This week its Eurovision, Austria and Facebook’s garbage ad policy… woop woop!

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Nonsense Section

Eurovision

Did you hear there was a Eurovision?

Duncan won for the Dutch with a medium quality Coldplay inspired thing (www.theguardian.com ) Low quality Madonna costs 1m www.dw.com Iceland has Palestine banners confiscated wiwibloggs.com

Climate activists occupy German-Russian gas pipeline

Five German climate activists climbed inside segments of the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany on Thursday, skateboarding inside, holding protest placards, and refusing to leave despite police appeals. One of them, calling himself Fynn, told the BBC he was fighting a “global struggle against fossil fuels”, adding: “We are skating in the pipeline and it is fun!”. euobserver.com


Topic 1

In shock turn of events FPÖ are corrupt assholes…

Who knew the ultra-far-right party would be also shady as fuck? Süddeutsche Zeitung releases secret recordings of the vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache offering government contracts in return for election help from someone posing as a Russian oligarch’s niece… This would involve the supposed oligarch buying a large stake in Austrian media and giving favorable coverage in exchange for political favors and what not… Using Orban’s grip on the media as an example. If only they lived in the UK, USA or Australia where conservative politicians already have a friend with large amounts of media control… ————- www.dw.com

Kurz is calling for elections

Which makes sense. It muddies him to keep the FPÖ around in government and his party is probably the one to gain from any hit they take with the electorate.

It kind of proves the “far right in the pocket of special interests and foreign donors” thing. Kurz also says the bits of the tapes where Strache claims to have dirt on Kurz and his orgies didn’t influence his decision…

No new polling yet, but the ÖVP are comfortably in the lead still with the FPÖ in the mid 20s… ÖVP majority or minority government is not an impossible outcome


www.dw.com


Topic 2

Facebook’s EU Political Ad Policy

Timeline: ### March FB announces you need to prove residence in the country you’re advertising in to post political ads in the weeks running up to the election (www.politico.eu )### April EU is all like, hey wait a minute the EU commission advertises continent wide about the election and there are cross-country political grouping and campaigns that won’t be able to advertise (www.politico.eu )Nick Clegg (former deputy PM of UK and all round nice guy who now works for facebook) tells Tajani to chill out because they’ll make exceptions because there have been so many complaints. “It was only to stop outside influence, we’re chill”. The chairs of all the major European parties send Zukkey an open letter (g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.comwww.theguardian.com )They make a good case against the rules: > Article 10(4) of the TEU (Treaty of the European Union) clearly states that “Political parties at European level contribute to forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of citizens of the Union.” –not national awareness on the national level of national citizens. There are also weird business exceptions like “news publishers” are exempt? “They’ve made exceptions for media so why shouldn’t they make exceptions for political parties?” Sybren Kooistra, the campaign manager for the European Greens party. So everythings fine now right? Nick wouldn’t do us like that… ### May Martin Selmayr (of inappropriate promotion fame) doesn’t think so. He says the exceptions haven’t really materialised (www.politico.eu. )“There is no evidence that Facebook has corrected its rules, the status quo is in place,” said European People’s Party campaign manager Dara Murphy, adding that “any changes that would happen now would make almost no difference.”

What about the other platforms?

Well I’ve seen plenty of EU Commission “please vote, here’s how to vote” ads on twitter in the form of promoted tweets. According to Selmayr this still isn’t possible on Facebook… which is pretty ridiculous seeing as the election is this week.

Google has very clear guidelines on how to become verified and what to do/not to do (support.google.com. )Basically you need to be pre-verified as registered in the EU before they’ll approve you for election advertising. They worked this out back in November (uk.reuters.com. )If there are any problems they’re not coming up in the media because of how much worse Facebook’s rules are…

Twitter have a pretty similar policy of pre-verification of being based in the EU (www.politico.eu. )That was worked out in February

I guess at least they’re trying?

There’s been a lot of coverage of their “election war room” in Dublin where people take down banned content and disinformation:

The idea is to have 40 people with at least one fluent in every EU national language to deal with take downs and disinformation campaigns relating to the election. It’s a good idea but might not be enough (www.wired.co.uk. )I guess their “only in your country” rule makes this job a little easier.

In Italy they closed down a bunch of pages with millions of followers that was spreading bullshit www.eurotopics.net(pages reported by Avaaz secure.avaaz.orgso I’m assuming mostly climate denial etc)

Great but the problem with a user generated content platform is they’re always going to be missing things… Ai isn’t a magic solution (www.theverge.com ) Maybe we need to accept it won’t be perfect