Far-right extremists keep evading social media bans

When Facebook told me this morning that I would ban Alex Jones and Infowars from their platform, my first reaction was one of the deja vu. Have not we been through this before? In fact, nine months ago, Facebook acted for the first time to remove the public page of Jones, after suspending it.

But banning a Jones page and eliminating Jones's network are different things. And despite Facebook's movement, along with many other technology platforms, to eliminate its influence, Jones continued to thrive. It was not until February when Facebook found another 22 pages related to him and his businesses. And although his diminished reach has certainly limited his ability to attract new followers and benefit from vile conspiracy theories, he has continued to have a home even in places where he was not supposed to be welcome.

That's what makes Facebook's movement today an important escalation of the effort to scrub Jones from social networks. The company has officially designated him, along with other influential extremists such as Louis Farrakhan, Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer and Infowars, as individuals and dangerous organizations. From my story today at The Verge :

"We have always banned people or organizations that promote violence and hatred, regardless of ideology," the company said in a statement. "The process to evaluate potential offenders is extensive and that is what led us to our decision to eliminate these accounts today." […]

As some observers pointed out, it is quite difficult for Facebook to say that it has always "forbidden" it. that promote hatred. "Always" is offensive here for people who have had to spend countless hours pointing out clear violations of the rules " Charlie Warzel tweeted .

And the actual ban took longer than expected. Eliminate accounts at 10:30 AM PT on Thursday, but some accounts were kept for an hour or more, Paris-Martineau reported in Wired .

He was asked about "prohibited" accounts that remain active For an hour or more after the ban was revealed, the Facebook spokesman said it was the result of a plan that went awry: Originally, Facebook intended the six users and Infowars to be banned from the platform and they were informed of the ban before they read it in the press.

However, deleting all accounts from the platforms took much longer than Facebook, he anticipated, said the spokesman, what will He evoked more than an hour of delay time in some cases.

Some reporters ignored the fact that by delaying the actual ban, some of the affected accounts could change their biographies to promote other remaining Social Presences, such as an email newsletter or a Telegram account. Although that is unfortunate, any superfan who visits the Facebook or Instagram page of any of these accounts every hour will surely have found those other social presences in some way by other means.

More troubling, I think, is that Jones in particular continued to thrive on Facebook for almost a year after it was supposedly banned. The other extremists who lost their accounts benefited similarly with Facebook's overly deliberate approach to enforcing its own policies. How many followers have accumulated in the last year, thanks in part to Facebook's viral exchange mechanics? How much more did his ideology spread around the world than he could have done?

An encouraging aspect of today's prohibitions is the reasoning behind them. From my story again:

First in December and again in February, Jones appeared in videos with the founder of the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes. Facebook designated McInnes as a hate figure.

Yiannopoulos publicly praised McInnes and British far-right activist Tommy Robinson, whom Facebook designated as a hate figure.

Loomer appeared with McInnes in December and recently declared his support. for right-wing activist Faith Goldy, who was banned after posting racist videos on her account.

In citing those examples, Facebook has recognized that right-wing extremism is a global network, in which the most prominent influencers collaborate and promote regularly. Each other. By banning extremists because collaborated, Facebook begins to eradicate its network of hate speech and discourages others from joining. (Hopefully YouTube is paying attention here.)

But perhaps the biggest lesson to learn here is that banning an account is not a one-time action. The existence of Jones on Facebook has lasted almost a year since the first fall of the ban. Keeping these extremists out of the network will be a continuous challenge. We hope Facebook is up to the task.

Democracy

Exclusive: New supervision of privacy at the Facebook table, Zuckerberg

Nancy Scola reports that the agreement proposed by the FTC with Facebook on privacy violations would require the company to take several steps in addition to pay a fine:

The steps, which are subject to change until the agreement is final, would include the appointment of a privacy officer approved by the federal government in the social network and the creation of a committee to supervise the "Independent" privacy that could include Facebook board members, said the person who requested anonymity because the discussions are ongoing.

Separately, Facebook president and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will assume the role of "designated compliance officer" responsible for carrying out the company's privacy policies, the person said. That would personally responsible for the handling of the issue by Facebook.

Facebook users are posting videos of themselves lighting firewood to spread scams about the Notre Dame fire

Daniel Funke reports on a conspiracy theory related to the burning of the cathedral that is spreading on Facebook: [19659024] The videos, which together had more than 5 million hits at the time of publication, represent Internet users attempting to light the wood as part of a conspiracy theory about the origin of the Notre Dame fire in Paris more than two weeks ago. Since the oak beams would not burn, both Facebook and YouTube users claimed that the destruction of the cathedral could not have been an accident, but had to be a criminal act.

