Tag Archives: Sheryl Sandberg

Identity denied

There are moments when we resort to other ways of expressing ourselves; it is in our nature to find alternatives to the story, so that we can tell the story. Nearly every person does it. Sometimes we ask ‘would you take that extra pastry?‘ instead of telling someone that you really feel like having another pastry. So when it comes to social media, we see not ourselves, but the person we want to be. We want to own the Hall of Faces (Game of Thrones) where we can mask ourselves with the identity of a dead person, like Ethan Hawke in Mission Impossible, walk in, sound like the person we are not, because we do not like ourselves in that particular moment. So when we look at Facebook, are we thinking the Hall of faces? In light of all that was revealed, are we in a stage where we prefer to be someone else?

You see, the shit is on the walls as some would say. Mark the Zuckyman did the right thing, he stood up (after a few days of silence) and held himself responsible and we are all over this that he is the culprit, but is he truly guilty? We see all kinds of articles on Facebook, like ‘You’ve decided to delete Facebook but what will you replace it with?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/31/youve-decided-to-delete-facebook-but-what-will-you-replace-it-with), even after a week this is still highly valid, because for millions of the multibillion users of Facebook, it has yet to sink in. Go to WhatsApp? Instagram? Both are owned by Facebook, so where does that leave you? So when we try to trivialise it with #DeleteFacebook, we need to realise that this is new territory. We now talk about the Social Media Landscape and it is not small. It is huge and most importantly, this is the first true generation of the Social media generation. We were not ready, and i have been trying to explain that to people for nearly 3 years. Now we see overreactions whilst sitting down contemplating it all was never an option. The law was missing it as it is more interested in facilitating for commerce, exploitation and profit (Sony and Microsoft are nice examples there), Human rights are failing, because the issue of Digital rights is only seen in the relation of commerce, not in the relation of privacy, in this the entire Google and the people’s rights to be forgotten is merely a reason to giggle, a Google giggle if you preferred.

The article has one funny part, with “For those determined to exit the Facebook ecosystem, the best approach is more likely to be a patchwork of sites and apps that mirror individual features. Messaging is the easiest: apps such as Telegram and Signal offer messaging and group chats, as well as voice calls, with encryption to keep your communications private. Telegram even has a thriving collection of chatbots, similar to Facebook Messenger“, you see, it is done on a smartphone (mostly), so you could consider dialing a person and have a conversation, your mum if she is still alive is not the worst idea to have. You see, the plain point is where you end up. So when we see “Part of Vero’s appeal to Facebook deleters is its determination to be ad-free. It is planning instead to start charging a small annual subscription at some point“, you see these people designed it for wealth (as one would) so where are they getting the money? The small annual subscription does make sense, but in light of that you better remember where all your data is and even as we see ‘emphasis on privacy‘ we need to realise that there are clear situations where the word Privacy is open to suggestion. What people forget is that ‘The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes‘, so are their settings of what is private the same as yours? Also, when they sell their company for a mere 2 billion, make no mistake, the word privacy is not open for debate, it will be whatever the new owner decides it to be. This is merely one side of data, as data is currency. That is what I have been trying to explain to nearly everyone (for 5 years now) and they all shrugged and stated, ‘it’ll be right‘, so is it right? Is it all right now? If you are considering becoming a member of the growing party of #DeleteFacebook it clearly was not.

So when we are treated to ‘News of Facebook’s secret tool to delete executive messages caps days of chaos‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/facebook-using-secret-tool-to-delete-messages-from-executives) we see another part of Facebook, we see new uproar. The question is whether this is justified. You see, when we see “the company has a two-tiered privacy standard (one for executives, one for everyone else) and over its use of facial recognition software“, in most cases this makes perfect sense. Corporate executives tend to be under scrutiny a lot, as it sometimes is valid; they still have a job to be done. I was amazed on how many people Mark Zuckerberg was connected to in the beginning of Facebook. It was awesome and cool, but I reckoned that it was not always constructive to productivity. I have been in places where the executives had their own server for a number of reasons, mostly for HR reasons and whether it is valid or not, it is a corporate decision, in that light I am not amazed, only when I was doing work for Google was I on a system where I could see everything and everyone all including what I thought was the board of directors. Here is where it gets interesting, because Google has a (what we refer to) a true open system for all who work there. It is invigorating to get access to so much information and my first night was me dreaming of combining things, what if we did ….. and ….. would we then be able to …..? It was exhilarating to feel that rush of creativity, in areas where I had no skill levels to boot. With a ‘closed’ system like Facebook, we need to consider that by setting the state of all is open that it is a legal trap when you give billions of people access to systems and situations. The mere legal differences between the UK, US and AUS, all common law nations would be the legal nightmare of decades. Shielding the executives from that is a first priority, because without them at the wheel it all falls to chaos.

