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Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous Than What They Censor

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2020

Just weeks before the election, the tech giants unite to block access to incriminating reporting about their preferred candidate.

https://theintercept.com/2020/10/15/facebook-and-twitter-cross-a-line-far-more-dangerous-than-what-they-censor/?fbclid=IwAR3L6rzYD8e1usv2XiXgFqJQFzMdHjGKvsifDJ9cObFW9S0Bjpr1MNptSFo

Glenn Greenwald

The New York Post is one of the country’s oldest and largest newspapers. Founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, only three U.S. newspapers are more widely circulated. Ever since it was purchased in 1976 by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it has been known — like most Murdoch-owned papers — for right-wing tabloid sensationalism, albeit one that has some real reporters and editors and is capable of reliable journalism.

On Wednesday morning, the paper published on its cover what it heralded as a “blockbuster” scoop: “smoking gun” evidence, in its words, in the form of emails purportedly showing that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, traded on his father’s position by securing favors from the then-Vice President to benefit the Ukranian energy company Burisma, which paid the supremely unqualified Hunter $50,000 each month to sit on its Board. While the Biden campaign denies that any such meetings or favors ever occurred, neither the campaign nor Hunter, at least as of now, has denied the authenticity of the emails.

The Post’s hyping of the story as some cataclysmic bombshell was overblown. While these emails, if authenticated, provide some new details and corroboration, the broad outlines of this story have long been known: Hunter was paid a very large monthly sum by Burisma at the same time that his father was quite active in using the force of the U.S. Government to influence Ukraine’s internal affairs.  

Along with emails relating to Burisma, the New York Post also gratuitously published several photographs of Hunter, who has spoken openly and commendably of his past struggles with substance abuse, in what appeared to various states of drug use. There was no conceivable public interest in publishing those, and every reason not to.

The Post’s explanation of how these documents were obtained is bizarre at best — they claim that Hunter Biden indefinitely left his laptop containing the emails at a repair store, and the store’s owner, alarmed by the corruption they revealed, gave the materials from the hard drive to the FBI and then to Rudy Giuliani.

While there is no proof that Biden followed through on any of Hunter’s promises to Burisma, there is no reason, at least thus far, to doubt that the emails are genuine. And if they are genuine, they at least add to what is undeniably a relevant and newsworthy story involving influence-peddling relating to Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine and his trading on the name and power of his father, now the front-runner in the 2020 presidential election.

But the Post, for all its longevity, power and influence, ran smack into two entities far more powerful than it: Facebook and Twitter. Almost immediately upon publication, pro-Biden journalists created a climate of extreme hostility and suppression toward the Post story, making clear that any journalist even mentioning it would be roundly attacked. For the crime of simply noting the story on Twitter (while pointing out its flaws), New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman was instantly vilified to the point where her name, along with the phrase “MAGA Haberman,” were trending on Twitter.

(That Haberman is a crypto-Trump supporter is preposterous for so many reasons, including the fact that she is responsible for countless front-page Times stories that reflect negatively on the president; moreover, the 2016 Clinton campaign considered Haberman one of their most favorable reporters).

The two Silicon Valley giants saw that hostile climate and reacted. Just two hours after the story was online, Facebook intervened. The company dispatched a life-long Democratic Party operative who now works for Facebook — Andy Stone, previously a communications operative for Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among other DC Democratic jobs — to announce that Facebook was “reducing [the article’s] distribution on our platform”: in other words, tinkering with its own algorithms to suppress the ability of users to discuss or share the news article. The long-time Democratic Party official did not try to hide his contempt for the article, beginning his censorship announcement by snidely noting: “I will intentionally not link to the New York Post.”

While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020

Twitter’s suppression efforts went far beyond Facebook’s. They banned entirely all users’ ability to share the Post article — not just on their public timeline but even using the platform’s private Direct Messaging feature.

Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an “error.” Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be “potentially harmful.”

Wow. twitter going even further than FB and is no longer letting ppl tweet the NYPost story. This is what pops up if you try. https://t.co/YVlOTeF1iX pic.twitter.com/66kzYdwq21— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) October 14, 2020

Even more astonishing still, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post, banning the paper from posting any content all day and, evidently, into Thursday morning. The last tweet from the paper was posted at roughly 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

And then, on Thursday morning, the Post published a follow up article using the same archive of materials, this one purporting to detail efforts by the Vice President’s son to pursue lucrative deals with a Chinese energy company by using his father’s name. Twitter is now also banning the sharing or posting of links to that article as well.

In sum, the two Silicon Valley giants, with little explanation, united to prevent the sharing and dissemination of this article. As Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce put it, “Facebook limiting distribution is a bit like if a company that owned newspaper delivery trucks decided not to drive because it didn’t like a story. Does a truck company edit the newspaper? It does now, apparently.”

That the First Amendment right of free speech is inapplicable to these questions goes without saying. That constitutional guarantee restricts the actions of governments, not private corporations such as Facebook and Twitter.

But glibly pointing this out does not come close to resolving this controversy. That actions by gigantic corporations are constitutional does not mean that they are benign.

