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  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , , , UK   

    Facebook turns to old media to fight fake news prior to UK election 

    Facebook turns to old media to fight fake news prior to UK election

    In the run up to Election Day in the UK, Facebook has turned to an unlikely ally in their continuing struggle against ‘fake news’. The social network behemoth has taken out several print ads in UK newspapers on how to recognize fake news.

    While the ads do contain helpful information on how to be a more discerning news consumer, it does indicate something Facebook probably won’t admit to itself. Facebook may feel some responsibility for the fake news that many think unduly affected the 2016 US Presidential Election. Thousands of dummy Facebook accounts have also been purged in anticipation of the election.

    However, the problem with the fake news argument is certain individuals have such a confirmation bias that they can’t be turned into more responsible content consumers. Take vaccinations for example. It was once claimed vaccinations caused autism, which caused many parents to forgo immunizations for their children. Even though that claim has been discredited many times over, there are still many people who cling to that fallacy.

    For many people, politics are their vaccinations. They blindly follow whatever dogma their chosen political party subscribes to no matter who the candidate may be. With those political leanings, many of these people will only read news from sources biased towards their own affiliation. It’s too late for Facebook users like that, they are lost to us.

    The only way to combat this kind of ignorance is for those of us who can discern fake news from fact to become more active in political matters and to get out and actually vote.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , , propaganda   

    Facebook claims that foreign agents used propaganda to influence 2016 election 

    Facebook claims that foreign agents used propaganda to influence 2016 election

    Facebook recently released a report claiming that there were agents they believe were backed by foreign governments who tried using the social network to influence the 2016 presidential election. While not outright saying that it was the Russians, Facebook did say in its report that their findings did not contradict the US Director of National Intelligence’s claim that Russia was allegedly interfering.

    The propaganda was supposedly spread through the following ways. First, bad actors would create legitimate looking websites that would post false information, or as we commonly call it now, ‘fake news’. They would then set up fake Facebook accounts by the thousands and repost the false information. Then, actual people, who don’t know it’s false information, would repost these false stories. Surprisingly, this wasn’t done by using bots, or automated scripts, but were done by multitudes of human users.

    The social network has said that it’s taking steps to prevent these kinds of events from happening again, but don’t Facebook’s users bear some responsibility in this matter? It’s so much easier to just click share rather than researching a story. This is especially true for people who prefer to remain in their own echo chambers with their personal biases.

    While Facebook can take steps to try to prevent this spread of misinformation, it’s ultimately up to us to be more discerning with what content we post to our virtual walls.

     
  • Geebo 11:24 am on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election,   

    In the wake of the election comes the opportunity to reconcile 

    In the wake of the election comes the opportunity to reconcile

    As the saying goes, it’s all over but the shouting, and boy is there shouting. Today, half of us are acting like this is the Apocalypse, while the other half of us are gloating like Emperor Palpatine when he revealed that the second Death Star was full operational. While this has been a very divisive election it’s not the worst thing to happen to our country.

    If you think this election is bad, consider the election of Abraham Lincoln. You may ask, what was so bad about the election of one of our greatest presidents of all time. Well, Lincoln’s election was the impetus for the South to secede and ignite the country into civil war. It is highly doubtful that this election will result in the hundreds of thousands American citizens killing each other over political belief.

    Instead of digging in further to our comfortable echo chambers either, commiserating or celebrating with like-minded people, we should get to know our friends who think differently than we do. Not everyone on the other side from the political spectrum from you is a stereotype of whatever political ideology they subscribe to. As a country we need the more rational of us to come together and work together to keep the country from being even more divisive. We need to set an example to show those who need more convincing that the American people can be united and work together.

    If we keep practicing ignorance and intolerance, and yes all parties on the political spectrum can be accused of both, it will always be politics as usual, and even more people will become disenfranchised.

    Now is the greatest opportunity for civility to become the order of the day in so we can really make our country greater than it ever has been.

