Sacha Baron Cohen Blasts Facebook As Running The “Greatest Propaganda Machine In History”

After making a career out of trolling various public figures while in disguise, first as Ali G, then Borat and a host of other whacky characters and most recently in his US television series, “Who Is America,” which apparently led to a Georgia state lawmaker resigning his office in humiliation, Sacha Baron Cohen has made a rare appearance as himself, to attack Silicon Valley billionaires who, he claims, are endangering democracy and political stability.  The comedian singled out Facebook’s  Mark Zuckerberg as the worst culprit and “One of the six people who decide what information so much of the world sees….” Baron Cohen described Zuckerberg as one of the people who is ultimately responsible for propagandizing the masses.

In an acceptance speech while receiving the ADL International Leadership Award he launched a blistering attack against Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and others, describing themthem as representing “the greatest propaganda machine in history”.

It’s a pity he didn’t think to mention the links all these companies have with the security agencies that make up “The Deep State.”

However he did say to a large audience in New York that while the content they publish reaches billions of people the internet social media giants only care about their bottom line as they propagate hate and lies and spread messages that “appeal to our baser instincts”.

“All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history,” he said.

“Think about it. Facebook, YouTube and Google, Twitter and others – they reach billions of people. The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged – stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear.”

Addressing the long-running controversy that followed the 2016 US Presidential Election election, Baron Cohen further took Facebook to task  for running political advertisements from both sides without fact-checking, comparing some of the messages to propaganda used under the Third Reich.

“If you pay them, Facebook will run any ‘political’ ad you want, even if it’s a lie,” he said. “And they’ll even help you micro-target those lies to users most likely to be susceptible to the message, for maximum effect. Under this twisted logic, if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’.”

At one point he even suggested social media company CEOs who publish political propaganda on their platform as part of campaigns to influence election outcomes or even genocides in parts of the globe should be sent to jail.

He also attacked Mark Zuckerberg’s risible claims that Facebook is actually a bastion of “free expression”.

He said: “I think we could all agree that we should not be giving bigots and paedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target their victims.” He also went after “holocaust-deniers” and others which he called anti-Semitic.

Internet companies can now be held responsible for paedophiles who use their sites to target children. I say, let’s also hold these companies responsible for those who use their sites to advocate for the mass murder of children because of their race or religion. And maybe fines are not enough. Maybe it’s time to tell Mark Zuckerberg and the CEOs of these companies: you already allowed one foreign power to interfere in our elections, you already facilitated one genocide in Myanmar, do it again and you go to jail

While obviously still believing the now debunked claim that Russia interfered in the US election, (it was actually a great power much closer to home – Google,) he is right in saying that Social Media companies must be held accountable for what they allow people to publish. Refuting Zuckerberg’s ‘freedom of expression’ defense for the hatred and bullying on Facebook, Cohen said further: “This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech. This is about giving people, including some of the most reprehensible people on earth, the biggest platform in history to reach a third of the planet. Freedom of speech is not freedom of reach. Sadly, there will always be racists, misogynists, anti-Semites and child abusers.”

“So here’s a good standard and practice: Facebook, start fact-checking political ads before you run them, stop micro-targeted lies immediately, and when the ads are false, give back the money and don’t publish them,” the comedian and satirist explained, though in a dead serious tone.

Baron Cohen saved his most cutting remarks for Zuckerberg however, one commentator, Adam Best, tweeted: Sacha Baron Cohen says the Silicon Six billionaires care “more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy,” calls Zuck a modern Caesar and jokes that explains his haircut.

Watch the entire speech

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Leaked Documents Reveal Facebook’s Biased, Convoluted Censorship Policies

Since the 2016 US Presidential election, when the phrase ‘fake news’ entered the vernacular, Facebook has employed thousands of human moderators tasked with identifying what is and is not acceptable content to be posted on the censorious social media website. These humans were not employed to replace the ‘Artificial Intelligence’ automated moderation system the nerdocracy that runs Facebook had previously relied on, but to make the judgements ‘Artificial Intelligence’ cannot (because far from being intelligent, it is as abjectly effing stupid as the nerds that probram the algorithms. It has come to light in leaked documents obtained by The New York Times that Facebook’s human moderators are doing a lousy job, promoting fake news while censoring truthful reports, because they  have been relying on outdated, inaccurate and biased “maze of PowerPoint slides” to police global political speech, according to the trove of 1,400 internal documents inspected and reported on by The New York Times

Moderators who have worked for Facebook admit they often rely on Google Translate to read posts, and are put under pressure to achieve targets by making decisions on the acceptability of content within a matter of seconds, just as call centre customer service agents are required to clear down calls quickly, according to the report.

The guidelines for moderators, reviewed every other Tuesday morning by “several dozen Facebook employees who gather over breakfast,” according to Facebook public relations propaganda, areare filled with “numerous gaps, baises and outright errors,” according to the Times.

