Category Archive 'Facebook'
30 Oct 2020

Big Tech

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25 Oct 2020

A Present From Facebook

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Facebook’s 30-Day Restriction Notice (horizontally divided for legibility).

Logging onto Facebook this morning, I found a new 30-day sentence to Facebook jail with the interesting feature of no specific associated offense.

Was this Preventive Detention, simply intended to shut me up the week before the election?

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But, no! there may be a different answer after all. When I poked all the account buttons, eventually this popped up.

So I apparently, in the opinion of possibly one of Facebook’s Red Chinese Community Standards commissars, bullied or harassed Kamala Harris last August 13th by posting the above satirical meme, darkly alluding to the origins of her political career, and Facebook over two months later is exacting revenge.

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My prurient-minded readers, it struck me, are probably curious as to what my “nudity and sexual activity” violations look like. Well, here you are:

This was the one.

16 Oct 2020

Charles Lipson on Big Tech and the MSM’s Deliberate Suppression of the Biden Corruption Story

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My classmate, Chicago Law Professor Charles Lipson, is justifiably indignant at the shameless partisan behavior of the Establishment Media and the Social Media giants.

[T]he Biden family’s corruption as part of th[e] entrenched system is why the social-media censorship of that story should not be seen as a separate, stand-alone scandal. It is integral to understanding how the Swamp’s ecosystem operations, how it defines our politics.

The operation is visible in the New York Post exposé of Biden family corruption. The FBI has had those documents for months, so they should be either verified or discredited by now. Those findings, if they exist, have not leaked. If the emails are legitimate, they are bombshells. If they are false, they are worse than duds. They are a major disinformation campaign — an assault on our election — and we need to know who is behind it so we can hold them accountable.

Twitter and Facebook have prevented dissemination of the Post story on their platforms. The reason, they say, is that they have not substantiated it themselves. They decided to block all users, including members of Congress and the President’s press secretary, from sharing links to these published stories. Big Tech Knows Best.

Remember, this story was published by a major newspaper, a reputable one with a large circulation, subject to libel and defamation laws. Notice that the Biden presidential campaign has not denied the documents are authentic. They did deny, sort of, one item in one email, namely that VP Biden met with a Burisma executive, despite years of denying any involvement with Hunter’s business dealings. The campaign issued a carefully worded statement, saying only that the vice president had not listed on his official schedule any meeting with a senior Burisma official for the day in question. Later, they acknowledged that there were long gaps in the schedule and that a meeting could have taken place. Maybe it did; maybe it didn’t. We just don’t know as yet. We do know, quite apart from these emails, that VP Biden met with his son’s Chinese business contacts without listing them on his ‘official schedule’.

The New York Post has disclosed a great deal about its sourcing for these Biden stories, far more than other newspapers did when they published anonymously-sourced attacks on Trump. The social media giants didn’t block those. It didn’t even block discredited stories, like one from BuzzFeed that was demolished with an unprecedented public statement from Robert Mueller’s Office of Special Counsel. Today, you can post links to that discredited story on Facebook or Twitter. If you are an Iranian or Chinese propaganda ministry, you can post your stories, too.

To put it bluntly: the ‘verification standard’ isn’t standard and doesn’t require verification unless the social-media czars say it does. It should be called the Alice in Wonderland Standard. ‘“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”’ And so it is with Facebook and Twitter’s ‘verification standard’.

Why did Twitter and Facebook blackout news about Hunter Biden? The obvious answer is that those companies have a dog in the fight, and they are walking behind him with a giant pooper-scooper. It’s impossible to say if they picked that dog for ideological or financial reasons. Perhaps both. Most employees favor Biden, while higher-level executives want to preserve their networks of political power and influence. Both motives point in the same direction.

Trump has framed this New York Post story and its suppression on social media by saying ‘Biden is corrupt’ and ‘Big Tech is biased’. He’s right, of course, but he should go further. Oddly, he is overlooking the very idea he has campaigned on since 2015. Biden, Burisma, Chinese banks, Twitter and Facebook are all faces of the Washington Swamp. Next week, the faces may be different, but the Swamp itself will be the same. The buyers and sellers who populate this fetid ecosystem have powerful reasons to sustain it. For some, that means taking payments from foreign oligarchs and then opening doors for them. For others, that means suppressing news about who opened the doors and why. That is exactly what Big Tech is doing now. They, like the politicians they are protecting, want to retain their power and line their pockets. In Washington, that’s the Circle of Life.

