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Tag Archives: Facebook

3 Reasons Why Facebook’s Zuckerberg Wants More Government Regulation, by Ryan McMaken

Business people love regulation when they can use it to their advantage. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants more government regulation of social media. In a March 30 op-ed for The Washington Post, Zuckerberg trots out the innocent-sounding pablum we’ve come to expect from him:

I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms.

But what sort of regulation will this be? Specifically, Zuckerberg concludes “we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.”

He wants more countries to adopt versions of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Needless to say, anyone hearing such words from Zuckerberg should immediately assume this newfound support for regulation is calculated to help Facebook financially. After all, this is a man who lied repeatedly to his customers (and Congress) about who can access users’ personal data, and how it will be used. He’s a man who once referred to Facebook users as “Dumb F-cks.” Facebook lied to customers (not to be confused with the users) about the success of Facebook’s video platform. The idea that Zuckerberg now voluntarily wants to sacrifice some of his own power and money for humanitarian purposes is, at best, highly doubtful. (Although politicians like Mark Warner seem to take it at face value.)

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Facebook Reverses Zero Hedge Ban, Says It Made A “Mistake”, by Tyler Durden

Facebook, probably pushed by a social media eruption, has reinstated Zero Hedge. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

It has been a strange 24 hours.

On Monday, we first learned that for the previous two days, Facebook had banned all Zero Hedge content across its various mediums, as it went against Facebook’s “Community Standards” (which to the best of our knowledge, neither we not anyone else has any idea what they are), a decision which – as we noted yesterday – surprised us for two reasons: not only do we not have an official Facebook account, but Facebook did not approach us even once with a warning or even notification.

While we were in the dark about what had triggered Facebook, or what was the company’s motive, we were humbled and delighted not only with the media coverage this event received, but far more so with the outpouring of support we received from readers and across social media, where Zero Hedge had not been yet banned, like Twitter, where figures from various industries and across the political spectrum voiced support and came to our defense, with many condemning what we felt was an arbitrary decision.

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Facebook Bans Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden

There’s no explanation for why Facebook has now banned Zero Hedge stories and links. SLL features ZH stories and ZH has posted many of my articles. It could be ZH’s negative articles about some aspects of Facebook, or maybe Mark Zuckerberg just doesn’t like ZH’s anti-establishment political slant. Either way, it doesn’t matter. ZH will be around long after Facebook has gone the way of MySpace. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Over the weekend, we were surprised to learn that some readers were prevented by Facebook when attempting to share Zero Hedge articles. Subsequently it emerged that virtually every attempt to share or merely mention an article, including in private messages, would be actively blocked by the world’s largest social network, with the explanation that “the link you tried to visit goes against our community standards.”

View image on Twitter

Ollie Richardson@O_Rich_

Facebook has blocked all @zerohedge links, throwing up the following message:

258 people are talking about this
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.

 

The Snowflake Barons Are Eating Each Other, by Mytheos Holt

Things aren’t going so well for the social media and tech barons. From Mytheos Holt at spectator.org:

In 2008’s iconic superhero film The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger’s Joker barks at Christian Bale’s Batman:

Don’t talk like one of [the cops]; you’re not! Even if you’d like to be. To them, you’re just a freak, like me. They need you now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out like a leper. See, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke, to be dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you, when the chips are down, these civilized people? They’ll eat each other.

He might as well have been talking about Silicon Valley.

Twenty-eighteen was a bad year for the totalitarian titans of tech. Faced with one scandal after another, the industry retreated behind a wall of lobbying money, hoping their bank accounts would shield them from their increasingly ugly image in the public eye as politically bigoted, misanthropic, overgrown children, incapable of following rules, norms, or even laws.