Moderators were once told, for example, to remove fund-raising appeals for volcano victims in Indonesia because a co-sponsor of the drive was on Facebook’s internal list of banned groups. In Myanmar, a paperwork error allowed a prominent extremist group, accused of fomenting genocide, to stay on the platform for months. In India, moderators were mistakenly told to flag for possible removal comments critical of religion. –NYT

The guidelines, set by “mostly young engineers and lawyers,” must be interpreted by Facebook’s fleet of mostly outsourced moderators which employ largely unskilled workers, “many hired out of call centers.”

(Illegal migrants working on zero hours contracts perhaps? – editor)

Moderators have expressed frustration at rules they say don’t always make sense and sometimes require them to leave up posts they fear could lead to violence. “You feel like you killed someone by not acting,” one said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he had signed a nondisclosure agreement. –NYT

According to Facebook executives, they are working diligently to rid the platform of “dangerous” content.

“It’s not our place to correct people’s speech, but we do want to enforce our community standards on our platform,” said Facebook senior News Feed engineer. “When you’re in our community, we want to make sure that we’re balancing freedom of expression and safety.”

The company’s head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, meanwhile, said that the company’s primary goal was to prevent harm – though perfection “is not possible.”

“We have billions of posts every day, we’re identifying more and more potential violations using our technical systems,” said Bickert. “At that scale, even if you’re 99 percent accurate, you’re going to have a lot of mistakes.

Indeed it is not, but can an organisations whose senior management have been only too willing to use the company’s position to promote the left wing, globalist causes they support, ever be trusted toensure balanced treatment for political and social commentary which challenges the idea and values their corporate leaders want to impose on the world?

And since Facebook’s set of rules are more or less a patchwork of Excel spreadsheets and unorganized PowerPoint presentations, there is no single master file or reference guide. ing to the Times, “Moderators must sort a post into one of three “tiers” of severity. They must bear in mind lists like the six “designated dehumanizing comparisons,” among them comparing Jews to rats.” Facebook insists the files are only for training, but moderators say they are used as day-to-day reference materials.

One document sets out several rules just to determine when a word like “martyr” or “jihad” indicates pro-terrorism speech. Another describes when discussion of a barred group should be forbidden. Words like “brother” or “comrade” probably cross the line. So do any of a dozen emojis. –NYT

“There’s a real tension here between wanting to have nuances to account for every situation, and wanting to have a set of policies we can enforce accurately and we can explain cleanly,” said Bickert, who added “We’re not drawing these lines in a vacuum.”

The Times concludes that entrusing to Facebook the task of policing of what they consider extremism or disinformation intrudes into sensitive political matters worldwide – “sometimes clumsily.”

“Facebook’s role has become so hegemonic, so monopolistic, that it has become a force unto itself,” said Balkans expert Jasmin Mujanovic. “No one entity, especially not a for-profit venture like Facebook, should have that kind of power to influence public debate and policy.

The full New York Times report can be read here.

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Leaked Documents From Google, Pinterest Reveal Censorship of Alternative Media

Fascism Spreads From Tech Corporations To Finance Sector As Mastercard Blocks Conservative Clients
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German politician calls on facebook to abolish free speech
A German politician has given the clearest indication yet that the political elites of the free world are ideologically much closer to Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists than the social liberalism they claim to support. Free speech is the basis of all liberal democracy. Heiko Maas, the German justice minister has has written to the Facebook it removes “xenophobic and racist” anti-migrant posts from its website and apps., has written to the company to demand an urgent review of its policy over hate messages.

Free Speech Is Being Murdered By The Media And Left Wing Authoritarianism
Without free speech there is no democracy. Without democracy there is no freedom. But all over the developed world free speech is under attack from politically correct politics. It is time to start resisting, do not believe the propaganda published by mainstream media, question everything and make up your own mind. as The Buddha said, “Believe nothing you read or are told unless it agrees with your own experience and common sense.”

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Following the defection to UKIP of Conservative MP Mark Reckless, who yesterday shocked the media and political establishment (everyone else knew it was on the cards.) by announcing his switch from con to Kipper from the podium at the closing session of UKIP’s conference, the Kippers latest recruit and his new leader yesterday faced angry but ineffectual protests

Farage Reckless Facing Rabid Left Wing Fanatics

Following the defection to UKIP of Conservative MP Mark Reckless, who yesterday shocked the media and political establishment (everyone else knew it was on the cards.) by announcing his switch from con to Kipper from the podium at the closing session of UKIP’s conference, the Kippers latest recruit and his new leader yesterday faced angry but ineffectual protests

Obama administration ‘blocking’ information from the press

Uncovering information that should be available to the public has become increasingly difficult under the presidency of Barack Obama, an Associated Press bureau chief says. In some cases, it surpasses the secrecy of the George W. Bush administration. The White House’s penchant for secrecy does not just apply to the federal government, according to AP’s Washington bureau chief, Sally Buzbee.

