pm ET (10:31pm IST) – TRUMP: “They are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!”

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Facebook placed a label below the post: “Election officials follow strict rules when it comes to ballot counting, handling and reporting.”

Twitter hid the tweet, requiring a user to click to view it and limiting replies. Its label stated: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”

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Kim Kardashian Agrees to Pay $1.26 Million to US SEC for Unlawful Crypto Promotion on Social Media

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Kim Kardashian has agreed to pay $1.26 million (nearly Rs. 10 crore) to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that she promoted a cryptocurrency on Instagram without disclosing that she’d been paid $250,000 (nearly Rs. 2 crore) to do so.

The SEC said Monday that the reality TV star and entrepreneur has agreed to cooperate with its ongoing investigation.

The SEC said Kardashian failed to disclose that she was paid to publish a post on her Instagram account about EMAX tokens, a crypto asset security being offered by EthereumMax.

Kardashian’s Instagram post contained a link to the EthereumMax website, which provided instructions for potential investors to purchase EMAX tokens.

“The federal securities laws are clear that any celebrity or other individual who promotes a crypto asset security must disclose the nature, source, and amount of compensation they received in exchange for the promotion,” Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s division of enforcement, said in a prepared statement.

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Kardashian has agreed to not promote any crypto asset securities for three years.

“Kim Kardashian is pleased to have resolved this matter with the SEC. Kardashian fully cooperated with the SEC from the very beginning and she remains willing to do whatever she can to assist the SEC in this matter. She wanted to get this matter behind her to avoid a protracted dispute. The agreement she reached with the SEC allows her to do that so that she can move forward with her many different business pursuits,” a lawyer for Kardashian said in an email.

While Kardashian is well known for reality TV, currently appearing on The Kardashians on Hulu, she is also a successful businesswoman. Her brands include SKIMS, which has shapewear, loungewear and other products, and a skincare line called SKKN.

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Cryptocurrency has attracted increasing attention from Congress. A bipartisan proposal last month would hand the regulatory authority over Bitcoin and Ether, two popular cryptocurrencies, to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission after wild swings in crypto valuations, dozens of scams and hundreds of billions of dollars gained and lost.

Kardashian is not the first celebrity to attract the attention of regulators for their involvement in cryptocurrency. In 2018, the agency settled charges against professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr and music producer DJ Khaled for failing to disclose payments they received for promoting investments in digital currency.

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This year, crypto investors have seen prices plunge and companies crater with fortunes and jobs disappearing overnight, and some firms have been accused by federal regulators of running an illegal securities exchange.


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Elon Musk Prepares Himself for the Judgement Against Twitter Ahead of October 17 Trial

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Twitter wants a Delaware court to order Elon Musk to buy the social media service for $44 billion (nearly Rs. 3,60,000 crore), as he promised back in April. But what if a judge makes that ruling and Musk balks?

The Tesla billionaire’s reputation for dismissing government pronouncements has some worried that he might flout an unfavourable ruling of the Delaware Court of Chancery, known for its handling of high-profile business disputes.

Musk hopes to win the case that’s headed for an October trial. He’s scheduled to be deposed by Twitter attorneys starting Thursday.

But the consequences of him losing badly — either by an order of “specific performance” that forces him to complete the deal, or by walking away from Twitter but still coughing up a billion dollars or more for breach of contract — has raised concerns about how the Delaware court would enforce its final ruling.

“The problem with specific performance, especially with Elon Musk, is that it’s unclear whether the order of the court would be obeyed,” retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Berger told CNBC in July. “And the courts in Delaware — courts all over — are very concerned about issuing a decision or issuing an order that then is ignored, flouted.”

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Berger, who was also a vice chancellor of the Chancery Court in the 1980s and 1990s, stood by those concerns in an interview with The Associated Press but said she doubted the Delaware institution would go so far as to make him complete the deal.

“The court can impose sanctions and the court can kind of coerce Musk into taking over the company,” she said. “But why would the court do that when what really is at stake is money?”

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Berger said she expects Twitter to prevail, but said a less tumultuous remedy for the company and its shareholders would make Musk pay monetary damages. “The court doesn’t want to be in a position to step in and essentially run this company,” she said.

Musk and his lawyers didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Other legal observers say such defiance is almost impossible to imagine, even from a famously combative personality such as Musk. He acknowledged he might lose in August in explaining why he suddenly sold nearly $7 billion (nearly Rs. 57,300 crore) worth of Tesla shares.