That reality is seen with “Facebook says the change was made following the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, when a mass data breach at the movie studio resulted in embarrassing email histories being leaked for a number of executives, ultimately costing co-chair Amy Pascal her job“, some might remember the mail that George Clooney send in regards to the Monuments Man, it made pretty much all the papers. I love his work, I enjoy the artistic values he has, shares and embodies, but without certain levels of privacy and shielding his artistic side might take a large dump towards uncertainty, not a side I am hoping for, because even as he is merely 360 days older than me, he should be able to create another 30 years of movie excellence and I would like to see those movies, especially as we see that he is doing to Matt Damon in Suburbicon, what the Coen brothers were doing to him in Burn after reading and Hail, Caesar!, so plenty of fun times ahead for all us movie fans.

Even as we are all looking where we want to go next, the foundation of issues remain. There is an utter lack of Social media legislation; there is a mess of issues on where privacy is and what is to be regarded as privacy. The users gave it all away when they signed up for options, apps and ‘solutions’ again and again. Until that is settled, any move we make moves the issue and moves the problems, it will not solve anything, no matter what some of the app developers decide to state. In the third part “‘The third era of Zuck’: how the CEO went from hero to humiliation” (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/mark-zuckerberg-public-image-cambridge-analytica-facebook), I think he got kicked in the head real hard, but not humiliated, although he might think he was. So as we recall Dean Martin with Ain’t That a Kick in the Head? we need to realise that is what happens. That is what happens when Social media becomes a multi-billion user behemoth. Mark Zuckerberg made mistakes plain and simple. What do you do? You get up from the floor, fix it and restore the need for growth. And now still we see that mistakes are made. This is seen with “On Friday morning, the company apologized and pledged to stop deleting executives’ messages until they could make the same functionality available to everyone“, the largest mistake and it opens social media to all kinds of organised crime. Merely send the threat, tell the people to do …. or else and after an hour, after it is seen to have been read, the message is deleted, it becomes a miscommunication and no prosecution is possible.

That is the biggest mistake of all, to set a multi-billion user group open to the needs of organised crime even further then it likely is. How stupid is that? You see, as I interpret this, both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg are in the musical chair setting, trying to do things on the fly and that will hurt them a lot more than anything else. We get it that mistakes were made, fix them, but not on the fly and not just quick jumps overnight. Someone has pushed them into defence play and they actually suck at that. It is time for them to put their foot down and go into offensive and attack mode (pun intended). When we consider what was before, we get it that Zuckerberg made mistakes and he will make more. We merely need to look at Microsoft and their actions over the last 3 decades to see that they screwed to pooch even more royally than Zuckerberg will be able to do, but the media is silent there as it relies on Microsoft advertiser funds. IBM and Apple have made their blunders in the past as well, yet they all had one large advantage, the impact was never towards billions of users, it potentially could have hit them all, but it mostly just a much smaller group of people, that was their small blessing. Apple directly hurt me and when I lost out on $5500, I merely got a ‘C’est la vie‘ from their technical centre, so screw that part!

There will be a large change sooner rather than later, the issue with Cambridge Analytica was too large to not make that happen. I merely hope that Zuckerberg has his ducks on a row when he makes the jump, in addition to that was Steve Bannon arrested? Especially when we consider Article 178, violating the Free decision of Voters. You see, it is not that simple, social media has never been used in that way, to such an extent, the law is unclear and proving that what Cambridge Analytica did would constitute a clear violation of the free decision of voters, that is what makes this a mess, legislation on a global scale has failed when it came to privacy and options regarding the people in social media. Steve Bannon can keep on smiling because of all the visibility he will get for years to come and after years when no conviction comes, he can go on the ‘I told you so!‘ horse and ride of wealthy into the sunset. That situation needs to be rectified and it needs to go way beyond Facebook, the law itself has faltered to a much larger degree.

The fact that politicians are all about terror cells and spilling inflammatory messages whilst having no resolution on any of this is merely showing what a bunch of apes they have proven themselves to be. So when we saw in January ‘Facebook, Google tell Congress they’re fighting extremist content‘, where were these congressmen? Where the fuck was Clint Watts, the Robert A. Fox Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and National Security analyst as CNN now reports that optionally 78 million records have been pushed onto the Russian servers? (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/08/politics/cambridge-analytica-data-millions/index.html), now implying that Cambridge Analytica has undermined US safety and security in one operation to a much larger extent than any terrorist has been able to achieve since September 13th 2001. That is 17 years of figments, against one political setting on the freedom to choose. I wonder how Clint Watts can even validate his reasoning to attend the US Congress at all. And this goes way beyond the US; in this the European Commission could be regarded as an even larger failure in all this. But it is unlikely we ever get treated to that side of the entire show.

The media needs both players a lot more and bashing Facebook makes for good entertainment they reckon. Time will tell whether they were right, or that the people at large just never cared, we merely end up having no social media identity, it will have been denied for reasons that were never real in the first place.

