because democracy dies in darkness…and drowns in #Fake News…

…Trump’s poodle Emmanuel Macron is promising bans on Fake News during French elections, and is about to introduce legislation allowing emergency blocks and legal actions against Fake News websites.  The legislation would include increased transparency about sponsored content, including the financing; the amount of funding would be capped.

““If we want to protect liberal democracies, we must be strong and have clear rules,” he added.  He said France’s media watchdog, the CSA, would be empowered to fight against “any attempt at destabilisation” by TV stations controlled or influenced by foreign states.

Macron said he wanted to act against what he called “propaganda articulated by thousands of social media accounts”.

Meanwhile, the EU security commissioner says new regulations may have to be brought in if tech firms fail to tackle issues voluntarily, and that Brussels may threaten social media companies unless they urgently tackle Fake News (and mumble, mumble, Cambridge Analytical style, hooom-hooms) which EU SC Julian King said “opened their eyes”.

See, CA is simply a McGuffin; Facebook shares have increased since the Great Scandal and Zuck-the-fuck’s ‘grilling’ before a Senate subcommittee.. ‘soooo eye-opening’, though.

“Under King’s ideas, social media companies would sign a voluntary code of conduct to prevent the “misuse of platforms to pump out misleading information”.

The code would include a pledge for greater transparency, so users would be made aware why their Facebook or Twitter feed was presenting them with certain adverts or stories. Another proposal is for political adverts to be accompanied with information about who paid for them.

“We want to see whether we can rapidly reach agreement with key platforms and stakeholders on a policy level, with them being a bit more open about why you are seeing what you are seeing,” King said.”

Then: Regulate yourselves or…we will regulate you!  But without, yanno, falling into the trap of (gasp): Censorship!

The author does mention this (ahem) little oopsie:

“The EU has also run into criticism over the approach of its counter-propaganda unit, East Stratcom, which runs a website, Disinformation Review, intended to weed out false facts about the EU and tell positive, true stories.

Earlier this year, the taskforce made an embarrassing about-turn after naming three Dutch websites as purveyors of fake news, as a result of translation errors. Newspaper De Gelderlander, anti-EU weblog GeenStijl and the Post Online were removed from the EU v Disinfo site this year, after complaints and threats of legal action. The episode exposed the reliance of the taskforce on a network of NGOs and journalist fact-checkers, who may be using machine translators.”

But the author quotes King as saying that ‘East Stratcom’s doing an important job of uncovering systemic attempts to run fake stories’, and they welcome any challenges to their…decisions in error, let’s say.

But oh, dear me, as so many predicted, including wsws, Andre Damon at wsws reports:

“Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, spelled out for the first time the criteria it uses to censor speech on its platform, purely at its own discretion, and with no legal oversight or recourse.

Its “community guidelines” are so sweeping and broad that effectively any statement expressing any critical political view can be constrained as violent, defamatory, “extremist,” “bullying” or—in the most sweeping catchall—“fake news,” and flagged for removal or undetectable censorship.

These “community guidelines” are used by the 20,000 in Facebook’s “security” and “moderation” departments—constituting the absolute majority of the company’s employees—to shape political discourse and block content the massive and unaccountable technology monopoly deems objectionable.

The centerpiece of this censorship apparatus is Facebook’s policy regarding “fake news.” In its newly released community guidelines, the social media monopoly made clear that it would not let users know their content is being blocked from distribution as “fake news” because such censorship is a “sensitive issue”:

‘Reducing the spread of false news on Facebook is a responsibility that we take seriously. We also recognize that this is a challenging and sensitive issue. We want to help people stay informed without stifling productive public discourse. There is also a fine line between false news and satire or opinion. For these reasons, we don’t remove false news from Facebook but instead, significantly reduce its distribution by showing it lower in the News Feed.’

“La Rochefoucauld’s maxim that “hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue” applies here. Since journalists, publishers and users would raise a hue and cry over their content being censored, Facebook simply carries out its censorship in secret. By blocking distribution on the Facebook news feed, the company’s actions have the same effect as simply deleting content, but without any legal proof that the company violated its users’ First Amendment rights.”

Now he doesn’t say where he’d seen this report, nor link to it, but:

“In a quarterly report published Monday, Google bragged that it removed over 8 million videos from YouTube, of which the great majority—some 6.7 million—were “first flagged for review by machines rather than humans.” More than three quarters of the videos flagged by Google’s AI systems “were removed before they received a single view.”

