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Hammering Facebook

The Guardian has another story, which was updated a mere 6 hours ago. To be honest, I am a little ticked off. I get that the Guardian is giving us this and it makes perfect sense, it is news. Yet when I see ‘Fake news inquiry: Facebook questioned by MPs from around the world – as it happened‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/live/2018/nov/27/fake-news-inquiry-facebook-to-face-mps-from-around-the-world-mark-zuckerberg-live-updates), whilst in the same setting we see newspapers ‘hiding’ behind ‘from an unnamed source’, when we get blasted by well over 64 million results in Google Search on the death of a journalist that close to nobody gives a hoot about, the entire ‘fake news‘ seems to be nothing more than a targeted sham to me. Not the element of fake news, I get that, but some of the players are a little too hypocrite to my liking.

So let’s take a look at a few of these issues we see (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/27/facebook-fake-news-inquiry-the-countries-demanding-answers).

Ireland: “The Irish government is reviewing proposed legislation to promote online safety amid an outcry that tech companies are unable or unwilling to tackle harmful content. The move jars with Dublin’s normally effusive support for tech companies with an Irish base. Facebook has its European headquarters in Dublin and falls under the remit of Irish data protection authorities“. The first thing to do is look at the definition. The European commission gives us: “Harmful content, is authorized material subject to distribution restrictions (adults only, for example) or material which some users may find offensive even if, on the grounds of freedom of speech, there are no restrictions on publication.” First of all, the Pornhub site is freely available to every man, woman and child. In addition there is a porn version of YouTube that is also freely available, from that we can see that Ireland has a lot of other worries and these two are not available through Facebook. When we look at Ireland we see a nation that given in to big business through tax laws at the drop of any hat and they have harmful content issues? In addition the Times gave us on November 6th: “Google and Facebook will call on the government today to define exactly what kind of content a proposed digital safety commissioner would have the power to remove online.” It becomes a lot more entertaining when we see in Fine Gael last week: “Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton will travel to Westminster next Tuesday (November 27th) for a meeting of the International Grand Committee on Communications”, as well as ““Social media companies cannot hide from the genuine concerns of national parliaments from around the globe, it is imperative they engage with us in a meaningful way. “This document sets out a blueprint for how that can be done.” It is entertaining as she seemingly has a document whilst this entire setting has been going on for years (even before Cambridge Analytics). That entire meeting is in my personal opinion as hollow as it sounds. All trying to look important, yet where is that so called document from Hildegarde Naughton? It does not seem to be on the HN site (at http://www.hildegarde.ie), so where is it? When we are told: ‘This document builds upon the work done by the Oireachtas Communications Committee‘, we should be able to read and scrutinise it. You see, the Irish Law Reform Commission has a 2016 document (at https://www.lawreform.ie/_fileupload/Reports/Full%20Colour%20Cover%20Report%20on%20Harmful%20Communications%20and%20Digital%20Safety.pdf), it is merely that or a continuance of that? And this document is important, especially on page 165 where we see: “The definition of “communication” implements the recommendation in paragraph 2.53 that the proposed legislation on harmful communications should apply to all forms of communication, whether offline or online, analogue or digital, and therefore the definition includes communication by speech, by letter, by camera, by telephone (including SMS text message), by smart phone, by any digital or online communication (including the internet, a search engine, a social media platform, a social media site or the world wide web), or by any other telecommunications system.

This now implies that art is now no longer merely in the eyes of the beholder, basically if any art is regarded as harmful content, is comes under scrutiny (read: censoring) A massive part from Facebook is relying on art to propagate via digital medium, digital art is still in its infancy and it seems that this offends Ireland in the broader view it has, it is in that view that my message to Hildegarde Naughton is seen (at https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/priest-who-sexually-assaulted-girl-6-during-first-confession-avoids-jail-due-to-old-age-and-health-problems-36840577.html). When we contemplate that when you have health issues and you are old, it seems fine to rape a six year old. It is all in the nuance, is it not? So, what will you do when you consider this Grigor Malinov painting to be harmful content? Add a Jade Swim bikini with a brush and a fashionable colour? In light of what certain people get away with, the entire harmful content is not a joke, yet hammer Facebook with it, whilst there are other players openly in the field is too weird as I personally see it.

