Social Media

Russia reportedly used Pokémon Go in an effort to inflame racial tensions

Russia’s far-ranging campaign to promote dissension in the United States reportedly included an effort to weaponize Pokémon GoCNN reported today that in July 2016, a Tumblr page linked to Russia’s now-notorious Internet Research Agency promoted a contest encouraging people sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter movement to play the game near famous sites of police brutality. Players were told to change their characters’ names to the victims of those incidents — an apparent effort to inflame racial tensions.

The Tumblr page was linked to Do Not Shoot Us, a multi-platform campaign designed to mimic aspects of Black Lives Matter. (As CNN notes, the name plays on “hands up, don’t shoot,” one of the movement’s slogans.) Do Not Shoot Us included a website, donotshoot.us, along with related pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. The Facebook page was one of 470 pages that were removed after the company determined that it was linked to Russian groups attempting to interfere in US politics.

According to CNN, the group’s Tumblr page included a post showing a Pokémon named “Eric Garner,” who died after being put in a chokehold by a officer of the New York Police Department. The post promoted a contest, which promised Amazon gift cards to the winners, according to the report. CNN could not find evidence that anyone actually participated in the contest, it said, or that the page had distributed the gift cards.

The Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts of the group have been suspended, CNN said. Its YouTube and Tumblr pages, though, remain active — though the Tumblr page has shifted to posts about Palestine.

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Microchipping Humans: A Message from the 19th Director of DARPA & Ex Google Exec Who Just Joined Facebook

http://www.renegadetribune.com/microchipping-humans-message-19th-director-darpa-ex-google-exec-just-joined-facebook/
By Arjun Walia

With the recent revelations by NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden, it’s no secret that we live on a planet characterized by mass surveillance and virtually zero privacy. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with the idea that we face threats, that a high level of national security is needed in order to keep us safe. Think about it, the United States pumps a large majority of their money into the Department of Defense. A state of fear, war and terror is needed to keep those funds flowing in that direction. Many people are starting to wake up and realize a lot of the so called threats we face and have been facing are largely manufactured and fabricated in order to justify a specific agenda, agendas that deal with the black budget world.

It is ironic that the U.S. would begin a devastating war, allegedly in search of weapons of mass destruction when the most worrisome developments in this field are occurring in your own backyard.  It is ironic that the U.S. should be fighting monstrously expensive wars  allegedly to bring democracy to those countries, when it itself can no longer claim to be called a democracy when trillions, and I mean thousands of billions of dollars have been spent on projects which both congress and the commander in chief know nothing about” – Paul Hellyer, Former Canadian Defense Minister (source)

It doesn’t stop there, remember when credit and debit cards changed into one with a chip? That could be you in a few years as multiple corporations are pushing to microchip the human race. In fact, microchip implants in humans are already on the market. For example, an American company called Applied Digital Solutions (ADS) has developed one approximately the size of a grain of rice, and has already had it approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for distribution and implementation. (1)

Below is a video of Ex DARPA director, Google Executive and now Facebook employee, Regina Dugan promoting the idea of microchipping humans. At facebook, her new role will be building new hardware products to connect the world in a better way, whatever that means.

Ask yourself, what if this becomes a requirement for authentication and identification? To withdraw money or go to the grocery store? Would you do it?

These microchips would be implanted under the skin, and allow the wearer’s movements to be tracked and store personal information about them. This kind of reminds us of George Orwell’s “Big Brother” police state doesn’t it?

According to a report drawn up by a team of academics for (then) Britain’s Information Commissioner Richard Thomas in 2006, within the next couple of years our almost every movement, purchase and communication could be monitored by a complex network of interlinking surveillance technologies (if it isn’t already). (2)

This isn’t about safety and national security, it’s about controlling the human population even more so than it is today. We live in the illusion of freedom where our potential as a human race to create something better is not wanted. We spend our entire lives working and acquiring little pieces of paper to gather the necessities we need, and in doing so we become blind to what is really happening on, to, and around our planet.

Money should never come in the way of necessity, and we have the potential to create a world where everybody’s needs are provided for. From that place of freedom, just imagine what we can do. We have the potential, and we have the power to do it, we just have to open our eyes and realize it’s possible. Those who monitor us so closely don’t really want to see us thrive, and it seems that they don’t really care about us.