 

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The additional word Analytica

When we hear ‘Cambridge’, we consider a place of reverence. Cambridge, a place where science is academically pushed to new borders! It has been around for 733 years. In that time we saw Lord Byron working on Satires and poems. In 1812 Charles Babbage started the design of a calculating machine, he never finished it, but his work would later herald the modern computer. In 1903 Bertrand Russell publishes ‘Principles of Mathematics’ and ends up with being part of the ‘Principia Mathematica’ it takes people a decades to comprehend the genius and he ends up with a Nobel price. Other members will get similar laurels for working on the electron, X-ray diffraction, someone proves that vitamins are real and the atom gets split. there was Professor Stephen Hawking, who did have a sense of comedy (according to many sources), not very mobile, yet ends up giving us academic work on Black holes, the big bang theory (not the comedy) and gives us the a founding realisation on the origin of the universe and only recently do they were able to identify gene causing diabetes and high blood pressure. So we should see it as a place of academic goodness. Yet when you take ‘Cambridge’ and you add ‘Analytica’ you get a synonym for ‘Despicable Sewage‘.

So as we are treated just over an hour ago to ‘Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg finally addresses Cambridge Analytica scandal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/21/mark-zuckerberg-response-facebook-cambridge-analytica) we can clearly see that things are escalating as Mr Zuckerberg himself is taken off the moth balls to remedy the situation. So when I see his response ‘we made mistakes‘, my initial response is ‘You think?

When we are treated to “The Facebook CEO broke his five-day silence on the scandal that has enveloped his company this week in a Facebook post acknowledging that the policies that allowed the misuse of data were “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it”” my initial worry is that he does not comprehend the scale of the issue. It is not merely the misuse of data, basically personal data of 50 million people, a lot of data on these people is now out in the open. When you have the data of 14% of your population you have the means to forecast, the options to set the marketing push on a national level. That amount of data would allow places like Walmart to set the need to satisfy 90% of the population need and cut out the loss making products overnight. You see, when you take the concept of a good article, a average article and a bad article, we often get all the good articles and a chunk of average articles. This is the risk the business has, they all have it and we can predict this to some extent. Now we get more data and now with that data we see a group of people that are classified for a certain category as ‘Not caring’, they have no interest at all. Knowing this allows for the setting of a ‘true view’ on the articles so we get a sharper view, we take the population, we take out the non-carers of that product, and suddenly we end up with a list of the products that are all classified as good.

Now how does that work?

You see, sometimes we are driven by internal motives, motives we do not tell Walmart, but we might tell others on social media. Now consider for example that a Catholic will never buy a certain brand. A naturist will never buy certain chemicals and a tech-lover will never buy certain brands. There are dozens of these indicators and Walmart, if they had that data can now see a pattern, even if they only have the 14% view, the pattern once seen can lead to a national view. As a wild example I give you: ‘A Catholic techie will always buy a Manfrotto camera stand‘. So now we have a specific product that would do really well in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. So not only can it decide to dump the inferior camera stands in those places, it could essentially also raise the Manfrotto price by $2, so less overhead and better profits. This is merely an example, but the pattern is clear and as places like Walmart have such data they can now directly target their audience and streamline what they carry per location. So not only do they get a better business setting, by marketing directly to certain groups they get a much better result on the same marketing cost. So their marketing costs remained the same whilst getting up to a speculated 30% of better results.

This is a given setting in analytics (and Market Research). It has existed for decades and Mark Zuckerberg is a clever boy, so he knew this. The setting as shown in the Guardian is debatable at this point. You see, debatable because Mark Zuckerberg knows the value of data, there is no way that he does not know that. So the last thing he wanted to do was hand out data, lose control of the treasury. He lost control as the data is out there now, and as the source has been shared for what I believe to be at least three times over, that data is now no longer containable. That can now be seen as a direct loss for Facebook.

In equal measure we need to look at “We know that this was a major violation of peoples’ trust, and I deeply regret that we didn’t do enough to deal with it”, a quote that came from Sheryl Sandberg. You see, I think that the matter is more serious and more dangerous. We see that when we realise that ‘we didn’t do enough to deal with it‘, there is a data quality loss, a data containment loss and a lack of technological oversight. This is not a new given and even as Cambridge Analytica took it to a much larger setting, they were not alone. I myself almost tried a game once, yet when I saw it wanted my ‘religious preference‘ I decided to have an issue with a game firm that is concerned with my religion. I don’t have any, but that had absolutely no bearing on the game. That made me suspicious and I decided not to install the game. There has been a flaw for the longest of times. That flaw goes all the way back to Zynga’s Farmville. When they started to demanded ‘gifts from friends‘ to progress to some extent in the game, it was not a novel thing (well it was), it was a marketing setting that either you pay for the next item (with buyable currency), or you get your friends to play the game and give it to you, so we saw groups of people all linking, whilst their only link was the social setting of one game and Zynga ended up with the data (to some extent). That requirement is not what I see as ‘social growth’, it is in its foundation a dangerous place because it allows paedophiles access to younger players, it allows white supremacists to hide in a social flock whilst the others in the flock had no idea that the herd is not just made up from sheep, it also contains wolves and other undesirables. The problem is that as long as nothing happened no-one would care and that has been a dangerous game to play. Facebook loved the concept because it grew communities beyond their wildest dreams, but it also gave us groups where we still needed to be careful what data got out, yet the people at large are not careful with their social data. That has been seen since 2011 as Prostitutes were found by several media publications to use Facebook as a customer recruitment system. Now, I don’t care what these ladies do, yet as we have seen that recruiters and HR are using Facebook more and more to ‘judge’ potential employees (and one should never talk to a ‘lady of the night’ in social circles), we see that Facebook has become a monster of abuse and that monster is valued for data, so as more and more data is added, more and more people end up getting wrongfully tainted in a colour that was never them.

