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Weekly News Digest

October 6, 2022 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

'Supreme Court to Weigh If YouTube, Twitter, Facebook Are Liable for Users' Content' by Jan Wolfe

Jan Wolfe writes the following for The Wall Street Journal:

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether social-media platforms can be held liable for terrorist propaganda uploaded by users, opening a new challenge to the broad legal immunity provided to internet companies by the law known as Section 230.

The court … took up a set of cases in which families of terrorism victims allege Twitter, Facebook and YouTube bear some responsibility for attacks by Islamic State, based on content posted on those sites.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has come under intense scrutiny from lawmakers in recent years, but this is the first time the Supreme Court has moved to weigh in on the foundational internet law.

For more information, read the article.

The Elon Musk-Twitter Dance Continues

The Associated Press reports, “The tumultuous saga of Elon Musk’s on-again off-again purchase of Twitter took a turn toward a conclusion [Oct. 4] after the mercurial Tesla CEO proposed to buy the company at the originally agreed-on price of $44 billion. … But the company stopped short of saying it’s dropping its lawsuit against the billionaire Tesla CEO. Experts said that makes sense given the contentious relationship and lack of trust between the two parties.”

Reuters reports, “Elon Musk and Twitter … have not yet reached an agreement to end the litigation and clear the way for the world’s richest person to close his $44-billion deal for the social media platform, two sources familiar with the litigation told Reuters on [Oct. 5]. … Twitter’s legal team and lawyers for Musk updated the judge on [Oct. 4] with their attempts to try to overcome mutual distrust and find a process for closing the deal. … Musk is scheduled to be deposed on [Oct. 6] in Austin, Texas.”

For some background on the proposed purchase, see George Pike’s Legal Issues column from July/August:

Online? Beware the 'New Google' (And Much More)

Chris KenneallyCCC’s (Copyright Clearance Center’s) Chris Kenneally (at left), host and producer of CCC’s weekly podcast series, Velocity of Content (which features breaking news and thoughtful analysis from across the global content industry), recently recorded an episode with Gordon Crovitz and Steven Brill, co-founders of NewsGuard, a journalism and technology resource that rates the credibility of news and information sites and tracks online misinformation for search engines, social media apps, and advertisers. They discussed the recent NewsGuard investigation from September, which shows that TikTok searches consistently give false and misleading claims to users, most of whom are teens and young adults. In this article, Kenneally delves into the state of fake news in late 2022 and how to fight it based on this interview, and he also discusses some of the more salient findings from the investigation. 

Grapefruit peel and lemon peel simmered slowly in water to extract the maximum quinine and vitamin C: It’s not a recipe for a trendy homemade energy drink, but a DIY prescription for hydroxychloroquine and touted online as a cure for COVID-19. You can find the phony pharmaceutical on the world’s most popular website. No, not Google—the new Google, TikTok.

In growing numbers, people take questions about healthcare, politics, or finding the best restaurants to TikTok, the short-form video platform. [In September], a NewsGuard investigation revealed that such TikTok searches consistently feed false and misleading claims to users, most of whom are teens and young adults.

Gordon Crovitz“For example, when our analyst did a search for COVID vaccine, which is a kind of search that a young person might very well do to learn more about it, TikTok suggested that the search be for COVID vaccine injury or COVID vaccine truths or COVID vaccine exposed, COVID vaccine HIV, and COVID vaccine warning—in other words, highlighting the alarmist and often false claims about the COVID vaccine,” says Gordon Crovitz (at right), NewsGuard’s co-founder, in an interview for the latest Velocity of Content podcast from CCC.

NewsGuard is a journalism and technology tool that rates the credibility of news and information websites and tracks online misinformation for search engines, social media apps, and advertisers.

Of the 8,000 news and information sites NewsGuard has rated, close to 40% receive a “red” rating, categorizing them as untrustworthy. The NewsGuard assessments, says Steven Brill (at left), also a NewsGuard co-founder, are grounded in well-established principles of best journalistic practices.

Steven Brill“It’s a scrupulous, careful, multi-person look at how every one of these websites scores against nine specific criteria. Does it have a transparent policy to make a correction when they realize they’ve made a mistake? Do they mix news and opinion in a way that people can’t tell if it’s news and opinion? The basics that any journalist learns and adheres to,” explains Brill, who founded The American Lawyer in 1979 and started Court-TV in 1989.

“I don’t want to give the impression that we’re a bunch of Puritans, and that if we see a site we don’t like, because we don’t agree with its politics, or it has a different policy position on climate change than one of us may have, that it gets a red rating,” Brill insists. “These sites have to be really bad to get a red rating. They have to be saying that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration or that hydroxychloroquine will cure or prevent COVID.”

While TikTok is increasingly a source of fake science, and other types of fake news, the problem is far more pervasive. In fact, NewsGuard research says that misinformation is a $2.6 billion problem, one that’s especially dangerous for brands.

“This is the biggest shock that we’ve had in our time at NewsGuard—to be able to quantify the amount of online advertising unintentionally going to support misinformation sites. Russian propaganda sites and healthcare hoax sites that’ll sell you a subscription to peach pits to cure cancer are chock-full of ads from every brand you could think of,” says Crovitz, who is a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

“The reason it happens is programmatic advertising, which is advertising selected by a computer and is the biggest category of [online] advertising,” he says.

“An ad will end up on all kinds of sites unless the brand itself or the ad agency or somebody in the ad tech world takes some step to advertising responsibly,” Crovitz warns.

