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Month: December 2017

The old is new again: States want schools to teach students "media literacy"

The old is new again: States want schools to teach students "media literacy"

State lawmakers around the country are pushing schools to put more emphasis on teaching students how to tell fact from fiction online, a skill they say is critical to democracy. Lawmakers have introduced or passed bills calling on public school systems to develop lessons for a form of instruction called “media literacy.” Alarmed by fake news, states push media literacy in schools We did this when I was a kid in elementary school. We were asked to read a newspaper…

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Facebook deletes FB, Instagram accounts of Head of Chechen Republic

Facebook deletes FB, Instagram accounts of Head of Chechen Republic

The Head of the Chechen Republic is the title formerly known as “President of Chechen Republic”. The strongman leader of the Chechen Republic has long been a prolific social media user, filling his accounts with photos of him cuddling his cat, lifting weights or soliciting poems about President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. So when Ramzan Kadyrov’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, which had four million followers between them, were unexpectedly taken down on Dec. 23, people took notice. A Facebook…

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Twitter curates the Tweets you see

Twitter curates the Tweets you see

Many Twitter tweets I see are from people I do not follow yet their tweets appear in my Twitter feed. Why? Twitter inserts them because they can! Twitter inserts others tweets into each of our feeds based on its own secret algorithms. By choosing to insert tweets from people we choose not to follow, Twitter introduces its own potential propaganda messaging. 100% of such tweets I checked are political in nature – and I do not know why I am…

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We watched a social media propaganda theme explode in real time – and you won’t believe what happened next!

We watched a social media propaganda theme explode in real time – and you won’t believe what happened next!

This past week we learned about social media idiots! In a world where facts and logic no longer matter, a train derailment on the first paying passenger run on a brand new, $181 million upgraded rail corridor, completed as part of an $800 million dollar infrastructure upgrade, is: An example of America’s “crumbling infrastructure” An example of America’s lack of investment in infrastructure An example that future budgets (which might cut infrastructure spending) caused this crash, in the present An…

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U.S. firms use social media age-based ad targeting to discriminate against older workers

U.S. firms use social media age-based ad targeting to discriminate against older workers

Major U.S. employers use social media’s ability to display job ads only to those in certain age groups, such as between age 25 to 36, or below age 38 or below age 50. They are using this feature to advertise job openings only to younger workers, thereby removing older workers from their candidate pool. Examples: Verizon targeted showed ads only to those age 25 to 36 years old UPS targeted age 19 to 35 State Farm targeted age 19 to…

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Facebook suspends account of man who posted photo of his wife

Facebook suspends account of man who posted photo of his wife

He posted photos of his wife, who died at age 32, of cancer with words encouraging others to get appropriate medical tests done. Facebook suspended his account. More here. Social media is how we talk to each other – except when Facebook, Google and Twitter engage in heavy handed censorship typical of an oppressive government regime. This is not good.

Another example of "Begging the Question" fallacy

Another example of "Begging the Question" fallacy

The very first passenger train with paying customers crashed on a brand new rail line with a brand new locomotive.  A spokesperson then proceeds to tell us that the railroad is safe: “It’s important to note, this is not a comment on the safety of those tracks. We have no reason to believe those tracks are anything but safe,” WSDOT spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe said. “This is a decision based on sensitivity both to the people involved in Monday’s tragic events and…

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Google and Facebook among most prolific of web trackers

Google and Facebook among most prolific of web trackers

Google and Facebook are some of the most prominent trackers, according to Ghostery. Google is in the top ten of the most widely used trackers based on the various services the Internet giant uses, including Google Analytics and Google Adsense. Facebook is next with three. Google Analytics was found on almost half of all loaded pages at 46.4 percent, while Facebook Connect was on more than a fifth, coming in at 21.9 percent. Other companies that showed include comScore and…

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Google and Facebook threaten to control our thoughts (WSJ)

Google and Facebook threaten to control our thoughts (WSJ)

In his 2014 book “Zero to One,” Peter Thiel notes that because Google “doesn’t have to worry about competing with anyone, it has wider latitude to care about . . . its impact on the wider world.” If executives at a Silicon Valley monopoly believe that censoring certain content will push the world in a positive direction, market pressures cannot sufficiently restrain them. Journalists also argue that tech companies are pushing media toward the lowest common denominator. Social media rewards…

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Facebook will automatically recognize people in any photos uploaded to Facebook

Facebook will automatically recognize people in any photos uploaded to Facebook

Facebook will automatically scan all uploaded photos and automatically identify who appears in the photo – if someone posts a photo of you, Facebook will now send you an alert. What could go wrong? Update: Fortune has this to say The social network debuted new features on Tuesday intended to alert people when someone else has uploaded a photo of them, even if they weren’t “tagged” in the photos with their real names. Users can then approve the image for…

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Taking “selfies” may be a sign of a behavioral health disorder say psychologists

Taking “selfies” may be a sign of a behavioral health disorder say psychologists

Term was first coined in 2014 as part of a spoof article claiming selfitis was to be deemed a mental disorder Now researchers from the UK and India have confirmed that ‘selfitis’ does exist There are three categories – borderline, acute and chronic, they say ‘Selfitis’ is a genuine mental disorder Says if you take 3 or more selfies a day, even if not posted on line, you are borderline. People taking 6 or more selfies per day are suffering…

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Facebook to censor posts that ask for sharing or likes

Facebook to censor posts that ask for sharing or likes

Facebook reports that it is using machine learning tools to analyze posts. Posts that seek to boost reader engagement by asking for shares, likes and comments will be automatically de-emphasized such that they do not appear in news feeds. Specifically, To help us foster more authentic engagement, teams at Facebook have reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to inform a machine learning model that can detect different types of engagement bait. Posts that use this tactic will be…

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Much news reporting is pure speculation, not actual reporting

Much news reporting is pure speculation, not actual reporting

I ran across a link to an old CNN Money financial news report from October 24, 2016. Every speculation made in this news report was wrong and illustrates how much “news” is not really reporting on events but is speculation about the future. One week before the 2016 Presidential election, CNN Money’s report is titled A Trump win would sink stocks. What about Clinton? by Heather Long   @byHeatherLong Key points: If Donald Trump wins, U.S. stocks – and likely…

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How social media propaganda can spread globally in minutes

How social media propaganda can spread globally in minutes

Dave Weigel is a politics reporter for the Washington Post. Recently he posted a photo of a mostly empty arena that was used for an event with the President, with the caption “Packed to the rafters” showing that the arena was not very full. He neglected to note that the photo was taken hours before the event was to begin. The event, in fact, had 1,000+ more attendees than seats in the arena and was filled. Weigel may have suffered…

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