Home » Posts tagged 'social media'

Tag Archives: social media

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Can Changing Habits for Self-Reliance and Resilience help society avoid the worst of unfortunate futures?

Our release of chapter 25 from RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future as a free downloadable pdf is another small gesture to spread positive messages in a time of pandemic. This is especially so for all those locked down in Melbourne, the geographic focus of the book and our further efforts to stimulate a wider a retrosuburban response in the wake of the pandemic. While our primary appeal is to people already voting with their feet to retrofit their own lives, not having these strategies recognised, let alone debated, in the mainstream media continues to act as a break on their wider adoption. Even the much-vaunted capacities of social media to allow communities of interest to share and adapt their activities are increasingly constrained by corporate and other powerful interests’ ability to manage and manipulate the proliferation of content through social media platforms.

A lesser recognised constraint is the dearth of academic investigation of options for more radical behaviour change. It is still true that most ideas to change society get a good working over in academia and policy think tanks before they surface in the mainstream media. For example, mainstream media discussion of the concept of “degrowth” is recent and introductory, even if the academic discourse and activism in this field has been intense for nearly twenty years.

Permaculture was unusual in the way it burst into public consciousness after very little exploration in academia. Research and investigation into the logic behind permaculture strategies has always been sparse, but in recent years we are starting to see increasing recognition that permaculture (including retrosuburbia) is more than a fringe green lifestyle choice. Degrowth in the Suburbs: A Radical Urban Imaginary is the first academic book to recognise the critical nature of retrosuburbia and kindred strategies in dealing with the Limits to Growth crisis.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Misinformation Was Always Dangerous. Social Media Has Turned It into a Viral Sickness

Misinformation Was Always Dangerous. Social Media Has Turned It into a Viral Sickness

Facebook’s reach is being used to create division, spread hate and harm democracy. And the corporation doesn’t care.

In 1486, a German priest named Heinrich Kramer published a manual called Malleus Maleficarum or the Hammer of Witches. Kramer wrote the book as an act of revenge following his expulsion from Innsbruck by the local bishop after he tried — and failed — to convict a woman he was sexually obsessed by of satanic practices.

Eventually reaching 30,000 copies, Kramer’s book detailed the theory and practice of witch persecution that catalyzed a frenzy of female torture throughout Europe and claimed at least 40,000 victims. History teaches us that indulging petty ignorance can be decidedly deadly, a lesson we ignore at our peril.

Dangerously dumb ideas of course continue today. Thousands recently took to the streets in Montreal and Vancouver to oppose mask mandates that could save thousands of lives. Many also proudly pledged their support for Donald Trump or QAnon conspiracies about a secretive cabal of Satan-worshiping elites who for some reason harvest the blood of children.

The world has always had whack jobs. However, the multiplier of social media has made spreading outlandish ideas ever more dangerous, especially at a time when there are plenty of other very real problems that demand our attention and action.

Cities on the West Coast choke in smoke from historic wildfires driven by accelerating climate change. Increasing human encroachment into the natural world propelled this pandemic, and others. Democracy in the world’s largest economy apparently hangs in the balance.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

At A Time Of Rapidly Creeping Authoritarianism, Assange’s Freedom Is More Crucial Than Ever

At A Time Of Rapidly Creeping Authoritarianism, Assange’s Freedom Is More Crucial Than Ever

My home state of Victoria has become the center of attention in the anti-lockdown movement for its authoritarian crackdown against not just people who are in violation of lockdown protocol, but people who merely post about staging future anti-lockdown protests on social media.

Police have been breaking into people’s homes and arresting them in front of their children under charges of “incitement” for posting about anti-lockdown protests on Facebook, drawing international headlines. This is obviously a major threat to human rights that sets a dangerous precedent and will have many undesirable knock-on effects, and it should be condemned unequivocally.

“This is awful. ‘Incitement’ is going to be used to crack down on all sorts of protests – including on issues we agree with and think are worth protesting,” explained Australian author and analyst Ketan Joshi of one such arrest. “Every time I post about this, I am stunned by the number of people who seem furiously unwilling to draw any connection between what’s happening above and the history of climate and anti-racist protest in Australia.”

“Those who claim Covid-19 is being exploited by governments to dismantle our diminishing freedoms have just been handed a chilling new piece of evidence to support their case,” tweeted journalist Jonathan Cook.

