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When Gen Z is the source of the misinformation it consumes

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The post has a galvanizing visual power because of its self-made quality, her youthfulness and the genuine outrage behind her complaint. All are markers of authenticity and credibility to Generation Z, the first Americans who grew up in a social media-dominated ecosystem. The tirade was quickly viewed more than 2 million times on Twitter and 10,000 times on TikTok. The leftist meme page thatsnotrightpolitics shared it with its more than 80,000 followers, where it got over 800,000 views on Instagram alone.

“This is about as un-American as it gets. There’s no exaggeration anymore. Trump wants to be a dictator,” read the thatsnotrightpolitics caption on the video. “Fair and free elections are out the window.”

That is, if it were true. It’s not. Her ballot didn’t come from the government.

Political parties and campaigns often mail out voter registration forms to encourage people to vote. It’s a legal practice that has been reported in a handful of Southern states. There have been no reports of official election notices coming wrapped in partisan advertisements. The mailer probably arrived by coincidence, and a formal application, complete with the Official Election Mail logo, would have been on its way.

The woman in the video, 22-year-old Kendall Olivia Matthews, a Georgia-based actor, told POLITICO she knew it wasn’t from official election organizers and tried to stop its spread when she saw that was how people were interpreting it. The viral video was taken from a series of posts in which she detailed her discomfort in receiving ballot request forms with campaign material, she said.

The viral video wasn’t deliberate disinformation, brewed up by a cabal of Russians or other anti-democratic forces. Rather, the video’s journey from one young woman’s complaint to viral sensation is emblematic of the unprecedented misinformation challenges Gen Z voters face, despite their social media savvy. With an inundation of information, a penchant for picture-based platforms that can obfuscate nuance and an emotional media landscape rife with conflicting and dubious accounts, Gen Zers can and do fall into pitfalls with serious implications on their political outlook.

“Trust in institutions is down across the board, but teens experience even more cynicism about institutions just as a function of their time of life,” said Peter Adams, senior vice president of education at the News Literacy Project, a group that teaches youth about media literacy.

“That can easily lend itself into falling into conspiratorial thinking traps,” he added.

a new media landscape

Gen Z social media habits often drift toward Instagram and TikTok, photo and video platforms where the origins of information can easily be obfuscated. YouTube and Instagram were ranked as the daily new source of choice among a plurality of Gen Zers when compared with text-based media such as Reddit or newspapers, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

Add to that the emotional atmosphere surrounding this presidential election, an incumbent with a fractured relationship with the truth, a national reckoning on race and the global pandemic of a barely understood disease, and the instincts to fact-check often go by the wayside.

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Musk loses $27 billion in less than a week, falls to second-richest person in the world behind Bezos

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Elon Musk saw a significant portion of his wealth erased in a recent stock selloff, losing $27 billion and surrendering the title of world’s richest person to Jeff Bezos. 

Musk, whose personal wealth skyrocketed to dizzying heights over the past year due in part to the soaring prospects of his electric car company Tesla, had in January topped the world list with a $210 billion fortune.

His most recent billions in losses have come only since Monday, during a volatile week of stock trading that saw the NASDAQ decline amid significant selloff activity. 

Elon Musk saw a significant portion of his wealth erased in a recent stock selloff, losing $27 billion and surrendering the title of world’s richest person to Jeff Bezos. 

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Musk, whose personal wealth skyrocketed to dizzying heights over the past year due in part to the soaring prospects of his electric car company Tesla, had in January topped the world list with a $210 billion fortune.

His most recent billions in losses have come only since Monday, during a volatile week of stock trading that saw the NASDAQ decline amid significant selloff activity. 

Bezos, now officially the richest person in the world, holds around $176 billion in wealth; his own fortune has increased considerably over the last year due to major consumer usage of Amazon during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Robinhood CEO grants interview to CNBC…Its doesn’t go to well

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Robinhood CEO says it limited buying in GameStop to ‘protect the firm’

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev said Robinhood’s move to stop trading in certain speculative names was in the best interest of the company and its millions of users. “In order to protect the firm and protect our customers we had to limit buying in these stocks,” Tenev told CNBC Thursday evening.

“Robinhood is a brokerage firm, we have lots of financial requirements. We have SEC net capital requirements and clearing house deposits. So that’s money that we have to deposit at various clearing houses. Some of these requirements fluctuate quite a bit based on volatility in the market and they can be substantial in the current environment where there’s a lot of volatility and a lot of concentrated activity in these names that have been going viral on social media,” said Tenev.

