This week three media goliaths — Facebook, Google, and Twitter, who collectively act as information gatekeepers for the Internet — announced they would begin implementing censorship practices against news sites they deem misleading.
Websites that publish “fake,” misleading, or even satirical news will now be subject to a sliding scale of infractions that will target ad revenue and social media algorithms. Without ad revenue from monetization platforms like Google Adsense, many of these sites would not be able to continue publishing, and without Facebook’s distribution platform, even sites with good organic reach could find their traffic severely crippled.
“Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property,” Google stated, following the lead of Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading »
Less than two weeks after Angela Merkel accused Facebook and Google of “distorting” the public’s perception with its automated curation of news stories, and demanding access to the media giants’ algorithms, Spiegel reported over the weekend that prosecutors in the Bavarian capital are conducting an investigation into Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other heads of the social media giant for failing to stop hate speech and over potentially illegal posts on the website.
COO Sheryl Sandberg, European policy director Richard Allan and Eva-Maria Kirschsieper, who heads the company’s Berlin office, are all also under investigation, according to Spiegel.
Prosecutors confirmed the investigation to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) as well.
According to The Local, investigators must prove whether there is enough evidence of a criminal offense and whether it would fall under the Munich prosecutors’ jurisdiction.
The probe was initiated after a Bavarian lawyer reported the company to police, accusing its management of allowing racism, Holocaust denial and violent threats to remain on the site without consequence. Facebook is legally bound in Germany to delete all known content which can be considered incitement of hatred. Continue reading »
In the 24 hours since FBI Director Comey dropped perhaps the biggest bombshell of the entire Presidential campaign, sending Democrats (and media) scrambling headless-chicken-like for answers (and blame-scaping), does anyone else find it odd that ‘FBI Emails’ does not appear to be a hot topic, trending, big deal on any social media?
H/t reader kevin a.
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As the technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous and far more accurate, facial recognition and the lack of any laws or regulations around the practice is slowly starting to enter mainstream consciousness. It’s a very important issue that isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
For example, as I highlighted in the recent post, Half of American Adults Exist in a Government Accessible Facial Recognition Network:
Half of all American adults are already in some sort of facial recognition network accessible to law enforcement, according to a comprehensive new study. Continue reading »
Insiders reveal top Facebook managers are pressuring Mark Zuckerberg to delete Donald Trump’s posts about illegal immigration and Muslims for alleged “hate speech” terms of service violations.
H/t reader kevin a.
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While Facebook and Google have been repeatedly accused of media bias and manipulating public opinion, especially during the US presidential campaign, an unexpected attack on the two media giants came today not from the US but from Germany, when Chancellor Angela Merkel launched a full-on attack at the two companies, accusing them of “narrowing perspective,” and demanding they disclose their privately-developed algorithms. Merkel previously blamed social media for anti-immigrant sentiment and the rise of the far right.
“The algorithms must be made public, so that one can inform oneself as an interested citizen on questions like: what influences my behavior on the internet and that of others?” said Merkel during a media conference in Berlin on Tuesday cited by RT.
What she said next echoed similar complaints lobbed at the media giants by those considered less than mainstream: “These algorithms, when they are not transparent, can lead to a distortion of our perception, they narrow our breadth of information.”
In a tech-driven world, Google uses an algorithm to decide which search results are first shown to a user (and which are not, for example when one searches about Hillary’s health), while Facebook arranges the order of the news feed, and decides to include certain posts from a user’s liked pages and friends, at the expense of others. Both sites also promote links to news articles, often based on a user’s own media interests. Continue reading »
A Michigan man faces 40 years in prison for the alleged rants he posted on Facebook encouraging friends to “kill all white cops,” apparently becoming frustrated after watching several police videos spread across social and news media showing white cops disproportionately killing unarmed black men.
“It was a tirade of hate and violence specifically directed toward police, encouraging people to kill police,” Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said during a press conference.
“The message is clear. You threaten to kill a police officer, there will be a certain response,” added Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who stood beside him on Wednesday.
However, the charges come two months after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy declined to file charges against the man, stating that not only were the threats vague, but that the man was in Puerto Rico when he allegedly posted them.
H/t reader kevin a ….
& reader squodgy:
“Looks like Facebook/CIA are backing themselves into a corner where only totally uneducated, vacuous and unthinking morons will be allowed to post.