Then we get a Turkish advertisement variant with ‘MPs do not intend to publish Six4Three documents today, Collins says‘, either you have the documents and you inform the public, or you go home and polish your silverware! You scream fake news and leave the audience in innuendo and what I personally perceive as intentional miscommunication, and haven’t we seen enough of that?

Blame Canada

I can’t resist, whenever I see a Canadian flag, a Canuck or anything Canadian I think of that South Park song. It’s nothing negative, I think that Canada is awesome in hockey, it seems to have great people (several attended UTS with me) and it seems to have a healthy life. I’d take a job in Canada any day if possible (as well as the opportunity to watch Hockey almost every night), I might even be good enough to be a goalie for one of their NHL teams, even though I am nowhere near Martin Jones as a goalie (I merely wish I was). So Canada gives us: ‘Facebook inflated video viewing times for two years‘, I actually see an issue here, the Guardian gives us “only counting views lasting more than 3 seconds, the time a video must be seen to count as a view“, yet with YouTube the skip moment is 5 seconds an now as some people get 100% more ads with many of them not with the option to be skipped we see a shifted trend. This might be YouTube, yet there is no chance that this does not affect Facebook, giving rise that Canada has as optional a valid issue. Richard Allan (Facebook) gives us: ““it depends on the problem we’re trying to solve”“, something that might be valid, yet in the question by Charlie Angus we see: “Facebook has inflated video metrics, overstated for two years. “I would consider that corporate fraud, on a massive scale,” he says, “and the best fix is anti-trust. The simplest form of regulation would be to break facebook up, or treat it as a utility, so that we can all be sure that we’re counting metrics that are accurate or true.” I see his failure as a setting as there is a large intertwined part of Facebook, Vines, YouTube and a few other medium adding fuel to the video metrics, no matter if all hosted on Facebook. You would have to set the stage for all and to merely have Facebook here is a faulty stage, we get pushed into an assumption pool of no facts and biased metrics making matters merely worse. I feel certain that Charlie Angus should have and probably did know this making the issue a tainted one on more than one level.

Finally, let’s go out with a bang and add Latvia to the stage. When we get Latvia’s Inese Lībiņa-Egnere, we get the question: “how Facebook can help countries like Latvia, that face specific threats from Russia“. It took me around three minutes to stop laughing, I should be serious, but I cannot hold my straight face. You see, that is not the job of Facebook. I will go one step further, by stating: “Dear Inese, have you considered adding digital responsibility to both the Drošības policija and the Militārās izlūkošanas un drošības dienests?” There is an unconfirmed rumour that one of your routers is still set to ‘Passw0rd‘ and another one to ‘Cisco123‘, can you please confirm that? In light of the fact that ‘https://www.zs.mil.lv/lv/kontakti‘ directly links to Facebook pages, one might see how the Latvian military (as well as Latvian intelligence) could get phished in several ways, especially when there is the chance that some alleged under dressed biker chick would have been looking for ‘adventurous officers’. It gets to be even more fun when that alleged woman look a lot like a vogue model. You should introduce them to: (https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/fake-facebook-scams/), to have Common Cyber Sense is a government’s responsibility. Getting Facebook to do free consultancy via a hearing is just not Cricket.

I will end this with Brazil, I really liked his question: ‘He asks what Facebook is doing to prevent improper manipulation of its algorithms to prevent illegal manipulation of elections‘. It is a good and important question. I think the newspapers, especially the tech columns should spend space on this and let Facebook show them what is being done, what the impact is, how those metrics were generated and how its validity was checked. I think that the problem is a lot larger than we imagine. I would set a line towards American soft money. It has never been regulated and it still is not. We talk about fake news and political influence, whilst soft money is doing that in the US from the day after a president is elected all the way up to the next presidential election (or the senate, or congress). It is basically shouting at one, whilst the other element is ignored. The difference is that digital campaigns give anyone all the soft money they need, taking the rich out of the equation, the fact that I have not seen anything towards these lines gives a larger implied weight on all media. All those newspapers with ‘from an unnamed source‘ and that is where the blockage begins. There is a setting that it is not the ability or Russia, but the failing of others not correctly countering digital media that is the problem and that was never a Facebook problem, it merely shows the incompetence of others and in an age of advanced nepotism it is a much harder pill to swallow.

