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Ottawa councillor denies sending inappropriate messages on Twitter

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OTTAWA —
Embattled Ottawa Coun. Rick Chiarelli is facing criticism again, after a woman in Chicago says she received sexually suggestive messages from the councillor’s official Twitter account.

Chiarelli’s office tells CTV News Ottawa his Twitter account was hacked and he did not send the direct messages on the social media site.

There are at least three women sharing similar messages allegedly from Chiarelli’s Twitter account referencing a trip to Spain, one of them including mentions of topless beaches. The messages were sent over the span of several days.

The first woman to go public was Cass Kulhanek, a comedian from Chicago.

Kulhanek says she has no connection to Ottawa or the veteran College Ward councillor, but says she received a message from Chiarelli’s account stating he was a politician and referencing media work she could do in Europe.

Kulhanek tweeted the images publicly on Thursday afternoon. The direct messages reference topless sunbathing, and a person saying, “I want fun! Not just work.”

“I mean I thought it was peculiar that he immediately made a note of wanting to go to places that had topless beaches, or topless sunbathing, because that’s not my initial thought when I think about Europe,” said Kulhanek in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.

“I think about lots of other things first. He immediately started talking about topless sunbathing and how his staffer didn’t want to go places that had topless sunbathing or had night life, late dinners, things like that. So it seemed kind of clear from the start there were ulterior motives or something.”

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Kulhanek says she can’t prove the messages came from the councillor, but said she decided to share them in support of other women who have previously alleged the Councillor used inappropriate and/or sexual harassing language in the workplace.

Two other women, including at least one from Ottawa, shared similar messages from Chiarelli’s account.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa Thursday evening, Chiarelli’s office said the councillor’s Twitter account was hacked.

“Please note that it appears that we have experienced a breach in our Twitter access and our passwords are being updated as we speak. Our staff is largely responsible for the management of our Social Media accounts including Twitter, Facebook as well as our website,” said the statement from Chantal Lebel, director of Strategic Affairs and Communications in Chiarelli’s office.

“Our office has conducted an analysis of the recent usage of our Social Media channels mainly accessed through a third-party app as well as a review of the alleged messages which seem to have been copy pasted to multiple users. We have determined the writing pattern and poor grammar to be inconsistent with that of the Councillor’s. As such we have proceeded to a review of our security protocols.”

Chiraelli’s office says it has reached out to Twitter to determine the source of the unauthorized access to his account.

The statement also addressed the contents of the direct messages on Twitter.

“Coun. Chiarelli currently does not have the authority to hire/fire staff, contractors/vendors or volunteers nor does he have oversight of the Ward 8 Operating Budget until the end of the term. He is also restricted from incurring any travel-related expenses and as per the Dec 2020 report by the City Clerk it was anticipated that there would be no reason for the Ward 8 Councillor, his staff to travel given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic nor that any travel would be authorized,” said the statement.

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“Additionally, Coun. Chiarelli has not travelled since undergoing a quadruple bypass open-heart surgery in December of 2019 nor does he have any plans to travel in the near future with the recent passing of his father-in-law, his daughter’s upcoming wedding in a few weeks and the birth of his first grandchild later this fall.”

Last year, Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner ruled twice that Chiarelli breached sections of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council for alleged improper conduct involving two former staff members and three women applying for jobs in his office. Chiarelli has denied all allegations relating to that matter.

hey @ottawacity it sure seems like councilman @RickChiarelli is trying to take me on a vaguely sexual trip to Europe using state funds ??? pic.twitter.com/vjKXwsAfpP

— cass city (@HeavenlyGrandpa) September 2, 2021

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Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Twitter Bans Sharing Personal Photos, Videos of Other People Without Consent

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Twitter launched new rules Tuesday blocking users from sharing private images of other people without their consent, in a tightening of the network’s policy just a day after it changed CEOs.

Under the new rules, people who are not public figures can ask Twitter to take down pictures or video of them that they report were posted without permission.

Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people’s private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so.https://t.co/7EXvXdwegG

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021

Twitter said this policy does not apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

“We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service,” the company added.

The right of Internet users to appeal to platforms when images or data about them are posted by third parties, especially for malicious purposes, has been debated for years.

Twitter already prohibited the publication of private information such as a person’s phone number or address, but there are “growing concerns” about the use of content to “harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals,” Twitter said.

The company noted a “disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”

High-profile examples of online harassment include the barrages of racist, sexist,and homophobic abuse on Twitch, the world’s biggest video game streaming site.

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But instances of harassment abound, and victims must often wage lengthy fights to see hurtful, insulting or illegally produced images of themselves removed from the online platforms.

Some Twitter users pushed the company to clarify exactly how the tightened policy would work.

“Does this mean that if I take a picture of, say, a concert in Central Park, I need the permission of everyone in it? We diminish the sense of the public to the detriment of the public,” tweeted Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York.

The change came the day after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced he was leaving the company, and handed CEO duties to company executive Parag Agrawal.

The platform, like other social media networks, has struggled against bullying, misinformation, and hate-fuelled content.


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Twitter likely to roll out ‘Reactions’ feature soon

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After unveiling several features this year, micro-blogging site Twitter is reportedly readying new features, including Reactions, Downvotes and Sorted Replies for iOS users.

According to reverse engineer Nima Owji, the Reactions feature, which started being tested a couple of months ago, is set to launch soon, reports 9To5Mac.

With four new reactions, “tears of joy,” “thinking face,” “clapping hands” and “crying face,” this feature is designed to give users the ability to better show how conversations make them feel and to give users “a better understanding of how their Tweets are received”.

Citing the reverse engineer, the report also mentioned that the micro-blogging site is now able to store data about the downvotes feature, which is another indicator that this function will be released sooner rather than later.

The report also notes that the company changed the downvote position as well. It has even added a new tab explaining how downvotes work.

This month, the company has rolled out its in-app tipping feature to all Android users above the age of 18, following the iOS launch in September.

Twitter said the “Tips” feature is geared toward users looking to get a little financial support from their followers through Cash App, PayPal, Venmo and Patreon directly through the app.

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