Bezos’ Washington Post helps Facebook censorship


This 13 October 2018 video from the USA is called Dissident Voices PURGED From Facebook & Twitter.

Meanwhile, Facebook is NOT purging, eg, the Dutch openly nazi party NVU and other nazis and Holocaust deniers.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Pages purged by Facebook were on blacklist promoted by Washington Post

13 October 2018

Media outlets removed by Facebook on Thursday, in a massive purge of 800 accounts and pages, had previously been targeted in a blacklist of oppositional sites promoted by the Washington Post

owneed by Amazon.com boss Jeff Bezos, richest man in the world, warmonger and war profiteer.

in November 2016.

The organizations censored by Facebook include The Anti-Media, with 2.1 million followers, The Free Thought Project, with 3.1 million followers, and Counter Current News, with 500,000 followers. All three of these groups had been on the blacklist.

In November 2016, the Washington Post published a puff-piece on a shadowy and up to then largely unknown organization called PropOrNot, which had compiled a list of organizations it claimed were part of a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign”.

The Post said the report “identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans.”

The publication of the blacklist drew widespread media condemnation, including from journalists Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald, forcing the Post to publish a partial retraction. The newspaper declared that it “does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet.”

While the individuals behind PropOrNot have not identified themselves, the Washington Post said the group was a “collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.”

PropOrNot, which remains active on Twitter, publicly gloated about Facebook’s removal of the pages on Thursday. “Russian propaganda is VERY VERY MAD about their various front outlets & fellow travellers getting suspended by @Facebook &/or @Twitter,” it wrote. The tweet tagged The Anti Media and The Free Thought Project, and included a Russian flag emoji next to an emoji depicting feces.

It added, ominously: “All of these [organizations] are cross platform & have websites, but one thing at a time.”

These comments by PropOrNot make clear where the censorship measures supervised by the US government and implemented by the internet companies are going. While these organizations still “have websites,” the authorities are handling “one thing at a time.”

The clear implication is that censorship will not end with Google’s manipulation of its search platform or the removal of accounts by Facebook and Twitter. The ultimate aim is the total banning of oppositional news web sites.

The publication of the PropOrNot blacklist and its promotion by the Washington Post helped trigger a wave of censorship measures against oppositional news sites by the major technology companies, working at the instigation of the US intelligence agencies and leading politicians.

Last year, the World Socialist Web Site reported that it an other sites, including Global Research, Counterpunch, Consortium News, WikiLeaks and Truthout, saw their search traffic plunge after search giant Google implemented a change to its search ranking algorithm.

In the subsequent period, search traffic to these sites has fallen even further. Search traffic to Counterpunch has fallen by 39 percent, and Consortium News has fallen by 51 percent.

These developments confirm the analysis made by the World Socialist Web Site in its open letter to Google alleging that it was censoring left-wing, anti-war and socialist websites.

“Censorship on this scale is political blacklisting,” the letter declared. “The obvious intent of Google’s censorship algorithm is to block news that your company does not want reported and to suppress opinions with which you do not agree. Political blacklisting is not a legitimate exercise of whatever may be Google’s prerogatives as a commercial enterprise. It is a gross abuse of monopolistic power. What you are doing is an attack on freedom of speech.”

On Tuesday, Google admitted in an internal document that it and other technology companies had “gradually shifted away from unmediated free speech and towards censorship and moderation.” The document stated that an aim of the censorship was to “increase revenues” under conditions of growing government and commercial pressure.

The document acknowledged that such actions constitute a break with the “American tradition that prioritizes free speech for democracy.”

On Thursday, Facebook carried out a mass purge of left-wing political pages as part of an ongoing conspiracy by the state and the technology monopolies to censor the internet. Over 800 pages and accounts, with a combined following in the tens of millions, were summarily removed. The banned pages include highly popular postings by groups opposing and publicizing incidents of police violence such as Police the Police, Cop Block and Filming Cops, as well as prominent left-wing news pages such as Anti-Media, Reverb Press, Counter Current News and Resistance: here.

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Google, Facebook admit their political censorship


This video from the USA says about itself:

Leaked Document: Google Possibly Planning Web Censorship

10 October 2018

In a leaked document ‘the good censor’, Google and the internet might be heading in a different direction – one to censor the web. RT America’s Sara Montes De Oca reports.