RTWT

09 Sep 2020

Going Galt on Facebook

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Last month, on Facebook, in the course of a heated political discussion, I responded to an interlocutor’s uncomplimentary remarks by referring to him as “a white trash communist.” Facebook immediately took his side and froze my account for 30 days.

There was nothing new here. Pretty much any insult to liberals or liberal shibboleths will incur the wrath of Facebook’s zampolit censors. They start with 24 hours, then give you a week, and after a few offenses it’s 30 Days in the Hole for you.

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Like many other outspoken conservatives, I responded simply by rolling up a second pseudononymous account. It only required a second email address and phone number.

My 30-Day suspension runs on until mid-month, and lo and behold! on Monday, I shared the above anti-BLM meme, and my second account was immediately punished with 7 Days for violating Community Standards with “hate speech.”

I’m out of extra phone numbers, and Facebook has evidently gotten wise to dissidents like myself creating alternative accounts. My attempts at creating Account 3 all failed.

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All this has had the positive effect of bringing me to my senses. I’ve been wasting a few hours every day creating content for Mark Zuckerberg for free, responding like a laboratory rat to the positive reinforcement of “likes” and comments from friends, and indulging my argumentative disposition by correcting the fallacies of liberals. Not only is Facebook an incredible time sink, supporting it really amounts to accepting tacitly the petty dictatorship of Zuckerberg and his apparatchik nincompoops.

This is it for me. I will, henceforward, skim Facebook for new blog fodder, cynically use it to promote Never Yet Melted by linking posts, and that’s it. I’m otherwise posting, commenting, or sharing nothing. Mark Zuckerberg go screw yourself!

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10 May 2020

Liberal Fairness in Action

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Facebook makes sure that the same rules against violating liberal taboos are evenhandedly applied to people on the left, right, or center. Western Journal:

A powerful player on Facebook’s new content oversight board infamously mocked Barron Trump during last year’s impeachment hearings, sowing doubt in the social media platform’s promises of unbiased moderation.

The selection of Pamela Karlan, a professor at Stanford Law School, was announced Wednesday by Facebook, according to CNBC.

Karlan will sit alongside 19 other experts and professionals on a board created by the social media giant to help police content.

“It is our ambition and goal that Facebook not decide elections, not be a force for one point of view over another, but the same rules will apply to people of left, right and center,” Michael McConnell, one of the board’s co-chairs, told reporters, according to CNBC.

07 May 2019

Facebook Censored the Declaration of Independence

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Washington Post:

[A] small newspaper, based out of Liberty, a Texas town of 75,000 outside of Houston, planned to post the Declaration of Independence on Facebook in 12 daily installments leading up to the Fourth of July — 242 years since the document was adopted at the Second Continental Congress in 1776.

But on the 10th day, the Vindicator’s latest installment was removed by Facebook. The company told the newspaper that the particular passage, which included the phrase “merciless Indian Savages,” went against its “standards on hate speech,” the newspaper wrote.

The story about how Facebook had censored one of the United States’ founding texts on the grounds that it was hate speech has traveled around the world. And it is another glaring example of how the mechanisms that tech companies use to regulate user content — many of which involve algorithms and other automated processes — can result in embarrassing errors. Facebook uses a mix of human work and technological efforts to moderate its content.

Facebook has since apologized to the Vindicator and restored the newspaper’s post.

“The post was removed by mistake and restored as soon as we looked into it,” the company said in a statement distributed by spokeswoman Sarah Pollack. “We process millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong.”

RTWT

Hilarious, of course. Just imagine the embarrassment in Menlo Park.

But, not really surprising, considering Silicon Valley’s aggressive Politically Correct Intolerance and its penchant for Diversity in hiring. Why should anyone expect a recent Comp Sci graduate originating from Dehli or Damascus or Guangzhou to recognize the text of the Declaration, or identify 18th Century English, by sight?

It seems to me that the inconsistency of the policy is also intellectually even more embarrassing. In the end, Thomas Jefferson (for now) gets a pass. You and I don’t, and outside Facebook, people of the same mentality are right now pulling down statues of formerly sacred heroes from Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee to William McKinley.

06 May 2019

Our Dystopian Present

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12 Mar 2019

Facebook Bans Zero Hedge

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Tyler Durden had no explanation, and neither do I.

We were especially surprised by this action as neither prior to this seemingly arbitrary act of censorship, nor since, were we contacted by Facebook with an explanation of what “community standard” had been violated or what particular filter or article had triggered the blanket rejection of all Zero Hedge content.

