Trump’s social media bias reporting project is a data collection tool in disguise


Three years ago, this month, Mark Zuckerberg brought together a group of influential conservatives to defend Facebook against accusations of political bias. The company was under pressure after Gizmodo reported that publishers who later worked for Facebook "routinely suppressed conservative news" from its now-abandoned Trending Topics module. He hoped that a round-table discussion with Glenn Beck, Fox News anchor Dana Perino, and others, would calm the growing panic that Silicon Valley liberals were suppressing dissent.

Conservatives should not have worried. Almost every time the NewsWhip analytics firm reports on the main publishers on Facebook, Fox News ranks among the first. (It fell to number 2 for the first time this year in March, when the Daily Mail got over it.) But among many conservatives, including many elected officials, it is now an article of faith that social networks discriminate them [19659004] Last year there were multiple hearings in Congress devoted to false allegations of bias against social media bias. Today, the president, who recently met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, to complain that the company's elimination of the robots had depressed his number of followers, issued a new call to file complaints. Makena Kelly has the story:

On Wednesday, the White House launched a new tool for people to use if they feel that it has been censored, banned or suspended by mistake on social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned or fraudulently reported for unclear" violations "of user policies," says the site. "Regardless of your opinions, if you suspect that a political bias caused such action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump."

The "tool" launched by the administration is, in fact, a page of Typeform, which can be configured in a few minutes by anyone. The White House wording is broad enough to inspire anyone who has had a bad social network experience to file a complaint. "SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS must advance LIBERTY OF SPEECH", shouts the form. If platforms can also try to moderate hate speech or terrorism (for example) it is not a question that becomes the way.

This is the Trump White House, this new tool also seems to be a scam. As he said Kevin Roose : "What happens with Trump's Facebook bias survey is that it will only be used to gather a voter file, which Trump will pay Facebook for millions of dollars to point to announcements about how biased Facebook is. "

Meanwhile, "bias" is always defined downwards. In conservative language, now refers to any instance in which the user of a social platform did not have a desired result. Did not appear high enough in the search results? Your video was not promoted by an algorithm? Were you suspended for threatening to kill someone? Now everything is just "bias".

And for platforms, that presents a diabolical trap. With the definition of "bias" in constant expansion, it is increasingly difficult to argue that it does not happen. Social networks often make mistakes around content moderation, which have outsourced an army of poorly paid workers who must deal with almost daily changes to community standards. But the biggest truth, that conservatives are thriving in part because of their dominance of social platforms like Facebook and YouTube, is never said.


Freedom of expression is more than a simple typeface for the White House. It is also the reason why the United States will break with 18 other governments and refuse to sign the Christchurch Call, a set of voluntary commitments by states and online service providers designed to prevent the spread of extremist and violent content.

The White House's opinion, insofar as there is a White House apart from the whims of the president, is not coherent. Tony Romm and Drew Harwell report:

The White House felt the document could present constitutional concerns, officials said, potentially in conflict with the First Amendment. Although Trump had previously threatened to regulate social networks because of concern that he is biased conservatives […]

Still, in a statement about the call to Christchurch, the White House said it is "with the international community condemning the terrorist and extremist content violent online "and supports the objectives of the call. But the USA UU "They are not currently able to join the endorsement."

The call is a non-binding agreement, so that signing it would not establish new draconian limits in the speech. But it would require the Trump Administration to engage informally with the removal of radicals from citizens, supporting academic research on violent extremism and collaborating with other countries. And he refused.

Other countries are taking much more aggressive measures. Australia and Singapore have proposed new and onerous laws against social platforms that require that they eliminate part of the content immediately, under penalty of massive fines or even jail for executives. That helps explain why all the platforms were presented today in Paris to sign the Call of Christchurch, agreeing to take new measures to avoid the use of live broadcast and other platform technologies to promote terrorist ideologies.

Facebook, which may be under the highest scrutiny, went a step further. Introduced new restrictions on live streaming that will prevent people who violate their policies from transmitting for 30 days. If the rule had been in force, the Christchurch shooter could not have transmitted his attack, the company said.

Social networks have an important role to play in reducing the spread of terrorism. But they need the help of the countries in which they operate. It is encouraging that 18 governments today pledged to work with them on the project, and beyond discouraging the United States, for the most extravagant reasons, they chose not to participate.


The White House suppresses sales of Huawei equipment with executives order

Here is another consistent order from the president:

After months of speculation, President Trump signed an executive order granting him The federal government has the power to prevent US companies from buying foreign-made telecommunications equipment, which is considered a national security risk.

Under the order, which gives the secretary of commerce the power to determine which transactions may constitute potential risks, no company is immediately marked as a threat. But the plan is seen largely as a move against Huawei, based in China, which some US lawmakers have considered a security threat.

Disguising hatred: How radical evangelicals spread anti-Islamic vitriol on Facebook

Alex Kasprak investigates how Evangelical Christians are reusing Facebook pages and "to build a coordinated, pro-Trump network that disseminates theories of hatred and conspiracy. "

Although the actual authorship of the messages within these pages is opaque, their titles imply a diverse representation of a broad swath of the United States. demographic groups, including "Jews and Christians for America" ​​and "Blacks for Trump". In reality, however, the pages of this network are connected to the evangelical activist Kelly Monroe Kullberg. But she is neither black nor Jewish, and her views seem to represent an extreme subset of the broader evangelical movement in America. Although we do not know with certainty which individual or individuals created each of these pages, or if Kullberg, his family members or several "inmates" write their publications, they all seem to be financially linked with Kullberg or with the organizations he has. created. From what we have seen, Facebook has no problem with the existence of this coordinated network, which we will refer to here as the "Kullberg network".