The power does not lie with them, it lies with us. At any time we can choose to wake up and change the way we do things here on the planet. Not many people are resonating with the state of our world today and more people are starting to realize that we can do something about it.

Sources:

(1) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/microchip-implants-in-humans-on-the-market-1.314623

(2)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-413345/Britons-microchipped-like-dogs-decade.html


This article originally appeared on Collective Evolution.

UK to Imprison People Who View ‘Far-Right Propaganda’ Online for Up to 15 Years

People in the United Kingdom could face up to fifteen years in prison for repeatedly viewing “far-right propaganda” or “terrorist material” online, according to a report.

(Breitbart)

According to the Guardian, “A new maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment will also apply to terrorists who publish information about members of the armed forces, police and intelligence services for the purposes of preparing acts of terrorism,” while the “tightening of the law around viewing terrorist material is part of a review of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy following the increasing frequency of terrorist attacks in Britain this year.”

Users who view the forbidden content only once by mistake, or out of curiosity, will not be charged, and it is reported that there will also be protections for journalists, academics, and “others who may have a legitimate reason to view such material.”

“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law,” declared British Home Secretary Amber Rudd. “There is currently a gap in the law around material [that] is viewed or streamed from the internet without being permanently downloaded.”

“This is an increasingly common means by which material is accessed online for criminal purposes and is a particularly prevalent means of viewing extremist material such as videos and web pages,” she continued.

Both Rudd and Prime Minister Theresa May have frequently expressed interest in cracking down on the Internet and implementing censorship.

After Rudd was recently asked by an individual why she wants to stop encryption when it was proven that she didn’t understand how it works, the Home Secretary replied, “It’s so easy to be patronised in this business.”

“We will do our best to understand it. We will take advice from other people. But I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right,” she expressed. “I don’t need to understand how encryption works to understand how it’s helping the criminals. I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that.”

6 Ways We Can Begin to Rein in Facebook’s Immense Power Over Media and Our Society

Mark Zuckerberg is really, really sorry.

Last year he dismissed as “crazy” the critics who said “fake news” delivered by Facebook might have given the election to Donald Trump. Last week he said he regretted it.

On Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, he apologized for what Facebook has wrought.

On Monday, a senior Facebook executive repented some more, reporting that $100,000 from Russian-sponsored troll farms bought 4.4 million page views before the 2016 election. “We understand more about how our service was abused and we will continue to investigate to learn all we can,” said vice president Elliot Schrage.

The Facebook leadership, like the U.S. government and the rest of us, is belatedly facing up to what Zuckerberg once denied: the social harms that can be inflicted by digital platform monopolies. The contrition and the voluntary remedies, notes Quartz, are “designed to head off looming regulations.”

What Is To Be Done

Facebook came to dominate social media with an ingenious interface that enables users to escape the Wild West of the open internet and join a sentimental community of family and friends, knitted together by likes, links, timelines, photos and videos.

Along the way, the company employed a scalable and amoral business model: use alogorithms of people’ personal data to mix messges of “promoted posts” with family messages and friendly momentos. Its an automated system that is profitable because it requires relatively little human intervention and can be used by anyone who wants to influence the behavior of Facebook users.

When the Russia government wanted to use the platform to confused and demoralize Democratic voters and promote favorite son Donald Trump, Facebook was ready, willing and able to monetize the opportunity. As sociologist Zeynep Tufekci has explained, “Facebook’s Ad Scandal Isn’t a ‘Fail,’ It’s a Feature.”

The question is, what can government and civil society do to protect the public interest from a $300 billion monopoly with 2 billion users? “Facebook is so gargantuan,” says Siva Vaidhyanathan, director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia, “it’s exceeded our capability to manage it.”

One tool is traditional antitrust laws, created in the late 19th century and early 20th century to control railroads, the oil industry and electrical utilities. The reformers, in the Progressive era and the New Deal, passed legislation like the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Glass-Steagall Act to prevent and break up concentrations of economic power.

The problem is that since the 1970s, antitrust law has been interpreted through the lens of University of Chicago “free-market” economics. In this view, the test of a monopoly is the short-term harm it does to consumers; i.e., does it raise prices?

