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India Journalism

Facebook Faces Official Questions in India Over Policing of Hate Speech

That’s the headline on my most recent story, with my colleague Rajesh Roy. It begins:

NEW DELHI–India’s government has asked Facebook Inc. for details about how it monitors and removes inflammatory content on its platform in the country, according to government officials.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology wrote to Facebook’s top executive in India this week, the officials said. The letter follows news reports including a Wall Street Journal article Saturday that said Facebook researchers had determined the company’s services are rife with inflammatory content in India, much of it anti-Muslim.

Based on the response from Facebook, the government will decide if it needs to seek more information, one of the officials said, adding that the present information sought was a preliminary inquiry.

Click through to read the rest.

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Journalism

Facebook Services Are Used to Spread Religious Hatred in India, Internal Documents Show

That’s the headline on my newest story, with my colleague Jeff Horwitz, out Saturday as part of our Facebook Files series.

It begins:

Mark Zuckerberg praised India in December as a special and important country for Facebook Inc., saying that millions of people there use its platforms every day to stay in touch with family and friends. Internally, researchers were painting a different picture: Facebook’s products in India were awash with inflammatory content that one report linked to deadly religious riots.

Inflammatory content on Facebook spiked 300% above previous levels at times during the months following December 2019, a period in which religious protests swept India, researchers wrote in a July 2020 report that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Rumors and calls to violence spread particularly on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service in late February 2020, when communal violence in Delhi left 53 dead, according to the report. India is Facebook’s biggest market with hundreds of millions of users.

Hindu and Muslim users in India say they are subjected to “a large amount of content that encourages conflict, hatred and violence on Facebook and WhatsApp,” such as material blaming Muslims for the spread of Covid-19 and assertions that Muslim men are targeting Hindu women for marriage as a “form of Muslim takeover” of the country, the researchers found.

Click through to read the rest.

You can find all of our Facebook Files pieces in one place on the WSJ website here. And our podcasts from the series are all here.

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Newley's Notes

NN278: Puppy Foam Parties

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, October 17, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: Mr. Nudly. I continue to derive joy, even after all these years, from Starbucks baristas’ amusing spellings of my (admittedly unconventional) name. I’ve yet to add this newest gem to my Starbucks Misspellings gallery, but will do soon.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 📱 Is TikTok causing an increase in tics among teenage girls?

2) 👷‍♂️ Why the pandemic is driving a “Great Resignation” in the U.S.

3) ✍️ A New York Times Magazine longread by Robert Kolker that’s been getting a lot of buzz: “Who Is the Bad Art Friend?”

4) 🌲 A trip to Skellefteå, Sweden, home to tons of stuff made of wood, including a 20-storey building.

5) 🔫 Weaponry innovation of the week: quadrupedal robots with guns.

6) 🎵 The 200 best albums of the last 25 years.

7) 🎥 Coming December 24: “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, written and directed by Joel Coen. Here’s the trailer. Can’t wait.

8) 📸 Photographer Ola Maddams snaps beautiful nighttime photos of wildlife – right in her back yard.

9) 🎬 Map of the week: What the 1988 comedic classic “The Naked Gun” was called in various European countries.

10) 🎧 Podcast of the week: “The Unraveling of the Murdaugh Dynasty,” featuring my WSJ colleague Valerie Bauerlein discussing tragic events in rural Hampton County, S.C.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Weeeeee!

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“The rarest of all human qualities is consistency.” – Jeremy Bentham

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Journalism Newley's Notes

NN277: The Facebook Files — Follow Up

Sent as an email newsletter Sunday, October 10, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, testified before Congress Tuesday.

So: A lot has happened since my last dispatch, on September 22, which I sent after the initial batch of stories in our Facebook Files series ran.

I wanted to devote this edition of Newley’s Notes to share some notable developments since then, though you may have seen several. Here goes, in roughly chronological order:

1) 📸 Instagram said it is pausing its project for kids.

2) 🗞 Facebook argued that we mischaracterized its internal findings in our Instagram article; we published several of the documents that formed the basis of that piece.

3) 📱 My colleagues Georgia Wells and Jeff Horwitz published another piece in the series. The headline: Facebook’s Effort to Attract Preteens Goes Beyond Instagram Kids, Documents Show.

4) 👉 Members of a Senate panel grilled Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis.

5) 📺 Then Haugen appeared on “60 Minutes.” Worth a watch, if you haven’t seen the segment.

6) ✍️ And don’t miss Jeff’s profile of Haugen.

7) 🎧 Also excellent: Haugen on The Journal podcast.

8) 🗣 Another good podcast: Jeff speaks with CNN’s Brian Stelter, on Reliable Sources, about how he first met Haugen and the stories came about.

9) 🏢 We ran another piece in the Facebook Files series. The hed: Is Sheryl Sandberg’s Power Shrinking? Ten Years of Facebook Data Offers Clues.