Western Hypocrisy In Reporting News about Ukraine And Russia

The opening paragraph of a CNN report on the latest developments in the crisis in Ukraine illusrate perfectly the hypocrisy of Western media in the way they cast Russia as the danger to world peace and America as bringer of freedom and democracy. In fact in the crisis over the US attempt to draw Ukraine into NATO the positions taken by the USA abd Russias are the opposite of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Scandal hit Rotherham ‘deleted abuse files’

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Centralized power – the worst of all possible worlds

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Politicians around the developed world including leaders of the two most powerful democracies, Barack Obama and David Cameron have been falling over themselves to join the attack on free speech. On subjects as diverse as climate…

Drinking from a firehose – internet

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/alexisdormandy/100007532/getting-info-from-the-internet-is-like-drinking-from-a-fire-hose-but-efficient-word-of-mouth-can-fix-that/

The pioneers of the web saw the internet as a democratising force – empowering the under-informed consumer against an omnipotent corporation. People imagined a perfect market where we could find the thing we wanted at the best price at the click of a button. The hot web properties around the turn of the millennium of the day were comparative price engines, which took off on the assumption that as finding what you wanted became easy, the key differentiator would be price.

It’s turned out a bit more complicated than that.

If anything, the connection of people to information has been too successful. Technology has transformed the amount we are able to do each day, but it has also transformed how much we are expected to do.

We are deluged by information at work; from people we know, from people we don’t; from companies that want to sell us something; from media companies, advertisers and spammers.

In a paper published in Science last year, Dr Martin Hilbert calculated that the amount of data in the world was increasing by 23 per cent per annum …. and moreover that each of us is consuming the equivalent of 174 newspapers …. every day.

We are drinking from a fire hose.

It’s clear that technology has not made our lives easier – it’s just allowed us to do more in the same amount of time, not all of it useful. The ability to compute, store, and share information instantaneously around the globe has meant expectations have risen.

We are expected to do more, do it better and do it quicker. This is patently unrealistic, and it’s not surprising that stress related illnesses are so prevalent. We have infinitely more options, but much less time to understand them.

Bill Joy, the chief scientist at Sun Microsystems, described it like this:

“Technological evolution has exponentially surpassed the speed of human evolution. Technological evolution is doubling every eighteen months. Biological entities, only progressing at the speed of biological evolution, are left behind”.

In other words, a human being can’t consume, understand, collate and usefully process 174 newspapers of information a day. In our efforts to do everything, we frequently do nothing.

The lack of time, overload of information and lack of trust for things we haven’t tried ourselves has made our lives dull. We live in vibrant and constantly evolving societies, and yet we visit the same restaurants, cook the same recipes, buy the same clothes labels, read the same authors, and use the one bank, builder and garage we’ve always used.

We should aim higher.

The solution is nurtured in the people we trust. It’s called word of mouth. Because 21st century humans have confused it with telling everything to everyone, we’re not very good at it.

Bees have a brain the size of a seed, and their longest conversation is seven seconds, but even they are much better at word of mouth than your average human.

When a bee finds a new source of nectar, they fly in a figure of eight pattern. The axis of the eight directs the other 40,000 bees in the hive to the flowers, to gorge on the nectar and spread pollen. Everyone benefits. That’s word of mouth at its simple best.

Efficient word of mouth would allow us to remember things friends we trust have told us about, let us pass that on to other friends who trust us. It would allow us revel in the new, rather than living our lives on repeat.

If word of mouth was efficient, the company with the best product wins. A small business that offers great service operates on the same playing field as the large corporate. Innovative small businesses that go the extra mile would succeed more quickly, and provide more jobs, and better products.

If word of mouth was perfect, the CEO in every business would be as fixated on improving his company’s product, as they are on sales or finance; because winning and losing would be defined by it. That means product people becoming CEO, which happens very rarely unless you’re Apple.

The challenge is in making it simple to pull the precious needles out of the haystack of your life, save them, and share them with your friends.

But whatever the technology, word of mouth is about selectivity and trust. It’s about you helping yourself and helping your friends. It’s about finding a bed of roses in a sunny corner, flying in a figure of eight, and getting your friends to join you in the feast.
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simiangeorge
4 hours ago
This back to basics theme sounds great, but won’t work. Like communism, it’s a good idea on paper, but then encounters the wider world and it becomes something else. For example, Facebook started life as a simple proposition where you would log your friends and close acquaintances and keep in touch. Look what the money men have turned it into; an over-complex behemoth of a marketing man’s (almost) wet dream. It is now rammed down society’s throat at every turn. Also, look at all the novel ways people have been using it beyond a simple contacts forum – there’s a Facebook page for everything, from fundraising to “liking” the latest brand of hair straighteners to forming petitions/ focus groups. So; the Web- simple in concept, bewilderingly complex when applied, used and modified by billions of individuals.
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Q46
7 hours ago
Tripe!

