Tesla really did say this in 1926

This poster came across on Twitter – and surprise – the quote is authentic!

Surprisingly (for social media memes!) Tesla really did say this in an interview published in Colliers on January 30th, 1926.

This forecast for the future is intriguing and certainly his brilliance comes through.

But … the same interview had a number of other predictions – some correct and some not so correct:

  • All railroads will be electric
  • Wireless energy will be used to power flying machines carrying no fuel
  • “static and all forms of interference will be eliminated, so that innumerable transmitters and receivers may be operated without interference.” (digital and CDMA basically does this)
  • Cities will have parking towers (parking garages?)
  • geothermal heat sources will be tapped for energy (true)
  • Equality of the sexes will be achieved (more true than not, especially compared to 1926)
  • “the average woman will be as well educated as the average man, and then better educated, for the dormant faculties of her brain will be stimulated to an activity that will be all the more intense and powerful because of centuries of repose”  (In the U.S. women significantly outnumber mean in college attendance.)
  • “marriage and motherhood will become abhorrent”
  • He advocated eugenics (as did the Nazis)
  • He believed in the “perfection of communism, of socialized cooperative life wherein all things, including the young, are the property and concern of all”

Tesla invented our modern day alternating current electrical system (versus the competing direct current system). He sold his patents to Westinghouse. More about that here.

Tesla, obviously, had many brilliant ideas – but he also promoted ideas that today we find abhorrent, such as eugenics, or failed, such as communism, which has declined from 24 countries to five.

By cherry picking the quotes – and censoring the quotes that make Tesla look out of step – the poster presents a white-washed view of Tesla. This is a typical approach in social media propaganda posters – simplify, leave out details, leave out conflicting information – and let the “All you see is all there is” phenomena take hold in the target’s brain.

For whatever reasons, myths about Tesla are popular on social media. I do not know why.

Sad and scary danger for those who live their lives online-crazed fans

An obsessed viewer of a Youtube channel sought to kill a Youtube star. One Youtube star has already been killed by a sick fanatic.

Source: They shared their lives on YouTube. Then an obsessed fan came calling – with a gun – SFGate

A surprising number of people – almost always young couples living exciting or unusual lives – are making a living posting videos of their lifestyle online. Sadly, this activity has put some of them at risk of harm by sick fans.

This post is not about social media propaganda – but about one of the unfortunate side effects of some aspects of social media.

Social media viral meme: 18 school shootings since January 1?

According to the Washington Post, the number is fake. It was spread on social media as propaganda from a non-profit organization.

Source: No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong. – The Washington Post

This post is not about pro-gun or anti-gun issues but about the use of social media for propaganda efforts.

A number originating from a non-profit sounds legitimate – but its actually using the “Appeal to Authority” form of argument combined with lying.

Within a short time interval, this fake claim spread rapidly on social media and became a “fact” that professional news reporters picked up and reported.  Once a fake “fact” is published by the professional news services, others will then use that as verification that the claim is true.

From a propaganda effectiveness perspective, this gets an A grade.

It is perplexing why the group chose to exaggerate their count as there are sufficient numbers of shootings to make their point without resorting to being misleading. One would think being misleading would lead to subsequent distrust.

However, remember that in propaganda messaging, the first message people hear is the one that “sticks” – even if subsequently shown to be untrue or misleading. This is why this technique – exaggeration or misleading information – is very effective as a form of propaganda.

When combined with social media sharing, false claims can be widely distributed to the point they turn into “facts” that stick in the mind of the target.

Update: From the comments to the WaPo article, many suggest its okay to be misleading if it leads to someone’s desired conclusion. Or something.

Twitter “This Tweet is unavailable”

This morning I looked at Twitter and saw several shared tweets displaying “This Tweet is unavailable”.

Supposedly, this occurs when you have “muted” someone or if someone has “blocked” you. But that is an incomplete explanation.

One of the Tweets listed as “unavailable” is from a CNN Television anchor. The Tweet links to reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regarding human rights issues in North Korea; Twitter has censored this Tweet.

