At least 200 #Facebook apps may have been pilfering personal data from users

In other words, everyone stole everything?

Facebook Inc has so far suspended around 200 apps in the first stage of its review into apps that had access to large quantities of user data, in a response to a scandal around political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Source: Facebook suspends 200 apps over data misuse investigation

Facebook’s public relations team did a remarkable job getting the media to focus on Cambridge Analytica – when the problem is Mark Zuckerburg, Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook’s business model itself.

Facebook is and always has been a global surveillance and propaganda platform.

Study proves media engages in propaganda messaging

In a peer-reviewed study we published this month, we find op-eds do change minds. After reading opinion pieces, we found people were far more likely to agree with the author’s point of view. Even in today’s allegedly post-fact world, people are capable of considering new evidence and reaching new conclusions.

Source: This column will probably change your mind – The Washington Post

What Fake News Looks Like: “Volcanic eruptions like the one in Hawaii, are not natural disasters — without them the Earth would explode”

Fox News runs a column about Kilauea in which it gets almost everything wrong starting with the headline.

Source: Volcanic eruptions like the one in Hawaii, are not natural disasters — without them the Earth would explode | Fox News

What an actual volcanologist has to say about this:

I also checked with my personal consulting geologist who agrees with Dr. Pitcher.

In case Fox fixes their stupidity on this, here’s a screen capture of the headline:

West Sacramento monitors social media posts in the city

The City of West Sacramento is using software to continuously analyze social media posts on Facebook and Twitter, saying it gives the city government insights into citizen concerns.

The pilot project gives city leaders a look at what’s trending in the city, whether it’s good or bad.

Is the content of social media reflective of what people actually care about?

What if, entirely hypothetical, of course, an organization decided to flood social media with emotional and inflammatory posts about a specific subject which in turn, are widely shared and possibly even fake? Hmmm…

Source: West Sacramento Launching Program Watching Public’s Social Media Posts « CBS Sacramento

Should professors have more free speech rights than others?

If we engaged in widely publicized hateful or hurtful or vile speech, our employers would likely begin job termination procedures within 24 hours regardless of whether we made such comments in a private capacity or not.

As the NY Times notes, “Speaking Freely About Politics Can Cost You Your Job“. Private sector workers ‘ “…don’t have the right to speak freely in the workplace.” Or even outside it.’ Unlike public sector workers: “… anyone who works for a government office, whether local, state or federal, is for the most part protected by the First Amendment”. In other words, public sector workers have a greater free speech right than do private sector workers (which is most of the workers in the country). This disparity warps public discourse as one very large cohort can be vocal while the other must often remain silent.

Professors and teachers argue their speech is protected by “academic freedom”, which they assert protects them from sanctions (or as seen below, even criticism by others) for engaging in hate speech. They assert they have greater speech rights than the rest of us. Randa Jarrar  says “I will never be fired” because she says, she has tenure:

While she asserts that her tenure gives her absolute freedom of speech, university officials publicly disagreed with her claim. Further views on that from the Washington Post.

A different Fresno State professor argues, in so many words, that objecting to his speech is wrong – while simultaneously condemning the speech of those criticizing him for his comments.  He asserts that due to academic freedom he has greater free speech rights than the rest of us and that he should be exempt from consequences (Read it: Fresno State’s Castro didn’t defend my free speech– from the title, he demands others defend his speech, thereby desiring to control the speech of others.)

The First Amendment restricts the government from passing laws controlling (most) speech; it does not require employers to embrace your speech nor does it prohibit employers for sanctioning you for your speech.  Nor does it prohibit others from condemning your speech and calling for sanctions. The First Amendment does not call upon others to defend your speech.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says ““Randa Jarrar’s speech is constitutionally protected, and Fresno State cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, discipline her for it”. That protection, however, does not extend to the rest of us, who as noted above, would be quickly fired.

Most expect professors and teachers to engage in civil discourse, based on facts and logic, and to not adopt the methods of propagandists using emotional language, swearing, hurtful and hateful speech, and doxxing a suicide crisis phone line. This is the behavior of middle school students – and not what we expect of professionals.

By creating two classes of free speech – those in a protected class and those who are not in a protected class – we distort public discourse.

For example, in my state all public sector workers are protected by law from retaliation in any form for their political views or activism. Private sector workers in “at will” employment have no protection and can be fired for any reason, including their political views.

This means public sector workers have a greater freedom to influence the political process than do private sector workers, giving public sector workers greater political power than private sector workers. This distorts the public discourse, harming democracy.

This distorted concept of free speech becomes a powerful tool in propaganda messaging. Randa Jarrar used the simple method of Name Calling (Bush is a racist). Academics frequently use the Appeal to Authority argumentative form (or as Jarrar put it, people want to listen to here, she’s a tenured professor and your not) but some also use their unique academic freedom to say what they want knowing that others are gagged. Which is a form of censorship that applies to one class but not the other.

As noted by the NY Times, public sector workers have greater rights to free speech than do private sector workers, giving public sector workers are louder and stronger voice in public policy discussions and activism.

