The Papers: Facebook ‘spying’, and PM bids to save EU deal

Newspaper headlines: Data concerns put Facebook on front pages

Guardian front page, 6/12/18

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Concerns about the extent to which large companies are able to access and use our data lead several papers. Facebook "discussed cashing in on user data," reports the Guardian. Revelations that the social media giant has been "continuously uploading" call and text logs from Android phones emerged after MPs obtained some of the company's internal emails, the paper says.

Metro front page, 6/12/18

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The Metro puts the case simply, describing: "How Facebook spied on you… and your pals." Quoting the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, the paper reports: "The tech giant knew keeping records of activity on Android phones would be controversial, so made it as 'difficult as possible' for users to find out."

Daily Mail front page, 6/12/18

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has been doing its own investigation into how it says personal data is "harvested and traded" by large multinationals. It concludes: "Health details, children's voice recordings and copies of passports can be at risk when customers tick an online consent box." The companies it names said they store data securely and according to European Union data protection laws.

Financial Times front page, 6/12/18

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Use of personal data is the second story for the Financial Times, which leads on the Brexit date going through the Commons. It says Theresa May has "moved to quell renewed anger" over the "backstop" plan included in the EU withdrawal agreement, which government legal advice showed would keep the UK tied to European rules "indefinitely".

Daily Express front page, 6/12/18

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As the Daily Express puts it, the prime minister was "desperately trying to win over Tory Brexit rebels", ahead of next Tuesday's vote on the deal. Mrs May has "offered MPs a parliamentary veto" on activating the backstop, the paper reports.

The Times front page, 6/12/18

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However, according to the Times, Mrs May's cabinet is urging her to delay the vote "amid fears that she is facing a defeat so catastrophic that it could bring down the government".

The Daily Telegraph front page, 6/12/18

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If the PM goes ahead with the vote, and loses, then Brussels might come to her rescue, says the Daily Telegraph. The paper reports that the EU is prepared to put back the date on which the UK is due to leave the bloc – currently 29 March next year. Like the Times, the Telegraph uses a photograph of a tearful former President George W Bush touching the coffin of his father, George HW Bush, during Wednesday's state funeral of the 41st US president.

The Sun front page, 6/12/18

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Meanwhile, the Sun features comments from International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who complains about Conservative backbenchers who voted with Labour to give the Commons more control over the Brexit process. "There is a real danger the Commons… may attempt to steal Brexit from the British people," he says.

Daily Star front page, 6/12/18

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The Daily Star declares itself a "Brexit-free zone" for those who are fed-up of the political saga. Instead, its front page reports on a school that has attracted criticism for setting pupils as young as nine homework asking whether Santa is real.

Daliy Mirror front page, 6/12/18

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has a very different kind of report from a school. Its front page carries a shocking picture of a teenage pupil who "casually poses with his 10in blade". Headlining the report "school gates, 2018," the paper says the image was taken as children left a Bristol school at the end of the day. South Gloucestershire Council said Downend School "acted quickly" to ensure student safety.

The i front page, 6/12/18

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Finally, the i splashes on comments from the UK's genomics chief, who suggests that babies should be DNA-tested at birth to identify risks of cancer and other diseases.

Several papers highlight the series of confidential emails between senior figures at Facebook, published yesterday by the Commons committee investigating "fake news".

The Guardian says the emails show Facebook staff discussed selling users' data to advertisers in 2012, before deciding to restrict such access two years later.

According to the Buzzfeed website, employees of the social media giant are developing a "bunker mentality", following two years "teeming with scandals and missteps".

A former senior Facebook member of staff is quoted as saying the company has been "under siege for 600 days" – and the only survival strategy for employees is to quit, or fully buy into the narrative that the press are ganging up on the firm.

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With the headline, "Is nothing private any more?", the Daily Mail says it can reveal the "disturbing scale" of the personal data harvested and traded by major multi-nationals.

The paper accuses "some of our best-known companies" of engaging in the practice, and claims to have found that health details, voice recordings and copies of passports can be at risk when customers tick an online consent box.

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Heading for 'catastrophic' defeat?

Brexit once again leads many papers. The Daily Telegraph claims the EU could offer Theresa May the chance to delay things, if MPs reject her deal next week. It says European leaders are ready to discuss extending the Article 50 process, to try to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

The paper thinks Mrs May will be "hugely reluctant" to accept the offer, as it would mean breaking her promise that Britain will leave the EU on 29 March next year, putting her in a position where she could be forced to resign.

The Financial Times says the publication of the government's full legal advice renewed backbench anger about the Irish backstop, prompting Mrs May to send the chief whip to hold talks with Brexiteers to try to find concessions that might avert a mass rebellion next week.

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UK Parliament/Mark Duffy

According to the Times, cabinet ministers are urging the PM to delay Tuesday's vote, amid fears she is facing a defeat so catastrophic it could bring down the government.

It says Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, is leading calls for a postponement, backed by Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Welsh Secretary Alan Cairns.

The Sun claims there's a growing consensus at Westminster that Mrs May will have to resign if the Commons fails to back her deal. But the New Statesman website says Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party has promised to back the government in a vote of confidence if the withdrawal agreement is voted down.

It suggests the pledge of support "appears to answer the question of whether there will be a general election in the short term".

Tsunami of rage?

The Guardian suggests Mrs May's future "now depends on her showing more respect for Parliament", having been forced to publish the government's full legal advice on Brexit when there had been "no reason" for it to remain secret.

For the Mail, "it's time for common sense, not a spectacle". Conservative MPs, it says, must "come to their senses, and avoid the urge to land a free hit on the prime minister".

The Times is worried about "gridlock", and warns that unless MPs agree among themselves to deliver a resolution, "the British parliamentary system is set for stasis, chaos, or both".

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The Sun devotes half a page to an editorial setting out why what's been called a plot to steal Brexit by Remainer MPs must, in its view, be "crushed".

It claims the warning – made by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox – is "absolutely right", and argues that the grave threat of a second referendum "is the fastest and surest route to potentially unimaginable disorder".

In agreeing to a People's Vote, it says, politicians would unleash a "tsunami of rage", by ignoring the democratic rights of millions on the winning side of the biggest vote in British history.

'Notable frostiness'

All the papers feature images of the state funeral of former US President George HW Bush, with many showing his son and successor, George W, tearfully touching his coffin.

According to the Guardian, there was a "notable frostiness" as current President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania took their seats alongside other former presidents at the service in Washington. There had been an atmosphere of "cordiality" among the rest, it says.

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The couple sat in the front row with President Donald Trump and his wife Melania on one side, and former president Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the other

Writing in the Times, columnist Gerard Baker suggests "you have to die to be a great conservative".

"The gushing eulogies and rehabilitation of Mr Bush," he says, "are the latest examples of how unfair the left-wing US media is to Republicans during their political careers".

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