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Seb Gorka duped by fake Twitter account; young journalist says she’s being smeared | Salon.com

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Right-wing radio host and former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka, the self-styled “Dragon of Budapest” who drives around the nation’s capital in his 2.3L EcoBoost Mustang, was duped by a fake Twitter account on Tuesday — which in a bizarre turn of events led to a former MSNBC intern being the recipient of an outpouring of online hate instigated by Gorka.

On Tuesday morning, Hajah Bah, a USC Annenberg journalism student, and former MSNBC intern, woke up to numerous Twitter notifications. Many of those notifications stemmed from Gorka’s tweet accusing her of being a “bigoted ableist.”

The former Trump adviser had clearly been duped by a fake account pretending to be the journalism student. As of Wednesday morning, after Salon had reached out to Twitter, the social media company suspended the spurious Bah account, which appeared to have been operated by a troll who frequently retweeted right-wing content, such as tweets from Fox News host Dan Bongino. 

“This person works for NBC12. Why is MSNBC OK with their employee calling someone she politically disagrees with a ‘retard?'” Gorka posted, implying that the fake account actually belonged to Bah. “What protects foul-mouthed bigoted ableists like @Hajahbahh?” 

That tweet sent out to Gorka’s over 1 million followers tagged a profile page of a troll account that used a picture of Bah, a former MSNBC and NBC12 Richmond newsroom intern. Then, as too often happens on Twitter, Bah’s real account was rolled into the drama. 

In a phone interview with Salon, Bah said the incorrect Gorka tweet had provoked hatred from his followers and tarnished her reputation in the industry. 

“Wow, this is not what I said to him,” Bah explained, citing messages that the dubious account had sent Gorka pretending to be her. “I don’t even know who he is. So I’m like, what is going on!” 

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Neither Gorka nor a spokesperson for Salem Radio Network, the conservative radio empire that employs him, returned a Salon request for comment. 

Speaking to the impact this incident has had on her young career, Bah said that Gorka’s irresponsible tweet had “tarnished MSNBC and NBC 12, which are amazing companies.” As to how and what needs to be done to correct the situation, Bah suggested the nattily attired but notably hot-tempered former Trump associate, who has built a subsequent radio career on his iconic baritone voice, should retract his tweet and issue a public apology. 

“He should at least acknowledge, ‘Oh, this is not her,'” Bah said, noting that she is “a young journalist trying to break into the industry, it’s just really wrong. I would like an apology.”

Bah said that she and some of her friends had attempted to make Gorka aware of the error via Twitter, but that Gorka had rapidly blocked them. 

In 2019, Gorka, a self-proclaimed free-speech warrior, told a reporter at the White House that he had blocked thousands of users on Twitter. “I block whoever I want to,” Gorka said. “I block 16,000 people because they’re asshats.”

Gorka holds a somewhat dubious doctorate from a university in Budapest, and has been long criticized as a “fake terrorism expert.” According to established national security experts who spoke to CNN, he “lacks practical experience in government, is not an expert on terrorism, and has never served in a diplomatic agency.”

Highlighting a persistent problem in the right-wing media ecosystem, Bah noted that the hate directed at her was genuinely horrific for no apparent reason. “It’s really ridiculous,” she said. “I have been receiving a lot of hate because of the tweet, and it’s not a reflection of my character at all.”

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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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