If a monopoly doesn’t raise prices, the Chicago School claims, it’s not doing any harm. As a result, most of the legal precedents in antitrust law, developed over the last 40 years, are ideologically hostile to the notion of a “public interest.”
To deal with 21st-century platform monopolies, antitrust law needs to be revitalized or reinvented. A host of new monopoly critics, including economist Barry Lynn, journalist Matt Stoller, law professors Jonathan Zittrain and Frank Pasquale, and elected officials such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), propose to do just that.

As Pasquale, a law professor at the University of Maryland, said, “We need to have institutions that guarantee algorithmic accountability.”

Six Remedies

1. FCC regulation

Jeff John Roberts of Fortune compares Facebook to the highly regulated TV broadcast networks, “at a time when Facebook has become the equivalent of a single TV channel showing a slew of violence and propaganda, the time may have come to treat Facebook as the broadcaster it is.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, a Facebook search yielded a page created by a chronic hoaxer who calls himself an investigative journalist for Alex Jones’ Infowars. “To Facebook’s algorithms, it’s just a fast-growing group with an engaged community,” notes Alex Madrigal of the Atlantic.

Roberts:

“Just imagine if CBS inadvertently sold secret political ads to the Chinese or broadcast a gang rape—the FCC, which punished the network over a Super Bowl nipple incident, would come down like a ton of bricks.”

This would require rewriting the Federal Communications Act to include platform monopolies. Not impossible, but not likely, and probably not the right regulator regime to diminish Facebook’s monopoly power over information.

2. Mandatory FEC Disclosure

One solution is to use existing institutions to force full disclosure of buyers of political ads, a requirement Facebook successfully resisted in 2011.

Last week, Democrats in the House and Senate sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission urging it to “develop new guidance” on how to prevent illicit foreign spending in U.S. elections.” The letter was signed by all of the possible 2020 Democratic presidential aspirants in the Senate, including Warren, Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Cory Booker (N.J.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.).

Another Democratic proposal floated in Congress would require digital platforms with more than 1 million users to publicly log any “electioneering communications” purchased by anyone who spends more than $10,000 in political ads online. The FEC defines electioneering communications as ads “that refer to a federal candidate, are targeted to voters and appear within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.”

But such measures probably would not have prevented—or called attention to—the Russian intervention in 2016, because the Russian-sponsored ads usually played on social divisions without referencing a federal candidate, and buyers could have evaded the reporting requirement with smaller payments.

Such measures address the symptoms of Facebook’s dominance, not the causes.

3. Empower Users

Luigi Zingales and Guy Rolnik, professors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, have a market solution: empower Facebook users to take their friends and their “likes” elsewhere. They propose giving Facebook users something they do not now possess: “ownership of all the digital connections” that they create, or a “social graph.”

Right now Facebook owns your social graph, but that is not inevitable.

“If we owned our own social graph, we could sign into a Facebook competitor — call it MyBook — and, through that network, instantly reroute all our Facebook friends’ messages to MyBook, as we reroute a phone call.”

The idea is to foster the emergence of new social networks and diminish the power of Facebook’s monopoly.

Such a reform alone isn’t going to undermine Facebook. In conjunction with other measures to create competition, it could be helpful.

4. Make Data Ephemeral

Facebook’s data collection is a form of surveillance that endangers dissent, says internet entrepreneuer Maciej Ceglowski.

Last January, opponents of President Trump organized the Women’s March on Facebook, and several million people participated.

“The list of those who RSVP’d is now stored on Facebook servers and will be until the end of time, or until Facebook goes bankrupt, or gets hacked, or bought by a hedge fund, or some rogue sysadmin decides that list needs to be made public.”

To ensure privacy and protect dissent, Ceglowski says, “There should be a user-configurable time horizon after which messages and membership lists in these places evaporate.”

Again, this is a small but worthwhile step. If Facebook won’t implement it voluntarily, it could be compelled to do so.

5. Break up Facebook

But Ceglowski has a more audacious idea: break up Facebook into different companies for social interaction and news consumption.

The problem, he said in an April 2017 talk, is the algorithms Facebook deploys to maximize engagement and thus ad revenue.

