Facebook offered ‘Jew Hater,’ ‘Ku Klux Klan,’ other hate-based audiences to advertisers

Published: Friday, September 15, 2017 @ 10:22 AM

Facebook Offered Hate-Based Audiences To Advertisers

Facebook’s online advertising tools allow advertisers to segment and target anti-Semitic Facebook users who identify themselves using keywords and queries like “how to burn Jews,” “Jew hater” and “History of ‘why Jews ruin the world,’” according to a new report by ProPublica.

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Reporters located these audiences using Facebook’s own tools, then successfully placed ads targeting those users using the same methods advertisers would use to target any other interest or affinity on the world’s foremost social media platform.

Facebook approved three $10.00 ad buys from ProPublica reporters targeting people who listed “Jew haters,” “how to burn Jews,” and “history of ‘why Jews ruin the world’” on their profiles, even suggesting related terms like “Hitler did nothing wrong” to broaden the audience. The promoted post campaigns were approved in under 15 minutes, according to ProPublica.

Reporters took screenshots of the site as they placed the ads. After being contacted about the successful ad buys, Facebook officials said they would remove the audiences.

Shortly after the ProPublica report came out, Slate reported its own success placing similar ads targeting interests in terms like “Kill Muslimic Radicals,” “Ku-Klux-Klan,” “Jew Killing Weekly Magazine” and “Nazi Party (Canada).” The ads were approved in less than one minute, Slate reported, noting that the specific terms ProPublica used were no longer available.

Facebook did not deny the ProPublica report, but representatives contacted Rare.us to insist that the hateful terms were a product of descriptions users created, not a Facebook algorithm. Facebook spokesperson Rob Leathern also issued this statement:

“We don’t allow hate speech on Facebook. Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes. However, there are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards. In this case, we’ve removed the associated targeting fields in question. We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and (reviewing) processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”

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3 sentenced in stomping that caused pregnant teen to miscarry brother’s child

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 5:54 PM

Sharon Jones, from left, of Dallas, Texas, and two of her children, Cecila McDonald and Cedric Jones Jr., pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault in the 2013 beating and stomping of a 13-year-old pregnant relative, killing her unborn child. The girl was beaten after telling Sharon Jones, her aunt, and her cousins that her older brother had sexually assaulted her and fathered the baby.
Dallas County Jail
Sharon Jones, from left, of Dallas, Texas, and two of her children, Cecila McDonald and Cedric Jones Jr., pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault in the 2013 beating and stomping of a 13-year-old pregnant relative, killing her unborn child. The girl was beaten after telling Sharon Jones, her aunt, and her cousins that her older brother had sexually assaulted her and fathered the baby.(Dallas County Jail)

Three members of a Texas family were sentenced to prison last week in the brutal 2013 beating and stomping of a 13-year-old relative who authorities said was raped -- and impregnated -- by her own brother. 

Sharon Jones, 47, of Dallas, and two of her children, Cedric Jones Jr., 29, and Cecila McDonald, 28, pleaded guilty for their part in the 2013 crime, which caused the girl to miscarry, The Dallas Morning News reportedThe newspaper reported in 2016 that the victim and five siblings, including a younger sister forced to help hold her down during the beating, moved from California to Texas to live with Sharon Jones, their aunt, after their grandmother died. 

“Most people would treat strangers better,” prosecutor Rachel Burris said during last week’s sentencing hearing, according to the newspaper. “Yet these people did it to someone they promised to love.

“They held her down. They forced her to lay there while people stomped her. It was savage.”

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A judge sentenced Sharon Jones to 12 years in prison. Cedric Jones was sentenced to five years in prison and his sister was sentenced to serve seven years, according to the Morning News. The siblings and their mother each pleaded guilty to felony family violence aggravated assault. 

A fourth suspect, Lonnell McDonald, was convicted in 2016 of aggravated assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the newspaper reported

The beating, which the now-19-year-old victim reported in 2015, stemmed from a sexual assault case in which the girl’s 24-year-old brother was accused of raping her in 2012, when she was 13. The brother, who relocated to Dallas a year before his siblings, was ordered to not have contact with them, though it was not immediately clear why.

The brother’s name is being withheld to help shield the victim’s identity.

Testimony in Lonnell McDonald’s trial showed that, despite Sharon Jones promising to take in the siblings to keep them out of foster homes, the children were instead sent to live with Lonnell and Cecila McDonald. Their older brother was living at the McDonald home at the time, the Morning News reported. 

It was there that the alleged sexual assault took place, according to testimony.

Lonnell McDonald, of Dallas, Texas, was convicted in 2016 of aggravated assault in the beating of a pregnant 13-year-old girl to induce a miscarriage. The girl was allegedly raped and impregnated by her older brother.((Dallas County Jail))

Sharon Jones is accused of telling the girl and her siblings to lie to Texas Child Protective Services caseworkers so authorities would not find out they were living in the same home as their brother.

The 13-year-old victim told authorities that she told Jones and Cecila McDonald about the sexual assault after it came out that their older brother had sexually abused McDonald’s own three young children. The women, who were reportedly worried that McDonald would lose custody of her children, never told authorities about the girl’s allegations. 

