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Mexican Congress Places Strain On State Congresses Over Similar-Intercourse Marriage

The Congress within the Mexican state of Sonora is now getting stress from federal legislators to approve a measure permitting for same-sex marriages.

Greater than six months have handed since that measure was launched within the state Congress, and since then it has been sitting in committee. And that caught the attention of the Mexican Congress’ Everlasting Committee. It lately despatched letters to states like Sonora whose legal guidelines run afoul of a 2015 Mexican Supreme Court docket ruling that discovered that same-sex marriage prohibitions are unconstitutional.

“State congresses are being urged to replace the regulatory framework for marriage equality,” Sonoran Rep. Yumiko Palomares, the sponsor of the reform measure, instructed her colleagues this week.

Within the Everlasting Committee’s letter, Sonoran representatives’ federal counterparts wrote that “by defining marriage as a heterosexual union, a number of state legal guidelines discriminate in opposition to folks primarily based on their sexual orientation, and due to this fact violate the equal rights enshrined within the Mexican Federal Structure.” 

Regardless of the standing of the measure and the state’s conservative popularity, current federal polling reveals that almost 70% of Sonorans approve of same-sex marriage, the very best fee within the nation after Mexico Metropolis.


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Congress Probes Bot-Generated Social-Media Messages About E-Cigarettes

WASHINGTON—A congressional committee and the Massachusetts legal professional basic are investigating whether or not thousands and thousands of bot-generated social-media messages about e-cigarettes have been deceptive shoppers about security and well being points.

In data requests to 5 large producers of vaping merchandise in August, Home investigators requested every of the companies whether or not it had used social media bots to market its merchandise. The Home Vitality and Commerce Committee request additionally requested for lists of all of the usernames concerned, in addition to whether or not the bots have disclosed their reference to the producer.

The committee is searching for proof of misleading or deceptive use of social media for focused advertising and marketing and promoting, in line with an individual conversant in the matter.

Two main gamers, Reynolds American Inc. and Juul Labs Inc. haven’t used bots, in line with spokesmen. NJOY LLC additionally hasn’t used bots, in line with an individual conversant in the matter. Japan Tobacco Worldwide USA Inc. mentioned it hasn’t used bots both. One other agency contacted by the Home committee, Fontem Ventures, didn’t reply to requests for remark.

The committee’s requests are a part of a broader probe into advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes, which have exploded in recognition. Bot advertising and marketing has been an vital software for pitching e-cigarettes, quite a few researchers have discovered, though it isn’t clear how a lot of it’s being completed immediately by producers.

The Massachusetts legal professional basic’s workplace is also trying into the usage of bot advertising and marketing as a part of its investigation of e-cigarette corporations and their use of social media to advertise their merchandise to younger folks, in line with a spokeswoman.

Just like the Home inquiry, that investigation is a part of a broader look into whether or not the businesses have engaged in misleading gross sales and advertising and marketing practices, she mentioned.

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Have you ever seen vaping adverts on social media? If that’s the case, what did you assume? Be part of the dialog under.

The Federal Commerce Fee and the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration have additionally been inspecting social-media advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes. The FTC this month mentioned it ordered main producers to start out submitting detailed details about their advertising and marketing expenditures, together with “all expenditures for advertising on any company-controlled social media account or channel.”

Social-media bots are programmed accounts that robotically conduct duties akin to producing messages and reposting content material. There’s nothing inherently improper with their use, which is widespread on the web. However they can be utilized for all the pieces from pumping up a person’s social-media following to padding a web-based commercial’s viewers to amplifying phony advertising and marketing claims.

Within the wake of the 2016 election-meddling controversy, which concerned the usage of bots to unfold deceptive political data, coverage makers have thought of requiring bots to reveal that they’re automated. California handed such a legislation in 2018. Some in Congress even have referred to as for federal laws on bots.

The FTC has introduced enforcement actions over deceptive use of bots in two circumstances involving Connecting On-line. Some social media platforms together with

Twitter

even have tightened their very own requirements to be used of bots.

Vaping associated sicknesses are on the rise, and it seems to be associated to a black market of THC vapes. WSJ’s Daniela Hernandez sat down with docs and consultants to grasp what’s occurring with the outbreak.

From the early days of the e-cigarette increase, bots have been used extensively to advertise vaping, in line with business officers and antitobacco researchers.

One business veteran, Ray Story, mentioned bot advertising and marketing turned in style within the business as a result of it was cheap and appeared to keep away from most of the strict authorized guidelines in opposition to promoting of tobacco merchandise.

“Bot advertising or automated advertising that is now used to get to the consumer was a cheaper but very effective alternative that a lot of companies used,” mentioned Mr. Story, a founding father of United Tobacco Vapor Group USA who additionally based the Tobacco Vapor Digital Cigarette Affiliation, a nonprofit business affiliation.

Some researchers and antismoking advocates imagine the business centered on social media as a result of it was aiming to succeed in youngsters.

“It fights regulators and it misleads kids about the products,”

Matthew Myers,

president of the Marketing campaign for Tobacco-Free Children, mentioned of bot advertising and marketing.

Researchers say it may be tough to hint the extent of bot advertising and marketing by producers, partly as a result of business bot advertising and marketing benefiting main gamers is usually completed by third events on a contractual foundation.

A lot of the business bot advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes has been completed by smaller gamers, akin to e-cigarette distributors, mentioned

Jidong Huang,

an affiliate professor at Georgia State College, who has studied e-cigarette-related tweets.

The Public Good Initiatives, a public-health nonprofit, this yr examined a nationwide pattern of about 1.2 million Twitter messages associated to e-cigarettes or tobacco. The analysis—funded by the New Jersey-based Nicholson Basis, a household basis—concluded that about 77% got here from accounts suspected or extremely more likely to be bots. Many promoted what the researchers seen as false or unauthorized claims about nicotine and e-cigarettes—for instance, that nicotine isn’t dangerously addictive or that e-cigarettes are a secure technique to give up smoking.

U.S. well being officers have inspired grownup cigarette people who smoke to modify to much less dangerous alternate options akin to e-cigarettes however warning that they aren’t with out threat. Docs and well being authorities are scrambling to grasp a mysterious vaping-related lung sickness that has significantly sickened greater than 1,200 folks and killed a minimum of 26.

“This approach to advertising and promoting vaping has gone this underground route and is really fueling the epidemic,” mentioned

Raquel Mazon Jeffers,

of the Nicholson Basis.

Greg Conley,

chief govt of the American Vaping Affiliation, acknowledged the existence of pro-vaping bots, however mentioned their impression is being exaggerated.

“No one pays attention to these bots,” mentioned Mr. Conley. “They exist in their own corner of the internet, they’re very cheap to unleash, but no one pays attention to them.”

Twitter cautioned that non-peer-reviewed analysis utilizing its web site is usually flawed. It additionally famous that it challenges as much as 8-10 million accounts every week for platform manipulation.

A number of the messages promote e-cigarette merchandise, together with new merchandise, researchers say.

Different messages make doubtful claims concerning the security of nicotine or the advantages of vaping for smoking cessation, they are saying. Jon-Patrick Allem, a College of Southern California assistant professor of analysis who carried out an earlier research in 2017, mentioned he was shocked on the frequency with which bot accounts made such health-related claims.

Bot advertising and marketing could possibly be tough for the federal government to manage, given the large quantity of messages. Some within the public-health group are trying as a substitute for methods to counter pro-vaping messaging on social media, fairly than prohibit it.

Write to John D. McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com

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