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The companies boycotting Facebook in an effort to fight hate speech have been advertising for years on VK.com, “a Russian social media platform that bans gay-rights groups and is known as a haven for white supremacists,” the Washington Free Beacon said in a report this week.

VK (short for VKontakte), based in Saint Petersburg, describes itself as the largest social network in Russia.

In the past few weeks, advertisements for hundreds of brands — including Adidas, Starbucks, Patagonia, and Pepsi – have been disappearing from Facebook as the Stop Hate for Profit boycott campaign gears up.

The campaign is an effort to pressure the social network led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg into cracking down on hate speech.

But advertising has continued on VK.com, according to the Washington Free Beacon — though it’s not clear if these companies are, as of Wednesday, actively running ads on VK.

AMID FACEBOOK BOYCOTT OVER HATE SPEECH, ADS FOR 530 BRANDS SET TO DISAPPEAR FROM PLATFORM

The Free Beacon report cites, from July of last year, the Anti-Defamation League when it said that the Russian social media service has become “‘an international hub for white supremacists’ who have been kicked off mainstream U.S. social media websites such as Facebook” but continue to be active on VK.

In this photo illustration the VKontakte (VK) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.

In this photo illustration the VKontakte (VK) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.
(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Back in 2016, The Atlantic cited VK in a report, “American Neo-Nazis Are on Russia’s Facebook.”

That report said “white supremacists” had been migrating to VK for several years after Facebook took measures at that time to crack down on hate speech.

The Free Beacon added that though VK has taken steps to cull hate groups from its site, “organizations like the National Socialist Movement and the Ku Klux Klan still maintain an active presence on the website.”

BLACK WORKERS HIT FACEBOOK WITH CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT ALLEGING DISCRIMINATION AND BIAS

“We completely disagree with the statement claiming that we are ‘an international hub for white supremacists.’ VK has never tolerated calls to violence, nor nationalist or extremist propaganda, regardless of their place of origin. If such content is found, the VK Team reacts quickly to remove it and block offenders,” VK told Fox News in a statement.

“Thanks to user reports and proactive monitoring, we delete hundreds of thousands of pieces of content and block thousands of profiles every month for promoting violence and cruelty or distributing shocking content on our platform, regardless of where the offender is from,” VK said.

“There is more information about what we do to fight against calls to violence in our ‘Safety Guidelines’ section,” according to VK.

Fox News sought comments from companies cited in this story; only a few responded.

Starbucks told Fox News it is not doing any paid advertising on VK.com.

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Adidas told Fox News in a statement: “The swift and resolute action taken with Facebook and Instagram was only a first step. We are already underway with developing criteria that we will hold every one of our partners accountable to. We all have a responsibility for creating and maintaining safe environments, and we will soon address this across any company we may work with.”

Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this article.

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Join us as we discuss strategies women entrepreneurs can adopt to keep their networks robust during COVID-19 and beyond.

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In this webinar, a panel from Wilmington Trust will discuss the findings of a new survey on peer networking for women business owners, and issues they continue to confront versus their male counterparts. They will also talk about strategies women entrepreneurs can adopt to keep their networks robust during COVID-19 and beyond. 

Key Takeaways:

  • How women business owners and entrepreneurs can gain better access to peer networks
  • What are the networking challenges that women face as compared to men, and how do men and women perceive those challenges differently
  • How the pandemic is impacting face-to-face networking, and what are some techniques business owners can use to overcome those challenges

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Marguerite is responsible for the development and delivery of strategic advice offerings for clients of Wilmington Trust and M&T Emerald Advisory Services. She provides families and business owners with personal wealth planning and fiduciary services to assist them in the design and implementation of their estate, business succession, and family legacy plans.

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Cybercrimes are on the rise with hackers and scammers chomping at the bit for a shot at your system. There’s one tool that should be on all computers.

IBM Security, Packet Clearing House and The Global Cyber Alliance have a free service to protect you from accessing sketchy websites that spread malware, steal personal information and engage in fraudulent activity. Tap or click here to use this free security tool on your Windows or Mac computers.

But hackers may have already compromised your network. Tap or click here for a free test to see if your router has been hacked.

1. Keep everything up to date

Security threats are continually evolving, which is why you need to keep your browser updated. Updates help protect you from the latest spreading viruses and attacks. Tap or click here to find out if you are using the latest version of your browser.

Even more important, update your operating system regularly. Windows releases frequent (though sometimes buggy) updates and missing any can mean severe consequences for your security. The same goes for Macs.

Most Windows PCs download and install updates automatically by default. If you haven’t changed your automatic update settings, you might not need to change a thing. If you’ve turned automatic updates off, you can update manually.

Apple’s macOS receives its updates through the Mac App Store. Open the App Store app, click Updates. Tap Update to download and install.

2. Test your firewall

Even if cybercriminals can see your network, a firewall helps to prevent them from getting inside and doing any damage. Make sure your firewall is on.

For Windows, open Settings > Update & Security. Choose Windows Security from the left-hand menu. Choose Firewall & Network Protection to open the firewall menu.

