How Google, Facebook and Twitter are manipulating the Mexican presidential elections—Part 1

28 April 2018 — WSWS

US election meddling in the age of the Internet

By Alex González and Andrea Lobo

This is the first part in a two-part series

In recent months, Google, Facebook and Twitter have signed agreements with the Mexican National Electoral Institute (INE), the organization charged with carrying out elections in Mexico, in what amounts to a massive campaign to manipulate the outcome of the July 1 general elections in the world’s tenth most populous country.

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The Real Reason Social Media Makes Hollywood So Nervous By J. F. Sargent

26 April 2018 — FAIR

Scene from the Black Mirror episode Nosedive

The Black Mirror episode “Nosedive” envisions a dystopia where every human interaction is rated on social media.

There’s an episode of the Netflix show Black Mirror called “Nosedive,” about a world where everyone can rate their interactions with everyone else on a scale of 1–5, and each person’s average rating determines their socioeconomic status. The moral of the episode (because most episodes of Black Mirror have a techno-moral at the end) was a warning against the dangers of mob mentality and groupthink on social media. It’s easy to see where they got the idea: you only need to look at the story of Justine Sacco, whose life was turned upside down over an offensive joke she wrote on Twitter, or Zoe Quinn, who’s life was torn apart over lies spread by a vengeful ex, to see that internet hatred and rumor-mongering is dangerous, and we haven’t figured out how to deal with it yet. It’s scary, but TV is obsessed with it.

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If you don’t want Facebook, what do you want? By Dan Hind

11 April 2018 — Return of the Public

Facebook is once again in the news. Last month a joint investigation by the Observer, the New York Times and Channel 4 revealed that a UK company, Cambridge Analytica, had used information about Facebook’s users to target voters during Donald Trump’s successful campaign to become president in 2016. But the threat that the data giants’ business model poses to individual autonomy and to democratic process is not news.

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Who Will Take on the 21st Century Tech and Media Monopolies? By Justin Anderson

10 April 2018 — FAIR

Observer: Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

Facebook “failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals” (London Observer, 3/17/18).

After decades of regulatory neglect, Big Tech is finally coming under the microscope.

Facebook is under fire for (among other things) its involvement with Cambridge Analytica, a British data analytics firm funded by hedge fund billionaire and major Republican party donor Robert Mercer and formerly led by President Trump’s ex–campaign manager and strategist Steve Bannon. Cambridge Analytica harvested data from over 87 million Facebook profiles (up from Facebook’s original count of 50 million) without the users’ consent, according to a report by the London Observer (3/17/18) sourced to a whistleblower who worked at Cambridge Analytica until 2014.

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Media Warn of ‘Russian Bots’—Despite Primary Source’s Disavowal By Adam Johnson

5 April 2018 — FAIR

WaPo: Russian bots are tweeting their support of embattled Fox News host Laura Ingraham

Washington Post (4/2/18): “Wading into controversy is a key strategy for Russian propaganda bots.”

One could forgive the average reader for thinking reporters covering bots had been replaced by bots. The formula is something we’ve seen a million times now: After a controversial story breaks, media outlets insist that “Russian bots” used the controversy to “sow discord” or “exploit tensions”; a “Russian bot dashboard” is offered as proof. (These “dashboards” let one see what Russian bots—automated online persona controlled by the Kremlin—are allegedly  “pushing” on social media.)

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The truth about Cambridge Analytica-SCL: Psy-ops by UK-US deep state actors By Julie Hyland

26 March 2018 — WSWS

The scandal surrounding Facebook’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica, the election data company previously associated with former Trump campaign Chairman Steve Bannon, dominates the media in the US and Britain.

The serious privacy concerns involved in the harvesting of the personal information of some 50 million Facebook users were underscored by Britain’s Channel 4 News. An undercover investigation filmed Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix boasting of dirty tricks operations to ensnare politicians and subvert elections.

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Media Lens: Champions Of Democracy – From Fake News To Imposed Insanity

1 February 2018 — Media Lens

Open a corporate website on any given day and you will find someone, somewhere blaming social media for something. No claim is too absurd.

Last week, journalist Sean Williams, who writes for the New Yorker, New Republic and Wired, tweeted us in a state of high anxiety:

‘I just want you to know you’re ruining the national dialogue and pushing more people towards right wing populism. Really.’

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