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.
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: As of this writing North Miami Beach police officer Ericson Harrell remains suspended with pay pending an internal investigation centering on his social media activity. Harrell’s case is similar to that of James Tracy in that his employer has taken issue with the policeman’s extracurricular commentary on the American police state and mass casualty events principally because of its content.
Now Florida public employers within the purview of the Southern District of Florida may very well be using the TracyvFAU decision as precedent to discipline workers based on speech-related “thought crime” offenses. There is no dispute that such employers and their legal advisors are aware of the court’s decision, and that the State of Florida fought vigorously to establish such a legal precedent. Please see our previous discussion of Officer Harrell’s situation here.
A South Florida cop suspended for comments he made on his personal Facebook page explains his views in detail.
The media had a field day mocking North Miami Beach police officer Ericson Harrell last month for suggesting on his personal Facebook page that the victims of the Parkland school shooting were “paid actors.”
The media attention resulted in Harrell placed on paid suspension while his agency “investigates” his comments.
But it’s been more than a month now and the only thing to investigate is whether or not Harrell made those comments while on duty, which may be a violation of department policy.
After all, Harrell never made those comments in his capacity as a police officer.
Instead, he made them on his personal Facebook page to his friends and followers, whom he says consists more of police accountability activists than police officers, including myself, who met him in person years ago.
In fact, he makes no mention of being a police officer on the About section of his Facebook page, not that he makes it a secret either as he frequently speaks out against police abuse on his page.
That being said, I believe some of his views about mass school shootings are far-fetched and irrational; based more on speculation than substance; a conspiracy-laden dogma arising from a complete lack of trust in the government.
But I also believe he is one of the sanest cops in the United States, which may help you understand my view of cops in this country.
This, after all, is a cop who is fully aware of the growing police state in this country, especially for those who stand up for their Constitutional rights; a cop who runs a YouTube channel called “The Penitent Cop” where he tries to educate people about their rights when dealing with police.
But I’ve been told my views are also radical, so I am posting the entire interview above to allow you to judge for yourself. Please let us know what you think in the comments section.
Joining us in the interview was First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, a longtime PINAC reader who also asked Harrell some questions.
Harrell, a 19-year veteran of the North Miami Beach Police Department, said he had a red pill awakening a few years ago while looking into the conspiracy theories behind 9/11.
That led him to question the government about everything, especially about mass shootings, many which he describes as being hoaxes, including the Sandy Hook school shooting and the Las Vegas massacre.
And while it’s understandable such comments may offend the family and friends of the victims slain in those shootings, it’s not like he tagged them in his post.
As mentioned before, the only thing his department can discipline him for is if he was making those posts during work hours, which he says he does not remember if he did or not.
But even if he did make those comments during work hours, that is much more preferable to me as a taxpaying citizen than having him spend those hours destroying the lives of innocent citizens, which takes place daily in cities throughout the United States.
But then again, I am considered a radical for my views, so maybe I’m failing to see what the big deal is here.
Susan Wojcicki, former advertising executive-turned-YouTube CEO, announced on March 13 that the world’s foremost online video-sharing platform will have a new feature called “information cues” on controversial videos that contradict information approved and distributed by government sources and mass media.
People need to pay attention to “what’s true and what’s not,” he said.
[Editor’s Note: We have reached truly Orwellian proportions when the president calls out public discussion and “fake news.” What makes this a real howler is that Obama has presided over countless government and media-constructed events at home and abroad alongside the 2012 repeal of the 1948 Smith-Mindt Act banning psychological operations targeting the American public ]
In a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama warned that the ease with which people can promulgate fraudulent news stories threatens basic democratic principles.
“In an age where there’s so much active misinformation ― and it’s packaged very well, and it looks the same when you see it on a Facebook page or you turn on your television ― where some overzealousness on the part of, you know, a U.S. official is equated with constant and severe repression elsewhere, if everything seems to be the same, and no distinctions are made, then we won’t know what to protect,” Obama said.
“We won’t know what to fight for, and we can lose so much of what we’ve gained in terms of the kind of democratic freedoms and market-based economies and prosperity that we’ve come to take for granted,” he added.
In recent days I discovered that the Canadian branch of the Israeli-US-based Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith is reporting that I am “well known for using academic credentials to deny the Holocaust.” On August 29, Daniel Leons-Marder mirrored the Canadian B’nai Brith report under the title, “Facebook Allows ‘Kill All Jews’ Post on Wall of Canadian Professor.” In an item Leons-Marder claims has been shared 11,000 times, he asserted “B’nai Brith Canada reported the image, which was ruled acceptable [by Facebook] within two hours, when it was alerted to it having been posted on the Facebook page of Canadian Academic Professor Anthony Hall, who is a holocaust denier.”