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GOP Senator Says Facebook Doesn’t Care About Kids Or Congress | News



GOP Senator Says Facebook Doesn't Care About Kids Or Congress |  News

EXCLUSIVE A Republican senator alleges that Facebook responded to its question about the company’s harmful effects on children by suggesting it did nothing wrong, refusing access to relevant internal research and seriously mislead Congress and its users.

GOP Sen. Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming sent a letter to the tech giant in late October with a request for an internal investigation into the platform’s negative effects on children that Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen first exposed, asking the company how it would solve these important problems and equip parents with the right tools to help their children.

The senator and her associates were deeply frustrated and disappointed by the response they received from Facebook, which they shared exclusively with the Washington examiner.

They said Facebook’s written response to them, along with other interactions Lummis’ employees have had with Facebook executives, show that the social media giant is profit-driven, consistently and deliberately misleading members of Congress, is not transparent about its internal research and found no genuine ways to help parents protect their children from the ills of Facebook and Instagram.

“Facebook blatantly ignores congressional requests and misleads policymakers,” Lummis told the… Washington Examiner. “Most troubling is that they don’t care about their ongoing shortcomings, both with their users and in their interactions with Congress.”

Lummis and her associates say Facebook knows that parents have issues with their children being hurt by content and ads shown to them on the Facebook platforms, but the company has nonetheless failed to provide parents with the proper tools and resources to deal with this problem. which the senator’s office finds shocking.

“In their letter to us, Facebook just pointed out a lot of things on their website that parents will probably never actually come across or use, it just buries them in overwhelming information that is clunky and hard to find,” a senior Lummis assistant told me. the Washington examiner.

“Most of their responses to us were a regurgitation of links already on their website that didn’t really answer or help with parents’ questions and concerns,” the assistant said.

In addition, Facebook has sowed distrust of members of Congress and their staff by dodging questions and failing to provide an internal investigation the company has conducted into children’s use of its platforms, demanding the confidentiality of documents the company has made. senator had asked.

“The lack of transparency is frustrating. They send their experts to the Hill and they give half answers and spin the other half,” said a senior Lummis assistant.

“The Facebook executives who meet with us are highly trained in how to avoid real problems within the company so that outsiders can’t see them,” the assistant said.


Facebook’s global head of security, Antigone Davis, said in a September Senate hearing that the platform has “very limited advertising for young people,” which the senator’s staff said was misleading because new research from last week, it appears that Facebook is still using its algorithms to target children.

Earlier this month, a global coalition of more than 40 civil society organizations, including Amnesty International and ParentsTogether, called on Facebook to stop surveillance advertising aimed at children and accused the tech giant of misleading the public about its practices when it comes to young people.

The senator and her staff also fired on Facebook fuses academics, researchers and members of the public can’t access anonymized, privacy-protected Facebook data to study the company’s targeted advertising system and the algorithms that hurt children, Haugen said.

“We rely on the academic community to understand how social media platforms like Facebook and their inner mechanisms work, so when they’re left out, it makes our job of protecting people very difficult,” said the Lummis assistant.

Former Facebook executives say the company needs to keep some of its investigation private to make the right decisions internally and protect those it polled to collect such data.

“Facebook sharing its own research shuts down internal discussion within the company, which is a real problem,” says Katie Harbath.

“We need to find some sort of regulatory structure that allows Facebook to conduct internal and private investigations, while also allowing the public to see what’s happening on the platform. A balance between the two,” Harbath added.

She added that it is not acceptable for Facebook to leave Congress or users in the dark about what content and ads it shows children and what it does with user data.

Harbath also said Congressional leaders and Facebook executives often have different definitions of the same words and phrases, such as what it means to track and target children, causing significant misunderstanding and mistrust between the two parties.

“There is definitely a need for more transparency from Facebook to explain the inner workings of children, it has to be held accountable. But some problems arise because everyone is talking past each other,” she added.

Facebook, in its response to Lummis, defends its actions regarding child safety and the tools it has given parents to address such issues, which have arisen thanks to internal investigations.

“We take the issue of safety and wellbeing on our platforms very seriously, especially for the youngest people using our services, so we’re conducting research so we can improve our products,” Facebook said in the letter to Lummis.