So when we see “The CEO also pledged to investigate and audit apps that accessed large amounts of data from Facebook users prior to changes in its platform in 2014, and said that it will inform users if their personally identifiable information was misused by app developers“, we need to realise that the foundation of Facebook apps is a much larger problem, it is not merely about the data they can access, it is the issue we see when the app data itself is open to mining. You see it is not merely “Facebook will investigate all apps that have access to large data and ban developers that misuse identifiable information“, how about apps that merely collect a small amount of data. Now consider that they link the use of apps (like for example Farmville, the Pioneer trail and Cafe World). Now let’s be clear, I am not accusing Zynga of doing anything wrong or illegal. But those three apps allow for ‘free’ currency, when you hit a target in the other game, people start to get very motivated to play 3+ games from the same makers, as it allows for that currency that is not usually free. Consider that each app has 5 demographics and perhaps 3-5 additional stats and these three apps all have 3-5 different stats. So as hundreds of thousands are playing all three apps, the developer suddenly ends up with a much larger pool of data than ever before. Now I use Zynga as it also has real-money gambling games. Now consider that they now have more and more markers on people who gamble. It is the wet dream of any Las Vegas entrepreneur to get that much data on their users, a way to classify those who are more likely to spend more on gambling. This was a setting that has been known for a long time and there is no way to tell how far people ended up being pushed into gambling. I have seen and learned that greed is eternal, so in that regard there is all likelihood that Mark Zuckerberg had to be aware to a much larger extent and that the mistakes made were a lot more than ‘excusable’ and it is one that cannot be solved through apologies and better oversight. Because when we cut those developers off from the data, what are the chances that 70% moves elsewhere? Data was the treasure trove and too many have been dipping their toes in the water. The damage is much larger and even as Cambridge Analytica made it visible to the masses, the issue has been there for a lot longer, the question becomes who properly looked at it. Also consider that games like Farmville had well over 60 million users every month, so how much data made it out of Facebook?

I reckon that no one will actually know that part, but the issue is also how this simple given remained off the radar of so many for so long. I wrote about the sharing of data as early 2013, sharing at the same time my thoughts on how all the NSA data issues were merely hypocrite. Well, now that the fence is gone, good luck containing the sheep, because I expect to see a lot more ‘revelations’ over the coming months.

 

 

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The Dangerous Zuckerberg Classification

Even as Microsoft seems to be quiet and in denial of what is uploaded without consent, we have a second issue that is floating to the surface of our life. Now, first of all, this link is not what we should consider a news site. What came from Forward.com is also known as The Jewish Daily Forward, published by Samuel Norich and has Jane Eisner as the editor. Its origins goes back to 1897, so it has been around for a while. They are not some new wannabe-on-the-block. It is an American newspaper published in New York City for a Jewish-American audience, and there are plenty of those around, so this is a valid niche publication. Yet no more than a day ago, it did something dangerous, perhaps unintentional and perhaps it is a sign of the times, but it remains a dangerous path to take.

This path all started when Mark Zuckerberg had an idea. He created this place called Facebook, you might have heard of it. Within there we get to ‘like’ things. Now, we can do this to complement the poster, we can do this because the subject interests us, or when we use the machine correctly, Facebook would send us more stuff from topics that we like. This already shows three different approaches to ‘like’ and when Forward starts the article with: “Canadian Mosque Shooter Suspect ‘Liked’ Israel Defense Forces, Marine LePen“, it basically shot itself in the foot.

This is part of the problems we are all facing, because the world is changing and it has shifted the values that we have given words over time and shifted them into concepts of what it might be. We see the same shift in the Business Intelligence industry as tools like SPSS (read: IBM Statistics) are no longer used to get the significant statistics needed and the ‘sellers’ of the story that the client wants told rely on tools like Q Software to tell the story that matches the need. The problem is that this story reflects what is offered and from that there is more than one identifier (weight being one) that the reflection is less accurate and often warped to fit the need of the receiver of these data files. Meaning that the actual meaning unlikely to be there, making a correct assessment not possible and any action based upon it, without scrutiny will come at a hefty price for the decision makers down the track.

