"fake news" and the attack on free speech (1 Viewer)

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Since the election, we have become all too familiar with the story of so called "fake" news. But could this campaign to provide a healthier environment for knowledge hide a more sinister purpose?

The Washington Post recently released a article about a conversation between then president Obama and Mark Zuckerburg about Russian information outlets on his site, titled "Obama tried to give Zuckerburg a wake up call over fake news on Facebook".

What is first striking immediately is the way the tittle is framed, using the phrase "wake up call", as if any who question or hold reservations about silencing the opinions of others are asleep and not doing there job. The title itself is presented as a sort of truism.

In a excerpt from the article, we can see a truism repeating -

"These issues have forced Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies to weigh core values, including freedom of speech, against the problems created when malevolent actors use those same freedoms to pump messages of violence, hate and disinformation."

What constitutes "disinformation" and who gets to define it? In a further excerpt, we can see who's taking the responsibility -

Thwarting the Islamic State

The encounter in Lima was not the first time Obama had sought Facebook's help.


In the aftermath of the December 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., the president dispatched members of his national security team — including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and top counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco — to huddle with leading Silicon Valley executives over ways to thwart the Islamic State's practice of using U.S.-based technology platforms to recruit members and inspire attacks.

Related: [One year after the San Bernardino attack]

The result was a summit, on Jan. 8, 2016, which was attended by one of Zuckerberg's top deputies, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. The outreach effort paid off in the view of the Obama administration when Facebook agreed to set up a special unit to develop tools for finding Islamic State messages and blocking their dissemination.


We can clearly see it's powerful actors within government, in collaboration with powerful private individuals, taking it upon themselves to filter information they see as threatening, forming a special "council", effectively deciding the fate of others without effective Due Process - the right to a trial, circumventing judicial or congressional approval.

But look at the vague language used in reference to the Islamic State sites - "...recruit others and inspire attacks". "Inspire" attacks? Not only is the language vague, but it's hypercritical. Our own government uses propaganda to inspire hatred and gain public support for wars. Perhaps the greatest sources of disinformation in history has come from governments, using the so called "monopoly of information" that institutions wield.

Political philosophy finds a all to familiar pattern - the use of a crisis or tragedy, as in the shooting in California, to push through measures that would have not been able to get through otherwise. Those in power generally tend to take advantage of traumatic events at critical times when people feel the most vulnerable.

But what's really at stake here when we have the definitions of reality - what makes something true and another false, falling into the hands of a few?

And perhaps another question - why was it not even considered as an option to better educate the public and develop critical thinking skills, as Aristotle suggested to combat problems like these, but rather focus efforts totally on authoritarian control?
 
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paiche

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Interesting read. There is something wacky going on here and for me it's hitting home. My mind keeps wandering to conspiracies because I can not make rational sense of it. I agreed to make a speech at this rally coming up, it's to denounce political violence. I usually try to avoid politics like I avoid overfull porta potties but I feel strongly about speaking out about violence and I think I have something valuable to say. All this opposition including a counter rally has been brewed up against the speakers who are there to denounce political violence. Two of the speakers have already been bullied and threatened off the speaker line up. The opposition says this was never about free speech and that the organizers and the speakers are actually a part of an alt-right hate group. They are saying that we just are trying to get a platform to spread our hatred. They have no proof of their accusations and all of the speakers have been vetted and each one came out clean with no white supremacy nor antifa history (there was a questionable history to one of the speakers but everyone makes poor choices and maybe that guy has learned a few things and strives to do better?) They have put in some serious work to get media attention about our imagined dangerous intentions and ironically many of the groups that are against me would totally be on my team if they knew me and my ideology. Anyway it's crazy. I can't help but wonder if there is something far more sinister at work than just a few crazies off their rockers ~ because they are super organized crazies and have way too many connections. I'm really scared now to give my speech. The more they scare me though the more I feel I have to stick with it. Well whatever, we'll see what happens on Saturday. If it does happen to become a media circus and they do somehow turn it like we started something violent hopefully we will just have enough cameras on the ground, so that the truth shines through.
 