The social media giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, says it is looking for ways to give outside researchers more access to their data in a way that respects people’s privacy.

Lummis’ staff said Facebook’s response to them made it clear that the company cannot be trusted to self-regulate and showed them how frustrating and often pointless interactions with Facebook employees can be.

“Sunlight disinfects, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to shine a light on Facebook’s privacy violations. For the sake of our children and for our personal privacy, we need to put real fences around Big Tech,” said Lummis.


Lummis staff expressed cautious optimism about a legislative boost next year through new antitrust and privacy bills on Capitol Hill that could help hold platforms like Facebook accountable for bad behavior.

Original location: GOP Senator Says Facebook Doesn’t Care About Kids Or Congress

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Japan immigration detention: Wishma’s dream to teach English in Japan ended with a lesson for the country




Japan immigration detention: Wishma's dream to teach English in Japan ended with a lesson for the country

When her father died, the university graduate convinced her mother she could earn enough money working abroad as an English teacher to fund her retirement.

The family remortgaged their home, and in 2017, Rathnayake moved to Narita, on the outskirts of Tokyo, on a student visa.

Within three years, she was dead.

After overstaying her visa, Rathnayake was detained in Japan’s immigration system, where she died on March 6, 2021, at the age of 33.

Rathnayake’s case made headlines in Japan and fueled debate over the treatment of foreigners in the country, where 27 immigration detainees have died since 1997, according to the Japan Lawyers Network for Refugees.

Her death has also exposed the lack of transparency in a system where people can languish for years with no prospect of release — a system that her sisters are now campaigning to change.

Wishma Rathnayake (center) with her younger sisters, Poornima Rathnayake (left) and Wayomi Rathnayake (right).

Chasing a dream

Rathnayake was 29 when she arrived in Narita, and her Facebook feed soon filled with images of tourist sites and new friends.

From Sri Lanka, her younger sisters, Wayomi and Poornima, heard she was attending language classes and seemed to be happy. “She never told us or gave us a sign that things weren’t going well for her,” said Wayomi Rathnayake, now 29.

What her sisters didn’t know was that Rathnayake stopped attending language classes in May 2018 and was later expelled. The same month, she started working in a factory before claiming asylum that September. Her claim was rejected in January 2019, and from then on she was considered an illegal immigrant.

Phone calls home became less frequent, and in August 2020, it became clear why. That month, Rathnayake approached a police station in Shizuoka prefecture, far from home, seeking help to leave her partner.

Rathnayake told the officers her visa had expired and she wanted to go to the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau but didn’t have enough money to get there, according to Yasunori Matsui, the director of START, a non-profit that helps foreign nationals detained in Japan.

People opposing the revision of Japan's immigration control and refugee recognition law march in Tokyo on May 16, 2021.

Initially, Rathnayake agreed to return to Sri Lanka, but she changed her mind after her partner wrote two letters threatening to track her down and punish her if she returned home, according to Matsui.

“She believed she would be killed by him,” said Matsui, who met Rathnayake at the immigration bureau in December 2020.

The first her sisters knew she was in trouble was in March 2021, when the Sri Lankan Embassy in Tokyo called to say she was dead.

Rathnayake’s family asked for a report and photographic evidence, but their requests went unanswered, and in May her younger sisters traveled to Japan to seek the truth.

“Her skin was wrinkled like an old person and it was stuck firmly to her bones”Poornima RathnayakeWishma’s sister

When they arrived, they saw Rathnayake in a funeral casket in Nagoya. “She looked so different, so weak and unrecognizable. Her skin was wrinkled like an old person, and it was stuck firmly to her bones,” said Poornima Rathnayake, 27.

During seven months in detention, she’d lost 20 kilograms (44 pounds).

Her sisters wanted to know why.

Most of all, they wanted to see closed-circuit video of her final weeks in custody.

But authorities refused access.

A broken system

For three months, the sisters and their legal team rallied for answers, meeting with officials and demanding the release of the video.

Their calls were echoed by supporters and some politicians advocating for stronger rights for foreign nationals in Japan, and earlier this year a decision on whether to release the footage became a major focus of debate in the country’s Parliament.

At the time, Japanese lawmakers were debating a bill that would have revised the rules on governing foreigners in detention, including provisions to deport people after two failed bids for refugee protection.

