View counts on Youtube are faked

Video creators readily purchase views, by the thousands, as well as fake likes. By doing this, Google pushes their videos higher up in search rankings and in recommended video lists.

Essentially *all* of the Youtube stars who got started in the earlier years (which is most of today’s Youtube stars) used fake views to inflate their viewership. Back then it was incredibly easy – you could put a Youtube video player one hundred times on an HTML page and each time the page was reloaded, it would add 100 views. Tricks like that were shut down long ago.

Now, YouTubers just buy views to help establish their channels. The reason is because there is vast amounts of content on Youtube now – and its extraordinarily difficult for new channels to get underway. I read it can take 3 or more years of steadily posting videos before a new channel will have much of a following. You need something to “hook” the reader, from unusual/odd to young and cute.

#Facebook to force “Page” owners to hand over verified phone number and address information

We’re introducing Page publishing authorization starting with people who manage a Page with a large audience in the US.

Source: New Authorization for Pages | Facebook Business

Facebook can and will use the phone number as a personal identifier with which to track one’s activities outside of Facebook. I did not give Facebook my phone number because I know they use that to cross link your account to third party data.

Have you ever used a store loyalty card? All of those are associated with your phone number and are used by retailers to track all of your purchases. That information, in turn, is sold to third party data aggregators, such as Axciom, who in turn re-sell the collection of data to others. The data is used, presumably, to target marketing efforts. The phone number is the key identifier used to link together your online (Facebook, Twitter, ad networks) with your offline retail purchase history.

I run a software programming page that likely falls into the category of requiring this new verification. That page is the primary reason I did not delete my Facebook account, but instead dropped out of about 65 groups, unfollowed all other Pages and removed about 1/4 of my “friends.

But our Facebook AI algorithms will solve everything!

FACEBOOK says it “regrets” an algorithm blunder that caused balloons and confetti to appear in posts about the deadly earthquake in Indonesia

because the same spelling of a word means “I’m unhurt” or “congratulations” depending on context. Facebook automatically displayed animated festive balloons on people using FB to tell their friends they were safe by mistakenly thinking the messages contained congratulatory quotes.

Facebook has repeatedly said it will use artificial intelligence (aka artificial stupidity) algorithms to identify and halt hate speech and fake news. What could possibly go wrong?

Source: Facebook ‘regrets’ Indonesia earthquake balloons gaffe that saw festive animations added to quake messages

It’s not just Russia: Everyone is deploying computational propaganda on social media

“Social media manipulation is big business,” the researchers found. “We estimate that tens of millions of dollars are being spent on social media manipulation campaigns, involving tens of thousands of professional staff.”

While there is nothing new about political parties and governments using disinformation to manipulate elections at home and abroad, the Oxford researchers note that the massive, easily accessible, and lightly regulated platforms offered by Facebook and Twitter have become enormously powerful tools in the hands of political actors, who have used social media to kick their propaganda campaigns into overdrive and cast doubt on science and public institutions.

Source: Russia Was Just the Beginning: Here’s How Social Media Became Infested with ‘Computational Propaganda’ Designed to Control Society | Alternet

Begging the Question Fallacy: “This is not who we are” … again and again and again … 

Previously I wrote about the “Begging the Question” fallacy (and another example here). Immediately after an event, say a mass shooting, a city Mayor says “this is not who we are…

after actual events just showed that this is precisely who they are.

Source: Begging the Question Fallacy: “This is not who we are” … once again | – Occupy Propaganda

Predictably, after 70 people were shot in Chicago this past weekend, confirming the cities long time reputation for gun violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says

“All of us know that this is not Chicago, what we saw. We are better than what we saw.”

This is known as the “begging the question” fallacy, which is to assert that something is true, in spite of actual events, and assert everyone agrees with this. This method is extremely common in corporate and government propaganda efforts.

Journalists and Academics seek special privileges on Facebook

Facebook restricts certain conduct on its platform. However, journalists and academics are seeking to be treated as special, and receive special privileges to do things that are prohibited for others.

Journalists and academics, for example, would be permitted to set up fake accounts with fake or curated content, for the purpose of studying users.

Individuals, however, would be banned from conducting the exact same research and thus, would be prohibited from verifying or evaluating the work of journalists and academics. Basically, the proposal is to have a group of “elite” Facebook users and everyone else are lab rats.

News: Being overly dramatic

The Intercept published an article about likely locations of NSA voice and data intercept equipment located in AT&T “central office” network switching locations. They’ve promoted the article on Twitter with this poster:

  1. Electronic equipment does not need a windowed office with a view. Duh.
  2. They are kept in “fortress-like concrete structures” because they are designed as critical infrastructure keeping our voice and data systems running in the event of natural disasters.
  3. “and behind their fortified walls” … because we actually don’t want just anyone or various disaster scenarios to take down our communications infrastructure.

The statement they’ve written is basically true but is written using numerous emotional click bait words to exaggerate. Each of those attributes are features that make perfect sense and have nothing to do with their likely co-location of NSA surveillance gear.

The intent in the above wording is engage your System 1 “emotional thinking” to cause you to read the article. This is typical of advertising – don’t think! Just feel!

Much propaganda messaging appeals specifically to your emotions, to engage your gut level feelings. This is why it is so hard to correct factually incorrect propaganda – processing a correction takes more effort than the easy emotional response.

#Facebook COO says they never realized Facebook was an easily manipulated propaganda platform

Seriously. They had no idea Facebook was a propaganda platform because there was “so much in the good” of Facebook. Their naivety is stunning.

Source: Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook didn’t do enough to stop risks

She says she will work harder to address the problems. But her naivety continues as she does not acknowledge that few trust Facebook executives.