To be sure, as a for-profit enterprise with its own unique set of corporate “ethics”, Facebook has every right to impose whatever filters it desires on the media shared on its platform. It is entirely possible that one or more posts was flagged by Facebook’s “triggered” readers who merely alerted a censorship algo which blocked all content.

Alternatively, it is just as possible that Facebook simply decided to no longer allow its users to share our content in retaliation for our extensive coverage of what some have dubbed the platform’s “many problems”, including chronic privacy violations, mass abandonment by younger users, its gross and ongoing misrepresentation of fake users, ironically – in retrospect – its systematic censorship and back door government cooperation (those are just links from the past few weeks).

Unfortunately, as noted above, we still don’t know what event precipitated this censorship, and any attempts to get feedback from the company with the $500 billion market cap, have so far remained unanswered.

We would welcome this opportunity to engage Facebook in a constructive dialog over the company’s decision to impose a blanket ban on Zero Hedge content. Alternatively, we will probably not lose much sleep if that fails to occur: unlike other websites, we are lucky in that only a tiny fraction of our inbound traffic originates at Facebook, with most of our readers arriving here directly without the aid of search engines (Google banned us from its News platform, for reasons still unknown, shortly after the Trump victory) or referrals.

That said, with Facebook increasingly under political, regulatory and market scrutiny for its arbitrary internal decisions on what content to promote and what to snuff, its ever declining user engagement, and its soaring content surveillance costs, such censorship is hardly evidence of the platform’s “openness” to discourse, its advocacy of free speech, or its willingness to listen to and encourage non-mainstream opinions, even if such “discourse” takes place in some fake user “click farm” somewhere in Calcutta.

Republicans like myself normally defend Big Corporations against government regulations and anti-trust prosecution. I’m planning to make a special exception for Facebook.

06 Oct 2018

Office Perqs are a Trap

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Simone Stolzoff visits Facebook and concludes that cushy office perks Silicon-Valley-style are a trap.

I was there to see the headquarters of one of the most influential technology companies in the world, and it looked like a Lego fortress. The campus was all primary colors and serrated edges, as if cut from card stock for an elementary-school bulletin board.

Street art hung from the walls. Bicycles and scooters were strewn like forgotten toys. The corporate name was decapitalized. (Something about trying to be cool.)

“We repurposed the sign from the old Sun Microsystems campus,” my greeter said when she met me at the campus’ entrance. “We leave it as a reminder to stay motivated.”

As we walked past the iconic thumbs up on the front of the sign, I turned around to see the faded “Sun” on the back of it.

“Welcome to Facebook.”

For a company built on openness and connectivity, the office felt like the walled garden Facebook itself has become. My greeter walked me to one of the complex’s main arteries from Hacker Way toward Main Street. “The campus was designed to be a cross between Disneyland and downtown Palo Alto.” I could tell. Thousands of employees filled the streets of Facebook’s downtown area, a Main Street USA in a Magic Kingdom partial to hoodies and t-shirts.

There was a barbershop, a dental office, a bike shop.

If I worked here, I would never have to leave.

The gilded offices of Silicon Valley have both the amenities and exclusivity of a country club. The need to keep the outside world locked out is understandable—tourists come from halfway around the world just to take pictures from Google’s driveway—but I worry that the locks go both ways.

“Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity, and history,” wrote media theorist Neil Postman. “As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”

The office is also a technology, a tool used to help get work done. And though there is something special about a workplace where you can get your dry-cleaning done between meetings, the blurring of work and not work can also veer toward oppression.

There’s no such thing as a free cupcake, as Robert A. Heinlein could have told you. All the good stuff in corporate headquarters is there to make you not want to leave, so that you’ll happily put in all sorts of unpaid overtime.

05 Oct 2018

Facebook Erupts Over VP’s Friendship With Kavanaugh

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Joel Kaplan sat at the left, two rows back, during the Kavanaugh hearing.

The NY Times reports that a Facebook VP being a friend of Brett Kavanaugh’s has led to outrage at the California company.

“I want to apologize,” the Facebook executive wrote last Friday in a note to staff. “I recognize this moment is a deeply painful one — internally and externally.”

The apology came from Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy. A day earlier, Mr. Kaplan had sat behind his friend, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, when the judge testified in Congress about allegations he had sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school. Mr. Kaplan’s surprise appearance prompted anger and shock among many Facebook employees, some of whom said they took his action as a tacit show of support for Judge Kavanaugh — as if it were an endorsement from Facebook itself.

