Gillian Brockell Furious Over Baby Ads After Child Was Stillborn


Gillian Brockell wrote a letter to Facebook over the baby advertisment after her child was born still

I know you knew I was pregnant. It’s my fault, I just couldn’t resist those Instagram hashtags – #30weekspregnant, #babybump. And, silly me! I even clicked once or twice on the maternity-wear ads Facebook served up. What can I say, I am your ideal “engaged” user.

You surely saw my heartfelt thank-you post to all the girl friends who came to my baby shower, and the sister-in-law who flew in from Arizona for said shower tagging me in her photos. You probably saw me googling “holiday dress maternity plaid” and “babysafe crib paint.” And I bet Amazon even told you my due date, January 24th, when I created that Prime registry.

But didn’t you also see me googling “braxton hicks vs. preterm labor” and “baby not moving”? Did you not see my three days of social media silence, uncommon for a high-frequency user like me? And then the announcement post with keywords like “heartbroken” and “problem” and “stillborn” and the 200 teardrop emoticons from my friends? Is that not something you could track?

You see, there are 24,000 stillbirths in the United States every year, and millions more among your worldwide users. And let me tell you what social media is like when you finally come home from the hospital with the emptiest arms in the world, after you and your husband have spent days sobbing in bed, and you pick up your phone for a few minutes of distraction before the next wail. It’s exactly, crushingly, the same as it was when your baby was still alive. A Pea in the Pod. Motherhood Maternity. Latched Mama. Every damn Etsy tchotchke I was considering for the nursery.

And when we millions of brokenhearted people helpfully click “I don’t want to see this ad,” and even answer your “Why?” with the cruel-but-true “It’s not relevant to me,” do you know what your algorithm decides, Tech Companies? It decides you’ve given birth, assumes a happy result, and deluges you with ads for the best nursing bras (I have cabbage leaves on my breasts because that is the best medical science has to offer to turn your milk off), DVDs about getting your baby to sleep through the night (I would give anything to have heard him cry at all), and the best strollers to grow with your baby (mine will forever be four pounds, one ounce).

And then, after all that, Experian swoops in with the lowest tracking blow of them all: A spam email encouraging me to “finish registering your baby” with them (I never “started,” but sure) to track his credit throughout the life he will never lead.

Please, Tech Companies, I implore you: If your algorithms are smart enough to realize that I was pregnant, or that I’ve given birth, then surely they can be smart enough to realize that my baby died, and advertise to me accordingly – or maybe, just maybe, not at all.

Regards,

Gillian

Addendum:

Rob Goldman, VP of advertising at Facebook, responded to an earlier version of my letter, saying:

“I am so sorry for your loss and your painful experience with our products. We have a setting available that can block ads about some topics people may find painful – including parenting. It still needs improvement, but please know that we’re working on it & welcome your feedback.”

In fact, I knew there was a way to change my Facebook ad settings and attempted to find it a few days ago, without success. Anyone who has experienced the blur, panic and confusion of grief can understand why. I’ve also been deluged with deeply personal messages from others who have experienced stillbirth, infant death and miscarriage who felt the same way I do. We never asked for the pregnancy or parenting ads to be turned on; these tech companies triggered that on their own, based on information we shared. So what I’m asking is that there be similar triggers to turn this stuff off on its own, based on information we shared.

But for anyone who wants to turn off parenting ads on Facebook, it’s under: Settings>Ad Preferences>Hide ad topics>Parenting.

– – –

Brockell is a video editor in the Opinions section of The Washington Post.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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China Furious At Huawei Executive’s Arrest In Canada


Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada following a US extradition request. (file)

Beijing: 

China reacted furiously today after a top executive and daughter of the founder of Chinese telecom giant Huawei was arrested in Canada following a US extradition request, threatening to rattle a trade war truce with the United States.

The detention of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, comes after American authorities reportedly launched an investigation into suspected Iran sanctions violations by Huawei, which was already under scrutiny by US intelligence officials who deemed the company a national security threat.

The arrest stirred tensions just as the United States and China agreed to a ceasefire in their trade spat while negotiators seek a deal within three months.

“We have made solemn representations to Canada and the US, demanding that both parties immediately clarify the reasons for the detention, and immediately release the detainee to protect the person’s legal rights,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing in Beijing.

Meng was arrested in the western city of Vancouver on December 1, Canada’s ministry of justice said in a statement on Wednesday, prompting China’s embassy to say it had “seriously harmed the human rights of the victim”.