There were no “pioneers of the web” the usual fallacy that a group of clever coves get together to make all our modern wonders possible.

This notion of prescience encourages politicians to believe they can tell the future and set up committees to direct “investment” (aka squandering taxpayers’ money) in areas we shall all need or desire in the future.

The web happened serendipitously because of the cross-fertilisation of thousands of ideas, trial and error, amid many failures and a few successes and the wider mass of people deciding what they liked, didn’t like.

To reduce this accidental technological revolution to some planned campaign to liberate the Masses against their evil overlords and monied intersts, is out of the pages of the writings of Marx and is absurd.

Inundated with information? So building a library and filling it with books inundates us with information all of which we cannot process?

Of course not, you only get inundated if you take every book out and try to read them all at once.

The alternative is selecting only what you want to read. On computers its called a delete button
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Frank Fisher
7 hours ago
Jeez. I wrote about his years ago – why aren’t I a billionaire. I remember talking to Arthur C Clarke about it (yes), okay, talking by fax, he didn’t like to communicate any other way, dunno why, and the issue of the torrent of voices came up. Everyone gets a voice, but what value has one voice in a screaming crowd? How do you *know* what you need to know? Answer: you don’t. Just try to get by day by day.

At that point 15 years or so back, I think we needed to be consuming 600 books a day to keep abreast of increasing knowledge – but this isn’t new. I figured at the time that the last person who would have been able to know everything that was known at that time, through his lifetime, would have been Leonardo da Vinci – famous for his extensive library and web of connections. He was the last man who knew everything.

Back on topic – word of mouth does indeed work perfectly online, with user reviews etc, so long as those users are indeed real. Astroturfing and sock puppetry cock it all up, which is why we need another human talent… intuition. Firstly to recognize who is real and who is a persona. But also, for more complex info, newspaper articles etc. I long ago gave up on facts, expert opinion, recommendations, statistics – in a sea of everything, everything can be ‘proven’ – all studies and thesis can be argued for. So now I distrust everything except my own intuition. If something seems like bullshit, it is

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M T Bucket
7 hours ago
What utter tosh. Just because someone I know ‘likes’ something on facebook doesn’t mean it is suitable for me. I don’t shop for my groceries oin the basis of which brand of baked beans most of my friends like (among 100 other items in my basket). I might however ask a friend whether his Porsche is any good or not. On the other hand, people do go to extremes to justify what they have purchased, lest they look foolish (post-purchase justification anyone?).

The bee analogy is also false. Bees are a community that depend on collective survival. The hive is king. Humans on the other hand almost always act in their own best interests.

Web 1.0 was meant to be an information sharing tool. Social media or Web 2.0 was invented for WoM and companies are still working out how to use it to more effectively screw consumers, not to provide them with the ‘best possible service’.
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.
Simon_Stephenson
6 hours ago
itzman

I think maybe you underestimate people’s ability to recognise quality. For things that they are not particularly fussed about, they respond to being bombarded with claptrap and false information by bypassing the quality-judgment process, and substituting for it a process of choosing whatever it is that their section of society has made its most popular. In effect, they’ve re-defined quality as “preferred by people like me”, in order to keep some personal control over it, rather than having to rely on the word of people in whom they have no faith.

For things that they are fussed about, they have to go through the rigmarole of discarding all the deceptive crap with which things are surrounded, and I’m sure that the frustration of having to go through this experience must have the effect of discouraging future attempts at discernment.

So maybe people do still have the ability to assess quality, it’s just that the environment in which they live discourages them from using it
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speymk1901
8 hours ago
You still cannot get anything done which is useful from an information processing standpoint without a library card and a visit to said presumably obsolescent institution.

This is a good thing.

It amazes me that so little work has been done to differentiate instantaneous media from print media. The former is an instantly expendable and use-by-dated tool for negotiating mazes. The latter is all about memory, retention, contemplation and genuine information reduction and compression (not as in LZW either LOL).

Why people waste so much time futilely attempting to substitute the psychic paradigm of the book with that of IT-derived tools is also a source of wonder and amusement. They are their own entities unto themselves as different from each other as aliens from platypuses (platypae ? LOL). They can be used to reinforce each other; one without the other much less substituted for the other therefore is Fahrenheit 451 with no political object in sight and therefore self-lobotomising
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Simon_Stephenson
8 hours ago
“word of mouth is about selectivity and trust. It’s about you helping yourself and helping your friends”

Mmmm. I think word of mouth has to be about reciprocity. It’s about imparting information which you would be happy to receive, were the situation to be reversed, and about not imparting information which you wouldn’t be happy to receive.

