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.

German official labels social media a “value chain of digital propaganda”

“…one German official has proposed fining Facebook 500,000 euros ($528,700) for failing to delete fake news stories and hate messages within 24 hours, describing the social media giant as a “value chain of digital propaganda.” “

Source: Germany’s plan to fight fake news

That sounds like another way of saying that social media is a friction-less platform for the spread of propaganda.

However, a government run Ministry of Truth, as proposed by the German government, sounds like a bad idea.

It is unfortunate that media stories continue to focus on Russia rather than the broader issue of the social media platform being used by governments, for-profit lobbyists/online publishers, government agencies, non-profits, the media, and individuals and small businesses – for the dissemination of propaganda.

Facebook admits the platform is filled with garbage

Last week Buzzfeed reported on an entire cottage industry of web users in Macedonia generating fake news stories related to Trump vs Clinton in order to inject them into Facebook’s Newsfeed as a way to drive viral views and generate ad revenue from lucrative US eyeballs.

This enterprise has apparently been wildly successful for the teens involved, with some apparently managing to pull in up to $3,000 and $5,000 per month thanks to the power of Facebook’s amplification algorithm.

Source: Facebook admits it must do more to stop the spread of misinformation on its platform | TechCrunch

Facebook has become a valid threat to societal decency and function due to its use as a frictionless platform for the rapid spread of propaganda  designed to inflame the emotions. Duh. A point this blog has been making for a very long time.

How social media censorship threatens the flow of information #wikileaks

The rise of the Internet has expanded the ways in which information may be delivered to end users, going around potential media and government control of information.

However, as social media platforms increasingly become our gateways to the web, they are recentralizing the distributed web. As Facebook breaks 1.7 billion users worldwide, every one of those users in every country of the world are subject to a single centralized set of rules governing what is acceptable content that can be posted on Facebook’s pages. ….

One could easily imagine Facebook eventually developing guidelines that prohibit the redistribution of stolen materials, perhaps at the request of US law enforcement or certain foreign governments as a condition of operating in those nations…..  In such a world, Wikileaks would essentially cease to exist for the average person, as even news coverage of Wikileaks content would simply be filtered out of their daily news feed, making them entirely oblivious to the organization’s latest data dumps.

Source: Julian Assange’s Internet Access And How Facebook Could Be The End Of Wikileaks

As readers of this blog know, social media is a frictionless platform for propaganda messaging. But as the linked column points out, Internet users are increasingly leaving the web for social sharing platforms which are increasingly controlled (“censored”, “manipulated”, “propaganda-based”). Eventually, it may again become hard to find primary sources and to think for yourself, versus being told what to think by the “authorities” and “experts”.