How white supremacists evade Facebook prohibitions

Yesterday Twitter, in response to years of complaints about allowing white platform nationalists, although they were already banned, said it is planning to conduct academic research on the subject. On Huffington Post, Luke O & # 39; Brien took the opportunity to notice how many white nationalists use the platform:

The white supremacist who was accused in March of murdering 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, was also on Twitter, where he spread Islamophobia, white suprematic propaganda and articles about terrorist attacks. He tweeted photos of his weapons and placed links to a disturbing manifesto he wrote, apparently awaiting the deadly disaster. Only after he was accused of a mass murder did Twitter respond.

The shooter may have carried out the genocidal goal of the white supremacy, but there are thousands of white supremacists on Twitter with the same mindset, most of whom are anonymous and collaborate. In a study from 2018, extremism expert J.M. Berger made an "extremely conservative" estimate that at least 100,000 right-wing users are on Twitter. The repercussions for these bad actors are practically non-existent.


But Twitter is not the only platform with a whack-a-troll problem. In BuzzFeed, Jane Lytvynenko, Craig Silverman and Alex Boutilier investigate the aftermath of Facebook's attempt to eliminate white nationalist groups. They work together with a researcher of extremism and find that forbidden groups, including the Proud Boys, could shop on Facebook again quite easily:

Squire said the group was able to return to Facebook by slightly changing its name. One of their new pages was called PB Canada and contained a link to a Telegram channel that was used to communicate with supporters.

Squire said the group was able to return to Facebook by slightly changing its name. One of their new pages was called PB Canada and contained a link to a Telegram channel that was used to communicate with supporters.

They continue to document other cases of forbidden groups that continue to use different parts of Facebook to recruit new members. Sometimes groups are banned, but their members aren't, and those members just create new pages and spread their racist ideology there.

Facebook has deleted the found groups BuzzFeed. But elsewhere on the platform, militias, Samira Sadeque reports:

Admittedly, since the payment accounts have been suspended, UCP has taken steps to & # 39; secure & # 39 ;. The group was always open on Facebook but has since been closed. And yet the group, which had 3000 members in April, now has more than 5800 members. (…)

Individual users also post videos on their personal Facebook pages and stream themselves live, intimidating, intimidating and lingering about asylum seekers. For example, a woman named Debbie Collins Farnsworth has placed a large number life videos confrontation with incoming migrants. (Currently, when you click on the & # 39; s video, a message indicates that they are currently unavailable, indicating that they may have been privately set or deleted.) Her & # 39; s videos have thousands of views and collected hundreds of shares and received a lot of fanfare, catching a glimpse of how well this kind of anti-immigrant sentiment and intimidation is received on Facebook, where this rhetoric can spread.

Perhaps opposite immigration automatically you make a white nationalist, but forming a militia to harass anxious asylum seekers is probably eligible. And at a time when Facebook is pushing its users to spend more time in private groups, it seems remarkable that the company has no comment on a 5,000 member militia coordinating on its platform.

To say that you have banned white supremacists is clearly much easier than that. But given the way technology platforms now reflexively praise their artificial intelligence efforts when moderation theories come up, I am surprised how easily white supremacists have managed to circumvent these alleged prohibitions.

If a Nazi can re-join Facebook by renaming a group, a different approach seems justified. And the next time a platform tells us they've banned white supremacists, it's up to us to ask exactly how they want to do it.


The Pelosi video again (sorry)

The distorted video by Nancy Pelosi has remained in the news cycle for the sixth day today, so there are three quick things left.

One, I said yesterday that one of the reasons Facebook didn't explicitly label the video fake was to do that can lead people to share it more. Alex Kantrowitz elaborates on this idea BuzzFeed, interviewing the professor who first studied the so-called "backfire effect".