I have not muted this individual nor has this famous person blocked me.

Instead, Twitter appears to be “shadow banning” content that Twitter does not like. In other words, Twitter is acting as an editorial director and censor:

A new theory has emerged online called the “Throttling theory”, and it describes how the social media site Twitter, censors your Tweets by convincing your followers that the Tweet doesn’t exist. The system is similar to Reddit’s “Shadow-ban” system. When you are shadow-banned on Reddit, everything still seems normal to you, and you can comment […]

Source: Here’s how Twitter is silently censoring you

Advertisers seek social media platforms that promote positive impact

As this blog has noted, much of social media has devolved into a culture of perpetual outrage by angry people often consumed with hate. This sort of social media is not fun to be around. Advertisers are noticing this too:

“Unilever will not invest in platforms or environments that do not protect our children or which create division in society, and promote anger or hate,” Unilever Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed is expected to say Monday during the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Palm Desert, Calif.

We will prioritize investing only in responsible platforms that are committed to creating a positive impact in society,” he will say, according to prepared remarks.

Source: Unilever Threatens to Reduce Ad Spending on Tech Platforms That Don’t Combat Divisive Content – WSJ

India finds Google manipulated search results; EU had already reached that conclusion

In its ruling, India’s competition watchdog said the internet giant has “abused its dominant position” that “enables it to operate independently of competitive forces.”

Source: India Fines Google $21 Million for “Search Bias” | Hollywood Reporter

Google, the overwhelmingly dominant search service, was found to favor its own online services and web sites in search results.

This illustrates the power that large online services potentially exert in propaganda messaging.

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.

The story behind the fake DPRK News Service Twitter account

The DPRK News Service is one of the funniest Twitter accounts in existence as it hilariously makes fun of North Korea and a host of world leaders and events.

It’s run by 2 guys in the U.S. who launched it to share jokes between friends.

Not long after launching it, the U.S. media repeatedly cites them as an official North Korean news service.

“It feels like all online media outlets have prioritized being First rather than Right, like it’s some sort of Scoop Race. As mentioned before, a cursory Google search will reveal us instantly, or even a cursory look at other tweets should reveal some level of incredulity. I imagine when some poor journalist is banging out some listicle or whatever on the 10 Ways North Korea is a Horrific Nightmare of Human Rights Abuses, they’re not going to really question things if some twitter account with a sizeable follower count blurts out something that fits within the context of the article.”

Source: The Men Behind the Infamous Fake North Korean Twitter Account

Yesterday, reporter Michelle Kosinski, who has a history of making up news stories, re-tweeted a DPRK News Service tweet.

She is famous for her live report from a dangerous flood, while sitting in a canoe – in what embarrassingly turns out to be about six inches of water. A clear example of fake news reporting.

Watch this short news clip to see a professional journalist honestly reporting the news and protecting Democracy itself… not. When you see this, keep in mind how much “news” is just story telling – and wrap your mind around the role propagandists play in shaping the stories presented as “news”. Journalists should serve as propaganda firewalls protecting viewers and readers from the onslaught but many play along and act as propagandists themselves, promoting their own agendas.

After reading DPRK News Service hilarious parodies, try to read the news headlines without laughing! It’s hard!

Newsweek fires all top staff

 

Newsweek on Monday fired all of its top staff amid turmoil that has upended the newsroom .In a company meeting, several editors announced that the outlet had fired Editor in Chief Bob Roe, Executive Editor Ken Li and reporters Celeste Katz, Josh Saul, and International Business Times editor Josh Keefe.

Source: Newsweek Guts Its Top Edit Staff Amid Legal Turmoil

Newsweek has a reputation as fake news publisher.

We use the definition of fake news as the use of exaggerated, emotionally laden, often false, click-bait reports as means of generating Likes and Shares for selling eyeballs to advertisers.

Newsweek is discovering that pretending to be a legitimate news service is not the best way to run a news business.

Last time Newsweek went up for sale, it sold for one dollar. What do you think its market value is today?