In all this, I never claimed that Facebook is innocent, merely that there is a lack of the proper questions making it to the table and even as a few nations were addressed, the issue is a lot larger and needs addressing, preferably before the 5G tap opens which allows the digital media providers to deliver 500% more than it is delivering now.

I wonder how many players have considered the impact of that game changer.

 

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A Syrian Reality

Another day, another mention of Aleppo, Syria and events. Hilary Benn speaks of the shame we all should feel. Yet, here we have an issue. Not with his sentiment, but with the clarity of who or what is in charge. Now that the UN has another meeting, labelled as ’emergency’, it is time for people to realise that labels are no longer things to see You see, CNN states ‘descent into hell‘, I say ‘the reality of choice‘. As we now see that Assad, with Russian aid secures the news like ‘Syrian Government Forces Are Close to Full Liberation of Aleppo City’ and ‘Syrian army gaining control of Aleppo eastern quarters’ we need to realise that America is no longer the leader of the free world, that it is too bankrupt to be calling any shots other than commercial deals (read: trade agreements) to feed its own greed. The fact that Libya has now asked Russia to intervene on its behalf. As General Khalifa Haftar is meeting with Russian minister to seek help, we now all need to realise that we are chasing the consent from an empty bag names America. Only now, well over a year too late are pundits all over the media field considering a change. Those who some consider to be half baked evangelical procrastinators of social sciences are now considering that Frexit ‘might’ happen. The data was clearly there for well over 26 weeks. Just like they were trying to stay buddies with those running the gravy trains, Brexit was ignored for too long and Frexit is very nearly a given next. When you consider the quote two weeks ago in the Guardian “Kenny’s administration in Dublin to strongly back any French attempt to gain more concessions from Brussels to prevent a possible ‘Frexit’“, we can now start quoting South Park (Oh my god, they killed Kenny) whilst Ireland is considering the dangers it is manoeuvring itself in.

What about Syria?

Yes, that is the question, because for the most, no one gives a dams about Syria! This is a harsh reality. When you look at the cold reality for Syria, you will consider that the natural resources of Syria include iron ore, crude oil, phosphate rock, manganese ore, asphalt, marble, rock salt, and gypsum. Most can be gotten in many places, whilst oil value is in the basement and iron ore is in an even worse place. The large corporations do not care for any of these substances, so as such The American Congress is speaking a lot, not saying much and acting even less. The evidence is all around you. This outgoing Democratic failure has done next to nothing substantial. We see mention of weapon support. It is less than it should be and likely done to write off old equipment or get some parties a tax breaks (personal assumption), it never amounted to anything serious. The same could be stated for the United Kingdom, who with the US was involved with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, because the growth of ISIL is scary for both of them. In my view, if there is any hero to be laureled in this mess than it would be the doctors who despite this level of ignoring are still trying to aspire the best the medical profession has to offer, in my view, most of these doctors are worth of any recognition that equals the Victorian Cross (American equivalent: Medal of Honor).

The grim reality of life set to value is that the morality of the things that President Assad was accused of. Perhaps some people remember how a little over 5 years ago, the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring escalated to armed conflict after President Bashar al-Assad’s government violently repressed protests calling for his removal. Soon thereafter we had the issue that the government of a sovereign nation retaliated against those who were seeking to overthrow that government. This is the issue, you see, many of these nations had to deal with massive gaps in quality and quantity of life. There was a great deal of dissatisfaction that led to opposition and uprising against these governments and as such things escalated. There have been widely distributed claims that the US government’s support of the uprisings fuelled actions, funded largely by the National Endowment for Democracy (www.ned.org). This in an age where people in non-governmental places seem to think that whatever they do the US government had its back. Yet the outgoing Democratic Party had no money left, even worse, the total national debt is expected to hit 20 trillion just when President-elect Donald Trump gets into office. He gets a building to temporary live in and a debt that will take more than 3 generations to remove. Whatever happens, their choice will be American based, American focussed and there will be no space for any military action of any kind unless it is due to a direct attack on America. In all of this Syria is not mentioned, because for the players at large, it has no value, not the living, the dead or the national resources. For the next 8 years at least there is every indication that Russia will get a near cart blanch to grow its influence and after this December 2016 there is plenty of evidence that this will come with full Syrian backing, and likely Libyan backing too.

