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Facebook blocks 115 accounts for alleged ‘inauthentic behavior’ ahead of midterms

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Facebook has blocked 115 accounts on its platforms due to alleged “inauthentic behavior” ahead of the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday.

Facebook made the announcement in a statement Monday evening, saying it blocked 30 accounts on its namesake platform and 85 on Instagram that authorities believe are linked to foreign entities tying to interfere with the closely watched U.S. elections.

The social media giant said U.S. law enforcement flagged the accounts on Sunday, citing “online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities,” according to the statement. Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it immediately blocked accounts and opened an investigation.

Nearly all of the blocked Facebook pages appeared to be written in French or Russian, although the Instagram accounts were mostly in English, the company said, noting that some of the Instagram accounts focused on celebrities and political debate.

“Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly,” Facebook said. “But given that we are only one day away from important elections in the U.S., we wanted to let people know about the action we’ve taken and the facts as we know them today.”

Facebook said it planned to release more information as the investigation continues.

“Once we know more — including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities — we will update this post,” Facebook said.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned last quarter that the company’s sales growth would slow significantly for the remainder 2018 as it ramps up spending on safety and security.

The company said it deleted 82 “bad actors” from Facebook in October due to coordinated inauthentic behavior that originated in Iran. Facebook also disclosed sophisticated attempts from Russia to interfere with elections and promote political discord in the U.S.

An internal investigation into the Iranian accounts found that more than 1 million Facebook users had followed at least one of the fraudulent pages, while about 25,000 users joined at least one of these politically oriented groups, according to a company statement.

Facebook company opened a war room earlier this year in an effort to combat election interference around the globe. The company said its so-called elections war room is the nerve center of the social network’s fight against misinformation and political interference.

“Finding and removing abuse is a constant challenge. Our adversaries are smart and well funded, and as we improve their tactics change,” the company said in October. “We prohibit coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook because we want people who use our services to be able to trust the connections they make.”

Source: https://abc7ny.com/facebook-blocks-115-accounts-for-alleged-inauthentic-behavior-ahead-of-midterms/4629079/

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Bitter Weather, Frigid Wind Chills Set in – Next Up, the Snow

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The second storm of the week could bring up up to 3 inches of snow to New York City and spots along the I-95 corridor on Thursday, Storm Team 4 says. And places well north and west of the city could see nearly half a foot.

Temperatures plunged overnight, and comparatively bitter, blustery conditions are expected through the day Wednesday, which is only expected to see a high near 40 degrees. Temps drop into the 30s on Thursday, though the wind chill will make you want to keep your hands in your pockets most of the day.

Overall, Thursday will feel more like January for most of the day as the coldest air of the season moves in, Storm Team 4 says.

Clouds will gradually start to float back into the area after midnight leading into Thursday, and will continue to fill in as the next storm system approaches. Much of the morning will stay cold, cloudy and dry before a wintry mix of precipitation arrives Thursday afternoon.
Given marginal temperatures near or just slightly above freezing, precipitation associated with this system could initially start off as snow, but will transition over to a wintry mix before completely changing over to rain Thursday night once milder air pushes in, Storm Team 4 says.

In general, the city and areas along the I-95 corridor could see a slushy 1 to 3 inches of snow accumulate by the evening commute, while areas south and east (and along the immediate coastline) will see mostly just rain out of this system. Colder places well to the north and west will see more snow before rain mixes in, with accumulations ranging anywhere between 3 to 5 inches (and possibly more across the higher elevations).

Storm Team 4 emphasizes the totals are likely to change as the storm gets closer. Keep checking with Storm Team 4 for the latest updates.
Regardless, hazardous traveling conditions Thursday evening will make for a rather slow and slushy commute home for many. By Friday morning, most of the area will see plain rain, with only the distant suburbs north and west seeing icy conditions. Highs bump back into the mid-40s on Friday and are expected to stay in that range through the weekend, Storm Team 4 says.

