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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech, ,   

    YouTube’s livestream of hate speech hearings was flooded by hate speech 

    YouTube's livestream of hate speech hearings was flooded by hate speech

    In the wake of the deadly mass shooting that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand by an alleged white nationalist, the US House Judiciary Committee held a hearing about hat speech online. If you’ll recall the gunman in the Christchurch shooting that left 50 victims dead not only livestreamed his attack on Facebook but also posted a hate-filled manifesto online. Facebook and Google were called before the committee to address what steps they were taking to combat the problem. Both Facebook and Google defended the practices they use in order to prevent online hate. However, Google, who owns YouTube, may have spoken too soon.

    The hearing was being livestreamed on YouTube and about 30 minutes into the livesstream many YouTube users were leaving racist and anti-Semitic comments in the stream’s live chat and comment section. At that point, YouTube shut down the chat and closed the comments section but by then the damage had already been done. Committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, was handed a sampling of the hateful comments and read them aloud during the hearing. “This just illustrates part of the problem we’re dealing with,” Nadler said.

    Unfortunately, just because YouTube clamped down on one livestream doesn’t mean the hate speech went away. Instead, they just relocated to other livestreams of the hearing. At least one recognized hate group ran their own livestream of the hearing and even raised money for themselves through YouTube’s own platform. Because of social media, there hasn’t been a surge in hate groups like this since the days of the civil rights movement. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are over 1,000 organized hate groups in the US alone. Violence committed by some of these groups has also been on a sharp rise in the past few years as well.

    What remains to be seen is if these social media platforms can actually develop effective safeguards to screen for hate speech or will it just remain business as usual? Hate speech has been a problem since the early days of the internet and no major platform has been able to tackle it convincingly.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FDA, glucose meters, hate groups, hate speech, , , test strips, , video doorbells   

    FDA warns about test strips, video doorbells being stolen, and Airbnb to ban hate groups 

    FDA warns about test strips, video doorbells being stolen, and Airbnb to ban hate groups

    If you happen to have a condition where the use of glucose meters and test strips are required, the FDA has issued a warning about using pre-owned test strips that you may find for sale online. While there has not been a report of these strips impacting anybody’s health negatively yet, the FDA warns against the practice of purchasing pre-owned strips as they could potentially give out incorrect readings which could lead to imbalances in the delicate measurement of medicine required to aid in keeping your condition under control. While it may seem like a way to save money, the FDA is also saying that some of these strips have been banned from the US as they’ve been known to cause infections. The mixing and matching of meters and test strips is something the FDA has been trying to discourage for years.

    If you have a video doorbell designed to keep thieves away from your front door, you may be facing a new issue lately. it’s now being reported that a rash of video doorbell thefts have been occurring in many major population centers across the US. Even though the higher-end doorbells have been recording the thefts, there haven’t been an equal amount of arrests. This is due to the fact that either police do not have the resources to track down every doorbell thief or that the thieves are disguising themselves before stealing the items. As can be expected with most stolen items, they can end up for sale online. Both of the major manufacturers of these types of doorbells, Ring and Nest, both have programs to assist customers whose devices have been stolen. However, it is always recommended that you contact the police first.

    Gizmodo is reporting that Airbnb is actively trying to dissuade and in some cases outright banning hate groups from using their service. A convention being held by hate groups as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center later this year. Gizmodo brought it to the attention of Airbnb that many attendees of the convention had planned to use Airbnb while participating at the convention. Airbnb has said that these hate groups violate their community standards and will look to enforce that policy and have already banned several well-known members of these groups. How Airbnb will choose to keep these groups from using their services in the future remains to be seen.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hate speech, ,   

    Facebook will try to ban white nationalist content 

    Facebook to ban white nationalist content

    Last September, Motherboard reported that Facebook treated white supremacy, white nationalism, and white separatism as different things. According to a leaked memo, Facebook said that white supremacist content should be deleted from the platform while white nationalist and white separatist content should be allowed as it’s not necessarily racist. As you can imagine, this created a backlash against Facebook since most rational people believe that white supremacists, nationalists, and separatists are all cut from the same cloth. If that cloth were to be literal we assume it would be in the shape of a pointy hood.

    More recently, Facebook has announced that they will now be cracking down on white separatist and white nationalist content. However, don’t expect racism to magically disappear from Facebook. According to a follow-up by Motherboard, the content has to be pretty overt in its objective to be flagged by Facebook.