It was not like that, both the Agence France-Presse and the Les Décodeurs de Le Monde have reported. But that did not stop the videos generated by the users from getting a massive reach on Facebook, more than 200 times more "likes", sharing and comments than the two data controls combined.

Googlers protest against retaliation; Even some Facebook staff members join Fray

. Interesting detail in Bloomberg's story about Google's protest of retaliation against unemployed organizers:

Facebook employees associated with Workers for Workers, a contingent advocacy group in the social network, posted anonymous stories about retaliation on their page web on Wednesday. Outside the company's office in San Francisco, the organizers of Unite Here, a union of service workers, handed out flyers accusing FlagShip Facility Services, a provider serving the Facebook cafeteria, and fired an employee for labor activism. "Since obtaining the union's recognition, the FlagShip administration has disciplined several of the key leaders of our union," the brochure reads. Representatives of Unite Here declined to comment, citing ongoing negotiation discussions.

A member of Google is starting a new publication focusing on international technology issues

Sophie Schmidt, daughter of Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, will arrive after this newsletter. A new publication, Joseph Bernstein reports:

The publication, which does not yet have a name or full-time staff other than Schmidt, will be "focused on exploring the complex and surprising effects of technology internationally, specifically outside of United States and Europe, "the source wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News. "We are more curious about the human impact: social, cultural and political phenomena driven by the interaction between new technology and different cultures, institutions and standards abroad."

The California synagogue sheds a very hard light on the legend of the Cloudflare mutual fund [19659033] Tim McLaughlin and Ross Kerber examine Cloudflare's decision to continue serving 8Chan as it has become a more prominent home of terrorist content:

The alleged gunman who killed one person and wounded three in a San Diego synagogue on Saturday. As one of the people who massacred 50 people in mosques in New Zealand in March, he posted hateful messages on the message board of 8chan, a Cloudflare customer. The man accused of killing 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October did the same in Gab, also a client of Cloudflare, according to Internet records.

Cloudflare helped both sites hide their true Internet protocol addresses. The service confuses where their customers are staying, which makes it more difficult to hold them accountable, said Micah Schaffer, technology policy consultant and former executive of Snap Inc.

How mass surveillance works in Xinjiang, China: Police Application & # 39; Reverse Engineering & # 39; Reveals strategies for profiling and monitoring

Human Rights Watch deconstructs the mobile application that Chinese authorities use to connect to the Integrated Joint Operations Platform, "Xinjiang's surveillance program that collects data on people and points to those who they are considered potentially threatening. " It is the program used to create a state of surveillance for 13 million Uyghur Muslims:

"Our research shows, for the first time, that the Xinjiang police are using illegally collected information about the completely legal behavior of people, and using it against him, "said Maya Wang, senior Chinese researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The Chinese government is controlling all aspects of the lives of people in Xinjiang, selecting those they distrust and subjecting them to additional scrutiny."

Elsewhere

Facebook Building a payment system based on cryptocurrencies

AnnaMaria Andriotis, Liz Hoffman, Peter Rudegeair and Jeff Horwitz have new details about Facebook's payment plans:

Facebook aims to move more deeply in the lives of its users. A type of payment option that users can carry over the Internet is being created, some of the people said. Similar to how you can use a Facebook profile to log in to hundreds of websites (including The Wall Street Journal), Facebook plans to allow those credentials to be selected as a payment method when users buy products online.

One idea under discussion is Facebook paying users fractions of a currency when they see ads, interact with other content or buy on their platform, not like the loyalty points accumulated in the retailers, according to some of the people.

Making Facebook more ephemeral could make it difficult to verify false statements

Daniel Funke considers the impact of Facebook's action to make messages disappear after a limited period of time:

Agreed in which ephemeral content, such as word of mouth communications, can transmit errors that are difficult to correct. But he said the limited hearing can circumscribe the damage. "At the end of the day," he said, "I think Facebook's measure is promising because it breaks with Facebook's current model of rewarding sensationalist viral content."

