US swimmer Simone Manuel made history and US gymnast Simone Biles won her second gold in Rio. Donald Trump said US President Barack Obama is “the founder of ISIS.” And we took a look inside Twitter’s 10-year failure to stop abuse and hate speech.
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Rio Olympics update: Simone Biles FTW, USA’s Simone Manuel is the first black woman to win gold in an individual swimming event, and Michael Phelps was Michael Phelps.
USA’s Simone Manuel, 20, made history Thursday night as the first black woman to win an individual gold swimming medal for the US. She won the women’s 100-meter freestyle, tying with Canada’s Penny Oleksiak for the gold medal with a time of 52.70.
A coalition of jihadist and moderate rebels just punctured the regime’s blockade of the city — but can they reverse the tide of the war? Rebels prepared for the battle were equipped with new weapons and weapon systems, BuzzFeed News’ Borzou Daragahi writes.
The fight over Aleppo is a crucial, symbolic, and strategic battle for all of the regional and global powers tied up in the Syrian conflict. Regime victory over rebels in Aleppo could spell the end of the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad, while rebel control over the city’s center and its eastern surroundings keeps them as major players in any potential settlement of the conflict.
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Donald Trump said President Barack Obama “founded ISIS.”
“He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder. He founded ISIS,” Trump said at a Wednesday rally. In making the claim, Trump has cited the conservative critique of Obama’s Iraq policy — that the withdrawal of troops in 2011 led to a power vacuum that allowed ISIS to flourish. The Republican presidential nominee also told CNBC on Thursday that he was “totally against” the war in Iraq (Trump was not against the war as he has repeatedly claimed).
“A honeypot for assholes”: An inside look at Twitter’s 10-year failure to stop harassment.
For nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’s virtually been optimized to accommodate it. Former Twitter employees told BuzzFeed News how the company’s commitment to free speech above all else made moderation difficult and how Twitter’s unique product “was basically built for maximum ease of trolling.”
That, combined with shifting business priorities, former employees allege, allowed abuse to become a perpetual secondary priority within the company.
Ariel Davis / BuzzFeed News
And a little extra
In 2015, then-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo secretly ordered employees to filter out abusive and hateful replies to President Barack Obama during a Q&A session, BuzzFeed News’ Charlie Warzel reports. According to well-placed sources, the May 2015 #AskPOTUS town hall came out of Twitter senior leadership’s frustration with the fact that platforms like Reddit had become home to celebrity Q&As.
QUICK THINGS TO KNOW
Russia cut off the internet in Crimea. The shutdown occurred at the same time Russia said it was repelling an attack from Ukraine, a claim that Kiev denies.
At least four people died and 20 others were injured after a series of bombs exploded in two of Thailand’s tourist hot spots. Thai police said the incidents were “not linked to terrorism” and nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Airbnb’s professional landlords are making London’s housing crisis even worse. Analysis by BuzzFeed News reveals that over a third of the flats and homes Airbnb lists in London – more than 7,000 properties – are from hosts with two or more listings, a sign they are likely to be professional landlords or hoteliers.