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“I take him at his word,” said Ann Lipton, an associate law professor at Tulane University. “He wants to win. Maybe he’s got his own judgment as to what the odds are. But he’s also being sort of practical about this. He’s getting some cash ready so he doesn’t have to dump his Tesla shares if it turns out he is ordered to buy the company.”

A ruling of specific performance could force Musk to pay up his $33.5 billion (nearly Rs. 2,74,000 crore) personal stake in the deal; the price increases to $44 billion with promised financing from backers such as Morgan Stanley.

The Delaware court has powers to enforce its orders, and could appoint a receivership to seize some of Musk’s assets, namely Tesla stock, if he doesn’t comply, according to Tom Lin, a law professor at Temple University.

The court has made such moves before, such as in 2013 when it held Chinese company ZTS Digital Networks in contempt and appointed a receiver with power to seize its assets. But after coercive sanctions didn’t work, the receiver asked the court five years later to issue bench warrants calling for the arrest of two senior executives the next time they visited the US.

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Speculation that Musk could be threatened with jail time for failing to comply with a ruling is unrealistic, said Berger. “At least, not for the Court of Chancery,” said the former judge. “That’s not the way the court operates.”

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But more important, Lin said Musk’s legal advisers will strongly urge him to comply with the rulings of a court that routinely takes cases involving Tesla and other firms incorporated in the state of Delaware.

“If you are an executive at a major American corporation incorporated in Delaware, it’s very hard for you to do business and defy the chancery court’s orders,” Lin said.

Concerns about Musk’s compliance derive from his past behavior dealing with various arms of the government. In a long-running dispute with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, he was accused of defying a securities fraud settlement that required that his tweets be approved by a Tesla attorney before being published. He publicly feuded with California officials over whether Tesla’s electric car factory should remain shut down during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He’s also taken a combative approach in Delaware Chancery Court, calling an opposing attorney a “bad human being” while defending Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity against a lawsuit that blamed Musk for a deal rife with conflicts of interest and broken promises. He and his lawyers have other Delaware cases still pending, including one involving his compensation package at Tesla.

“I think we’ve got a whole lot of players who, as loose a cannon as Elon Musk is, rely on the goodwill of the Delaware courts on an ongoing basis for their businesses,” Lipton said.

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Musk’s argument for winning his latest Delaware case largely rests on his allegation that Twitter misrepresented how it measures the magnitude of “spam bot” accounts that are useless to advertisers. But most legal experts believe he faces an uphill battle in convincing Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick, the court’s head judge who is presiding over the case, that something changed since the April merger agreement that justifies terminating the deal.

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The trial begins October 17 and whichever side loses can appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court, which is expected to act swiftly. Musk and Twitter could also settle the case before, during or after the trial, lawyers said.

Delaware’s courts are well-respected in the business world and any move to flout them would be “shocking and unexpected,” said Paul Regan, associate professor of Widener University’s Delaware Law School who has practiced in Delaware courts since the 1980s. “If there was some kind of crisis like that, I think the reputational harm would be all on Musk, not the court.”


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Musk Bid for More Data on Twitter Bot Accounts Denied by Judge

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Elon Musk was denied access to additional documents about Twitter’s internal measure of robot and spam accounts after a judge concluded the company already disclosed enough of the information as part of the billionaire’s legal fight over a scuttled takeover. Twitter has “done enough” in handing over documents about the so-called mDAU — a metric used to survey human users of the social media platform, Delaware Chancery Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick ruled Friday. Musk had sought more information to bolster his bid to cancel a $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3.5 lakh crore) buyout of the company.

Musk and his lawyers repeatedly accused Twitter of seeking to hide crucial documents and witnesses as they ramp up for an October 17 trial on whether the world’s richest person can legitimately walk away from the deal.

The billionaire claims the company hadn’t levelled with him about the number of spam and bot accounts among its more than 230 million users. Twitter says Musk has buyer’s remorse and his concerns are a pretext to get out of a deal.

McCormick also denied Musk’s request Twitter officials conduct further searches of the files under the terms “user-active minutes,” (UAM) or “stickiness,” two ways of measuring how long users stay on the platform.

Both sides have issued a fusillade of subpoenas and deposition requests to banks, investors and advisers involved in the teetering transaction. McCormick has been forced to rule on about a half-dozen disputes over document disclosures and other discovery issues.

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Meanwhile, the judge also appointed Chris Sontchi, a retired bankruptcy judge, to serve as a special master to oversee discovery disputes. The Wilmington, Delaware-based Sontchi now works as a mediator and also serves as a judge on the Singapore International Commercial Court.

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