So when we see “Canadian Mosque Shooter Suspect ‘Liked’ Israel Defense Forces, Marine LePen” we need to be cautious at best, at worst we are being told a fair bit of rubbish! Now we also get “Authorities claim that Alexander Bissonnette, a student at the city’s Laval University, perpetrated the attack, calling in from a bridge near the mosque to report himself“, which could be very true, but it also averts the first signs we see of ‘Lone Wolf‘, because a real lone wolf will go into the night if he or she is lucky without a trace and plans his/her next attack. This one attack person seems to be seeking the limelight as I personally see it. For what reason is at present unknown. Perhaps it is about fame, perhaps the evidence will find evidence of mental health issues. Time and the proper people will need to assess this. We see this in the picture of a tweet by @Rita_Katz when she states ‘making Jihadi ties unlikely‘, which could be true, however I got there via another route. What is interesting is that when we look at the Toronto Star we see “Rosalie Bussieres, 23, lives across the street. She told the Star her older brother was in school with Bissonnette. He was “very solitary” and “very antisocial,” said Bussieres. Bissonnette studied at the Université Laval, according to a statement released by the university late Monday. He was a student in the department of political science and anthropology, according to Jean-Claude Dufour, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences

This is interesting as those in political science tend to be decently social minded, so there is a lot more under the water than we think there is and the fact that Forward only gave us the likes, means that there is a part that they either ignored or overlooked. You see, what else did his Facebook account have to say?

The Toronto Star gives us a lot more “He was on both the Sainte-Foy and Université Laval chess club“, with Forward we got more on Rita Katz. “Rita Katz is the Executive Director and founder of the SITE Intelligence Group” is one, and the next part is the one we should consider: “the world’s leading non-governmental counterterrorism organization“, as well as “Ms. Katz has tracked and analyzed global terrorism and jihadi networks for nearly two decades, and is well-recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and reliable experts in the field“. Which makes me wonder why it is the Toronto Star who gives us the part I did not initially showed “with his twin brother, said Université Laval professor Jean Sévigny, who said he knew Bissonnette and his brother through the club“. So how come The Forward didn’t have the goods on that?

Yet they did give us “François Deschamps, member of Quebec’s Refugee Welcome Committee, told the La Presse newspaper that he recognized Bissonette because the man had often left hateful comments on the group’s page. “I flipped when I saw him,” he said. “We observe much of what the extreme right says and does. He’s made statements of that sort on our Facebook page. He also attacked women’s rights,” Deschamps recalled“. The full story is at http://forward.com/news/361614/canadian-mosque-shooter-suspect-liked-israel-defense-forces-marine-lepen/

So as we are invited to judge on likes, I see a hole of intelligence. How many friends? How many clubs? Was he linked to Chess groups? Was he linked to his Twin Brother, and was his twin brother on Facebook? There is no one mentioning whether the twin brother was reached and what he had to say (if he had been willing to talk), which he might not be willing to do and that is perfectly understandable. It is just such a weird experience to see a total lack of effort in that regard (especially by the press).

Forward is telling its readers a story, yet the Toronto Star (at https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/01/30/six-dead-two-arrested-after-shooting-at-quebec-city-mosque.html) seems to offer a lot more. In that view ABC news in Australia blunders (as I personally see it) even more when we see (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/quebec-city-mosque-shooting-lone-wolf-attack-student-charged/8225294), ‘Police charge ‘lone wolf’ student suspected of terrorist attack‘, so what evidence is there? What is the definition of a Lone Wolf? Perhaps we need to agree on the shifting sands and make sure it is sand and not quicksand. They both might contain the same 4 letters, but the experience will be mind-bogglingly different.

So as we now see that the US is using this attack to justify its actions, we need to take heed on the dangers we invite. The first is like the attack in Sydney, Australia at Martin Place, on December 15-16 2014. We again see a link to extremism that is incorrect and misleading. Yes, the act was extreme, but we have seen for decades on how mental health patients are very able to act in extreme ways. You only need to see the footage from Paris attacks to see how actions in places like Nairobi and Paris to clearly see that they are different from events in places like Martin Place and perhaps the Quebec Mosque.

We can argue on how correct the FBI setting is, yet it is an important one! “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives“. So what were the social and political objectives of Alexander Bissonnette?

There is a lot we don’t know and won’t know. Yet at present Forward is presenting the dangers that social media rely on, they rely on quick and classifiable actions and label them in the most general way possible. The dangers that we see in the Zuckerberg classification is that it relies on the quick acceptance of the ‘audience’ yet in the same way the danger is that the ‘like’ itself becomes a problem. You see, too many elements are about specifics and as we see less and less, we see that people in general will start to rely on an aggregation of ‘reportable elements’, not even on an aggregation of facts.

Heavy.com, another place that is not really a news site gives us a whole range of additional ‘facts’. They refer to Reuters, who reported (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-mosque-shooting-idUSKBN15E04S), where we get “Initially, the mosque president said five people were killed and a witness said up to three gunmen had fired on about 40 people inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre. Police said only two people were involved in the attack“, in that part the Lone Wolf no longer applies and it is either ‘lone Wolves’ or something else. Forward however gave us “Police investigating the shooting at a Quebec mosque that killed six have narrowed down their list of suspects to one man” Yet 5 hours after the initial message Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-mosque-shooting-toll-idUSKBN15E0F6) gives us “Police declined to discuss possible motives for the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. They consider this a lone wolf situation,” a Canadian source familiar with the situation said“, which is a statement that should be under some scrutiny to say the least.

