Social media behemoth Facebook, with over two billion users worldwide, has issued a censorship report for the first quarter of 2018. The document states that its recently-deployed artificial intelligence censor-bots flag or eliminate over 85% of images posted containing “graphic violence.”
The same techniques have been successful in addressing 1.9 million in the same period posts promoting “terrorist propaganda,” the company said.
Facebook’s automated censors have much greater difficulty detecting “racist or homophobic hate speech,” because it “racist is often quoted on posts by their targets or activists,” AFP reports.
“It may take a human to understand and accurately interpret nuances like… self-referential comments or sarcasm,” the report said, noting that Facebook aims to “protect and respect both expression and personal safety”.
Facebook took action against 2.5 million pieces of hate speech content during the period, a 56 increase over October-December. But only 38 percent had been detected through Facebook’s efforts — the rest flagged up by users.
The posts that keep the Facebook reviewers the busiest are those showing adult nudity or sexual activity — quite apart from child pornography, which is not covered by the report.
Some 21 million such posts were handled in the period, a similar number to October-December 2017.
That was less than 0.1 percent of viewed content — which includes text, images, videos, links, live videos or comments on posts — Facebook said, adding it had dealt with nearly 96 percent of the cases before being alerted to them.
Several corporate news media recognized the “World Press Freedom Day” on May 3 with promotional messages in the pages of their respective publications and via social media.
The occasion is in fact sponsored by the United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a vital arm of the UN that has overseen a multitude of social engineering projects since its founding in 1948 by individuals including eugenicist Julian Huxley.
In 2018, UNESCO will lead the 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. The main event, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Ghana, will take place in Accra, Ghana on 2 – 3 May. This year’s global theme is ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’, and will cover issues of media and the transparency of the political process, the independence and media literacy of the judicial system, and the accountability of state institutions towards the public. The Day will also examine contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom online. (Emphases retained)
"Without press freedom there is no democracy" – @mariaressa
Journalists are society's eyes. Let's defend #PressFreedom to avoid going blind!
In celebration of UNESCO’s observation the New York Times, which has had a historic information-sharing and censorial relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency instructs its audience on examples of the vaunted Western “free press.”
The fact that such entities are promoting “Press Freedom” is especially noteworthy in the wake of the recent court decision that legally codifies the CIA practice of selectively disclosing select information to journalists and news outlets of its choosing.
The event is also recognized by US Senator Diane Feinstein, who encourages her followers to “fight fake news” by reading quality journalism. In 2013 Feinstein proposed legislation that would effectively define “journalism” as being only something practiced by individuals drawing a salary, thus eliminating a broad array of independent, citizen journalists from the information gathering, sharing, and analyzing equation.
A free press is essential to speaking truth to power, to hold governments accountable for corruption and abuse. Our democracy wouldn’t exist without journalists free to do their work. Fight fake news this #WorldPressFreedomDay by reading quality journalism.
Reviving McCarthyism & nurturing Orwellian society
Editor’s Note: In this thorough and articulate analysis the author examines the very real dangers posed by Western governments’ domestic efforts to circumvent the vital exchange of information and ideas afforded through citizen-fueled alternative media. In late 2016 MemoryHoleBlog was among the sites listed by the shadowy ProporNot organization’s as a “Russian agent” that “echoes Russian propaganda.”
Although MHB doesn’t routinely take editorial directions from the Kremlin, we do reserve our right to pass along important observations as we see fit and in accord with the First Amendment. The fact that the US government and her corporate sponsors fund terrorists to loot and destroy countries like Syria while at the same time they fabricate an alternate reality for the American people to mask such crimes is perhaps the most poignant sign of their contempt for anything bearing even a mild resemblance to the free speech provisions ensconced in the Constitution.
The new or expanded Global Engagement Center under the State Department seems to be morphing into what one might someday recognize as Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.”
Recent events over past months have caused many to suspect the reliability of news and information provided to us, often by our own governments. Alternative news sources threaten to disrupt the message or narrative crafted by governments and large organizations. The US Global Engagement Center is mobilizing in response to counter alternative media, conflicting perspectives and foreign influence such as ‘Russian Propaganda.’