Indeed this ham-fisted approach seems to be a lot more popular among residents of Melbourne and the state of Victoria who are subjected to it than to a large portion of the outside world. Part of this discrepancy is due to Australia having an entire culture built around the phrase “No worries, whatever you reckon’s a fair thing,” but another part is the fact that people in other self-proclaimed democracies are accustomed to having a bill of rights to protect them against such intrusive overreach.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How We Could Wind Up Banned From Discussing An October Surprise On Social Media This Election

How We Could Wind Up Banned From Discussing An October Surprise On Social Media This Election

In what it calls an effort to make itself “a more reliable source for election-related news and information,” YouTube has announced  that it will be removing “content that contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes, such as elections and censuses.”

“For example, videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate shared with the intent to interfere in an election,” adds the Google-owned video sharing platform.

 

This by itself is an alarming assault on human communication and press freedom. If there is authentic information out there about either of the candidates who are up for the most powerful elected position on the planet, the world is entitled to know about it, regardless of how that information was acquired. Monopolistic tech oligarchs have no business barring us from learning about and discussing that information.

Immensely powerful people should not be permitted to have secrets from the public anyway. The amount of power one has should be directly inverse to the amount of secrecy they are permitted to have. If you’re anywhere near the presidency of the United States of America, the secrecy you are entitled to should be zero.

If a hacker is able to get ahold of accurate information about Donald Trump or Joe Biden, that information is ours. We’re entitled to it. Anyone who tries to obstruct our access to that information is stealing from us. It’s absolutely ridiculous that we have a society where people are permitted to both rule over us and keep secrets from us as it is without government-aligned tech plutocrats silencing our attempts to learn what those secrets might be.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Social Media Imposing Modern-Day Hays Code on Political Speech

Social Media Imposing Modern-Day Hays Code on Political Speech

Social media companies continued to assert their power over the political sphere this week, with Twitter temporarily suspending the Trump campaign’s ability to post until it removed a clip of a Fox News interview with the president regarding COVID-19. When the Democratic National Committee reposted the video to debunk it, Twitter similarly banned the DNC from tweeting until it too deleted the footage. With Twitter seemingly unbothered by the implications of suspending a presidential campaign’s account just 12 weeks before the election, what might the future hold as control of our public squares is increasingly centralized?

Twitch became the first social media platform to formally suspend a presidential candidate’s account this past June when it deleted two of President Trump’s campaign rally videos for violations of its “hateful conduct” rules. In doing so, it emphasized the divide between physical and virtual campaigning. At an in-person rally a candidate can present the policy proposals he or she believes supporters want. Virtual rallies, however, are policed by an army of moderators enforcing ever-changing acceptable speech policies, forcing politicians to self-censor or risk deletion from the online world that increasingly shapes elections.

In the case of this week’s ban, the story is all the more remarkable because the video in question was actually a cable TV interview with the nation’s leader, meaning that social platforms were in effect banning a major news organization’s reporting. As news is increasingly consumed through social media, the upshot is that the online platform’s acceptable speech rules are being applied to traditional news outlets.

Additionally, rather than link the video to an outside fact check, Facebook simply deleted it as “a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation” while Twitter forced the campaign to delete the post as a “violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

You are What you Read: How to Manage your Personal Echo Chamber

You are What you Read: How to Manage your Personal Echo Chamber

Mr. Trump has often being accused of “lying” in his many speeches and tweets. For sure, much of what he says can be said to be “contrary to fact.” But is the president really lying or is he simply stating what he thinks truth is? One man’s lies are another man’s truth. And the problem is that people tend to see the world according to the different echo chamber in which they live. Everyone seeks for facts that support their opinions. We badly need to take control of the information flow that we receive and I think we can do that. Let me show you how I try to do it by disclosing my personal information bubble.

Not long ago, I stumbled in a comment on “Quora” for the question, “Why do some people deny climate change? Here is a shortened version:

CO2 levels of 400 ppm being dangerously high are not accepted by scientists I find credible. There is no significant sea rise. The temperature has not changed by even 1 degree C. over the past century. Climate Change has not increased hurricanes or their intensity. I may rethink this if there is an undoubtedly measurable change in the level of the seas, or a decade long temperature rise.

