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Broadband Roundup

Stricter Content Moderation, Legislation for Broadband Initiatives, Recommendations for Absentee Voting

Jericho Casper

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Photo of Sen. Michael Bennet by Gage Skidmore used with permission

This week, social media platforms started to make long called-for changes to their content policies, reported The New York Times.

Reddit banned the platform’s largest subreddit supporting President Donald Trump, known as r/The_Donald, which critics claimed fostered bigotry.

Twitch has temporarily suspended Trump’s account due to “hateful content,” including a rebroadcasted 2015 campaign event in which he made comments about Mexico sending drugs, crime and rapists over the border.

Further, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he would begin labeling posts from the president that included misinformation, a change from his earlier refusals to consider the matter.

This action is occurring after Facebook’s net value has begun to plummet, affected by companies boycotting Facebook advertising in the “Stop the Hate for Profit” campaign led by the NAACP and other advocacy groups.

Bennet introduces legislation to deploy affordable, high-speed broadband nationwide

On Tuesday, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced the Broadband Reform and Investment to Drive Growth in the Economy (BRIDGE) Act to deploy affordable, high-speed broadband networks nationwide.

“Over the past few decades, Washington has spent tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to deploy slow, outdated broadband networks that fail to meet the needs of communities in Colorado and across the country,” Bennet claimed.

Attempting to bypass this issue, the proposed legislation would provide $30 billion in flexible funding to states and $1 billion to tribal governments to deploy high-speed broadband in unserved and underserved communities nationwide.

The bill requires states and tribal governments to competitively award funding and prioritizes applicants that can quickly start and complete construction, demonstrate community support and offer gigabit-level speeds.

It also raises the minimum speed requirements for any funded network to no less than 100/100 megabits per second, while requiring low latency for modern uses like videoconferencing.

“Affordable, high-speed broadband is essential to full participation in modern American life, allowing people to telework, learn remotely, and access telemedicine,” Bennet said.

Lincoln Network’s recommendations for secure and accessible elections

The Lincoln Network recently published a working paper, offering absentee voting solutions to achieve secure and accessible elections in 2020, and beyond.

The authors, Sean Roberts and Alexiaa Jordan, noted the pros and cons of absentee voting solutions.

Most importantly, they wrote, absentee voting provides a safe option during the pandemic, when health concerns that require social distancing could prevent individuals from voting in person.

The authors found that increasing access to absentee ballots would offer more convenience for voters, reduce costs for state and local governments administering elections and increase voter turnout.

Critics of widespread absentee voting claim that it will enable ballot harvesting, increase voter fraud and delay election results.

In order to avoid these potential downsides, the authors called for ballot tracking measures and to keep in-person voting open as well.

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