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William Howard 2
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Interesting read. There is something wacky going on here and for me it's hitting home. My mind keeps wandering to conspiracies because I can not make rational sense of it. I agreed to make a speech at this rally coming up, it's to denounce political violence. I usually try to avoid politics like I avoid overfull porta potties but I feel strongly about speaking out about violence and I think I have something valuable to say. All this opposition including a counter rally has been brewed up against the speakers who are there to denounce political violence. Two of the speakers have already been bullied and threatened off the speaker line up. The opposition says this was never about free speech and that the organizers and the speakers are actually a part of an alt-right hate group. They are saying that we just are trying to get a platform to spread our hatred. They have no proof of their accusations and all of the speakers have been vetted and each one came out clean with no white supremacy nor antifa history (there was a questionable history to one of the speakers but everyone makes poor choices and maybe that guy has learned a few things and strives to do better?) They have put in some serious work to get media attention about our imagined dangerous intentions and ironically many of the groups that are against me would totally be on my team if they knew me and my ideology. Anyway it's crazy. I can't help but wonder if there is something far more sinister at work than just a few crazies off their rockers ~ because they are super organized crazies and have way too many connections. I'm really scared now to give my speech. The more they scare me though the more I feel I have to stick with it. Well whatever, we'll see what happens on Saturday. If it does happen to become a media circus and they do somehow turn it like we started something violent hopefully we will just have enough cameras on the ground, so that the truth shines through.
That's really whacky. Seems like there is a huge push in the world right now towards nationalism and I wish I could understand what's going on too. This directly effects all of us.

But um.. if it's not too much hassle... Could you post your speech? :D that's so cool! Please let us know how it goes!
 
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why get news from facebook in the first place? it shouldn't be surprising fuckerburg is a narc.

nationalism is on the rise world wide as a direct result of the failures of neo-liberalism. people want a change but they don't know what they're bargaining for.

as for truth and non-truth, i'm not sure what you mean. I've always had to decide for myself what that is. from what you said, it seems the real problem is a lack of access to information, so that people can deciede, and i agree with you.

but why would anyone in the current political power structure want anyone else to be using critical thinking skills? i'm sure the powers that be would enjoy erasing Aristotle
 

DrewSTNY

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That's just it, Hierarchy needs hoards of ignorant, confused and divided people.
You hit the nail right on there, paiche. The more I see these crazy protests and counter-protests, the more I fear that we will be living in some kind of authoritarian dystopia soon. I'm not sure whether to join a "militia" or just go into hiding and try to stay off the radar completely. The media machine is as much to blame as anyone for the insanity happening in many of the cities. When the lid finally blows off in the US, I think that the "people's revolution" will be more horrific than anything we've seen in history.
 
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When the lid finally blows off in the US, I think that the "people's revolution" will be more horrific than anything we've seen in history.
Listened to a Harvard lecturer on YouTube awhile ago. His claim was that all this unrest is the result of "elites not communicating". Right then I realized that the "elites" are whacked out and think they can do no wrong. It's not them to blame, but really us that's the problem not understanding the greatness of their goals. How could they be so off base?

This is the school that the ruling class goes to, and watching what they are saying is a bit like having a finger on the pulse of leadership. What I can see is even they are frightened of a revolution. Both sides see it's likelihood brewing from this perfect climate, but all the elites want is just more neo - liberalism policy.
 

anterrabae

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its much deeper than that. its biological. there is something wrong with the human condition and we are tearing ourselves in half trying to ignore it. we are pointing fingers in all directions, we have devolved conversation back to race and sex and creed and christiandom. we have begun to stop breeding.
its because the environment we have made for ourselves and the substances weve used to create it are toxic.. dysgenic.. and our culture has mutated in frightening ways as a result.

listen

 
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its because the environment we have made for ourselves and the substances weve used to create it are toxic.. dysgenic.. and our culture has mutated in frightening ways as a result.
Conflict in society predates the creation of synthetic chemicals, so it can't be the cause.

I think if you want to find more biological explanations for social conflict, there are a number of evolutionary reasons that could fit better that center around scarcity of resources and collective strategies that developed to overcome them (the "maximizing impulse" comes to mind).
 

anterrabae

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I didnt realize you were talking about conflict as a phenomema in itself. If you are looking for reasons why conflict exists in our species and every species, read up on newtons law or game theory. too lazy? ill tell you now: its integral.

I was talking about why we have so many autistic idiots divided against each other and incapable of standing as one.
My generation is a disgrace. I dont believe i will live to see any kind of real revolt.. there is only the ongoing revolution of ideas, the tidal wave of the coming information era, and robotics.

