2:07 PM EST
ADL sends a stern warning about Gab
The Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to U.S. law enforcement agencies today asking them to investigate how the social media site Gab allegedly facilitated communications that helped organize the attack on the Capitol last week.
The ADL, with other civil rights groups like the NAACP, has been chronicling a rising tide of hate speech and disinformation online. Participants in the insurrection were apparently active on many alternative social channels like Gab and Parler, which have been accused of becoming safe havens for extremists. “To the extent Gab intentionally served as a forum for people to plan, coordinate, engage in or otherwise facilitate the criminal activity that took place on January 6, a Department of Justice investigation is warranted,” the ADL wrote in its letter.
Gab and Parler both faced repercussions after the attacks in Washington. The sites have grown in the past year as conservative media personalities and rightwing groups looked for alternatives to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which have been restricting access to their content. Last week, Amazon took Parler off its cloud services, and Apple and Google took it off their app stores. In recent years, Gab has taken steps to avoid reliance on Big Tech, and has built its own servers and other systems to keep running independently.
2:05 PM EST
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented Washington Post access
Non-subscribers to The Washington Post are running into fewer paywalls these days as the publisher has opened its coverage around the insurrection last week, and this week’s impeachment proceedings.
“So that all readers have access to important public safety information, The Washington Post provides select stories and content for free,” a spokesperson for the publisher said in an email to Ad Age.
In recent years, newspaper publishers have gotten stricter about enforcing paywalls to keep their stories reserved for paid subscribers, and to keep their businesses running. However, in moments of crisis, publishers will weigh the importance of informing the general public as part of their mission. The Washington Post, of course, is headquartered in Washington D.C., making the insurrection very much a story of local interest, as well as a national one.
11:45 AM EST
Airbnb cancels all D.C. reservations
Following an earlier ban on hate groups (see below in this blog), Airbnb has now extended its cancelations to include all existing reservations in the Washington, D.C. area for inauguration week. Airbnb will not allow any future reservations for that week either. Guests will be refunded, the home share service noted in a blog post. The moves, which include reservations at Airbnb-owned HotelTonight, are “in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C.” Airbnb wrote on its corporate blog.
9:48 AM EST
Walmart, GM, Disney halt contributions as New York ends Trump contracts
Walmart and Disney are among companies that have vowed to halt political contributions to lawmakers who voted against President-elect Joe Biden’s election certification, according to a report by Reuters. Disney, in a statement to Reuters said, “Members of Congress had an opportunity to unite—an opportunity that some sadly refused to embrace.”
They join a growing number of companies halting political contributions, either to lawmakers who voted against election certification or generally, in the wake of last week’s Capitol insurrection. They include Kroger Co., which yesterday said it would halt all political action committee donations while it reviews it “PAC-giving philosophy.”
Separately, GM on Wednesday said it’s also suspending all political contributions. “Earlier in the week we stated that we had not yet determined GM’s PAC Contributions for 2021,” GM said in a statement. “To give greater clarity on GM’s PAC activity we can confirm that we have paused new contributions. In 2020, we enhanced the character and public integrity criteria for making contributions and that will help to guide our decisions moving forward.” Watch GM global chief marketing officer Deborah Wahl discuss the decision on today's episode of Ad Age “Remotely.”
In a separate cancellation likely to hit hard at Trump’s pocketbook, the Trump Organization, the city of New York said Wednesday morning it will end its contracts with the Trump Organization, AP reported. That includes contracts to run the Ferry Point golf course in the Bronx, and the Wollman and Lasker ice rinks and a separate carousel in Central Park.
9:32 AM EST
LUMA launches 'Defund Sedition' LUMAscape
In keeping with the policy that there’s a LUMAscape for almost everything, Terence Kawaja, founder and CEO of investment banking firm LUMA Partners, has begun a “Defund Sedition” LUMAscape, chronicling brands that have ended political donations to lawmakers or entities involved in opposing election certification in the wake of last week’s mob action. Kawaja says the LUMAscape will only include companies that have cut donations to lawmakers who voted against election certification, not those that halt all donations. “While I applaud a reduction in corporate PAC donations in general,” Kawaja says, he’s not including brands that cut all donations because “this is not a ‘both sides issue.’ This movement is about rewarding anti-American behavior.”