The purpose of the bill was to reduce the number of migrants in Japanese detention facilities, which had climbed to 1,054 in 2020, according to data from the Immigration Agency of Japan.

But rights groups, including a group of United Nations experts, said elements of the bill threatened to breach international human rights standards. For example, they said the clause on deportation could violate the principle of non-refoulement by forcing people to countries where they fear persecution.

“The controversy surrounding the bill helped build a national debate around her death and the issue of how foreigners are treated in Japan,” said Kosuke Oie, an immigration lawyer supporting her family.

The bill was eventually scrapped.

Japan has traditionally had a low intake of migrants, though in recent years it has begun accepting more foreign workers.

In 2018, Japanese lawmakers approved a policy change proposed by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that created new visa categories to allow an estimated 340,000 foreign workers to take high-skilled and low-wage jobs.

And in a major shift last month, the Japanese government said it was considering allowing foreigners in certain skilled jobs stay indefinitely, from as early as 2022.

“This lack of judicial review has resulted in what some have called a ‘black box’ process”Sanae FujitaUniversity of Essex

But some say Japan still has a long way to go, and that Rathnayake’s death casts a spotlight on an immigration system in dire need of reform.

Sanae Fujita, a researcher at the school of law at the University of Essex, says the main problem is that Japan’s immigration bureau wields great power and is accountable to nobody.

“In contrast to other countries, in Japan the immigration process is managed solely by the immigration agency — there is no court involvement,” she said. “This lack of judicial review has resulted in what some have called a ‘black box’ process, with no oversight.”

In 2019, Human Rights Now called for the prohibition of arbitrary detention in Japanese immigration facilities and related legal reforms, following a hunger strike by 198 detainees at Japanese immigration facilities.

In a statement, the rights group said detention facilities should be utilized as “a measure of last resort to reduce their excessive use.”

Fujita argues Rathnayake’s death could have been avoided, if Japan’s government had listened to the Human Rights recommendations by the UN to Japan. They included imposing a maximum period of detention and allowing detainees to seek an independent review of their case.

A spokesperson for the Immigration Services Agency declined to comment on Fujita’s claims.

Wishma Rathnayake's  family attended a parliamentary session of Japan's lower house in Tokyo, May 18, 2021.

‘Treated like an animal’

In August, a report conducted by Japan’s Immigration Services Agency, with third-party experts including medical professionals, found the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau had neglected to provide Rathnayake with proper medical care.

The facility’s top officials and supervisors were reprimanded, and Japan’s minister of justice and head of the Immigration Services Agency issued a formal apology for her death.

And, for the first time in the case of any immigration death, officials allowed Rathnayake’s sisters to watch an edited two-hour video showing her final two weeks in detention. They only managed to watch half.

“What I saw on the clips upset me so much that I felt like there was much worse to be seen”Wayomi RathnayakeWishma’s sister

Poornima Rathnayake said the video made her physically sick.

Wayomi Rathnayake told reporters straight after the viewing that the clips showed her sister falling from bed and guards laughing as milk ran from her nostrils.

“In the video, the guards told Wishma to get up by herself. (Her) repeated calls for assistance went unanswered as the guards urged her to get back on her bed herself. She tried to get their attention, but was ignored,” Wayomi Rathnayake told CNN.

Certain sections were edited, suggesting officials were hiding the truth, she said.

“What I saw on the clips upset me so much that I felt like there was much worse to be seen.”

The sisters eventually saw longer clips of unedited video in October.

They showed staff attempting to feed Rathnayake, even though she couldn’t keep anything down. And on the day before she died, staff didn’t phone an ambulance, even as she failed to respond to their calls, said Oie, the family’s lawyer.

Rathnayake, whose visa had expired, approached the police seeking help to leave her partner.

Denied treatment

The Immigration Services Agency report found Rathnayake had complained about stomach pain and other symptoms for months before her death.

The report states she underwent medical examinations such as urine analysis, blood tests and chest X-rays to determine the cause of the problem.

However, on the day she died, staff at the facility delayed calling emergency services, even as her condition appeared to deteriorate.

The report said, in the months before her death, Rathnayake had been cooperating with immigration authorities, but her demeanor changed when she decided she wanted to stay in Japan.