No change there then!!!”
Facebook says it is working to fight the spread of fake news on its platform after false stories claiming the 9/11 attacks were a conspiracy and that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was backing Hillary Clinton appeared among its “trending topics.”
The trending section is supposed to include news stories that are popular among users, but the algorithms used to determine their selection have backfired on the company. Continue reading »
At Facebook, the algorithm doesn’t always know best. In late August, the social network put an algorithm in charge of its “trending” feature, selecting the most popular topics, articles and keywords. The change came after allegations in the spring that the contract workers who curated the news headline feature altered which articles appeared for political reasons.
Yet in recent days, as The Wall Street Journal reports, the “trending” lists have appeared more flawed than when humans were in charge. There have been false stories, misidentified keywords, and celebrity gossip in the place of more serious news. Continue reading »
They’re headed to the Republican convention with a mission to disrupt and distract
Billionaire George Soros has funded liberal organizations intent on bringing confusion, disarray and trouble to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.
And they’ve already had some victories.
Civil rights group Color of Change — which Mr. Soros gave $500,000 to in his Foundation’s latest tax return — collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to demand Coca-Cola and other companies withdraw their support from the convention. The petition that featured a Coke bottle with the label, “Share a Coke with the KKK.”
Color of Change was joined by UltraViolet, another Soros-backed women’s rights organization, in the petition, an effort to amplify their collective voice against the GOP.
And it worked. Continue reading »
If the Renaissance master’s simple drawing breached community standards, you wonder what Facebook would make of these other delightfully erotic digits
Facebook’s habit of censoring great art has gone from the silly to the utterly surreal after it claimed that a drawing of a hand by Holbein breached its community standards.
H/t reader kevin a.
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I’ve been creeped out by Facebook for a long time now. The following story takes it to another level.
While some of these incredibly accurate friend suggestions are amusing, others are alarming, such as this story from Lisa*, a psychiatrist who is an infrequent Facebook user, mostly signing in to RSVP for events. Last summer, she noticed that the social network had started recommending her patients as friends—and she had no idea why.
“I haven’t shared my email or phone contacts with Facebook,” she told me over the phone.
The next week, things got weirder. Continue reading »
When Facebook purchased the encrypted mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, for $19 billion in 2014, some users were concerned about the security of their information and the implications of their private correspondence being handed over to the largest data mining operation in human history. At the time, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum claimed there would be no changes in operations, claiming:
“There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.”
Germans who are critical of Islam and mass migration are fleeing to the site VK, known as the Russian Facebook to avoid censorship of their remarks and possible raids on their homes.
Free speech in Germany has come under fire in recent months with an increasing amount of Germans being arrested jailed or fined for what the German state considers hate speech online. The German government has even enlisted the help of social media giants like Facebook to track down posts that are critical of Muslims or of mass migration
Once again, the impartiality of Facebook’s news feature is being called into question. This time, the social network claims it“accidentally” obstructed all links to the leaked Democratic National Committee emails published by Wikileaks just ahead of the party’s convention.
This past Friday morning, the infamous publisher of anonymous leaks released nearly 20,000 internal emails between members of the formal governing body of the Democratic Party. The news, where it was seen, provoked outrage, especially among supporters of Bernie Sanders, who was shown to have received unfair treatment by officially impartial party operators. Continue reading »
German thought-police raided anti-migrant Facebook posters’ homes to punish them for sharing “illegal far-right opinions.”
From The Local:
Authorities have conducted the first ever nationwide raids on people suspected of spreading hate speech on the internet.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, officers in all but two of the 16 German states moved in on properties connected to suspects in hate speech investigations. Continue reading »
H/t reader U.B.
Nur wenige Tage nach Veröffentlichung des regierungs- wie flüchtlingskritischen Buches Grenzenlos kriminell – Was uns Politik und Massenmedien über die Straftaten von Migranten verschweigen sperrte Facebook die persönliche Seite von Udo Ulfkotte. Er hatte zuvor seine 30 000 Follower mit einigen Posts auf die brisante Neuerscheinung hingewiesen.
Im einstmaligen Land der Dichter und Denker ist die Meinungsfreiheit nun offiziell nicht mehr zu Hause. Und dies scheint auch genau das zu sein, was Heiko Maas mit seiner millionenschweren Zensur-Kampagne bei Facebook von Anfang an erreichen wollte.
