Archive for facebook

Time to Stop FaceBook

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , on October 31, 2021 by andelino

Facebook and Google would be nothing like the behemoths they have become today if competition regulators had been tougher.

Few of us who have survived the last year aren’t grateful for technology. Zoom, email, connected workplaces and solid internet connections at home have made it possible to work, shop, study and carry on our lives in a way that wouldn’t have been possible had the pandemic hit, say, 20 years earlier.

But parts of Big Tech — the parts that track us and drive us to think dangerous and antisocial things just so we keep clicking — are doing us enormous damage.

Read more at “Time to stop Facebook, Google takeovers”

An Ugly Truth

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2021 by andelino

What’s actually the problem with the world’s biggest social media platform Facebook? Is it misinformation? Lack of regulation? That it rots the brains of adults and children? Or that it makes us shrill, annoying caricatures of ourselves?

An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination by New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, pins all these problems and more on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The authors don’t hold back: Before even opening the book, one encounters remarkably unflattering images of Zuckerberg’s and Sandberg’s faces on the cover. As the authors explore the rise of Facebook, they maintain this tenor: The two executives are the twin poles of power at Facebook, and together are responsible for a vast set of the world’s problems.

Zuckerberg and Sandberg certainly come off as unsavory characters—the CEO calls early Facebook users “dumb fucks” for blithely giving away their personal information. Sandberg screams at employees in public. Despite her heralded “lean-in” feminism, the COO picks favorites among women at the company.

But An Ugly Truth packs so many separate lines of attack into one narrative that even the biggest Facebook critic will be left wondering what the coherent critique here is. Is Facebook bad because its News Feed flattens the world and amplifies toxic partisanship and misinformation? Perhaps, but then the authors attack Facebook’s decision to prioritize Groups, a tool for connecting like-minded people and escaping the News Feed.

The authors are quick to defend Facebook from charges of left-leaning bias. On the revelation that Facebook engineers actively tried to stop Republicans from trending in the Trending Topics, they tell us, the engineers “were not pushing a liberal or conservative agenda.” The fact that Sandberg was a top donor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign is a PR problem, but when another Facebook exec sits behind Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing, it’s a company-wide crisis.

If there is a single through-line in An Ugly Truth, it’s this: Believing false things is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual, and Facebook inaugurated a new era of widespread misinformation. The First Amendment right to free speech isn’t absolute, and no one has a right to “algorithmic amplification.” In a better world, platforms would work hand in hand with “disinformation experts,” left-wing civil rights groups, and “trusted organizations” like the CDC to ceaselessly protect users from believing false things. They would prioritize news from “respectable” sources and downplay questionable conservative partisans.

The problem with this framing, of course, is that we already live in the world Frenkel and Kang dream of. Facebook does coordinate with the federal government, it does censor theories the World Health Organization and CDC consider objectionable, and it does tag posts about COVID with an informational bar urging you to listen to the experts. It does shadow ban” content it thinks is misleading, and it purges the accounts of individuals who express political beliefs beyond the pale.

Those actions haven’t fixed the problem Frenkel and Kang identify, because they can’t: There’s never been a time when misinformation wasn’t an endemic part of human life, or when the line between safe truths and dangerous lies was settled and accepted by all. Facebook centralizes many of our disputes and may be responsible for a crappier public discourse. But the authors yearn for a solution to basic human foibles, crafted by our bien pensant elites. It’s not clear that such a solution could exist, and it’s certainly not clear that Frenkel and Kang’s preferred authorities have the wisdom to carry them out.

The punch that lands cleanest from Frenkel and Kang is the critique of Zuckerberg’s worldview—that “connection” is the great good Facebook can provide. Over and over, Zuckerberg tells us Facebook is in the business of “connecting the world,” but rarely can he articulate reasons that connection is good for us on a social or personal level.

The authors highlight a particularly damning internal memo by exec and Zuckerberg ally Andrew Bosworth. “We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. The work we will likely have to do in China someday. All of it.” Bosworth later claimed the memo was meant to inspire debate, but it reads as an accurate mission statement.

There’s a book to be written about Facebook’s vision of connection—a world where users are fed the content and connections the algorithm thinks they want, with little regard for their edification or real-world effects.

Unfortunately, An Ugly Truth isn’t that book.