"Below some circumstances, i.e. in particular challenging material of world view, that is the case some evidence for an adverse effect. However, the keywords are here some and some," Lewandowsky said. "So the question is whether you win more by being explicit and taking the risk with an adverse effect, or by sticking to & # 39; additional information & # 39; (which is counterproductive) but not being sufficiently explicit for the majority of people who may not be counterproductive – this is a difficult question that does not provide an unequivocal answer – given the relatively uncommon effect of recoil effects – these are less common than initially thought – I would tend to be more explicit, as this could maximize the overall impact, even if the incidental person is counterproductive. "

Two, I have a few questions about why YouTube banned the video when Facebook did not. YouTube's answer is that the video is prohibited under the conditions misleading practices policy. The policy was originally intended to combat spam, but has since been expanded to include political deception, I was told. The company is a bit slippery here, I think: YouTube pointed out the part of the policy that & # 39; misleading metadata or thumbnails & # 39; forbidding, which seems completely irrelevant to the Pelosi video. In any case, I am interested in how Google applies this policy because more misleading videos are being shown.

Finally, here's Hillary Clinton who calls the video "sexist waste. "


Elizabeth Warren puts a giant tech-break-up billboard in the face of San Francisco


While some Democratic presidential candidates come to Silicon Valley to raise money, Warren spends money reminding Silicon Valley that she wants to break down all her businesses. A little bit awesome! Makena Kelly and Nick Statt report:

On Wednesday, presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) placed a billboard in the heart of Silicon Valley in 2020 to disintegrate large companies such as Facebook, Amazon and Google.

The billboard is located on 4th and Townsend, right next to the main Caltrain stop of the city, where a significant proportion of South Bay technicians arrive every morning. It is not exactly a prime position, since it does not overlook the Caltrain station, nor the most pedestrian sidewalks for employees traveling back to the South Bay, but the billboard is just a few blocks from the Lyft and Dropbox headquarters, including startups. In addition to the call for antitrust action, the billboard contains a short code number for passers-by to subscribe to updates to the Warren campaign, a common fundraising tactic. The billboard is planned until the following Wednesday.

The clock is getting stuck for privacy legislation

2019 was to be the year that Congress approved a national privacy law, but it doesn't look good, says David McCabe:

Earlier this year, the Senate Judicial Committee sent letters to companies asking about their data collection methods, according to a source. But there is no indication of plans to continue with a specific invoice.

Democrats had signaled that privacy legislation would be a priority if they confiscated the House last year. But large committees of the House have also not advanced with a bill, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) has indicated that she is wary of compelling state rules that will soon enter into force in her home state of California.

American universities and pensioners finance the technology behind the Chinese supervisory state

BuzzFeed investigates how American money finances the creation of the Chinese dystopian panopticum:

Since 2017, Chinese authorities have detained more than one million Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in political re-education camps in the northwestern region of the country in Xinjiang. They partially identified them with face recognition software made by two companies: SenseTime, based in Hong Kong and Beijing & # 39; s Megvii. A study by BuzzFeed News has shown that American universities, private foundations and pension funds have entrusted their money to investors who, in turn, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on these two startups in the last three years. With that capital, SenseTime and Megvii have become billions of industry leaders, working with government agencies and other private companies to develop tools for the social control of citizens by the Communist Party.


DIY Face recognition for porn is a dystopian disaster

Samantha Cole investigates the case of the person who said they use facial recognition technology to identify thousands of porn actresses:

In a Monday report on Weibo, the user, who says he is based in Germany, claimed to have "successfully identified more than 100,000 young ladies" in the adult industry "on a global scale."

To be clear: the user has no proof that he actually did this, and has not published any code, databases or anything else besides an empty GitLab page to verify that this is real. When Motherboard contacted the Weibo chat with the user, he said that next week she & # 39; database scheme & # 39; and & # 39; technical details & # 39; and has not made any further comments.

Apple, Google and WhatsApp condemn GCHQ's proposal to intercept encrypted messages

Technical companies want to stop the UK government headquarters from implementing a proposal to get the government snooping on encrypted messages, says Sam Meredith:

In a open letter at GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), including 47 signatories Apple, Google and WhatsApp have jointly urged the UK cyber security agency to abandon its plans for a so-called & # 39; ghost protocol & # 39 ;.

It comes after GCHQ intelligence officers proposed a way in which they believed that law enforcement had access to end-to-end encrypted communication without undermining the privacy, security or trust of other users.