The ministry said the US is seeking her extradition and she faces a bail hearing tomorrow, adding it could not provide further details due to a publication ban that was sought by Meng, whose father, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is a former Chinese People’s Liberation Army engineer.

Huawei, which overtook Apple as the world’s number two smartphone maker this year, said it was unaware of any wrongdoing by Meng and was provided “very little information” about the charges.

“Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and EU,” the company said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the US Department of Justice had opened an investigation into suspected violations of Iran sanctions by Huawei.

The New York Times said the company had been subpoenaed by the US Commerce and Treasury Departments over alleged violations of Iran and North Korea sanctions.

“China is working creatively to undermine our national security interests, and the United States and our allies can’t sit on the sidelines,” said US Senator Ben Sasse in a statement linking the arrest to US sanctions against Iran.

The arrest occurred on the same day that US President Donald Trump and Xi struck the trade war truce at a summit in Argentina.

Ye Tan, an independent Chinese economist, said Meng’s arrest could be used as a “bargaining chip” in the trade talks.

“The talks will continue but it’s going to be a lot more tense with higher stakes,” Ye told news agency AFP.

But Geng, the foreign ministry spokesman, said both countries will follow the agreement reached by Trump and Xi to “increase consultations, and work towards an earliest possible mutually beneficial agreement”.

The commerce ministry said separately it will “immediately implement” measures reached under the trade truce, which includes agricultural products, energy and autos, and was “confident” a deal could be reached in the coming 90 days.

ZTE Case

News of her detention rippled through Asian stock markets, with Shanghai and Hong Kong falling and tech firms among the worst hit.

Huawei is not the first Chinese telecoms equipment firm to face the ire of US authorities.

Earlier this year, the US imposed a seven-year ban on the sale of crucial US components to Chinese smartphone maker ZTE after finding it had failed to take action against staff who were responsible for violating trade sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

The ban nearly destroyed the Chinese tech company, forcing it to cease major operations in May.

A month later, Washington and Beijing reached a deal that would strike ZTE from the sanctions list- just days after China reportedly offered to ramp up purchases of American goods to reduce the trade imbalance with the US. American officials denied any connection between the two.

In exchange, ZTE agreed to pay a hefty $1 billion fine and put an additional $400 million in escrow in case of future violations. It was also ordered to replace its board of directors and retain outside monitors.

The case showed that China is highly dependent on imports of US-made semiconductors or computer chips and reinforced Beijing’s need to become self-reliant on this key technology.

Espionage Worries

Huawei is one of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment and services providers.

But its US business has been tightly constrained by worries it could undermine American competitors and that its cellphones and networking equipment, used widely in other countries, could provide Beijing with avenues for espionage.

In May, the Pentagon said that devices from Huawei and ZTE posed an “unacceptable” security risk. Personnel on US military bases are banned from buying ZTE and Huawei equipment.

Over the summer, Australia barred Huawei from providing 5G technology for wireless networks in the country over espionage fears.

New Zealand followed suit in November, but said the issue was a technological one.

Britain’s largest mobile provider BT announced Wednesday it was removing Huawei’s telecommunications equipment from its 4G cellular network, after the MI6 foreign intelligence service chief singled out the company as a potential security risk.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Wesley Sneijder Vows To Quit Qatar In Furious Rant After Red Card, Tweets Apology


Dutch star footballer Wesley Sneijder suffered an astonishing meltdown after being shown a red card during a match between Al-Gharafa and Qatar SC. The former Inter Milan star, regarded as one of the finest playmakers, threatened to never play in Qatar ever again after he was sent off with just a few minutes left on the clock. Sneijder, playing in the Qatar Stars League with Al-Gharafa, has scored 14 times in just 18 appearances. In a video doing the rounds on social media, Sneijder can be seen saying, “This is the last game I play in Qatar!”.

The Dutchman was on a hat-trick in the match against Qatar SC when he picked up the red card for a foul on Qatar SC goalkeeper Jassim Al Hail. He jumped to avoid contact with the goalie but landed on the right hand of Al Hail.

The referee surprisingly showed him a straight red for the incident. A furious Sneijder gesticulated at the referee but to no avail and while making his way off the pitch  he was caught on camera repeatedly saying: “This is the last game I play in Qatar!”.

After the match, the 34-year-old made a complete U-turn and tweeted his apology. In his apology, Sneijder wrote that he overreacted in the heat of the moment and enjoyed living, playing in Qatar.