“The algorithms have learned that users interested in politics respond more if they’re provoked more, so they provoke. Nobody programmed the behavior into the algorithm; it made a correct observation about human nature and acted on it.”

When a monopoly controls the algorithms of engagement, commercial power is converted into political power.

“Decisions like what is promoted to the top of a news feed can swing elections. Small changes in UI can drive big changes in user behavior. There are no democratic checks or controls on this power, and the people who exercise it are trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.”

So government has to step in, he says.

“Just like banks have a regulatory ‘Chinese wall’ between investment and brokerage, and newspapers have a wall between news and editorial, there must be a separation between social network features and news delivery.”

Just as the government broke up the Standard Oil monopoly in the early 20th century and the Bell telephone monopoly in the 1970s and 1980s, splitting up a monopoly firm to reduce its power is a time-tested remedy.

6. Think Big

Most important is political imagination. The ascendancy of free-market thinking since the heyday of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher has transformed citizens into consumers and failed civil society in the process. The rise of income inequality is one result. The emergence of unaccountable platform monopolies is another.

Facebook, the website, is the creation of Zuckerberg and clever programmers. But their enormous power is the result of a selfish and short-sighted ideology that privatizes public space at the expense of most people.

With the Democrats incorporating anti-monopoly ideas into their “Better Deal” platform and right-wing nationalists such as Steve Bannon talking about regulating internet giants “like utilities,” the free-market ideology has lost credibility and there is a growing demand for action. As the Roosevelt Institute puts it, “Let’s Reimagine the Rules.”

The urgency of reining in Facebook is that if the public does not control its surveillance and engagement technologies, those techniques will be used to secretly manipulate, if not control, the public sphere, as they were in the 2016 election.

“Either we work with government to regulate algorithmic systems,” says Pasquale of the University of Maryland, “or we will see partnerships with governments and those running algorithmic systems to regulate and control us.”

Controlling Facebook, in other words, is a matter of self-protection.

Jefferson Morley is AlterNet’s Washington correspondent. He is the author of the forthcoming biography The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin’s Press, October 2017) and Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835.

Arab Israeli Facebook star blasts Kuwait for boycotting Israel

https://www.timesofisrael.com/arab-israeli-fb-star-blasts-kuwait-for-boycotting-israel/

 

Barred from traveling through Kuwait over his Israeli citizenship, Arab Israeli Facebook star Nuseir Yassin on Sunday blasted the country for boycotting the Jewish state in a video viewed over 400,000 times.

Yassin was scheduled to fly from New York to India via Kuwait. When he arrived at the JFK airport he was told that he would not be permitted to travel because he held an Israeli passport and Kuwait does not permit Israeli citizens to enter the country.

In the Nas Daily Facebook video, Yassin slammed Kuwait’s anti-Israel policy, saying it did not help the Palestinians. He said the boycott only benefited the leaders, “not the Muslims and not the Jews.” Furthermore, Yassin argued, it was hypocritical for the country to profess to boycott Israel while using many Israeli products.

“Dear Kuwait. If you want to boycott Israel, be my guest. Refuse me service,” Yassin said in the video. “But also give me your USB flash drives, your phones, your safe driving cars, your Viber, your Waze or your anti-virus. This is also Israel.”

In his video, he accused Kuwait of not caring about the Palestinians.

“If you want to boycott Israel because of Palestine, I don’t think you actually care,” he said. “Because you’re also boycotting 2,000,000 Muslim Palestinian Israelis, like me.”

Turning to the wider Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which encourages a boycott of Israel, Yassin told his 2 million followers the movement merely benefits the leaders, but doesn’t help the people.

“This stupid ban is pure politics,” he said. “And the only people benefiting from it are not the airlines, not the Muslims and not the Jews. It only benefits the people in power. The outdated, undemocratic kings of the Arabs and the far-right Israeli leaders.”

In the accompanying post, Yassin stressed that he was not complaining about the airline, which was courteous and understanding, but rather the country. Yassin wrote that Kuwait Airways paid to book him on a Qatar Airways flight and that he didn’t lose any money.

The video was the 541st one-minute video Yassin has posted to his Nas Daily Facebook page in as many days.