State censorship is not the only kind of censorship. Private-sector repression of speech and thought, particularly in the internet era, can be as dangerous and consequential. Imagine, for instance, if these two Silicon Valley giants united with Google to declare: henceforth we will ban all content that is critical of President Trump and/or the Republican Party, but will actively promote criticisms of Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

Would anyone encounter difficultly understanding why such a decree would constitute dangerous corporate censorship? Would Democrats respond to such a policy by simply shrugging it off on the radical libertarian ground that private corporations have the right to do whatever they want? To ask that question is to answer it.

To begin with, Twitter and particularly Facebook are no ordinary companies. Facebook, as the owner not just of its massive social media platform but also other key communication services it has gobbled up such as Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the most powerful companies ever to exist, if not the most powerful. In June, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law launched an investigation into the consolidated power of Facebook and three other companies — Google, Amazon and Apple — and just last week issued a sweeping report which, as Ars Technica explained, found:

Facebook outright “has monopoly power in the market for social networking,” and that power is “firmly entrenched and unlikely to be eroded by competitive pressure” from anyone at all due to “high entry barriers—including strong network effects, high switching costs, and Facebook’s significant data advantage—that discourage direct competition by other firms to offer new products and services.”

In his New York Times op-ed last October, the left-wing expert on monopoly power Matt Stoller described Facebook and Google as “global monopolies sitting astride public discourse,” and recounted how bipartisan policy and legal changes designed to whittle away antitrust protections have bestowed the two tech giants with “a radical centralization of power over the flow of information.” And he warns that this unprecedented consolidation of control over our discourse is close to triggering “the collapse of journalism and democracy.”

See the rest here

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Zuckerberg, Facebook & Three “Fact-Checkers” Sued For Government Sponsored Censorship – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on August 20, 2020

world events are manufactured by powerful interests and not facts. While people utilize news platforms and social media to get their news, they often don’t have the time nor take the action of verifying the claims from any news source. Mainstream media is often blindly trusted, and anything on Facebook labeled as ‘false’ is filed away in the mental category of “never trust this website or other stories of this same topic.” These perceptions then inform the decisions people make in their lives. Everything from what politicians to support, what products are safe, whether to vaccinate their children, and so on.

Are we allowing powerful corporations, with direct interests in public acceptance and belief in certain ideas to regulate what information is true? Can we honestly say that our beliefs and perceptions around certain current events are grounded in facts? Have we been told all the facts? Or are some left out due to censorship?

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/08/18/zuckerberg-facebook-three-fact-checkers-sued-for-government-sponsored-censorship/

In Brief

  • The Facts:Children’s Health Defense sues Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc and three different “fact-checkers” for censoring information CHD shares.
  • Reflect On:Is it time to question our perceptions given the fact may have been shaped by false information coming from the mainstream media and fact checkers?

How much of what you believe is going on within the world’s current events is actually true? Do you think you would make different decisions if your perception was missing important bits of information that change any given story? This is an important question right now, as much of what people think is happening comes from mainstream media or “fact-checkers,” and much of the time, it’s only a small piece to the story that doesn’t truly inform people.

Ongoing Facebook censorship is forcing the hand of independent organizations who have had enough of the platform’s allowance of independent “fact-checkers” to decide what is true and not true on Facebook, and also for unjustly destroying the trust these organizations work for years to build.

–> Help Support Collective Evolution: Become a member of CETV and get access to exclusive news and courses to help empower you to become an effective changemaker. Click here to join.

What Happened: Children’s Health Defense, led by Robert F Kennedy Jr., has sued Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook INC, and three “fact-checkers” (SCIENCE FEEDBACK, POYNTER INSTITUTE, and POLITIFACT) for censoring CHD’s content on Facebook. CHD cited 1) FIRST AND FIFTH AMENDMENTS (BIVENS); 2) LANHAM ACT (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)); 3) RICO FRAUD (18 U.S.C. § 1962); 4) DECLARATORY RELIEF as their official complaints.

As posted on the CHD website:

Facebook acknowledges that it coordinates its censorship campaign with the WHO and the CDC. While earlier court decisions have upheld Facebook’s right to censor its pages, CHD argues that Facebook’s pervasive government collaborations make its censorship of CHD a First Amendment violation. The government’s role in Facebook’s censorship goes deeper than its close coordination with CDC and WHO. The Facebook censorship began at the suggestion of powerful Democratic Congressman and Intelligence Committee Chairman Representative Adam Schiff, who in March 2019 asked Facebook to suppress and purge internet content critical of government vaccine policies. Facebook and Schiff use the term “misinformation” as a euphemism for any statement, whether truthful or not, that contradicts official government pronouncements. The WHO issued a press release commending Facebook for coordinating its ongoing censorship campaign with public health officials. That same day, Facebook published a “warning label” on CHD’s page, which implies that CHD’s content is inaccurate, and directs CHD followers to turn to the CDC for “reliable, up to date information.” This is an important First Amendment case that tests the boundaries of government authority to openly censor unwanted critique of government.

Why It Matters: Many Facebook users are unaware that their perceptions about world events are manufactured by powerful interests and not facts. While people utilize news platforms and social media to get their news, they often don’t have the time nor take the action of verifying the claims from any news source. Mainstream media is often blindly trusted, and anything on Facebook labeled as ‘false’ is filed away in the mental category of “never trust this website or other stories of this same topic.” These perceptions then inform the decisions people make in their lives. Everything from what politicians to support, what products are safe, whether to vaccinate their children, and so on.