Source: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Heavy-Rain-Is-Coming—-and-Then-the-Cold-500265102.html

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Biggest names in entertainment share thoughts on Stan Lee’s death at 95

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Stan Lee, the co-creator of Marvel Comics and a plethora of its iconic characters, died at the age of 95 early Monday morning, Nov. 12.

Lee’s daughter reportedly confirmed the news of her father’s passing on Monday to TMZ. The outlet reports an ambulance went to Lee’s house in the Hollywood Hills early Monday, and that he was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he died.

“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect,” Bob Iger, Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO, said in a news release.

“The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart.”

The co-creator — with Jack Kirby — of Marvel, Spider-Man, Black Panther, the X-Men, The Avengers, Fantastic Four and many more had battled a number of health problems in recent years. He started Marvel with Kirby back in 1961, and wrote some of the most iconic comic characters and stories for many years.

Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber in New York City — which served as the homebase for so many of his iconic characters –, and started using the name “Stan Lee” with a 1941 issue of “Captain America.”

In the past couple of decades, Lee continued to stay involved on the comic con scene and by having a cameo in so many movies featuring characters he had a hand in either creating or writing.

In the 1940s, he served in the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps and returned to comics in 1945 once his service was complete.

He became the head of Marvel Comics in the early 1970s as he transitioned from enthusiastic, lively writer to the person in command. Lee’s patented dialogue, character development and clever use of sound effects helped bring comic books out of its dark ages and into the state we see today.

His creations now make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is the most wide-ranging, profitable entity of its kind in the world.

As if his influence or impact on the entertainment industry wasn’t evident enough, scroll through the rest of this post for a collection of tributes and reaction to the news of Lee’s death on Monday. From Seth Rogen to longtime competitor DC Comics, the memories and comments came from every direction once word made the rounds:

Source: https://www.mlive.com/expo/news/erry-2018/11/319ddb82859528/biggest-names-in-entertainment.html

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Brooklyn woman spends year trying to prove she’s alive after being declared dead

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For a woman in Brooklyn, the good news is that she’s alive. The bad news is that she’s been locked in a year-long battle to prove she’s not dead.

Over the weekend, Marzena Pogorzelska celebrated a most unusual anniversary – one year since the day she ‘died’.

“And after a whole entire year, they still cannot put me back to life,” she said.

It was hard enough to believe when we first met Marzena earlier this year.

She had been cut off from health insurance, her credit frozen, all because of an error by the Social Security Administration, linking her Social Security number to someone who actually had died.

It’s been quite a story to tell.

“People look at me like I’m not all there, or they look at me like wow, this is like a Lifetime movie,” she said.

When Eyewitness News first reported on Marzena, the federal government apologized and issued a letter for her to show creditors, saying she had been wrongly shown as deceased.

But still, every month she gets letters from one of her banks: “Please accept our condolences for the loss of Marzena Pogorzelska”, freezing her accounts all over again.

Her name evidently made it onto a national registry of dead people, meant to prevent identity theft by locking their Social Security numbers. And it works.

“It’s crazy, sometimes I wake up in the morning and say oh God, here’s another day,” said Marzena.

She says the stress of it all almost killed her for real. She suffered a heart attack over the summer and now her insurance won’t cover the $45,000 hospital bill because, you guessed it, on paper she was already dead.

And now with the close of another year, it’s almost time for this small business owner to file her tax return, which of course poses more questions.

“Even my accountant does not know what the IRS will ask for in this situation, because last year we filed for 2017 so I was only dead for two months,” she said. “Now I’m dead for the whole year so we don’t know.”

Death and taxes are about the only constants in her very real life.

We reached out to the agency that keeps track of the registry of people who died. But we didn’t get a response – because of the holiday.

Source: https://abc7ny.com/society/woman-declared-dead-spends-year-trying-to-prove-shes-alive-/4677393/

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