Baltimore launches social media propaganda campaign to counter city’s failures and negative public image #MyBmore

The multiple failures are piling up at a time when Baltimore is particularly desperate to present a positive face to the world. Its tourism board has launched the #MyBmore campaign to encourage residents to post personal, positive content online to counterbalance the bleaker images more typically associated with their city.

Source: Cold classrooms, patient dumping: Baltimore tries to put its best foot forward, stumbles – Baltimore Sun

They are working on positive “branding” and “image” management to “change the narrative of Baltimore”. Experts say the PR will not work unless coupled with meaningful fixes and improvements. (I’ve been to Baltimore once and had a nice visit then.)

Basically, its yet another social media propaganda effort to confuse us.

Facebook to alter its news feed sharing algorithms

Facebook is said to be rolling out changes to how content is selected for each of us to see in our news feed. FB will show us content that their algorithms believe is user generated (versus that from publishers), and which has been shared, liked or commented upon. Other posts will apparently see lower priority and less visibility, meaning, they sort of disappear.

Facebook says this should result in seeing more personal posts from actual FB friends. FB is trying to discourage “passive” reading of posts and wants to push people to interact more. I suspect they are pushing towards interaction because passive reading provides them no data on your interests. By leading you to click Like, Share or Comment, they can detect your interests which they use to refine their dossier on each of us, to improve the marketing of products and services to us.

Source: ‘We’re losing hope’: Facebook tells publishers big change is coming to News Feed – Digiday

Change.org “signature” fraud

I just received an email from Change.org thanking me for online signing a political petition – a petition I know nothing about and did not sign.

Like everything in the online world, low end identify theft is rampant. Stealing people’s identities for online petitions is just another propaganda tool. All it takes is a name and an email address.

Recently, the FCC received millions of comments in regards to “net neutrality”. Subsequently, researchers identified hundreds of thousands of comments that were generated by robots using stolen identify information. The Internet is not turning out the way people expected it to turn out.

 

 

Twitter admits that it “downranks”

Twitter admits it can “downrank accounts”, which is a modified from of shadow banning.

Source: Twitter Responds to Project Veritas’s Video Claiming It Shadow Bans

As I have noted, a shadow ban can mean only the poster sees their tweets, or only their current followers see their tweets – but their tweets may be displayed less frequently to their followers, or not at all to non followers – thereby making the tweets disappear from search results. That this goes on is apparent due to other oddities, like messages from Twitter saying a Tweet is unavailable, but when you click through, you can see the tweet that is “not available”.

A problem with secret censorship is the censor is eventually discovered.

As of 1 pm, PST, a search of Google News shows that not a single mainstream news outlet has reported on current or former Twitter employees admitting on camera to shadow banning tweets and users whose political messages they disagree with.

Update: Twitter is not denying that it engages in various forms of censorship. Twitter does say that it has privacy and other policies in effect. While denying it does shadow bans, it does acknowledge down ranking, which is a variation of shadow banning.

How Twitter’s shadow banning system works

Here is some insight in to how Twitter’s shadow banning algorithm’s may be operating.

In addition to their “machine learning” (a good but significantly over-hyped technology) scanning of messages, their algorithms take in to account user reports, and the muting or blocking of accounts to decide if individual tweets or accounts should be shadow banned. The user that is shadow banned is not notified of the ban.

Once shadow banned, one’s Tweets may not show up in some follower’s Twitter feeds, may be excluded from search results, and generally made invisible. In the former, a shadow banned tweet (or account) might have Tweets appear only in news feeds of existing followers – thereby seeming to continue to have normal interactions so that you are not aware of the shadow ban. However, as I discovered for a 4 week period when I posted screen snap shots of HealthCare.gov actual price quotes – I gained zero new followers, although my existing followers continued to interact on the topic. The lack of new followers is a sign that my account likely had a partial shadow ban. I previously gained my largest influx of new followers when I had posted similar Tweets earlier in the year, giving more evidence that my account was partially shadow banned by Twitter because a Twitter employee did not want this public information to be disseminated.