A Harvard University graduate from the town of Arraba in Israel’s Lower Galilee, Yassin last year quit his well-paying job as a computer engineer at PayPal in New York to start making the videos, which he films and uploads from around the world.

The motivation was simple, he explained in video No. 339: “Look, I’m just a 25-year-old hairy kid who wants to live the best possible life and put it on Facebook in one-minute videos. That’s it.”

In his videos, Yassin wears a grey T-shirt emblazoned with a gauge that is 32 percent full, explaining that he has already used up that percentage of his lifespan.

Yassin said he makes no money from his Facebook page but earns a few thousand dollars a month by filming one-minute video advertisements, consulting, and holding workshops.

In 2015, the US government found that Kuwait Airways unlawfully discriminated against a passenger traveling on an Israeli passport by refusing to sell him a ticket for a New York-London flight.

At the time the airline explained that it’s against the law in Kuwait to do business with any Israeli citizen or company, and that punishment for a violation could result in imprisonment and hard labor, according to the department.

Two months later Kuwait Airways stopped flying the New York to London route rather than carry Israeli passengers.

How Mark Zuckerberg embraced his Judaism

NEW YORK (JTA) — Mark Zuckerberg wrote last December on Facebook that for him, “religion is very important.” It looks like he meant it.

The Facebook co-founder has been invoking Judaism a lot lately. In May, he quoted a Jewish prayer at Harvard’s commencement. Two weeks ago he posted a picture of his daughter with a family kiddush cup. And on Saturday night, he posted a public apology at the end of Yom Kippur.

It’s quite a transformation for a public figure who once defined himself as an atheist.

Although he was a member of the Jewish fraternity AEPi before he dropped out of Harvard, Zuckerberg didn’t discuss his Judaism much before 2015. Replying to a comment last year, Zuckerberg wrote that he “went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”

Zuckerberg’s recent string of Jewish affirmations began nearly two years ago following then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Being raised as a Jew, Zuckerberg wrote, made him sensitive to attacks on all minorities.

“After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others,” Zuckerberg wrote, referring to that year’s terror attack in the French capital. “As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.”

Zuckerberg invoked his Judaism again after the August white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

“It’s a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong — as if this is somehow not obvious,” he wrote.

But judging from his Facebook profile (and in his case, shouldn’t we?), Zuckerberg has reconnected with his Judaism not just as a national figure but as a person and a father. His post featuring a collage of a kiddush cup, Shabbat candlesticks and homemade challah waxed about passing the cup from generation to generation.

“For shabbat tonight, we gave Max a kiddush cup that has been in our family for almost 100 years,” he wrote, referring to his eldest daughter. “Her great-great-grandfather Max got it after our family immigrated here and it has been passed down through our family ever since.”

For shabbat tonight, we gave Max a kiddush cup that has been in our family for almost 100 years. Her…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, 15 September 2017

At the Harvard commencement, Zuckerberg told graduates that he sings an adaptation of the Mi Shebeirach — the traditional Jewish prayer for the sick — when he tucks her in at night.

“And it goes, ‘May the source of strength, who’s blessed the ones before us, help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing,” he told the graduates in May, quoting a version of the prayer by the late Jewish songwriter Debbie Friedman and lyricist Rabbi Drorah Setel. “I hope you find the courage to make your life a blessing.”

While the mogul’s newfound piety may be attracting attention, he is doing what any young Jewish parent might, said Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, director of CLAL-the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Plenty of Jews lose interest in their religion, then reconnect to it after having kids.

“There are a million people in his age cohort who are deeply proud of being Jewish and are trying to figure out what it means,” Hirschfield said. “You marry and partner and have a family, and it’s not surprising that the questions of ‘How do I have a more meaningful life and build a better future’ become more important and powerful and imminent.”

InterfaithFamily.com was especially pleased that Zuckerberg, whose wife, Priscilla Chan, is not Jewish, has posted about his family’s Jewish rituals.

“The fact that such a super-influential couple clearly are making Jewish choices for their family is the best news with which to start the new year,” wrote Ed Case, founder of InterfaithFamily.com. “Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan could really change the course of Jewish history if they got involved in efforts to engage interfaith families in Jewish life.”