All this links to an event one year ago, which was covered in the Tech Times, where we see ‘Sheryl Sandberg Sees Facebook Likes As Powerful Weapon Against ISIS, Other Extremists‘ with the quote “Rather than scream and protest, they got 100,000 people to Like the page, who did not Like the page and put messages of tolerance on the page, so when you got to the page, it changed the content and what was a page filled with hatred and intolerance was then tolerance and messages of hope“. This is now a linked issue. You see the part ‘they got 100,000 people to Like the page, who did not Like the page‘, this implies that data was intervened with, so if that is happening, how reliable was the ‘like’ part in Forward.com?

The fact that papers all over the place are trying to ‘cash’ in on this by adding a page with ‘the latest facts‘ or ‘what we know at present‘, like The Globe and Mail, whilst showing an avalanche of news on the matter. Actually, the page The Globe and Mail brought was pretty good. It is Heavy.com who does something similar, yet at that point they move into the ‘5 things you need to know‘ mode and give us a stream of links. Links to classmates and how they thought. Yet, are these facts correct and complete? Heavy links to the Globe and Mail, and in addition gives us the part we needed to hear: “He also likes U.S. Senator John McCain, a moderate Republican who has opposed Trump on some issues, President George W. Bush, the Canadian New Democratic Party and late Canadian politician Jack Layton, who was a leader of the left-wing NDP, so the likes do not shed much light on Bissonnette’s beliefs“, Forward.com, and as such linked SITE Intelligence Group had nothing on any of that in the article. So anyone relying on Forward is now missing out of essential facts. In equal measure, the fact that many of these items are not voiced by other papers make the statements of Heavy.com equally an issue until confirmed.

And finally there is the impact of how the like was obtained. Plenty of sources started with a few ‘like to win’ campaigns. How many people have clicked on a like and forgot about doing so? Yet in this light, the ‘like’ is implied to have a much larger impact, much larger than the user considers or even comprehends. The places using those likes for telling a story have left that concept behind, giving us unclean and incorrect data, which now implies that any conclusion based on it is pretty much useless.

Be aware, I am not stating, or accusing these posters of fake news, yet there is the option that some will see it as such. As I stated at the beginning regarding Forward.com, their origin goes back to 1897, which means that they have been around for some time. So why were so many facts missed and why did Forward link this suspect to both the Israel Defense Forces and Marine LePen, especially in light of what others reported?

What is not related to the Facebook side is the news that the initial news of two shooters (up to three) is now reduced to just the one. When a witness states up to three, there is a clarity to assume (to some degree) that there was more than one shooter (which is a speculation from my side). So what happened to the second one? Just be aware that there might just have been one shooter, yet the documentation we are seeing implies more than one.

So how is this a Zuckerberg thing?

Well, apart from him inventing Facebook and bringing about the evolution of Social media, his ‘like’ is almost like his ‘poke’, they are Social media tools, yet the value the users tend to give it is different, it is even debatable whether the users at large could ever agree on the usage of it, making it a transient value. A shifted number whilst the contemplators cannot agree how the value is to be used, so the usage of ‘like’ in the way it was used in by the press becomes a debate as well. Because what we like implies where we are. That is not a given, even better it is incomplete. You see, you can state your like, but as you cannot state a dislike, we end up having no real comparison. It is the old debate of Yes and No dichotomies, if you did not say ‘yes’, there is no validity that you stated ‘no’, because it might have been overlooked, or it was the fourth option in a list of three. There is a decent abundance of reasons to take that point of view.

fox_poll

Let me show this in another way. The Fox poll of the Refugee Ban (see image). We see the full story at http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/01/29/poll-nearly-half-america-voters-support-trumps-immigration-order, but what we do not see are the specifics on what would have given this value. You see, we do not know the number of responses, where it was done and when it was done. It is at https://poll.qu.edu/ that we learn parts of the facts, “From January 5 – 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 899 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points“, can anyone explain to me how Fox was so stupid to use a base of 899 to set a national value? Doesn’t the United States have around 320 million people? And as we realise that there 50 states, how can 18 people be significant on a view in state, and this is before we consider whether the use of gender was normalised, because men and women tend to feel different on emotional issues and is there is one element in abundance on issues concerning refugees it will be emotion.

 

So in all this, we see recurring waves of generalisation and trivialisation. Mark Zuckerberg is not to blame, but he is a factor. In addition there is an overwhelming lack in educating its customer base (by both Fox and Facebook), so we need to consider the dangers and well as the irrelevance of these ‘revelations‘. It is in this scope and in the application as seen used where classification becomes dangerous and a danger, because how will the people around a person react when they see that this person likes something people find offensive (and that is when we keep it to simple things like actors, actresses and politicians)? This will impact on the like as there will be peer pressure, so how can this Zuckerberg element be undermined? That is the actual question!

Is it as simple as condemning the press for using the fact? Is it as simple as giving out complete information? The Zuckerberg Classifications are here to stay, there is nothing against it and the fact that they are is in no way negative, but the usage of it leaves a lot to be desired and as such it is a misleading one, other than ‘this person clicked on the like button of this page, for reasons unknown’, giving it any more value is as meaningless as setting the national acceptance of a refugee ban based on 899 unquantifiable votes which represents at best 0.00028% of the United States population. If any vote was incorrectly vetted, the number will go down fast making the poll even more useless.

