Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Friday, November 12, 2021, 3:32 PM

Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta Platforms, announced it will remove targeting options that allowed advertisers to seek users based on their race, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation, reports the Guardian. The move, which takes effect in January, was partially motivated by “[f]eedback from civil rights experts, policymakers and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available,” according to Graham Mudd, a Meta vice president of product marketing. Advertisers will still be able to target billions of users based on other demographics, such as age, gender, occupation and location. The announcement came as Meta continues to confront intense scrutiny regarding the revelations revealed in the documents leaked by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Ethiopian authorities have detained 16 United Nations staff members and 70 drivers contracted with the U.N. to transport relief aid into the Tigray region, says the New York Times. The civil war in northern Tigray has created a massive humanitarian emergency, and U.N. and relief agency efforts to aid civilians in the area have been prevented by what they call a de facto blockade. Ethiopia's government has accused the U.N. and other humanitarian groups of sympathizing with the Tigrayan rebels.

Palestinian Assistant Foreign Minister Ahmed al-Deek said Thursday that the phones of three high-ranking Palestinian diplomats had been hacked by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group and accused Israel of using the company’s Pegasus spyware to eavesdrop on them, reports the New York Times. Last week, the Biden administration blacklisted NSO group after its software was found on the phones of activists, journalists and lawyers. Al-Deek did not provide evidence of the hacking or release phone data logs.

On the final scheduled day of the COP26 Summit, delegates are still wrestling with major sticking points on issues such as climate financing and emissions reductions, according to the Wall Street Journal. Many ongoing negotiations are on technical wording or sensitivities over language.

Netherlands Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a three-week partial lockdown to stymie a surge in coronavirus infections, says Reuters. Supermarkets, non-essential retailers, cafes and nightclubs will have to close, but schools, theatres and cinemas will remain open. The announcement marks a large shift for the Dutch government, which believed that the country’s relatively high vaccination rate would allow it to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been granted permission to marry his fiancée Stella Morris in the United Kingdom prison he’s been incarcerated in since 2019, writes NPR. Assange is fighting extradition to the United States after being charged with espionage.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Daniel Kelley on content moderation in video games.

David Priess shared the debut episode of Chatter in which Shane Harris interviews Joe Weisberg on his journey from the CIA to Hollywood, his work on Russia and his new book “Russia Upside Down: An Exit Strategy for the Second Cold War.”

Jonathan Shaub and Benjamin Wittes explored the complexities of the contempt case against Steve Bannon. 

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