Instagram on Wednesday announced that it will begin disabling the accounts of users who repeatedly send “hateful” direct messages (DMs) and content to others in an effort to combat hate speech after users sent racist messages to British soccer players.
While first-time offenders won’t be allowed to send DMs for an undefined timespan, their account will be disabled if they send hateful messages again.
“We’ll also disable new accounts created to get around our messaging restrictions, and will continue to disable accounts we find that are created purely to send abusive messages,” Instagram noted in its announcement.
The image-centric platform’s hate speech policy, as reiterated in its announcement, prohibits attacks on people based on “protected characteristics,” including race or religion, as well as “more implicit forms of hate speech,” like content depicting blackface and antisemitic tropes. In its announcement, Instagram doubled down on its commitment to “cooperation with UK law enforcement authorities on hate speech.”
The Premier League on Thursday called on other social media platforms to “take action against online abuse” in a letter to Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook respectively, asking them to adopt stricter hateful content policies. Facebook
Citing the online abuse many soccer players have faced, the League said “we write to ask that for reasons of basic human decency you use the power of your global systems to bring this to an end.”
The League noted the “current assurances” from Facebook, who owns Instagram, that its “standards will be tightened,” but pressed that “far more is needed to drive change.”
Prince William, who also acts as the president of England’s Football Association, last month issued a statement saying “racist abuse – whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media – is despicable and it must stop now.”
The second-in-line for the British monarchy also called on social media platforms to take more responsibility, saying: “We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions. That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Hunter Biden Indicted on Federal Gun Charges Amidst Special Counsel Investigation
In a significant development, Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was indicted on Thursday on federal gun charges as part of Special Counsel David Weiss’ ongoing investigation. The indictment alleges that Hunter Biden made false statements during the purchase of a firearm, among other charges.
The charges against Hunter Biden include:
• Making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm
• Making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a federal firearms licensed dealer
•Possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance
According to the indictment, the alleged incident occurred on or about October 12, 2018, in the District of Delaware. Hunter Biden is accused of knowingly making a false and fictitious written statement during the acquisition of a Colt Cobra 38SPL Revolver. According to reports from Fox News, the statement, submitted on Form 4473, falsely certified that he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, or controlled substance.
Furthermore, the indictment further states that between October 12, 2018, and October 23, 2018, in the District of Delaware, Hunter Biden knowingly possessed the same firearm despite being an unlawful user of and addicted to controlled substances. This marks the first set of charges brought by Special Counsel David Weiss against Hunter Biden since being granted special counsel status.
The investigation came to public attention when it was reported by Fox News in 2021 that police had responded to an incident in 2018 involving a gun owned by Hunter Biden.
Reports state that, Hallie Biden, the widow of President Biden’s late son, Beau, who was in a relationship with Hunter at the time, discarded the gun. Hunter’s gun was thrown away in a dumpster near a market, located close to a school. It was subsequently revealed that Hunter Biden had purchased a gun earlier that same month.
Hunter Biden’s legal troubles do not end with the gun charges. Earlier in July, an original plea agreement collapsed, which would have seen him plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts for willful failure to pay federal income tax, thus avoiding jail time on a felony gun charge. Instead, he pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and one felony gun charge.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss as special counsel to oversee the Hunter Biden investigation and related matters. The White House has declined to comment on these developments, which continue to draw significant public and media attention.
Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!
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