Should some people have a greater right to engage in “free speech” – including hate speech – than others?

Note – my comments have nothing to do with left- versus right-wing, causes, statements or proponents. My comments are about the question of whether some are more entitled to greater free speech rights than others and the effect this has on public discourse. Further, the actions of (presumably) a few faculty tarnish the reputation of the school and diminish the value of degrees earned by students at these schools. How is such nasty discourse helpful to anyone and how does it lead to making lives better?

I expect to discontinue this blog, SocialPanic.org

I began writing this blog, privately – not visible to the public – back in 2014. It was a way for me to keep notes on my observations about propaganda on social media.

At the time, due to Facebook’s incorrect characterization of my politics, my news feed was filled with very left wing propaganda – typically what I call “propaganda posters”. I observed that this seemed like propaganda – a topic I knew little about back then. I set about to learn more and ended up reading numerous books on propaganda spanning about 100 years of recent history.

I began this blog as a way of documenting the propaganda messages and how they worked to influence us, and especially to document how social media became a friction-less platform for the spread of propaganda messaging.

In the summer of 2016, I started making posts live, editing and publishing posts I had written over the prior year and half or so. As we entered the election season, I saw more and more propaganda, much of disgusting, vile, laced with hate and anger, and almost always using various techniques of propaganda (fear, lies, etc).

It got to a point that I unfriended a dozen friends, unfollowed even more, and began using Facebook’s “Hide post” feature such that most of the propaganda garbage was filtered out of my news feed. That of course, gave me less material to work with! I also aggressively began “Muting” prolific propagandists on Twitter.

In March of 2018, the issues with Facebook’s global surveillance, propaganda and manipulation efforts became well known. There is no longer much to say about this topic. Most people now understand that social media operated in a dangerous and reckless manner and continues to do so

I learned though this experience, and my (very negative) experience with ObamaCare that no one cares what I think nor do they care what you think. Hence, there is no reason for me to continue writing this. I kept at it up until now as a way to take notes for myself, thinking I might put together an e-book on the topic of social media propaganda.

But the reality is, I lack the proper credentials and am not a member of an elite institution – hence, no one cares what I have to say. I’ve learned repeatedly, unless you have a PhD degree or an executive title at an institution, no one listens to us – I could give you real world examples of the many times I encountered this attitude by parties that could have saved everyone much grief if only they had been willing to listen.  But they don’t listen because the people in power are arrogant and believe they know what is best for everyone else.

Consequently, this blog is mostly fading away. I will probably move the content back to my own server at https://social.coldstreams.com so I don’t have to pay WordPress hosting fees. This is not happening right away – I’ll post an announcement when this happens (could be months yet). If all works out correctly, the https://socialpanic.org domain name should go straight to my own server once that switch happens.

Pyschographic profiles do not work #Facebook #Twitter #DeleteFacebook

Previously, I noted Facebook’s algorithms concluded I am Liberal.

I recently downloaded Twitter’s assessment of me and Twitter concluded I am Conservativeand I am a supporter of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, and I like to watch the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting).

This was news to me because I live in the United States – and do not have TV!

It is fascinating how the brilliant artificially intelligent algorithms at Facebook classified me as a Liberal while those at Twitter classified me as a Conservative supporter of a liberal prime minister in another country.

Contradictory and both incorrect.

Keep this in mind when – after each new problem of social media is discovered, Mark Zuckerberg shouts “More AI will solve this!

AI will not solve most of the problems that Zuckerberg claims it will solve. He shouts this claim frequently because the reality is, he has no idea how to solve these problems and retain his present business model (surveillance and propaganda operations).

Empirically (the word of the day), Facebook’s AI does not work.

Begging the Question Fallacy: “This is not who we are” … once 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” – we live in a safe community. But empirically, based on what just happened, they are not a safe community.

These scenarios play out frequently – and the response “this is not who we are” is a staple of public relations staff, even though reality demonstrated that this is who they are. See the links, above, for many examples of how this technique is commonly applied.

Today, a Fresno State University professor made rude, mean spirited, and vile comments on her Twitter account.

Not surprisingly, the University President issued, via Twitter, a statement saying in so many words, “This is not who we are”, even though empirically, they just demonstrated that this is who they are (in fact, this is the 3rd Fresno State professor in 12 months to engage in hurtful or illegal speech – see below).

Note the President’s attempt to distance FSU from the Professor and her comments (they were “made as a private citizen” even though her platform clearly identified herself as a professor at FSU and furthermore said that people listen to her because of that). The President then refers to her as “Professor”, using her university title, apparently wanting her to be a citizen when she casts a negative light on the University but a professor otherwise.

In so many words, he is saying “this is not who we are” even though a member of his faculty just demonstrated the behavior being denied (with evidence this is not the first time this has occurred).

Empirically this is precisely who they are.

Fresno State is going the way of the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College in Washington. The President’s words saying this is not who they are are bogus.

See: News conference: Fresno State professor calls Barbara Bush “racist” | The Fresno Bee