Zuckerberg during an earnings call Wednesday announced Facebook will stop recommending political and civic groups to users, which he described as a “continuation of work we’ve been doing for a while to turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations,” Politico reports.
The social media company has long faced criticism over the amount of misinformation and polarization on its platform, with its recommendations being a frequent target of these complaints. Facebook previously said it would be putting these recommendations on pause in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, Politico notes. Additionally, Zuckerberg said Wednesday the company plans to take action to reduce the amount of politics in users’ news feeds, Axios reports, but he didn’t offer any further information on that effort.
“There has been a trend across society that a lot of things have become politicized and politics have had a way of creeping into everything,” Zuckerberg said. “A lot of the feedback we see from our community is that people don’t want that in their experience.”
Zuckerberg added that if users do want to discuss politics or join political groups, “they should be able to,” but “we are not serving community well to be recommending that content right now.”
The company by looking to “downplay politics” on the platform was “backing away from arguments it’s long made that political speech is vital to free expression,” Axios wrote. The decision came after various companies have taken steps to either ban political ads or limit them in certain situations, not to mention after numerous platforms suspended former President Donald Trump, leading Axios to conclude, “The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools.” Brendan Morrow
There’s growing skepticism that 17 Senate Republicans will vote with Democrats to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection, meaning his second impeachment trial would also end in acquittal. The GOP’s legally dubious off-ramp — declaring it unconstitutional to try a former president — failed Tuesday, but 45 of the 50 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the motion. So Democrats are now looking for a Plan B to ensure that Trump is not let off essentially scot-free for the deadly Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
“Make no mistake — there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented, in living color, for the nation and every one of us to see,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday. At the same time, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he’s talking with a “handful” of his GOP colleagues to see if they would support a censure resolution.
Tuesday’s 55-45 vote was “completely clarifying that we’re not going to get near 67,” Kaine said Wednesday, adding that his resolution is “more than just a censure, saying, ‘Hey, you did wrong.'” The proposal would state that the Jan. 6 attack “was an insurrection and that President Trump gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists,” language intended to invoke the 14th Amendment and bar Trump from holding federal office again.
Constitutional scholars are skeptical such a ban would be enforceable. “I worry about the cop-out of a condemnatory censure, which Senators shouldn’t be led to think gets them off the hook of having to convict the former president under the Article of Impeachment,” Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe told The Washington Post.
Kaine and other Democrats are also floating the option of a quick trial, as short as a week, so the Senate can focus on passing President Biden’s COVID-19 legislation and other priorities. Some moderate Democrats don’t want to rush it, though.
Haifa is home to Israel’s largest population of Holocaust survivors, and Yad Rosa is working around the clock to help them make it through the coronavirus pandemic.
Shimon Sabag started Yad Rosa 20 years ago, and over the last 10 months, has had to completely change the way the charity helps these elderly survivors. “This is the moment of truth,” Sabag told The Washington Post. “Holocaust survivors see the finish line, but emotionally they are collapsing.”
There are 192,000 registered Holocaust survivors in Israel, and even before the pandemic, many were struggling — a quarter live below the poverty line, the Post reports, and many of the charities tasked with offering assistance are underfunded. The first Israeli to die of COVID-19 was an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor from Hungary, and since then, roughly 5,300 survivors have tested positive for the virus and 900 have died, the Israeli government said.
A Bar-Ilan University study found that for many survivors who witnessed diseases like tuberculosis and dysentery sweep through concentration camps, the isolation they are now experiencing is making them remember the past. “They’re returning back to memories of the ghetto, of the camps, of death,” psychiatrist Isabella Greenberg told the Post. “Some of my patients feel that this is like Auschwitz.”
Yad Rosa has changed its services to better assist survivors feeling especially vulnerable now. For those who do not want to travel by bus, volunteers drive them to their appointments and to get the COVID-19 vaccine — they’ve already helped more than 1,500 get the shot. Dozens of volunteers man a call center, where they check in on survivors to see if they need food, medicine, or just a chat. Contractors have made repairs in the homes of survivors, and more than 2,000 people receive daily food deliveries.
Renate Kaufmann, 83, survived the Holocaust in Germany by spending two years hiding in secret spaces. Yad Rosa recently delivered her a wheelchair, and she told the Post she looks forward to being able to go outside again one day, but until then, she must remain patient, just like she was decades ago. “Who is safe?” she said. “There is no safe place in this world.” Read more at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia
This content was originally published here.