Now, if you are an average reader of “Cassandra’s Legacy” you’ll agree with me every statement in this paragraph is wrong in the sense of being “contrary to fact.” But I am sure that the writer of this paragraph is a good person. He signed with his full name and I could see his profile. I think that if he were a neighbor of mine we could be good friends (as long as we would avoid discussing climate science!). He truly believes in what he says and he thinks his vision of the world is the right one.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Infodemic of Fake News in the Era of CoV-19

The Infodemic of Fake News in the Era of CoV-19

In Italy Facebook and Twitter are not the primary social media apps of Italians generally speaking. More than ever WhatsApp and Instagram are the mobile apps of choice for social media messaging and these apps have been the cause of many fake news stories where local gossip is translated into a media story only later to be discovered as fake. There are even fake animal stories in abundance on social media on Instagram and Twitter and filters on Instagram that made claims to diagnose—and even cure—COVID-19.

Remember the ibuprofen scare that was said to originate from a friend of a doctor at the Medical University of Vienna in March? The claim, originally made as a voice recording in German and quickly translated to many other languages in message form, was that COVID-19 was either caused by or aggravated by patients taking ibuprofen. I saw about thirty tweets to this effect in March that many people aimlessly executed without reading any verifiable studies on this claim. Well, it turns out this was a hoax and wildly successful since even today people are still retweeting the fake news for which there is zero scientific basis.

While fake news is not endemic to Italy, it is having an increasing impact in other European nations as WhatsApp has become the primary vehicle for transmitting fraudulent news stories. Now for every rumour on social media, major and independent news is tasked with correcting the fake news reports to include telling readers how to deal with what is now called an “infodemic.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More Coronavirus Censorship: Social Media Companies Parnter With WHO To Censor Info

MORE CORONAVIRUS CENSORSHIP: SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES PARTNER WITH WHO TO CENSOR INFO

Social media companies have made the decision to partner with “health authorities” (government officials like those who work for the CDC) to combat “misinformation” about the coronavirus. We all know what this means. Under the mainstream media’s seemingly innocent words lies a rash of new censorship coming down the pipes.

Only the official narrative from those in the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon be allowed on social media. Last week, the social media app TikTok, popular with youths and young adults, announced it would be partnering with the WHO in an effort to spread veritable information on the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in addition to best public health practices.

According to a report by ABC News, WHO posted its first TikTok on Friday.


we’ve teamed up with @WHO to get you the trusted health info you need


“COVID-19 outbreak has seen a massive ‘infodemic’—an over-abundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it,” the WHO told ABC News.

“Therefore, WHO is working with various social media platforms, including TikTok, to help us reach the right audience (the right community, the right age group, etc.), as well as to detect the spread of misinformation on the new coronavirus. We understand that different platforms might have their specific audience, hence important to make trustworthy information available where people are looking for it.”

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME (QUARANTINE) FOR A PANDEMIC

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How we can avert our society’s drift toward disaster by charting a different course

How we can avert our society’s drift toward disaster by charting a different course

Castro Street, the main drag in downtown Mountain View, California, my hometown, the birthplace of Silicon Valley and the headquarters of Google.

In 2015, I began experiencing the world in a different, less enjoyable way. It started with occasional bouts of nervousness that I didn’t recognize as anxiety — because I’d never experienced clinical anxiety before. In fact, 2015 was preceded by the happiest, most fulfilling decade of my life. 

These bouts, while only occasional, were significant enough that I began to question myself, the world around me, and my relationship to it in a deeper way than normal.

Next, that anxiety was deepened by dramatic changes on Facebook. I had been a heavy user since co-founding Shareable six years earlier. My Facebook feed became flooded with ridiculous, obviously false “news” stories that were clearly designed to shock or enrage. The high volume and low quality of these articles were deeply puzzling. Why were people sharing such crap? And why was Facebook allowing it to proliferate? 

In response, I changed my Facebook settings to limit my exposure. However, I missed the bigger picture — that billions of people were likely experiencing the same toxic brew, and that could have dramatic, society-scale consequences. 

This was just before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which, along with #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and the rise of the alt right and identity politics, laid bare deep social divisions that added to my unease. Social and other media not only exposed divisions based on gender, class, race, religion, geography, and ideology, they seemed to make them worse. The U.S. was not alone in experiencing upheaval. The U.K., for one, began its meltdown over Brexit around this time. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Blacklist Valley: How Big Tech reshapes politics by censoring conservative ideas

Blacklist Valley: How Big Tech reshapes politics by censoring conservative ideas

FEA.BigTech.jpg

For better or worse, social media is the new public square. Of adults, 68% use Facebook, 73% use YouTube, and a quarter use Twitter. The numbers are much higher for adults under 50. Two-thirds of adults and roughly 4 in 5 under 50 use social media to consume news. Three-quarters of Facebook users are on the site every day, and Twitter users have a disproportionate influence on the media because so many journalists are on the service. 