Freedom of the Press

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 29, 2021 by andelino

Does the current administration believe in Freedom of the Press?

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced  that the American government is instructing Facebook to remove certain posts from its platform. Speaking about the government’s response to covid-19, she said the White House is “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

Psaki defined “health misinformation” as “false, inaccurate or misleading information about health, according to the best evidence at the time.”

“Today we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health,” she said. “The truth is that misinformation takes away our freedom to make informed decisions about our health and the health of our loved ones.”

Psaki called for an “all-of-society approach to fight misinformation.” The United States government is pressuring a private company that claims to not be responsible for what its users write and telling it what to ban from its platform.

Psaki continued: “Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts—posts that will be within their policies for removal often remain up for days. That’s too long. The information spreads too quickly.”

Not only is the government telling Facebook what it can and cannot display, it’s even chiding the company for not going after “violative posts” quickly enough.

The Biden administration isn’t the only arm of the U.S. government involved in this. So is the Senate. Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced the Health Misinformation Act to the Senate on July 22. The proposed bill would make an exemption to the Communications Decency Act, which gives online platforms legal immunity from problematic content their users upload. The exemption would be regarding “misinformation and disinformation” regarding the covid-19 pandemic. If it becomes law, the government can force Big Tech to do its bidding in this regard.

Glen Greenwald said Biden’s Big Tech policies amount to “a merger of state and corporate power, which ironically is the classic definition of fascism.”

“We have heard so much about fascism over the last five years,” Greenwald told Fox News. “This is what it actually is. And the people who say they are against it are actually now supporting it.”

Historical fascism’s incorporation of private enterprise into the state is notorious. Corporations like Bayer, as its predecessor, IG Farben, used Jewish slave labor. Adolf Hitler collaborated with Porsche to found a certain car and weapons manufacturer: Volkswagen.

Greenwald suggests Washington’s influence on Facebook is taking America down a similar path. Only, in this case, we’re not talking about chemical manufacturers or auto makers. We’re talking about social media. We’re talking about the press.

Today, it’s censoring material about covid-19 vaccines. What will it be tomorrow? Online posts from opposition candidates? Journalists investigating government corruption?

This may sound sensationalist. One may argue that the U.S. government is merely doing all this to combat a grave national crisis. Even though covid-19 isn’t nearly as deadly as most “authorities” claim, as noted by the Brookings Institution.

Section 14 of Hitler’s 1933 Reich Press Law ordered newspaper editors “to keep out of the newspapers anything which in any manner is misleading to the public, mixes selfish aims with community aims, tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich, outwardly or inwardly, the common will of the German people, the defense of Germany, its culture and economy … or offends the honor and dignity of Germany.”

1933 was the year Hitler gained power. The preceding years were marked by economic collapse and extremist groups brawling in the streets. Germany was in the middle of a national crisis. Something like the Reich Press Law may have sounded like a reasonable antidote to the crises. But what happened to the German press after 1933—especially under Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels—led to the establishment of a totalitarian dictatorship that led to World War ii and the Holocaust.

And an innocuous law protecting the public from “misleading” information that mixed “selfish aims with community aims” against “the common will of the German people” was a part of how it started.

The U.S. government’s actions therefore are worrying. And Washington is going down this route despite ample evidence that covid-19 is not what it is marketed to be—despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knowing that the various covid-19 vaccines, which are currently unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration, can cause everything from birth defects to permanent disabilities to death—despite America never going down this kind of route for any other recent epidemic.

It’s jab or else. And it’s not because the Biden administration is concerned about your health.

Killing People

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 27, 2021 by andelino

Fraud-In-Chief Joe Biden accused Facebook of “killing people,” just after White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is “in regular touch” with the platform to ensure correct “narratives” are promoted — elaborating on her admission that the White House is “flagging problematic posts” to censor.

Biden was asked about his message for platforms like Facebook as he departed the White House on Friday afternoon for a weekend trip to Camp David. “They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden said.

There’s a reason why there is a separation of powers. If a party is actually causing harm to another party the recourse is the judicial system.

For the Executive branch (or the Legislative branch) to decide that a party is causing harm to another party and to act as a super-judiciary, to take it on their own to decide offense, guilt, and recourse, is to violate the Constitutional separation of powers and act unlawfully.

