Tag Archives: social media

President Trump Chastises Tech and Social Media Giants

Editor’s Note: One of the major news stories this week involves Donald Trump’s public condemnation of tech and social media companies’ ongoing censorship of customer and user content. This was accompanied by the president’s introduction of the Twitter hash, #StoptheBias. In a statement that should foster a broad national conversation, a cursory query on the Google search engine itself reveals a general blackout of the president’s commentary in major media, with The Daily Beast the only major US-based mainstream outlet highlighted in “top coverage”–with a misleading headline suggesting that Trump’s remark suggests the creation of a forthcoming political strategy. CNN and MSNBC predictably highlighted Google’s denial of any bias against conservatives.

Greg Sandoval
Business Insider 
(August 29, 2018)

US President Donald Trump continued to blast away at Google on Wednesday, as he accused the tech company of showing favoritism to former President Barack Obama’s administration.

Trump posted a video to his Twitter page that alleges that Google promoted Obama’s State of the Union addresses multiple times on its homepage, but has not done the same when he has addressed Congress. He posted the video with a hashtag, “#StopTheBias.”

CNBC has confirmed that photos of the Google of pages that appear in the video are accurate. It’s not immediately clear if the video was created by the Trump administration, or if it was made by a third party and shared by the President.

The video was posted a day after Trump criticized Google multiple times on Tuesday, accusing the company of rigging search results to silence conservative media outlets and make his administration look bad.

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One Researcher’s Account of a WordPress.com Takedown

Cinderella Broom
FOTM

The week of August 12 was a countdown, though to what remains to be seen. I didn’t know it at first. Someone dear to me had died the week before, and I had miles to travel, tasks to finish and people to visit. It never occurred to me that the week following would bring more deaths.

The first happened on August 15th: the original FOTM blog was snuffed out by WordPress.

Then, from the same host, a series of kills: American Everyman, Jays Analysis, 50 Shades of Pissed Off, Fundamental Option, Chem Trails Planet, Government Rag, Dutch Sinse, together with my blog, Cinderella’s Broom. More small, independent blogs, I’m sure, were taken out, sites that shared a mission of exposing false flag operations and hoaxes, notably Sandy Hook.

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Who’s Behind the Tsunami of Social Media and Blog Censorship?

From Art Moore, “Memo Reveals Soros-Funded Social-Media Censorship Plan,” WND, August 20, 2018:

The recent wave of censorship of conservative voices on the internet by tech giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Apple mirrors a plan concocted by a coalition of George Soros-funded, progressive groups to take back power in Washington from President Trump’s administration.

confidential, 49-page memo for defeating Trump by working with the major social-media platforms to eliminate “right wing propaganda and fake news” was presented in January 2017  by Media Matters founder David Brock at a retreat in Florida with about 100 donors, the Washington Free Beacon reported at the time.

Continue reading Who’s Behind the Tsunami of Social Media and Blog Censorship?

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Trump: ‘We won’t let’ discrimination of conservatives on social media happen’

RT
(August 18, 2018)

US President Donald Trump has spoken out about censorship against conservatives on social media, saying it is a “very dangerous thing” and calling for everyone to be allowed to participate in the online conversation.

“Social media is totally discriminating against Republican/conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others,” Trump wrote.

He went on to call censorship a “very dangerous thing,” while taking the opportunity to slam “fake news.”

Continue reading Trump: ‘We won’t let’ discrimination of conservatives on social media happen’

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Annapolis Shooting: Mayor Discusses Active Shooter Simulation on National Television

Attended Drill, Spoke With Gazette Editor Minutes Before Shooting

This morning Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley pointed to the fact that there was an active shooter drill conducted by the city’s first responders less than one week before the Capital Gazette shooting, on June 22.

In a somewhat uncomfortable exchange on Fox&Friends, Annapolis’ mayor repeatedly glanced downward and stumbled through what appear to be a set of canned statements. He pointed to the fact that he conversed with the Capital Gazette‘s editor minutes before the event transpired, and further noted how he was present as the city’s police and fire departments rehearsed such a scenario one week ago.

“So many resources were thrown at this,” Buckley explained. “The fact that we had done … a drill … less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice … Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.”

Buckley goes on to plead for mental health and gun control measures, in addition to the purported role social media (i.e. independent and uncensored information) may have played in the shooting.

These specific passages of the interview are transcribed verbatim below.

Fox&Friends: Joining us now is a mayor that probably didn’t get very much sleep last night, Gavin Buckley. Mr. Mayor sorry you’re going through this. Uh, what did you find when you got on the scene, and what could you tell our listeners and everybody—our viewers and everyone around the world, uh, what’s the latest with the shooter?

Buckley: So, uhm, we uh … I was speaking to the editor of the the Capital probably 20 minutes beforehand. That editor was not in the building when the shooter came in or he would have been dead I’m sure.

Uhm, he doesn’t go away very often. He works really hard. The journalists that lost their lives—all those journalists are like his children. He, uh, it’s going to be along time for his—him to recover.

Uh, we got the news, uh, we came straight to the scene. There were, uh, what felt like a hundred, uh, uh, em-em—emergency vehicles here.Uh, the situation was being addressed.

Th—so many resources were thrown at this. I don’t think there’s anything more but … I’m so proud of first responders, because I know, uh, that what they did saved lives.

And the fact that they got in there as fast as they did. The fact that we had done, uhm, a drill, uhm, less than a week beforehand. And I had watched these guys come in and practice. They stepped over simulated, uhm, victims, ah, headshots and, uhm, chest-shots and, and, and flesh wounds. They had to walk through—past those simulated victims, and had to go to the shooter and take the shooter down. Little did they know they would actually be doing that a week later.

Buckley repeated the usual litany of topics covered by public officials in the wake of most every mass shooting event over the past several years, while asking the public to empathize with local news outlets like the Gazette.

Buckley: We have to do something about these guys. We have to do something about mental health. We have to do something about gun control. We have to do something that stops, uh, society being so t–tightly wound.

This paper is not a left wing paper. It’s not a right wing paper. It’s a local paper that reports on local things. It reports on our kids sports teams. [It] reports on all the things that matter to us locally. There’s nothing this paper does that would offend you that much that you’d want to kill people.

Shortly thereafter Fox steered Buckley toward the alleged impact that commentary on social media has in precipitating such events.

Fox&Friends: But the thing is with the social media postings. Are you going to be part of a process that maybe reevaluates the threats that are online locally? Is there a way to do that? Is that something you’re going to focus on?

Buckley: I think it has to be, uh, definitely something we look into, because, uh, Chief Altamari’s talking about increasing resources to, uh, public safety for such things. We have to, uh, reevaluate how we, uh, prepare for these things. We have to be vigilant. We-we have to, uh, look for tell-tale signs and, you know, I think that what people, uh, uh, [are] so isolated now. They-they live in their silos and they sit in front of their screens, and they don’t get out there so you can’t tell [sic].

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Facebook Intensifies Censorship of User Content

“Hate Speech” Difficult to Police

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.

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Director of Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab Witch-Hunts Temple Journalism Prof

Takes Issue With “Fringe and Debunked Views”

(Updated May 10, 9:50AM EST)

Joshua Benton is a former Dallas Morning News reporter and Director of Harvard’s Niamey Journalism Lab. Image Credit: YouTube

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.

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.

Viola’s boss, David Boardman, whose Twitter handle Benton included in his Viola Tweetstorm, oversees both Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, which owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

“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.

 

 

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