The rush to judgement, complete failure to follow international norms, and subsequent actions in response to both the alleged poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in the UK and the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria leaves many questions unanswered. That narratives of government officials and mainstream media (MSM) are in lockstep despite the lack of any real evidence makes one suspicious of the ultimate objectives. Whatever these objectives may be, they certainly appear misplaced and bring increased international tension. Both these instances have the appearance of ‘false flag’ operations.
However, despite the lack of a thorough investigation, British Prime Minister May was quick to state the Skripals were poisoned with a nerve agent, Novichok, and claimed it was “highly likely” that it was the Russian government behind the attack. Both the UK and Russia are signatories of the international Chemical Weapons Convention. There are set procedures to be followed in the event of the suspected use of chemical weapons, such as Novichok, which include notification of the OPCW, cooperation of state parties and the instigation of a fact-finding investigation. These procedures were not followed and, in fact, Russia has yet to be included in the investigation or even provided samples.
There seems to be a veil of secrecy surrounding so many aspects of the entire incident. Despite the lack of evidence and the fragmentation of the initial storyline, the Skripal poisoning served certain interests by diverting attention away from the UK government and toward Russia. The subsequent mass expulsions of Russian diplomats from the UK, US and EU countries caused the further deterioration of international relations. Throughout this period, MSM toed the party line and lately it appears to have gone silent.
Closely following the Skripals’ poisoning, surprise-surprise, the famed White Helmets released a video of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria. Once again, despite no evidence and prior to the arrival of OPCW inspectors, the US, UK, and France launched airstrikes against Syria, targeting supposed chemical weapons facilities. There has yet to be any indication that a chemical weapons attack actually took place. Local citizens and doctors have testified recently that there was no chemical attack and that the incident was staged. Once again, MSM fails to cover the inconsistencies of the story which call in to serious question the actual occurrence of the attack.
Joshua Benton, the Director of Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation-funded Journalism Lab disagreed with some views a commenter left on the organization’s blog, so he did a bit of research, found out who the commenter was, and on May 4 decided to reveal the person’s name and identity in a series of Tweets. The “doxxing,” or “outing” of the commenter has resulted in an ongoing investigation by her academic employer.
Fransesca Viola is an attorney and professor of journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia. She set up a Disqus account called “truthseeker” using her Temple email address. The Disqus service allows users to freely comment across a range of websites.
The Nieman Lab’s director identified Viola by seeing the email address attached to her Disqus account. “Ms. Viola voluntarily logged into a commenting service and left a comment on our site using her Temple email address,” Benton said. “All I did was click one link to see all the other comments she had posted using her Temple email address.”
But instead of seeking to personally contact Viola and discuss her views via email, Benton used his personal Twitter account to publicly ridicule several of the comments she left at the Niemen Lab and other sites under her nom de plume. It’s almost beyond question that Benton did this with the intent to create tension between Viola, her academic employer, and the pious liberal sect that require strict adherence to its doctrinal requisites at most every US university.
As of this writing the identity disclosure and attack remain posted on Benton’s Twitter feed and have been archived here.
I think that this attitude — permanently rejecting a news source because it accurately reports something you don't like — is exactly what you want in a journalism professor, yes? Also, spell our name right, Francesca Viola of Temple University https://t.co/VBssWkSvlYpic.twitter.com/aNXjY36IP0
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Viola rightly took issue with Benton and the Nieman Foundation’s decision to publicly identify her. “I dispute the incorrect attributions and specious allegations posted by Joshua Benton on his Twitter feed at Harvard’s Nieman journalism think tank,” she wrote.
I am appalled by his improper ‘doxxing’ and by his flagrant violation of the Twitter, Disqus, Nieman and Harvard’s terms of service, the apparent violation of the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act — as well as the ethical and legal standards of journalism. I consider this a personal defamatory attack as well as an attempt to silence academic freedom and people everywhere. Most importantly, as an investigation is now underway, I would ask the community not to assume I am the author of some or all of those comments.
Benton replied in a statement that “no one was doxxed.” This is laughable considering it’s uttered from a man whose professional career is devoted to understanding “online journalism.” For example, here’s the Harvard journalism expert commenting on the industry in 2012.
