Social media has become a very scary place to hang out.
This post was moved to my Internet of Things blog: Minor security problem at Veoh.com
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.
Previously, I noted Facebook’s algorithms concluded I am Liberal.
I recently downloaded Twitter’s assessment of me and Twitter concluded I am Conservative – and 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.
Facebook (and Youtube and Twitter) have conducted a global experiment on human populations without consent of the guinea pigs by analyzing our “Likes”.
Facebook’s digital model of us is more accurate than our own understanding of ourselves.
Computers need evaluate as few as 100 Likes to make a judgement more effective than a human. Analyzing just 300 Likes enables the model to know more about the subject than does the subject’s spouse. Computer models achieve “peak” accuracy when more than 500 Likes are observed.
We show that (i) computer predictions based on a generic digital footprint (Facebook Likes) are more accurate (r = 0.56) than those made by the participants’ Facebook friends using a personality questionnaire (r = 0.49); (ii) computer models show higher interjudge agreement; and (iii) computer personality judgments have higher external validity when predicting life outcomes such as substance use, political attitudes, and physical health; for some outcomes, they even outperform the self-rated personality scores. Computers outpacing humans in personality judgment presents significant opportunities and challenges in the areas of psychological assessment, marketing, and privacy.
Given the variety of objects, subjects, brands, and people that can be liked and the number of Facebook users (>1.3 billion), Likes represent one of the most generic kinds of digital footprint. For instance, liking a brand or a product offers a proxy for consumer preferences and purchasing behavior; music-related Likes reveal music taste; and liked websites allow for approximating web browsing behavior. Consequently, Like-based models offer a good proxy of what could be achieved based on a wide range of other digital footprints such as web browsing logs, web search queries, or purchase records
Youyou, W., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. (2015). “Computer-based personality judgements are more accurate than those made by humans”. PNAS. January 27, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1418680112 Retrieved from: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1036 on April 3, 2018.
Likes are the Secret Sauce of Social Media Surveillance
“Likes” are the secret sauce. We give Likes out of kindness and believing we may have been thoughtful towards a “Friend”. We give Likes, sometimes as a form of “bookmark” so we can find something later, by reviewing our Likes. The entire process was conceived as a form of mind control, to cause us to reveal our thought processes and patterns.
We now know – never, ever click Like on Facebook or Youtube or Twitter and never click +1 on Google platforms. It is unclear what is collected by Instagram and how Likes are evaluated on that platform but it is presumed that Instagram (aka Facebook) ties photo Likes to the image tags used in photo descriptions.
These platforms have created a psychological profile of every user. The analysis includes not only our Likes, but our Group memberships, our self selected Interests (Page Likes, especially), our self provided background such as education or religious interests, an analysis of our text, analysis of our online web site visits (Facebook and Google both track our web site visits across the web), and may include text analysis of posts we have made on other web sites or web sites that we operate ourselves, such as blogs like this one.
While Facebook let’s us download “our data”, Facebook does not provide us with the psychological model they have created about each of us. We do not know what it contains nor do we have any way to correct errors in that model.
Zuckerberg owns the Democratic Party leadership:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.Schumer, whose daughter works as a product marketing manager at Facebook, recommended Slaughter in late January, and the nomination was reportedly held up over background checks.
just two weeks ago, Schumer said that tech companies were working to police themselves, that Facebook was a “a very positive force,” and that he was “sympathetic” to the company’s situation. The Cambridge Analytica scandal dropped a week later.
Yesterday I installed Android Snapchat on my phone. By default SnapChat wanted access to my Contacts list, Phone and SMS – in other words, all my call records.
SUGGESTION – Install apps and before opening the app, go to Settings | Apps | and select the app you just installed. Find Permissions on the app’s attributes. Click on that, and then uncheck any Permissions that seem suspect. Then and only then, run the app for the first time.
SnapChat runs fine with most permissions turned off. Since I do not plan to use video features, I kept the microphone turned off.
If the app tries to do something that requires one of these permissions, it will ask you to enable the permission. You can then decide whether you want to give it that permission.
Note – the Snapchat app tries to get you to sign up by giving them your phone number. DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR PHONE NUMBER WHEN YOU DO NOT NEED TO.
In fact, you can sign up with just an email address. I used my new alternate email address to create my account. Their verification message was then sent to that email address.
Snapchat runs fine other than nagging about wanting me to enter a phone number. The phone number is what enables them to troll your data and link you to other databases.
SUGGESTION – go through all of our existing apps today. Delete apps you are no longer using or very seldom use. Review the permissions on remaining apps and unless you see a compelling reason for the permission, turn it off. Half of the apps on my phone were requesting Location permission but most had no need for that information. Many are requesting Phone, SMS and Contacts with no obvious reason they need that data. A reasonable guess is that half of all Android apps are collecting data from us.
- Imagine a world where the government placed tracking devices on every person in the country,
- Kept a data base record of every where you traveled and everywhere you have visited,
- Recorded every web site visit you’ve ever made,
- Recorded every online message you ever sent or received,
- Built a photo recognition system that can identify your face from among millions of faces
- Built a graph of every person you are connected to do and how well you are connected to each of those persons
If the NSA was doing the above, you’d be up in arms and marching the streets.
But instead, you are willing giving all of this data directly to a handful of mega corporations who hoard the data – forever – and use it and sell it for unknown purposes.
Now, imagine a world where the people being spied on actually paid for the tracking devices themselves (they are called smart phones), willingly used browsers like Chrome that do indeed log every web site you visit in the Google Cloud (yes, really), or Facebook which records and archives every Like, Share, Comment and personal message you have ever sent and received on their service, and does, in fact, use “tagging” of people in photos for the specific purpose of building a library of facial recognition data.
Imagine a world where the people being spied upon are also provided with highly optimized messages intended to sway their opinions on a variety of subjects, from products to political candidates and ideology.
Congratulations – you have just imagined Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and a host of online social media outlets.
And you now have the most incredible global mind control system in existence.
Why have we been doing this to ourselves?
Revealed: Facebook is a massive spying operation that collects information for the specific purpose of propaganda messaging:
Christopher Wylie, who worked to help obtain the data, told Britain’s The Guardian that Cambridge’s entire operation was designed to “exploit” what they knew about people from their profiles and “target their inner demons.”Cambridge Analytica specializes in “psychographic” profiling that allows them to predict the voting likelihoods of individual people based on personality — and Facebook is a treasure trove for information like that.”We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles,” Wylie told the British news outlet. ”
And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis that the entire company was built on.”
The very definition of a propaganda operation. Facebook’s sole business is spying on you and using that to enable propaganda operations to control your mind. Even your innocuous use of “Likes” can be used to create a surprisingly detailed and accurate description of you.
Twitter has become mostly useless, over run with bots and fake memes, as illustrated here:
Continuing its battle against the “tweetdeckers,” Twitter suspended on Friday several popular accounts known for stealing tweets or mass-retweeting tweets into manufactured virality.
The system relied on a secret group of Twitter accounts with large followings to generate fake trends.
Teens and twentysomethings with large Twitter followings are making thousands each month by selling retweets, multiple users who engage in the practice told BuzzFeed News.
The practice is known as “tweetdecking,” so named because those involved form secret Tweetdeck groups, which they call “decks.” Scoring an invite to join a deck usually requires a follower count in the tens of thousands.
Within these decks, a highly organized system of mass-retweeting exists in order to launch deck members’ tweets — and paying customers’ tweets — into meticulously manufactured virality.