The entire Leftist project is by its nature based on this super-judicial violation of the constitutional separation of powers and has been the unspoken motus operandi that created, made and sustains the administrative state. It’s time to properly identify it and call it out. The slippery slope has taken us too far. It is taking us back to pre-constitutional times.

If the Biden administration thinks a party is causing harm to another party they have to turn to the courts of law and actual law that deals with harms. To do otherwise is to assume powers they do not have and to make of themselves the actual danger to society.

Although Covid vaccines are widely available in the U.S., many people refuse to take the vaccine. Should more states emulate California and Ohio in giving out million-dollar lottery prizes as incentivizes? Is it true as some argue that to overcome the pandemic, we need vaccine “mandates”? Join Onkar Ghate and Elan Journo for an analysis of this issue, the proposed remedies, and their moral-political significance.

According to Flip Flop Tony Fauci, cockroach blood is a key component of all the coronavirus vaccines currently on the market.

Now, you might think that “Tony” is spreading false and malicious “misinformation,” but lots of today’s “misinformation” turns out to be tomorrow’s truth, such as the Wuhan Lab origin of the Wuhan virus, the Hunter Biden laptop story, NSA spying on U.S. citizens, etc.

No need to go on, all one has to know is that the best way to determine truth and counter “misinformation” is with robust discussion and debate, not censorship. But for those not convinced, you’ll be thrilled to know that the White House has assembled “partners” to do the censorship that government cannot legally do.

SO….updated warning posters are in order:

Facebook To Ban Christian Content

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , on February 4, 2021 by andelino

Face-book bans Bible passages but is just fine with all the violent, misogynistic, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian passages in the Qur’an.

Facebook also has no problem allowing sexual abuse and exploitation of children on its platforms. In fact, online child sex abuse has soared by 31% in 2020, with at least 13,000,000 disturbing and shocking images of children on Facebook and Instagram.

Not to mention Facebook’s major role in promoting the recent attack on the Capitol as well as all the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots over the past year.

Facebook is struggling to remove child porn content, but remains ruthlessly efficient at censoring Bible passages.

Representatives from Big Tech Giant, Facebook, known for making overnight changes in policy have announced their newest policy update, which is being viewed as one of the company’s most controversial changes to date.

According to Facebook representative Riker Jepson, the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has made the decision to ban all Christian themed content in attempt to celebrate religious diversity while at the same time reducing religious intolerance among the social network’s estimated 1.65 billion monthly active users.

One of the most frequent complaints made by Facebook users each month is what many of the website’s members describe as religious intolerance or bullying by the social network’s Christian population. Many Facebook users have complained that the website has become “over-saturated” with Christian posts, groups, pages, meme’s, and even Christian themed hashtags.

The company’s developers are currently working to create an algorithm that will alert staff of any content that appears to be related to Christianity. All flagged content will be reviewed by a dedicated team and will be immediately removed if found to be in violation of community standards.

Repeated offenders will have their credentials suspended and will no longer have access to their Facebook accounts. Though Jepson estimates their developers will have mastered the necessary algorithm within the next few weeks to ensure compliance with the newest policy update.

Though Facebook will be void of all Christian related content, not all religious themed content will be banned. Several religions will still have free-reign on the social network including but not limited to, Buddhism, Deity, Druid, Eckankar, Ethical Culture, Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Mormonism, Muslim, Native American Spirituality, New Age, Pagan, Rastafarian, Santeria, Scientologist, Secular, Sikh, Spiritualist, Taoist, and Unitarian Universalist.

Facebook should be re-named “Satan’s Book.” 

Don’t use Facebook. Particularly do not use the app. It is incredibly intrusive. The only way to stop Facebook is to get off of it and uninstall from your computer and phone.

Facebook issues 30-day ban, says Bible verse violates Community Standards
Devout Christian mom is BANNED from Facebook because she quoted Bible verses 

How To Survive Big Tech

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2021 by andelino

The largest technology companies in the United States don’t like you very much. Conservatives will have their voices silenced just like the dissenters in China.

So, what should you do to survive “The Purge”

Social Media

Start by recognizing that you can’t fix the tech platforms that are bent on eradicating your “Social Media” point-of-views. You’ll have to go elsewhere or be exiled. So consider alternative social media platforms focusing on freedom of speech like Parler, Gab, MeWee, Rumble, etc.