Denying responsibility: how platforms have blocked the federal election commission's efforts to regulate digital political advertising


Here is a paper by Katherine Haenschen and Jordan Wolf analyzing the efforts of platforms to prevent the regulation of political advertisements prior to the 2016 elections. From the abstract:

An analysis of documents submitted to the FEC shows that Facebook and Google profit for the public interest when seeking exemptions from disclaimer requirements, refusing to change the size of their advertisements and trivializing the misleading potential of political advertisements. Because of partisan impasse and a lack of technology expertise, the FEC has not made a decisive ruling on exemptions or agreed on alternative ways of disclaimers for Facebook and mobile app advertisements that determine the stage for electoral interference in 2016. Implications for current regulatory efforts are discussed.

Sen. Josh Hawley invokes Facebook via & # 39; encrypted & # 39; message plans

The Republican of Missouri does not like Facebook's plans for encrypted messaging, Makena Kelly reports:

"If you share a link in an encrypted messenger with a friend who clicks on it, Facebook reserves the right to use cookies to find out what that link was and what you might have discussed in your encrypted chat," Hawley said in a statement. "If you send a roommate your rent in an encrypted messenger, Facebook reserves the right to use the payment metadata to find out that you might live together. And they call this & # 39; encrypted & # 39; private messages."

"My advice to consumers is simple," Hawley continued. "When Facebook tells you that its messaging services are private, you can't trust them. I would like to know what Brian Acton and Jan Koum (founders of WhatsApp) think while reading this answer."

Ro Khanna & # 39; s quest to marry Silicon Valley capitalism with progressive populism

Tal Kopan profiles the congressman of the Bay Area in times of increasing pressure on tech companies:

The success of the Fremont democrat is largely due to his ability to adapt to the culture of the technical world. His ability to appeal to some of the richest political donors of major technology helped him propel his election to Congress over an eight-year Democratic organization.

But the same qualities that help him get in touch with the valley form the basis of the skepticism he faces because he gains national recognition and leans into an independent streak that puts him at odds with some Democratic colleagues. His closeness to the epicenter of American wealth has also raised his eyebrows as Khanna follows a progressive line, including joining the presidential campaign of a self-proclaimed democratic socialist who deplores the "proliferation of millionaires and billionaires" in an unequal society. embraced calls to break Facebook.



Mark Zuckerberg's personal security leader accused of sexual harassment and making racist comments about Priscilla Chan by 2 former staff

An assistant from Zuckerberg has been accused of all kinds of racist, homophobic and transphobic remarks, report by Rob Price and Jake Kanter. He was placed on leave while the Zuckerberg family office is investigating.

Facebook shareholders challenged Zuckerberg, left empty-handed

Kurt Wagner attended the annual shareholders' meeting of Facebook, so you don't:

One investor described Facebook as & # 39; Zuckerberg's failing autocracy & # 39 ;. Another said the company destroyed & # 39; journalism & # 39 ;. SumOfUs, an organization that runs digital campaigns designed to put pressure on powerful companies whose members stood outside with signs saying "Vote No On Zuckerberg" and "Break Up Facebook." They also brought a big, inflatable balloon in the shape of the angry emoji of the face. on the Facebook website.

It was a strong expression of violence, but even though the shareholders were waving, they ran away with no tangible evidence.

An initiative to fight fake news raised $ 2.25 million from Craiglist's founder and Facebook

The Trust Project, which helps to identify high-quality news, raise money and become a fully-fledged non-profit, reports Sara Fischer:

The Trust project, a technology-supported news initiative consisting of dozens of international news companies, announced it on Thursday elevated an additional $ 2.25 million from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Facebook and the Democracy Fund.

Why it matters: With funding, The Trust Project can establish itself as an independent non-profit organization, with which it can scale up its news relationships worldwide.

Twitter does not make you smarter and hurts your intelligence, says new study

Really misleading (and confusing) headline about a comically stupid study in Italy about teaching methods. It appears that it is better to teach students about a book in a classroom than to post tweets about it.