The size and scale of social media companies exploded primarily because they presented themselves as open platforms — blank slates. Google, Facebook, and Twitter all characterized their products as engines for social improvement. “We think of Twitter as the global town hall,” said former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. “We are the free speech wing of the free speech party.” 

Costolo was Twitter’s chief executive from 2010 until 2015 and the immediate predecessor of current CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter’s general manager in the United Kingdom, Andy Yang, likewise described Twitter as the “free speech wing of the free speech party” in March 2012. Google became a multibillion-dollar company by offering a portal for free, unrestricted information to anyone with access to the internet; famously, its original motto was “Don’t be evil.” An internal Facebook memo circulated in June 2016 stated that at Facebook, “we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is de facto good.” 

The public has given these three tech companies (and others) enormous power to select the information we read, share, and discuss with our neighbors and friends. We’ve gotten so accustomed to the role they play in our lives that we fail to notice that Big Tech is sifting through the available information and narrowing, and prioritizing, our choices.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Again Blocks Internet & Mobile Service Ahead Of Protesters’ Funerals

Iran Again Blocks Internet & Mobile Service Ahead Of Protesters’ Funerals 

Fearing the potential for renewed protests and violent clashes with police, Iran has again blocked internet and mobile access to broad section of the country on Wednesday.  

This as several funerals will be held over the coming days for protesters killed last month amid a severe government crackdown, which also witness an unprecedented nationwide internet blockage which lasted for a week or more in some provinces. 

Citing Iranian state media, Bloomberg reports, “The mourning services are scheduled to begin on Thursday. The independent Shargh newspaper said five unidentified provinces will be subject to the blackout, while ILNA said internet users in those areas will have access to a limited number of state-approved Iran websites and applications.”

Protesters last month torched gas stations and banks, angry at a sudden massive gas price hike, which turned anti-government, via The Guardian. 

Government authorities are reportedly acting in response to relatives of some among the killed who have posted to social media calling for renewed protests to be held on Thursday in conjunction with ceremonies commemorating the victims (various estimates put those killed from the November protests ranging from 200 to over 300, with the US State Dept. claiming multiple times that number).

The US as well as various human rights organizations have accused Tehran authorities of quelling protests — initially sparked by a huge gas price hike when subsidies were slashed — with live ammunition and other brutal tactics. 

Thus it appears the government is making a move to prevent large-scale protests before they gain momentum. State-run ILNA said of the mobile and internet blockage: “According to this source, it is possible that more provinces will be affected by the shutdown of mobile international connectivity,” after it appeared to spread on Wednesday.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Rise of Tech Totalitarianism Michael Rectenwald’s GOOGLE ARCHIPELAGO

The Rise of Tech Totalitarianism Michael Rectenwald’s GOOGLE ARCHIPELAGO

The Wall Street Journal just published a shocking expose, How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results, [by Kirsten Grind, Sam Schechner, Robert McMillan and John West November 15, 2019], revealing not only that Google is exploiting its market power in ways the clearly raise anti-trust questions, but also that it shadow-bans sites that promote “hate or violence” even if “expressed in polite or even academic-sounding language”—i.e. VDARE.com and all immigration patriots. This confirms the terrifying message of Michael Rectenwald’s new book  Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom: the combination of Woke Capital and monopoly power is turning America into an open-air prison.

Rectenwald is a liberal academic who was chased out of New York University for dissenting mildly from the “pronoun wars” and the Leftist demand for blanket approval of transgenderism [I was a liberal NY prof, but when I said the left was going too far, colleagues called be a NAZI & treated me like a RUSSIAN SPY, RT, November 12, 2019]. In his book, he shows the Left is consumed by collective hysteria, a theme with which VDARE.com readers are familiar, and also that the ideology of “Corporate Socialism” and the emerging “Internet of Things” is making it impossible to escape from a repressive system.

Rectenwald lays out several terms that encapsulate his ideas—the eponymous Google Archipelago, Big Digital, Corporate Socialism, Google Marxism, etc.

  • The “Google Archipelago” is “the corporate leftist centralized system of Big Digital.”
  • “Big Digital” is the “mega-data services, media, cable, and internet services, social media platforms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) Agents, apps, and the developing Internet of Things” [the increasing ability and dependence of ordinary applications of operating online].