Search Engines

Google kicked Parler off its app store because it disagreed with posts that users published. Weak, lame, silly, petty. Yeah, but it is what it is. You can’t fix Google, so avoid it.

DuckDuckGo is a fantastic search engine, they don’t track you, don’t sell your data and do not have the algorithmic political bias that Google does. Go HERE to see how to change the search engine you use from Google to ANYTHING else.

Another great search engine is Brave, a fast, private and secure web browser for PC, Mac and mobile. Download now to enjoy a faster ad-free browsing experience that saves data and battery life by blocking tracking software.

Tech Choices

Apple and Google kicked free speech company Parler off of its app store. If you have an iPhone or a Pixel, you’re financially supporting their actions.

While Samsung still uses Google’s Android OS, picking a phone not made by Apple or Google nets the monopolistic demons much less revenue than buying their phones.

You can also “de-Google” your Android phone to completely release you from Big Tech’s grasp:

The ultimate idea is to make sure you aren’t stuck on a single platform, with a single provider, on a single device. You must decentralize your communications so that you can get the information you need.

While luxuriating in Tahiti, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a shameful but bold decision: He removed thousands of conservative voices from his platform, including GrrrGraphics. You can follow GrrrGraphics on Gab with same ID @GRRRGRAPHICS.

Our mass violation? We were all pro-Trump. Dorsey “lied” and said we were promoting ”violence” while he allowed “hang Pence” messages to stay.

Not to be outdone, Jeff Bezos also “cleansed” the Twitter alternative, Parler, from his company’s cloud servers. Trump supporters are now being smeared as “terrorists” by the far left mega billionaires.

Throughout 2020, Facebook was busy “censoring” conservative voices on their platform. Mark Zuckerberg is good friends with China’s President Xi.

Zuckerberg speaks Chinese. He asked Xi to name his child. Zuckerberg clearly interfered with the election by refusing to allow any comments or links to Hunter’s notorious laptop. Facebook went the Hillary route of lying and said with zero proof that it was “Russian disinformation.”

Try using Google for any searches of conservative opinions and you’ll see page after page of leftist opinions stating why conservatives are wrong. Goggle does “evil” and it’s now nothing more than a “socialist propaganda arm” and not a search engine.

Many on the left claim it’s perfectly fine for these CEOs to burn conservative opinions. After all, they are private companies and can do whatever they want. Not exactly. They are publicly-held companies. Twitter’s stock got slammed the other day and rightfully so. Let’s hope the mega billionaires are all taken down a peg or two, but more importantly, we all need to point out the hypocrisy of the left for blatantly violating our First Amendment.

The lefty mega billionaires know their plans for us are unpopular. Their ideas don’t stand up in the marketplace of ideas, so they want to limit and control that marketplace.  They know this is not aligned with our Constitution, but they don’t care. They admire the “Chicoms” system more. Hence their naked display of reckless power.

They must be awfully “afraid” if they’re resorting to “silencing” millions of Americans.

Banning Conservatives From Existence Is a Bold and Dangerous Move
Facebook to Aggressively Remove All “Stop the Steal” Content
Ron Paul Says Facebook Blocked Him From Managing His Profile
The Outright Lies of Equality by Big Tech Organizations
The vilification and purge is not so much about Trump as it is about you

Dump Big Tech Now

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2021 by andelino

Dump Twitter and Big Tech for threatening our “democracy and freedom of speech.”

Twitter just de-platformed President Trump permanently! And, other conservatives, including General Flynn and Sidney Powell, were also summarily de-platformed.

Conservatives, Christians and freedom-loving Americans of all political persuasions must now take a decision to preserve their free speech and their ability to peaceably assemble by dumping Twitter and Big Tech, and by finding other good alternatives to communicate with each other and share their opinions.

Please SIGN our petition-pledge to Dump Twitter and Big Tech, and take back your freedom of speech and privacy. CLICK HERE for our “Goodbye Google” resources page to find good alternatives to Google!

When you use Twitter or Facebook to communicate, or Google to search for something online, these companies can stifle your ability to share your thoughts and opinions and manipulate your search results, threatening your privacy, your freedom of speech, and even our democracy.

Evidence suggests that Twitter and Facebook’s “community guidelines” are selectively enforced against conservatives and Christians, while Google rigs their search algorithms to direct traffic away from conservative and Christian websites, effectively choking traffic to those sites.