     
  • Geebo 9:18 am on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , , , ,   

    Get out and vote! 

    Get out and vote!

    It’s finally here. Today is election day in what is possibly the most important and controversial election in decades. While we’re not here to tell you who to vote for, we do have some information to help you along with the voting process.

    NBC News has a guide to some helpful tech tips for the election including some helpful apps and how to find your voting place with your smart phone. Speaking of technical tips, Google is claiming that they will have election results as soon as the respective polls are closed.

    In case you need a ride to the polls, ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft are offering either free or discounted rides.

    If you’re thinking about foregoing voting today because you’re afraid the election will be hacked, you can put that thought out of your head. Not only is the government on high alert for such an attack, the real threat to hacking the election is good old-fashioned misinformation and misdirection.

    Lastly, please don’t forget that if you’re in line to vote when the polls close they still have to let you vote.

    Now you have no excuses, get out and vote as every vote really does count, especially in this crucial election.

     
  • Geebo 9:41 am on October 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, ,   

    No, you can’t vote in the US election online 

    No, you  can't vote in the US election online

    What started as a joke turned out to be a full-blown hoax that have resulted in allegations of voter fraud.

    A section of Reddit, known as a subreddit, that is supportive of Donald Trump shared a graphic between each other that appeared to be a pro-Hillary Clinton ad that jokingly advised Hillary supporters that they could vote online from the comfort of their own homes on election day. It suggests all you need to do to vote for Hillary Clinton is to write ‘Hillary’ on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag ‘#PresidentialElection’.

    Of course Reddit is full of internet jokesters and trolls, and before you know it, this joke leaked out to the rest of the internet where of course there were people who believed it. This included a Republican councilman from Pennsylvania who shared it on Twitter. The councilman later deleted the tweet claiming that he knew it was joke.

    One of the major problems with the internet is, while we can access the world’s information, we can also spread misinformation to the world and a large group of internet denizens will believe it. If you happen to see some one attempting to ‘vote’ on Twitter or Facebook, please remind them there is no online voting in the United States.

     
  • Geebo 11:41 am on October 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, ,   

    Con artists cashing in on the election 

    Con artists cashing in on the election

    With election season now in full swing, it has brought out all the liars, cheats and thieves, and that’s not just the candidates. *rimshot*

    Consumer Affairs is reporting that with such a heated presidential election, phone related election scams have increased by multitudes. As they point out the election season is such a fertile breeding ground for phone scams because political organizations are exempt from the national do not call list. This has allowed scammers to pose as various members of election rated organizations to try to separate you from either your money or your personal information.

    The top three of these phone scams are people asking you to re-register to vote, campaign donations and the political survey that promises a prize. First off, once you’re registered to vote you do not have to ever re-register unless you move to a new municipality and that can not be done over the phone. With the survey prize offer, that could turn out to be either an attempt to get your personal information or to try to get you pay a ‘processing fee’ to claim the non-existent prize. Lastly the campaign donation is a simple one in that they just want to get your money. As Consumer Affairs suggests, even if you are being solicited for a legitimate campaign donation, you should go to the candidate’s website to make the donation.

    As a common rule you should never give any information or money to anyone who calls you unsolicited. Whether they claim to be the IRS, an election campaign or a charity, do not give any of your information over the phone.

     
  • Geebo 10:09 am on October 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , ,   

    Facebook gives rise to new voters, but are they informed? 

    Facebook gives rise to new voters, but are they informed?

    Facebook is being credited with sparking a spike in voter registration thanks to their campaign to get their US users to vote. It really should come as no surprise as Facebook has become a daily utility that has almost become a public service. Providing easy access to state voter registration resources more than likely encouraged many people who may have not registered otherwise.