Zuckerberg got Jewishly personal again when he asked for forgiveness at the end of Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of repentance. His critics might say he has a lot to atone for.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook was accused of allowing Russian hackers to post thousands of ads influencing the election. And users also were allowed to target ads based on phrases like “Jew hater” and “how to burn Jews.” (Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who also is Jewish, said the company would address the problem.)

“For those I hurt this year, I ask forgiveness and I will try to be better,” he wrote Saturday night. “For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask forgiveness and I will work to do better.”

Tonight concludes Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews when we reflect on the past year and ask forgiveness…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday, 30 September 2017

It isn’t the first time that Zuckerberg has encountered trouble because of the content published on his site. In 2015, some 20,000 Israelis filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook for ignoring incitement to terrorism on the network and enabling terrorists to find sympathizers. The case was dismissed this year.

While Zuckerberg may not have always talked publicly about his Judaism, he has surrounded himself with people who do. His college roommate moved to Israel and became a Conservative rabbi. Sandberg has spoken frequently about how Jewish rituals helped her cope following her husband’s untimely death in 2015. And his sister, Randi, is open about her Jewish observances. She says her family unplugs for a “digital Shabbat” each weekend, and sang “Jerusalem of Gold,” a classic Israeli song, at the Davos World Economic Forum.

Davos also occasioned the first JTA clip about Zuckerberg, published in 2008. While he attended the forum that year, Israel’s delegation invited him to visit the country.

He has yet to accept. But after giving his daughter a kiddush cup and atoning on Yom Kippur, maybe this is the year.

Facebook Will Hire 1,000 People To Fight ‘Election Interference’

http://www.renegadetribune.com/facebook-will-hire-1000-people-fight-election-interference/

 

Renegade Editor’s Note: Mark Zuckerberg is a jewish oligarch. He is not only behind the “globalist” open borders push, having hosted a “hackathon” for illegal invaders and conspired with Merkel to shut down German resistance to Muslim invasion, he is also a rabid Zionist, censoring Palestinian voices and any criticism of Israel on Facebook. He has used the Facebook platform to openly run mass psychological experiments on users in order to better shape group behavior. There is already a great deal of speculation that he will run for president in 2020.

By Dawn Luger

Earlier today, Facebook handed over 3,000 ads to congressional investigators that were bought by a Russian company which intelligence agencies have said were meant to influence U.S. politics. In their “fight” to combat “election interference,” they will also hire 1000 more people to monitor online activities on the social media giant’s site.

According to Tech Crunch, Facebook also announced specifics of how it will implement changes to its advertising systems in order to thwart abuse and specifically election interference that CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised last week. Zuckerberg also later asked for forgiveness for how his products have been used to “divide people.”

“Many appear to exploit racial and social divisions and exploit ugly stereotypes. We find this interference deeply offensive” a Facebook spokesperson wrote this morning. Facebook will make it possible for anyone to see ads on Facebook going forward. Right now, most only see the ads targeted by the social media giant specifically for them.

The additional 1000 people will be used to review global ads. Zuckerberg is fairly clear that he’s concerned with the ads on his site contributing to “election interference” specifically by the Russians.  Tech Crunch says, that the changes should” boost the integrity of Facebook’s ad systems” and “prevent some of the abuse” that plagued the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Facebook has also said that it plans to share the 3,000 ads with the congressional investigators this morning. “This manipulation runs counter to Facebook’s mission of building community and everything they stand for,” Facebook wrote.  It is especially distressing that people tried to use our products to maliciously influence our election and divide us as a country.” The ads have all been since taken down.

Facebook has also identified 5 key things that they think will help prevent “election interference” in the future. Here is the list as described by Tech Crunch. 

1. Making advertising more transparent

“We believe that when you see an ad, you should know who ran it and what other ads they’re running – which is why we show you the Page name for any ads that run in your feed. To provide even greater transparency for people and accountability for advertisers, we’re now building new tools that will allow you to see the other ads a Page is running as well – including ads that aren’t targeted to you directly. We hope that this will establish a new standard for our industry in ad transparency.

We try to catch content that shouldn’t be on Facebook before it’s even posted – but because this is not always possible, we also take action when people report ads that violate our policies. We’re grateful to our community for this support, and hope that more transparency will mean more people can report inappropriate ads.”