Simply put, Twitter, Facebook and Google, who owns YouTube, appear to be actively suppressing access to pro-freedom, pro-family and pro-life news and opinion.

Don’t contribute to this assault on democracy: “Stop using Twitter, Facebook and Google as your default social media platforms and search engine!” CLICK HERE to find a good alternative to Google.

To repeat: “a few liberal and completely unaccountable computer programmers in Silicon Valley are dictating what we do and do not see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and in our Google searches.”

We, here, at LifeSite, also recently had our Twitter account suspended by the company over “misgendering” a man who claims to be a woman.

LifeSite has also experienced a fall-off in Google search-related traffic since the company updated its search algorithms at the beginning of May.

And, since the November election, Twitter and Big Tech appear to have dramatically INCREASED their censorship of conservatives and Christians as the President Trump disputed the results of the election and when evidence of election fraud began to mount.

Now, it seems likely that they are trying to cut-off conservative leaders like President Trump from conservatives on the ground, and effectively exclude us from the national conversation.

But, this tactic will not work. Because Twitter, Facebook and Google are not the only game in town! There are a good number of excellent alternatives which we list in our “Goodbye Google” Resources page.

The great irony is that, while Twitter, Facebook and Google executives talk a lot about maintaining freedom of speech and diversity, in fact, these hypocrites are ATTACKING free speech point-blank!

This kind of “manipulation” poses a lethal threat to our democracy, but as we see so clearly now, Twitter and Big Tech have shown no hesitation in excluding conservatives and Christians from the public square.

So, at this point, the only way to stop Twitter, Facebook and Google is to quit “using their platform.”

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to pledge to stop using Twitter and Big Tech. Then, please CLICK HERE to find alternative search engines and social media platforms. Thank you!

Find alternatives for search engines, browsers, email, and more. 
Twitter permanently bans President Trump from platform.  
Big Tech vs. Free Speech of interviews with experts on how Big Tech censorship is killing free speech
From YouTube to social media and beyond, online censorship is rampant.

Viva La Revolución

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 8, 2020 by andelino

It is very important to stay indoors. Having any form of contact with other humans is a “crime” against humanity. You must sacrifice your “rights” for the good of the community. We are at war against a microscopic invisible enemy called “Covid.”

America has never been at war against “Covid.” The war has always been against the rich Trump, the Russians, the Ukrainians and Police brutality. It is perfectly safe to go out and gather in “mobs” of thousands of people. Have fun “rioting and looting” the stores of the people paying taxes for your “welfare” checks.

Long live the revolution!

We are working overtime to push all of these former “lockdown” statements down the memory hole. Of course, when the shops and firms of the middle class in Democrat territories have all been “burnt” down, we will shamelessly demand another “covid” lockdown. The Sheeple will use “doublethink” to follow the right path, merrily bleating along.

It’s not just America. The rest of the world has also never been at war with “Covid.” Just look at these worldwide rallies in “solidarity” with American protesters.

But there’s something “strange” in all of this. Why aren’t they “breaking” windows in the stores where they go shopping every day? Why aren’t they “burning” down their own restaurants? Why do they only want the “looting and the burning” happen only in the U.S.?

Question for all these protesters: “Have any of you fought for justice and freedom for your own people without stealing toilet paper from the local grocery?” I didn’t think so.

Facebook removed above meme because “misinformation that could cause physical harm can make some people feel unsafe on Facebook.”

Just thinking about Facebook makes me feel unsafe.

Rioters didn’t “cause” any physical harm, but the “meme” did. Thank you, Facebook, for helping “clearing” up this point.

Facebook’s Fake Propaganda

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2020 by andelino

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 28, 2016 shows logos of US online social media and social networking service Facebook in Vertou, France.
Facebook said April 27, 2017 it is stepping up its security to counter efforts by governments and others to spread misinformation or manipulate discussions for political reasons.The new effort expands Facebook’s security efforts beyond “abusive” actions such as hacking and financial scams to “more subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people,” according to a white paper released by the world’s leading social network.

Have you seen some “tips to spot fake news” on your Facebook news-feed recently? Over the past year, the social media company has been scrutinized for “influencing” the US presidential election by spreading fake “propaganda” news.