By Kevin Reed:

Leaked Google document: Tech firms have shifted away from “free speech and towards censorship

11 October 2018

On Tuesday, the far-right news outlet Breitbart News published a leaked internal briefing by employees at technology giant Google that openly discusses political censorship.

The document observes that “tech firms have gradually shifted away from unmediated free speech and towards censorship and moderation.” In the process, the document states, Google, Facebook and Twitter have sought to emphasize creating “well-ordered spaces for safety and civility” over “unmediated ‘marketplaces of ideas.’”

Breitbart said Google did not deny the veracity of the document, but it wrote that “an official Google source said the document should be considered internal research, and not an official company position.”

The leaked Google document quoted MIT Tech Review editor-in-chief Jason Pontin as saying, “On the global scale, the internet and the social platforms have been a wonderful boon for free speech. The internet has given platforms to billion (sic) of people to express themselves and has made it almost impossible for governments—even in highly controlled nations like China—to control people’s speech effectively.”

But the next page of the briefing declares that “recent global events have undermined this utopian narrative.”

The document explains the “shift towards censorship” by pointing to “commercial” and “government” demands. One aim of censorship is to “Protect advertisers from controversial content, [and] increase revenues”, it declares.

The briefing adds that “Google might continue to shift with the times—changing its stance on how much or how little it censors (due to public, governmental or commercial pressures).”

The document admits that there is a shift from the “American tradition that prioritizes free speech for democracy, not civility”, on the part of social media companies.

In August 2017, the World Socialist Web Site published an open letter to Google alleging that changes to its search algorithms had led to a massive drop in traffic to left-wing, anti-war, and socialist web sites.

“Censorship on this scale is political blacklisting”, the letter declared. “The obvious intent of Google’s censorship algorithm is to block news that your company does not want reported and to suppress opinions with which you do not agree. Political blacklisting is not a legitimate exercise of whatever may be Google’s prerogatives as a commercial enterprise. It is a gross abuse of monopolistic power. What you are doing is an attack on freedom of speech.”

The publication of the leaked document followed an October 5 report by the Washington Post that that Google CEO Sundar Pichai met secretly with civilian and military officials at the Pentagon during a recent trip to Washington DC.

Based on interviews with two anonymous sources familiar with the meeting, the Post said Pichai was “seeking to smooth over tensions roughly four months after employee outrage prompted the tech giant to sever a defense contract to analyze drone video”—known as Project Maven.

The Post reported that Pichai met with officials from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, a department that reports on matters relating to military intelligence to the US Secretary of Defense, former United States Marine Corps General James Mattis. The office is responsible for the Project Maven program, which is developing artificial intelligence capabilities to identify cars, buildings and other objects recorded in videos by drones flying over combat zones and other landscapes.

Neither Defense Department officials nor Google representatives would comment publicly on the secret meeting. The termination of the Project Maven contract—after more than 3,000 employees signed a letter protesting the company’s participation in “the business of war”, was a blow to the efforts of Google to deepen its collaboration with the military-intelligence establishment.

In June, in response to the protest, Google management announced that the Project Maven contract would not be renewed in 2019. However, Pichai was quick to publish a blog post in which he outlined Google’s artificial intelligence objectives and explained that the company would continue work with the Pentagon on “cybersecurity, training, military recruitment, veterans’ health care, and search and rescue.”

United States Pentagon Internet censorship plans


This video from the USA says about itself:

13 August 2017

It turns out we don’t have to wait for Net Neutrality to be gutted to see restricted access to left-wing news sites. Google is practicing its own form of censorship by revamping its search protocol to limit your ability to read pages such as Wikileaks, DemocracyNow! and AlterNet. Lee Camp has more on how Google is leading the way in making sure the masses stay uninformed about all the ways in which our capitalist society is killing us.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

The US military’s vision for state censorship

5 October 2018

In March, the United States Special Operations Command, the section of the Defense Department supervising the US Special Forces, held a conference on the theme of “Sovereignty in the Information Age.” The conference brought together Special Forces officers with domestic police forces, including officials from the New York Police Department, and representatives from technology companies such as Microsoft.