    While this is encouraging that more people are registering to vote in such a pivotal election that could have repercussions for generations, Facebook is not really the ideal environment for political discourse and learning. When it comes to discussing politics on Facebook, it’s usually nothing more than the reposting of meme, shouting into the echo chamber, or the sharing of misinformed or even completely fake articles.

    While mostly everyone has the right to vote are we raising a generation of misinformed voters? While the internet gives us access to much of the world’s information it also allows us to engage in our biases and surround ourselves in comfortable lies rather than inconvenient truths.

     
  • Geebo 10:11 am on August 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Election, , Hillary Clinton,   

    Sorry Facebook pundits, you’re not convincing anyone 

    Sorry Facebook pundits, you're not convincing anyone

    Even long before the nominees were determined for each party during this presidential election season, many people were posting their political punditry on Facebook. Whether it be the Donald Trump memes or the ‘lies’ of Hillary Clinton or even lamenting the fact that Bernie Sanders was not nominated, virtually no one is having their political views changed on Facebook.

    According to survey of 10,000 Facebook users, over 90% of respondents have not had their minds changed on a political issue due to anything posted on Facebook. However the political postings have had some effect as 13% of respondents say they’ve unfriended someone on Facebook because of a political post.

    It used to be said that in polite company you should never talk about sex, politics and religion. Since Facebook it’s now so ubiquitous in our lives should those same courtesies be extended to Facebook, or is Facebook more akin to a graffiti laden restroom wall? Maybe we would be more united as a country if we used Facebook as a forum of discussion rather than a series of megaphones projecting a cacophony of political clamor.

     
  • Greg Collier 4:09 pm on November 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Election, , , University of Missouri   

    Freedom of the Press is Freedom for the People 

    The press has often been referred to as the Fourth Estate of government, a powerful entity that has long served as the eyes, ears and voice of the public, the watchdog charged with asking tough questions and revealing the truth, no matter how much some might not like it.

    With that said, it should come as no surprise that politicians are traditionally among those who most often battle with the press – especially in an election season. And this season, what with colorful candidates such as Donald Trump in the lineup, the press has frequently taken the blame when news stories put the candidates under a negative spotlight. So far this season, Trump has engaged in public battles with the New York Times, NBC, Fox News, Univision and even the Wall Street Journal – and the election is still almost a year away.

    Despite their battles with the press, politicians do have an understanding that freedom of the press is among the most sacred of rights that Americans have. Politicians may try to control the line of questioning or the focus of the story and even might play favorites among media outlets. But they understand that significance of the First Amendment and the right that the media have in chronicling the events of the day.

    That’s the most disturbing attack against the press this year didn’t actually occur on the campaign trail. Instead, it took place during the midst of an historic event at the University of Missouri. Senior university administrators resigned earlier this year after campus protests raised awareness about a series of racially charged incidents that the university was slow to respond to. The resignations were seen a huge victory for the protesters..

    But when journalists converged on a public area of the campus to chronicle the event, a large group of people blocked members of the press from the self-declared “safe zone” of campus and, in one video that went viral, verbally berated student journalists sent to the scene to cover the event. In particular, a professor was caught on camera trying to force a journalist out of the area, even calling out for “some muscle” to physically remove the journalist.

    In some scenarios, when journalists are chronicling an event where passions run deep and everyday citizens are caught up in the moment, it’s easy to understand that not everyone understands the type of rights that come with the First Amendment. But that should be no excuse for a college professor, a woman who holds multiple degrees and, in a ironic twist, actually teaches classes in communications? She should have known better than to try to physically remove a member of the press from any public event in any public location.

    Sure, it’s easy to understand why people have a lack of trust in the press. In today’s online world of news, the various outlets are all trying to get more clicks than their rivals and use baiting headlines and out-of-context soundbites to lure in more readers. The outlets are accused of having an agenda, of writing slanted stories and using selective information to tell the stories they want. Sometimes, it’s so blatant that it’s hard to defend the press.