Obviously, the ability to spread completely “made-up” stories about politicians trafficking “child sex” slaves and imaginary “terrorist attacks” with impunity is bad for democracy and society.

Something had to be done. Enter Facebook’s new, depressingly “incompetent” strategy for tackling “fake” news. The strategy has three, frustratingly “ill-considered” parts.

The first part of the plan is to build new products to curb the spread of fake news stories. Facebook says it’s trying “to make it easier to report a false news story” and find signs of fake news such as “if reading an article makes people significantly less likely to share it.”

It will then send the story to independent fact checkers. If fake, the story “will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to a corresponding article explaining why.”

This sounds pretty good, but it won’t work. If “non-experts” could tell the difference between “real news and fake news” which is doubtful, there would be no “fake news problem” to begin with.

What’s more, Facebook says: “We cannot become arbiters of truth ourselves — it’s not feasible given our scale, and it’s not our role.” Nonsense.

Facebook is like a “megaphone.” Normally, if someone says something “horrible” into the megaphone, it’s not the megaphone company’s fault. But Facebook is a very special kind of megaphone that “listens” first and then changes the “volume.”

A demonstrator shouts slogans through a megaphone in front of the entrance to Lisbon’s IMF bureau January 30, 2013. The October 15 movement called for a protest in Lisbon against the government’s strong austerity measures under the bailout conducted by European Central Bank (ECB), European Union (EU) and Internatonal Monetary Fund (IMF). REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro (PORTUGAL – Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CIVIL UNREST) – RTR3D683

The company’s algorithms largely determine both the content and order of your news-feed. So if Facebook’s algorithms spread some “neo-Nazi hate speech” far and wide, yes, it is the company’s fault.

Worse yet, even if Facebook accurately “labels” fake news as contested, it will still affect public discourse through “availability cascades.”

Each time you see the same message repeated from apparently different sources, the message seems more believable and reasonable. Bold “lies” are extremely powerful because repeatedly fact-checking them can actually make people remember them as “true.”

These effects are exceptionally robust; they cannot be fixed with weak interventions such as public service announcements, which brings us to the second part of Facebook’s strategy: “helping people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news.”

Facebook is releasing public service announcements and funding the “news integrity initiative” to help “people make informed judgments about the news they read and share online.”

This – also – doesn’t work.

A vast body of research in cognitive psychology concerns correcting systematic errors in reasoning such as failing to perceive propaganda and bias. We have known since the 1980s that simply warning people about their biased perceptions doesn’t work.

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam – RTS12TFL

Similarly, funding a “news integrity” project sounds great until you realize the company is really talking about “critical thinking skills.”

Improving critical thinking skills is a key aim of primary, secondary and tertiary education. If four years of university barely improves these skills in students, what will this initiative do? Make some YouTube videos? A fake news FAQ?

Funding a few research projects and “meetings with industry experts” doesn’t stand a chance to change anything.

The third prong of this “non-strategy” is cracking down on spammers and fake accounts, and making it harder for them to “buy” advertisements. While this is a good idea, it’s based on the “false premise” that most fake news comes from “shady con artists” rather than major news outlets.

You see, “fake news” is Orwellian newspeak — carefully crafted to mean a totally “fabricated” story from a fringe outlet “masquerading” as news for financial or political gain. But these stories are the most “suspicious” and therefore the least worrisome. “Bias and lies” from public figures, official reports and mainstream news are far more “insidious.”

And what about “astrology, homeopathy, psychics, anti-vaccination messages, climate change denial, intelligent design, miracles,” and all the rest of the irrational “nonsense” bandied about online? What about the vast array of “deceptive marketing and stealth advertising” that is core to Facebook’s business model?

As of this writing, Facebook doesn’t even have an “option” to report misleading advertisements. Facebook’s strategy is “vacuous, evanescent, lip service;” a public relations exercise that makes no substantive attempt to address a serious problem.

But the problem is not unassailable. The key to reducing “inaccurate” perceptions is to redesign technologies to encourage more “accurate” perception. Facebook can do this by developing a propaganda filter — something like a “spam filter for lies.”

Facebook may object to becoming an “arbiter of truth.” But coming from a company that censors historic photos and comedians calling for social justice, this sounds “disingenuous.”