2. Strengthening enforcement against improper ads.

“We use both automated and manual review, and we’re taking aggressive steps to strengthen both. Reviewing ads means assessing not just the content of an ad, but the context in which it was bought and the intended audience – so we’re changing our ads review system to pay more attention to these signals. We’re also adding more than 1,000 people to our global ads review teams over the next year, and investing more in machine learning to better understand when to flag and take down ads. Enforcement is never perfect, but we will get better at finding and removing improper ads.”

3. Tightening restrictions on advertiser content

“We hold people on Facebook to our Community Standards, and we hold advertisers to even stricter guidelines. Our ads policies already prohibit shocking content, direct threats, and the promotion of the sale or use of weapons. Going forward, we are expanding these policies to prevent ads that use even more subtle expressions of violence.”

4. Increasing requirements for authenticity

“We’re updating our policies to require more thorough documentation from advertisers who want to run US federal election-related ads. Potential advertisers will have to confirm the business or organization they represent before they can buy ads. As Mark said, we won’t catch everyone immediately, but we can make it harder to try to interfere.”

5. Establishing industry standards and best practices

“In order to fight threats like these, we’re all going to need to work together. We are reaching out to leaders in our industry and governments around the world to share information on bad actors and make sure they stay off all platforms.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has officially invited Facebook — along with other tech companies, including Twitter and Google — to formally testify about the roles their platforms played in last year’s election at a public hearing on November 1. The House hopes to hold its own hearing in October but has not announced a date or invited any witnesses to appear.


This article originally appeared on The Daily Sheeple.

Facebook says estimated 10 million Americans saw Russia-linked ads

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook says ads that ran on the company’s social media platform and have been linked to a Russian internet agency were seen by an estimated 10 million people before and after the 2016 election.

The company turned 3,000 ads over to three congressional committees Monday as part of their investigations into Russian influence in the 2016 election. In a new company blog post, Facebook’s Elliot Schrage said the ads appeared to focus on divisive social and political messages, including LGBT issues, immigration and gun rights. In many cases, the ads encouraged people to follow pages on those issues.

Fewer than half of the ads — which ran between 2015 and 2017 — were seen before the election, with 56 percent of them seen after the election. Some of the ads were paid for in Russian currency.

Congressional investigators have recently focused on the spread of false news stories and propaganda on social media and have pressured Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, to release any Russia-linked ads. Facebook’s ads were turned over to the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The company already has given similar material to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian meddling.

Facebook said last month that the ads appear to have come from accounts associated with a Russian entity called the Internet Research Agency. The company said it found 450 accounts and about $100,000 was spent on the ads.

Schrage, Facebook vice president for policy and communications, said in the blog post that the ads included “political messages across the ideological spectrum.” He said for 99 percent of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.

The company said some of the ads were paid for in Russian currency, but that isn’t always a way of identifying suspicious activity. Schrage defended the site’s ability to target certain demographic groups, but said “ads containing certain types of targeting will now require additional human review and approval.”

The company is also making clear that it takes the right to free speech seriously and will never be able to remove all objectionable content.

“Even when we have taken all steps to control abuse, there will be political and social content that will appear on our platform that people will find objectionable, and that we will find objectionable,” Schrage writes.

Another Facebook official, Joel Kaplan, the company’s vice president of global policy, said in a blog post Monday morning that the company is planning to hire more than 1,000 people to staff teams that review advertisements globally. Facebook will also update its policies to require better documentation from advertisers who want to run ads related to the US election, including a requirement that the advertisers will have to confirm the business or organization they represent.

Kaplan said the company’s policies already prohibit “shocking” content, direct threats and the promotion of the sale or use of weapons, but said “going forward, we are expanding these policies to prevent ads that use even more subtle expressions of violence.”

Twitter has said it found postings linked to the same Facebook accounts, and the House and Senate intelligence panels have asked both companies, along with Google, to testify publicly in the coming weeks. None of the companies has yet said whether it will accept the invitations.

It is unclear whether the Facebook ads turned over to Congress will eventually be released publicly. Several lawmakers — including Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence panels — have said they believe the American public should see them.

Schiff said he hopes to release a sampling of the ads at a public hearing with the firms. He said he is committed to making all of these ads public “as soon as possible,” while working with Facebook on privacy considerations.