This meeting of top military, police and corporate representatives went unreported and unpublicized at the time. However, the Atlantic Council recently published a 21-page document summarizing the orientation of the proceedings. It is authored by John T. Watts, a former Australian Army officer and consultant to the US Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

The Atlantic Council, a think tank with close ties to the highest levels of the state, has been a key partner in the social media companies’ censorship of left-wing views. Most notably, Facebook acted on a tip from the Atlantic Council when it shut down the official event page for an anti-fascist demonstration in Washington on the anniversary of last year’s neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville.

Confident that none of the thousands of journalists in Washington will question, or even report, what he writes, Watts lays out, from the standpoint of the repressive apparatus of the state and the financial oligarchy it defends, why censorship is necessary.

The central theme of the report is “sovereignty”, or the state’s ability to impose its will upon the population. This “sovereignty”, Watts writes, faces “greater challenges now than it ever has in the past”, due to the confluence between growing political opposition to the state and the internet’s ability to quickly spread political dissent.

Watts cites the precedent of the invention of the printing press, which helped overthrow the feudal world order. In the Atlantic Council’s estimation, however, this was an overwhelmingly negative development, ushering in “decades, and arguably centuries, of conflict and disruption” and undermining the “sovereignty” of absolutist states. The “invention of the internet is similarly creating conflict and disruption”, Watts writes.

“Trust in Western society,” he warns, “is experiencing a crisis. The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer has tracked this erosion, showing a 30 percent drop in trust in government over the last year in the United States.”

Watts notes that this collapse in support for the government cannot be explained merely by the rise of social media. This process began in the early 2000s, “at the dawn of the social media age but before it had become mainstream.” Left out are the major reasons for the collapse of popular support for government institutions: the stolen election of 2000, the Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction, unending war and the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

However, while it is “hard to argue that the current loss of trust results solely from the emergence of social media”, Watts writes, there “can be little doubt that it acted as a critical amplifier of broader trends.”

He continues: “Technology has democratized the ability for sub-state groups and individuals to broadcast a narrative with limited resources and virtually unlimited scope.” By contrast, “In the past, the general public had limited sources of information, which were managed by professional gatekeepers.”

In other words, the rise of uncensored social media allowed small groups with ideas that correspond to those of the broader population to challenge the political narrative of vested interests on an equal footing, without the “professional gatekeepers” of the mainstream print and broadcast media, which publicizes only a pro-government narrative.

When “radical and extremist views” and “incorrect ideas” are “broadcast over social media, they can even influence the views of people who would not otherwise be sympathetic to that perspective”, Watts warns. “When forwarded by a close friend or relation, false information carries additional legitimacy; once accepted by an individual, this false information can be difficult to correct.”

People must be isolated, in other words, from the “incorrect” ideas of their friends and family, because such ideas are “difficult to correct” by the state once disseminated.

But how is this to be done? The growth of oppositional sentiment cannot be combatted with “facts” or the “truth”, because “facts themselves are not sufficient to combat disinformation.” The “truth” is “too complex, less interesting, and less meaningful to individuals.”

Nor can the growth of political opposition, for the time being, simply be solved by “eliminating” (i.e., killing or jailing) political dissidents, because this only lends legitimacy to the ideas of the victims. “Eliminating those individuals and organizations will not be sufficient to combat the narrative and may in fact help amplify it.” He adds, “This is also the case for censorship as those behind the narrative can use the attempt to repress the message as proof of its truth, importance, or authenticity.”

Enter the social media companies. The best mechanism for suppressing oppositional viewpoints and promoting pro-government narratives is the private sector, in particular “technology giants, including Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter”, which can “determine what people see and do not see.”

Watts adds, “Fortunately, shifts in the policies of social media platforms such as Facebook have had significant impact on the type and quality of the content that is broadcast.”

The private sector, therefore, must do the dirty work of the government, because government propaganda is viewed with suspicion by the population. “Business and the private sector may not naturally understand the role they play in combating disinformation, but theirs is one of the most important…. In the West at least, they have been thrust into a central role due to the general public’s increased trust in them as institutions.”