 

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The Zuckergate Censorberg Act

Yesterday an interesting issue got to the FrontPage of the Norwegian Aftenposten (at http://www.aftenposten.no/kultur/Aftenposten-redaktor-om-snuoperasjonen–En-fornuftig-avgjorelse-av-Facebook-604237b.html) and for those who are slightly Norwegian linguistically challenged, there is an English version at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/08/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-napalm-girl-photo-vietnam-war.

aftenposten
It is something we have seen before. Although from a technical point of view, the editing (read: initial flag) is likely to have been done electronically, the added blame we see when we get to the quote “Egeland was subsequently suspended from Facebook. When Aftenposten reported on the suspension – using the same photograph in its article, which was then shared on the publication’s Facebook page – the newspaper received a message from Facebook asking it to “either remove or pixelize” the photograph” shows that this is an entirely different matter. This is now a censoring engine that is out of control. The specification ‘either remove or pixelize’ does not cut it, especially when it concerns a historical photo that was given a Pulitzer.

I am actually considering that there is more in play, you see, the Atlantic (at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/05/facebook-isnt-fair/482610/) said it in May when it published “Facebook Doesn’t Have to Be Fair. The company has no legal obligation to be balanced—and lawmakers know it“, which is the title and subtitle and as such, the story is told and politicians like John Thune experienced how a social network can drown out whatever it wants (within reason). So when you see something is trending on Facebook, you must comprehend that it is not an algorithm, but contracted people guide its creation and as quotes in the Atlantic “routinely suppressed conservative news“. Yet this goes further than just censorship and news. As the Editor of Aftenposten raises (and others with him), Mark Zuckerberg has now become the most powerful editor in the world. He now has nothing less than a sworn duty to uphold the freedom of speech to a certain degree, especially when relying on algorithms that are unlikely to cut the mustard on its current track. It now also opposes the part the Atlantic gave us with the subtitle “The company has no legal obligation to be balanced—and lawmakers know it” showing Sheryl Sandberg in a ‘who gives a fuck‘ pose. You see, at present Facebook has over 1.7 billion active users. What is interesting is that the acts that he has been found guilty of acts that negatively impacts well over 50% of his active user base. Norway might be small, but he is learning that it packs a punch, and when we add India to the mix, the percentage of alienated people by the censoring act of Facebook goes up by a lot. So even as there is the use of blanket rules, the application is now showing to be more and more offensive to too many users and as such this level of censorship could hurt the bottom dollar that every social media site has, which are the number of users. So as Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get appeal in Asia, he needs to realise that catering to one more nation could have drastic consequences to those he think he has. Now we understand that there needs to be some level of censorship, yet the correct application of it seems to go the wrong way. Of course this could still all go south and we would have get used to log in to 顔のブック, or 脸书. Even चेहरे की किताब is not out of the question. So is that what Zuckerberg needs? I know the US is scared shitless in many ways when that happens, so perhaps overseeing a massive change into the world of censoring is now an important issue. Espen Egil Hansen said it nearly all when he stated “a troubling inability to “distinguish between child pornography and famous war photographs”, as well as an unwillingness to “allow space for good judgement”” is at the heart of the matter. In that regard, the issue of “routinely suppressing conservative news” remains the issue. When you censor 50% of your second largest user base, it is no longer just a case of free speech or freedom of expression. It becomes an optional case of discrimination, which could have even further extending consequences. Even as we sit now, there are lawsuits in play, the one from Pamela Geller, a person that only seems to be taken serious by Breitbart News is perhaps the most striking of all. Pamela (At http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/07/13/pamela-geller-suing-facebook/) with the quote “My page “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s In the Quran” was taken down from Facebook because it was “hate speech.” Hate speech? Really? The page ran the actual Quranic texts and teachings that called for hatred and incitement of violence against the Jews.” is a dangerous one. It is dangerous because it is in the same place as the Vietnam photo. The fact that this is a published religious book makes it important and the fact that the book is quoted makes it accurate. The blaze (at http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/01/05/an-israeli-group-created-fake-anti-israel-and-anti-palestinian-facebook-pages-guess-which-one-got-taken-down/) goes one step further and conducted an experiment. The resulting quote is “The day the complaint was filed, the page inciting against Arabs was shut down. The group received a Hebrew language message from Facebook that read, according to a translation via Shurat HaDin, “We reviewed the page you reported for containing credible threat of violence and found it violates our community standards”, the page inciting against Jews was left active.” This indicates that Facebook has a series of issues. One cannot help but wonder whether this issue is merely bias or the economic print the Muslim world has when measured against a group of 8 million Israeli’s or perhaps just the population of 16 million Jews globally. With the Aftenposten event, Facebook seems to have painted itself into a corner, and if correct several lawsuits that could soon force Facebook to have a rigorous evaluation and reorganisation of several of its internal and external departments.