10) 👏 And finally, a lighthearted moment: On “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert joked about Jeff sporting a headband during TV interviews.

•••

Normal editions of NN will resume soon!

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Journalism Newley's Notes

NN276: The Facebook Files

Sent as an email newsletter Wednesday, September 22, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes.

I missed sending NN out last Sunday, as I usually do. This will be a shortened, dog-video-less version, sent in the middle of the week. But I wanted to highlight some reporting I’m really proud of.

👉 Image of the week, number one, above: The Facebook Files, a WSJ series we published last week.

WSJ Facebook Files page one

🗞 And image number two: The front page of last Friday’s WSJ, featuring a piece I wrote with my colleagues Justin Scheck and Jeff Horwitz for the series. It went online Thursday.

The headline of our story: Facebook Employees Flag Drug Cartels and Human Traffickers. The Company’s Response Is Weak, Documents Show.

Click through to read the story; you don’t have to be a WSJ subscriber to read it.

🎧 And there’s an accompanying podcast with additional material.

The series, which began on Monday, Sept. 13 and contained contributions from a team of us at the Journal, has already had a sizable impact.

My outstanding colleague Jeff, who covers Facebook and has led our reporting, has also done several media appearances to discuss the series. Here he is on CNN, CNBC, and NPR, among others.

⭐ Here are links to the rest of the stories in the series (again, these links are non-paywalled), each containing unique revelations about how the world’s largest social network operates:

– Monday: Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt.

🎧 Podcast here.

– Tuesday: Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show

🎧 Podcast here.

– Wednesday: Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead.

🎧 Podcast here.

– Friday: How Facebook Hobbled Mark Zuckerberg’s Bid to Get America Vaccinated

Normal editions of NN will resume soon!

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN275: Dog – or Luck Dragon?

Sent as an email newsletter September 12, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

Image of the week, above: I’m proud to say that my colleagues Jeff Horwitz, Rajesh Roy and I are finalists for a Loeb award for our stories on hate speech and Facebook in India.

Here are more details on the awards. Winners will be announced September 30.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week, all related to the 20th anniversary of 9/11:

1) 👉 A WSJ piece on Saturday’s events: U.S. Marks 20th Anniversary of 9/11 With a Day of Memorials.

2) 📸 Separately, another moving WSJ piece: Photos That Defined 9/11, and the People in Them – 20 Years Later.

3) 📺 PBS Frontline documentary: America After 9/11.

4) 🎧 Podcast: interview with Lawrence Wright, author of “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.”

5) 🔍 Related, from Wright in The New Yorker: Did the C.I.A. stop an F.B.I. detective from preventing 9/11?

6) 📰 How The Wall Street Journal Published on 9/11.

7) 📆 9/11 in Realtime is a collection of video and audio media from the day, designed for educational purposes.

8) 🇺🇸 Spencer Ackerman: How Sept. 11 Gave Us Jan. 6.

9) 🗞 A collection of local newspaper front pages across the U.S. on the anniversary.

10) ✈️ Remembering what air travel in the U.S. was like before 9/11.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

“Having a luck dragon with you is the only way to go on a quest. –Falcore ”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN274: Joyful Jack Russells

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

If you like NN, please share this link so others can subscribe.

Image of the week, above: Out and about with Ginger.

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🦠 On Covid and parenting.

2) ✈️ RIP business travel.

3) 🇦🇺 Given that Australia won’t let citizens leave the country during the pandemic, can it still be considered a liberal democracy?

4) 🏖️ I was unaware that there is a Margaritaville Resort – a Jimmy Buffet-themed hotel, bar, and restaurant – in Times Square.

5) 👉 As the 20th anniversary of September 11th approaches, and given the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan, Netflix has a timely five-part documentary I’ve been watching: “Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror.”

6) ⭐ Related: “The Children of 9/11: Lessons in Resilience” is a moving WSJ feature by my colleague Leslie Brody.

7) 🐦 Here are the year’s best photos of birds.

8) 🎃 Bud Light pumpkin spice hard selzer? You better believe it. (Via the sharp-eyed PB)

9) 🎧 Podcast of the week: Elizabeth Holmes’s trial is beginning; don’t miss “Bad Blood: The Final Chapter,” hosted by John Carreyrou, who broke the Theranos story for the WSJ.

10) 🐀 Capybaras are running wild in Buenos Aires. Video is here.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Not new, but new to me: “Hilarious Jack Russell Goes Crazy with Excitement at Crufts 2017!

•••

📖 What I’ve been reading

After finishing the superb “Blood and Oil,” I’ve turned to some World War II history. I’d been searching for some time for a single volume that encapsulates the conflict, and think I have found it in Max Hastings’ “All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939–45.”

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another." – Ernest Hemingway

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN273: Bouncing Border Collies

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

If you like NN, please share this link so others can subscribe.

☀️ Image of the week, above: A recent sunset here in Hong Kong, seen from a ferry.