The brother has since been found mentally incompetent to stand trial and his criminal charges remain in limbo, the Morning News said.

When the teen’s relatives learned that she was eight months pregnant, they tried forcing Plan B birth control pills and cinnamon tablets on her to induce a miscarriage, the Morning News reported. When that didn’t work, they held her down and took turns stomping on her abdomen.

Cecila McDonald screamed during the attack, “(Expletive), you ain’t about to get my kids taken away from me,” the newspaper said

After beating her for hours, they left the girl in a bathtub, bleeding and drifting in and out of consciousness, as she gave birth to a stillborn baby, the Morning News reported. To combat her loss of blood, they fed her iron pills.

The victim told authorities they took her baby away before she got to see the child.

The girl’s younger sister tried to care for her afterward. The Morning News reported in 2016 that the younger girl, who was 12 during the attack, was granted immunity in the case in return for her testimony. 

After the baby was born, Cecila McDonald put the infant’s body in a bucket. She, her brother and her mother then tried to burn the remains on a grill.

Sharon Jones subsequently paid her son $25 to get rid of the portion that did not burn. The Morning News said he hid the remains, which have never been found. 

“To this day, we don’t know what happened to that baby,” Burris told jurors during Lonnell McDonald’s trial. 

Father, daughter found dead in frigid house sought help for furnace repair, police say

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 1:09 PM

Father, Daughter Sought Help For Furnace Repair, Found Dead In Frigid House

A father and daughter had asked for help to fix their furnace days before their frozen bodies were discovered in their frigid house, according to police.

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The bodies of Albert Bivins, 81, and Patricia Bivins, 55, were discovered by police after a neighbor called and said he had not seen them, according to the South Bend Tribune.

The Bivins had gone to the Ferry Street Resource Center, to ask for help to get their furnace fixed. The agency, which offers job placement and housing assistance, does not give money for furnace repair, but referred them to a group that does. It is unclear if they sought help, which can take time to get approval.

“They did not come back in here with any paperwork or any bids,” Greg Nasstrom, director of the Resource Center, told the South Bend Tribune.

Gas and electricity were working in the house, which was about 32 degrees when police arrived, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Police are still investigating the cause of death but believe it to be accidental.

Amazon debuts cashier-less Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 3:57 PM

Amazon's New Grocery Store Skips the Lines

More than a year after it introduced the concept, Amazon opened its artificial intelligence-powered Amazon Go store in Seattle Monday.

The store on the bottom floor of Amazon’s headquarters billed itself as grocery shopping for the future. It has no registers and no cashiers.

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Shoppers have to download the Amazon Go app to scan to get in the door. Once they are inside, the store tracks what they buy through cameras and shelf sensors.

Anything a shopper takes off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything put back is taken out of the cart.

Once shopping in finished, you just walk out the door. You will get a receipt in your app about five minutes later.

The system works by combining computer vision and machine-learning algorithms and sensors.

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 22: Shoppers enter and check out with purchases at the Amazon Go, on January 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. After more than a year in beta Amazon opened the cashier-less store to the public. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

The Associated Press reported there are people there making food, stocking shelves and helping customers. The store offers ready-to-eat breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, as well as some grocery staples like bread, milk, cheese and chocolates. It'll also have Amazon Meal Kits.

KIRO spoke to some of the shoppers who were among the first to experience the store and they seemed to like what they saw.
“It will make it a lot quicker. The biggest reason you don’t want to go to the store is waiting in line so it’s pretty great," Betty Paschke, who lives in Seattle, said.

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 22: Shopper Ela Ustel walks through the Amazon Go store, on January 22, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. After more than a year in beta Amazon opened the cashier-less store to the public. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Tech expert Todd Bishop with Geekwire said the success of the store is yet to be seen and depends on how much the public is willing to let the business track their spending and accounts virtually.

“It basically treats people walking around a physical space exactly like people are tracked online currently,” Bishop saud.

Amazon Go had been open only to Amazon employees since December 2016 to test out the technology.

Acording to Amazon, there are no plans to open up more stores like the Seattle location.

Super Bowl LII 2018: Eagles vs. Patriots kickoff time, channel, livestream, odds

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 11:44 AM

New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles to Face Off At 2018 Super Bowl

Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games -- one a comeback, the other a blowout -- gave us the lineup for the Super Bowl that will pit the New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Quarterback Tom Brady, with 12 stitches in his hand, led the Patriots in a 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars to put them in the Super Bowl for a record 10th time.

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Philadelphia didn’t need a comeback, the Eagles dominated the Minnesota Vikings after the Vikings' touchdown on the opening drive, winning the NFC championship 38-7.

Super Bowl LII (52), with all its pageantry, commercials and parties, is set for Feb. 4

Here’s how to watch Super Bowl LII:
When: Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018
Who: The New England Patriots vs. the Philadelphia Eagles
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
National anthem: Pink will sing the national anthem
Halftime entertainment: Justin Timberlake will headline the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show
What time: 6:30 p.m. ET 
What channel: NBC will broadcast the game 
Odds: The Patriots are favored by five points, according to OddsShark.

Fans celebrate outside Lincoln Financial Field after the NFL football NFC championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38-7 to advance to Super Bowl LII.(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)