Tenev denied there was any existing liquidity issue at the firm and said Robinhood had tapped credit lines as a proactive measure. “We want to put ourselves in a position to allow our customers to be as unrestricted as possible in accordance with the requirements and the regulations,” said Tenev. “So we pulled those credit lines so that we could maximize within reason the funds we have to deposit at the clearing houses.”

Amid a wild week of speculative retail trading, Robinhood on Thursday restricted trading in thirteen equities, including GameStop and AMC Entertainment. The free stock trading pioneer only allowed clients to sell positions, not open new ones, in certain securities, raised margin requirements, and even said  it would close out some positions automatically if the client was at risk of not having the necessary collateral.

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“We just haven’t see this level of concentrated interest market wide in a small number of names before,” said Tenev. “We do believe that you should be able to buy and sell the stocks that you want to.”


Shares of GameStop, AMC and others rebounded aggressively in extended trading on Thursday after Robinhood said it will resume limited trading of previously restricted securities on Friday.

“Starting tomorrow, we plan to allow limited buys of these securities. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and may make adjustments as needed,” Robinhood said in a statement.

GameStop shares skyrocketed 61% to trade at $312 in after hours trading, after closing down 44% to $193.60 during regular hours Thursday. The stock’s high for the week is $483.

Robinhood said its decision to restrict trading — which angered many users — was in order to comply with capital requirements mandated by the SEC for broker dealers.

“These requirements exist to protect investors and the markets and we take our responsibilities to comply with them seriously, including through the measures we have taken today,” the company said.

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Roberta McCain, John McCain’s mother, dies at 108

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She remained energetic and active into her 90s, traveling often with her identical twin sister Rowena, who died at age 99. She attended the 2008 Republican National Convention, where her son credited “her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief we are all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country. I wouldn’t be here tonight but for the strength of her character.”

It was 1933 when a 20-year-old Roberta Wright defied her family and eloped with John McCain Jr. Documents released in 2008 showed that as a young ensign, John Jr. got into trouble when the couple decided to marry and he left his ship without permission.

“I got married young,” she told The Muskogee Phoenix in her native Oklahoma in 2008. “I was 20 years old, and it was the best decision I ever made.”

She married into a storied military family — her husband retired in 1972 with the rank of four-star admiral, the same rank held by his father, John S. “Slew” McCain Sr. Her son was later held as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam even as his father was commander in chief of Pacific forces by the late 1960s.

Roberta McCain also was a young mother when her three children were born, later telling the Oklahoma paper that she was “too young and irresponsible to know you were supposed to worry about them. I just let them go. I got a kick out of watching them.”

The senator, who died in 2018, said in 2008 that his “father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone.”

Her other son, Joe, told The Associated Press in 2007 that the family had endless dinner-table discussions about history, politics and legislation led by their mother.

“We were all basically on the same side of the fence,” Joe McCain said. “But it was like Talmudic scholars arguing about a single word or an adjective in the Testament.”

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When Sen. John McCain wrote a memoir about his experience as a POW for nearly six years in a north Vietnamese prison, he described times when he swore in English at his Vietnamese guards, who didn’t understand.

His mother later told him: “Johnny, I’m going to come over there and wash your mouth out with soap.”

Her granddaughter, Meghan McCain, recalled her strong will and sense of duty in a 2012 column for The Daily Beast website, writing that Roberta McCain did not have “a lot of patience for excuses, especially from my father when he was growing up and acting out.”

“She once hit him over the head with a thermos in the back of a car because he was acting up so badly on a road trip,” wrote Meghan McCain.

The McCain matriarch’s spunky personality became the stuff of stories for the family — and among those in their circle of Washington society.

“Last Christmas, she wanted to drive around France. So she flew to Paris and tried to rent a car,” the senator once joked. “They said she was too old, so she bought one and drove around France.”

Roberta Wright was born Feb. 7, 1912, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where her father was a businessman whose varied, colorful enterprises included bootlegging and oil wildcatting. The family moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1920s.

Her husband commanded submarines in World War II and was second in command of the cruiser St. Paul during the Korean War. He later held key posts including the Navy’s chief of congressional liaison, and died in 1981.

In 1934, when a fitness report deemed him underweight, the future admiral wrote: “My wife doesn’t know how to cook, and my meals are very irregular.”


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