Are we allowing powerful corporations, with direct interests in public acceptance and belief in certain ideas to regulate what information is true? Can we honestly say that our beliefs and perceptions around certain current events are grounded in facts? Have we been told all the facts? Or are some left out due to censorship?

The Real World Results of Censorship

The fact that Science Feedback is on this list is somewhat a personal pleasure for me, as here at CE we have dealt a great deal with the ‘fact-checking’ company. They happen to be an organization that all too often uses the ‘strawman claim’ to debunk our material. They look at a piece of content they wish to censor, they then create a claim that isn’t said in the content but relates to the content’s subject, then they proceed to debunk the claim they created. The end result is a grey box on Facebook covering the news content and claiming it’s false. This immediately kills virality and casts a great deal of doubt over our work. Since the vast majority of people don’t read fact-checking ‘debunks’, they never get to see that fact-checkers don’t actually debunk all stories, they simply make it appear that they do.

Fact-checkers have cost our company over a million dollars a year in revenue since 2017, forcing us to have to lay off more than 70% of our staff. They’ve cut traffic to our website by over 90% as well. YouTube did the same on Jan 1st 2018 when they shut off traffic to our videos.

Google also virtually shut off our search engine traffic on May 1, 2020, as seen in the graph below. Prior to this period, they had already been declining our search traffic. This was the most drastic shut-off.

The results of a coordinated effort from major tech companies to censor our work has made it incredibly difficult to provide the trusted high-value service we worked for over a decade to build. Since all of this, we have created our own platform called CETV that is the primary means by which viewers/readers can support our work.

The Takeaway

We will continue to update you with what happens with this court case as it proceeds. The ‘war on consciousness’ and public perception has been ongoing for years, but seems to be culminating as shadow government powers are exposed over the course of time. This public awakening to what happens behind the scenes in our world is a powerful and primary process in the overall evolution of humanity’s consciousness. As we expose and do away with a world built on separation, conflict, and ego, we awaken to a consciousness that wishes to create a world of unity, connection, and thrivability.

Understanding what’s going on here is all part of the process.

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Colonialism 2.0: US assault on TikTok is latest step in building monopoly on hearts & minds of internet-connected world — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on August 10, 2020

Government always has your best interests at heart.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/497410-microsoft-tiktok-information-colonialism-monopoly/

Helen Buyniski
Helen Buyniski

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

 

The Trump administration’s bid to seize Chinese platform TikTok and hand it over to already-monopolistic Microsoft is part of a huge power grab, as the deteriorating quality of US propaganda puts its narrative dominance at risk.

The US government has made clear the fact it won’t rest until the user-facing portion of the internet is under its control. It is no longer enough for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube/Google to merely eject hundreds of anti-establishment accounts on command, accompanied by stated rationales that would be laughable if they didn’t trample on the fundamental freedoms of the account owners.

TikTok – hardly a bastion of subversive political thought – must nevertheless be wrested from its Chinese owners ByteDance and handed to Microsoft, a convicted antitrust violator, lest Beijing be permitted to challenge Washington for control over the hearts and minds of online youth.

Also on rt.com Twitter censoring tweets containing links to BitChute video service, flags posts as ‘potentially harmful’

 

It’s ironic that, with western culture in the grip of a reckoning with its colonial past, the US is so intent on subjugating the world’s peoples with a lighter-touch, tech-enabled version of colonialism that doesn’t require the deployment of ships to foreign shores (though those 800+ military bases around the world don’t hurt). A direct line to the eyes and ears of targeted peoples is sufficient to maintain Hegemony 2.0.

But the quality of US propaganda has deteriorated noticeably over the years, to the point where four out of five Americans believe their media is biased. Rather than step up their propaganda game, Washington’s response has always been to stifle competition, either using censorship enacted through its private-sector partners, or by buying competitors’ silence. Interlopers like TikTok are crushed – or bought out by the likes of Microsoft, massive companies intertwined with state intelligence agencies.

Like Amazon, whose servers host the secrets of the US security state. Or Facebook, which skyrocketed past the billion-user mark with the alleged backing of CIA venture capital fund In-Q-Tel. Microsoft, meanwhile, is for all intents and purposes a private-sector extension of the US empire. It was the first to sign on to the NSA’s wildly unconstitutional PRISM surveillance program back in 2007. It left exploitable backdoors in its operating systems open for two decades until another government-collaborating tech company complained. Even in the privacy-averse 21st century, its intrusive practices – from keystroke logging to chiding users for politically incorrect language – have raised red flags for years. It’s also the only tech monopoly ever to be prosecuted for its monopolistic behavior.

The Big Tech apparatus serves as an ideal conduit for the US government to circumvent the Bill of Rights. Private corporations are not legally prohibited from imposing restrictions on users’ free speech or (digital) assembly, no matter how arbitrary. Section 230 protections have fallen by the wayside as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter became increasingly emboldened to knock troublesome dissenters off their platforms. Slurping up user information is child’s play too, with the kind of backdoors Microsoft and Apple have lovingly constructed for their government partners – never mind the protections against unreasonable search and seizure that would hamstring government agencies attempting to do the same thing. Big Tech and Big Brother are two arms on the same octopus.