San Francisco Bans facial recognition technology

As a resident I am very happy to hear this. From Kate Conger, Richard Fausset and Serge F. Kovaleski:

The action, which took place in an 8 to 1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, makes San Francisco the first major US city to block a tool that many police forces searching for petty criminal suspects and perpetrators of massacres.

Authorities used the technology to help identify the suspect in the shooting in a newspaper in Annapolis, Md., Last June. But civil liberty groups have expressed concern over the possible abuse of technology by the government amid fears that it could push the United States into a state of overly oppressive surveillance.


Facebook is not secretly listening on your phone conversations Really

I'm a bit pessimistic that most people will ever believe it, but I appreciate that CNET has fought the good fight:

In an informal study, CNET reporters discussed pre-designated topics in front of their phones and then monitored the devices for related announcements. We do not find anything to suggest that Facebook has listened to our conversations. While we can not refute 100% of this idea, security experts have also found no evidence that the social network is spying on users to target their ads more effectively.

Facebook pays its inmates almost double what the typical American does

and pays them triple what they currently pay their content moderators in North America. Rani Molla:

Facebook interns earn $ 8,000 a month, more than paid interns from any other company, according to a new report by Glassdoor, a site where employees review their companies anonymously and report their salaries. In this context, if interns worked a full year, they would earn $ 96,000, which is almost double the average salary of $ 52,807 per year ($ 4,400 per month) for the regular jobs found on the site.

The girl, 16 years old, kills herself after the Instagram survey to decide between life and death

Really sad news, and perhaps a case in which machine learning allows Instagram Intervene faster over time:

Authorities in Malaysia started an investigation after it was discovered that a teenager had taken her own life after starting an Instagram survey asking users to vote for life or death.

The anonymous 16-year-old asked the question to the users on Monday, saying: "Really important, help me choose: D / L".

Selena Gomez says that social networks are "terrible" for young people [19659044] Go, queen:

"I see these young girls, devastated by intimidation and unable to have my voice.

" You can be great at times, but I would take care and give me time limits. when can it be used and not? "

Behind the Twitter plan for people to stop shouting at each other

Nicole Nguyen is in a group of Twitter meetings where product designers tell us that almost have not achieved anything, the enunciated mission of rethinking each incentive and interaction on the platform, and then show you something in which when someone responds to you, you can touch their face and see their profile.

It's almost impossible know if your iPhone has been hacked

Well, that's unfortunate, and it sure looks like Apple cou Would do something to help here De Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai:

As of today, there is no specific tool that a user iPhone can download to analyze your phone and determine if it has been compromised.In 2016, Apple removed an application created by Esser that was designed specifically to detect malicious jailbreaks.In addition, iOS is so blocked that without hacking or breaking it first, even a talented security researcher can do very little analysis about it. That's why security researchers crave expensive iPhone prototypes that have security features disabled, as revealed by a motherboard investigation earlier this year.

Claudio Guarnieri, an Amnesty International technologist, discovered that a colleague of his was attacked by an NSO spy program last year. He said the "irony" is that there are better tools for attackers who want to do forensic analysis on iOS, such as Cellebrite and GrayShift, than for defenders who want to help victims.


is Interposed pending: the first Facebook browser Contributed by the API

Well, here's something new: Facebook, "a very used website", in the description of its employees here, which contributes with the Chrome code. It is an effort to make the interactions on the pages faster:

Our position in a very used website, and our work in the framework of the popular React, gives us a unique perspective of the browser platform, and we wanted use it to address the waiting time. problem. As an active part of the web standards community (we are members of W3C), we have participated in numerous standards, including service and CSS workers, but until recently, we had never created an API proposal to contribute code to a web browser. We felt that we could achieve a significant improvement, so we proposed a new API and worked closely with our Google Chrome counterparts to contribute the code for a proof of origin. We are pleased to share that the Chrome version 74 will include the original trial version of our isInputPending API, which can be used to improve both the overall JavaScript execution time and event response times. This proof of origin is a first step to improve JavaScript programming on the web. We hope to receive comments from the developers of this test and use them to justify sending the API.


Throw your laptop to the ocean, the economy of surveillance will continue to win

Charlie Warzel says that & # 39; There is no true exclusion of the collection of personal data:

We have built a society and an economy based on surveillance, a world in which the price of participation is monitoring, targeting and disseminating data. "Excluding yourself" could also mean heading to Walden Pond (and even then it is likely that, in preparation for your trip to Thoreau's cabin, you will be targeted by Amazon self-sufficiency book ads, prepared and frozen and prepared foods). 12 meditation applications for different iPhone.

And finally …

YTMND has been closed forever

YTMND, a legendary site for creating memes, apparently is not anymore. I can not say that I visited much in recent years, but during the heyday of Tumblr in the mid-twentieth century it was a reliable source of joy. RIP

Before the sources of impact and the strange Twitter, was The site allowed anyone to attach a gif, usually animated but not always, to some looping sound. Users can vote on these strange animations, remix them and share them. When it was released, it was the perfect mix of ridicule and interactivity.

She was named for her first upload: mosaic photos of Sean Connery pointing aggressively while a clip of him saying "you are the man now dog" from the Gus Film by Van Sant Looking for Forrester reproduced again and again in a loop. In 2001, we thought this was the height of comedy. Even now, watching the clip makes me smile.

The same here.

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