Michael Bloomberg Fends Off Old Controversy, Trump Insults: The Rundown

Nellie Chapman
February 14, 2020

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had a bit of a disagreement with a top adviser to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about whether the Democratic candidate is sensitive to President Trump's jabs towards his height. In a comment posted to his Instagram, meme curator Joshua Ostrovsky (most widely known as @thefatjewish) says he declined an offer from the Bloomberg campaign.

The new, self-deprecating Instagram memes show fake messages between Bloomberg and the meme accounts, poking fun at the idea of him paying social influencers to ingratiate himself with young voters.

Bloomberg is a former NY mayor who owns the news agency that bears his name. That's why we chose to give Mike a hand and create a couple of actually amusing memes, that we're sure the kids will love.

But these "organic" or "native" advertisements, written in the influencer's own voice, will not appear in the political ad library, even if a politician has paid for them.

Bloomberg's effort skirted numerous rules that tech companies have imposed on political ads to safeguard US elections from malicious foreign and domestic interference and misinformation.

"Can you post a meme that lets everyone know I'm the cool candidate?"

Ofcom set for United Kingdom online harms role
This morning, the Government published its initial response (the "Response") to last year's Online Harms White Paper consultation. It will then be for Ofcom to decide when and how companies have breached that duty and what the punishment should be.

Facebook Inc said on Friday it was allowing USA -based political candidates to run branded content on its social networking platforms, but the content would not be catalogued in its advertising library.

The company now updates a public list of ads run by politicians, their campaigns and political parties. In one of the DMs, for example, Bloomberg says he has learned how to use Photoshop before sharing a photo of Bernie Sanders that has been a wellspring of memes recently. "We're allowing USA -based political candidates to work with creators to run this content, provided the political candidates are authorized and the creators disclose any paid partnerships through our branded content tools".

Perhaps one of the most disconcerting traits of this unprecedented initiative is that there's no way to gauge just how many of these accounts accepted money from Bloomberg's campaign, and how many have parodied the format of being sponsored by Bloomberg and turned that into a meme itself.

The social network said in a statement: "After hearing from multiple campaigns, we agree that there's a place for branded content in political discussion on our platforms".

Politicians still won't be required to disclose how much they paid the influencers to run the posts - and the new rules won't apply to someone merely creating or sharing a post about a politician without getting paid. Bloomberg wrote in one of the exchanges posted by an Instagram account with almost 15 million followers.

Mount Rainier, Maryland, Mayor Malinda Miles and Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor William Bell are the two other mayors that bring Bloomberg's mayoral endorsements to 111, according to the campaign.

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