TikTok, however, spoils US narrative dominance and doesn’t share its data with the bosses. Sure, right now it’s only insipid dance videos and teenagers lip-synching, but what about when those teens grow up? American propaganda is so sloppy that the State Department feels threatened by a handful of “Russian proxy” websites getting a few thousand hits per month, and it appears to have spammed thousands of Russians and Iranians with offers of $10 million for tall tales about election hacking.

Also on rt.com Takes one to know one? New ‘Russian disinformation’ scare-sheet by State Department’s propaganda arm is full of projection

 

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are constantly being urged to censor an ever-larger range of opinions as the mainstream media struggles not to trip over its own falsehoods  and hemorrhages cash to the victims of its lies.

At the heart of the TikTok seizure – which expanded on Friday to an assault on Chinese platform WeChat – is a hatred of competition. As Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube become little more than mainstream media mouthpieces, users will naturally flock to other platforms, especially those with massive user bases like their Chinese competitors. Washington’s pet platforms can hardly roll back their censorship regimes – not with an election just a few months away. So, in the grand tradition of organized crime, they’ve made ByteDance an offer they can’t refuse. Climb in bed with Microsoft – the most corrupt of the bunch – or get banned.

Freedom isn’t free, as the saying goes. Neither are America’s celebrated “free markets.”

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Corporate America is Throwing Facebook Under the Bus

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2020

For example, they are now threatening Target because the retailer calls the police on blacks who shoplift.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/06/corporate-america-is-throwing-facebook.html

This is simply astounding, a massive number of major corporations are falling in line and will boycott Facebook in July by not advertising at the social media web site giant for at least the month.

The alleged Facebook “crime” is that it has not censored enough “hate” posts. In other words, Facebook has allowed too much freedom of speech as far as the Mao crowd is concerned.

Corporate America is either in line with the thinking of the Mao crowd or fears them.

More than 150 companies have decided to stop advertising spending on Facebook for the month, including Verizon,  Coca-Cola, Unilever, Honda, Lending Club, Ben and Jerry’s and The North Face.

The full list of boycotters is updated here.

The advance of the radical leftists continues to accelerate.

It is very difficult to judge how much staying-power this anti-capitalist movement has but it has to be taken extremely seriously. They for sure are not playing.

For example, they are now threatening Target because the retailer calls the police on blacks who shoplift.

They are going to advance this destruction across the board as far as they can. There are very skilled puppetmasters behind the curtains.

RW
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Project Veritas Catches Facebook Employees, Contractors Admitting to Political Censorship

Posted by M. C. on June 25, 2020

https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2020/06/25/project-veritas-catches-facebook-employees-contractors-admitting-to-political-censorship/

by Allum Bokhari

James O’Keefe’s team of undercover journalists Project Veritas have released hidden camera footage of Facebook employees admitting to deliberate political bias, censorship of Trump supporters, as well as discrimination against conservative and white male employees.

A Facebook insider, Ryan Hartwig, has also come forward to Project Veritas to give his account of bias and discrimination at the company.

The hidden camera footage reveals a host of Facebook employees and contractors admitting to political bias.

Steve Grimmett, team lead for content review at Facebook can be heard admitting that he lumps the MAGA movement in with “Nazis” and “Hitler.” Grimmett can be heard telling an undercover reporter that he monitors “hate organizations” including “Hitler, Nazis, MAGA, you know, proud boys, all that stuff all day long.”

“We rig the game so it can work on the left side” admits another Facebook employee, who agrees that the company “100%” favors the left.

A content moderator at Cognizant, a firm that handles content moderation for Facebook, can also be heard saying she would accept a $81 million bounty placed on President Trump’s head by the government of Iran.

“It’s inhumane, but if it’s going to save the country why not do it?” asks Kassi Cimo, the content moderator. “We should just hand him over to them. Take the money, as a country, that’s what I’m saying. If we hand him over, our country would be saved, I’m just saying.”

“If I were to go in with a MAGA shirt or a MAGA hat I’d get my ass beat,” says another employee, apparently admitting to an atmosphere of political discrimination and intimidation at the company.

In further undercover footage, Facebook Senior HR manager Leslie Brown can be heard admitting that it’s easier for the company to fire white males because they aren’t able to sue the company for discrimination.

“They were able to fire him without having to worry about discrimination…” says an undercover reporter.

“Right, right. Because he’s a white man. Yeah, white man. So no problem.” – Leslie Brown, Senior HR manager, Facebook.

“Oh, it’s easier when they’re..” continues the reporter.

“..White men,” says Brown, completing the reporter’s sentence. “No one has the white man’s back anymore [laughs].”

Are you an insider at Google, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address allumbokhari@protonmail.com

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.

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Project Veritas: Facebook Has a Secretive ‘Diversity Board’ That Is ‘Need-To-Know’ Within Company

Posted by M. C. on June 18, 2020

I would like to know how “diverse” FB really is and what kind of diversity it tolerates.

Libertarians, black conservatives, natural law advocates, anarchists, Christians…

https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2020/06/18/porject-veritas-facebook-has-a-secretive-diversity-board-that-is-need-to-know-within-company/

By Allum Bokhari

Facebook has a secret “Diversity Initiative Board” that governs the latest diversity push by the company, but those in the know are ordered to keep its existence quiet, according to an alleged internal HR report obtained by Project Veritas.

