*Aja Smith, a Black Republican running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, has filed a complaint against Facebook, Twitter and Google.
In her grievance dated Oct. 6, 2020, and addressed to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, Smith accuses the three California-based tech companies of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act by supporting Democratic candidates.
Smith, who is on the ballot to represent California’s 41st congressional district, which covers an area in Western Riverside County, also claims that those companies engaged in “shadow banning” of her and other conservatives. Shadow banning, she says, involves manipulating a digital platform’s algorithm to hide certain posts from end users.
“We’re seeing more censorship when people post their own opinions, and they’re good opinions,” Smith said. “I see them getting shadow banned on Twitter and Facebook.”
Smith said she first noticed the practice around the last presidential election.
“I saw this starting back in 2016 as conservatives were getting more active on Facebook. A lot of things were being censored when we started talking about being pro-life, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment. And I saw it beginning to happen more and more over the years.”
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President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of social media companies that censor conversations on their platforms. In May, Twitter hid one of the POTUS’ tweets, claiming it violated their policy about glorifying violence.
That same month, President Trump issued an executive order aimed at social media platforms after Twitter added a fact check link to another of his posts about mail-in ballots.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech Americans may access and convey on the internet,” the executive order reads. “This practice is fundamentally un-American and undemocratic.”
Currently, sites like Twitter and Facebook are protected by law when they block content that they deem violent, offensive or “otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” The president’s executive order makes the argument that these protections should be removed if a tech platform engages in hiding or placing warnings on posts, setting the stage for legislation or new federal regulation aimed at those companies.
“It’s really bad if even our own president is getting censored on Twitter and Facebook,” Smith said.
Earlier this month, Twitter announced that it removed fake accounts of people pretending to be Black conservatives and supporters of President Trump.
This week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today a letter urging Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to do more to stem disinformation on their platforms that could “harm the upcoming U.S. election.”
“In 2016, we saw a concerted campaign to use social media to amplify disinformation in order to disrupt our election,” he wrote. “As a country, we must reject these tactics. As Californians begin voting in another election of national importance, I’m calling on our technology giants to do everything in their power to put a stop to election interference. These companies should take responsibility for their role in spreading misinformation and voter suppression.”
Smith keeps her focus on the censorship. She, along with other conservatives, insist that digital media platforms should be investigated, and the government should reevaluate their status.
“Either you’re a free speech platform or you’re a publisher,” Smith said.
Last week, the progressive publication Mother Jones reacted to news that Facebook’s adjustment of its algorithm in 2017 in an effort to stem misinformation, specifically targeted certain left-leaning publications, reducing significant amounts of traffic to them. The effort led to the company losing more than $600,000 over 18 months.
“One reason this is so enraging is that I’ve so long insisted on giving Facebook some benefit of the doubt. I was convinced we were a random casualty of their broader trajectory, a fly on their windshield. But it’s always, always worse,” Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones, tweeted.
Smith believes that the tech companies are targeting some conservatives specifically because of their race.
“They’re really suppressing our free speech; especially candidates who are trying to get our messages out — not only to our constituents, but also to a lot of other people across the country to say ‘hey, we’re running, we’re conservative, we’re minorities, we’re running in blue states and we’re here to make a difference,’” Smith said.
Many conservatives have discussed making the move to another social media platform called Parler, a micro-blogging service popular among far-right conservatives and Saudi nationalists that allows users to moderate their own content as opposed to a tech platform regulating posts it classifies as hate speech or misinformation.
While Smith says she appreciates the freedom of self-moderation, she does not want conservatives isolated in an echo chamber only speaking to each other.
“I don’t want to stick to one social media platform where I’m talking to people who are all like-minded,” Smith said. “I want to speak to people on the Independent side, the no-party preference side and even moderate democrats. I want to say, ‘Hey, I’m different than my opponent and this is what I stand for,’ especially on fighting sex trafficking and fighting homelessness.”
Smith also mentioned how Twitter and Facebook have made it difficult for her to speak to her supporters about her opponent, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA-41), whose relationship with Ukraine she has questioned.
Smith says she also takes issue with Facebook and Twitter’s fact checking practices, claiming that they, “remind me of Nazi Germany.” She also claims that the social media giants rely on sources that are “far-left leaning” to support their fact checking and that they “change historical facts.”
“How are you fact checking what I’m saying, and you’re only using the sources that you think will justify my post or anyone else’s post as wrong?” Smith said. “That’s the problem. That’s why we have open debate.”
Smith feels that if her posts, and posts from others like her, did not face these challenges, many voters would get a clearer picture of the current Republican party.
“We’re beating the narrative that there aren’t any conservative minorities and that we’re the party of racists,” she says.
Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media
King Yahweh and The Kingdom of Yahweh Welcomes Miss Jamaica World’s Milinda Smith / PICs
*On Saturday, November 21st, 2020, King Yahweh of The Kingdom of Yahweh held an all-white royal affair at his South Florida castle.
The posh event boasted lions, monkeys, performers, on-site massages, and a swanky guest list of dignitaries, influencers, and members of the Kingdom of Yahweh, who all gathered in the name of charity.
Miss Jamaica World 2016 runner-up Milinda Smith, now a businesswoman and aficionado, attended the event.
She expressed gratitude and excitement for an invitation as she has been doing charitable missions with her organization Mission of Hope and Grace since 2014.
Her first large scale mission trip in Kwahu-Abetifi, Ghana, where private and public donors donated food, clothing, and medical services to those in need.
King Yahweh and Milinda share a connection with Africa and a love for helping all people, so it only fits for a charitable collaboration to take place. King Yahweh and Milinda Smith discussed a humanitarian initiative at the event; however, details have not been made public disclosed regarding the initiative.
