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GOP Sen. Hawley introduces bill to force YouTube to end its “catering to pedophiles” even as the platform bans conservatives and indy media

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(Natural News) As Missouri’s attorney general, Josh Hawley went after the big tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for allegedly violating the privacy rights of the citizens of his state, as well as other practices that were inconsistent and unfair.

As a U.S. senator, Hawley has continued his quest to hold these behemoths accountable as they selectively enforce “community standards” that allow them to discriminate against conservatives and independent media while coddling those engaged in disgusting and potentially illegal behavior.

As reported by Fox News on Thursday, GOP Sen. Hawley introduced legislation “that would force video-sharing websites such as YouTube to turn off their recommendation systems for videos featuring children.”

Specifically, Hawley’s legislation comes after a New York Times report noting that the video platform’s algorithm system has curated and recommended scores of videos featuring children, which is helping to spread such content to predators and their associates.

The Times noted that a Brazilian woman named “Christiane C.” was initially unconcerned when her 10-year-old daughter and a friend uploaded a video of themselves as they splashed and played in a backyard pool.

“The video is innocent, it’s not a big deal,” the woman, who lives in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, told the paper.

But soon her daughter excitedly informed her that the video received thousands of views. Within a short time, it garnered more than 400,000 views, “a staggering number for a video of a child in a two-piece bathing suit with her friend,” the Times noted.

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Then Christiane became very “scared,” and for good reason. The Times added: 

YouTube’s automated recommendation system — which drives most of the platform’s billions of views by suggesting what users should watch next — had begun showing the video to users who watched other videos of prepubescent, partially clothed children, a team of researchers has found.

This is a much needed first step

In February, YouTube disabled comments on many videos featuring children. But the recommendation system remained intact and continues to push them out to pedophiles and other predators. (Related: Google, Facebook, YouTube censorship of conservative sites, voices just like Communist CHINA.)

Now, YouTube has been reducing such recommendations, but Hawley says that’s not good enough.

“Every parent in America should be appalled that YouTube is pushing videos of their children to pedophiles,” he said, in a statement obtained by Fox News. “It’s equally outrageous that YouTube refuses to take the most effective step necessary to fix the issue. I’m proud to announce this legislation to force YouTube to do the right thing and place children’s safety over profits and pedophiles.”

If passed, the legislation will impose stiff fines and criminal penalties for violations, but it would only apply to videos that primarily feature minors — not all videos that happen to have minors in the background, for instance. Also, professionally-produced videos such as those for talent shows and whatnot would also be exempted.

In response, YouTube has also begun updating enforcement of the company’s live-streaming policy in order to prevent minors, especially younger children, from uploading videos unless an adult is clearly accompanying them.

But what about other actions taken by YouTube that involve outright bans, especially of conservatives and independent publishers like Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, founder/editor of Natural News? Or the defunding of other popular conservatives such as Steven Crowder of TheBlazeTV, which just occurred this week?

Is Congress prepared to begin treating these social media Nazis like public utilities, meaning they can be regulated? While raking in billions of dollars off of video content uploaded to giants like YouTube and Facebook, the companies then claim they’re not responsible because they’re a private-sector distribution platform.

These companies can’t — or shouldn’t — have it both ways. Hawley’s legislation, if it passes, is a much-needed first step at reigning in discriminatory practices by the social media behemoths.

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Record one million job losses in March: StatCan

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OTTAWA — More than one million Canadians lost their jobs in the month of March, Statistics Canada is reporting. The unemployment rate has also climbed to 7.8 per cent, up from 2.2 percentage points since February.

Canada’s national statistics agency released its monthly Labour Force Survey on Thursday, using March 15 to 21 as the sample week – a time when the government began enforcing strict guidelines around social gatherings and called on non-essential businesses to close up shop.

The first snapshot of job loss since COVID-19 began taking a toll on the Canadian economy shows 1.1 million out of work since the prior sample period and a consequent decrease in the employment rate – the lowest since April 1997. The most job losses occurred in the private sector and among people aged 15-24.

The number of people who were unemployed increased by 413,000, resulting in the largest one-month increase in Canada’s unemployment rate on record and takes the economy back to a state last seen in October, 2010.

“Almost all of the increase in unemployment was due to temporary layoffs, meaning that workers expected to return to their job within six months,” reads the findings.

The agency included three new indicators, on top of the usual criteria, to better reflect the impact of COVID-19 on employment across the country.

The survey, for example, excludes the more commonly observed reasons for absent workers — such as vacation, weather, parental leave or a strike or lockout — to better isolate the pandemic’s effect.

They looked at: people who are employed but were out of a job during the reference week, people who are employed but worked less than half their usual hours, and people who are unemployed but would like a job.

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Employee at Ottawa’s Amazon Fulfillment Centre tests positive for COVID-19

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OTTAWA — An employee who works at Amazon’s fulfillment centre on Boundary Road in Ottawa’s east-end has tested positive for COVID-19.

Amazon says it learned on April 3 that an associate tested positive for novel coronavirus and is currently in isolation. The employee last worked at the fulfillment centre on March 19.

Two employees told CTV News Ottawa that management informed all employees about the positive test in a text message over the weekend.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Amazon spokesperson Jen Crowcroft wrote “we are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”

The statement also says that Amazon has taken steps to further protect their employees.

“We have also implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance in the FC.”

CTV News Ottawa asked Amazon about the timeline between when the company found out about the positive COVID-19 case and when employees were notified.

In a separate email to CTV News Ottawa, Crowcroft said “all associates of our Boundary Road fulfillment centre in Ottawa were notified within 24 hours of learning of the positive COVID-19 case.”

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Ottawa facing silent spring as festivals, events cancelled

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This is shaping up to be Ottawa’s silent spring — and summer’s sounding pretty bleak, too — as more and more concerts, festivals and other annual events are cancelled in the wake of measures meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The province has already banned gatherings of more than five people, and on Monday officials announced city parks, facilities and services will remain shut down until the end of June, nor will any event permits be issued until at least that time.

“This leaves us with no choice but to cancel the festival this year,” Ottawa Jazz Festival artistic director Petr Cancura confirmed Monday.

This was to be the festival’s 40th anniversary, and organizers announced the lineup for the June 19-July 1 event the day after Ottawa’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. 

The Toronto and Montreal jazz festivals had already pulled the plug because of similar restrictions in their cities, so Cancura said the writing was on the wall.

“We have a few contingency plans to keep connecting with our audience and working with our artists,” Cancura said.

People holding tickets to the 2020 festival can ask for a refund or exchange for a 2021 pass.

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