According to the Project Veritas report, the alleged Facebook memo explains that the Diversity Initiative Board (DIB) will be allowed to recommend termination or reeducation in a “Diversity Training” program for any unlucky Facebook employee who gets in the way of the company’s new diversity initiative.

The alleged memo, intended for Facebook employees working in the company’s HR department, insists that the existence and operations of the DIB be kept as secret as possible.

“Inform only select employees of the existence of the DIB on a “need-to-know” basis,” the document instructs.

“Do not inform employees of who is on the DIB.”

“Do not inform employees of the DIB review process.”

“Giving unnecessary information to employees may damage the integrity and effectiveness of the DIB.”

According to the document, the DIB will be empowered to recommend “Termination, Diversity Training, or No Action” as the company’s response to instances of noncompliance with the diversity initiative.

“HR Professionals may submit evidence of noncompliance anonymously to the DIB.”

The document recommends that Facebook’s HR employees push a number of measures believed to be helpful to diversity, including telling employees that they should not ask their colleagues to speak English.

“Employees should not request or demand that diverse workers speak English exclusively in meeting spaces or elsewhere in the workplace,” so says the report. “Remind employees that discrimination of this nature is not tolerated.”

The document also tells HR to encourage employees to “circumvent” controversial political discussion in meetings, including discussions related to “Immigration,US Elections, POTUS, FLOTUS, etc.”

The document also says that employees should be instructed to give preference to certain employees’ views based on their status as “diverse” or “non-diverse.”

“Non-diverse employees should be encouraged to ‘yield the floor’ to diverse workers in an effort to foster more diverse thought and opinion,” says the alleged report.

“Remind employees to refrain from speaking over diverse workers or minimizing their opinions,” it continues.

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Facebook Removes News Outlets in Latest Orwellian Purge – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 11, 2020

Facebook and its Western government-backed partners will continue to remove accounts each month for engaging in CIB. It will be hard to know if the connections they make to the accounts are genuine. But if the sloppy work they did on SouthFront and News Front is any indication, claims from Facebook and the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab should always be met with skepticism.

https://original.antiwar.com/Dave_DeCamp/2020/05/10/facebook-removes-news-outlets-in-latest-orwellian-purge/

Over the past three years, Facebook has been removing accounts for participating in what they call “coordinated inauthentic behavior” (CIB). According to Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, the Orwellian term refers to when “groups of pages or people work together to mislead others about who they are or what they’re doing.” Facebook takes down accounts for CIB due to “deceptive behavior” not for sharing false information. In the latest purge, Facebook removed accounts from two news outlets, SouthFront and News Front.

The two outlets have no affiliation; the only thing they share besides the word “Front” in their names is content that does not toe the Western mainstream media line. In its effort to remove CIB and limit “disinformation,” Facebook partners with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab (DFRLab). The Atlantic Council is a Washington-based think-tank that receives funding from Western and Gulf State governments, defense contractors, and social media outlets. Some of its top contributors for the 2018 fiscal year include the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Embassy of the UAE to the US, the US State Department, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

Facebook started releasing monthly CIB reports in March that detail the networks and accounts they take down. On May 5th, Facebook released its CIB report for April 2020. The report says Facebook removed eight networks of accounts, pages, and groups engaging in CIB. SouthFront and News Front are included in the first network covered in the report. “We removed 46 Pages, 91 Facebook accounts, 2 Groups, and 1 Instagram account for violating our policy against foreign interference which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity,” the report reads.

Facebook claims they linked this activity to “individuals in Russia and Donbass, and two media organizations in Crimea – NewsFront and SouthFront.” In a response to the report, SouthFront says the claim that they are based in Crimea is a “blatant lie” that they are willing to “defend in court.” SouthFront says the organization is made up of “an international team of independent authors and experts,” some of whom are from Russia and post-USSR states. News Front, on the other hand, is based in Crimea, but the organization does not try to hide its pro-Russia bias.

In a press release, the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab announced Facebook’s removal of the two organizations. The DFRLab refers to News Front and SouthFront as “two Crimea-based media organizations with ties to the FSB.” The FSB is a Russian security and intelligence agency, a successor to the Soviet Union’s KGB. In its independent analysis of the two outlets, the DFRLab offers little evidence to back up the claim of FSB ties. The analysis only uses a 2017 story from the German outlet Zeit, where a former News Front staffer claims the organization receives funding from the FSB. The DFRLab offers no evidence to link the FSB with SouthFront.

The DFRLab does not make a strong case for Facebook’s removal of the news outlets. The press release says, “While the DFRLab could not corroborate Facebook’s finding of CIB, it also found no evidence to contradict it.”

But using Facebook’s definition of CIB, the DFRLab’s analysis of the two outlets does seem to contradict Facebook’s findings. The pages and users analyzed do not seem to be misleading others or hiding who they are. “Most of the assets that DFRLab had access to did not hide their connection to South Front or News Front. Many of the pages wore their connections on their sleeves, naming themselves as different language versions of the websites,” the analysis reads. News Front is an international news organization with websites in English, Russian, German, Spanish, French, and Georgian and had Facebook pages to reflect that.