“We will continue to work with Facebook and other tech companies to determine the full extent of Russia’s use of online platforms, including paid advertising, since what we now know may only scratch the surface,” Schiff said.

Twitter said last week that it had suspended 22 accounts corresponding to the 450 Facebook accounts that were likely operated out of Russia.

Warner criticized Twitter for not sharing more information with Congress, saying the company’s findings were merely “derivative” of Facebook’s work. The company’s presentations to staff last week “showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions,” he said.

Labour Palestine group apologises for ‘final solution’ tweet

Labour Friends of Palestine has apologised for “extremely poor choice of words” after calling for a “final solution” in the Middle East.

In a tweet that was soon picked up and derided, the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) said “two-state solution will end the occupation – our solution will be the final solution”.

The lobby group was quick to apologise, saying the linguistic faux pas was accidental and not intentional.

“There was a post published earlier on this page which contained an extremely poor choice of words,” the said.

“Due to the preparations for the Party conference, we were unable to effectively check every piece of content being published on our page.

“While the use of the phrase in this context was genuine error we would like to sincerely apologise for the hurt it has caused and will endevour [sic] to ensure such errors do not occur in the future.”

Labour MP John Mann, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Semitism, described the comment as “grotesque” and said those responsible need “chasing out of the Labour Party immediately”

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he received racist voicemails after LeBron’s Trump tweet

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says LeBron James‘ tweet that called President Donald Trump a “bum” prompted his phone to be flooded with messages that served as an eye-opener for Gilbert as to the state the country is in.

“I received voicemails after LeBron tweeted that were some of the most vile, disgusting, racist [messages],” Gilbert said Friday as a guest on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “There’s an element of racism that I didn’t even realize existed in this country this much.”

James criticized Trump last weekend after the president rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to celebrate their NBA championship with a visit to the White House.

U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!

James also took issue with Trump calling out NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest, declaring, “The thing that frustrated me, pissed me off: He was using the sports platform to divide us.”

Gilbert said he saved the voicemails but hadn’t told James about them yet, adding that by mentioning them on television, the Cavs superstar obviously would find out.

“The thing is, I mean, some of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard people say,” Gilbert said. “And you could hear it in their voice — the racism. It wasn’t even really about the issue, and that’s what really got me, because they went to who they really are, some of them.”

James and Gilbert have had their ups and downs. In June, James posted a video on Uninterrupted in which he revealed that his mother, Gloria James, was still upset with Gilbert four years after her son left the Cavs and did not endorse him leaving Miami to go back to Cleveland. However, multiple sources told ESPN that Gilbert and James were in touch more this offseason than they had been during any other offseason during their professional relationship, which has spanned a decade and a half.

Gilbert has been associated with Trump in the past after his company, Quicken Loans, donated $750,000 to the president’s inauguration party. He was called a “great friend” and “huge supporter” by Trump when Gilbert happened to be visiting the White House the same June day the Chicago Cubs were honored for their World Series win. Gilbert issued a statement this week seeking to clarify his political leanings.

“Our interests are in the policies at the federal level, and not the politics surrounding the elections,” the statement read in part. “We have often supported both political parties in the same election so that we have the ability to impact positive change, regardless of who occupies the offices.”

Both Gilbert and his wife made $75,000 personal donations to the campaign of Hillary Clinton — whom James publicly endorsed — and Gilbert made a significant financial contribution to one of Trump’s opponents for the Republican nomination, Chris Christie.

“Our focus with any office holder or politician is about the communication of the still substantial needs of our former rust-belt cities that are now finally beginning the road to recovery and growth that other parts of America have been experiencing for a long period of time,” the Gilbert statement continued, referring specifically to Detroit and Cleveland, where the majority of Cavs owner’s businesses are located.

Gilbert also voiced support for James’ and other athletes’ political outspokenness.

“Professional athletes, owners and the leagues themselves, as well as the country, would greatly benefit from an open, inclusive dialogue that would allow the expression of all views and concerns that have recently become hot topics in professional sports,” the statement said.

After hearing James elaborate on his position against Trump at the Cavs’ annual media day Monday, Gilbert told staffers he was “proud” of the star for his willingness to take a stand.