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Check out these five stories you may have missed as you prepare for the week ahead.
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Congressional Black Caucus Wants POTUS To Cancel Student Debt
Led by Rep. Joyce Beatty, the Congressional Black Caucus issued a clear call to action for President Biden: cancel all student loan debt.
“The $1.7 trillion student loan debt crisis is a racial and economic justice issue disproportionately impacting Black communities across the nation,” said CBC Chairwoman Joyce Beatty. “We are calling on the Biden Administration to implement broad-based student loan debt cancellation by executive action. We are committed to working with the administration to explore all options, and we are requesting to meet with the president.”
Members of Congress have been calling on the president to take action for quite some time. Beatty challenged the president to remain committed to an equitable recovery for all. She also pointed to the potential reduction in the racial wealth gap.
Proponents of debt cancellation have previously argued that canceling student loan debt is a racial justice issue because of the disproportionate burden carried by Black debt holders. While the president did extend the current moratorium through the end of August, advocates of canceling student debt aren’t letting up.
Eric Adams Rumored To Be Eyeing A Presidential Run According To News Report
Barely halfway through his first year, New York Mayor Eric Adams is rumored to have sights set on 2024. Relying on an unnamed source allegedly in the know, the New York Post reported the mayor was considering running for president if President Biden decided not to run for re-election. While it may seem early, the 2024 presidential cycle will be underway early next year.
If Adams did follow through with a presidential bid, he would follow in his immediate predecessors’ footsteps. Former Mayors Bill De Blasio and Michael Bloomberg made embarrassing national showings in the 2020 Democratic primary. Being the mayor of New York City might not be the national launchpad Adams believes.
Adams is an old school tough-on-crime former police officer who enjoys the support of Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights organization, the National Action Network. Adams’s rhetoric and respectability politics could appeal to some voters, particularly older voters in the south. He’s built a national network of donors and spoken at various events, but that doesn’t translate into a favorable enough national profile to make the cut.
It’s also unclear how his candidacy would fair against Vice President Kamala Harris, who is very likely to throw her hat in the ring for the oval office.
News Reports Suggest Elon Musk Pulling Back On Twitter Deal
It seems the deal for Elon Musk to buy Twitter is on hold, at least until the social media giant can prove that a significant percentage of its users aren’t bots and fake accounts. Reuters shared the news last week, noting that Musk allegedly hit the breaks after Twitter’s CEO wouldn’t verify that less than five percent of the users were spam accounts or fake.
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Last week, two third-party groups estimated nearly 20 percent of Twitter accounts were fake or spam. The issue with fake accounts is also a major source of contention for those demanding improved content moderation.
Buffalo Shooting Spotlights White Supremacist Violence On Social Media
Last week’s Buffalo massacre again made it clear it’s necessary to have content moderation and some regulation for live streaming. Over the past week, a clear picture of how the Buffalo mass shooter used Discord and Twitch to prepare for his attack and live stream it. The video has popped up on other platforms, and while it was taken down, some argue it shouldn’t have been allowed to play in the first place.
Addressing hate on the various platforms is one of the main requests of the Change the Terms coalition. Made up of 60 groups, the Change the Terms coalition released a three-point demand called” Fix the Feed.”
First, the major social platforms need to fix the Algorithm by ending the promotion of incendiary, hateful content. Second, all users must be protected equally across all languages and countries. Anti-democracy efforts haven’t just taken root in the U.S. but in multiple countries worldwide. And finally, the Change the Terms coalition wants social media companies to show the receipts. Transparency of the business models and moderation practices is essential.
In December, the Disinfo Defense League wrote a letter to Congress demanding action addressing racialized disinformation on social media platforms. The issue is not simply the single instance of an egregious post or Livestream, but the broader ecosystem permit calls for violence and extremist rhetoric to persist, often unchecked.
Groups Want AT&T To Stop Funding Anti-Democracy Candidates
Environmental and racial justice groups have been sticking it to AT&T in multiple cities ahead of its annual shareholder meeting. Last Thursday, groups protested AT&T in Atlanta, demanding the company stop donating to candidates who have undermined democracy. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and uprisings, AT&T was one of several companies that issued statements expressing a commitment to racial justice.
Advocates see supporting candidates and elected officials who continuously are working to erode constitutional rights and protections. According to the “Dollars vs. Democracy” research released by Greenpeace USA, AT&T is the top contributor to state legislators who pushed for anti-protest bills.
“AT&T promised to stop supporting politicians who support voter suppression and overturning our democracy,” said New Georgia Project Senior Organizer Eric Robertson. “We’re asking, ‘What happened?’ Democracy is too important for unkept promises, and we’re calling on AT&T to do better.”
AT&T previously came under fire for what Reuters reported as a financially beneficial relationship for One America Network. OAN is widely seen as projecting conspiracy theories and disinformation.
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