I’m happy to resume weekly delivery of Newley’s Notes after a brief break. If you’ve taken time off this summer, I hope your getaway was restful. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’re able to get some downtime. Onward!

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🧪 A remarkable development yesterday in the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes: she may argue she was being abused psychologically, emotionally and sexually by then Theranos President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani.

2) 😔 RIP Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

3) 👉 As the twentieth anniversary of September 11th approaches, a moving longread: “What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind.”

4) 🚶‍♀️Why great thinkers are serious about walking.

5) 💬 A look at why Google has failed to build a successful messaging app.

6) 🧬 A list of the 50 best sci-fi and fantasy books of the last decade.

7) ❓Did mega-bestselling thriller author Dan Brown write, under a pen name, a humorous 1995 dating guide called “187 Men to Avoid”?

8) 🇨🇷 What’s the secret to Costa Ricans’ longevity?

9) 🎧 Podcast of the week: sociologist Stephanie Jaros on the always-excellent Cool Tools.

10) 💯 I love this gallery of beautiful old cassette tapes.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Hopping into the weekend

•••

📖 What I’ve been reading

I’m nearly finished with the riveting “Blood and Oil: Mohammed bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for Global Power,” the 2020 book by Bradley Hope (co-author of the smash hit “Billion Dollar Whale”) and my WSJ colleague Justin Scheck. If you care about the Middle East, geopolitics, oil and energy, or just how power is wielded, you have to read this book.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.” – Cheryl Strayed

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN272: Histrionic Huskies

Me with Giorgio Chiellini

Sent as an email newsletter July 18, 2021. Want in? Join my email list.

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

⚽ 🇮🇹 Image of the week, above: that time in 2015 I bumped into the great Giorgio Chiellini in Jakarta. Chiellini, you may have seen, just captained Italy in their Euro 2020 championship win over England. I still can’t believe I actually have a photo with him 🙂 More on the Azzurri’s success below…

🚨 ✍️ Programming note: NN will be on summer holiday beginning next week. It’ll be back in your inbox in mid-August!

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🏆 🧤 Italy beat England to win Euro 2020. Defender Chiellini, pictured with yours truly above, was outstanding, as usual. But goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was out of this world: He made the winning penalty save and was named player of the tournament – a first for a goalkeeper. Epic. And he’s only 22!

2) 🇭🇰 The Biden administration issued an advisory cautioning U.S. businesses in Hong Kong that the “new legal landscape” here could “adversely affect businesses and individuals” as Beijing asserts control.

3) 🧭 “Roadrunner,” the new documentary about Anthony Bourdain, has just come out – and features an AI speaking in Bourdain’s voice.

4) 🚀 Richard Branson flew into space. Is a new era of private spaceflight upon us?

5) 💻 Longread of the week: Cal Newport on making remote work last.

6) 🎥 Here is a lovely collection of old movie posters.

7) 📎 Microsoft is bringing Clippy back.

8) 🧸 Toys based on dead startups.

9) 📻 Radiooooo is a “musical time machine” that spans the globe. Super cool.

10) 🔉 Emergency alarm sounds from around the world, rated.

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

Just like kids.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley

Categories
Newley's Notes

NN271: Buoyant Beagles

👋 Hi friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter containing my recent Wall Street Journal stories, must-read links on tech and life, and funny dog videos.

If you like NN, please share this link so others can subscribe.

👉 Image of the week, above: a personalized license plate spotted here in Hong Kong. (Thanks, A!)

Here are 10 items worth your time this week:

1) 🆕 My latest: an exclusive out Monday. The lede:

Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have privately warned the Hong Kong government that they could stop offering their services in the city if authorities proceed with planned changes to data-protection laws that could make them liable for the malicious sharing of individuals’ information online.

The story was followed by The New York Times, Reuters, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post, and others. It was also mentioned in newsletters like Axios AM and CNN’s Reliable Sources.

And for the latest, see a follow-up I wrote on Tuesday: Hong Kong Tries to Ease Big Tech’s Concerns Over Data Law.

2) 💰 An important investigation by my WSJ colleagues Melissa Korn and Andrea Fuller: ‘Financially Hobbled for Life’: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off.

3) 👉 A statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee has been taken down in Charlottesville, Virginia.

4) ⚖️ Longread of the week: On Britney Spears’s life under a conservatorship.

5) ☕ Michael Pollan: Should we quit caffeine?

6) ⭐ Why Houston, Texas is better than Austin.

7) 📖 Fourteen-year-old Zaila Avant-garde became the first Black American to triumph in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

8) 👖 Jorts – jean shorts – are cool now.

9) 💬 On Twitter addiction.

10) 🐶 Elmo is adopting a puppy named Tango. (Thanks, PB)

•••

🦴 Dog-related video of the week:

🐕 Happiness.

•••

💡 Quote of the week:

“My working habits are simple: long periods of thinking, short periods of writing." – Ernest Hemingway

•••

👊 Fist bump from Hong Kong,

Newley