But this is only the beginning. Online newspapers should “consider disabling commentary systems—the function of allowing the general public to leave comments beneath a particular media item”, while social media companies should “use a grading system akin to that used to rate the cleanliness of restaurants” to rate their users’ political statements.

Strong-arm tactics still have a role, of course. Citing the example of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, Watts declares that “governments need to create consequences” for spreading “disinformation” similar to those meted out for “state espionage” – which can carry the death penalty.

What Watts outlines in his document is a vision of a totalitarian social order, where the government, the media, and technology companies are united in suppressing oppositional viewpoints.

The most striking element of the document, however, is that it is not describing the future, but contemporary reality. Everything is in the present tense. The machinery of mass censorship has already been built.

The Atlantic Council report, based on high-level discussions within the military and state, is a confirmation of everything the World Socialist Web Site has said about the purpose of changes in the algorithms of internet and social media companies over the past year-and-a-half.

On August 25, 2017, the WSWS published an open letter to Google alleging that the company is “manipulating its Internet searches to restrict public awareness of and access to socialist, anti-war and left-wing websites.” It added, “Censorship on this scale is political blacklisting.”

Over the subsequent year, key details of the open letter have been indisputably confirmed. At congressional hearings and in other public statements, leading US technology companies have explained that they reduced the propagation of political views and statements targeted by US intelligence agencies, and did so in secret because they feared a public outcry. At the same time, they have explained the technical means by which they promoted pro-government, pro-war news outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post.

But the Atlantic Council document presents the most clear, direct and unvarnished explanation of the regime of state censorship.

The struggle against censorship is the spearhead of the defense of all democratic rights. The most urgent task is to unify the working class, which is engaged in a wave of social struggles all over the world, behind the struggle against censorship as a component of the fight for socialism.

Facebook homophobic censorship


This 2016 video from the USA is called I’m LGBT and gay but I’m also showing how Facebook is homophobic to LGBT people.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Facebook system that determines whether an advertisement has a political message also appears to place advertisements by LGBT organizations in this category, while they have no political content. That’s what The Washington Post discovered.

The director of the LGBT Network, an American non-profit organization, says that the social network has blocked some fifteen of its advertisements since spring. He wanted to advertise a Pride Parade and a concert on a beach. The newspaper writes that in the same period other organizations also had to deal with blockades.

‘It is Orwellian

A retired man from New York, who manages a page about a historical gay café, tells the Post that Facebook has blocked so many advertisements that he stopped using the words “LGBT” and “gay”. “It’s ridiculous”, he says. “And Orwellian.” The latter is a reference to George Orwell’s novel 1984, in which he describes a totalitarian government that tries to control the mindset of its inhabitants.

The man from New York sent Facebook an e-mail. He was first told that his ads fell into the politics category, because LGBT is a civil rights issue. “You have to be authorized to place advertisements with this content”, wrote a Facebook employee. Later he received a second email in which Facebook confirms that it regards LGBT advertisements as political.

Since this spring the platform has applied stricter rules for advertisements with political messages. …

Those who want to place such an advertisement now must identify themselves with a driving license or passport, give their home address and the last four digits of their citizen service number. If this does not happen, then the advertisement will not be placed.

Filter process unclear

In a reaction to the news, Facebook says that most of the blocked ads have been unjustly labeled as ‘political’. The platform did not want to tell the newspaper which criteria were used. It is also unclear to what extent an algorithm labels advertisements or that an employee of the company does this.

Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for global public policy, sparked unrest at the social network after he sat behind his friend, Brett Kavanaugh, at the Senate Judiciary Committee during Kavanaugh’s angry denial he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford.

Facebook reported on September 28 that hackers had exploited a technical flaw in the social media platform and obtained the user information of about 50 million accounts. In this largest ever breach since the company was founded 14 years ago, the hackers found a security hole in the “View As” feature—that allows users to see what their profile looks like from other Facebook accounts—to gain access to login details: here.

Painter Rubens’ partial victory against Facebook censorship


The Descent from the Cross (Rubens)

This photo shows The Descent from the Cross, by famous Flemish 17th century painter Rubens.

On this painting, Jesus wears only a loincloth. So, Facebook censored it, along with many other works of arts by Rubens and lots of other artists.

