Eating too much protein will kill you? No, but it grabs the emotions and gets shared on #socialmedia!

Eating too much protein will kill you? That’s the message left by hundreds of headlines and news stories earlier this week. But the statement was misleading at best and untrue in regards to the individual who died. Yet most stories ran with quotes like this:

Meegan Hefford, a mother of two and bodybuilder, died after an overconsumption of protein shakes, supplements and protein-rich foods.

Source: Bodybuilder mom dies from too much protein before competition | New York Post

or “That Extra Scoop of Protein in Your Shake Might Actually Kill You

The family is calling for government regulation of “protein shakes or supplements”, presumably to require a doctor’s prescription and be dispensed at a pharmacy.

Many news stories about this event imply that eating too much protein will kill you. Which it can, if you too suffer from a rare medical disorder. She had a genetic disorder that caused her body to fail to remove ammonia from the blood stream. That’s what killed her.

The disorder is “urea cycle disorder“:

is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation that results in a deficiency of one of the six enzymes in the urea cycle. These enzymes are responsible for removing ammonia from the blood stream. The urea cycle involves a series of biochemical steps in which nitrogen, a waste product of protein metabolism, is removed from the blood and converted to a compound called urea in the blood. Normally, the urea is transferred into the urine and removed from the body. In urea cycle disorders, the nitrogen accumulates in the form of ammonia, a highly toxic substance, resulting in hyperammonemia (elevated blood ammonia). Ammonia then reaches the brain through the blood, where it can cause irreversible brain damage, coma and/or death.

Men’s Health got the story correct. Days later some of the other headlines morphed into the accurate “Australian mom with rare disorder dies eating high-protein diet“.

The media spun this into a viral fiction suitable for sharing on social media. When push comes to ad revenue, the media pays lip service to accurate reporting: It’s about the clicks and the social media shares. One writer says the media was straight up lying about this story to sell ads (I agree).

To make this work for them, the media down played or censored the rare disorder aspect of the story (censorship, cherry picking). If it is mentioned, it is mentioned in passing or at the end of the article. As shown on our blog, most people only read the headlines (especially those shared on social media) – the headline is the story.

The report – which comes from Australia and has no importance to people in the United States – became a focus because of multiple hooks:

  1. “eating too much protein” puts fear into everyone that this could happen to them (use of fear)
  2. Story involves a 25 year old Mom of two kids (stories about Mom’s with young kids target an emotional response),
  3. The victim was a 25 year old blonde fitness fanatic (she’s cute). You may have noticed that CNN and FOX generally *only* cover “cute lost white chicks”, sometimes for days and weeks on end – yet nearly a million people go missing every year and most are eventually found. But unless the missing are cute or have some other emotional hook attached, there is no news coverage and certainly no national news coverage. The subject’s cuteness is a prime reason for the story to run in the United States (every version of the story I checked had at least one and sometimes many photos of the victim). Heck, this one, with its outrageous fiction headline has five photos of the cute victim! And to further prove the point, the 12 year old story of missing Natalee Holloway is back to “Breaking” and “Developing” news reports today because … she’s cute. Remember, over 2,300 people go missing every day but only the missing cute white chicks get covered by the “news” services with saturation coverage for years.

In short, this story used multiple methods of propaganda for the purpose of selling eyeballs to advertisers. The hooks encouraged the sharing of the story on social media, thereby enlarging the potential ad audience.

 

 

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Facebook launches Thought Police censorship program

Facebook has taken the step of allowing people to share the post only if they also condemn its content, which is not unprecedented but unusual, according to The Verge. Posts that include the link will automatically be removed from Facebook, unless it also includes a caption that condemns either the article or The Daily Stormer, The Verge reported.

Source: Facebook is actively deleting shares of ‘The Daily Stormer’ article on Heather Heyer

Obviously, the post and the racist group behind it are extraordinarily evil in their goals and action. But when 1/3 of the entire population of the earth has a Facebook account and most log in daily, Facebook has the most extraordinary power of propaganda messaging in world history. What else will Facebook choose to censor? (Quite a bit, actually, as they already censor on behalf of some governments.)

