Last week Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced he was appointing Amal Clooney as the UK’s envoy on media freedom. Today Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has put out a government White Paper on ‘Online Harms’ which includes proposals for a regulator which will have the power to ban the websites of non-compliant companies from being accessed in the UK at all. Someone tell Amal quick!
You would think that the likes of Facebook and Twitter would be up in arms – they are not because as Dom Hallas, Executive Director of The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), says
“Everyone, including British startups, shares the goal of a safer internet – but these plans will entrench the tech giants, not punish them. The vast scope of the proposals means they cover not just social media but virtually the entire internet – from file sharing to newspaper comment sections. Those most impacted will not be the tech giants the Government claims they are targeting, but everyone else. It will benefit the largest platforms with the resources and legal might to comply – and restrict the ability of Britissh startups to compete fairly. There is a reason that Mark Zuckerberg has called for more regulation. It is in Facebook’s business interest.”
86% of UK investors surveyed by Coadec say that proposals claiming to tackle tech giants could lead to poor outcomes that inadvertently damage tech startups and hamper competition. As with the GDPR and we are likely to see with the Copyright Directive, the tech giants are in fact best placed to absorb wide-ranging regulation. There is a real risk of the global platforms getting bigger and British startups suffering.
There is also a risk that a future Corbyn govenment will use the legislation against political opponents. When you see the likes of Owen Jones being applauded for describing the Spectator, Sun, Mail, Telegraph, Express and of course Guido, as “spreading hate”, you can easily imagine the legislation being used by a Corbyn government to close down dissident media. This is a dangerous path being foolishly and short-sightedly cheered on by newspapers who think it will scupper the global platforms who are eating into their advertising revenue.
See: Coadec report with the survey data referred to can be found in full here.
Remember the Labour Party complaining to the press regulator IPSO about the coverage of Jeremy Corbyn laying a wreath in memory of terrorists at a cemetery in Tunisia? The party claimed The Sun, Times, Telegraph, Mail, Express and Metro had smeared Jezza over the event.
The Guardian reports that this complaint has now been dropped. Could that be because Seumas Milne would have been required by the IPSO investigation to cooperate and disclose supporting evidence, on which the press regulator would then make a public ruling? So much for Corbyn standing up to the ‘billionaire, tax exile’ press owners who ‘smear’ him… with his own words.
Stop Funding Hate, the anti-press freedom campaign behind advertising boycotts of newspapers, has plumbed new depths this morning – hounding the NSPCC on Twitter. The children’s charity ran a promotion in the Sunday Express yesterday, causing Stop Funding Hate to tweet out the NSPCC’s handle and attempt to set their Twitter trolls on them. The NSPCC often runs campaigns and promotions in newspapers – it runs a ‘Block the Bullying’ campaign in the Sun for example. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Stop Funding Hate are opposed to anti-bullying campaigns.
The NSPCC knows appealing to millions of Sun and Express readers for support and donations is a sensible way to help children – yet the cranks at Stop Funding Hate want their army of vicious trolls to target them for it. The mask slips on this nasty press freedom-hating campaign…
Dough! Pizza Hut clearly didn’t learn from Paperchase’s humiliating cowardice in the face of a few lefty Twitter trolls – the fast food chain has apologised for offering Sun readers a free pizza over the weekend. This is the height of spinelessness. Pizza Hut’s food has been enjoyed by millions of newspaper readers down the years yet they have capitulated to just a few hundred press freedom-hating Twitter moaners. Pusillanimous PR departments need to grow a backbone and ask themselves if it’s really worth ditching promotions used by millions of people just to stop their social media intern getting a few angry tweets from mental keyboard cranks. Virtue signalling right-on execs at Pizza Hut and Paperchase think they’re on the right side of this new advertising culture war because they’re obsessing with Twitter. Their real-life customers are the ones who are losing out…
UPDATE: A Sun insider gets in touch to say the Pizza Hut promotion will continue until Thursday as planned: “While the Twitter armies may fill our timelines, they will never take our takeaways.”
Stationery store Paperchase is facing a backlash from angry customers after bowing to pressure from anti-press freedom cranks not to offer promotions in the Daily Mail. On Saturday Paperchase offered Mail readers two rolls of free wrapping paper. The promotion was attacked by the anti-press freedom loonies at Stop Funding Hate, a group whose stated aim is to censor or bankrupt the free press in Britain. It would not only be pathetic for Paperchase to listen to the Stop Funding Hate extremists, it would be dangerous too…
We’ve listened to you about this weekend’s newspaper promotion. We now know we were wrong to do this – we’re truly sorry and we won’t ever do it again. Thanks for telling us what you really think and we apologise if we have let you down on this one. Lesson learnt.
— Paperchase (@FromPaperchase) November 20, 2017
Yet today Paperchase gave in to the SFH nuts and apologised for Saturday’s promotion, promising not to advertise with the Mail again. The tweet has had over a thousand replies, with hundreds of unimpressed customers now threatening to buy their cards in Clintons in protest at Paperchase’s spinelessness.
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) November 20, 2017
— Laura Perrins (@LPerrins) November 20, 2017
Twitter has made total cowards of corporate brands. The latest being @FromPaperchase – who seem to have panicked after looking at their social media account and have since grovelled for having advertised in the Mail.
— Christian May (@ChristianJMay) November 20, 2017
Paperchase apologises for advertising in a British newspaper. I won’t shop there ever again. https://t.co/o2ES4vRhfO
— Iain Martin (@iainmartin1) November 20, 2017
— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) November 20, 2017
Pathetic – Clintons for me now https://t.co/NPa8RHFOqj
— Tim Montgomerie ن (@montie) November 20, 2017
The Saturday Daily Mail sold 1.86 million in October, making it Britain’s best selling newspaper. Stop Funding Hate’s mental Twitter trolls number a few hundred at most. Not just pathetic and dangerous from Paperchase, stupid too…
An Israeli parliamentary correspondent saw his press pass revoked by Momentum just over an hour after it was approved. Jerry Lewis was granted accreditation to Momentum’s “The World Transformed” fringe event at the Labour Conference before they withdrew just 1 hour 22 minutes later when an email told him he had been approved by mistake.
A shocked Lewis shot an email back, asking for an explanation:
I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with my application mentioning my broadcasting credentials for Israel Radio for whom I have been their UK correspondent for over 35 years, nor some of my other journalistic endeavour as the Jewish Telegraph’s Political and Diplomatic editor for a similar period, in which both capacities I shall be attending this week’s Labour Party conference for the thirty-sixth year in succession.