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  • Geebo 9:01 am on March 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cambridge Analytica, , Election, , Steve Bannon   

    50 million Facebook accounts exposed in political data breach 

    50 million Facebook accounts exposed in political data breach

    In a story that seems like it was taken straight from the 1988 sci-fi movie ‘They Live’, a large data firm is accused of allegedly breaching the Facebook accounts of 50 million US voters in order to ‘change audience behavior’. It was supposedly done, once again, to try to influence the 2016 Presidential election.

    Cambridge Analytica is accused of allegedly using a paid survey app that was disguised as a personality test. The app required users to log in through Facebook. After a user logged into Facebook, the app would not only harvest the information of the user, but also data from everyone in the user’s friends list. Trump advisor Steve Bannon was a board member of Cambridge Analytica and, according to the New York Times, “was intrigued by the possibility of using personality profiling to shift America’s culture and rewire its politics.”

    To make matters worse, Facebook allegedly knew of the misuse of the data and did little about it except to ask Cambridge Analytica to delete the information they had. Again, the New York Times claims that the data was not deleted and was discoverable online. So this seems like it is another instance where Facebook supposedly knew of alleged election interference and chose to do next to nothing about it. Many lawmakers are even calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. It’s about high time that he did since it’s obvious he really has little to no control over what’s really happening throughout Facebook and the detrimental effect it has on our society.

     
  • Geebo 9:59 am on February 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , postcards   

    Facebook’s solution to stop foreign meddling is postcards 

    Facebook's solution to stop foreign meddling is postcards

    With the alleged Russian meddling that took place on Facebook leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, the beleaguered social network has been struggling to find a way to stop foreign actors from interfering in American politics while using their platform. With some of the brightest minds working for it in such fields as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, Facebook has decided to use the best technology at their disposal to verify the identity of political ad purchasers, postcards.

    Yes, those postcards that generations ago people would send back home to their friends and family through the postal service while they were on vacation. Facebook will be sending postcards to political ad purchasers with a verification code on it to help try to ensue the buyers are from the United States. However, these cards will only be sent to people buying ads for a certain candidate. Ads dealing with political issues will still be a free for all. Facebook also admits that their postcard solution won’t fix everything. You don’t say.

    This is not even taking into account that mail fraud is one of the oldest type of crimes in the country. There are a plethora of ways for bad actors to get around Facebook’s attempt at tighter security. It wouldn’t take much for foreign entities to get people working for them in the US to respond to these postcards. Foreign scam artists who have people wire them money often have someone in the US working for them as a go-between. They could also simply just buy a drop box at many shipping supply stores that offer such a service.

    The reason this is still important is that the midterm elections are coming up this November and unless Facebook wants a repeat of 2016 they’re going to need a much better solution than the one they’re currently touting.

     
  • Geebo 10:29 am on February 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, ,   

    Has Facebook been caught in the ballot box again? 

    Has Facebook been caught in the ballot box again?

    Facebook’s shady political ad practices have been in the news ever since the 2016 Presidential election when it was discovered the platform accepted foreign money for ads that were disguised as American political ads. They’ve been called before Congress multiple times without ever giving a satisfactory answer as to whether or not they will or can stop this practice. Now, Facebook has run afoul of an election law and has yet to give those seeking answers any pertinent information.

    The city of Seattle has asked Facebook to provide information about campaign ads on the social network that were displayed during last year’s city elections. Seattle has a law in place that states those who pay for political campaign ads in the city must be revealed or face a potential $5,000 per ad penalty. Facebook claims they’ve sent Seattle the necessary information, however, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission say that Facebook has not “come close to meeting their public obligation.”

    What makes matters worse is that Facebook could easily pay these penalties with the change found in Mark Zuckerberg’s couch cushions. Facebook is far from lacking in the funding department which in turn could have undue influence on just about any election that an ad buyer wishes to undermine while Facebook allegedly hides their identity. This is the true threat to Democracy in our country.

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

    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.

     
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