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6:15 PM ET, December 20, 2019


 Top News: 
Davey Alba / New York Times:
Facebook and Twitter shut down a network of fake accounts using AI-generated faces to “masquerade” as Americans; Facebook links the network to Epoch Media Group  —  Researchers said the profiles, linked to the Epoch Media Group, used photos generated by artificial intelligence in a preview of an …
Stephen Gregory / The Epoch Times:
Epoch Media Group asks Facebook to withdraw claim that it is involved with The BL, which was tied to fake accounts, says Epoch Times Vietnam publishes The BL  —  Facebook claims that it has removed accounts operated by the website BL that are linked to The Epoch Media Group.
Georg Szalai / Hollywood Reporter:
ViacomCBS acquires 49% stake in Miramax, which is owned by BeIN, for $375M  —  The L.A.-based company, which has been owned by Doha-based BeIN Media Group and run by CEO Bill Block, has a library with 700-plus titles, including such Oscar winners as ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Chicago.’
Alan Rappeport / New York Times:
Columbia University finds Monica Crowley committed “localized instances of plagiarism” in a dissertation but concludes she did not commit research misconduct  —  An investigation concluded that the Treasury Department's top spokeswoman did not commit research misconduct, but required extensive revisions.
Deanna Ting / Digiday:
Small publishers see more traffic from mobile news aggregators like TopBuzz, News Break, and Flipboard, than Facebook and Google  —  This November, Inquisitr CEO Dominick Miserandino noticed that TopBuzz News, the news aggregator app from ByteDance, the same company behind wildly popular …
Charlotte Tobitt / Press Gazette:
NY judge dismisses appeal by Michael Leidig of Central European News in libel case against BuzzFeed, saying he failed to prove BuzzFeed's reporting was false  —  News agency boss Michael Liedig has had his appeal against a libel judgment that backed Buzzfeed's 2015 story dubbing him the “king of bullshit news” thrown out.
Discussion: @craigsilverman
Business Wire:
Triton to start publishing monthly reports on top networks and podcasts ranked by weekly downloads; NPR, Stitcher,, and Cumulus have signed on  —  NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Triton Digital®, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio and podcast industry …
Discussion: RAIN News, @nwquah and Radio Ink
Alex Sherman / CNBC:
Sources: NBC's Peacock to integrate NBC News Now, have a free, limited-content tier, a limited-ads tier for $5/month, and an ad-free tier for $10/month  —  - NBCUniversal is looking to differentiate its streaming service Peacock from rivals through its pricing structure and user interface.
Lacey Rose / Hollywood Reporter:
Q&A with WarnerMedia's Bob Greenblatt on pitching streaming at NBC in 2015, the limits of HBO without HBO Max, and how streaming gives a home to midlevel movies  —  AT&T's new streaming service chief opens up about his strategy to expand a treasured brand with 10,000 hours of programs targeting a younger demo.
Keida Kostreci / Voice of America:
Albania approves a set of anti-defamation laws which critics see as an attempt to muzzle the media and give the nation's top media regulator too much power  —  Albania's Parliament approved a controversial set of government-proposed anti-defamation laws on Wednesday, which critics say grant …
Omar Rashid / The Hindu:
The Hindu's Omar Rashid recalls how police detained and threatened him before letting him go, amid a crackdown in India on protests against a citizenship bill  —  At the very first instance, I revealed my identity as a journalist and asked them what the matter was all about.
Sara Guaglione / MediaPost:
The Atlantic's feature on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which was read for 30M+ “total engaged minutes”, is #1 in Chartbeat's Most Engaging Stories of 2019  —  Chartbeat, the digital publisher data and analytics company, has revealed its annual list of most engaging stories of the year.
Discussion: Chartbeat Blog
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 More News: 
Chris Eggertsen / Billboard:
Jury finds Cox Communications liable for its customers' piracy of 10,000+ musical works, awards $1B to Sony Music, EMI, Universal, and Warner Music
Lucas Shaw / Bloomberg:
Sources: Facebook is pursuing rights to music videos from record labels to boost interest in Watch, has already begun testing music videos in Thailand and India
Discussion: CNET and Engadget
Stanford Internet Observatory:
Microsoft's Bing appears to return an alarming amount of disinformation for user queries, far more than Google does, based on a test of 13 queries
 Earlier Picks: 
Megan Graham / CNBC:
Ad exchange Rubicon Project agrees to merge with video advertising management platform Telaria, to better compete with Google and Facebook