Twenty-nineteen doesn’t look to be much better. European governments, and the European Union itself, have begun sharpening their swords for the industry, albeit sometimes in ill-advised ways. California has passed a brutal consumer protection bill that opens big tech to a host of lawsuits for privacy-related offenses. President Donald Trump’s own son has raised stern alarms about the industry’s power and “gross hypocrisy,” as he put it. Publications formerly friendly to the industry are blasting it for betraying the creators who sustain its business. Like bad imitations of Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, the industry finds itself surrounded by filth, with the walls closing in. But, their research into AI withstanding, there is no Threepio around to save them, and unlike Han, Leia, and Luke, Big Tech are the evil empire.

As a result, the industry is doing what any group of cornered predators does, and eating each other to try to stay alive. Thus, a piece in Forbes magazine informs the reader that:

Microsoft, the industry’s journeyman of governmental warfare, is cleverly advocating regulation of a narrow slice of potentially creepy technology: facial recognition. Apple is pointing fingers, suggesting its data-privacy stance is holier than Facebook’s and Google’s. Facebook, in a preview of how the industry will battle its adversaries, has simultaneously called for some form of regulation while darkly warning of the unintended consequences of the wrong kind. (One argument certain to get Donald Trump’s attention: Regulate us too severely, and you’ll only empower our Chinese competitors.)

Probably the most encouraging development listed is Apple’s turn against Facebook and Google. Where once Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google were regarded as an impregnable block of interests, nicknamed (with predatory appropriateness) FAANG, now the only fangs involved are being stuck in each other.

Politically, they may be the only ones left to care about those fangs. The industry’s pervasive, irrational, and wild hostility to Republicans has converted even the stodgiest establishmentarians, including current (and former) Attorney General William Barr, into vocal public critics of tech. And the aforementioned California privacy law represents a complete failure of the industry’s political power even within its effectively monopartisan own backyard, which suggests that Democrats are no longer willing to carry water for the most vicious monopolists this side of Cornelius Vanderbilt, no matter how performatively “woke” they are.

Indeed, that California law puts tech between a rock and a hard place, as other business interests — and even some tech companies — seem to be anxious to pass a (presumably less stringent) national privacy law aimed at pre-empting the California law before it goes into place. Due to the support of big business, that national plan has the support of Republicans, but that is cold comfort for the biggest tech companies, seeing as debating a national consumer privacy law forces them into a conversation they’ve wanted to avoid for ages: namely, how much consumers’ privacy — in other words, their data — should be protected. What’s worse, having that conversation at the national level may well lead to regulations as strict, or stricter, than California’s being imposed on the entire United States. And even if the regulations aren’t as strict, the days of hoovering up data and violating privacy without anyone’s batting an eye are unquestionably over. Heads, the American people win. Tails, tech loses.

Hence, the nattering nabobs of the net, caught in a trap built from their own missteps, are trying frantically to chew through each other to escape. It will not work. Accountability has come for the snowflake barons, and while defection from the whole may spare some of them the same pain as others, there is no doubt that all of them will be put through pain. It’s about time. After all, their morals, their code, and especially their terms of service are a bad joke to be dropped at the first sign of trouble. And the more Americans realize this, the more they will be ahead of the curve.

 

 

The Fall Of Facebook Has Only Just Begun, by 13D Research

Facebook still faces a sea of woes that are probably not reflected in its stock price. From 13D Research, via zerohedge.com:

The fall of Facebook has only begun. The platform is broken and neither human nor machine can fix it.

Even after losing roughly a third of its market cap, it still may prove one of the great shorts of all time.

“There’s no mental health support. The suicide rate is extremely high,” one of the directors of the documentary, “The Cleaners” told CBS News last May. The film is an investigative look at the life of Facebook moderators in the Philippines. Throughout his 2018 apology tour, Mark Zuckerberg regularly referenced the staff of moderators the company had hired as one of two key solutions — along with AI — to the platform’s content evils. What he failed to disclose is that the majority of that army is subcontractors employed in the developing world.