Photos of Gordon Crovitz and Steven Brill courtesy of NewsGuard

As senior director of content marketing at CCC (Copyright Clearance Center), Christopher Kenneally develops content and programming covering issues facing the information industry, especially related to rights management. Kenneally is also host and producer of CCC’s weekly podcast series, Velocity of Content.

CILIP Hosts Libraries Week in the U.K.

It’s Libraries Week in the U.K. from Oct. 3 to Oct. 9, 2022. Organized by CILIP, “Libraries Week is an annual showcase and celebration of the best that libraries have to offer. Each year we pick a theme and explore the innovative and surprising things that libraries are doing to support their communities.”

Libraries Week celebrates “the nation’s much-loved libraries and the central role that libraries play in supporting life-long learning. We want to showcase how libraries across all sectors are inspiring learning for all and helping individuals to unlock and fulfil their potential at every stage of life.”

Follow @librariesweek and use the hashtag #LibrariesWeek.

For more information, visit the website.

Biden Administration Revives the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Led by IMLS, NEA, and NEH

IMLS announced “that under a new Executive Order issued by President Biden on Sept. 30, 2022, it will provide funding and administrative support for the re-establishment of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The order was part of a proclamation designating October 2022 as National Arts and Humanities Month.”

PCAH was established in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan. IMLS notes, “The IMLS Director and the Chairs of the National Endowment for the Arts [NEA], and the National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH] will lead the committee of up to twenty-five non-federal leaders in the arts, humanities, and museum and library services to advise the President on policy objectives, philanthropic and private sector engagement, and other efforts to enhance federal support for the arts, the humanities, and museum and library services.” In addition, “In the spirit of the order, IMLS will be developing partnerships with other federal agencies to advance opportunities to utilize the arts, humanities, museums, and libraries to connect communities across the country with important information and resources.”

For more information, read the press release.

RBmedia Acquires German Audiobook Publisher John Verlag

RBmedia purchased “John Verlag’s German-language audiobook catalog. Titles acquired through this deal will be added to the company’s RBmedia Verlag audio brand.” John Verlag mostly publishes nonfiction audiobooks in areas such as politics, investigative journalism, business, biographies, and advice.

Miles Stevens-Hoare, managing director of RBmedia international, says, “The acquisition of John Verlag adds to RBmedia’s presence in the German audiobook market and continues our international expansion. Since 2021 RBmedia has extended its global footprint with the acquisition of five European audiobook catalogs—Booka, ABOD, Hörbuch München, Éditions Thélème, and now John Verlag. This strong growth in international markets demonstrates the rising popularity of audiobooks around the world.”

For more information, read the press release.


'It's About (Danged) Time: Lizzo at the Library!' by April Slayton

April Slayton writes the following for the Library of Congress Blog:

Last Friday [Sept. 23], Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden saw that the one and only Lizzo was coming to D.C. for a concert. The pop megastar is a classically trained flutist. The Library has the world’s largest flute collection.

Taking to Twitter, the Librarian played matchmaker, tagging Lizzo in a tweet about the world-class flutes. …

One of about 1,700 flutes in the collection, she teased, is the crystal flute made for President James Madison by Claude Laurent—a priceless instrument that Dolley Madison rescued from the White House in April 1814 as the British entered Washington, DC during the War of 1812. Might she want to drop by and play a few bars?

Lizzo did a hair toss, checked her nails and took to Twitter herself. The 34-year-old has been training on the flute since she was a child. As a college student, she played in the University of Houston marching band. She even performed online with the New York Philharmonic orchestra during the pandemic.

‘IM COMING CARLA! AND I’M PLAYIN THAT CRYSTAL FLUTE!!!!!’ she tweeted the next day.

For more information, read the blog post.

IFLA Celebrates Its 95th Birthday

Barbara Lison, IFLA’s president, shares the following:

On … 30 September, we celebrate[d] a special anniversary of our Federation—a unique organisation bringing together members and volunteers from all corners of the globe.

We have got this far because we have clear goals and are resilient. Today, like so many times in the past, we and the societies we serve face great challenges: political, economic, environmental, and social. Through this, IFLA has successfully changed and developed, becoming the powerful voice, global meeting place, and source of ideas and inspiration it is today.  

For more information, read the news item.

Vanity Fair Lays Out Justice Jackson's First Supreme Court Cases

Kelly Rissman writes the following in “Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Joins Supreme Court Ahead of Full Docket Including Cases About Race, Voting, and the Environment” for Vanity Fair:

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was welcomed to the Supreme Court by her new colleagues on Friday [Sept. 30], days before the Supreme Court begins a new term. …

The first case on the docket will be about the Clean Water Act, the primary law regulating water pollution; SCOTUS will determine what is protected under the Clean Water Act. …

This term, the Supreme Court is also expected to hear major cases regarding affirmative action, voting, free speech and gay rights. 

For more information, read the article.

IOP Publishing Signs Unlimited Transformative Agreement With the National Autonomous University of Mexico

STM Publishing News announced the following:

IOP Publishing (IOPP) has reached an unlimited transformative agreement with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) allowing affiliated researchers to publish their work open access (OA) at no cost to them. The fees for publishing their work openly will be covered centrally by UNAM, a public research university ranked as one of the best and biggest universities in Latin America.  

Commencing on the 1st of January 2023, the agreement heralds IOPP’s first transformative agreement in Mexico and reflects the company’s ambition to make OA a reality. The three-year ‘read and publish’ agreement offers unlimited publishing in all [of] IOPP’s fully OA, hybrid and partner journals.  

For more information, read the news item.

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