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Month: November 2017

Social media companies really do read your posts, emails and documents

Social media companies really do read your posts, emails and documents

Google’s GMail service “scans” your emails and Google Docs to serve you ads. The word “scans” implies scanning for keywords but that is a false assumption about what is actually being done. Natural language processing technology has advanced to where these algorithms are the equivalent of someone reading all of your emails and taking notes. Literally, online services are reading all of your email and building dossiers on what they think they know about you, ostensibly to better target advertising…

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Major global brands pull all ads from Youtube

Major global brands pull all ads from Youtube

The Times of London discovered that Youtube was running hundreds of thousands of videos basically containing “scantily clad” children, and those videos had numerous comments containing sexually explicit content. Ads from mainstream companies were running along side these videos – in effect, Google/Youtube was profiting from pedophilia. Companies such as HP, Deutsche Bank and others have now pulled all ads from the Youtube platform. Meanwhile, it was discovered that typing “How to have” in to the Youtube search box returned…

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TripAdvisor’s censorship of online reviews more extensive than originally thought #tripadvisor

TripAdvisor’s censorship of online reviews more extensive than originally thought #tripadvisor

TripAdvisor admitted to censoring some specific negative reviews by consumers reporting that crimes and acts of violence had occurred at some venues. Since then, more people have documented that TripAdvisor has censored reports of crime at U.S. hotel and related properties. Update: TripAdvisor caught lying, now said to be under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. Unfortunately, online review sites are worthless due to a combination of “gaming the system” with fake reviews (both positive for your business and negative…

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Is social media a mental health disease vector?

Is social media a mental health disease vector?

It made me wonder if we’re in the same boat as the neolithic cities, only for what you might call viruses of the mind: Toxic ideas that spread like wildfire. …. Likewise, in recent years we’ve gone from an era when ideas spread comparatively slowly, to one in which social media in particular allow them to spread like wildfire. Sometimes that’s good, when they’re good ideas. But most ideas are probably bad; certainly 90% of ideas aren’t in the top 10%. Maybe…

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Another social media propaganda poster today

Another social media propaganda poster today

This came through my social media feed earlier today. Another example of a simple, well crafted social media propaganda posters that elicits a quick response and a click on the Like and Share buttons. The quote at top is accurate, so what could be wrong? Per Snopes, the quote is in reference to before these 4 people were killed at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya and was not in reference to events in Benghazi. As a propaganda poster, it…

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The culture of perpetual outrage is set to kill (we are way past set to stun)

The culture of perpetual outrage is set to kill (we are way past set to stun)

Some people think Starbuck’s is promoting “Gay agenda” on holiday cups Men who hold doors open for women are sexist Dr. Martens Portland billboard evokes white supremacist symbol, activists say No, the “OK” gesture is not a hate symbol Drinking milk is a sign of racism (see below) Paedophile fears are ‘driving male teachers from primary schools’ (UK) or Male kindergarten teachers often endure suspicious looks (US) Recognize the signs [of gangs] As a comment to one of the stories says,…

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Another example of fake news

Another example of fake news

This item appeared in my Facebook crap feed yesterday and linked to a supposed news report. I searched Google News and Bing News for reports about Jimmy Hoffa, “22 bodies”, and “Flint River” and neither returned any relevant stories related to this, a sure sign of creative fake news driving Likes, Shares and selling eye balls to advertisers. It just never ends, does it?

Bill Gates never gave this high school speech

Bill Gates never gave this high school speech

This crossed by Facebook crap feed this week. It is a fake, of course. The “rules” were written by author Charles Sykes in a couple of books he wrote. This has nothing to do with Bill Gates or even a high school. Did Bill Gates create a list of ‘Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School’? Source: Bill Gates High School Speech But thanks to social media, this was shared, Liked and re-shared again this past week.

‘Fake news’ becomes a business model: researchers

‘Fake news’ becomes a business model: researchers

Is this fake news? Duh? Hello? I’ve been writing about this for a long time and researchers just notice that “fake news” is “a profitable business model”? Cyber criminals have latched onto the notion of “fake news” and turned it into a profitable business model, with services starting at under $10, security researchers said Thursday. The online security firm Digital Shadows released a report highlighting services aimed at creating bogus media Source: ‘Fake news’ becomes a business model: researchers Good…

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Twitter to judge users’ “offline behavior”

Twitter to judge users’ “offline behavior”

Not certain what this means – Twitter says it will start judging “verified” Twitter users on the basis of their “offline behavior”. The metrics and rules concerning this are not available to the public. It does seem that technology companies are turning into a global censor. Source  

And now for the rest of the story …

And now for the rest of the story …

Source: Seattle hits record high for income inequality, now rivals San Francisco The data presented in the article is correct. But it leaves out critical information for understanding what this means overall, or even if it means what it purports to mean. Almost 20 years ago in a graduate economics course we learned that the “static” view of income at an instant in time is not a full picture. Not surprisingly, incomes change over time, often by a lot. Consider…

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No, the “OK” Gesture Is Not a Hate Symbol

No, the “OK” Gesture Is Not a Hate Symbol

Has the simple thumb-and-forefinger “OK” hand gesture become a white supremacist hand sign? Source: No, the “OK” Gesture Is Not a Hate Symbol says the Anti-Defamation League. Another day, another Internet meme – this time claiming that people making a popular “Ok” symbol with their thumb and index finger are actually expressing a symbol for “white power”. This in turn has been used to publicly accuse people who display the “ok” symbol as clandestinely flashing a white power symbol. All thanks…

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Measuring effectiveness of propaganda campaigns: How unpopular is the Obamacare individual mandate?

Measuring effectiveness of propaganda campaigns: How unpopular is the Obamacare individual mandate?

Previously, this blog pointed out that public opinion polls are primarily a measure of the effectiveness of propaganda. Routinely, members of the public are asked to have an opinion on subjects about which they likely know little and what they do know was disseminated to them through a variety of propaganda methods and channels. The following item illustrates this well. Trump said the individual mandate is “highly unpopular.” As recently as February 2017, a YouGov poll found that 65 percent…

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