The unrest quickly spilled over onto Facebook’s internal message boards, where hundreds of workers have since posted about their concerns, according to current and former employees. To quell the hubbub, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, last Friday explained in a widely attended staff meeting that Mr. Kaplan was a close friend of Judge Kavanaugh’s and had broken no company rules, these people said.

Yet the disquiet within the company has not subsided. This week, Facebook employees kept flooding internal forums with comments about Mr. Kaplan’s appearance at the hearing. In a post on Wednesday, Andrew Bosworth, a Facebook executive, appeared to dismiss the concerns when he wrote to employees that “it is your responsibility to choose a path, not that of the company you work for.” Facebook plans to hold another staff meeting on Friday to contain the damage, said the current and former employees. …

The internal turmoil at Facebook — described by six current and former employees and a review of internal posts — illustrates how divisions over Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court have cascaded into unexpected places and split one of the world’s biggest tech companies.

Mr. Kaplan’s show of support for Judge Kavanaugh hits a particularly sensitive spot for Facebook. It has been weathering claims from conservatives and Mr. Trump that Facebook is biased against right-wing websites and opinions. The company has denied this, saying it is a neutral platform that welcomes all perspectives. By showing up at Judge Kavanaugh’s side, Mr. Kaplan essentially appeared to choose a political side that goes against the views of Facebook’s largely liberal work force.

Many employees also viewed it as a statement: Mr. Kaplan believed Mr. Kavanaugh’s side of the story rather than Dr. Blasey’s testimony. That felt especially hurtful to Facebook employees who were also sexual assault survivors, many of whom began sharing their own #MeToo stories internally.

The tensions add to a litany of other issues that have sapped employee morale. In the past few weeks alone, the company, based in Silicon Valley, has grappled with the departures of the co-founders of Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, plus the disclosure of its largest-ever data breach and continued scrutiny of disinformation across its network before the midterm elections.

“Our leadership team recognizes that they’ve made mistakes handling the events of the last week and we’re grateful for all the feedback from our employees,” Roberta Thomson, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in a statement on Thursday.

RTWT

Western Society has reached the interesting point at which fashionable class solidarity within capitalist organizations will punish ideological deviationism with as much alacrity as last century’s totalitarian regimes.

30 Aug 2018

Go Get Them, Donald!

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I’m almost never a fan of the government regulating what private companies can do, short of actual crime. However, what choice would there be if, for instance, the phone company possessing a de facto monopoly decided to block calls made by Republicans?

We have already extensive public accommodation law precedents, and the giant left-coast social media and search engines are currently getting away with unconscionable bias toward certain customers.

Zero Hedge agrees with Trump that these companies are treading on dangerous ground.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump lashed out at Google, with his remarks later broadening to include Twitter and Facebook, accusing it of “rigging” search results by presenting only results “from National Left-Wing Media” and accused “Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good.”

Those companies “better be careful because you can’t do that to people,” Trump said later in the Oval Office. “I think that Google, and Twitter and Facebook, they are really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful. It is not fair to large portions of the population.”

Google immediately responded, condemning Trump’s charge, and claiming that “Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.”

And yet, as so often happens, in Trump’s crude delivery, the politically incorrect truth was once again found.

According to a memo posted on Facebook’s internal message board titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity”, and which was published by the New York Times, senior Facebook engineer Brian Amerige confirmed Trump’s allegation writing that “we are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views” and shockingly admitted that “we claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology. We throw labels that end in *obe and *ist at each other, attacking each other’s character rather than their ideas.”

The scathing indictment of Facebook’s liberal “mono-culture” continues:

    We do this so consistently that employees are afraid to say anything when they disagree with what’s around them politically.​ HR has told me that this is not a rare concern, and I’ve personally gotten over a hundred messages to that effect. Your colleagues are afraid because they know that they — not their ideas — will be attacked. They know that all the talk of “openness to different perspectives” does not apply to causes of “social justice,” immigration, “diversity”, and “equality.” On this issues, you can either keep quiet or sacrifice your reputation and career.

“These are not fears without cause” Amerige writes, and continues the stunning disclosure of the company’s biased culture, “Because we tear down posters welcoming Trump supporters. We regularly propose removing Thiel from our board because he supported Trump. We’re quick to suggest firing people who turn out to be misunderstood, and even quicker to conclude our colleagues are bigots. We have made “All Lives Matter” a fireable offense. We put Palmer Luckey through a witch hunt because he paid for anti-Hillary ads. We write each other ad-hoc feedback in the PSC tool for having “offensive” ideas. We ask HR to investigate those who dare to criticize Islam’s human rights record for creating a “non inclusive environment.” And they called me a transphobe when I called out our corporate art for being politically radical.