The Occupy Propaganda blog was itself previously censored by Facebook’s algorithms, and is the reason this blog is no longer hosted on my own web server but moved to wordpress.com. Facebook secretly “shadow banned” this blog’s auto posts to the Facebook group page, last winter. You can read about our experience with that, here.

At some point, people and governments that believe the freedom of expression is essential (and sometimes painful) to a democracy may believe they should step in and regulate Facebook’s extraordinary power to control world thought. But that could never happen: Facebook’s propaganda capabilities are so powerful that Facebook could readily turn the public against such an idea, or more likely, seemingly support such regulation but in a way (like most regulations) use the regulatory process to stymie competitors.

The remarkable power of propaganda

I just scanned Twitter for items about the Affordable Care Act.

I estimate 99% of the Tweets were lies, contained significant errors, left out key information, or significantly exaggerated points. This included linked news stories at main stream news services such as the Los Angeles Times and NPR and others, which contained significant inaccuracies or left out crucial information and data that refuted the thrust of the article.

How many read the ACA? Probably a number approaching zero.

How many researched any of the topics at all? Probably a very small number.

So why are these people posting so much nonsense on Twitter?

Because of the effectiveness of propaganda that has delivered messages to them, which they in turn, regurgitate online, further spreading the propaganda message.

I covered this previously in National public opinion surveys are propaganda messaging in disguise.

Unfortunately, most national surveys of “American’s opinions” are surveys of propaganda effectiveness. The survey itself then adds to the growing body of propaganda messaging on a subject and becomes, itself, a form of propaganda.

You can go to news.google.com and find similar surveys.

  • 9% of American’s Feel Shingles Vaccination is a Priority
  • Many believe race relations will worsen under Trump
  • 68% of Americans believe humans are causing warming
  • 71% of Americans consider granola bars to be healthy

Surveys often follow a period of concerted propaganda messaging in the media.

In these and other cases, the survey is primarily measuring the effectiveness of the propaganda messaging around a subject. Most American’s understand little of the facts or logic for any of these items (and many more). Survey respondents are regurgitating the view given to them by propaganda messaging and the methods used to persuade masses of people.

 

Visa applicants to US must turn over all social media account IDs for past 5 years

The US government announced today that applicants requiring a visa to enter the U.S. must turn over

  • All social media account IDs used during the past 5 years, even if since deleted.
  • All names, phone numbers and email address of yourself, your siblings (including adult siblings!) and children used during the past 5 years.
  • Detailed 15 year biography, including identifying each country you may have visited, when you visited, and how your trip was funded.
  • Failure to provide accurate information is grounds for visa denial.

Most people can’t remember the information that is being requested. Further, that the U.S. is requesting account data going back 5 years, even for deleted accounts, means that the U.S. government admits it has used surveillance to log all phone calls, emails and social media posts of everyone, world wide, for the past 5 years.

A likely consequence of this is that other countries will now require that U.S. citizens provide similar information when applying for a visa to visit those countries.

What does this mean for social media?

A great many people, particularly young people, may have no idea what they posted – or more importantly – who they have friended on social media over the years.

For example, because of my personal interest in 3D photography, I have social media friends in Russia, China, Mongolia, Iran and many countries who share an enthusiasm for 3D photography. Because some of the countries are considered “evil” by the U.S. government, do I need to prune my friend list?

Over the past few months, I deleted all of my Tweets going back years so that I only now publicly display the last 90 days of tweets – anything older is auto-deleted. I deleted my Instagram and SnapChat accounts. I went through all of my Facebook posts and deleted nearly all posts, likes and shares, more than a few months old.

I am not trying to hide anything. The problem is that people with wild imaginations can conjure up conspiracy theories based on one’s friends, the topics that interest us online and more.

What impact will these government measures have on social media? I would predict that there will gradually be fewer posts, better use of “privacy” settings, and pruning of friend lists. In effect, a lot of people will start engaging in self censorship, including U.S. citizens – because we have no idea what the rules are for evaluating our friend lists or how our posts will be interpreted and evaluated.

