Monday, November 14, 2016
'Economic frustration led to Trump, Brexit'; 2016 may be hottest year; Facebook's fake news crisis
1 ‘Economic frustration led to Trump, Brexit’ (Katie Allen in The Guardian) Politicians around the world risk giving more traction to nationalistic movements if they continue to ignore the growing numbers of workers getting a “raw deal” from globalisation, the head of the UN’s labour agency has warned.
The director general of the International Labour Organization, Guy Ryder, described Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election and the UK’s vote for Brexit as “the revolt of the dispossessed” and gave a damning assessment of the establishment’s failure to offer an alternative to protectionism.
British-born Ryder said governments had been too quick to focus on headline figures that flattered the state of labour markets since the global financial crisis. In so doing they had failed to scratch below the surface into a world of zero-hours contracts, underemployment and unreliable incomes, he said, as the ILO released research showing a rise in such non-standard forms of employment.
Speaking days after Trump stunned the world with his victory over Hillary Clinton, the ILO chief highlighted the common ground between the Republican candidate’s supporters and those who voted for the UK to leave the EU. “It is the people who feel they haven’t benefited from globalisation and from the EU, from the way things are organised. This is the revolt of the dispossessed in that regard,” he said.
The ILO report finds temporary work, agency work, precarious self-employment and other non-standard forms of employment have become more widespread. On the ground, that translates into downward pressure on earnings, unreliable working hours and lower access to workplace benefits.
His comments reflect the tendency among ministers to focus on record employment levels and falling unemployment, while largely ignoring that wages have stagnated, people have felt pressured into self-employment and millions say they want to work more hours than they can get.
2 This year may be hottest ever (San Francisco Chronicle) The UN weather agency says 2016 is set to break the record for the hottest year since measurements began in the 19th century.
The World Meteorological Organization said Monday that preliminary data through October shows global average temperatures this year are 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
That's getting close to the limit set by the global climate agreement adopted in Paris last year. It calls for limiting the temperature rise since the industrial revolution to 2 degrees C or even 1.5 degrees C. This year's temperatures were boosted by the El Nino weather event.
The previous hottest year was 2015. WMO said 16 of the 17 hottest years have occurred this century, with the only exception being 1998, which was also an El Nino year.
3 Facebook’s fake news crisis (Dave Lee on BBC) Despite the best efforts of Mark Zuckerberg to downplay Facebook’s role in the election of Donald Trump, the scrutiny of how fake news is spread on the platform has intensified. Buzzfeed News is reporting that "more than dozens" of Facebook employees have created an unofficial task force dedicated to addressing the issue.
“[Mark Zuckerberg] knows, and those of us at the company know, that fake news ran wild on our platform during the entire campaign season,” the source said. Meanwhile, Google announced it would do more to prevent fake news sites from making money through advertising.
Earlier, Facebook denied claims that a tool to whittle out fake news had been created before the election, only to be shelved due to concerns it would make Facebook look like it was censoring conservative views. Mr Zuckerberg appears to be increasingly agitated by the suggestion that fake news was a serious problem on his site.
He posted a lengthy update to his profile page defending it. "Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic,” he wrote. "Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics."
His conclusion: "Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other." That statistic - 99% - has been the subject of much derision as it apparently refers to content of any kind being posted to Facebook.
In May, Facebook came under heavy criticism after it was alleged that human editors working on the Trending Topics section of Facebook were removing stories that pushed a conservative or pro-Trump agenda. Facebook denied this was the case, but removed the human element anyway in an attempt to appear neutral.