RTWT

26 Jul 2018

What We Know

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A conservative on Facebook summarizes the facts of the Russian Collusion scandal.

…let’s talk about the facts as we know them.

German bank records prove the funding chain from the DNC and Hillary campaign through Perkins-Coie and managing partner Marc Elias to Fusion GPS and on to Chris Steele. And the Russians. And there were reporters on the payroll too.

So we have collaboration between the very top of the blues and Russians via a complex hidden funding scheme.

We know that the Michael Isikoff story on Yahoo News which was used as partial justification for the warrants was leaked to Isikoff by Chris Steele directly.

We know Steele hated Trump and made it his mission to ensure he wasn’t elected.

We know that Strzok and Page spoke of an insurance policy in case Trump was elected, and they spoke of it in Andrew McCabe’s office.

We know that the dossier and Yahoo News story plus a letter from Harry Reid that originated from the dossier were the basis of all the FISA warrant applications.

We know the FBI paid Steele directly also, in addition to what he got from Fusion.

We know the dossier was unverified, not obtained through U.S. intelligence activities, and paid for by the DNC and Hillary campaign. And that neither fact was disclosed to the Court. And that neither fact was disclosed to Trump as a candidate, as President-elect, or as President.

We know the warrants also named George Papadopoulos and the Trump Campaign in addition to Carter Page. We know that when Trump said that Obama was surveilling him at Trump Tower and the media laughed, that he was being surveilled.

We know that Rice and Power unmasked over a hundred people recorded in the surveillance.

We know that Lisa Page texted to Peter Strzok that “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”

We know Obama knew all about Russian meddling, Trump had no idea, and Team Obama did nothing to stop it or tell anyone.

We know Comey pre-exonerated Hillary and granted immunity to five senior advisers and two IT staff who wiped her server.

We know Obama wrote to Hillary on her private server using an alias even though he claimed not to know about it.

We know the DNC via Bob Creamer staged every act of violence at Trump rallies.

We know the DNC rigged and stole the primary for Hillary.

We know there was a shredding party at State one weekend.

We know Comey leaked his classified notes to the New York Times.

We know that Comey did not tell Trump the truth about the dossier.

We know that the warrants were renewed multiple times without any updated information (i.e. surveillance yielded nothing).

We know McCabe leaked and lied about it and that he was compromised by the large donation from Hillary bagman Terry McAuliffe to his wife’s Democratic Virginia Senate campaign.

We know that Carter Page is not a spy as he was never charged and the surveillance ended.

We know Lynch and Bill Clinton met inappropriately in Phoenix two days before Comey exonerated Hillary. We know Lynch was lying when she said she did not know what Comey was going to say before he said it.

We know Lynch personally issued an extraordinary visa waiver to Putin Stoogette Natalia Veselnitskaya after she was denied a visa in Moscow so she could get in to attend the staged meeting at Trump Tower with the President’s son and son-in-law. And that shortly thereafter she was a front-row guest at a Congressional hearing, sitting next to Obama’s Ambassador to Russia.

We know piles of cash flowed to the Clintons after the sale of Uranium One. We know Bob Mueller had uncovered massive Russian corruption with regard to U. S. uranium BEFORE the sale, that Eric Holder knew about it and signed off anyway, and that the Maryland prosecutor who sat on the charges until the sale was complete was Rod Rosenstein.

We know that George Papadopoulos was baited and hooked by Alexander Downer, and invited to London to allow Downer to get him drunk and report it to the FBI, which is why Papadopoulos was named in the warrants, and that Downer had just overseen the Australian $11M donation to the Clinton Foundation.

We know Paul Manafort’s crimes date from 2006 and have zero to do with Russian collaboration OR Trump.

We know Flynn did not lie as there is no one who says he did. He pleaded guilty because the legal fight had bankrupted him. They still haven’t sentenced him.

We know Peter Strzok was personal friends with Judge Rudy Contreras, a FISA judge and the one who accepted the Flynn plea before he was recused without explanation. We know Lisa Page planned a fake dinner party so Peter and Rudy could talk without arousing suspicion.

We know Brennan and Clapper were part and parcel of the whole thing. Clapper’s starting to blame Obama now.

Let me know which Reds might be hit. I know of none and the 400 pages of FISA documents don’t provide any new names.”

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