Sneijder, the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan playmaker, moved to Al Gharafa of Qatar earlier this year from Ligue 1 side Nice. A star of the Netherlands team that got to the 2010 World Cup final is the most-capped Dutch player of all time.

Sneijder turned out for the Netherlands for the 134th and final time in the team’s 2-1 friendly win over Peru in Amsterdam in September this year.





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Kieron Pollard’s On-Field Antics Leave Jasprit Bumrah Furious


Kieron Pollard was completely beaten as he gave a top-edge to it. Sensing an opportunity, Bumrah started moving towards the trajectory of the ball.

But, a walking Pollard by then was almost under the ball and when he realized that Bumrah was there to take the catch, almost in the last moment, he took his hand off from the position which created a block vision for the bowler.

Although Bumrah completed the catch, he was visibly furious at his IPL teammate.

Earlier, skipper Rohit Sharma smashed his fourth Twenty20 international century, the most by any batsman in the format. 

Rohit hit an unbeaten 111 off 61 deliveries to power the hosts to 192-2 after being put into bat first.

India then restricted the tourists to 124/9 and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and Jasprit Bumrah, along with spinner Kuldeep Yadav, took two wickets each.





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Kieron Pollard’s On-Field Antics Leave Jasprit Bumrah Furious


Kieron Pollard was completely beaten as he gave a top-edge to it. Sensing an opportunity, Bumrah started moving towards the trajectory of the ball.

But, a walking Pollard by then was almost under the ball and when he realized that Bumrah was there to take the catch, almost in the last moment, he took his hand off from the position which created a block vision for the bowler.

Although Bumrah completed the catch, he was visibly furious at his IPL teammate.

Earlier, skipper Rohit Sharma smashed his fourth Twenty20 international century, the most by any batsman in the format. 

Rohit hit an unbeaten 111 off 61 deliveries to power the hosts to 192-2 after being put into bat first.

India then restricted the tourists to 124/9 and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Fast bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and Jasprit Bumrah, along with spinner Kuldeep Yadav, took two wickets each.





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Transgender Actors Are Furious Over Scarlett Johansson’s New Role


Johansson’s casting as a transgender man garnered massive backlash (courtesy AFP)

Scarlett Johansson faced tremendous backlash this week following news of her casting as a potentially transgender man.

“Actors who are trans never even get to audition FOR ANYTHING OTHER THAN ROLES OF TRANS CHARACTERS. THATS THE REAL ISSUE. WE CANT EVEN GET IN THE ROOM. Cast actors WHO ARE TRANS as NON TRANS CHARACTERS. I DARE YOU,” Jamie Clayton, a transgender actress who appeared in Netflix’s Sense8, said in a tweet that was liked more than 30,000 times.

“Nowhere in this tweet did I say that S.J. shouldn’t play this character. I’m bringing attention to an issue that doesn’t get acknowledged. Hire actors who happen to be trans for ALL KINDS of roles and this issue goes away,” Clayton later added.

Johansson is set to portray Dante “Tex” Gill, who ran a massage parlor business and prostitution ring in 1970s and ’80s Pittsburgh. The movie, helmed by British director Rupert Sanders, doesn’t have a release date – but it’s garnered a lot of attention.

“Oh word?? So you can continue to play us but we can’t play y’all?” trans actress Trace Lysette, known for her role in Transparent, tweeted Tuesday. “I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case. A mess.”

“And not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived . . . so twisted. I’m so done,” Lysette added.

Johansson didn’t appear to do herself any favors when, upon being asked for comment, one of her representatives told Bustle, “Tell [critics] that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” All three actors have portrayed transgender characters: Tambor in Transparent, Leto in Dallas Buyers Club and Huffman in Transamerica.

Many believe that transgender characters should only be portrayed by those who identify as transgender, particularly because transgender actors often have trouble finding work in Hollywood.

“I hope the Scarlett Johansson controversy doesn’t keep the amazing story of Jean Marie Gill aka Dante ‘Tex’ Gill from being told – if Johansson was smart, she’d find a new director, take the role of Tex’s girlfriend Cynthia, and give a trans actor a big break,” tweeted YouTube star Grace Randolph.

“Dear Hollywood, here are the rules we the Trans decided: Until the world stops erasing/oppressing/murdering us, trans women play trans women, trans men play trans men, nonbinary people play NB people,” tweeted transgender actress and activist Jen Richards. “If your project needs a ‘star’ for financing, then it’s simply not good enough.”