The analysis finds what they call “suspicious links” between News Front and ANNA News, another pro-Russia news outlet. But those “suspicious links” are just two former ANNA News anchors who now work for News Front. Facebook removed pages dedicated to the two anchors.

The analysis goes on to address the only connection between SouthFront and News Front, and probably, the real reason why they were removed from Facebook. Both outlets share stories that go against the Western narrative. The example the analysis seems to take the greatest issue with is stories that take into account Russia’s denial in the role in the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014. The analysis also points out that News Front accounts shared news stories from Russian-state funded media outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Ultimately, the DFRLab does not provide any information linking SouthFront or News Front’s social media activity to the Russian government and does not give examples of the accounts intentionally hiding their identity. The best they can do is mention some connections to the Russian government the founders of News Front have, but it is nothing they are trying to hide.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in internet censorship. YouTube’s CEO recently said they would remove any videos that go against the World Health Organization’s guidelines for the virus. On top of the Facebook ban, SouthFront’s YouTube channel has also been removed without any explanation. Although most of SouthFront’s content is military analysis, some stories they published on Covid-19 were flagged as “disinformation” by a ministry of the European Union. SouthFront published a detailed response to those accusations, pointing out that only three of the 3,000 stories they published this year were found to be “disinformation” by what they call “pro-NATO propagandists.”

SouthFront posted a video asking their readers for support in the wake of the social media bans. For independent news outlets, reach on social media is vital for their survival. SouthFront’s Facebook page had around 100,000 subscribers, and the YouTube channel had about 170,000. SouthFront publishes multiple news stories each day, mostly following updates on wars in the Middle East. One of the website’s best resources is its frequently updated maps.

Other networks removed by Facebook in April include accounts in Iran, Georgia, Mauritania, the US, and Myanmar. Facebook claims they took down a network of accounts connected to Iran’s state broadcasting company, although they provide no evidence to support the claim. Content credited to this network includes a post promoting former presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul from 2012. Another example from 2014 is just a news story about Israeli forces preventing Palestinians from praying in al-Aqsa Mosque.

Facebook and its Western government-backed partners will continue to remove accounts each month for engaging in CIB. It will be hard to know if the connections they make to the accounts are genuine. But if the sloppy work they did on SouthFront and News Front is any indication, claims from Facebook and the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab should always be met with skepticism.

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The Other COVID Disaster – The CDC

Posted by M. C. on April 25, 2020

I shared this post on my FB page and got my first block!

It took a while but I finally made it!

I violated community standards.

There must be a sensitive FB community in Lubyanka.

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Beware: Our New Online Culture is a Feast for Mass Surveillance | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2020

What! You still haven’t taped over your PC and selfie camera lenses?

Nothing is private online unless you are using VPNs and secure email. Even then…

Do you really think Facebook messenger and (Facebook’s) WhatsApp are secure?

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/beware-our-new-online-culture-is-a-feast-for-mass-surveillance/

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused network traffic to surge as Internet users resort to video conferencing to work remotely.

For example, last December online meeting provider Zoom hosted roughly 10 million participants. In March this statistic jumped to 200 million. The public’s stampede to the cloud is an auspicious development for the intelligence community as sensitive discussions that once occurred in physical office buildings are now channeled through a relatively small number of digital gatekeepers. The implications are unsettling.

From the vantage point of professional spies, the desire to eavesdrop on popular communication channels is all but irresistible. In the United States we’ve witnessed classified programs like PRISM, where the NSA succeeded in convincing all of the big names in Silicon Valley to participate. Chatting up tech CEOs on a first name basis. Authoritarian regimes like China are even more eager to tap commercial data streams. Which is particularly salient given that most of Zoom’s engineers work over in China and that Zoom has unfettered access to the online conferences that it hosts despite marketing claims to the contrary.

Hence, efforts to limit the spread of contagion offer a golden opportunity to double down on mass surveillance. Data collection tools wielded during an emergency on behalf of public safety —facial recognition, drones, mobile device apps, smart phone geolocation, payment card records— over time take on a hue of legitimacy. Furthermore the bureaucrats using such tools are loath to give up their newfound access and will actively identify additional threats to justify it.

China serves as an instructive example. The Communist Party remains in power through an unspoken agreement with the rest of Chinese society. It’s the sort of deal that exists in many repressive nations. The government assures economic growth and in return citizens are expected to stay out of politics and submit to extreme social control measures. The Chinese government asserts that growth will continue at around 6 percent, but keep in mind that it also aggressively censors bad economic news, in the same manner that it suppressed news about the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s highly unlikely that the Party will be able to keep delivering results forever. The COVID-19 outbreak will simply hasten a looming economic crisis in China, despite the Party’s best efforts to maintain control. With China’s towering mountain of debt, zombie factories, and conspicuous industrial overcapacity, it’s just a matter of time before the average citizen realizes that they’re not going to get what they were promised. This raises the specter of military action as the government directs attention outward in search of enemies to mobilize its restive populace. Against this backdrop mass surveillance will be ramped up in a desperate attempt to buttress the status quo.