You use the analogy of bees, but the thing about bees is that the one which discovers the source of nectar isn’t going to send all the others off on a wild-goose chase so that it can keep the whole of the source to itself. Nor is it going to turn the source into a nice little earner for itself by demanding an entry fee. Nor, indeed, is it going to create a false source by salting dry flowers with nectar brought less comfortably from farther afield. And it’s not going to claim ownership of the source for its community and fight bees from other hives who come across it in the course of their travels.

Humans, on the other hand, have a predilection for doing all these things, and more, and until such time as double standards and deliberate deception revert to being socially unacceptable, in contrast to being the epitome of cleverness and smart behaviour, as they have become, the advances we can make from the development of communication will be very limited.


Judge Denies Attempt To Block Obama’s Transfer Of Internet Oversight To UN

October 2016: In a last ditch effort to block Obama’s plan to allow the US Commerce Department to hand over oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to a multi-stakeholder community – which includes the technical community, businesses, civil society and foreign governments – 4 state attorneys went to a Texas federal court alleging that the transition, in the absence of congressional approval, amounts to an illegal forfeiture of U.S. government property. Confirming once more that under Obama’s Presidency the judiciary and legal system have been totally politicised, their case was thrown out on a technicality.

Western Hypocrisy In Reporting News about Ukraine And Russia

Ukraine invited to join NATO – it’s deja vu all over again.

“While questions about Russia’s tactics remain, its strategy has become more clear: The Kremlin appears to have decided to prevent Ukraine turning West and leaving what Russia regards as its sphere of influence.”

Those words, from a CNN news report are typical of the hypocrisy displayed by mainstream media when reporting news from Ukraine, and the pro – American (OK, if you haven’t worked out yet that NATO is euphemism for U.S. State Department, you are not going to understand this article.)

I’m not really old enough to remember in detail but in the early 1960s, when the USA could have decided to meekly accept Cuba’s having turned away from the U.S. sphere of influence that had existed under the prior, corrupt, Cuban leader, Fulgensio Batista, and becoming instead a new Soviet satellite, under communist Fidel Castro, the then President, J. F. Kennedy took the world to the brink of nuclear war rather than surrender the strategically important client state.

With more current relevance perhaps, we need to consider, how the U.S. reacted to Cuba’s new best mate, The Soviet union trying to insert Soviet missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba, right next door to its southernmost state?

The crisis that erupted when Kennedy sent in the U S Marines is formally known as the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. My Dad, having worked for the Quaker owned liberal newspaper, The News Chronicle until it folded in 1961 had just started for The Daily Express at the time and was not enjoying the pro war stance adopted by The Express. Still, a job’s a job.

In short, the USA and its allies were not prepared to tolerate a rival superpower opening up a military base from which strategic nuclear missiles could be launched right on it’s doorstep. And what powerful nation would tolerate it, it would be like …… em …….. like ……. erm …….like Ukraine or Poland joining NATO and then allowing the U S government to set up missile bases in those countries, close to Russia’s borders.

Don’t be on this fooled by the screeching of lefties on this, they who simplify the world by claiming there are only two races, black and white, only two cultures, secular atheism and religious fanaticism, that science is The One True God and that ‘we’ are good and ‘they’ are evil may like to wave their academic qualifications in our faces but forget that most of the great advances in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and technology were made by people who did not have a PhD in ‘Science-with-Origami’ from a university. Their opinion is worth no more than your or mine and as most of them only regurgitate propaganda they don’t really have any opinions of their own.

Russia will no more let the USA make Ukraine a client state from which Moscow can be threatened by US missiles than Washington would have allowed The Kremlin to deploy its nuclear weapons in Cuba. Putin is taking exactly the same stance as Kennedy did.

In 1962 The Soviets were seen as the danger to the world peace and democratic nations quickly lined up alongside the American government. Ironically while our leftie friends were traditionally sympathetic to the communist USSR, they are now very eager to support America, even though polls have shown that, globally, the U.S. is considered to be, by far, the most dangerous nation in the world — considerably more dangerous than Russia or China.

Are the news reporters, the editors, publishers and broadcasters and the managers, who run the news industry really so ignorant of the relevant history on this subject (the Cuban Missile Crisis, and its reverse analogue today in Ukraine), as they pretend to be?

Of not. But they want their public to remain that way (ignorant of hitorical truth, or too distracted by celebrity gossip to make the link), because the people who provide their revenue stream, their advertisers, want the public to stay ignorant, thus having no alternative but to trust the propaganda.

One of the basic human rights in a liberal democracy is the right to fr ee speech and for that right to have any meaning we must have a free press. I have said many times that we no longer live in democratic nations, the same corporate interests as control banking and the money supply, manufacturing and the extraction industries, agriculture and medicine also control news and the media.