Your system will tell you whether your firewall is on or not. If it’s off, you can toggle it on or reset the settings to default by clicking on Restore firewalls to default.

For Mac, open System Preferences, then click Security and Privacy. Click the Lock Icon to make changes and enter your admin username and password. Then select Turn on Firewall.

One more important step

Tap or click here to test that your firewall is actually working. These port scans will make sure you’re keeping bad actors out of your system.

3. Remove extra browser add-ons and hosts files in Windows

Most browser extensions are safe-to-use tools that enhance your internet experience, but some are malicious. Regularly comb through your list of extensions and remove any you don’t recognize or don’t use anymore.

In Chrome: Visit the Chrome Web Store menu to see a list of all your currently installed extensions. Remove them by clicking Remove from Chrome. Click the Library tab and delete the extension from there as well.

In Firefox: Click on the three-line menu button and click Add-ons, followed by Extensions. Scroll through the list of extensions and click the three-dot icon next to the extensions you want to remove. Select Remove to delete them from your browser.

In Safari: Choose Safari > Preferences, then click Extensions. To turn off an extension, deselect its checkbox. To uninstall an extension, select the extension and click the Uninstall button.

Tip in a Tip: When it comes to browsers, some are better than others. Tap or click here for a comparison of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge and Tor.

Windows users should check the hosts file to see if attackers have made any unusual configurations. This file can override your DNS and redirect URLs to different locations, like malicious websites.

Type the Window Key + R on your keyboard and paste C:WindowsSystem32driversetchosts into it.

In the pop-up menu that appears, select Notepad to open the file. Scroll through and note any unusual or garbled looking text. Copy the data contained here into another text document as a backup, and delete the unusual entries. Click File, then Save to make the changes.

4. See who else is using your Wi-Fi

Network intruders can slow down your internet speed and interfere with your data. It’s worth knowing who else might be logged in and using it.

To see all the devices connected to your network, open your router’s settings menu. To do this, type your IP address into the address bar of your web browser. You can usually find this address on the sticker attached to the bottom of your router, but most use the default address of 192.168.1.1.

Or you can tap or click here for a handy website that lists default IP addresses for thousands of different routers.

Then, log in with your username and password. This is the default username and password for your router or a unique login you created when you set it up. If you’re unsure what your login is, you can call your ISP for assistance.

When you’re logged into your router settings, look for an option that looks like “Attached Devices, “Connected Devices” or “Client List.” It shows you all the devices using your connection.

Scroll through the list and note anything that you don’t recognize. Usually, you can kick them off from this menu as well.

SAVE SOME CASH: You’re probably paying more than you need to for internet. Tap or click here for seven smart ways to lower your monthly bill.

5. Hide your Wi-Fi network from public view

By default, your router broadcasts its network name (SSID) for you and your guests to find easily. This also means anyone looking for your network can attempt to join. You can stop it from broadcasting its connection, so only people who know your router’s exact name can attempt to join.

To do this, log into your router’s settings and locate the menu for wireless settings. Look for the broadcasting option for your SSID, which is most often enabled by default. Toggle that option off.

Make sure you write down your SSID before disabling the broadcast. Otherwise, you might find yourself locked out of your network.

With a little work, you can make your network a whole lot safer. My advice? Take some time to secure your connection. Your future self will thank you.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2020, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden called on Facebook to take a range of steps to prevent the spread of misinformation during the election in an open letter published on Thursday.

“Tens of millions of Americans rely on Facebook as a news source. But the company continues to amplify misinformation and lets candidates pay to target and confuse voters with lies,” the campaign wrote in the letter.

The Biden campaign offered a list of proposed solutions in the letter, including:

  • Promoting authoritative and trustworthy sources of election information, rather than the rants of bad actors and conspiracy theorists.  
  • Promptly removing false, viral information 
  • Preventing political candidates and PACs from using paid advertising to spread lies and misinformation – especially within two weeks of election day
  • Having clear rules – applied universally, with no exceptions for the president – that prohibit threats and lies about how to participate in the election.

The tech giant founded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg – which has come under fire for not taking down a controversial post from President Trump that some of the company’s own employees protested – responded swiftly with a published statement of its own.

“We live in a democracy, where the elected officials decide the rules around campaigns. Two weeks ago the President of the United States issued an executive order directing Federal agencies to prevent social media sites from engaging in activities like fact-checking political statements. This week, the Democratic candidate for President started a petition calling on us to do the exact opposite,” the company said.

“Just as they have done with broadcast networks – where the US government prohibits rejecting politicians’ campaign ads – the people’s elected representatives should set the rules, and we will follow them. There is an election coming in November and we will protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it,” Facebook continued.

Facebook is one of several social networks facing a backlash from users over its response to posts from politicians that are deemed false, misleading, violent or inflammatory. Twitter made the decision to place a warning label on Trump’s tweet for “violent rhetoric” – and users have to dismiss the label before even reading it.

Still, the tech giant’s response was blasted by the Biden campaign’s digital director, Rob Flaherty, and former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power.

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