Because if Content is the cornerstone of Social media, the need to keep a clear view of freedom of expression and freedom of speech becomes even more important. In a product that seeks the need for growth that should have been obviously clear.

There is however a side that is not addressed by any. You might get the idea when you see the Guardian quote “News organizations are uncomfortably reliant on Facebook to reach an online audience. According to a 2016 study by Pew Research Center, 44% of US adults get their news on Facebook. Facebook’s popularity means that its algorithms can exert enormous power over public opinion“, the fact that Facebook might soon be hiding behind the ‘algorithms‘ as we see Facebook go forward on a defence relying on their version of the DEFAMATION ACT. In this example I will use the DEFAMATION ACT 2005 (Australian Law), where we see in Article 32

32 Defence of innocent dissemination
(1) It is a defence to the publication of defamatory matter if the defendant proves that:
(a) the defendant published the matter merely in the capacity, or as an employee or agent, of a subordinate distributor, and
(b) the defendant neither knew, nor ought reasonably to have known, that the matter was defamatory, and
(c) the defendant’s lack of knowledge was not due to any negligence on the part of the defendant.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is a “subordinate distributor” of defamatory matter if the person:

(a) was not the first or primary distributor of the matter, and
(b) was not the author or originator of the matter, and
(c) did not have any capacity to exercise editorial control over the content of the matter (or over the publication of the matter) before it was first published.

By relying on Algorithms, Facebook could now possible skate the issue, yet this can only happen if certain elements fall away, in addition, the algorithm will now become part of the case and debate muddying the waters further still.

Hanson does hit the nail on the head when it comes to the issues he raises like “geographically differentiated guidelines and rules for publication”, “distinguish[ing] between editors and other Facebook users,” and a “comprehensive review of the way you operate”. He is not wrong, yet I have to raise the following

In the first, when you decide to rely on “geographically differentiated guidelines and rules for publication”, you also include the rules of who you publish to. This is the first danger for Facebook, their granularity could fall away to some extent and Facebook advertising is all about global granularity. It is a path he would be very unwilling to skate. Open and global are his ticket to some of the largest companies. When this comes into play, smaller players like Coca Cola and Mars could soon find the beauty of moving some of their advertisements funds away from Facebook and towards Google AdWords. I am decently certain that Google will not be opposing that view any day soon.

In the second “distinguish[ing] between editors and other Facebook users” is only part of the path, you see when we start classifying the user, Facebook could start having to classify a little too much, making any distinguishing of such kind additional worries in regards to discrimination. Twitter faced that mess recently when a certain picture from one Newspaper was allowed and another one was not. That and the fact that a woman named Molly Wood (her actual name) was not allowed to use her name as her Facebook name, which is a matter for another day.

In the third the issue “comprehensive review of the way you operate” which is very much in play. The cases that Facebook has faced regarding content and privacy are merely the tip of the iceberg. We can all agree that when it is about sex crimes people tend to notice it, I am speculating for the most because of the word ‘sex’. So when I saw that there is a June reference (at http://www.mrctv.org/blog/facebook-censuring-international-stories-about-rapes-muslim-refugees), when Facebook removed a video from Ingrid Carlqvist for the Gatestone Institute, where she reports that there has been a 1,500% increase in rapes in Sweden, I was wondering why this had not found the front page of EVERY newspaper in every nations where there is free speech. The Gatestone Institute is a not-for-profit international policy think tank run by former UN Ambassador John Bolton, so not some kind of radicalised front.

In that regard is any kind of censoring even acceptable?

This case is more apt than you think when you consider the quote we see, even as I cannot give weight to the publishing site. We see “Facebook may have been incited to censor this story by a new European Union push in cooperation with Facebook, Twitter, and Google to report incidents of racism or xenophobia to the authorities for criminal prosecution” with the by-line “In order to prevent the spread of illegal hate speech, it is essential to ensure that relevant national laws transposing the Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia are fully enforced by Member States in the online as well as the in the offline environment. While the effective application of provisions criminalising hate speech is dependent on a robust system of enforcement of criminal law sanctions against the individual perpetrators of hate speech, this work must be complemented with actions geared at ensuring that illegal hate speech online is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame. To be considered valid in this respect, a notification should not be insufficiently precise or inadequately substantiated“, which was followed by “No matter why Facebook decided to remove Ingrid Carlqvist’s personal page, it doesn’t lessen the fact that this is another example of their political censorship, and their desire to place political correctness over freedom of the press and freedom of expression

Now this part has value and weight for the following reason: When we consider the earlier move by Facebook to relay on algorithms, the European Commission (at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1937_en.htm) gives us: ‘is expeditiously reviewed by online intermediaries and social media platforms, upon receipt of a valid notification, in an appropriate time-frame‘, which could imply that an algorithm will not be regarded as one of the online intermediaries, which means that the human element remains and that Facebook cannot rely on the innocent dissemination part of the Defamation Act, meaning that they could end up being in hot water in several countries soon enough.

As parting words, let Facebook take heed of the words of Steven Spielberg: “There is a fine line between censorship and good taste and moral responsibility“.

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