So this now ups the ante for Israel and in addition, it will require the allies and friends of Israel to up their game by a lot, because this game implies that the next cold war comes with one player short, an empty intelligence coffer and a much wider supported Russia. I reckon that Alexander Bortnikov will be having some very comfortable lunches with Sergey Lavrov. I can only assume that black bread and borscht will not be on the menu, Pancake! (Internal FSB translation joke).

These events are very much at the core because the US security council has the US and Russia in opposition, so that part is not expected to get into action, the only benefit here is that China could side with US, not because of any Syrian humanitarian need, but if the US gets committed here, the US economic prospects go down further, which would suit China just fine. In my view, if there is anything to be salvaged, than it needs to be Jordan, not Syria. If we actually have any regard for lives, than the support for Jordan, for its infrastructure and resources is essential as it has been trying to give support to 1.4 million refugees (Syrians and officially registered refugees).

Let this sink in readers, we are bickering all over the world on how many refugees we should take and Jordan has added 25% of its entire population from refugees and Syrians. That whilst Jordan has always had a shortage of water and a few other resources. In my view, the actions of King Abdullah II of Jordan seem to me to be more worthy of a Nobel Peace prize a lot more than the one given to President Barack Obama ever was. I am not ignoring the issues at the Jordanian border, the given fact by Al Jazeera et al that there tens of thousands of refugees stuck in no man’s land. Yet Jordan already has 1.4 million, 25% of its entire population, they have done more than most nations have considered. That part, will be opposed and countered by nearly every nation, but that is the grim reality. I feel certain that Jordan was not working with open arms, yet when we see the few thousand that are in Greece (OK, a little over 10% of those in Jordan), the fact that Syrians (as reported by Ekathimerini) have been quoted that compared to life as a refugee in Greece, they would have preferred to have stayed in Syria. Tell me, when a person prefers to take their chances and live in an active war zone, how bad are you as a nation? Now, we can agree that Greece was in a really bad place before the Syrian refugees arrived, so that did not help the Greeks any, also their lack of any infrastructure to deal with these amount of refugees must also be accepted.

In all these matters discussed, big business have remained silent, inert and lacking actual action that make a difference. In addition, as Donald Trump is stated to make a policy change that it will be ‘America First’, which under their economic climate is fair enough, when the dust settles and President Bashar Hafez al-Assad sits on his ‘throne’ as victor, how many nations will move forward trying to do ‘business’ with Syria? How many will enter the quote ‘moving forward’ in their speeches and statements? You see, the reality of any nation has forever been that those with empty coffers do not govern, the US is figuring that out the hard way, because its actions and messages on a global scale are ignored by too many players for it not to be the case. In the end, these trade deals have a one sided benefit for American companies. They would still get to sue other governments, whilst the President-elect is moving towards the tactic of: “Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores“, and here I will be honest, it is pretty much the only option that the US has and no one can fault America for that, just realise that those who would have enacted the TTIP/TPP would have learned the hard way that American corporations would have sued governments for the mere profit of it. That too would bring money to America, and their board of directors. In all this, in light of Brexit/Frexit and now these trade deals, we see a massive lack of national legal protection in these ‘deals’, this whilst these corporations have only consented to continue certain factories when the tax breaks are juicy enough. When that falls away, those claimed economic national benefits fall away too and even today, certain taxations that wold have been seen as fair as those places took away billions, now that the economic weather changes, nations at large need to consider where to move to next. It is that weather that made me evangelize stronger bonds with the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Most nations have a growing need for generic medication and places like Syria, Jordan and Greece even more. Yet the people who should have realised this seem to be pushing for any pharmaceutical deal with America, whilst the players all know that there will be no local benefit, none at all, so again we see now that the Trump thinks like a business man, which is what the social left is not getting (read: comprehending), whilst they ignored the tax reform essentials, they keep on giving money from empty coffers, that party is over and those not adjusting their view will be in the cold soon enough. This also means that certain values change. This is the grim reality for Syrians, their value is none and have been so for some time. Not on a humanitarian scale, but the nations at large have no funds there, so we see that we turn our backs on a situation we cannot change and we cannot influence, in my personal view, mainly because some lawmakers were asleep at the wheel in setting up trade deals and certain tax loop holes (read: these loopholes were purely incidental and coincidental, not in any way orchestrated). Now we have to choose between economic hardship and humanitarian ‘sound’ suicide, how is that a choice?