Shadow bans are not necessarily permanent and in fact, may generally be temporary.

Update: Another way that Twitter controls the tweets you see is that Twitter curates your news feed. Twitter selects the content that Twitter believes you want to see and highlights those Tweets at top. Twitter also selects content from other people to display your news feed – content from people you do not follow.

The combination of curation, insertion of random tweets from people you do not follow, down ranking and shadow banning means that Twitter is George Orwell’s 1984, in real life, directly controlling the information you see. Twitter is basically a massive propaganda operation. If Twitter were based in Russia, North Korea or Iran, the U.S. would be loudly proclaiming Twitter as a tool of an evil regime.

 

Was I “shadow banned” by Twitter? #shadowbanned

For a little over a month last fall, I ramped up my daily use of Twitter. During that time, I posted many screen snapshots of actual price quotes from HealthCare.gov.

For 4 weeks, I did not see a single new follower to my Twitter feed. It was as if my account had vanished. Not one additional follower for 4 weeks.

With the news that Twitter actively censors political or policy speech that Twitter disagrees with, it seems likely that Twitter shadow banned my posts.”Shadow banning” can mean only the poster sees their own posts, but their posts are invisible to all others. Or, in the case of Twitter, it can also mean that Twitter still shows your posts, but at a greatly reduced rate, intentionally omitting posts from other’s Twitter feeds.

With no one – or few – seeing my posts, my account had gone dark. At the end of the 4 week period, my account began to receive new followers once again.

In December I chose to reduce my use of Twitter. My decision was influenced by the idiocy displayed after the crash of an Amtrak train in Washington State. Twitter had become a waste of time.

The main thing Twitter is good for is to find examples of social media propaganda methods!

 

Twitter supported “net neutrality” while simultaneously shadow banning political views on Twitter

Then: Twitter and others warn FCC of ‘disastrous’ net neutrality reversal

“Disastrously, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week released a draft order that would end this open commerce by repealing the current net neutrality rules and eliminating the protections that keep the internet free and open for America’s businesses and consumers”

Today: Twitter “shadow bans” those posting political viewpoints that Twitter does not like

A “shadow ban” means posts are visible only to the poster and no one else. By seeing their own posts, the poster is not aware they have been censored. This technique was developed to impede spammers. The spammer would post an advertisement/link in a comment – and the spammer would see their own spam appear online, unaware that the post was invisible to everyone else. It might be weeks or months before the spammer caught on. The shadow ban effectively stalled the spammer from achieving their goals.

In effect, a shadow ban is a secret censorship program. Twitter staff have been caught on camera admitting to applying shadow bans to political speech. They also admit to taking down accounts under government pressure.

It is inevitable now that social media will be subject to regulation. Twitter is on shaky ground – if they are acting as editors, then they can be held responsible for the content posted by their users. They no longer have a safe harbor that they are merely a carrier of communications, like a telephone company.

This blog was shadow banned by Facebook a year ago, almost certainly because their algorithms incorrectly identified the few automated posts originating on the then self hosted WordPress blog, as spam. I could manually post the items on FB, and after switching to a WordPress.com hosted blog, the automated posts continue to go through.

In the fall of 2018, I posted factual price quotes from HealthCare.gov as a comment to an Oregonian article on the ACA – my comment was shadow banned. We no longer read The Oregonian’s fake news.

Political propaganda on social media likely to ramp up significantly

In Russia, billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin funds the Internet Research Agency (IRA) social media “troll farm”. His organization has tripled in size. The IRA is accused of flooding social media with propaganda messaging, fake news, and comments to influence elections in the U.S. and elsewhere.

In the U.S., billionaire Tom Steyer will spend $30 million to get Democrats elected in 2018. Much of this will likely fund social media propaganda activities.

I am so old, I remember 18 months ago when the billionaire class buying elections was a really bad thing. Ahhh, the good ‘ol days!