May 9, 2017 Last Updated 7:43 am

New administration purges press releases, forgets basic rule of the Internet: web pages are forever

Morning Brief: FCC website crashes after latest John Oliver net neutrality segment; French law requiring that retouched photos of models be labeled as such goes into effect

This administration is not exactly good at the whole Internet thing. For whatever reason, it seems to think that pressing delete is all that is necessary to get rid of something embarrassing, forgetting that the Internet never forgets. Never.

The Trump administration’s incompetence in this area is especially odd given that they are following an administration particularly skilled at influencing through the Internet, and proud of it.

This comparison about Internet skills was brought up by more than one journalist last night and today when looking at the current administration’s attempt to bury a press release sent out in 2015 announcing Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country. The then-candidate’s stance on the issue is known by everyone, of course, but is causing problems now as the justice department attempts to argue in court that the now-president’s newest order is not actually targeting a religious group at all.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was where the administration argued yesterday to have the injunction blocking the latest executive order banning citizens of certain Middle Eastern countries from entering the US lifted. But advocates who argued that the president is targeting a religion only needed point to Trump’s own words, as well as his 2015 press release announcing his position.

So, knowing their lawyers were in court arguing that the order is not a Muslim ban, the president’s Internet crew deleted his press release saying exactly that.

But… and here is where their incompetence comes out, they didn’t delete the actual page, leaving the URL still live. That web page URL contains the whole story: “Donald J. Trump statement on preventing Muslim immigration.”

Of course, thanks to the Wayback Machine from Archive.org, all one would need to do is search for the archived page to see the actual press release. You remember how it begins…

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.

As TNM wrote in November, immediately following the election, Archive.org began to make sure its Internet archive could not be shutdown by a new administration intent on controlling the flow of information. So, Archive.org began to create a duplicate Wayback Machine, this time on Canadian servers.

“On November 9th in America, we woke up to a new administration promising radical change. It was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long-term, need to design for change,” Archive.org said at the time. “For us, it means keeping our cultural materials safe, private and perpetually accessible. It means preparing for a web that may face greater restrictions.”

Politico, Josh Gerstein and Nolan D. McCaskill:

Judges press Trump’s lawyer on intent of travel ban reboot

Members of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals painted grim, but divergent, pictures of the future if the courts either strike down or uphold an injunction blocking the core of Trump’s revised directive challenged by critics as a “Muslim ban.”

Conservative judges argued that putting so much weight on Trump’s campaign trail talk of a Muslim ban threatened to halt almost any action the president might take to address the threat of terrorism from Islamic radicals. One GOP-appointed jurist even seemed to echo Trump’s suggestions on Twitter that the judiciary would be responsible for such an attack if it took place…

…Liberal judges countered that accepting the government’s call to defer to Trump’s judgment would result in a toothless review of arguably discriminatory government actions, with one judge warning that the Trump administration was asking for a legal standard that would have blessed the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Gizmodo, Matt Novak:

President Trump Deletes Every Old Press Release, But The Internet Never Forgets

Yesterday, journalists discovered that the Trump regime had deleted the president’s infamous press release from 2015 that called for a ban on all Muslims traveling to the United States. But it wasn’t just the Muslim ban. Every single press release from before January 1, 2017 has been erased from donaldjtrump.com. Thankfully, the internet never forgets…

…For instance, you can still read Trump’s original December 7, 2015 press release that starts with the unambiguous call to ban all Muslims from entering the US:

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.

That particular press release has been controversial not only for just being a shitty and illegal thing to call for. It also lays bare the true intention of Trump’s executive orders targeting travel from predominantly Muslim countries.



This last Sunday, John Oliver again tackled the issue of net neutrality on his show. Oliver had tackled the issue three years ago, ending his segment with a call for his viewers to flood the FCC with their opinions. It worked as the Obama administration’s FCC reclassified ISPs as coming under Title II regulations, allowing the agency to more closely regulate what ISPs could do.

Now, with a new FCC chairman pledging to kill off net neutrality, Oliver again called his viewers to action. But there was one problem. Last time, in order for the FCC to receive feedback from the public, they had made it easy for people to reach them by creating a simply URL. This time, one would need to hunt for the right web page.

So, Oliver’s team created a new website that made it easier for his viewers to reach the FCC, resulting in far more web traffic than the new FCC folks expected. Making matters worse, the website was also a victim of a cyber attack, according to the FCC.

The Hill, Ali Breland:

FCC site crashes after John Oliver segment

The Federal Communications Commission’s website went down Sunday night after comedian John Oliver skewered Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to scale back net neutrality rules.

The host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” ripped the chairman’s proposals and then directed viewers to visit a website with the name gofccyourself.com. That site takes users directly to a page where they can file comments to the FCC on net neutrality…

…The FCC, though, claimed on Monday afternoon that it’s website had also been hit by a cyberattack after Oliver’s segment.

“Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDos),” FCC chief information officer David Bray said in a statement Monday afternoon.



In 2015, France’s National Assembly passed a new bill designed to protect “ultraskinny” models, requiring models to show a medical certificate when working. The goal was to try and put a stop to the practice of using models in fashion shoots that virtually must starve themselves in order to get work.

The bill also would require that images that were Photoshopped in order to make models look thinner must be labeled as retouched. At the time, the legislature was trying to address the issue that 30,000 to 40,000 people in France were suffering from anorexia.

The bill now has come into effect.

Dazed, Dominic Cadogan:

French fashion magazines must now declare retouched images

While it may not be a secret that brands and magazines use editing software to alter images, it usually isn’t clear to readers how images have been retouched. Until now, that is – legislation in France means that magazines there will have to mark which images have been retouched. “Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem,” commented French minister of social affairs and health Marisol Touraine on the matter…

…The law comes at a time where retouching of images in fashion media is still a big talking point. While many touch-ups aren’t overly invasive, some fashion and beauty ads alter images to a point where those featured look unimaginably perfect. The common use of Photoshop also means there is negative attention drawn to images that are unretouched; they are often seen as flawed or bad when leaked.

Paper, Beatrice Hazlehurst:

Praise Be, France is Forcing Magazines to Declare Retouched Images

France is putting forward a pretty solid case for the wokest nation when it comes to body image. French legislation is now coming into effect that requires models to have a doctor’s note in order to work and is now requiring fashion media to label images that have been photoshopped…

…Many stars have publicly denounced photoshopped images of themselves and simultaneously the leaking of un-retouched images of celebrities or models have often been met with a negative response – largely because we’ve grown accustomed to perfection when it we are presented with pictures of public figures.

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