The research was based on a sample of around 1,500 students who attended 70 Italian high schools during the 2016-2017 academic year. Half of the students used Twitter to analyze "The Late Mattia Pascal, "The 1904 novel by Italian Nobel Prize winner Luigi Pirandello, who satirizes issues of self-knowledge and self-destruction. They posted quotes and their own reflections, commented on tweets written by their classmates. Teachers weighed in to stimulate online discussion.

The other half relied on traditional teaching methods in the classroom. The performance was assessed on the basis of a test that measures comprehension, understanding and memorization of the book.

The use of Twitter reduced the test's performance by about 25 to 40 percent from a standard deviation from the average result, as the newspaper explains. Jeff Hancock, the founder of the Stanford Social Media Lab, described these as "pretty big effects."

Another study finds teen suicide rates rose just after 13 Reasons Why debut

I found this very disturbing. From Mary Beth Griggs:

After the release of the controversial Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, scientists found a 13.3 percent increase in teenagers due to suicide. This is the second study released this month that showed an increase in suicides among young people around the time the show premiered. As a result, researchers in the field of mental health are more than ever concerned about the way in which suicide is portrayed in the media – because suicide is contagious & # 39; contagious & # 39; could be.

About 94 more children aged 10 to 19 died than expected during the period of this study, that was published this week in JAMA Psychiatry. Because there is no way to tell if the people who died of suicide during this period actually watched the show, the study "offers no definitive proof" that 13 reasons why, which focuses on the death of a teenage girl by suicide, "is associated with harmful consequences," the authors note in the newspaper. However, they found the increase in death & # 39; concerning & # 39 ;.


YouTube can help the planet by throwing away its digital waste

YouTube is wasting a lot of energy, and the impact on the environment is significant, according to a survey this month. Mary Beth Griggs again:

As people who are alone the listening if video & # 39; s contain no images, companies like YouTube can make themselves more earth-friendly, a new study finds. That is because much of the energy used to get that video to your eyeballs is at network and device level.

By only sending sound to users who are not watching, the company could reduce its annual CO2 footprint by the equivalent of around 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. That is about the same number of greenhouse gases produced by 30,000 homes in the UK every year, according to a Press release from the University of Bristol.


Facebook filed a patent for a drone made of kites

Finally, a patent application that can lead to a literal product launch. From Adi Robertson:

Facebook filed a patent for an unusual drone that would use kites to stay up. The "dual-kite aerial vehicle" is composed of two kites tied together and floating at different heights. Each pilot could be independently controlled, and the drone could generate its own energy to extend its flight time. As with all patents, we do not know whether Facebook builds this system. But it indicates a continuing interest in experimental aircraft, even after Facebook falls back its previous one, well-announced Aquila project.


About that Pelosi video: what to do about & # 39; Cheapfakes & # 39; in 2020


Robert Chesney, Danielle Citron and Quinta Jurecic are recording the Pelosi video:


In most cases, therefore, it may be best to embrace a more aggressive combination of demotion and flagging, keeping the content up to date and still sending a much louder message than the example set by Facebook & # 39; s current highlighted by third party approach. For example, anyone who clicks on the video may first see a click-through screen stating that the platform itself has determined that the video has meaningfully changed, and asks the user to confirm that he has read this statement before the video can be viewed . If accompanied by a robust and transparent mechanism by which such categorizations can be challenged, such a "push" solution may be the best available option in the marginal cases.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the integrity of the presidential election in 2020 will be challenged just as often, if not more, by misinformation than the 2016 elections were. However, this time the country has an advance warning. There is no easy solution to the challenge of cheapfakes. This is precisely why both platforms and campaigns need to think seriously about how the problem can be tackled.

Google Should Google the definition of & # 39; employee & # 39;

The Times editors say that platforms use contract labor:

The inferior treatment of contractors is both the point of the system and necessary to maintain the system. Companies that treat contractors too much as employees can be held legally liable for the treatment of such contractors as employees. Google explicitly describes this possibility as a "risk" in internal training documents – it does not want to treat its contractors as employees. Contractors may not attend internal meetings or festive holidays. They cannot participate in the company's career development programs. Like many other major employers, Google also emphasizes ceremonial awards, such as giving red insignia to contractors and white insignia to conventional employees.

And finally …

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