The company declared, “Deploying machine learning actually means more people reviewing content, not fewer. Our systems rely on human review to assess whether content violates our policies.” Like Facebook, Google has hired an army of censors, aiming to employ 10,000 people in this department by the end of the year.”

Having seen evidence of claims that some Tankies on Twitter have been disappeared, when I clicked in this a.m. I found at the top of the screen: ‘Updates to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy’ including these hints and clues:

“These updates will take effect on May 25, 2018. By using our services on or after that date, you’ll be agreeing to these revisions. You should read the documents in full, but the key updates in our Privacy Policy include:

  • More focus on the controls we offer you over your personal data;
  • More focus on how Twitter shares your public data broadly and instantly, including through our developer tools;
  • More transparency and control over how we share your data with business partners; and
  • More clarity about how we share your data to prevent harm, comply with law, serve the public interest, and keep Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone.

Remember, you can use the controls we highlight in our updated policy to limit the information we collect about you or how we use it. You can also choose to deactivate your Twitter account. You have the final say about whether and how we process your personal data. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Yes, yes, the internet was supposed to be the ‘great leveler’ wasn’t it?  Citizen journalism, war-crimes and po-po-busting videos? The IDF blasting holes in citizens during the March of Return?  Fuck it, with net neutrality a thing of the past, and a corrupt ‘only legacy parties allowed’ US electoral system that share the same toxic bowels?  I’m just glad electro-shocks don’t come through my laptop mouse when I try to click into one of the Propaganda™ sites or Twitter accounts…so far.

Yanno, I’m glad the ruling class and social network multi-billionaires are working so hard to keep us safe from #Fake News from propagandists like these:

I give up; what did The Great Equalizer end up changing anyway?  This Empire’s gonna go down soon, maybe we’ll sort it out later. Who needs Craig Murray, anyway?  Who needs WikiLeaks with Julian Assange stuck in a virtual prison if he’s even still alive?   Who needs the Peace Corps?  Illegitimate and Evil USA and Western gummints: rot in hadesDue Process and the Rule of Law?  Ha!Drafted by and for property and slave owners.

So me, I’m gonna go shopping with some Beyoncé bucks and lay around the shanty and put a good buzz on.  By the by: where is that free soma Aldous Huxley promised us, anyway?

(cross-posted at


18 responses to “because democracy dies in darkness…and drowns in #Fake News…

  1. Facebook hires 10,000 censors! Who ever heard of such a thing in the history of the world? Never and nowhere, not even in the glory days of the Spanish Inquisition!

    And this cannot be fake news, because you could not make this shit up, and nobody would believe it if you did! I don’t even believe it when I hear it straight from Zuckerberg!

  2. the spanish inquisition?

    but guess whose twit account will be closed soon, and whose won’t? and robert mackey’s CV is just brilliant! (of the NOT prop list)

    the twittersphere had a hella lot of fun with the opening photo, via RT: ‘Trolling the bromance: Trump-Macron love-in sparks major meme meltdown’’

  3. Whilst we are dumpster diving, wendye, I will direct folks’ attention to a Jill Stein up-speak on “Russiagate” (importantly and also devastatingly she leaves out the quotation marks), over on counterpunch today.

    Well Jill, I am very sorry to say, this mangy old dog won’t even cast her eyes in the direction of the fox any more, or is it a carrot? “Fool me once!” as the valiant pilot landing like Evel Kanievel on the pitching aircraft carrier deck once opined. Mission impossible if you expect a good sharp salute from hereabouts as you adroitly take up arms against all interference in election matters, including that willothewhisp nasty, Russia, the modern day scarlet pimpernel —

    (What IS a pimpernel anyway?) But I digress; end of rant.

    • oh, gaaack; i’d just read it while looking for something else that turned out to be satire of a sort. buttah just wouldn’t melt in her mouth, now would it? ‘but allow me to add all these extra bits that are, yanno, in order, too! not just russia, but our meddling in other nations’ elections, too! after raising all that money for recounts in aid of ‘foreign interference in our elections’. bah, humbug, jill, and it was also in direct contraction to the green party board’s wishes as well.

      ooof, ché pasa and i got in a kerfuffle over it at ian welsh’s site back in the day. “she did what she said she’d do, but you don’t like it. check.”

      but a scarlet pimpernel is the pin (iirc?) of the flower he wore. dayum, i loved the anthony andrews version, yummy. and most of the images in the bing were orange, not scarlet, but…

      further dumpster-diving from rt under “democracy drowns under Fake News:
      Neocons & Russiagaters unite! New think tank will protect democracy from Russia, sell booksvia RT, and yes, they link to the new…’New Democracy Initiative’ organization

      • Thanks, wendye. Now that you mention the pin, it all comes back to me…just did my own dumpsterdive at saker’s site – he’s so reasonable on many things but oy, on Orthodoxy? So caught up in historical inadequacies that he righteously damns mere mortals such as Patriarch Kiril and Pope Francis. These are good, well-meaning spiritual folk, and we are fortunate to have them!

