Bleats

Twitter Bans Political Ads, What's Your Move Zuckerberg?

Balls in your court, Facebook.

The ball is officially in Facebook’s court after Twitter founder Jack Dorsey announced today that he’d be banning all political advertising on Twitter. 

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.” he tweeted earlier this morning.

In a lengthy thread, Dorsey said that political decisions should “not be compromised by money” and that Internet political ads present challenges like “machine learning-based optimisation or messaging, micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes.”

Dorsey said it’s “not credible” for Twitter to say they’re working to stop people spreading misleading information, but accept payment to target people with someone’s political ads. 

The Twitter founder said that “regulators need to think past the present pay to ensure a level playing field.” In a final note, Dorsey said Twitter’s move to ban political ads isn’t about free expression, “it’s about paying for reach.”

“Paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,” he wrote.

While Dorsey added there would be a few exceptions, including the allowance of “ads in support of voter registration,” it’s a big move for Twitter – especially considering the 2020 United States presidential election kicks off in less than a week

Twitter’s ban on political ads also comes one week after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the social media platform’s political advertising policies. 

During her line of questioning, AOC asked Zuckerberg, “so you won’t take down lies, or you will take down lies? It’s a pretty simple yes or no.” 

Zuckerberg told the congresswoman it “depended on the context” and during Facebook’s Q3 2019 earnings call today he said he doesn’t agree with “critics” who claim the company won’t ban ads because “all we care about is money.” 

“We need to be careful about adopting more rules that can restrict what people can say,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right for politicians to be censored.” 

Twitter isn’t the first big player to take the lead in banning political ads. This month, Google banned political advertising in Canada ahead of the country’s election and video sharing platform TikTok put an end to political ads as well. 

Looks like it’s your move, Zuckerberg.

Health Influencers Are Now Blaming Their Weight Gain On Shampoo

Sorry, what?

It’s no surprise that there’s a lot of unsolicited (and misguided) health advice floating around the Internet, and our Instagram feeds, in particular. But this health influencer’s latest claim has followers questioning everything.

Eleni Chechopoulos, who is a health influencer and self-described “gut and hormone nutritionist,” took to Instagram recently to tell her 11,000 followers that it’s their shampoo that could be causing weight gain. 

In the lengthy post, Chechopoulos wrote, “Managing weight isn’t only about calories in vs. calories out.”

“Enter obesogens. Chemicals that disrupt HOW your body creates and stores fat – found in shampoo, toothpaste, grocery store receipts, shower curtains, makeup, perfume and so. much. more.”

The health influencer went on to claim that “even though you eat healthy and exercise every day, you still might battle the scale because of your SHAMPOO.”

Obesogens are a real thing, and according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) refer to “specific chemicals” that have been found to “disrupt normal metabolic processes and increase susceptibility to weight gain across the lifespan.” 

However, experts have clapped back at Chechopoulos’ claims. Belinda MacDougall, the CEO of The Healthy Happy Co told News.com.au “to say shampoo is the reason we are overweight is ridiculous and while chemicals in all beauty products can be bad for our health, weight gain is far more related to what we eat.”

“Sadly, I think our weight gain has more to do with the cereals, takeaway, pizza, processed foods, wine, beer and soft drinks.” 

Twitter users are also calling BS on Chechopoulos’ post, causing the health influencer to switch her account to private. 

The NIEHS states that “unhealthy diet and lack of exercise are the main factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity, but studies have found that obesogens may also be playing a role.” 

Chechopoulos’ claim that shampoo in general can cause weight gain is a pretty sweeping statement. The NIEHS notes that Phthalates, found in shampoo and other consumer products to make them softer, is an example of an obesogen. 

The NIEHS suggests avoiding obesogens by eating fresh fruit and veges, reducing plastic use, not using plastics in the microwave, buying furniture that hasn’t been treated with flame retardants and choosing fragrance-free products. 

It’s no surprise that Chechopoulos has landed herself in hot water for making ballsy weight gain claims. A recent report from the ABC stated that social media influencers are putting people’s lives at risk by promoting superfoods, wellness advice and alternative medicine on Instagram. 

Instagram and health influencers with a captive audience need to understand the power of their platform and think twice before offering far-fetched, and at times, baseless health and wellness advice to their followers. 

These Are All The Emojis We Desperately Need In Our Lives

Where's the pug, or the wombat!?

There’s no need for words when you’ve got emojis. Seriously – with all the options available, you could have a full blown conversation with someone purely based on those little coloured icons. 

In the iOS 12.1 update, a handful of new emojis were added to our keyboards, including a skateboard, hiking boot and foot. We also now have access to a random assortment of emojis like the softball, kangaroo, bagel, lacrosse stick, abacus, test tube and receipt. 

Credit: Emojipedia

In recent years, Unicode made a conscious effort to make the emoji keyboard more inclusive for those with disabilities, adding guide dogs, wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs. And recent batch of emojis also included gender neutral and same-sex relationship icons. 

There’s plenty of choice, but there are also a bunch of emojis that still don’t exist and we can’t possibly continue communicating effectively without them. These are all the emojis we need in our lives and in our phones:

People

Sometimes you’re happy and sad – that’s why we need a ‘tears of joy’ face. We also need an emoji which is ‘mildy’ disgusted, rather than the extreme emotions we currently have on hand. Considering there are a bunch of cat face emojis, it’s only fair there are dog ones too and I wouldn’t mind a little icon of a person twerking – it’s 2019, after all.

Animals 

In terms of animals, there’s a fair amount of emojis we need. Where is the pug, sloth, flamingo, goose, cockroach or wombat? As an animal lover, it personally affects me. We may as well chuck a dinosaur in there for good measure. 

Activities

Why is there a person sitting in lotus position and a badminton racket but no skipping rope, flute or disco ball? The dancing woman in red is simply not enough when it comes to conveying how important the art of dance is.

Food

Real talk: where are the crisps and crackers? Where is the cereal? And WHERE is the pepper? These are just a few of the emojis we need.

Miscellaneous

If there’s a pile of poo, where is the puddle of wee? Why are all the people wearing the same top? Where’s the toothbrush, or the bucket hat, or the eyelashes!?

As life gets more complex, so do the emojis we need. The guys over at Unicode should be flattered we rely on them so much to get our message across.

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