Top Stories

May 09, 2022


PR giant advising corporate clients to stay silent on abortion rights

Public relations firm Zeno, which belongs to marketing giant Edelman Holdings, is claimed to be privately advising its high-profile corporate clients to avoid commenting on the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade legislation which legalised abortion in the US. Zeno’s clients include Coca-Cola, Salesforce, Hershey’s, Netflix and Starbucks. Leaked internal emails show an email template used by Zeno executives to advise clients that taking a stance on the decision to overturn the legislation is a “no-win situation for companies”. The template warns corporations that inquiries from the media about reproductive rights should be ignored. The advice contrasts with Zeno’s public facing communications. In March 2021 Zeno said everyone must make “a commitment to a gender equal world” and that includes “speaking up in the face of inequality.” (Popular Information)


Climate sceptic thinktank received funding from fossil fuel interests

An influential thinktank that has led criticism against the UK Government’s net-zero policy has received funding from groups with oil and gas interests. Though the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has said it is independent of the fossil fuel industry, tax documents show one of its donors has $30 million of shares in 22 companies working in coal, oil and gas. Around 45% of its funding came from US foundations, some of which are linked to billionaire oil dynasties. Policy experts from the academic thinktank Grantham Research Institute said the GWPF is “acting as a channel through which American ideological groups are trying to interfere with British democracy.” The GWPF was set-up by a former Conservative chancellor in 2009 claiming to challenge the “costs and implications” of tackling climate change. (The Guardian)


YouTube Kids shows videos on drug use, firearms, skin-bleaching

Video sharing platform YouTube is showing videos that promote skin-bleaching, weight loss, drug culture and firearms to children as young as two, according to an investigation of the YouTube Kids app by NGO Tech Transparency Project. In 2015, YouTube released YouTube Kids, designed to be a safer, curated version aimed at children under 13, aiming to ensure videos on the service are family-friendly through “automated filters, human review and feedback from parents. However, investigators discovered videos referencing recreational drug use, tutorials on how to use firearms and skin-bleaching products, and cartoons on burning calories to lose weight. YouTube responded to say, “upon review we have removed or age-gated a number of the flagged videos from the Kids app.” (The Guardian)


People can now get contact info removed from Google search results

Personal contact information such as phone numbers, emails or home addresses can now be removed from Google search results. Previously, individuals could remove links to contact information when it had been published maliciously – so-called “doxxing”. Now, people can request removal if it poses other risks, such as “harmful direct contact.” Google warns, however, that the information will still exist online. A spokesperson explained that “removing content from Google Search won’t remove it from the internet.” Information may still be stored on websites designed not to appear in Google search results, but whose location is known by criminals. Google says when receiving requests, it will either remove a link to the search result or remove a link where information may be found, but only for searches including the subject name. (BBC News)


Amazon deforestation hits April record, nearly double previous peak

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon surged to record levels in April 2022, nearly doubling the area of forest removed in April 2021. In the first 29 days of April, deforestation totalled 1,012.5 square kilometres, according to data from national space research agency Inpe. April is the third monthly record this year, after new highs were observed in January and February. Destruction of the Amazon in the first four months of 2022 saw 1,954 square kilometres removed, an increase of 69% compared to the same period in 2021 – clearing an area more than double the size of New York City. Deforestation in the Amazon has soared since right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 and weakened environmental protection. Bolsonaro argues that more farming and mining in the Amazon will reduce poverty. (Reuters)





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