Soros Finances Group Helping Facebook Flag ‘Disputed’ Stories

George Soros Finances Group Helping Facebook Flag ‘Disputed’ Stories

The organization partnered with Facebook to help determine whether a certain story is “disputed” is financed by billionaire George Soros and a slew of other left-wing funders.

The “International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN)” drafted a code of five principles for news websites to accept, and Facebook yesterday announced it will work with “third-party fact checking organizations” that are signatories to the code of principles.

Facebook says that if the “fact checking organizations” determine that a certain story is fake, it will get flagged as disputed and, according to the Facebook announcement, “there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. Stories that have been disputed may also appear lower in News Feed.”

IFCN is hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. A cursory search of the Poynter Institute website finds that Poynter’s IFCN is openly funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Poynter’s IFCN is also funded by the Omidyar Network, which is the nonprofit for liberal billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The Omidyar Network has partnered with the Open Society on numerous projects and it has given grants to third parties using the Soros-funded Tides Foundation.  Tides is one of the largest donors to left-wing causes in the U.S.

Another significant Poynter Institute donor is the Craig Newmark Foundation, the charitable organization established by Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark. On Monday, just days before the announcement of the Facebook partnership, Poynter issued a press release revealing that Newmark donated $1 million to the group to fund a faculty chair in journalism ethics.

States the press release:

The gift will support a five-year program at Poynter that focuses on verification, fact-checking and accountability in journalism. It’s the largest donation Poynter’s ever received from an individual foundation.

The Newmark Chair will expand on Poynter’s teaching in journalism ethics and develop certification programs for journalists that commit to ethical decision-making practices. The faculty member will also organize an annual conference on ethics issues at Poynter and be a regular contributor to Poynter.org.

Newmark funds scores of liberal groups also financed by Soros, including the Sierra Club, the New America Foundation, and the Sunlight Foundation.

Newmark also finances the investigative journalism group called the Center for Public Integrity, where he serves on the board.  Soros’ Open Society is another Public Integrity donor.

Soros has earned his megafortune in part by short selling currencies and causing economic crises. He is credited with breaking the pound on September 16, 1992 in a day that became known in Britain as “Black Wednesday.” He reportedly made $1.2 billion from that crisis.  In 2002, he was convicted for insider trading.

Poynter, meanwhile, has hosted controversial journalism programs in the past, including one that was accused of downplaying the threat of global Islamic terrorism. FoxNews.com reported the course suggested reporters “keep the death toll from Islamic terrorism in ‘context’ by comparing that toll to the number of people killed every year by malaria, HIV/AIDS and other factors.”

The course taught reporters that the term “jihad” means internal struggle, and it discussed what it claimed was the issue of “right-wing activists” attempting to link American Muslims to terrorism.

Continued:

The section includes the good-journalism tip that reporters should check to see if experts they’re interviewing “have a bias or a stake in the story you are covering.” But then it only cites examples of anti-Muslim groups.

The course in Islam, Fox News reported, was supported by a group calling itself the Social Science Research Council, which has received funding from Soros-financed groups.

In response to the report, the Poynter Institute explained that it created the course “as a tool for journalists who want to be accurate in educating their audience about the religion and culture of Islam, Muslim communities in the U.S., and the distinctions between Islam as a political movement and the radical philosophies that inspire militant Islamists.”

“We believe there is a need to better understand the complexities of Muslim societies and the online course offered by Poynter and Washington State University is a vital resource toward that end,” Poynter added.

“The values underpinning the course are truth, accuracy, independence, fairness, minimizing harm and context — the core journalistic values on which we build all our teaching here at Poynter.”

Poynter’s IFCN code of principles for news outlets, meanwhile, reads as follows:

1. A COMMITMENT TO NONPARTISANSHIP AND FAIRNESS

We fact-check claims using the same standard for every fact check. We do not concentrate our fact-checking on any one side. We follow the same process for every fact check and let the evidence dictate our conclusions. We do not advocate or take policy positions on the issues we fact-check.

2. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF SOURCES

We want our readers to be able to verify our findings themselves. We provide all sources in enough detail that readers can replicate our work, except in cases where a source’s personal security could be compromised. In such cases, we provide as much detail as possible.

3. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF FUNDING & ORGANIZATION

We are transparent about our funding sources. If we accept funding from other organizations, we ensure that funders have no influence over the conclusions we reach in our reports. We detail the professional background of all key figures in our organization and explain our organizational structure and legal status. We clearly indicate a way for readers to communicate with us.

4. A COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY OF METHODOLOGY

We explain the methodology we use to select, research, write, edit, publish and correct our fact checks. We encourage readers to send us claims to fact-check and are transparent on why and how we fact-check.

5. A COMMITMENT TO OPEN AND HONEST CORRECTIONS

We publish our corrections policy and follow it scrupulously. We correct clearly and transparently in line with our corrections policy, seeking so far as possible to ensure that readers see the corrected version.

Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Joshua Klein and Brenda J. Elliott.

Source: Soros Finances Group Helping Facebook Flag ‘Disputed’ Stories

Court Grants IRS Authority To Demand Identities Of Bitcoin Users At Coinbase

A federal court has granted a motion authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a “John Doe” summons on Coinbase requesting the identities of United States Coinbase customers.

By Forbes’ Kelly Phillips Erb

Granted.

That was the ruling today out of a federal court in the Northern District of California authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a “John Doe” summons on Coinbase requesting the identities of United States Coinbase customers who transferred convertible virtual currency from 2013 to 2015. Coinbase, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, is a company which facilitates transactions of digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) had made the request earlier this month (California Northern District Court, Case No. 3:16-cv-06658-JSC) on behalf of the IRS since a “John Doe” summons can only be served by the IRS with federal court approval. A “John Doe” summons is an order that does not specifically identify the person but rather identifies a person or ascertainable group or class by their activities. In the past, that’s included investors in a particular tax shelter or account holders at a defined financial institution: the IRS has made use of the procedure, for example, when seeking information about offshore accounts those related to the UBS investigation.

In granting the motion, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley found that “[b]ased upon a review of the Petition and supporting documents, the Court has determined that the “John Doe” summons to Coinbase, Inc. relates to the investigation of an ascertainable group or class of persons, that there is a reasonable basis for believing that such group or class of persons has failed or may have failed to comply with any provision of any internal revenue laws, and that the information sought to be obtained from the examination of the records or testimony (and the identities of the persons with respect to whose liability the summons is issued) are not readily available from other sources.”

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, said about the ruling, “As the use of virtual currencies has grown exponentially, some have raised questions about tax compliance. Tools like the John Doe summons authorized today send the clear message to U.S. taxpayers that whatever form of currency they use – bitcoin or traditional dollars and cents – we will work to ensure that they are fully reporting their income and paying their fair share of taxes.”

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen echoed that sentiment, saying, “Transactions in virtual currency are taxable just like those in any other property. The John Doe summons is a step designed to help the IRS ensure people doing business in the emerging economy are following the tax laws and meeting their responsibilities.”

The initial request was triggered, according to court documents, after the IRS found instances of tax evasion involving Coinbase customers. To clarify, it has not been alleged by authorities that Coinbase had any knowledge that any of its users might be involved in tax evasion.

Unlike other kinds of financial transactions, there is currently no third-party information which requires separate reporting for bitcoin (think of third-party reporting like the forms 1099 issued by your bank). This, says IRS, means that the “likelihood of underreporting is significant” which is why they are seeking information from Coinbase. Coinbase claims to be “the world’s most popular way to buy and sell bitcoin and ethereum” (Coinbase did not start accepting Ethereal, or ethers, until 2016, so it was not included in the summons).

The IRS is specifically seeking records for Coinbase users who transferred convertible virtual currency at any time between December 31, 2013, and December 31, 2015, with “any U.S. address, U.S. telephone number, U.S. e-mail domain, or U.S. bank account.” Requested records include but are not limited to user profiles, user preferences, user security settings and history, user payment methods, and other information related to the funding sources for the account/wallet/vault. And that’s just for starters. IRS is also seeking all records of account/wallet/vault activity including but not limited to records identifying the date, amount, and type of transaction, names or other identifiers of parties to the transaction; requests or instructions to send or receive bitcoin; and all related correspondences.

