Short update

This has been a crazy week with some side effects that impacted posts on this blog, my other blogs and cross posting to Facebook, Twitter (not yet fixed) and Tumblr.

For several months, I had my email service provided by mail.com. Abruptly and without warning, on Tuesday they sent an email to my alternate email address saying their security systems detected “irregular account activity” and for precaution, had blocked access to my email. I filled in their online form to request access restored to my email.

They denied restoration, said the account is closed and specifically said they can not even tell me why. I am not alone as many others reported on Twitter that they too saw their accounts blocked.

I have written a review of the situation at one of my other blogs. General message: Strongly avoid using any mail.com services or services of 1&1 Mail & Media or 1&1 Internet. See the link for details.

A side effect of the abrupt loss of critical email accounts is that many of the posts on my blogs are associated with the now closed email accounts. While that is fixable (still working on it), it also resulted in cross posting from my blogs to other social media falling apart. Updating many dozens of online accounts, plus contacts, and others with new email addresses has been very time consuming and was not how I planned to spend my time this week! There is still more work to be done next week.

How to stay happy on social media

Vala Afshar shares wise advise on Twitter:

HappyPeople

The flip side of the above describes much social media – filled with negativity, often coming from strangers, avoidance of truth and a sense of the entitled – leading to negative mental health consequences for social media enthusiasts. Vala’s list is an excellent starting point – and aligns with what I began doing in early 2017 to deal with the negative effects of social media and how it was impacting my health.

Early FB, Google workers form research center to combat “ill effects of social networks”

“A group of Silicon Valley technologists who were early employees at Facebook and Google, alarmed over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, are banding together to challenge the companies they helped build.”

As one member says

“Facebook appeals to your lizard brain — primarily fear and anger,” he said. “And with smartphones, they’ve got you for every waking moment.”

I have been observing this for years, but I am powerless. Hopefully this group can spread awareness of the dangers of social media, including its widespread use as a propaganda messaging platform by everyone.

 

Millions of fake Twitter followers, often based on stolen Twitter account identities

Not surprisingly, everything about social media is mostly fake.

“Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers, a New York Times investigation found.

The accounts that most resemble real people, like Ms. Rychly, reveal a kind of large-scale social identity theft. At least 55,000 of the accounts use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users, including minors, according to a Times data analysis.”

Of course, the NY Times hints at their own conflict of interest – people with many followers, real or fake, get endorsement deals. That means ad dollars flowing to people and groups other than the NY Times.

“High follower counts are also critical for so-called influencers, a budding market of amateur tastemakers and YouTube stars where advertisers now lavish billions of dollars a year on sponsorship deals. The more people influencers reach, the more money they make. According to data collected by Captiv8, a company that connects influencers to brands, an influencer with 100,000 followers might earn an average of $2,000 for a promotional tweet, while an influencer with a million followers might earn $20,000.”

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.

 

 

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 publishing, choose for it to be untagged without their names, or contact the person who uploaded the photo.

Facebook says that facial recognition technology will be used to make our lives better and there is an option in Settings to turn it off.

 

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 from confirmation bias – and like most everyone else on social media, quickly shared his post online without stopping to verify.

Within minutes, his tweet reached millions of people.

Thin-skinned President Trump, who suffers from the verbal equivalent of diarrhea and is unable to control his own Tweeting, named the errant reporter in a Tweet, instantly spreading Dave Weigel’s Twitter feed to tens of millions of people.

Weigel responded by noting he had deleted the tweet “after like 20 minutes“.

It took “like 20 minutes” for his tweet to spread like wildfire, reaching tens of millions of people, becoming the subject of national news coverage,and being cited by the President.

Literally, a single tweet, in minutes, became a national news story and was cited by the President.

This incident illustrates the incredible power of social media for propaganda.

Weigel gave a hint as to a possible motivation for his embarrassing tweet – just 2 hours later he posted this on his Twitter account, now being visited by potentially millions of people:

Is it possible that reporters are, in fact, making sloppy mistakes because they’ve learned that all publicity, even bad publicity, is of value to their personal brand?

Weigel turned his Twitter nonsense into a sales pitch for his own book. With one simple tweet, he bought himself a whopper of an ad campaign on social media, with help from the President’s verbal diarrhea problem. In effect, Weigel staged a public relations (also known as propaganda) coup to benefit himself.

Facebook Research says using FB passively makes you feel bad; Introduces new “Snooze” feature

Using Facebook without contributing, in the form of messages and comments on your friends’ posts, makes you feel bad, the company said today. In a remarkable blog post, citing both internal and academic research, the company said “in general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward.” At the same time, actively communicating with friends “is linked to improvements in well-being,” the company said.

Facebook says “passively consuming” the News Feed will make you feel worse about yourself

Per the last sentence, their research indicated that actual interaction with others led to improved feelings.

Facebook’s recommendation to FB making people feel bad is to spend more time on Facebook, making sure to interact with others.

To help make FB a happy place, users can Hide individual posts and Unfollow (without unfriending) those that post items causing bad feelings in the viewer. Today, FB is introducing Snooze, a feature that will temporarily unfollow someone for 30 days.

Students taught to think for themselves through critical analysis of social media content

A community college instructor teaches students to to think for themselves by analyzing social media content:

There were no wrong answers. I told them I didn’t care what their bottom line was, as long as they supported it with facts.

They did. They learned to mistrust, but verify. They learned to think for themselves.

We can teach millennials to be savvy social media users

Good!

 

New web URL: SocialPanic.org

The old web URL will continue to work but I just registered SocialPanic.org as an easier way to access this web site. The domain name is very appropriate for what this web site is about – the use of professional media and social media to deliver propaganda messaging for the purpose of getting others to adopt someone’s agenda. This is often done through methods used to create “social panic“.

The new URL will be usable shortly. It works now for me but it may take up to 72 hours for the domain name to propagate through the global Internet.