The front cover of Norway’s largest newspaper by circulation, Aftenposten, is seen at a news stand in Oslo, Norway September 9, 2016. Editor-in-chief and CEO, Espen Egil Hansen, writes an open letter to founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, accusing him of threatening the freedom of speech and abusing power after deleting the iconic picture from the Vietnam war, taken by Nick Ut, of a young girl running from napalm bombs. NTB Scanpix/Cornelius Poppe/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY. – RTX2OS32

Nonetheless, Facebook has a point. To avoid accusations of “bias,” it should not create the propaganda filter itself. It should simply fund “researchers” in artificial intelligence, software engineering, journalism and design to develop an “open-source” propaganda filter that anyone can use.

Why should Facebook pay? Because it “profits” from spreading propaganda, that’s why.

Sure, people will try to “game” the filter, but it will still work. “Spam” is frequently riddled with “typos, grammatical errors and circumlocution” not only because it’s often written by non-native English speakers but also because the weird writing is necessary to “bypass” spam filters.

If the propaganda filter has a similar effect, weird writing will make the fake news that slips through more obvious. Better yet, an effective propaganda filter would actively encourage journalistic best practices such as citing primary sources.

Developing a such a tool won’t be easy. It could take years and several million dollars to refine. But Facebook made over US$8 billion last quarter, so Mark Zuckerberg can surely afford it.

Cryptos and Criminals

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2019 by andelino

Bitcoin is the currency for “criminals” because of its popularity, but less transparent “alternatives” are appearing.

The recent bust of a worldwide international “pedophile ring” using Bitcoin payments highlighted one of the key fears surrounding “crypto currencies” and their use by criminals.

Social networking giant Facebook is keen to get in on the act by launching a digital currency called “Libra.”

But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has aired his ongoing opposition to the move, saying many concerns remained unresolved, including “the issue of money laundering.”

Despite tighter regulations and increased vigilance by the authorities, illegal activities related to virtual currencies remained “significant,” said Madeleine Kennedy, from the research firm Chainalysis.

A Chainalysis report published in January said that in 2018, 1% of Bitcoin transactions – the most widely used cryptocurrency – involved “illegal” activities.

The equivalent of US$600 million was also spent using Bitcoins on the “dark web”, a set of hidden networks where a multitude of “illicit” products, including weapons and drugs, are traded.

In comparison, the global turnover of drug trafficking is estimated at several hundred billion dollars. Kennedy believes the use of Bitcoins for criminal purposes was partly based on a “misunderstanding.”

The confidentiality reputation of the most famous crypto currency is unrivaled, with all transactions recorded in an unforgeable public ledger, the “blockchain.”

But it is “more transparent than some traditional financial systems and certainly more than cash,” she added.

The British and US authorities last week announced more than 300 arrests in 38 countries as part of an investigation that led to the dismantling of an unprecedented “child pornography ring.”

Investigators analyzed the blockchain and succeeded in “de-anonymizing Bitcoin transactions,” according to Ron Fort, the head of criminal investigations in the US tax services.

But if Bitcoin is still the reference currency for criminals because of its popularity, they are turning to less transparent alternatives, such as “Monero”, which began life in 2014, according to the European law enforcement agency Europol.

Monero’s users can remain anonymous until they need to interact with a crypto marketing platform or invest their funds with a “wallet” – the equivalent of an account for virtual currencies.

It is a phenomenon that also worries the German finance ministry, which recently published a document warning that anonymous cryptos could become “a real alternative to Bitcoin.”

Monero, whose capitalization is still 160 times lower than Bitcoin, uses a complex architecture that makes transactions “much more difficult to track,” said Kennedy.

“But no more than the many shell companies in the many tax havens,” said Emilien Bernard-Alzias, a lawyer at Simmons & Simmons, a specialist in financial markets.

“We have always seen both legal and technical arrangements to conceal money transfers from the courts,” he said, adding that only cash can be considered “perfectly untraceable.”

Also, since Monero does not allow large quantities of money to be bought, criminals are encouraged to convert their funds and must therefore use service providers subject to anti-money laundering regulations.

Unlike currencies that have made anonymity a marketing feature, Facebook has repeatedly said in recent months that Libra will be transparent and comply with the authorities’ requirements.

Libra “will clearly not be ideal for laundering dirty money,” said Bernard-Alzias, although it will probably need to use blockchain analysts “to satisfy regulators,” added Kennedy.

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