Museums in Belgium protested strongly against this censorship. And today, according to Dutch NOS TV, their resistance has won a victory. A victory for Rubens, but only a very partial victory for art in general:

Yet, not all discussion is over yet. To the Flemish newspaper De Standaard, Facebook says that a photo of Michelangelo’s David [censored so far by Facebook] will now become possible, but a photograph of a fully dressed woman eating a banana in a suggestive way will not, because it is considered “sexually challenging and contrary to the rules”. Whether the famous L’origine du monde painting by Gustave Courbet [censored many times by Facebbok] will get a pass by the Facebook censorship is very uncertain.

If things depend on Facebook, the censorship of Courbet will probably continue. Because 19th century Courbet not only, like 17th century Rubens, depicted nudity; and was not only the founder of the realist movement in art; but was a socialist as well. As Facebook censors today’s socialist anti-fascists in the USA organizing to protest against violent nazis.

As for Facebook censoring depictions of women eating bananas: that censorship is very similar to the censorship of that subject by the Sisi military dictatorship in Egypt.

According to the De Standaard article, very probably Facebook will continue to censor the work of famous Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918).

Facebook outsources censorship to far right


This video from the USA says about itself:

Facebook ‘Fact Checkers’ Include Science Denying Right-Wing Propagandists

14 September 2018

From the United States liberal site Media Matters for America:

Facebook is fueling far-right extremism — and profiting off of it

September 4, 2018 5:13 PM EDT

NATALIE MARTINEZ

Over the past month, Facebook has drawn international attention for its slow response to hate speech and fake news that helped fuel the genocide of the ethno-religious Rohingya minority in Myanmar; for the correlation found in Germany between Facebook usage and hate crimes against refugees; and for the fake news that has gone viral on the Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp and led to deadly attacks in India.

But, in the U.S., the criticisms of the social media giant that have dominated media coverage have dealt with baseless claims of censorship targeting conservatives.

On Monday, a ThinkProgress article posted on Facebook was labeled as “false” by right-wing magazine the Weekly Standard, a third-party “fact checker” for Facebook, and effectively censored on the site. The Weekly Standard, dubbed a ‘redoubt of neoconservatism’ and as ‘the neo-con bible’, is one of only five organizations approved as fact-checkers by Facebook: here.

From United States liberal site Thinkprogress, 11 September 2018:

Facebook’s idea of ‘fact-checking’: Censoring ThinkProgress because conservative site told them to

A perfect example of how Facebook is catering to conservatives.

Ian Millhiser

Last year, Facebook announced that it would partner with The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, to “fact check” news articles that are shared on Facebook. At the time, ThinkProgress expressed alarm at this decision.

The Weekly Standard has a history of placing right-wing ideology before accurate reporting. Among other things, it labeled the Iraq WarA War to Be Proud Of” in 2005, and it ran an article in 2017 labeling climate science “Dadaist Science,” and promoted that article with the phrase “look under the hood on climate change ‘science’ and what you see isn’t pretty.”

The Weekly Standard brought its third-party “fact-checking” power to bear against ThinkProgress on Monday, when the outlet determined a ThinkProgress story about [Donald Trump’s] Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was “false”, a category defined by Facebook to indicate “the primary claim(s) in this content are factually inaccurate.”

The article in question, which this reporter wrote, pointed out that, when you read a statement Kavanaugh made during his confirmation hearing alongside a statement he made in 2017, it becomes clear he is communicating that he opposes Roe v. Wade. Our article is factually accurate and The Weekly Standard’s allegation against us is wrong.

There are serious consequences for publishing an article that one of Facebook’s third-party fact checkers decrees to be false.

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently wrote in the Washington Post, “we demote posts rated as false, which means they lose 80 percent of future traffic.”

When an article is labeled false under Facebook’s third-party fact-checking system, groups that share that article on Facebook receive a notification informing them that the article received a “False Rating” and that “pages and websites” that share that piece “will see their overall distribution and their ability to monetize and advertise removed.”

Facebook’s notification regarding our piece on Kavanaugh and Roe v. Wade effectively warned outlets not to share ThinkProgress content or risk censorship themselves. One group emailed ThinkProgress after receiving this notification to say they found it “threatening.”