The report alleges supporters had told her it would be more likely she’d be placed on provisional release if she was sick — a claim detainees’ advocate Matsui refutes. Provisional release allows detainees to live in the community while they await deportation.

Matsui said he urged officials in January to either transfer Rathnayake to hospital or give her provisional release, so supporters could take her there themselves. Another request was made in February, when Rathnayake had become so weak she could no longer grasp a pen, according to Matsui.

But those requests were refused with no reasons given, Matsui said.

Yoichi Kinoshita, a former immigration official, who now runs a non-profit seeking to reform the country’s immigration system, says guards appeared to dismiss her complaints.

“It’s likely that some people working in the detention facility may have thought she was exaggerating her symptoms because she wanted to get out on provisional release,” Kinoshita said.

Overhauling a dysfunctional system

Last month, Rathnayake’s sisters filed a criminal complaint against senior officials at Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau alleging willful negligence. While the earlier immigration investigation found deficiencies within the system, it did not establish why she died — and who is to blame, according to Oie, her family’s lawyer.

So far, the family’s campaign for justice has had small but significant wins for other people caught in the system.

“The immigration agency hasn’t ever shown a video to a family before and the head of the immigration agency didn’t apologize for detainee deaths either — this is all a first,” said Kinoshita.

“The immigration bureau controls everything… there needs to be a third party to provide a different perspective”Yoichi KinoshitaFormer immigration official

He says more oversight is needed of the agency that controls every aspect of a detainee’s fate.

“The immigration bureau controls everything from the visas for foreigners, their detention and deportation and their provisional release. There needs to be a third party to provide a different perspective, and that could be the court,” he said.

The Immigration Services Agency has proposed some changes following Rathnayake’s death.

In the August report, it said it would look to strengthen the medical care offered at immigration detention facilities and potentially allow sick detainees to be temporarily freed.

It also floated plans to evaluate the behavior of immigration officers, including allegations by detainee advocates.

For Rathnayake’s sisters, the mental strain of fighting for justice has taken its toll.

Wishma’s younger sister Wayomi, 29, returned to Sri Lanka in late October owing to psychological stress caused by watching the footage of her sister in detention.

But for Poornima Rathnayake, who has stayed in Japan, the fight goes on.

“We want those responsible for Wishma’s death to be held accountable because we hope this kind of untimely death won’t ever happen to anyone again,” she said.

“Tomorrow it could be someone else’s brother, sister, friend, mother or father.”

Journalist Seiji Tobari contributed to this report from Tokyo.


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San Francisco restaurant receives negative reviews after asking cops to leave




San Francisco restaurant receives negative reviews after asking cops to leave

A San Francisco restaurant was hit by a spate of negative reviews after it made headlines for asking uniformed police officers to leave because the presence of guns made staff uncomfortable.

Hilda and Jesse, a breakfast restaurant in the city’s North Beach neighborhood, sat down with three uniformed officers on Friday, but said the staff felt uneasy about the presence of “multiple weapons” shortly afterwards.

The restaurant’s Instagram page said this was not a political decision and was made in the best interests of their staff.

“We respect the San Francisco Police Department and are grateful for the work they are doing,” the statement said on social media. “We welcome them to the restaurant when they are off duty, without uniforms and without their weapons.”

The restaurant owners also met with officers at the department’s main station on Saturday to discuss the incident. according to NBC Bay Area.

A deluge of negative 1-star reviews hit the Hilda and Jesse Yelp page this weekend.

“Refuting law enforcement because they were in uniform is all I need to know about this place,” said one review. “Will never step foot in there. Definitely DO NOT call the police if you get robbed!! Don’t be hypocrites!!”

Another review wrote: “What’s wrong with you? Looking forward to your bankruptcy. You are a disgrace. Throw the cops out????”

Sunday morning, the restaurant page had a 1-star rating with over 460 reviews.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott spoke on the matter on Saturday in a series of tweets. Scott said the department stands for “safety with respect,” even if the officers find someone else’s wishes “personally disappointing.”

“I believe the vast majority of San Franciscans welcome their police officers, who deserve to know that they are appreciated for the difficult work we ask them to do – in their uniforms – to keep our neighborhoods and businesses safe,” added Scott.