Common sense dictates that relying on technology that’s developed in a police state like China is inherently risky. The instinctive response for many users is to turn to American technology. However, thanks to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden the public record shows that domestic companies are also cooperating with the intelligence community as well as monetizing their access to user data. So if you’re wondering whether a particular online platform is secure, you’re asking the wrong question. The salient question is which group of security services and big data aggregators have access?

Sadly this makes achieving higher levels of communication security a sort of DIY affair. The key is to prevent the current COVID-19 setting from becoming the new normal by recognizing what’s at stake. The more that we rely on Internet platforms to communicate the more power we yield to a narrow set of vested interests. Such that our need to stay in touch with each other during a disaster secretly morphs into a feeding frenzy for spies. Just as it did in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. As always, freedom entails responsibility. This means leaving mainstream channels for sensitive discussions and doing so in a manner that doesn’t create baseline anomalies that might alert watchers.

Pervasive monitoring is not the behavior of a confident nation. Mass surveillance isn’t the harbinger of stability. It’s a dangerous political tremor. A display of anxiety rather than strength. An indicator that leaders have recklessly chosen to dispense with civil liberties behind closed doors under the guise of addressing perceived threats. As citizens we have an obligation to protect the values which actually make America strong. To encourage lawmakers to resist the impulse to trade essential liberty for short-term promises of security and to forge our own paths forward when they fail to do so.

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Don’t Be Fooled by the Deplatforming of Facebook – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2020

They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.

The big tech companies want to have it both ways, be a neutral platform legally but self-define ‘neutrality’ in such a way that benefits them politically, economically and socially while insulating themselves from breaching contracts with their customers.

Didn’t you all notice how both of these things became issues right after the wrong person won the 2016 presidential election and the British people made the wrong decision about EU Membership?

https://tomluongo.me/2020/02/22/dont-be-fooled-by-the-deplatforming-of-facebook/

The push for speech control escalates. There is now a concentration of stories concerning social media companies and their role in shaping political thought.

We are nine months from a pivotal presidential election in the U.S. and the push is on to ensure that the outcome goes the way those in power want it to.

Three times in as many weeks billionaire busybody George Soros has attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding he be removed because he is working to re-elect Donald Trump.

This seems like an absurdity. But it isn’t. It’s all part of the game plan.

Create a controversy that isn’t real to seed a narrative that there’s a problem in need of a solution. Facebook has been the center of this controversy to inflame passions on both sides of the political aisle to ensure the desired outcome.

They want regulation of all social media companies to create unscalable barriers to entry for new ones while curtailing free speech on the existing ones.

Warren Buffet would call that a moat. I call it tyranny.

Enter Attorney General William Barr.

He weighed in recently that we need to have a conversation about Facebook et.al. in relation to their Section 230 immunity under the Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 grants immunity to companies like Facebook and Google from prosecution for content hosted on their services as they argue they are not publishers but rather just pass-through entities or platforms of user-generated content.

Now, it’s pretty clear for the past few years the social media companies have been acting with open editorial bias to deplatform undesirables. They rewrite broadly defined terms of services and EULAs (End-User Licence Agreements) which they use to justify controlling what content they are willing to host.

And that’s where the Section 230 immunity comes into play. The big tech companies want to have it both ways, be a neutral platform legally but self-define ‘neutrality’ in such a way that benefits them politically, economically and socially while insulating themselves from breaching contracts with their customers.

What’s clear from Barr’s comments he’s approaching this from a law enforcement perspective.

“We are concerned that internet services, under the guise of Section 230, can not only block access to law enforcement — even when officials have secured a court-authorized warrant — but also prevent victims from civil recovery,” Barr said. “Giving broad immunity to platforms that purposefully blind themselves — and law enforcers — to illegal conduct on their services does not create incentives to make the online world safer for children.”

And this clearly doesn’t address the real issue. That’s your sign there’s something wrong here.

Both political parties are unhappy with the current situation and that should be your red flag that a great stitch-up is in progress. Because the end goal here is government oversight that has bipartisan support.

That support has to be manufactured from both sides. The left wants protection from ‘fake news’ and ‘Russian meddling’ while the right wants a level playing field to air ideas in the public square.

Didn’t you all notice how both of these things became issues right after the wrong person won the 2016 presidential election and the British people made the wrong decision about EU Membership?

I’m sure you noticed the blatant bias exhibited by Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and the rest of these protected platforms and wondered why they were allowed to act so egregiously with seemingly no recourse?

The big tech companies don’t want more government oversight, they simply want to continue to have their have their editorial take and enforce it too while taking your money and suppressing your voice.

Government intervention is not the solution here. In fact, it is the goal of the entire exercise.

I don’t want the government coming in and further defining the rules by which Facebook can deplatform everyone who tells inconvenient truths.

Because that’s all government does. And then it empowers a bureaucracy to enforce those rules.

I don’t need a Ministry of Truth to protect me from the bad people. I know where the bad people are and, in your heart, so do you.

So the question isn’t whether Barr should strip these companies of their Section 230 immunity. Of course he should if they exhibit any kind of editorial behavior.

But, in typical Swamp fashion, Barr isn’t concerned about that. He’s concerned with using Facebook to track down criminals; the implication being drug runners, murderers, etc.

That’s a sop to law and order conservatives to get their support politically.

