Category Archives: Press Room

Recent press releases issued by Media Alliance. Sometimes we’ll post newspaper, radio and broadcast interviews here as well.

California Flags Alienated, Idealistic Kids of Color as Potential Violent Extremists

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By Ann Garrison for Black Agenda Report

The program deputizes teachers to spy on students and recruits social service agencies to assemble dossiers on them while providing mental health services.

“The state is is lipsticking the pig for federal agencies that rely on racist stereotyping.”

California’s “Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE)” program flags teenage kids “feeling alienated from their peers,” “having a strong sense of being troubled by injustice,” and suffering from “depression” as also having “tendencies to extremism” that should be closely monitored. And surprise surprise, these kids are disproportionately Black and Brown. The program deputizes teachers to spy on them and recruits social service agencies to assemble dossiers on them while providing mental health services.

I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director of Media Alliance, about the program’s history and the coalition fighting it.

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What Cities Can Learn from the Nation’s Only Privacy Commission

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By Alan Greenblatt. Originally published in Governing

Perhaps no city cares about the privacy of its residents as much as Oakland.

Last year, the California city became one of just a handful around the country that have banned municipal use of facial recognition technology. That came on top of an earlier ordinance that put limits on surveillance technology.

Those laws were largely the handiwork of Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission, a citizen-led board that can review any and all city policies and regulations through a privacy lens. Other cities have privacy policies or staff in place, while a few have ad hoc groups to address particular issues, such as smart city policies. No other city has a standing group with such a broad charter.

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Activists tell Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to ‘Zuck off’

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by David Horowitz. Originally published in the SF Examiner

Dozens of activists chalked the sidewalk and chanted outside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Mission District townhouse Monday to protest false advertising by political campaigns on the site.

“In 2016 Facebook was used to manipulate voters and suppress voter turnout,” said Andrea Buffa, a spokesperson for the “Don’t Let Facebook ZUCK UP Our Democracy” coalition. “A lot of times (we’re) not sure how we can have an impact on national elections unless we go to another state, but in this case we can have an impact because this company is right in our backyard.”

The coalition of activist groups opposes Facebook’s policy allowing false advertisements paid for by politicians to stay posted on the company’s platforms. On Monday, the local group rallied in San Francisco while a second group in Palo Alto protested with a handheld billboard on a U.S. Highway 101 overpass, according to coalition representatives.

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Letter From New Hampshire: The Dangers of Disinformation

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by Alexander Zaitchik for Coinbase and Yahoo Finance

A few days before the New Hampshire primary vote, midway through a speech at a packed town hall in Nashua, Andrew Yang began to talk about data.

Specifically, the industrial-scale harvesting of private data that is at the heart of today’s biggest and most profitable tech companies. “We produce an enormous outflow of information that is taken from us, often without our consent, and monetized,” said Yang. 

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‘Wake up Zuck’: Protesters gather outside of Facebook founder’s home, demand regulation of political ads

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by Loi Almeron and Justin Mark. Originally printed in SF Gate and Mission Local

On Monday morning around 10 a.m., about 50 protesters gathered outside of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s home in the Mission District to protest the social media giant’s use of personal data and refusal to regulate misleading political advertisements.

“We’re sick and tired of waiting for the government to regulate Facebook,” said Tracy Rosenberg, the executive director of Media Alliance and one of the protest’s organizers. “You’re profiting off of us — you’re selling our information.”

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Bay Area protest urges Facebook not to run misinformation ads for U.S. politicians

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originally posted on Xinhua

Some advocacy groups in Bay Area rallied on Monday in front of a property owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in downtown San Francisco to urge him to stop profiting from misinformation ads for U.S. politicians.

People from various cities in the Bay Area gathered outside Zuckerberg’s house on Presidents’ Day, which falls on Monday, to stage a “Wake the ZUCK Up” protest by chanting slogans and making noises with whistles to press him for making changes to his political ads policy.

Under current Facebook political ads policy, the Silicon Valley tech giant will not take any action against advertisements run by political leaders or groups even if they contain misinformation or lies, and those political ads, which target directly particular populations, creates “a completely distorted political dialogue,” Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of the San Francisco-based non-profit Media Alliance, told Xinhua.

She criticized Facebook for using technology of artificial intelligence to manipulate ad content so that other people cannot see it at all.

“This kind of mechanical distortion of communication on behalf of political candidates is an inordinate threat to democracy,” she said.

The protesters called themselves as “fed-up Facebook users” who are not happy with what’s going on with Facebook.

“We don’t want distorted information fed to us day after day for your personal profit,” Rosenberg stressed.

She said her organization will partner with other groups to contact some Facebook advertisers to press Zuckerberg’s company to take on greater “corporate social responsibility” and handle “political ads in a much better way.”

Monday’s event was organized by Media Alliance and another San Francisco non-profit Global Exchange, in partnership with other community and advocacy groups in the Bay Area.

On Jan. 9, Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern said the company will continue to allow political ads on its platform including Instagram, despite possible false information in those ads run by politicians.

He reasserted that “people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”

He argued that decisions about those topics should not be made by private companies like Facebook.

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40 Civil Rights Groups Ask Colleges to Keep Facial Recognition Off Campuses

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An open letter from an assortment of civil rights groups, including Media Alliance, asked university administrators to keep their campuses free of facial recognition.

On March 2, students and faculty at schools across the country will organize to reject facial recognition’s false promises of safety, and stand against the idea of biased 24/7 tracking and analysis of everyone on campus.

Dozens of schools have clarified that they don’t use or plan to use the technology, while about one third have not responded. Three schools—George Washington University, Duke University, and American University—gave vague statements that implied they may have plans to use facial recognition in the future. And UCLA and Tufts University currently use or have plans to use the technology on its campus.

Campuses that have stated they have no intention of using facial recognition include Boston College, Brown University, Columbia University, Colorado State University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, DePaul University, MIT, Michigan State University, Georgia Tech, NYU, Hampshire College, Kent State University, Rice University, University of Florida, Oregon State University, UPenn, and John Hopkins University. University of San Francisco clarified that it abandoned its controversial facial recognition program in 2016. Activists made multiple attempts to contact every institution on the scorecard. More than 30 schools did not respond after multiple attempts, including Harvard, Yale, Oberlin, Howard University, Ohio State, Reed, and Sarah Lawrence College.

Letter-from-40-civil-society-organizations_-ban-facial-recognition-on-college-campuses

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