While none of Viola’s personal information was released, Benton’s actions fit within the very essence of “doxxing,” which involves successful attempts “to tie an anonymous online profile to the true identity of the person behind it and then publicly reveal that person’s real name.”
Viola established her “truthseeker” identity to post comments anonymously and with the belief that webmasters would respect her privacy. Benton exposed her, and the content of his “Tweets” suggest that he did so with great relish.
“I was shocked to see that these comments…were coming from a journalism professor, posting with her Temple email address,” Benton declared in a missive to Temple’s student newspaper.
Everyone is entitled to their political opinions, but I think students and staff should be able to know when someone charged with teaching young people journalism holds these sorts of fringe and debunked views.
In other words, Benton is seeking to convince Viola’s colleagues and students that she is a “conspiracy theorist.” The Harvard staffer’s bio indicates that “he has reported from 10 foreign countries,” suggesting a possible intelligence background.
While it’s improbable that even a reporter with numerous accolades will move in a straight line from the Dallas Morning News to Harvard, Benton has no doubt executed the Agency’s 1035-960 technique against Viola with aplomb.
“Professor Viola has admitted to writing some but not all of these posts and specifically denies writing the post that is derogatory of Muslim protesters, a comment we find particularly abhorrent,” Boardman remarked in a public statement. “We are troubled by the content of some of the other cited posts but acknowledge that those in the Temple community are entitled to exercise free speech within constitutional parameters.”
Boardman refers to an anti-Muslim comment from “truthseeker” below, which may very well make the author a prime candidate for an officer’s spot in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Recognizing the violation of Viola’s privacy, on May 9 Benton issued an apology of sorts via Twitter for his failure to “adhere to rigorous reporting standards.”
Yet Benton’s actions overall really have nothing to do with journalism or adhering to any set of standards. The Harvard journalism expert saw red when he encountered political views that he didn’t agree with and turned to what are effectively methods of online intimidation (“bullying”) by threatening the individual’s livelihood.
The fear of being called a “conspiracy theorist” or the equivalent has, after all, been the main technique used to keep academics, journalists, and other salaried intellectuals in line for the past half-century.
Editor’s Note: One must be careful what they say as the walls have ears and the political correctness Stazi are ubiquitous. Given this the appropriate agencies will have to further scrutinize Professor Lebow’s political allegiances, social media activities, sexual proclivities, financials, and of course whether or not he still beats his wife.
A male professor who made a joke in a crowded elevator at an academic conference is now facing disciplinary charges after a female professor who was there filed a formal complaint.
Richard Ned Lebow, professor of international political theory at King’s College in London, was in a jammed elevator when someone asked him what floor he needed to get off on, according to a Washington Post opinion piece.
“Ladies’ lingerie,” he joked.
He was attending the International Studies Association conference in San Francisco at the time. Simona Sharoni, professor or women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, also present in the elevator, took offense and several hours after the incident, she filed a complaint with the association, which found that Lebow violated the group’s code of conduct.
After Lebow was made aware of the complaint, he sent Sharoni an email telling her “I certainly had no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable.” He also suggested she may have “interpreted my remark out of context.”
“Like you, I am strongly opposed to the exploitation, coercion or humiliation of women,” Lebow wrote, according to the Post. “As such evils continue, it seems to me to make sense to direct our attention to real offenses, not those that are imagined or marginal. By making a complaint to ISA that I consider frivolous — and I expect, will be judged this way by the ethics committee — you may be directing time and effort away from the real offenses that trouble us both.”
The ISA committee found fault with Lebow characterizing Sharoni’s complaint as “frivolous.” It instructed him to issue an “unequivocal apology,” which he refused to do.
Lebow told colleagues this is “a horrifying and chilling example of political correctness” that “encourages others to censor their remarks for fear of retribution.”
“For decades, women and other marginalized groups in the academy had to put up with white men who decided what counts as a violation and what is ‘frivolous,’” Sharoni told The Chronicle.
Lebow faces appropriate sanctions from ISA if he doesn’t write an apology by May 15.
ISA did not immediately respond to request for comment.