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The 10 Best Kid Friendly Restaurants in Hampshire According to TripAdvisor




The 10 Best Kid Friendly Restaurants in Hampshire According to TripAdvisor

With its mix of beautiful scenery and idyllic coastal towns, Hampshire is a major draw for families.

The county also has plenty of great restaurants, but which ones are the most kid-friendly for families to visit?

With that in mind, HampshireLive took a look at TripAdvisor and compiled a list of the 10 top-rated restaurants suitable for children.

READ MORE: I Tried McDonald’s Festive Menu and It Was Like Christmas Dinner in a Burger

1. Mexifun – Southampton

At the top of the list is this Mexican/Latin inspired restaurant with 177 reviews and an overall rating of five out of five. Of these reviews, 174 said it was ‘excellent’, while only one gave it a ‘poor’ grade.

It also caters to special diets, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Reviewers noted that the restaurant is small but has a welcoming atmosphere with very friendly staff.

2. Spices and Spirits – Basingstoke

Next up is Spices and Spirits, an Indian and Asian restaurant priced from £10 – £50. Over 379 reviews it has a five out of five rating and according to one reviewer it has a “great selection of street food such as pani puri, chaat and vegetarian dishes.”

The restaurant states that this is ‘not your typical curry house’ and warns that the spiciness of their food is often a bit higher, but that it is very tasty. So make sure you are a family that can handle hot food.

3. Miss Ellie’s Cafe – Southampton

Another five out of five reviews, this time from 178 reviewers. But it’s a complete contrast in price range to Spices and Spirits, with prices between £2 and £6.

The food is cooked fresh to order and many reviewers have complimented and described the full English breakfast as great value for money.

4. Saltwater – New Forest

Another cafe, this time Milford on Sea in the New Forest, with the highest marks out of five. One reviewer said “The Sushi Bowl is amazing”, while another called it a “Wonderful gem of a cafe”.

The cafe must have done enough to impress families as another comment was “Both kids definitely want to visit again.”

5. The Old Clock and Crown – Andover

This is the first place to score points, with a rating of 4.5 out of 377 reviews. Priced from £6 – £18, the pub serves traditional pub grub such as Sunday roasts and burgers.

One reviewer said they traveled 75 miles to meet friends at this pub and would have traveled even further to get to this pub.

6. Peggy May’s Cafe – New Forest

Tucked away in Lyndhurst in the New Forest, this little cafe has had a whopping 561 reviews and scored a 4.5 in total. In addition to serving breakfast and lunch, it sells scones and cakes baked in-house.

The price range is listed as £3 – £9 and one reviewer said they look after children very well.

7. Dhaba59 – Southampton

Serving Indian and Asian dishes, this restaurant caters for vegetarians and vegans, but is also open for both lunch and dinner.

There is no price range listed, but the food sounds delicious. One reviewer said: “The lamb chops just melted in your mouth and the chicken curry was so full of flavor – probably the best curry I’ve tasted and I don’t give that accolade lightly.”

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8. Daisy B’s Kitchen – Titchfield

Based in the old village of Titchfield, Daisy B’s Kitchen scored a five and offers fresh sandwiches as well as homemade cakes and scones.

One reviewer said it was “Pprobably the best takeaway I’ve ever had!” and another said the kids lunch box on offer is “Fantastic”.

9. That Little Tea Shop – Romsey

This is a family run cafe that the regulars call Romsey’s best kept secret. The price range is a very reasonable £2 to £5 and it can be found upstairs in a small side street.

It also sounds like a flexible cafe, as one reviewer wrote: “Always a lovely and relaxing place to visit. Food is always freshly cooked to order and staff are always happy to customize breakfast. Best in Romsey.”

10. The Cedar Tree Restaurant – New Forest

The last place on the list has the most ratings with 609 and it still managed to get an overall rating of five out of five. It received 518 ratings of ‘excellent’ and zero ‘terrible’, with the latter being the lowest possible rating.

Based in Milford on Sea in the New Forest, the price range is between £12 and £30 and the food on offer is listed as ‘British’ and ‘European’, with both vegan and vegetarian options. One reviewer noted that the children’s menu is “good too with good portions.”

Find out about things to do and activities in Hampshire with our free What’s On email HERE.


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