The 1st, 4th and 5th amendments to the U.S. Constitution have largely been suspended.

News and social media “filters” reinforce established beliefs

Facebook, Google News and other online services automatically try to filter the information you see, to deliver to you what their algorithms think you want to see. Usually, this means delivering items to you similar to those you’ve already looked at before. The effect seems to strengthen bias, rather than challenge them. A simplified study was done to test this idea in practice and it (so far) confirms that our online world may be leading to less diversity in ideas, rather than more:

filtering of either sort led people to click and spend more time on “pro-attitudinal” articles — that is, articles most likely to reflect their own opinions right back at them. In a way, the bottom-right graph is the most interesting. It shows that people in the control group spent more than half their time on the site reading articles that challenged their beliefs. That number plummeted precipitously in the other conditions.

Original source

 

Twitter launches tweet censorship program

Today, some tweets appearing on Twitter are accompanied by the following warning:

I did a search on Twitter for #DrudgeReport and found several (but not all) tweets mentioning #DrudgeReport had this warning. Drudge Report is a right leaning news aggregator that specializes, typically, in using inflammatory headlines to hook readers.

A search for #DrudgeReport using the “Latest” option presents this:

That is weird – it appears Twitter is fully censoring searches for items related to Drudge Report.

A search for #InfoWars for tweets related to the InfoWars conspiracy theorist displays tweets, without warnings.

A search for proven fake news service #OccupyDemocrats displays a long list of tweets, without warnings.

The algorithm used by Twitter is not clear to the user –  all we can tell at this point is that Twitter has censored Drudge Report.

Twitter, of course, like Facebook, is an unreliable source for any sort of information. Yet Twitter does not display a warning on itself, nor does it display a warning regarding links to Facebook.

Social media, as this blog has extensively documented, is a frictionless platform for the spread of propaganda. This blog, at times, intentionally searches for propaganda on social media to better understand how it works. By establishing a censorship program, Twitter blocks research into the use of their platform for propaganda messaging. Twitter is therefore no longer an information conduit but a publisher that uses censorship to control messaging.  In the blink of an eye, Twitter is itself an official propaganda publisher.

Rather than allow users to think for themselves, Twitter now does the thinking for you and is choosing what you are readily able to see or not see. Do you want to outsource your thinking to an unreliable social media propaganda platform?

Paid propagandists control social media discourse

Attkisson: When people get online every day and take part in social media or do searches for news, what is it you think they don’t know?

Matthew Brown: I don’t think they know they’re being manipulated.

Matthew Brown is a data analyst who pierces the secrecy behind paid efforts to influence online.

Attkisson: What areas of the Internet are used to shape and manipulate opinion?

Matthew Brown: Everywhere social. Everywhere social means specific Facebook pages, but it also means the comment sections in every major newspaper.

Brown began investigating after his health insurance costs tripled and he commented about it on the Obamacare Facebook page. He got bombarded, he says, by digital activists disguised as ordinary people.

Brown: Digital activists are paid employees; their purpose is to attack anyone who’s posting something contrary to the view the page owner wants expressed.

Brown decided to use analysis software to crunch the numbers. He evaluated 226,000 pro-Obamacare posts made by 40,000 Facebook profiles. What he found was remarkable.

Brown: 60 percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time.

Attkisson: Which means what?

Matthew Brown: They were paid to post.

Source: Sum of Knowledge Part 1

NY Times reports women’s FB page suspended after quoting the Bible

She apparently responded to a comment on her page by directly quoting the Bible – six months ago. Six months later, Facebook suspended her account for a week.

Source: (NY Times) Facebook accused of ‘liberal bias’ after suspending account of Christian blogger who cited the Bible on homosexuality

Facebook does not usually tell someone the specific reason their account has been suspended – only says the user has violated their community standards.

Did someone post a comment on my web site or Facebook page six months ago that led to the shadow ban on the Occupy Propaganda page? I have no idea. However, that Facebook censors discussion of the impact and methods of propaganda via social media is frightening, and as they say, the optics look awful for Facebook.