For as long as ten hours a day, viewing as many as 25,000 images or videos per day, these low-paid workers are buried in the world’s horrors — hate speech, child pornography, rape, murder, torture, beheadings, and on and on. They are not experts in the subject matter or region they police. They rely on “guidelines” provided by Facebook — “dozens of unorganised PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets with bureaucratic titles like ‘Western Balkans Hate Orgs and Figures’ and ‘Credible Violence: Implementation standards’,” as The New York Times reported last fall. The rules are not even written in the languages the moderators speak, so many rely on Google Translate. As a recent op-ed by John Naughton in The Guardian declares bluntly in its headline, “Facebook’s burnt-out moderators are proof that it is broken.”

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Is Big Tech Merging With Big Brother? Kind of Looks Like It? by David Samuels

Between them, Big Tech and the government could dish up surveillance Orwell couldn’t dream of. From David Samuels at wired.com:

A FRIEND OF mine, who runs a large television production company in the car-mad city of Los Angeles, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People’s Republic of China, was walking to work.

WHEN HE OFFERED to arrange a swifter mode of transportation, she declined. When he asked why, she explained that she “needed the steps” on her Fitbit to sign in to her social media accounts. If she fell below the right number of steps, it would lower her health and fitness rating, which is part of her social rating, which is monitored by the government. A low social rating could prevent her from working or traveling abroad.

China’s social rating system, which was announced by the ruling Communist Party in 2014, will soon be a fact of lifefor many more Chinese.

By 2020, if the Party’s plan holds, every footstep, keystroke, like, dislike, social media contact, and posting tracked by the state will affect one’s social rating.

Personal “creditworthiness” or “trustworthiness” points will be used to reward and punish individuals and companies by granting or denying them access to public services like health care, travel, and employment, according to a plan released last year by the municipal government of Beijing. High-scoring individuals will find themselves in a “green channel,” where they can more easily access social opportunities, while those who take actions that are disapproved of by the state will be “unable to move a step.”

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All U.S. Gov’t. Accusations Against Russia’s Gov’t. Are Lies, by Eric Zuesse

Eric Zuesse analyzes the many questionable charges the US government has made against Russia. From Zuesse at thesaker.is:

THE FIRST ACCUSATION, which is the source of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, was in 2012 under U.S. President Barack Obama, and it alleged that Sergei Magnitsky had been a whistleblower in Russia who was a lawyer who uncovered corruption in Russia’s Government and was imprisoned for that and beaten to death there for that. Magnitsky was, in fact, no whistleblower, and no lawyer, but the accountant of American billionaire Bill Browder, who had been charged by the Russian Government (and who then fled Russia) as having tax-defrauded the Russian Government of $230 million. And, Magnitsky’s death in prison was due to inadequate medical care of his pancreatitis by the medical personnel there, not (as Browder alleged) to any “beating.”

THE SECOND ACCUSATION, in 2014, is that “Russia stole Crimea.” This charge is the source of additional (and more severe) sanctions against Russis, and also of NATO’s massing of troops and weapons on and near Russia’s border, which are massed there allegedly to ‘protect’ European nations against ‘Russian aggression’ (such as ‘seizing Crimea’). It’s all founded on basic lies regarding Crimea and Ukraine. A fuller presentation of that case is here. But what constitutes the most remarkable evidence of all in this entire matter are two crucial phone-conversations. The first is the 27 January 2014 phone-conversation whereby the chief agent, Victoria Nuland, whom Obama had assigned to organize the coup to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected President Victor Yanukovych, gave the order as to whom Yanukovych’s replacement would be. This call is grossly misrepresented if not entirely ignored by the U.S. regime’s ‘journalists’ and ‘historians’. Nuland famously said there “Fuck the EU” (for the EU’s wanting a more moderate and less-nazi alternative to be selected). That much of the call was reported in the Western press (though with virtually no context as to what it meant and why she had said it), but the rest — the historically crucial part of it — wasn’t. This historically mega-important phone-call, which was posted to the internet a week later, on February 4th — three weeks before the man whom she named there received (just as she had instructed) the appointment to lead the post-coup Ukraine — isn’t even being denied by Washington. Instead, it’s either ignored by them, or else totally misrepresented, in the ‘historical’ accounts by the agents of the U.S. regime.

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