Hillicon Valley: Patagonia latest company to pull ads from Facebook | Top EU officials call out China for hospital cyberattacks | Trump team pushes back on reports of TikTok, K-pop rally sabotage

Hillicon Valley: Patagonia latest company to pull ads from Facebook | Top EU officials call out China for hospital cyberattacks | Trump team pushes back on reports of TikTok, K-pop rally sabotage
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Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.

MORE COMPANIES PULL ADS: Patagonia announced Sunday that it is pulling its ads from Facebook, becoming the latest company to join an advertising boycott demanding the tech giant take greater steps to police incendiary speech on the platform.


A band of civil rights groups last week launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign in response to what it called “Facebook’s long history of allowing racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform.” The groups said that a cease in advertising spending by corporations could send a “powerful message.”

Cory Bayers, the head of marketing at Patagonia, said in a series of tweets that the decision to join the boycott stemmed from Facebook’s failure to take sufficient steps “to stop the spread of hateful lies and dangerous propaganda on its platform.” The outdoor apparel company said that its ad boycott would apply to Facebook and Instagram and that it would proceed until at least the end of July, “pending meaningful action from the social media giant.”

The move came just two days after NorthFace and REI announced that they were suspending advertising spending with Facebook. Upwork, a global freelancing platform, also announced Friday that it was "hitting pause" on its Facebook advertising. All four of the companies attached the hashtag #StopHateForProfit to their announcements. 

"From secure elections to a global pandemic to racial justice, the stakes are too high to sit back and let the company continue to be complicit in spreading disinformation and fomenting fear and hatred," Bayers said. "We stand with #StopHateforProfit in saying Facebook’s ‘profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and violence."

Carolyn Everson, vice president of Facebook's global business group, told The Hill in a statement that "we deeply respect any brand's decision and remain focused on the important work of removing hate speech and providing critical voting information."

Read more about the pull advertisements here. 



CHINA’S BEEN WARNED: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday that she warned Chinese President Xi Jinping against hacking European hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have seen cyberattacks on hospitals and dedicated computing centers. Likewise we’ve seen a rise in online disinformation, and we pointed out clearly that this cannot be tolerated,” von der Leyen told reporters Monday.

Von der Leyen’s remarks were made following the European Union (EU)-China Summit that took place virtually on Monday, which came in the midst of international tensions over the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Participants in the summit included Xi, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, European Council President Charles Michel and EU High Representative Josep Borrell.

Hospitals around the world have become targets of cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular from ransomware attacks, or when the attacker locks up a network and demands payment to allow access again.

The second largest hospital in the Czech Republic was the victim of a cyberattack in March, while the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in Illinois had its website taken down by hackers the same month. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI put out a joint alert last month warning that Chinese government-backed hackers were targeting U.S. groups involved in COVID-19 research.

INTERPOL, an international police organization, warned hospitals and other groups involved in fighting COVID-19 of ransomware threats in April, specifically that cyber criminals were preventing hospitals from accessing patient records until the ransom was paid.

Major health agencies have also been targeted by cyber criminals over the past few months, including the World Health Organization and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more about the threats to hospitals here.  

TWITTER TAKEDOWN: Twitter disabled the video on a tweet from President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE that included a manipulated CNN chyron. 

“This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner," reads a message now in place of the video.

Twitter had initially flagged the tweet as containing manipulated media before also disabling the video.

The original video included an edited CNN chyron reading "terrified todler[sic] runs from racist baby."

“Per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement The Hill.

The initial video, which went viral before being included on the tweet, shows two children running towards each other and embracing. The tweet edited the video to include menacing background music and the manipulated CNN headline.

Twitter confirmed that it took action over the tweet after a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice from a rights holder.

In a statement directly addressing Trump, a CNN spokesperson noted that the network covered the footage of the two New York children when it first went viral in 2019 under the headline "These two toddlers are showing us what real-life besties look like."

"CNN did cover this story — exactly as it happened. Just as we reported your positions on race [and poll numbers]," the network said in a statement. "We’ll continue working with facts rather than tweeting fake videos that exploit innocent children. We invite you to do the same. Be better."

Read more about the disabled tweet here.  



TIKTOK INTERFERENCE: President Trump’s reelection campaign dismissed a report that TikTok users and K-pop fans sabotaged attendance at Trump’s Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Okla., by registering for free tickets and not showing up. 

“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Trump's campaign manager, Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE, said in a statement Sunday. 

“Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-pop fans - without contacting the campaign for comment - behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade,” he added. 

K-pop fan accounts and TikTok users started sharing information about a tweet from the Trump campaign asking supporters to register for free tickets, encouraging users to sign up for the rally and then not show, The New York Times reported Sunday. 

YouTuber Elijah Daniel told the Times the trend spread mostly through “Alt TikTok.” 

“We kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” Daniel, 26, who participated in the social media campaign, told the newspaper. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWhat to watch in New Jersey's primaries on Tuesday Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president MORE (D-N.Y.) even lauded “teens on TikTok” for the effort. 

“Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud,” the congresswoman tweeted before thanking "KPop allies" in a subsequent post. 

But Parscale claims the social media effort did not impact the crowd size. 

“Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cell phone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool,” he said. “These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission - entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”

Parscale instead blamed a “week’s worth of fake news media” about the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for impacting the crowd size. 

Read more here. 


TECH COMPANY DOESN’T SEE ITS DAY IN COURT: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a technology company's challenge to IRS regulations issued in 2003, letting stand a lower court's ruling that will require companies to pay billions of dollars more in taxes.

The high court denied a petition from Altera Corporation, now a business unit of Intel.

The IRS in 2003 issued regulations that require related parties, such as a U.S. parent company and a foreign subsidiary, that enter into cost-sharing agreements to share stock-based compensation, such as stock options.

The regulations were criticized by a number of companies, who argued that unrelated parties entering similar agreements don't share stock-based compensation. Altera filed a lawsuit after the IRS applied the 2003 rules to the company and issued it deficiency notices for 2004-2007.

The U.S. Tax Court sided with Altera, finding that the regulation was invalid under the Administrative Procedures Act because it was arbitrary and capricious. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed the Tax Court's decision, determining that the regulations were not arbitrary and capricious.

Read more about the case here. 


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Andrew YangAndrew YangBiden campaign to take over 'Supernatural' star's Instagram for interview Hillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night MORE is pushing Big Tech to pay users for data (The Verge / Makena Kelly)

How K-pop fans are weaponizing the internet for Black Lives Matter (Vox / Aja Romano)

‘BlueLeaks’ Exposes Files from Hundreds of Police Departments (KrebsonSecurity)