The request raised concerns in the tax and virtual currency communities about the scope of the information sought by authorities. Those concerns remain, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see mounting opposition to the government’s request.

For its part, Coinbase issued a statement in response to the ruling, saying:

We are aware of, and expected, the Court’s ex parte order today. We look forward to opposing the DOJ’s request in court after Coinbase is served with a subpoena. As we previously stated, we remain concerned with our U.S. customers’ legitimate privacy rights in the face of the government’s sweeping request.

Source: (Forbes) Court Grants IRS Authority To Demand Identities Of Bitcoin Users At Coinbase

Tesla Unveils its New Line of Camouflaged Solar Panels

“Tesla’s new line of energy-harvesting roof tiles are a key part of Elon Musk’s plan to make solar sexy.”

“[Musk] unveiled a range of textured glass tiles with integrated solar cells that are nearly indistinguishable from conventional tiling, along with a sleek update to the company’s energy-storing Powerwall.”

Continue reading: Tesla Unveils its New Line of Camouflaged Solar Panels

For the cost of an iPhone, you can now buy a wind turbine that can power an entire house for lifetime

Avant Garde Innovations, the startup founded by siblings Arun and Anoop George from Kerala, has come up with a low-cost wind turbine that can generate enough electricity to power an entire house for a lifetime. The size of a ceiling fan, this wind turbine can generate 5 kWh/kW per day — with just a one-time cost of US$750.”

Continue reading: For the cost of an iPhone, you can now buy a wind turbine that can power an entire house for lifetime

Donald Trump, Gary Johnson Excluded from Google Search Results

Continue reading: Google tweaks system after Trump left off search results for ‘presidential candidates’

Edward Snowden Develops Phone Case to Alert Users if Their Data is Being Compromised

“While the device is still far from ready for commercial distribution, Snowden and Huang note that they hope this case study will influence how individuals perceive their personal tracking devices they carry around in their pockets — also known as cell phones.”

Continue reading: Edward Snowden Develops Phone Case to Alert Users if Their Data is Being Compromised

U.S. to Allow Foreigners to Serve Warrants on U.S. Internet Firms

“The Obama administration is working on a series of agreements with foreign governments that would allow them for the first time to serve U.S. technology companies with warrants for email searches and wiretaps—a move that is already stirring debates over privacy, security, crime and terrorism.”

Continue reading: U.S. to Allow Foreigners to Serve Warrants on U.S. Internet Firms

Report: Recall of dangerous air bags affects 1 in 8 vehicles

“Recalls of cars with the faulty Japanese airbags affect one in eight vehicles nationwide, a report from Kelley Blue Book found. The recall thus far has affected some 32 million vehicles from dozens of car brands, including major players Toyota, Honda, Nissan, General Motors, Mitsubishi and Ford, the report found. Yet very few people in the U.S. are aware their vehicle could be involved in the recall…”

Continue reading: Recall of dangerous Takata air bags affects 1 in 8 vehicles, report says

NSA Labels Privacy-Centric Internet Users As “Extremists”

‘The NSA is not making any friends these days, and their latest statement on privacy-centric journalists is not helping matters much either. To be more precise, an investigation by the agency revealed how they are continuing to target the Tor network. Moreover, The Linux Journal is referred to as an “extremist forum”. Quite a strong sentiment, and possibly completely misguided as well.’

Continue reading: NSA Labels Privacy-Centric Internet Users As Extremists

Apps Are Doing What Government Can’t to Help Low-Income Americans Stay Healthy

“Not only do Medicaid and Medicare provide inadequate care, but they have also set up perverse incentives which further diminish quality of care and increase costs for all patients…”

“So while the US government dithers and then makes the problem worse, here are six ways apps are helping low-income Americans stay healthy…”

Continue reading: Apps Are Doing What Government Can’t to Help Low-Income Americans Stay Healthy

See also: 10 apps increasing health care access for low-income patients