ThinkProgress reached out to Facebook for comment on its third-party fact checking program and did not receive a response before this story was published.

The definition of the word “say”

After Facebook sent the push notification stating that our article received a “False Rating”, ThinkProgress reached out to Facebook taking issue with the fact check. A Facebook employee responded by email that Facebook defers to each independent fact-checker’s process and publishers are responsible for reaching out to the fact-checkers directly to request a correction.

The editors at The Weekly Standard do not appear to be interested in correcting their “fact check”.

The Weekly Standard’s fact-check appears to hinge on the definition of the word “said.”

Kavanaugh cited in his confirmation hearing the “Glucksberg test” — which refers to Washington v. Glucksberg, a 1997 Supreme Court decision establishing that the Constitution does not protect a right to physician-assisted suicide. Under Glucksberg, courts should determine which rights are protected by the Constitution by asking which rights are “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”

Kavanaugh also said in 2017 that “even a first-year law student could tell you that the Glucksberg’s approach to unenumerated rights was not consistent with the approach of the abortion cases such as Roe vs. Wade in 1973, as well as the 1992 decision reaffirming Roe, known as Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.”

Our article also cited law professors Jim Oleske and Jamal Greene, both of whom reached similar conclusions regarding Kavanaugh’s embrace of Glucksberg.

The Weekly Standard’s piece labeling this piece “false” provides no analysis of this argument. It merely asserts that our “article does not provide evidence that ‘Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade.’”

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the verb “say” or “said” can mean to “indicate,” “show,” or “communicate” an idea. Our argument is that Kavanuagh indicated, showed, or communicated his intention to overrule Roe when he endorsed the Gluckberg test after saying that Gluckberg is inconsistent with Roe.

Pandering to the right

The Weekly Standard is one of only five outlets that enjoys the power to “fact check” other people’s work on Facebook. The other four are the Associated Press and three outlets that specialize in fact-checking — Factcheck.org, PolitiFact, and Snopes.com. No left-leaning outlet has this special ability to “fact check” other writers’ work.

To become a Facebook “fact checker,” an outlet must complete a verification process managed by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute.

Last November, IFCN determined that The Weekly Standard was only in “partial” compliance with its standards. Though the IFCN’s November report on The Weekly Standard indicated that the conservative news site eventually was likely to meet the IFCN’s standards, it also determined that “the current version of” the Weekly Standard’s operation “has existed for only three weeks, and the IFCN calls for three months of consistent fact-checking before it is recognized as a distinct unit.”

“The Fact Check needs to build up a larger sample of work in order to stabilize and be fully assessed in its current form,” according to IFCN’s November report.

Nevertheless, Facebook approved The Weekly Standard as one of its “fact-checking” partners in early December.

It appears that the Weekly Standard was added to Facebook’s roster of “fact-checking” outlets as part of a deliberate effort to pander to conservatives. A source told the news outlet Quartz that Facebook’s partnership with The Weekly Standard was part of an effort to “appease all sides.”

Earlier this year, Facebook also hired Republican Sen. John Kyl of Arizona to lead an “audit” of alleged “liberal bias at the expense of conservative voices” at the social media juggernaut. Kyl, according to Vice, “was regularly ranked among the country’s most conservative senators when he served from 1995 to 2013.” He was recently appointed to serve out the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) term in office.

Shortly after Facebook hired Kyl to determine whether the site has a liberal bias, the Trump White House tapped Kyl to act as Judge Kavanaugh’s “sherpa” through his confirmation process.

There’s much more at stake

If Facebook continues its partnership with The Weekly Standard, the consequences could be quite severe for left-leaning outlets generally — or potentially for any other outlet which publishes a news article that The Weekly Standard disagrees with.

It’s no secret that the digital news business is driven by clicks. A news site that brings in many readers will also bring in a great deal of ad revenue, and this money can be used to hire reporters and to continue the outlet’s work. An outlet that loses a significant portion of its readership may have to lay off reporters or could even go under.

