Squiz Today / 19 December 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 19 December


“We were, like, maybe this isn’t in alignment of where we were going to go with our holiday personality and posts.”

Said a spokeswoman for US logistics company UPS after a company tweet offering to shred kids’ letters to Santa didn’t go down as well as they’d hoped. The thanks you get for trying to be helpful…


Not ready and somewhat unwilling – that how two new reports released yesterday by the US Senate Intelligence Committee summarises big social media and tech companies’ approach to protecting democratic institutions from attack. The committee is one of many looking into allegations of interference by Russia in America’s 2016 presidential election.

• Analysis showed Russian disinformation teams “ranged nimbly across social media platforms in a shrewd online influence operation aimed squarely at American voters.” That made it hard for misleading posts or reports to be found and deleted quickly.

• But there is also frustration because the data the companies have handed over does not answer the critical question: Did the Russian attacks influence the outcome of the election?

• And are these companies able to deal with something similar in the future? That’s a question that’s not yet been adequately answered, the committee says.

Almost on cue, Twitter has warned users about activity from what it thinks could be “state-sponsored actors” with ties to China and Saudi Arabia. Twitter said they don’t know what the intent was, but a bug discovered in mid-November could have revealed the country codes of users’ phone numbers when using a help form. No full phone numbers or personal data was revealed. Twitter’s share price fell more than 8% on the news.



Two men drowned and another is missing after a group of six swimmers got into trouble at Moonee Beach, near NSW’s Coffs Harbour, on Monday night. Thankfully, three teenagers were able to be rescued when emergency services found them in distress 300m from shore. The search for the missing man will resume today. The group was holidaying from Sydney. Locals said the beach was unpatrolled and not safe for swimming, and Surf Life Saving urged beachgoers everywhere to swim in supervised areas only.


Mario Santoro, the former boyfriend of murdered Brazilian national Cecilia Haddad, has given his account of his movements for the first time. Speaking in his murder trial in Rio de Janeiro, Santoro said he didn’t flee Sydney after Haddad was killed and dumped in the Lane Cove River in April. Rather, he said he’d returned to Brazil to see his father who was about to have heart surgery. The couple had split but still lived together, and Haddad's parents have previously told the court she was afraid of him. Despite the crime occurring in Australia, Brazil would not extradite Santoro and is trying him there for Haddad's murder.


A good game’s a quick game…

BROAD-ENING THE FUTURE – Embattled MP Andrew Broad yesterday said he would not contest the next election. "After recent media stories about my private life, it is clear that the people of Mallee will be best served in the next Parliament by a different Nationals candidate," he said. There was no sugar-coating it

NSW LABOR RAIDS – Investigators from the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption raided Labor's Sydney HQ yesterday. Reports say it's about a ‘Chinese Friends of Labor' fundraising dinner last year that was attended by leader Bill Shorten, and accusations of undisclosed or illegal donations.

PLAYING HAPPY FAMILIES – It was as subtle as Bill Shorten writing ‘Labor is more united than the other mob’ on his forehead… Former PMs Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Paul Keating were honoured with life membership of the Labor Party on the closing day of its national conference. "For us to fully grasp the future we have to put to bed the disagreements of the past. And for us, that time has well and truly come,” Rudd said.


CONCERN FOR DAW - Majak Daw, the first Sudanese-born AFL footballer, broke at least one hip and sustained other fractures in a fall on Monday night. The Australian reports(paywall) the North Melbourne player fought with his girlfriend and then took medication before driving to Melbourne's Bolte Bridge where he abandoned his car. He was found in the water 25m below. He is in hospital in a stable condition. Friends say the pressure of making it footy and representing his community has been intense for Daw.

TAUNTING FOR A WIN - Australia has won the second cricket test match against India to level the series 1-1. It’s the team’s first test victory since the ball-tampering saga in March. But what captured headlines was the on-field exchanges between Aussie Tim Paine and India’s Virat Kohli. Onwards to the Boxing Day test in Melbourne…


Those Stefanovic men have been in the news a lot lately… Nine journalist Peter Stefanovic has parted ways “by mutual agreement” with the network after 15 years. Stefanovic’s hosting of Weekend Today meant the family had a lock on Nine’s breakfast shows with brother Karl at the Today desk through the week. Another family activity this year included slagging off colleagues in an Uber. The incident put the brothers on the wrong side of management, and along with endless headlines about Karl’s “off-screen relationships”, there has been a lot said and written about their futures.


Bambi has been prescribed as compulsory viewing for one criminal deer poacher. Is there nothing some Disney magic can’t fix?


20th anniversary of the impeachment of US President Bill Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (1998)

Anniversary of the release of Charles Dickens' Yuletide tale, A Christmas Carol in Britain (1843)

Jake Gyllenhaal's birthday (1980)

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