MILINDA’S WORK WITH JAMAICA
Before her platform as a “Beauty with a Purpose” beauty queen Milinda has always loved being of service to others. Her charitable work spans across borders, but she has never forgotten home.
With her organization, she has contributed to several rural communities in Jamaica. Some of her work consists of sending children to school, donating food and clothing to individuals in the city and those incarcerated, and distributing medical supplies such as nebulizers to hospitals. In recent years she has been more active in loaning her voice to her country and her people.
She has been working closely with the Consul General of Jamaica Oliver Mair on several projects and events. Most recently, on November 24th, Milinda helped to welcome 120 newly minted Jamaican citizens alongside the Consul General in a virtual citizenship welcome ceremony.
BEAUTY MEETS BUSINESS
As a licensed esthetician and Ayurveda practitioner, Milinda created a natural skincare line, MáJas, which includes an array of products from face and body soaps to lotions and face masks. MáJas products can be purchased online at www.majasthebrand.com or from the gift shop of her spa Epidermasters in Miramar, Florida.
Epidermasters spa recently opened in Miramar as an expansion of her beauty endeavors, and the grand opening was quite grand itself. The Consul General of Jamaica, Oliver Mair, did the honors of cutting the ribbon to formally open the doors of Epidermasters, where facials, chemical peels, light therapy, massages, waxing, makeup, etc., services are being provided. The Vice-Mayor of Miramar Maxwell Chambers, Jamaican diaspora activist Capt. Dr. Rupert Francis and other dignitaries were in attendance as well.
MOVING FORWARD WITH THE KINGDOM OF YAHWEH
Milinda shares that she is elated by the strong possibility of a collaboration with the Kingdom of Yahweh and cannot wait until the time comes to take action Stay up-to-date with King Yahweh
(@king_yahweh_the_holy_ghost_) and Milinda
(@onemilindasmith) for updates on their projects.
Doctor Dre: Former ‘Yo! MTV Raps’ Host Loses Leg to Diabetes / VIDEO
*The other “Dr. Dre,” Andre Brown, of “Yo! MTV Raps” fame, has been hit with another setback to his health.
Brown, 56, who’s been battling diabetes for years recently announced that he had a leg amputated and his family started a GoFundMe account to help with the medical costs.
Via Rolling Stone, Dre said on Memorial Day that he slipped and fell down a flight of stairs at his sister’s house. He suffered an injury to his right ankle, and later developed a life-threatening infection.
“The infection that was in my feet had started eating away at my bones,” he told the publication. “If I had waited another day, I’d have been septic, and I could’ve died.”
The bottom line is that doctors amputated his leg below the calf. He was fitted with a prosthetic and underwent physical therapy.
As was previously reported, Dre developed diabetes around a decade ago and last year he had lost his sight.
“I’m a type 2 diabetic who’s lost his vision,” he said in an interview with ABC 7 New York. He told the TV station diabetes wasn’t the only contributing factor to his vision loss.
“I had my retinas reattached, so I didn’t really go blind just from the diabetes, but in the reattachment I have what you call scar tissue behind my eyes, so when that kind of fluctuates, my vision comes back,” he explained. “It fades out, then it comes back.”
Despite his recent health challenges, Doctor Dre remains positive about life.
“I’m very blessed and sometimes, a loss is a plus,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m a very spiritual man. I’m a very God-fearing man. And if this is the master plan, then he’s done what he wants to do. It’s out of my control.”
Andre Brown, also known as “Dr. Dre,” became known nationally for co-hosting the groundbreaking “Yo! MTV Raps” with Ed Lover from 1988 to 1995. The show, which originally launched in 1987 with Fab 5 Freddy as host, introduced fans to their favorite artists. Dre, Long Island, NY native, was also a co-founder of 1980s rap group Original Concept, and a DJ in New York and Los Angeles.
Idris Elba to Interview Music Legend Paul McCartney in BBC One Holiday Special
*Idris Elba is set to interview former Beatle Paul McCartney for a BBC One holiday special.
The 60-minute programed titled Idris Elba Meets Paul McCartney will see the actor interview the music legend about his career and impact on pop music history.
Here’s more from BBC.com:
Paul will talk about his writing process which has produced some of the best loved and most performed songs ever. Idris will seek to find out what inspires Paul to continue to innovate creatively, on the eve of the release of his 26th post-Beatles album McCartney III, the third album in a trilogy of classics featuring Paul playing every instrument and writing and recording every song. Paul launched his solo career in 1970 with the release of McCartney.
Paul and @taylorswift13 talk lockdown albums #McCartneyIII and #Folklore, songwriting, numerology and more in the new issue of @rollingstone. Photography by @maryamccartney. Read it here: https://t.co/WRkhxjUk39
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) November 13, 2020
Idris says: “When I was asked if I wanted to speak to Paul McCartney, after I realised it wasn’t a joke, I immediately said yes… who wouldn’t?! I am a massive fan of Paul’s! His work has inspired and driven me as a musician, and once I get through the shock of sharing the stage with him, I’m excited to talk about his music and craft. What an honour! Looking forward to sitting with you Paul.”
Paul says: “I’m looking forward to sitting down to a chat with the mighty Idris!”
McCartney has sold over 100 million solo singles and over 700 million albums, with over 1 billion worldwide record sales. He’s also won over 70 major global awards – including 18 Grammys and 8 Brit awards.
“Paul McCartney has undoubtedly created some of the UK’s best loved songs, songs which are known throughout the world, so I’m thrilled that he’ll lift the lid on how he continues to create lyrics and music that will forever stand the test of time,” says Kate Phillips, Acting Controller, BBC One. “The must see combination of Paul in conversation with one of our best loved actors and super fan, Idris Elba, as well as an incredible live performance from the Cavern, are the perfect Christmas presents for BBC audiences.”
The special will broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in December, and on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
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