At its peak, Facebook provided as much as 40 percent of ThinkProgress’ traffic. Facebook recently changed its algorithm in ways that reduced the amount of traffic it sent to most news outlets, but it still accounts for between 10 to 15 percent of our readers. The difference between keeping those readers and losing them could decide whether we can hire more reporters who will continue to report on subjects that the Weekly Standard may have ideological disagreements about.

Yet, as Facebook’s push notification makes clear, any group that shares a piece that The Weekly Standard deems false could be punished for doing so.

News outlets aren’t the only players at risk under this system. As a legal matter, Facebook is treading on very dangerous ground by providing no oversight of its own “fact checking” operation.

In its landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court held that an outlet can be liable for defamation if it publishes false information “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

By deferring to The Weekly Standard’s “expertise and process”, Facebook acted with reckless disregard of whether The Weekly Standard’s article was false or not.

Indeed, Facebook’s entire relationship with The Weekly Standard appears driven by reckless disregard for the truth.

KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: I THOUGHT HE MIGHT KILL ME The woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to sexually assault her in a confidential letter to members of Congress has come forward. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, told The Washington Post that she had feared Kavanaugh “might inadvertently kill” her as he held her down and groped her while they were both high school students around 1982. [HuffPost]

GOP SENATOR: DELAY SCOTUS VOTE Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is the first Republican on the Senate judiciary committee to suggest the panel delay moving forward with Kavanaugh’s confirmation, amid the sexual assault allegations. GOP moderate Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) later told CNN she was open to the idea of a delay. [HuffPost]

Internet censorship news update


This video from the USA says about itself:

Big Tech’s dangerous crackdown on social media – with Abby Martin (Ep. 23)

27 August 2018

Moderate Rebels episode 23 – Max Blumenthal and Abby Martin discuss the suppression of dissident voices on social media by Silicon Valley, at the behest of the US national security state. Facebook is partnering with the warmongering NATO-funded think tank the Atlantic Council, and leftist anti-imperialist pages like TeleSUR English and Venezuela Analysis are being taken down.

Neoliberals and neoconservatives are using Russiagate and the attack on RT to justify a further crackdown on media outlets that criticize American foreign policy. And while many liberals cheered at tech giants banning far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the left could be the next to be censored.

Blumenthal and Martin also speak about the corporate media’s propaganda on Venezuela and Nicaragua, and the lack of independent reporting on the violent US-backed right-wing opposition.

By Kevin Reed in the USA, 8 September 2018:

On May 17, Facebook announced a partnership with the Atlantic Council, the bipartisan think tank that has participated in every political and military crime of US imperialism over the past half-century. In a brief blog post by Katie Harbath, Facebook’s Global Politics and Government Outreach Director explained that the relationship was necessary “to prevent our service from being abused during elections.”

Harbath went on, “We’re more actively working with outside experts, governments and other companies because we know that we can’t solve these challenges on our own. … Today, we’re excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems.” The other governments and outside experts that Facebook is working with were not mentioned by name.

That Harbath—a former digital strategist for the Republican Party Senatorial Committee—can speak of the Atlantic Council as having a “stellar reputation” dealing with “hard problems” shows that Facebook is being staffed with functionaries of the US political establishment. In reality, the Atlantic Council has a reputation as a clearing house for political and ideological propaganda—including perpetrating and defending election abuse throughout the world—in the service of the strategic interests of American capitalism.

Behind the coordinated social media censorship by Facebook, Twitter and Google. What is FireEye? Here.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

New York Times covers up Google’s censorship

7 September 2018

Last September, the New York Times published an article, appearing on the first page of its business section, reporting allegations by the World Socialist Web Site that the internet search monopoly Google was censoring left-wing, anti-war and socialist web sites.

The article prominently cited, and linked to, the WSWS’s open letter to Google, “Stop the censorship of the Internet! Stop the political blacklisting of the World Socialist Web Site!” The open letter presented evidence that “Google is manipulating its internet searches” in order to “block news that your company does not want reported and to suppress opinions with which you do not agree.”

But on Wednesday, the Times posted on its website (and published Thursday on the front page of the business section of its Thursday print edition) an article by the same author, Daisuke Wakabayashi, which is a white-wash of Google’s censorship regime, echoing the company’s self-serving denials without any serious examination of the facts.

US schools hiring private companies to spy on students’ social media: here.