My game plan is to stay out of jail, thats all.
 

paiche

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But um.. if it's not too much hassle... Could you post your speech? :D that's so cool! Please let us know how it goes!
It turned out totally wacky. My thinking on the whole subject evolved significantly over the few days I had to process what was unfolding. This is what I ended up doing:
I tried to get this whole rally to end with my speech which I changed completely the night before after I became clear about what felt true to my heart. I didn't succeed but I made a brave attempt. I don't know what happened after I left but I know they had less of a crowd. Looks like the news won't cover it so I'll express my views here as well in case any of you are curious. My main points were:
1.) While I did not call out any organizers involved as hosting this event in order to normalize white supremacist ideas (although one of the organizers had documented ties with the Proud Boys) I stated that this rally now has a belief bubble surrounding it that it is a white supremacist event therefore why would you want to continue to hold it after a very similar event in Boston and after Charlottsville. Seems to me there is in fact a push to downplay the severity of white supremacy which is a source of political violence.
2.) I expressed that I felt like I and other good people brought in as speakers were being used to make it look like this event really isn't that bad after all.
3.)I stated that the rally does signify a push to normalize white supremacist ideals not by the people who are apart of it but by the belief that has been created around its image. Therefore it should have been cancelled if it's intentions were truly only about denouncing political violence.
4.) I implied how dangerous it is to allow a normalizing of white supremacy.
5.) I brought into the rally the names and spirit of Chief Joseph, Fred Hampton, Abba Kovner and others who I'm sure would attest to the severity of this issue. I explained to the crowd I was going to say Presente! then a name and they were to follow by saying Presente!. That part went really well.
6.) I dedicated my speech to 'mi familia Shipiba', to Liam Burnell for inspiring my courage, for all the minorities who experience racism daily, to people who've lived in slavery, for women who have been burned and stoned, for whole communities slaughtered for oil extraction, for the holocaust victims and for the millions of people wiped off this continent during the 300 years of genocide of the Americas.
7.) I called out this event as I saw it and you probably wont see my speech anywhere because I also called out the police state as a product of white supremacy in front of the state house, in front of all the police that were there.
8.) I got the crowd involved and asked 'who does not stand with white supremacy?' Most everyone replied supportively. Two people at different points in the speech hollered f*u. to me; granted I may have offended a few people there.
8.) I asked for help from the crowd to rip the heart out of this monster. I implored to the crowd that if they do not stand for white supremacy then to come away from this with me, I and a bout a dozen others then left. I had hoped to take them all away but alas, many stayed behind and their rally continued.
~ My thoughts after all this, after all I've learned are that people should take a break on holding free speech rally's because of the belief bubble surrounding them. If you have something specific to talk about find the appropriate venue for it. Speech and words rarely change anything and taking sides just sets us all up for a fight. We are all dealing with the same fundamental problems and we need to work on ways to find solutions to them together. If you really want to change anything you're going to have to do something more than talk, you've got to get out and work with your neighbors, self-reflect and make fundamental changes from the inside that will ripple outward. (That's what my original speech was about which I do hope to find the appropriate venue for someday) This is why I went against the norm yesterday and said what felt true to my heart. I'm working on me, my character and trying to be honest with myself and learning to not allow others to take advantage of me. This feels good. Regardless of whether I made an ass of myself or not.
 
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William Howard 2
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Thanks for keeping us updated Paiche.

Very interesting idea about belief bubbles. Is it like if we share an idea in one way, we tend to want to share in all the other ways with a group? If that's what you meant, reminds me of Social Identity Theory. Do you think finding what were called the correct venues for ideas might actually contribute to belief bubbles?
 
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William Howard 2
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Ran across a article by James Fowler, a political scientist studying "voting cascades". Interesting how he talks about belief bubbles and how we influence (or don't) our peers and the environment we live in -

We were also able to use this experiment to see what factors increase the size of a voter cascade. Not surprisingly, these cascades got bigger when we increased the number of friends each person has, the number of interactions they have with each other, and the probability that that one will influence the other. But we also discovered a complex relationship between the cascades and the degree to which people were socially clustered in tightly-knit groups. When we move from a low to high probability that one's acquaintances know one another, the number of paths between individuals in the group increases dramatically. This increases the number of ways a single decision to vote can be transmitted to other people in the population. However, as the group gradually gets even more clustered, people tend to cut ties to the outside world and focus only on members of their own group. This means there is a sweet spot in the amount of social interconnection that maximizes the likelihood that people will participate in politics. Thus, contrary to Robert Putnam's advice, sometimes more social interaction is not always better.

Interestingly, the number of people voting had virtually no effect on how far the cascades would spread in our computer model. Nicholas Christakis and I originally believed that the size of voter cascades would be bigger in larger populations because of the increased number of people who might be influenced by a cascade. However, instead we discovered that voter cascades are primarily local phenomena, occurring in a smaller part of the population closely connected to an individual. As it turns out, this is exactly what we have been finding in our other studies of the spread of obesity, smoking, and happiness. These phenomena can spread to our friends (1 degree of separation), our friends' friends (2 degrees), and our friends' friends' friends (3 degrees), but not much further. This "3 Degree Rule" suggests that the power of one individual to influence many is limited by the effect of competing waves of influence that emanate from everyone else in the network.
 

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