A U.S. federal court has given tobacco companies until June 18 to post a corrective statement on their websites about the dangers of their products and their efforts to mislead the public about those risks.
The companies were also ordered to include the statement on cigarette packages by November, according to the order issued Tuesday. It will also apply to any social media campaigns aimed at promoting cigarettes.
The corrective statements will state, among other things, that cigarette smoking causes on average 1,200 American deaths per day; that cigarettes are designed to create and sustain nicotine addiction; that low-tar, light, and natural cigarettes are no less harmful that regular ones; and that secondhand smoke causes disease and death in non-smokers.
The statements are part of a 2006 injunction against major U.S. cigarette makers to “prevent and restrain” further deception of the American people regarding tobacco use, a Justice Department statement said.
Three major U.S. tobacco companies, R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris and ITG Brands, have been fighting to weaken and delay the statements since 2006. (VOA)
Facebook says it has blocked more than 100 accounts with potential ties to a so-called Russian “troll farm” that may have sought to interfere with Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections.
The social media giant said in a statement Wednesday that it had blocked the Facebook and Instagram accounts ahead of the vote. Facebook said it made the move after a tip from law enforcement officials.
Facebook’s head of cybersecurity, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in a statement that the accounts were blocked late Monday over suspicions they were “engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, which is banned from our services.” Among those accounts blocked were 85 Instagram accounts and 30 Facebook pages, most of which were in French or Russian languages. The Instagram accounts were mostly English-language, Facebook said.
Investigators say the accounts may be linked to a group known as the Internet Research Agency, which is based in St. Petersburg, Russia. In February, a federal grand jury indicted the group over allegations of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Gleicher called the recent discovery “a timely reminder that these bad actors won’t give up — and why it is so important we work with the U.S. government and other technology companies to stay ahead.”
Before Gleicher’s statement, the Internet Research Agency said in a statement that it was responsible for the accounts, although that has not been verified.
In its statement, the organization said, “Citizens of the United States of America! Your intelligence agencies are powerless. Despite all their efforts, we have thousands of accounts registered on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit spreading political propaganda.” The message was written in capital letters.
The statement also included a list of accounts to which the organization was supposedly attached.