But the real criminals are in the bowels of the compliance departments and algorithm factories of these social media companies pushing the bounds of indecency by trying to protect us from fake news to control the flow of information.

They’ve already done a great deal of this, altering search algorithms to ensure only approved news sources show up in the results.

We know they are all working in cahoots with the intelligence agencies here in the U.S. but no one will admit it publicly. The EU and China are more honest about their tyrannical impulses using their anti-democratic structure to create rules which they force onto these multi-national companies.

Now Twitter is testing new flagging abilities for verified accounts to act as community censors, creating the illusion of a user-controlled public space. It’ll only be for those that get blue check marks. And that’s a system clearly gamed to reflect a particular ideological bias as no one who dissents from the approved globalist message gets one of those anymore.

So, only journalists from official news outlets will have this ability to fact-check in real time the pronouncements of important influencers.

If you don’t think this is simply a means by which to make it seem fair to suppress the king of Twitter, Donald Trump, then you clearly haven’t had your morning coffee.

For a couple of years now I’ve been warning you that the elites are desperate to regain control over what I call The Wire. What is The Wire?

The Wire is simply a metaphor for the transmission of information.  The Wire takes many forms.  And if you aren’t sure whether something is The Wire just ask if you have control over it or not.

The Internet?  The Wire.

Electricity?  The Wire

Roads?  The Wire.

Media?  The Wire.

Money?  The Wire.

In short, The Wire is the main conduit through which we communicate with each other.  Money?  Really?  Yes, really.  What are prices if not information about what we are willing to part with your money in exchange for?

Without The Wire modern society fails.  So, government can’t shut it down but neither can it allow unrenstrained access to it.

Electricity, commerce, communications, everything, goes over The Wire.  

Control of The Wire is everything. Soros is desperately trying to hold onto control over the social media companies he’s invested so heavily in to influence their influence.

And it’s clear we’ve entered the next phase of regaining control over it.

The solution to the Section 230 Immunity issue for these companies is to remove it and open them up to civil liabilities for their inconsistent enforcement of their own policies.

Because once you do that they have no protection under commercial contract law.

Those users that use these platforms for commercial purposes are materially harmed by the ever-changing rules of these platforms.

They entered into an agreement with YouTube or Facebook in good faith expectation of a certain level of service.

Facebook’s business is built on the implicit guarantee of that service. In turn, Facebook was built on the backs of those using the platform.

Unilaterally taking away that access without compensation simply because Facebook said so is a perversion of contract law. Why should Facebook be allowed to do that? Why hasn’t this clear inequity between parties to a contract been addressed by the courts?

And that’s what we should be addressing here.

And I’m not just talking about Facebook here. Remember when the social network Gab had its internet access revoked by GoDaddy? How does GoDaddy escape paying damages for unilaterally denying service?

There is clear opportunity for them to be sued into submission by the millions of users whose businesses and reputations have been destroyed due to arbitrary enforcement of company rules.

At the end of the day these companies create and use as excuses broad powers which have almost no precedent in contract law. Their EULAs are contracts the user signs which grants them no rights or guarantees of service in any way. They can be abrogated, updated and changed to suit the company’s whim with no redress for the breach of contract from the other party.

This is outrageous, unacceptable and flies in the face of hundreds of years of contract law.

And they should be challenged in court and thrown out as illegal Contracts of Adhesion. This is settled contract law.

If Facebook wants to ban Alex Jones from their platform fine. I have zero problem with that. If they want to act as a private business which is protected under the First Amendment’s protection of Freedom of Association, great!

I’m all for re-establishing that in this society.

Let’s open up that can of worms.

It would finally be an honest conversation. Because we are rapidly approaching the moment of reverse racism, whereby Facebook doesn’t want to host racist or sexist content.

And I’m fine with that. But I’m also fine then with restaurants not serving black people or people baking wedding cakes for gay couples.

Freedom OF association is also Freedom FROM association, folks.

The shit-libs and the oligarchs want it both ways. They want you to be forced to associate with others on their terms but deny you a place in society because you disagree with them.

That is, in a word, tyrannical.

So, in a just world, Facebook owes Alex Jones millions for lost revenue and damages to Jones’ business as well as, one could argue, a portion of Facebook’s revenue it generated during the time it hosted Jones’ content which brought the company users, revenue and market share.

Multiply that lawsuit by ten for the number of platforms Alex Jones has been banned from. Then multiply that number by the millions for everyone else these platforms have materially harmed.

And then we’ll see what the market cap of the NASDAQ 100 would truly be.

And that’s one way we should fight this, not by empowering more bureaucrats to police everyone’s speech on Twitter, but to sue Twitter for non-fulfillment of obligations under the reasonable expectation of service they are to provide as a party to a legal contract.

This is what I wanted to hear William Barr was focusing on in working on. But that is exactly what will not happen.

The other is to develop technology which resists the centralizing power of these companies to control our speech, democratizing it at the incentive level, through projects like Brave and other blockchain-based systems, which empower the user, not the platform to decide which content has value and which doesn’t.

Beware the deplatforming of Facebook, it’s just another brick in the wall.

Be seeing you

George Soros: Latest Tactic is ‘Turn Texas Blue’ – Destroy ...

 

 

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