Diese Befürchtungen teilte mir auch der Publizist Udo Ulfkotte heute am Telefon mit: »Es betrifft ja nicht nur mich, geht also nicht um einen ›Einzelfall‹, sondern es werden bei Facebook weltweit systematisch politisch nicht korrekte Inhalte gelöscht. Es geht darum, in sozialen Netzwerken keine Stimmungen oder Strömungen zu tolerieren, welche die herrschende Elite infrage stellen«, so der Bestseller-Autor weiter.
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Just in case you’re still wondering why the world’s so-called “elites” are losing credibility and respect faster than Mario Draghi can say “whatever it takes…”
New York Magazine reports:
In April, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told a crowd of developers that he heard “fearful voices calling for building walls.” At the time it was widely assumed he was talking about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. But perhaps he was just hearing the voices echoing across his enormous Hawaiian estate?
Back in 2014, the Facebook CEO purchased 700 acres of land on the island of Kauai for a cool $100 million. (House not included.) Now, he’s constructing a six-foot-high stone wall around the Hawaiian property. And his neighbors aren’t exactly thrilled with the giant pile of organized rocks that now stare back at them from where the ocean used to be. Continue reading »
Jordana Cutler, also chief of staff at the Israeli embassy in Washington, has joined Facebook’s Israel office to oversee the planning and execution of measures taken to combat BDS campaigns.
Cutler’s new post was applauded by the minister of public security Gilad Erdan, who announced on Thursday a series of legislative measures taken by his government against promoting the boycott of Israel.
“If we want to convince the world that de-legitimation of Israel is something wrong and that there should be consequences, we must start here in Israel,” Erdan was quoted by Israeli media as saying during a conference in Herzliya.
“There will now be a real price to pay for someone working […] to isolate [Israel] from the rest of the world. I set up a legal team, together with the ministry of justice, that will promote governmental legislation on the matter,” Erdan said. Continue reading »
Belgian police are warning users not to use the Facebook Reactions feature to respond to posts if they want to protect their privacy. In February, the series of six emoticons, allowing users to express a range of emotions from anger to love, were added to the original thumbs-up option. They came in response to calls for a ‘Dislike’ button.
However, the new expressions are another big ‘like’ for Facebook and a ‘dislike’ for its users — according to Belgian police who claim the site is using them as a way to collect information on people to target advertising toward them. In a statement released on their official website on Wednesday, the Belgian force warned people to avoid using the series of emoticons if they want to preserve their privacy. Continue reading »
(MEE) A Jordanian journalist and poet has been held without charge for five months in the UAE for a 2014 Facebook post critical of Emirati authorities, Amnesty International said on Friday.
Tayseer al-Najjar was arrested in December, but his family was not made aware of his whereabouts until authorities allowed him to call his wife five children in February. Continue reading »
It’s turning out to be a bad week for Facebook. As we reported earlier, it was learned that Facebook’s news feed routinely suppressed conservative news. Now, Recode is reporting that Facebook training documents given to its editors have leaked, and they reveal that editors select trending news topics from just ten editors, only one of which could be considered right-wing.
As Liberty Blitzkrieg’s Mike Krieger explained last year when fears began to rise over increasing control of news flow… Facebook is a private company and has every right to do as it pleases with its platform, even if that means pushing a political agenda via its “news” feed. That said, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been explicit with his intention to dominate news dissemination to his users. For example, we learned the following in last year’s post, Facebook Reveals its Master Plan – Control All News Flow: Continue reading »
United Kingdom — Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter play an increasingly important role in our lives, but a brand new study into online censorship has revealed a number of developing trends regarding how social media platforms are attempting to regulate their users’ speech.
While most readers have likely been lucky enough to evade Facebook jail, others might have friends who have been kicked off the social networking site for designated periods of time for ‘violating community standards.’ Some may even have had their Facebook accounts closed permanently due to the site’s ‘real names’ policy. Others have likely have had posts flagged or removed for containing nudity or other allegedly offensive content. Continue reading »
A man has been jailed after tagging himself in Facebook photos showing him taking part in a riot.
Robert Darragh, 21, from the Shankill area of Belfast, took part in a riot during a clash between nationalists and unionists during the Loyalist marching season in Northern Ireland last year. 29 police officers were injured during the disturbance as they were pelted with bricks, bottles and other missiles. Continue reading »