But, as Bustle pointed out, there is a good deal of controversy over whether Gill identified as transgender. The website wrote that “Hollywood Reporter describes [the character] as ‘a woman [Jean Marie Gill] who succeeded in Pittsburgh’s 1970s and 1980s massage parlor and prostitution business by assuming the identity of a man, Dante ‘Tex’ Gill.’ However, other publications like Vulture have described Johansson’s character as a ‘transmasculine crime boss,’ while others, like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, called the real-life Gill a lesbian ‘who dressed like a man in suits and ties, wore short hair and sideburns and preferred to be called ‘Mr. Gill.’ “

Likely fueling the outrage is the fact that Johansson and Sanders came under fire for the last movie they made together, Ghost In The Shell. In it, Johansson portrayed a Japanese woman in a white cyborg’s body. Many saw this as whitewashing.

“It was particularly heinous because they ran CGI tests to make her look more Asian,” actress Constance Wu said at the time, referring to reports, denied by Paramount, that the studio altered her appearance with CGI, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “Some people call it ‘yellowface,’ but I say ‘the practice of blackface employed on Asians’ because that’s more evocative.”

The movie was a flop, and at least one executive claimed the casting controversy was why.

“We had hopes for better results domestically. I think the conversation regarding casting impacted the reviews,” Kyle Davies, domestic distribution chief for Paramount, told CBC.

(c) 2018, The Washington Post

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Dhule Mob Was So Furious That They Wanted To Burn Bodies After Killing


Rainpada, Maharashtra: 

The mob, which lynched five tribals on Sunday night on suspicion of child lifting, was not satisfied with their killing and wanted the bodies to be burnt on the spot, according to the police.

The victims belonged to the nomadic Nath Gosavi community who move from place to place in Maharashtra in search of food and work.

According to police officials and locals, the victims were first attacked by a group of “highly inebriated” people in Kakar pada, a village adjoining Rainpada village, in Dhule district and were brought here while being continuously thrashed along the 1-km stretch.

The tribals had arrived on the night of last Saturday and had planned to go to the police station on Sunday to register themselves.

Whenever this community visits a village, they report to the local police station about their stay.

According to videos which went viral, one of the five victims apparently tried to speak to a six-year-old girl after which they were pounced upon, stoned and thrashed with sticks and chappals.

The provocation was apparently the rumours on social media which suggested that a gang of child-lifters was active in the area.

The police received a distress call at around 11 am on July 1 and they reached the spot around 12 pm, a distance of around 40 kms, said Assistant police inspector Yogesh Khatkal of Pimpalner police station.

He said there was a crowd of about 3,000 people when they reached the incident site.

“When we reached there, all the five were dead,” he said.

There was so much of anger among the people that they tried to prevent the police physically from taking custody of the bodies, said Mr Khatkal, who was one of the five police personnel injured in the fury.

“They wanted the bodies to be burnt there only,” the police official said.

He said 23 people have been arrested in the case so far. Sakharam Pawar, a former sarpanch of Rainpada, described the sequence of events on the fateful day.

He said that around a dozen people had caught hold of the five persons after they saw them dressed in attires not commonly associated with the Nath Gosavi community.

Nath Gosavi is a nomadic community from Maharashtra. They live on what people offer them. People from this community not only wander in the state in search of food, work, they also travel to other states.

“The villagers saw the men, who were dressed in strange attires, offering biscuits to small children. This aroused suspicion that they wanted to kidnap the children,” Mr Pawar said.

He said messages were already being spread on WhatsApp about children being kidnapped and killed by outsiders and their kidneys sold.

Mr Pawar said the five men, suspected to be kidnappers, were beaten up at Kakar pada village and were brought to Rainpada, which is a distance of a little over 1 km.

“They were being continuously beaten on the way,” he said.

Vishwas Gangurde, another villager, said when the five men were brought to Rainpada, the villagers tried to intervene and asked people of the adjoining villages to let them give their version.

“The men were then taken to the panchayat office, where the villagers asked about their antecedents and what they were doing with the children. As they had been thrashed badly, they were only half awake,” he said.

“While they were being questioned, some youth in a highly inebriated state, egged the gathered crowd to not believe what the five men said,” Mr Gangurde added.

“The mob then broke the door and windows of the panchayat office and started thrashing the men, which resulted in their death,” he said.

“None of these drunk youth, who egged the mob to kill the victims, were from Rainpada…Just 2-3 of them were from our village,” he claimed.

He said the Sunday market here attracts people from over 20 villages.

Another officer from the police station, requesting anonymity, said five teams have been formed, which are looking for other people involved in this lynching.





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