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Social media firms make $1bn a year from anti-vax followers, report says

Conspiracy theorists at Hyde Park Corner on 16 May 2020 in London: Getty
Conspiracy theorists at Hyde Park Corner on 16 May 2020 in London: Getty

Social media platforms are making up to $1bn a year from people following anti-vaccine misinformation that could cause “tens of thousands” of coronavirus deaths, researchers say.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) said the number of people viewing pages and posts claiming that a Covid-19 vaccine is unnecessary or would pose a health risk had risen dramatically during the pandemic.

Despite pledges by Facebook and others to crack down on harmful posts, a report found that at least 57 million users now follow anti-vaxxers on mainstream platforms across the UK and US – up 7.7 million since the start of the outbreak.

A YouGov poll suggested that almost one in five British adults say they would refuse the injection if it becomes available, and a further 15 per cent are unsure.

The research suggested that people

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An Online Hub, Social Distancing, and Maybe Even a Date Shift

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival may still be months from unfolding in Park City, Utah, but newly-installed festival director Tabitha Jackson has revealed that the festival is planning for a range of scenarios when it comes to imagining what the event will look like during the global health crisis. In a wide-ranging new memo, the former director of Sundance Institute’s documentary film program (who was announced as John Cooper’s successor just five months ago), addressed the current climate and Sundance’s reaction to it.

Although the memo provides few specific details about the next edition, Jackson outlined plans for national screenings, online access to the lineup, and even hinted at a potential date change.

While other festivals have opted to go entirely virtual or postpone their physical editions altogether, heavy hitters like TIFF are carving out the possibility of mounting an event that offers both physical and virtual components. For now, … Read More

As Black creators gain sudden exposure on TikTok and Instagram, social media platforms begin to acknowledge inherent biases

Black content creators call on followers and social media platforms to acknowledge systematic racism. (Photo: Instagram/heybriajones/areed_1998)
Black content creators call on followers and social media platforms to acknowledge systematic racism. (Photo: Instagram/heybriajones/areed_1998)

The social media landscape has been transformed amid conversations regarding racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. While people from all backgrounds are participating in these discussions and using their platforms to provide information and resources for their followers, it’s Black content creators in particular who have seen a spike in their engagement and follower count on sites like Instagram and TikTok. And with social networks actively giving a boost to these creators’ posts, some feel this is the first time that they’re being both seen and heard by those who ordinarily wouldn’t follow them.

“My platform has blown up. I just hit 30,000 [31,700 as of publishing time] on Instagram, and last week I had, like, 24,000 [followers before]. And

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Social media users more likely to believe conspiracies

Social media app icons are seen on the screen of a smartphone in this close-up photo
Social media app icons are seen on the screen of a smartphone in this close-up photo

From the idea that the coronavirus was created in a lab to the belief that it is all part of a plan to bring in compulsory vaccinations, conspiracy theories have been plentiful in recent months.

Now, research indicates that people who get their news from social media are more likely to believe in such theories – and also more likely to break lockdown rules.

Researchers from King’s College London and Ipsos Mori found that some conspiracy theories were believed by quite a high proportion of the population.

In an online survey of over 2,000 people carried out in late May, 30% thought that the coronavirus was created in a lab, up from 25% in April. A similar proportion thought the true death toll from Covid-19 was being hidden by the authorities.

About 13% believed

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Jobs That Make Social Distancing Difficult

Photo credit: izusek/istockphoto
Photo credit: izusek/istockphoto

Too Close for Comfort

The coronavirus pandemic has made “6 feet apart” a mantra for many, but what about workers whose livelihoods depend on contact with others? Economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Department of Labor to quantify how tough it is to keep a safe distance in various occupations. They assigned a proximity index based on their findings, where 0 means workers can do their job very far from others, while 100 means the opposite. Here are the highest-contact careers where “social distancing” is little more than wishful thinking.

Related: Are You Required to Put Yourself in Harm’s Way? Know Your Rights When Returning to Work

Photo credit: wavebreakmedia/istockphoto
Photo credit: wavebreakmedia/istockphoto

Hair Stylists and Cosmetologists

Proximity Index: 92.17
It goes without saying that it’s hard to do hair and makeup without touching clients. Adding insult to

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Video showing lack of social distancing at Universal Orlando sparks concern about theme parks reopening

Visitors ride a roller coaster at Universal Studios theme park on the first day of reopening from the coronavirus pandemic, on June 5, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Visitors ride a roller coaster at Universal Studios theme park on the first day of reopening from the coronavirus pandemic, on June 5, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gregg Newton / AFP) (Photo by GREGG NEWTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Universal Orlando reopened in early June and the theme park has already come under fire after suggestions that employees on one ride were not enforcing social distancing.

An account that shares news related to the theme park, called @UniNewsToday, wrote on Twitter over the weekend that “all of the social distancing markers near the load area at Hagrid’s [Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure] are gone. There’s also a Team Member yelling ‘fill in all the available space.’”

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Ontario expands ‘social bubble’ to 10 people, PM mandates airport temperature checks

As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians seem to be increasingly concerned about their health and safety

Check back for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in Canada.

For a full archive of the first month of the pandemic, please check our archive of events.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, revealed about 60 per cent of active COVID-19 cases in the province are in people under the age of 40. Recently, there has been a particular increase in cases in individuals between the ages of 20 and 29.

“It is important for younger Albertans to remember that while you may not be at risk for severe outcomes of infection, your actions are critical to protecting those around you,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

There has also been a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in Edmonton, increasing from 58 to 149 in the last … Read More

8 Ways To Earn Extra Income While Social Distancing

April 22, 2020

By Andrea Woroch

More people than ever are feeling the pinch in their budget as the coronavirus threatens lives and our ability to earn a living. For many, however, now is the time to get creative and seek new opportunities to make money.

Even if you haven’t experienced any disruption in income, supplementing your income could help boost your emergency savings so you’re fully prepared for whatever lies ahead. Although social distancing and stay-at-home orders put a barrier on some earning opportunities, there are many things you can do right from home to make some extra cash.

Here are eight easy and safe ways to earn money, while maintaining social distances.

1. Enjoy canine companionship.

Whether you’re quarantined with your family, all alone, or just looking to get outside for a walk, a canine companion can reduce stress, add some excitement to the mix, and help you

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Mecklenburg expects August surge in cases, asks residents to keep social distancing

Mecklenburg officials say there could be a surge in COVID-19 cases in the county in August and September as the state reopens – signaling the latest revision to projections that previously suggested local hospitals would experience their greatest demand on resources in mid-July.

County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said in a news conference Friday that not enough Mecklenburg residents are continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing. She urged residents to comply with health guidelines to avoid any “significant acceleration or spikes in our curve.”

“The one point I do want to make is that I don’t believe we’re moving into a second wave,” Harris said. “We slowed – almost stopped – our first wave with our social distancing, with our stay-at-home order. We are in the process of resuming that wave.”

Using models to predict the trajectory of cases within two to three months is “challenging,” Harris

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