An important component in the mechanism of control is controlled news, George Orwell predicted it in his novel 1984. By using controlled information to manipulate the public in the way that virtually all advertisers, all corporate finance directors, all CEO’s and all political leaders want them to be manipulated: to trust everything we are told by the machine, rather than questioning what does not make sense.

If you see any left wing (neo – Fascist) apparatchik ranting about how unreasonable Russia is being over Ukraine, just point them at this article. It’s doubtful that they will learn anything, but at least it will wind them up because they can’t stand anybody disagreeing with them.

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When Algorithms Rule The World

Google, Facebook, Amazon: algorithms will soon rule our lives so we’d better understand how they work

A very scary item is hidden away the the government’s budget for this year – not an allocation of funs for joining in the Thiord World War, nor a chunk of money for building wind farms everywhere so coal and oil power stations can be closed and the weirdie beardies can have their wish and make us all sit shivering in the darmk and playing I-spy-with-my-little-eye for entertainment. It was actually the £220 was million of government funding for the new Alan Turing Institute for “big data and algorithm” research.

Today, with the awesome processing power of modern computers and the “big data” analysis, algorithms designed to analyse the shitloads of data illegally obtained every day by government security agencies and evil corporate entities like google and Microsoft, algorithms increasingly manipulate or even control what information we have access to. Technology can also be used to influence our choice of products and with our social behaviour.

In spite of all that, many people still have no idea what algorithms can do or how they are used. An algorithm is just a simple formula which must be followed to calculate the answer to a mathematical problem. (The word “algorithm” itself is derived from the eighth-century Persian mathematician Al-Khwa-rizmi- but the concept goes all the way back to the Greeks.)

Algorithms are vital to the internet because they help to order and arrange vast volumes of data at a scale and speed impossible for a human. Google’s famous PageRank algorithm counts the number of links to a page and assesses their quality to determine how important a website is. The quality and quantity of websites’ links to each other are compared and ordered; the more important websites are displayed first on the Google search page when a search query is entered. It has long been suspected however that Google’s algorithm favours those sites which bring the search engine operator revenue, though Google, a notoriously secretive corporation, are never likely to admit this.

All other search engines have similar algorithms although it is probably true to say the others do not seek to exercise the Orwellian levels of control over information as Google do.

All internet search technologies are based on proprietary algorithms. Having better algorithms than opponents is at the core of Amazon’s future plans, on Christmas Eve 2013, they patented something called a “method and system for anticipatory package shipping”: an algorithm-based system that could potentially ship products before consumers place an order for them. Algorithms that make the best sense of data can earn companies billions. That’s why they are as closely guarded as the recipe for Coca-Cola. Don’t be too scared however, when I start typing a search term and Google’s predictive text algorithm tries to complete it for me, it has never been right yet, and thus far Amazon has never recommended for me a book that I am ever likely to buy (it has recommended books that I would enjoy reading, but in these cases I’ve already read them and occasionally have actually previously bought them from Amazon. How clever is that?)

There social and economic benefits from being able to process data at much more quickly and efficiently than humans, though these fall some way short of the advantages nerds claim will be gained from letting computers do all the thinking. Some commentators believe that algorithm-led data analysis of NHS records could result in huge improvements in treatment outcomes, as we’d get a much better understanding of works and what doesn’t. If the price we must pay for these as yet unquantified benefits is loss of privacy and the sharing of our personal data with private healthcare and Big Pharma corporations, as has been suggested, are we willing to pay it given the track record of such corporations for abuses of trust.

OK, so I’m a serial dissident who feels he must always challenge the wisdom of the crowd. I’m not the only one who thinks this way however. Evgeny Morozov thinks all of this algorithmic analysis of personal information on a massive scale amounts to an incremental erosion of privacy by private companies and the state, and could even end up in Minority Report-style preventive policing. Others, like Filter Bubble author Eli Pariser, believe that by trying to use what they erroniously and arrogantly refer to as “Artificial Intelligence” (it’s really just high speed sorting and retrieval) their search engine predict our preferences with his search function, Google “limits our opportunities for serendipity, discovery, exploration” – we end up reading and watching the same things, having our horizons slowly narrowed.

As I have been saying for years, everything government and corporations do is about control and power.

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What Is Democracy? Alf and Vlad know.

Alf Garnett
Alf Garnett – picture source

I’ve been accused of being opposed to democracy (bloggers get accused of all sorts, we’re immune to criticism) for presenting the Russian point of view in my comments on the Ukraine crisis.

These people then tell me as if they are imparting some great news I was unaware of, that “Russia is not a democracy.”

I’m aware of that, I’m also aware that Britian, the EU nations and the USA are no more democratic in the classical sense than Russia. News is manipulated, access to information controlled (and what a great tool the internet has turned into for those whose interests are served by restricting access to information. No matter, who needs the truth as long as you have Boggart Blog.

