Tag Archives: Social Media

What’s Been Normalized? Nothing Good or Positive, by Charles Hugh Smith

Many things that were considered abhorrent within the past few decades are now considered normal. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

What’s been normalized are policies and cultural norms that seek to enrich and protect the few at the expense of the many.

When the initially extraordinary fades into the unremarkable background of everyday life, we say it’s been normalized. Put another way, we quickly habituateto new conditions, and rationalize our ready acceptance of what was previously unacceptable.

Technology offers many examples of extraordinary advances quickly becoming normalized as we habituate to new devices and behaviors, but my focus today is on policies and cultural norms that were radical departures from accepted norms at their introduction but which are now accepted as “normal.”

This normalization of extreme policies conceals the often equally extreme unintended consequences of the new policies and norms.

Let’s start with two examples which have unleashed unintended consequences that have completely distorted markets: allowing pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to “consumers” and allowing corporations to buy back their own shares. Each of these activities had been banned for self-evident reasons, yet were allowed in the neoliberal rush to deregulate industries without regard for the long-term consequences.

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Social Media Censorship Reaches New Heights as Twitter Permanently Bans Dissent, by Mnar Muhawesh

The big social media companies have become arms of the government, and they keep tightening the noose on what’s left of free expression. From Mnar Muhawesh at mintpressnews.com:

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 Times, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC 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.

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The Court of Justice of the European Union Limits Free Speech, by Judith Bergman

Free speech is just about dead in Europe. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • “This judgment has major implications for online freedom of expression around the world…. The ruling also means that a court in one EU member state will be able to order the removal of social media posts in other countries, even if they are not considered unlawful there. This would set a dangerous precedent where the courts of one country can control what internet users in another country can see. This could be open to abuse, particularly by regimes with weak human rights records.” — Thomas Hughes, executive director of ARTICLE 19, a non-profit organization that works on “protecting the right to freedom of expression around the world,” October 3, 2019.
  • The judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union… appears to give EU member states unprecedented power to determine public discourse online — to determine what citizens can and cannot read…. [T]he prospects now look even bleaker for the future of free speech in Europe.
A recent judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union appears to give EU member states unprecedented power to determine public discourse online — to determine what citizens can and cannot read. Pictured: The Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg. (Image source: Transparency International/Flickr

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How the Fourth Estate Illuminati Silences the Right, by Leesa K. Donner

The more the mainstream media and the big social media outfits try to stifle non-approved political views, the stronger the alternative media gets. It’s thriving because it delivers something an increasing number of people want: skepticism of official story lines, hard-hitting analysis, provocative questions, and something closer to the truth. From Leesa K. Donner at libertynation.com:

Journalism has taken quite a beating since the turn of the century. This is true on the business side of the equation and regarding its reputation as a non-biased source of information. The adversarial relationship between the president and the Fourth Estate has not dissipated since Donald J. Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. And a good argument could be made that it’s gotten even more ugly in the public square. This war of words has turned into an all-out frontal assault on those the legacy press perceives as its enemy: the political right. So, it’s worth checking in on the state of the battle. Who’s winning? Who’s losing? And perhaps more significantly: How effectively is the war being waged?

The Bloody Inkwell

It’s not difficult to determine who is being targeted. The legacy press has set its sights on the right, but within that category the Illuminati are gunning for three types of adversaries: well-known conservative individuals, large and small organizations, and public citizens. As for the how, the big-city scribes have chosen the sniper attack as their primary operational-tactical strategy. That is, establish a cover position, lie in wait, and pick off the enemy one by one.

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Have You Noticed How Social Media Purges Always Align With The US Empire? by Caitlin Johnstone

The greatest sin is questioning the empire. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

Twitter has suspended multiple large Cuban media accounts for reasons the social media platform has yet to explain as of this writing, a move which journalist Dan Cohen has described as “the equivalent of silencing CNN, Fox, WaPo and NPR’s accounts” for that nation. The Union of Cuban Journalists has denounced the move as censorship.

Last month we saw Twitter suspend hundreds of accounts which it claims originated in mainland China for engaging in “covert, manipulative behaviors” against the Hong Kong protests, with Facebook and Google/YouTube following suit in the creepy, uniform coordination we’ve come to expect between these social media giants. In June of this year Twitter removed thousands of accounts it claims were associated with the governments of Iran, Russia and Venezuela, as well as 130 accounts reportedly tied to the Catalan independence movement in Spain. In May Twitter removed 2,800 of what it claimed were “inauthentic accounts originating in Iran.” Earlier this year, Twitter and Facebook coordinated with each other to remove hundreds of accounts they claim were tied to “coordinated influence operations” in Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.

Cuba, China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and the Catalan independence movement. Noticing a pattern here?

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Liberals haunted by social media tactics they use against the right, by Madison Gesiotto

Turnabout is fair play. From Madison Gesiotto at thehill.com:

The people who have made an industry out of destroying ordinary people’s lives over old social media posts and out-of-context comments are very upset that it’s happening to them. The New York Times, clearly worried by the recent exposure of blatantly anti-Semitic tweets posted by one of its reporters, and clearly worried that even more embarrassing material is in reserve, tried to stop the hemorrhaging with a rambling article demonizing the independent journalists who uncovered the tweets.

In fact, much of the liberal media sphere went into panic mode, vehemently declaring that this particular exercise of the First Amendment is actually an attack on the First Amendment. The reason why liberal editors are so distraught that independent conservative journalists are publishing evidence of the racist, anti-Semitic, and otherwise vile sentiments expressed by their supposedly “objective” employees comes down — as it usually does — to power.

Many journalists are in the profession not to inform the public, but to gain the power to destroy people who question them — and they don’t like those tactics being turned against them. “[U]sing journalistic techniques to target journalists and news organizations … is fundamentally different from the well-established role of the news media in scrutinizing people in positions of power,” the Times wrote in its article — which was of course labeled “news,” not “opinion.”

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U.S. Unleashes Military to Fight Fake News, Disinformation, by Pete Norman

There’s nothing disconcerting at all about having the military play an active role in the government’s disinformation and propaganda effort. From Pete Norman at bloomberg.com via news.yahoo.com:

(Bloomberg) — Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks,” as the top Republican in Congress blocks efforts to protect the integrity of elections.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society.

“A decade ago, today’s state-of-the-art would have registered as sci-fi — that’s how fast the improvements have come,” said Andrew Grotto at the Center for International Security at Stanford University. “There is no reason to think the pace of innovation will slow any time soon.”

U.S. officials have been working on plans to prevent outside hackers from flooding social channels with false information ahead of the 2020 election. The drive has been hindered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to consider election-security legislation. Critics have labeled him #MoscowMitch, saying he left the U.S. vulnerable to meddling by Russia, prompting his retort of “modern-day McCarthyism.”

Risk Factor

President Donald Trump has repeatedly rejected allegations that dubious content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google aided his election win. Hillary Clinton supporters claimed a flood of fake items may have helped sway the results in 2016.

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