    Specifically, Facebook will now ban content that includes explicit praise, support, or representation of white nationalism or separatism. Phrases such as “I am a proud white nationalist” and “Immigration is tearing this country apart; white separatism is the only answer” will now be banned, according to the company. Implicit and coded white nationalism and white separatism will not be banned immediately, in part because the company said it’s harder to detect and remove.

    It’s that last part that is really going to be the problem for Facebook because if anybody knows how to spread their message in code, it’s white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Messages from these types of groups will often contain certain phrases known as ‘dog whistles’ in order to either communicate with other members or recruit new ones.

    I’m sure somebody reading this will be asking “Why is it only white separatists that are being banned?” And we’ll be more than happy to remind you that this isn’t about Facebook just as much as it really wasn’t about water fountains back in the day.

  • Geebo 8:05 am on March 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , hate speech, , ,   

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes 

    Cashless stores and Amazon, Facebook and hate, and Robert Kraft apologizes

    Here are some follow-ups to stories we have discussed in the past.

    Both New Jersey and Philadelphia have banned cashless stores from operating within their jurisdictions. Not surprisingly, the city of San Francisco is moving toward a similar ban. Previously, Amazon had lobbied against the laws in both Jersey and Philly since the allure of its Amazon Go stores are that you can walk in and out without having to deal with a cashier and the stores are cashless with all payment being taken through a smartphone app. The problem with cashless stores is that they exclude lower-income families who don’t have easy access to such things as debit and credit cards or smartphone apps. While prepaid debit cards can be purchased, the rates for these cards can often be described as predatory. It’s unclear what Amazon can use to try to push cities into going cashless as their Go Stores offer little to no opportunities for employment.

    During the horrific mass shooting that recently took place in New Zealand where a white supremacist shot and killed 50 mosque attendees, the assailant broadcast the attack over Facebook live. The attack was said to have been viewed at least 4,000 times before it was removed from Facebook. Facebook claims that it didn’t pull the video sooner because none of their users had reported it. That seems like an awfully convenient excuse considering that in the past it’s been alleged that Facebook counts on controversy to keep their users engaged which in turn results in more views for advertisers. Toward that, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald asks why Facebook can curb such videos from terrorist groups like ISIS but couldn’t stop the broadcast of this hate-monger? Again the answer seems to be because it’s not profitable for Facebook to do so.

    Lastly today, we have a follow-up about the story of Robert Kraft. As we’ve previously posted, the New England Patriots owner was caught up in a human trafficking sting in Florida where Kraft was allegedly caught using the services of a massage parlor. We also discussed how the living arrangements and the treatment of trafficked women in those parlors can be harrowing. Over this past weekend, Kraft is said to have apologized for his actions. In the apology, Kraft seems to apologize mostly to his friends and family for letting them down but not to the women he allegedly paid for services whose lives are treated like cattle by their traffickers. In essence, he’s apologizing that he got caught which again takes the spotlight away from the victims of this degrading practice.

  • Geebo 10:14 am on December 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech,   

    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech is still a problem for the platform. 

    Are Facebook employees looking to jump ship? Also, hate speech still a problem for the platform.

    For several years, Facebook was considered the place to work in Silicon Valley. Many considered it to be the holy grail of employment with Facebook even being ranked the best place to work in America by employer review site Glassdoor.com. Facebook even touted this fact themselves in a corporate video where they almost break their arm patting themselves on the back.

    However, the ranking and the video all took place before Facebook started to be embroiled in the myriad of scandals that have shaken the foundations at the Menlo Park headquarters. According to CNBC, a number of current Facebook employees have been reaching out to former colleagues supposedly looking for new employment opportunities. That’s not unusual for many companies but former Facebook employees have said they’ve seen a sharp increase recently in current Facebook employees looking to leave the company. One of the problems facing current Facebook employees is that Facebook holds a lot of sway in Silicon Valley and can basically determine your future employment opportunities. Again, according to CNBC, if you leave Facebook in the ‘wrong’ way, you can be labeled as “non-regrettable”. Not only does this status mean you could never work for Facebook again, but it could also keep you out of many other positions in the tech industry.

    To make matters worse for Facebook, The Daily Beast has published a report where they documented a deluge of posts that could be considered hate speech by most rational people, yet Facebook failed to do anything about these posts until The Daily Beast pointed them out to Facebook. The majority of these posts were calling for violence against immigrants. Even though The Daily Beast reported many of these posts to Facebook, the social network failed to remove all of them saying that some of the calls for violence didn’t violate their nebulous community standards. Again, this lends credence to the theory that Facebook wants to keep as many users engaged as possible even if it’s through inflammatory content. Facebook’s so-called commitment to stopping hate speech seems little more than lip service to anyone who actually tried to do something about it. Any private company, and by private we mean that it’s not a government-run institution, that not only allows but encourages their platform to be used for hate cannot have its users best interest at heart.

  • Geebo 10:30 am on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cameroon, , hate speech,   

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries 

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries

    With all eyes focused on the US midterm election, Facebook announced in the run-up that they had removed several foreign accounts that were coordinating some kind of inauthentic behavior. What was lost in the headlines is that around the same time, Facebook has admitted to their part in the ongoing ethnic conflict in Myanmar. As has been posted on this blog in the past, the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has used Facebook to not only spread misinformation and hate speech about the Muslim Rohingya minority but have also used Facebook to organize violent attacks against the Rohingya.

    Outside of the announcement of Facebook removing accounts that may have tried to interfere with the US election, Facebook also announced that they admit that their platform was used an “enabling environment” to which ethnic cleansing has proliferated in Myanmar. This was after Facebook had commissioned an independent study to review their role in the continuing Burmese conflict. However, any promise of resolution on Facebook’s side has been vague at best with Facebook basically promising to do better in the future. However, before they can correct any issues in Myanmar, Facebook is being used in another country’s ongoing conflict.

    The African nation of Cameroon is on the verge of a civil war between the French-speaking majority and English-speaking separatists. There are no ‘good guys’ in this fight as both sides have been accused of atrocities against the other. Another thing that both sides of the conflict have in common is that they both use Facebook to discord and misinformation. In one of the more recent incidents, the French-speaking east spread a video of a horror movie on Facebook and claimed it was evidence of cannibalism in the English-speaking east. Even a high-ranking government official claimed this was evidence of atrocities committed by the separatists before the video was debunked. Facebook admitted that there was more to do in Africa but Facebook does not have a team in place in Cameroon but rather handles African content from the US and the UK. This sounds vaguely reminiscent of the crisis in Myanmar as Facebook previously only had a handful of employees that could read Burmese.

    Facebook is losing the global war against hate and has no real-world solutions in place to stop it. This is the problem when one platform dominates the market and tries to be all things to all people. Some of the people are hate-filled monsters with a global platform.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech, The Intercept   

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting 

    Facebook apologizes for hate speech ad targeting

    why is it that Facebook can’t seem to go at least a week without having to apologize for something. If it’s not massive data breaches and hacks, it’s interference from foreign agitators. One has to wonder if there is a Facebook employee whose official title is Executive President In Charge of Public Apologies. Then again, the way Facebook has been going lately they may need an entire department for that. This week is no different as once again Facebook finds themselves having to apologize for something that had little to no oversight.

    Last week I posted about how news outlets VICE and Business Insider were able to buy phony Facebook ads claiming to be from US Senators and Cambridge Analytica. This week is no different as over the weekend Facebook apologized for yet another advertising faux pas. Another news outlet called The Intercept was able to purchase an ad on Facebook that could be targeted at people who have anti-Semitic views. By using the term anti-Semitic I’m being rather generous as the ads could be targeted using certain phrases that decorum dictates I won’t use here. Facebook blamed the ad category on Facebook’s advertising algorithm for creating the offensive category, however, The Intercept claims that the ad had to be approved by a human moderator. The Intercept placed this ad in order to show just how easy it is for hate groups to be able to promote their vile messages on the platform.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has been caught allegedly coddling extremist hate groups as Motherboard discovered back in September that ads for white supremacy are not allowed on Facebook while posts that advocate white separatism and white nationalism are allowed. These controversies are just symptoms of much larger and more disturbing problems. Either Facebook’s own platform is grown so large it’s out of their control or Facebook courts controversy in order to keep it’s shrinking userbase engaged. Neither problem is better than the other but both show that Facebook wields more power in our society than they’re capable of handling.

  • Geebo 9:10 am on September 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech   

    Facebook blames failure to stop hate speech on ‘glitch’ 

    Facebook blames failure to stop hate speech on 'glitch'

    Once again, Facebook finds itself in the middle of a PR nightmare when it comes to hate speech. No, I’m not talking about John Oliver’s scathing critique of Facebook (NSFW) when it comes to the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, although he was spot on. No, today I’m speaking about something that hits much closer to home.

    BBC News has published a report that alleges Facebook is mostly paying lip service when it comes to the removal of hate speech on its platform. The BBC found that when hate speech was posted in a group that was dedicated to “Making America Great Again” and that hate speech was reported, Facebook was telling the person who flagged the content that it had been removed. However, the BBC’s investigation showed that the content remained. A spokesperson for Facebook said that there is a ‘glitch’ in their reporting system and they are “looking into it”, which seems to be a typical response for Facebook hoping that things like this just blow over.

    Once again, this is nothing new for Facebook. It has basically become the graffiti-strewn public bathroom wall of the world. With its userbase stagnating, Facebook is looking for any way to keep its users engaged on the platform which includes hate speech. We can’t realistically expect Facebook to do anything about the hate-fueled nonsense that consistently pollutes our news feeds. What should be done is that Facebook should be left to the hate mongers while the rest of us log off of the toxic platform.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on September 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hate speech, ,   

    Is Facebook exhibiting shades of gray when it comes to white supremacy? 

    Is Facebook exhibiting shades of gray when it comes to white supremacy?

    When I first read Motherboard’s expose on Facebook’s policy regarding white nationalism I almost literally raised my palm to my face. Facebook’s current and constant PR disasters remind me of an episode of The Simpsons where erstwhile villain Sideshow Bob keeps walking into a rake no matter which way he turns.

    In this latest controversy, Motherboard, the tech arm of Vice News, obtained allegedly leaked documents from Facebook that determines which content is allowed to remain on their platform when it comes to the white supremacy movement that’s been emboldened in our country since a certain official was elected to office. According to Motherboard, Facebook tells its moderators that white supremacy is not allowed on Facebook, however, posts that advocate white separatism and white nationalism are allowed. While those among the goose-stepping set may argue that those are three different philosophies, they’re all cut from the same cloth. A cloth I might add that’s fashioned into a pointy hat with two eye holes.

    After Motherboard brought their findings to Facebook, the social media giant said they were going to review their policies regarding this kind of content in the future. However, the question needs to be asked, why were these kind of semantics allowed to happen in the first place. In my opinion is all goes back to the theory that Facebook thrives on this kind of controversy on their site as it is said to keep Facebook users engaged in their platform. There have been too many examples lately of Facebook harboring hate speech in order to maintain their userbase numbers. Not just in the US but across the world. Facebook has declined from a place where people kept in touch with old friends to become a global hate machine and Facebook likes it that way.

  • Geebo 9:18 am on August 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , hate speech   

    Facebook hate speech continues to spread across the world 

    Facebook hate speech continues to spread across the world

    Previously, I’ve posted about how unfettered hate speech on Facebook has led from everything to ethnic cleansing, to lynch mobs and refugee persecution from Myanmar to Germany. Now imagine you open Facebook in your browser today and you read about how a group of ‘patriots’ wants to go all vigilante on an entire ethnicity just because a few people of that ethnicity have committed a crime. If you were in America you may think we’ve somehow traveled back in time to the Jim Crow-era South, but in Australia, that’s happening right now in the city of Melbourne, where many white citizens, politicians and some of the media are blaming on the Sudanese community.

    In America, we tend to have a very narrow view of the rest of the world as we tend to be a very insular country. This results in sometimes viewing countries like Myanmar as third-world countries and that they’re problems don’t affect us. However, we’re now talking about Australia. While they may be on the other side of the globe, they are one of the most prosperous countries in the world in both finance and freedoms. The ignorant hate speech in Australia calling for violence against the Sudanese is just a small example of what could happen here in the U.S. if we’re not careful.

    As The Guardian points out, Facebook has no real incentive to try to curb hate speech on its platform. If it were to do so, it would not only cut into the company’s growth but its profits as well. Just look at the situation in Myanmar for example, Facebook wouldn’t even lift a finger to curb hate speech against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar until the United Nations accused Myanmar’s leadership of allegedly committing genocide.

    If hate speech is to be curbed on Facebook it needs to be done by us, its users. The best way to do that would be to abandon the platform since it has become a haven for toxic behavior. If Facebook can’t control the power it’s unleashed on the world then we have to take back the power for ourselves by making Facebook a footnote in online history, much like Facebook did to MySpace.

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