But what is democracy in this modern technological world. We have come so far from the Athens of Artistotle or the Rome of Quintus Fabius or or Cornelius Scipio. Democratic rule does not really work very well after a community’s population passes about 250,000.

So when people tell me Russia is not a democracy it is, is it not, a case of pot calling kettle back.

What I object to is the way the media call anyone undemocratic the moment they fail to fall ino line and do as bidden by Barack Hussein Obama acting on behalf of his wall Street / BIS bosses. Who elected him to tell Russians what to do, or Europeans of Brits for that matter.

Well with a bit of luch we will be “having a democratic word” with Dave and Co. about their willingness to abdicate their responsibilities and surrender British sovereignty to unelected control freaks.

And if they ignore us, we should perhaps remind them of the words of that great political thinker Alf Garnett: “You can’t ‘ave proper democracy wivout killing people.”

As this Russian example demonstrates.

from The Daily Telegraph
Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch and critic of Vladimir Putin, may have been murdered, a coroner ruled.

Mr Berezovsky’s daughter, Elizaveta, had told how she feared that he had been assassinated by Kremlin “enemies” for warning that the Russian president was a “danger to the world”.

A forensic pathologist hired by Mr Berezovsky’s family also told the inquest that he believed the former billionaire had been strangled to death by a “third party”.

Mr Berezovsky, 67, was found dead in a bathroom at his former wife’s £20 million home in Ascot, Berks, in March last year. He had a ligature around his neck.

The inquest previously heard that a mystery fingerprint was found near the body and a paramedic’s radiation alarm had sounded upon entering the house, leading to speculation that the oligarch was killed by Russian enemies.

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Facebook are Nazis – I Told You So

Boggart Blog, The Daily Stirrer, Little Nicky Machiavelli and all my other web presences have been telling you for years that the moonfaced nerd and boss of Facebook, Mark Cocksuckerberg is a world domination freak, like the semi – autistic Bokanovsky Twins Page and Brin of Google, like Mr. Not Fit For Purpose himself, Bill Gates, like Bezos, at Amazon, Biz Stone of Twitter (who sounds a right shit don’t you think), Netflix’s Wilmot Reed, and all the rest of the internet entrepreneurs who fortunes have been built on invading our privacy and stealing our personal data.

Now, in common with Google, Facebook have admitted their agenda was always about controlling the information people can see online, in order to manipulate users for their own advantage.

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By TwitterButtons.net
from Collective Evolution

Recent changes made to Facebook’s algorithm now limits the amount of reach a single page has to 1%, if you are really lucky, 2%. What this means is, the freedom to share quality information is being limited to those who have money to pay Facebook to share their content. This is bad news for people who want to have an influential voice in the world.

The need for people to band together and work together is becoming greater with changes like this.

According to Facebook themselves:

“Your brand can fully benefit from having fans when most of your ads show social context, which increases advertising effectiveness and efficiency.”

“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site.”

“We’re getting to a place where because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen if you’re a business is to pay for it.”

What this means is if you have a meaningful message and you want to freely and organically share it across Facebook, you can’t anymore unless you want to pay for it. Perhaps it was FB realizing that anyone could reach a lot of people easily that made them see the potential for profit should those people still want to reach people, or maybe this is their way of trying to clean up Facebook. Either way, this is going to do nothing but cripple pages ability to reach their audience who they worked a long time to build.”

Yeah they will without compunction destroy businesses that refuse to do things their way. The Mafia used to call it, “Da protection bizniz.” The SS used to call it, “Ve haf vays of making you obey.”

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Ian Thorpe at Facebook


By TwitterButtons.net

For Lovers Of Useless Information

..In 1974, a thousand pigs went berserk near Devizes, in Wiltshire. They ate the fabric of a light aeroplane, seven wooden gates, two and a half tons of hay, a straw rick, 10 cwt of cattle cake, 500 yards of electric wire, and 17 acres of cabbages.

… A Victorian poetess named Nancy Luce loved her chickens so much that they were the only things she ever wrote about. What’s more, she inscribed her poems on the chickens’ eggs, and it’s thought that she wrote at least 100,000. Not surprisingly, none of the poems survived.

…An ostrich egg takes approximately forty minutes to soft-boil. And an hour and a half to hard-boil.

…Garden midges beat their wings approximately one thousand times a second.

…Only the female mosquito bites: the male of the species is not equipped for biting.

…The common silkworm has eleven brains. But it only uses five of them.

…The common garden wood-louse (which can roll itself up into a tight ball) used to be given by medieval doctors to patients suffering from gout or palsy.

…Earthworms more than 2 metres long are to be found in some parts of Western Australia.

…In Hollywood, some sets used as background in ‘Westerns’ were made to three-quarters scale, so as to make the heroes seem much larger than life.