So here we are, seeing another iteration of ‘boo hoo hoo’ Syria, we all know it, we all agree and we cannot do anything, mainly because those who could, gave away the keys to the castle and the executive washroom. Those who are now in charge are setting the pace and none of them want a war where they get nothing out of. This is the mere reality of an economic driven political society of elected officials. No monarchy would ever abide by that. Should you see that the Libyan and Syrian deal have no influence, when you hear someone preach just that, and how America will get on top soon enough, also feel free to investigate the connections that are now happening between Egypt and Russia. A new air base on the Mediterranean close to the Libyan border, so as America moved out, Europe is getting surrounded by Russian bases, if we include the now permanent Russian Naval base in Syria. This is why Israel needs to change its game, because it is not outside of the realm of issues that Mossad now needs to refocus their attentions to foreign operations and data gathering. A field that the Russian have been decently good at. They do have one advantage, Sergey Yevgenyevich Naryshkin might be highly intelligent; he lacks experience and is relatively new to the job. If he ends up relying on the heads of Political Intelligence and Illegal Intelligence, the game changes, because those two are not the newbies we would want them to be and the Middle East desk will be the new hot potato for Intelligence Officers with a scent for promotion for at least 5 years (read: Mossad will have to deal with Intelligence ego’s from all over Europe). My weird sense of humour would try to push those two into the marching path of General-Lieutenant Igor Valentinovich Korobov, a proud man and as per 2016 the new head of the GRU, pride is something that often be used against that very same person.

Why mention these matters, what is their impact on Syrian refugees?

No matter what happens in the coming 3 weeks, when the dust settles, most nations would want these refugees to return to Syria, many Syrians want to return to Syria, but that place is in rubble and those people have nothing left. Syria will be a construction heaven for Russian entrepreneurs for decades to come, also meaning that the economic times will change and the Middle East picture we had of it will have changed more than many understand or want to take for granted. The Arab spring will soon be seen as a temporary thing that was not the success people wanted and proclaimed it to be. Some in those fields will object and counter with all kinds of manipulated data, in addition the press will give a few more articles on how the Arab spring was the only way and it was a good way, yet when we see that Russian influence is rising all over the Mediterranean, and now with Morocco raising the tourist numbers for China and Russia, it could be interpreted that a first signal is given to Sergey Lavrov that a conversation of interest is soon to be an option. In my personal view, one of two corridors of travel for ISIS ends up being in Russian hands. If not correctly countered we will see a radically shifted view of northern Africa with America no longer being any form of player there. This also reflects on Syria, because these nations will allow Russia to set up an empty trade house where they are merely the middle man in commerce between Syrians and Northern African partners, so suddenly there will be large economic growth (moving from zero that will always be the case) and it will push a shift in other ways too. It is the Grim reality we face, because the actual culprit was greed and we have seen how both America and the European Economic Community was unwilling and unable to act against it, which is why we will only see a stronger push for Frexit and Brexit. A move that scares the US, because the Euro and the Dollar are too closely tied and this dissolving action will be seen as the nightmare scenario by the IMF and Wall Street, where the question now becomes: who is speaking for whom?

 

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