Message from a former member of the right: leave while you still can

Rosie Gray describes Katie McHugh, a former far-right activist who now regrets her time with the movement:

"People like me they should be given the opportunity to recognize how bad this is and that the right is not a replacement for any kind of liberal democracy, any kind of system, they have no chance, and they are only detrimental, "McHugh said. "There is forgiveness, there is redemption. You have to acknowledge what you did and then reject it by force and explain it to people, tell your story and say: "Go out while you can & # 39; "

Unravel Mark Zuckerberg's Secret Agreement for a $ 59 Million Tahoe Compound [19659051] The Facebook CEO has a new and elegant property in Lake Tahoe, Katherine Clark reports:

A few months ago, the CEO of Facebook, 34, discreetly closed the $ 59 million worth of real estate on the west coast of Lake Tahoe, a popular vacation destination for Northern Californians. And he's looking to buy more, according to the people familiar with the transactions, reported here for the first time.

The agreements were kept secret by the use of a limited liability company, a high-level wealth manager and a series.

Jack Dorsey is Gwyneth Paltrow for Silicon Valley

Nellie Bowles examines the unlikely rise of the Twitter CEO as a lifestyle guru.

Just as an endorsement of Ms. Paltrow can make even the most spurious self-help objects immediately covetable, an endorsement by Mr. Dorsey can put products out of stock for weeks.

"We are very happy that you are spreading the message," said Harpreet Rai, the executive director of Oura Ring, who has a sleep tracking device backed by Mr. Dorsey.

Launches

Google's latest AI art project turns your face into a "poem portrait"

Sure, wh and no:

Google always sponsors strange and inventive projects with the help of artificial intelligence, and its last one is characteristically strange. Called PoemPortraits, the web application takes a word of its suggestion and combines it with a selfie to create the portrait of the poem of the same name. Basically, it's an Instagram filter combined with a few lines of poetry generated by AI.

Take

Facebook is trying to make the word "private" meaningless

Casey Johnston disagrees with Facebook's rather narrow definition of "privacy". . "

What his presentation was wrong was the fact that Facebook does not need to see the content of what people say to advertise. The metadata, with whom or what (as in a business) with whom you are talking, and even where you are or at what time the conversation is taking place when you gather with other information, provide more than enough information to do a divination very educated about what interests you, to the point that knowing specifically what you are saying does not add almost anything.

The value of metadata, not only in advertising but in the understanding of a person, has been good – studied for years; Facebook is not inventing it or is starting to use it. It is easy to forget that although Facebook integrates all these "private" features into its own products, it not only has a large amount of information that we provide in its early days, but also an extremely robust tracking device around the world. Complete Internet.

I trashed the trailer for the movie Sonic and I'm sorry

When something happens online, a lot of people run to Twitter to make fun of it. Brian Altano scoffed at the (admittedly strange) trailer for an upcoming movie about a popular video game hedgehog, but now he regrets:

Why did I do that? What did I gain by amplifying such a regrettably negative shot to be seen by thousands of people? I do not want to be known for that. You probably do not even see this movie. I do not even care if this is good or bad. At best, I'll be on a cross-country flight within a year and I'll see it almost out of the corner of my eye on someone else's screen. I liked some Sonic games when I was a kid, but why does it matter if your first live action movie looks weird or stupid? It is not even for me. I'm in my thirties. I'm tired constantly. I spent the last thirty minutes on my End of Game exam thinking about when I could go to the bathroom. What am I winning by tearing this child's movie apart anyway?

Being critical of things is good. Analyzing why things work or does not work is necessary with all kinds of art. Invoking things that are problematic and confronting things that are reprehensible with deliberation and nuances is an important part of what defines us as human beings. On the other hand, being bad for the fact that it feels cheap and easy. Everyone should be allowed to throw one or two points on their own "imbecile skills tree". Maximizing it feels as dirty and unpleasant as the rewards it produces.

And finally …

Authorities: Presumed Russian Russian whale refuses to leave and seeks the devotion of the Norwegians

Earlier this week in this space I noticed the discovery of the last interference of the Russian platform : a beluga spy whale that appeared in Norway. Today Rick Noack reports that the whale appears to have defected:

A so-called Russian spy whale refuses to leave a Norwegian port city, in what appears to be a high-profile desertion after a week of global attention on the unnamed beluga .

Norwegian Fisheries Directorate official Jorgen Ree Wiig told The Washington Post that the beluga "was the first thing I saw outside the window" of his patrol boat in the morning. Speaking from the town of Hammerfest, he said the whale had moved only about 25 nautical miles in the last week and seemed to enjoy proximity to humans, which he noted was "strange" for a beluga.

He was very excited with the film version of this.

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