…Sealing wax contains no wax. It is made of shellac, turpentine, and cinnabar.

…Snow isn’t white – it’s transparent. It is composed of tiny crystals, each with six sides. The rays of light reflected by the various surfaces give snow its impression of glistening whiteness.

…the first recorded appearance of slot-machines was in the ancient temples of Alexandria. There were machines there, from which a supply of Holy Water could be obtained when a coin was inserted in them – this was back in 641 BC.

…the female starfish produces 2 million eggs a year. 99% of them are eaten by other fish.

…King Louis XIV of France originated and was the first to wear high-heeled shoes.

…the longest sentence ever published appears in Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’. It is 823 words long and takes up over three pages. Hugo, among others, also wrote the shortest letter on record. While on holiday, he was anxious to find out how ‘Les Miserables’ was selling. To his Paris publishers he wrote: ‘?’. The reply was ‘!’.

…In the eight years between 1601 and 1609, two thousand French noblemen died whilst fighting duels.

…When the first escalators at a tube station were installed at Earl’s Court in 1911, the general public were too scared to use them. So London Transport employed a man with a wooden leg to ride up and down on the escalator all day long, to prove that they were quite safe. His wages were 15p per day.

…Mice can actually sing. Their songs, when magnified, resemble the twitterings of a canary, and are very musical.

…King Charles II, who ruled from 1660 to 1685, was in the habit of gathering up dust and powder from the mummies of Egyptian kings and rubbing it all over himself. ‘I do this,’ he said, ‘to help me acquire ancient greatness.’

…Richard I (‘The Lionheart’) spent only four months of his life in England.

…George I, King of England from 1714 to 1727, was German and couldn’t speak a word of English.

…Queen Anne bore a total of 17 children and outlived every one of them.

…Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, always wore gloves to hide an odd physical deformity. She had six fingers on her left hand.

…King Charles was only 4 feet 7 inches (1.4m) tall.

…Julius Caesar wasn’t a Roman Emperor – in fact there was no Roman Empire until a long time after his death. He was Consul five times, and became a Dictator.

…Cleopatra’s Needle, on the Victoria Embankment in London, has nothing whatsoever to do with Cleopatra. Hieroglyphics carved on the obelisk tell that it was first erected in Egypt in 1475 BC – over 14 centuries before Cleopatra was born.

…the human body contains enough phosphorous to make two thousand matchheads, sufficient iron to make a 15cm nail, and enough fat to make eight bars of soap.

…Most people think the heart is on the left side of the body. It isn’t. Nine-tenths of it is on the right side.

…an early set of false teeth was made of wood (elm) and was worn by George Washington.

…the Vinegar River (El Rio Vinaigre) in Colombia contains eleven parts of sulphuric acid and nine parts of hydrochloric acid in every thousand, and is so bitter that no fish can live in it.

…the reason why sardines are crammed so tightly into their tins is that the oil used to pack them is more expensive by volume than the fish themselves. Thus, the more sardines the manufacturer can squeeze into a tin, the greater his profit.

…an octopus has three hearts.

…the Chinese language contains no ‘R’ sounds; so the Chinese substitute the ‘L’ sound for English words. On the other hand, the Japanese language has no ‘L’ sound; they substitute an ‘R’ sound. Thus, in Chinese, ‘Fry’ is pronounced ‘Fly’ – and, in Japanese, the word ‘Fly’ is pronounced ‘Fry’.

…Sultan Murad IV inherited 240 wives when he assumed the throne of Turkey in 1744. He decided to dispense with their services by the simple method of putting each wife in a sack and tossing them one by one into the Bosphorus.

…Birmingham has 22 more miles of canal than Venice.

…It’s impossible to fold a piece of paper – no matter how big it is – more than seven times.

…Human beings are the only animals to sleep on their backs.

…like many Victorians, the novelist Charles Dickens ensured himself a good night’s sleep by keeping the head of his bed aligned precisely with the North Pole, so that the earth’s magnetic force would pass longitudinally through his body. Using similar logic, Islamic worshippers point their beds towards Mecca.

…Benjamin Disraeli was an insomniac and a believer in the occult. He was never able to fall asleep at night unless the four legs of his bed were planted in dishes filled with salt, to keep devilish spirits from attacking him.

…Famous American soldier and president Dwight D Eisenhower had ten pairs of pyjamas with the five stars of a general on them.

Try here for more

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FoI Act – Freedom of Irony

Intersting story in the Independent today about the tobacco giant Phillip Morris trying to use the freedom of Information act to get their hands on research by Srirling University about teenager attitudes to smoking.

The lefties, who you may recall were prominent in the campaign for a freedom of information act (and were right for once) are screaming and shouting about how unfair it is that organisations thery don’t like can use the act in the same way as people they approve of.

What did they think was going to happen?

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