        Yet Saker condemns both- Kiril for being ‘subservient to the state’, whatever that means, and the pope for being catholic, and worse, a Jesuit! It’s such a contrast to Saker’s rational support of peace loving Islamists. Ah well, there’s ancestral hurt there somewhere, I have to think.

        Our little church stayed way, way out of church fratricidal politics and was the better for that. We were canonically consecrated, but our dear bishop hied himself off, to Australia, and though we always said a prayer for him, his absence was a blessing we never worried about. And I still interiorly inhabit that existence gratefully today, out of the mainstream, spun off into a quietly contemplative eddy, a true gift to my soul. It’s really what the faith has at its core, but hard to describe in any tangible form. I’ve attempted to do so utterly failing many times–to each, his or her own eddy!

        • not being able to grasp the context of the saker’s condemnation of either francis or kirill, i will at least offer that some recent anti-war remarks i’ve heard attributed to the patriarch well well-said. were they from his easter mass? i’ve of course forgotten. that said, i disagree about francis, but i won’t add to your angst in chronicling the ‘whys’. ;-)

          were the prayers about your absent bishop akin to the dialogue in fiddler on the roof close to: ‘rabbi, rabbi! is there a a blessing for the tsar?’ ‘hmmmm….well, yes! ‘may the tsar bless us by staying far away form us.’

          and how poetic, juliania: ‘And I still interiorly inhabit that existence gratefully today, out of the mainstream, spun off into a quietly contemplative eddy, a true gift to my soul.’ if i have an eddy in which i find some measure of peace and purpose, it’s often elusive; sometimes i even find myself drowning in it, esp. w/ some hellish family tribulations of late. that we live in a glorious rural sanctuary we created is a blessing beyond compare, as is the fact that mr. wd and i have each other.

  4. the angry arab got a warning from facebook and google messages on april 25: ‘Zionist war on freedom of expression’

    Something is going on. I have been receiving from Google messages that I have violated their rules here on my blog. And today I received this warning from Facebook that I used “abusive material” in a post. I looked below and found a post about the assassination of a Palestinian academic in Malaysia and a reference to the Mossad. Basically, I hurt the feelings of the Mossad in the post. It is clear that the political sphere of expression for Arabs on social media is increasingly controlled and limited by the Israeli government.

    “A post you made contains content that violates our Terms of Use. This message serves as a warning. Additional violations will result in the termination of your account. Please read our Terms carefully and refrain from posting abusive material in the future. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
    The Facebook Team”

  5. It becomes increasingly clear there is no outside threat to the U.S.; all of the threats are internal, driven by paranoia, and a self fulfilling pathology.
    Pogo identified this more than 2 generations ago:
    I have met the enemy and he is us.
    We don’t seem to have the capacity to learn…

    • a perfect diagnosis, but andre vltchek widens it to the diagnosis of ‘the west having sadistic personality disorder. he also references carl jung’s ‘the west as pathology’, having committed crimes against humanity for centuries.

      if our rulers learn, they learn how to tighten down the screws internally while buttressing their hegemonic super-power status, and that of their (i can’t say ‘our’) allies. the folly of it all being, of course, that amerika is becoming a pariah nation globally, as is israel. the stage is set, the actors are rehearsing, for the next great financial meltdown (and increased police state), including the dying petro-dollar, but also by fiance capital policies and rent extractions, i think.

      will USians ever fight back, or have we simply bought the futility of ‘there is no alternative’? the messages the angry arab received does not bode well, as evidence of the US/israel confluence, which is the client, which the master? drums are beating for war on iran…wouldn’t the sauds and israel be considering it w/ pompeo at state now, and bolton as security advisor or whatever he is? and bernie sanders on twitter gives every indication that…he’s running for 2020.

      i love your new ‘V’; as succinct as your analysis above, and sooo evocative.

  6. As to whether the USian’s will “ever” fight back?
    IMO, that opportunity is long gone.
    USian’s have been fooled by a huge array of distractions and with that, is the loss of their critical thinking skills (if they ever had them).
    Most of the millennial’s never had those skills, IMO.
    V ;-)

      • Imagine, self lobotomizing oneself…yuck.

        • i don’t think it’s altogether self-lobotomization, but such a combination of bernaysian-style combination of consumerism, worship of mammon, amerikan exceptionalism and the divine right to rule the world, teevee news, and the more unconscious desire to stay asleep. being ‘woke’ requires pain, frustration, and often the most verbotten emotion: anger. so we’re given pills to be ‘normal’ amerikans. and are drugged further by hollywood films that tell us who the good guys are, and who the bad guys are.

          but there may be a time when folks have nothing left to lose that they’ll kick back, but it really is hard to imagine. and DHS is of course quite prepared for the day. only massive numbers would help, which is why the social networking sites are shutting down the dissidents…voluntarily so far.

          2 weeks ago: “”The biggest threat against freedom, against democracy, against Mother Earth and against multilateralism is the United States”
          ~Bolivian President Evo Morales

          bless his heart, esp. as guatemala and peru just moved their embassies to…jerusalem.

  7. “Il y a dans le cœur humain une génération perpétuelle de passions, en sorte que la ruine de l’une est presque toujours l’établissement d’une autre.”

    • rusty high school french here, jacob. but bing says: “There is in the human heart a perpetual generation of passions, so that the ruin of one is almost always the establishment of another.” ~ rochefucauld

      now will you translate that for me, darlin’? ;-)

  8. murray says he’d being accused of taking money from…the roosians. jeebus, the never-ending story.

  9. thanks for all this. been a bit out of the loop w/RL stuff, not all bad by any means. this was yesterday, “procession of the species”. I went as the human species, unaccompanied Vitruvian man, “the thing itself, a bare forked animal.” (Lear) ;)

    anyway, it is rather astounding the amount of “info” warfare going on, against the populaces of the “democracies.” I suspect that it is a prelude to more material forms of warfare, both domestically & abroad. I mean, if Russia can cause Black Lives Matter, I’m sure they can cause common trolls to camp out under the overpasses of a “great” nation’s “expanding” economy.

    furthermore, you will all be pleased to know that US culture is hard at work – in China. “Winter is Coming,” and kids are drooling over their upcoming pirated copies of season 8 of “Game of Thrones.” “this is how the world is,” a student in Beijing told me. Except for the dragons, I guess. certainly w/the US Navy constantly screwing around in the South China Sea, one might forgive the Chinese for thinking that GoT is sure as hell the way the US views the world. what big movie of recent vintage, say last 5 or 7 years, isn’t hypermilitarized Manichean warmongering idiocy? The Chinese cannot defeat the Dyspepticons, even with the help of the Erotobots, unless they have a US-sized Navy, as per Transformers 5, or 12 or 16 or whatever one it was. Can’t be the hero w/o the biggest guns in the cosmos. Just ask Lockheed Martin.

    well, like Walter Sobchak said, shomer Shabbos. too much typing is Sabbath-breaking, doncha know? so mazel tov & yom tov.

    • how kind of you to drop by and share your wit and wisdom, my brother. ‘this is the way the world is’ from your chinese student did give me a bit of a shiver, i confess. yeah, watching southern command (oh, that pivot!) on twitter is an exercise in stupidity, but i confess i do…now and again.

      but holy tornado! the procession images are hard to look away from! jelly fish, an owl, oh, my. did you light yourself as ‘the thing itself’, j? but ack, as to moar war, and not to be unduly paranoid, it really does look as tough bibi and bin salman are fomenting for war on iran, and not just further sanctions. and of course bolton and pompeo might be bullish on the idea, but they’d ‘lead from behind, wouldn’t they? :-(

      information wars are continuing apace; i’d just grabbed this a bit ago from 21st century wire, and it’s a long list of DDoS attacks and clicking thru to more facebook warnings and ‘offline for x days’ later. but of course, the biggies are any folks dissenting on the lies of syria and iran. fars news english is back up, and i was reading some leaks that on saudi arabia. and how corn-venient that assange that is still in prison.

      but oh, my, someone at c99 put up the intercept link to the dems who’d voted for pompeo! fearless investigative journalism, yanno? and a leaked call they’d received from a D being asked by the dnc or whatever to step aside for the rel candidate! jayzus. on edit: i just saw that kate aranoff ? and naomi klein are now in Pierre’s Stable.

      thanks so much for the walter sobchak sign-off, but of course i’d had to bingle his blessed name, lol. stay safe out there.

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