    But it’s never an excuse for blatantly dismissing the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    The news media plays an important role in our society and, with the rise of the Internet and video-equipped smartphones, even everyday citizens are taking on the role of journalist. No where does it say in the Constitution that the First Amendment only applies to credentialed reporters and photographers.

    That’s why it’s so important to protect the First Amendment. It doesn’t just protect credentialed journalists. It protects everyone who witnesses and records an event – whether through words, photos or video.

    It’s the job of all of us to make sure we preserve that right.

     
  • Greg Collier 11:02 am on July 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , Mexicans, President, The Donald, Trump   

    Trump’s Political Push Exposes Bad-For-Business Behavior 

    As a business owner, I understand that my customers and business relationships are key to the long-term success of my company and I want to do everything I can to maintain and expand those relationships. At the same time, I also need to be able to maintain my voice and speak up about issues that matter to me, both professionally and personally. That’s one of the best things about having this blog.

    Still, there’s a fine line that must be walked when a business owner starts sounding off on the controversial topics of the day – and. boy, are there plenty to choose from these days. The country has been a hotbed of controversial issues this summer – same-sex marriage, Obamacare, the Confederate flag, religious liberty, immigration and, of course, Donald Trump.

    Everyday, I look for ways to grow my business, to extend my reach and let more people know about my service and what I can do for them. I’m not looking to debate a customer on the rights or wrongs of same-sex marriage and I’m certainly not looking for a heated debate over our powerless opinions about immigration, either.

    Frankly, that would be bad for business.

    When it comes to “bad for business,” Trump’s entry into the race for President is an interesting case study. For weeks, Trump has been going on and on about Mexicans and immigrants, making blanket statements – and offending – large groups of people, calling them “rapists” and “drug dealers.” It was only a matter of time before some of his business partners wanted to distance themselves from him and his statements.

    First it was Univision and NBC Universal, pulling out from beauty pageants and giving him the old “You’re Fired” from his Apprentice TV show.. Then came Macy’s and Serta, which both halted sales of products with the Trump name on it. A high-profile golf tournament was moved at the last minute from a Trump property. Top-name chefs have changed their minds about building their restaurants in Trump buildings.

    Trump, of course, has threatened to sue everyone who has turned against him. And, who knows? Maybe he’ll even win a couple of breach-of-contract lawsuits.

    But in no way does this make him a winner. He’s tarnished his brand. Who would want to do business with The Donald now? Are there other celebrity chefs looking to step in and fill the void from those who walked away? Is CBS or FOX (maybe) interested in putting him on the air in a different type of reality show? Is Nordstrom looking to make room for his ties in their stores?

    Sure, Trump may not care today about the business side of his life. After all, he’s rich – so rich that he’s funding his own campaign, a point that never gets lost during the countless interviews he’s done since announcing his candidacy. But, he’s also a long-shot for the presidency, what with his short-on-details, big-on-rhetoric presidential promises, such as building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and making the Mexicans pay for it.

    At some point, Trump will likely find himself in the dark as the 24-hour news cycle starts focusing on the more serious candidates. It’s a long way to the election and while Trump’s 15 Minutes certainly still have some time left on the clock (at least until the first debates), it’s unlikely that he’ll make it all the way to Election Day.

    What will he do after he’s blown millions of dollars on a campaign that went nowhere? What will he do when he finally realizes the financial fallout from the lost relationships with Univision and NBC and Macy’s and the others? What will he do when the restaurants in his buildings are vacant and his golf courses are empty?

    What will he do when other companies pass on the opportunity to do business with him? File bankruptcy? Again?

    It’s one thing to make bad business decisions and learn from them. But doubling-down on bad behavior when solid business relationships start to unravel because of what you’re saying in the public forum probably isn’t the smartest move.

    I may not have agreed with – or had a lot of respect for – Donald Trump’s positions or the brash manner in which he chose to share them. But at least he always had my respect for being a smart businessman.

    Now, he doesn’t even have that.

     
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