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Social Media Censorship Reaches New Heights As Twitter Permanently Bans Dissent

Social Media Censorship Reaches New Heights As Twitter Permanently Bans Dissent

Mnar Muhawesh, founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, speaks with journalist Daniel McAdams about being permanently banned from Twitter, social media censorship and more.

It’s an open secret. The deep state is working hand in hand with Silicon Valley social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google to control the flow of information. That includes suppressing, censoring and sometimes outright purging dissenting voices – all under the guise of fighting fake news and Russian propaganda.

Most recently, it was revealed that Twitter’s senior editorial executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa is an active officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade, a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations.

In other words: he specializes in disseminating propaganda.

The news left many wondering how a member of the British Armed Forces secured such an influential job in the media.

The bombshell that one of the world’s most influential social networks is controlled in part by an active psychological warfare officer was not covered at all in the New York TimesCNNCNBCMSNBC or Fox News, who appear to have found the news unremarkable.

But for those paying attention and for those who have been following ’MintPress News’ extensive coverage of social media censorship, this revelation was merely another example of the increasing closeness between the deep state and the fourth estate.

Amazon owner, and world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos was paid $600 million by the CIA to develop software and media for the agency, that’s more than twice as much as Bezos bought the Washington Post for, and a move media critics warn spells the end of journalistic independence for the Post.

Meanwhile, Google has a very close relationship with the State Department, its former CEO Eric Schmidt’s book on technological imperialism was heartily endorsed by deep state warmongers like Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Technology Spurs On Our Ability To Deceive

Technology Spurs On Our Ability To Deceive 

Caught between the forces of mainstream media and government propaganda it seems we can believe nothing we see or hear. Much of this problem is rooted in the agendas of large companies and those who control them. These companies have become so big and powerful that they now influence government’s message and direction. Fake news and false flags have left many of us having a difficult time deciding what is real, adding to this is the rapidly growing ability of computers to generate and alter human images. This is all about to go to a whole new level.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union Antitrust Chief, is busy touting that the EU’s influence gives it the opportunity and power to shape the world. She insists the EU is ready to take on companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon which she contends has used their power to undermine competition, keep out innovation and collect data on us. This has given these companies great power to manipulate society. Google did this when it used the power of its search engine to favor its own comparison shopping service. While the EU  has signaled it is going to make several big companies use their power in a way that’s fair and doesn’t discriminate the fact is this is easier to say than do.

The EU plans to do this by flexing its muscle with a combination of competition policy and regulation changes, however, whether it will be successful remains to be seen. Like many people, I remain dubious. These powerful companies already are overly involved with shaping the message of media and government propaganda are about to unleash upon society a great deal more computer-generated models and images. These have advanced to where they blur reality and diminish the need for humans to act as spokespeople or to represent organizations.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Smart TVs Caught Sending Sensitive User Data To Facebook And Netflix

Smart TVs Caught Sending Sensitive User Data To Facebook And Netflix 

A study by researchers from Northeastern University and Imperial College London found that many popular smart TV models, including models by Samsung and LG, as well as streaming dongles Roku and Amazon FireTV, are leaking sensitive user data to advertisers.

The models listed above would share data like location and IP address with Netflix, Facebook and third-party advertisers, according to the FT.

Just when social media companies were starting to modify their data collection practices to better respect user privacy, the next threat is coming from the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart TVs are becoming increasingly popular in the US.

In some cases, users’ data were being sent to Netflix even though they didn’t have an account. And it’s not just smart TVs: other smart devices from speakers to cameras have also been caught sending user data to third parties like Spotify.

Nearly 70% of Americans have a smart TV or a Roku or Apple TV. Nearly all of these devices have recognition technology that tracks what you watch, and sells data approximating your interests to advertisers.

In a separate study of smart TVs by Princeton University, researchers found that some apps supported by Roku and FireTV were sending data such as specific user identifiers to third parties including Google.

Amazon was one of the third-parties contacted by about half of the devices tested by researchers at Northeastern.

“Amazon is contacted by almost half the devices in our tests, which stands out because [this means] Amazon can infer a lot of information about what you’re doing with different devices in your home, including those they don’t manufacture,” said David Choffnes, computer scientist at Northeastern University and one of the paper’s authors. “They also can have a lot of visibility into what their competitors are doing.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase