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  • Geebo 10:14 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , New York Times, ,   

    Facebook Parliament update and how Zuck stole Thanksgiving 

    Facebook Parliament update and how Zuck stole Thanksgiving

    In an update to yesterday’s post about the UK’s Parliament seizing internal documents from Facebook, The Guardian is updating the proceedings live on their website and is live streaming the hearings at the video below. So far there has been nothing earth-shattering revealed in the testimony from Facebook’s Vice President for Public Policy Solutions Richard Allan. So far, Parliament has said that they would not be publishing the seized documents today, but publishing them at a later date has not been ruled out.


    If the stream is currently not playing it is set to resume at 3:30PM GMT/10:30AM EST

    Meanwhile, while we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop in Parliament, let’s revisit an older story that seems to have mostly gone under the radar. If you’ll recall, about 2 weeks ago we published a post about how the New York Times accused Facebook of using underhanded tactics to try to silence Facebook’s critics. One of those tactics was said to include hiring a right-wing media firm to run a smear campaign against philanthropist George Soros and accusing many of Facebook’s critics as being anti-Semitic. Facebook finally came out and admitted that they did, in fact, hire the media firm known as Definers. So they’ve basically admitted to at least one of the major accusations by the Times. So why hasn’t this been bigger news? Because Facebook used one of the oldest tactics in the PR book by releasing this information right before the Thanksgiving holiday. This was a brilliant sleight of hand distraction that most stage magicians would be proud of.

    Facebook is more and more becoming the public face of privacy intrusion and cover-ups. In the past, most people were more worried about the government invading their privacy instead, it turned out to be a company that was started as a way people could connect to their friends. Then again, I guess we’re always betrayed the hardest by the ones we trust the most and in the past, the American people put a lot of trust in Facebook. Now it’s becoming more evident with each passing day that trust was misplaced.

     
  • Geebo 8:20 am on November 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , New York Times   

    Facebook tries to silence a critic in Geebo 

    Facebook tries to silence a critic in Geebo

    After the daily blog post is published here at Geebo, a link to the day’s blog post is also posted on all of Geebo’s social media accounts. This obviously includes the Geebo Facebook page where we not only post links to the blog but also share some of our users’ ads we think our customers might enjoy.

    Yesterday, the blog post was about how the New York Times accused Facebook of a myriad of transgressions, however, the post mainly focused on how Facebook allegedly used some underhanded tactics to try to silence its critics. More often than not, one of our employees also posts links to that day’s blog on their personal Facebook. That employee is also a content creator in their off time who has been critical of Facebook in the past, but they never had a problem with any of the content they’ve posted. That was until yesterday when they received a notification from Facebook stating that the post goes against Facebook’s ‘Community Standards’ and it has been removed from the news feed section. Isn’t it ironic that Facebook removed a post that was critical of them for trying to silence their critics?

    It was then decided to see if the post was still live on the Geebo Facebook page and it was gone like it never existed. However, in the case of the Geebo page, there was no notification of the post violating the ever-nebulous community standards such as the one posted above from our employee’s personal page. As far as could be told, the post had been wiped off the face of the earth like it had been black bagged by Facebook’s content police and shipped off to a virtual Gitmo. Our employee has reached out to Facebook but has only received a canned response stating that the matter is under review.

    As a whole, we try not to be hyperbolic and we would never claim that Facebook is violating Geebo’s First Amendment right to free speech. Facebook is a private company and has every right to remove whatever content they see fit. However, we are also well within our right to point out what we believe to be evidence supporting some of the allegations that the New York Times has made. It’s one thing to disagree with your critics but it’s another matter completely when you try to rob them of their voice.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on November 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , New York Times,   

    NYT: Facebook sinks to new lows in trying to protect its rep 

    NYT: Facebook sinks to new lows in trying to protect its rep

    Once again, I was trying not to post about Facebook for the rest of the week. While we’re no fans of Facebook’s unchecked power around the world, our criticism of Facebook is not personal. Also, I didn’t want our readers and customers to get burned out on a constant barrage of Facebook news. However, yesterday, the New York Times published a blistering expose on Facebook that is probably the most damning criticism of Facebook to date. While the Times article focuses most of its attention on Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and how she allegedly tried to downplay the various crises Facebook has endured since the 2016 Presidential Election, I want to focus on some specific tactics Facebook allegedly used to try to silence its critics.

    Media outlets that follow a specific political leaning have long accused Facebook of being against whatever their political ideology might be. The right says that Facebook censors conservative posts while the left accuses Facebook of being a cauldron of right-wing hate speech. The Times report shows that Facebook is neither left or right-leaning. Facebook only leanings are toward Facebook and is willing to use either side of the political spectrum to protect themselves. For example, according to The Times, Facebook employed a right-wing media group to run a smear campaign against George Soros. Mr. Soros is a left-leaning philanthropist who has been a very vocal critic of Facebook and has been the target of many right-wing conspiracy theories. Conversely, Facebook has called upon the aid of the Anti-Defamation League to accuse one of its critics of being anti-Semitic in their criticism of Facebook. A liberal advocacy group called Freedom From Facebook, which I posted about here, depicted Facebook in a protest picture as a two-headed octopus with its tentacles encircling the globe. The heads of the octopus were those of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. The ADF accused Freedom From Facebook for the image being anti-Semitic stating that “Depicting Jews as an octopus encircling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope.” However, similar images were used in political cartoons back in the days of oil and steel monopolies. With this latest look into Facebook’s protectionist tactics, the comparison to companies like Standard Oil could not be more apropos.

    If the Times report is to be believed, and by all accounts, I think it should, it shows just how far Facebook is willing to go to try to discredit its critics. While I’m not a fan of the level of venom used in their article, I think Slate put it best by saying that Facebook isn’t a special company anymore, it’s now just a regular sleazy company engaged in normal sleazy lobbying and corporate propaganda. As far as Facebook is concerned there is only Facebook. Anything else is the enemy and there’s no tactic too low they’ll stoop to in order to protect their brand.

     
  • Geebo 10:21 am on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , New York Times   

    NYT suing the FCC over alleged Russian involvement in net neutrality proceedings 

    NYT suing the FCC over alleged Russian involvement in net neutrality proceedings

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    Once again, it appears that the FCC is actively trying to boondoggle the public when it comes to their repeal of net neutrality protections that had been put in place by the Obama Administration. If you’ll recall during the public appeal period leading up to the repeal, the FCC claimed that their website designed to elicit public opinion fell victim to a denial of service attack by net neutrality supporters. That turned out to not be true. Instead, the real reason the FCC site failed may be more insidious.

    The New York Times has been actively pursuing the FCC through Freedom of Information Act requests to get the logs of the email and IP addresses the attackers used to bring down the website. Not surprisingly, the FCC has been very uncooperative when it comes to releasing the logs. The Times believes that the site’s crashing was due to Russian interference from over 500,000 fake email addresses that originated from Russia. The New York Times has now resorted to suing the FCC to obtain these records.

    This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the Trump Administration’s net neutrality debacle. Between the allegations of ties the Trump Administration has to Russia and the fact that FCC chairman Ajit Pai is a former Verzion executive it’s apparent to anyone who takes a close look at the situation that the current FCC is probably in the pockets of the big internet service providers and also appear to be covering up another possible scandal in this administration’s long list of them.

     
  • Greg Collier 1:48 pm on March 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fair Girls, , , Johns, New York Times, , Pimps, , , ,   

    Keeping the Fight Alive against Online Sex Ads 

    I recently came across a couple of articles in the New York Times that really left me feeling disheartened, kind of frustrated and definitely sad. They both focused on human trafficking trends, specifically the use of online classifieds sites as a forum for luring, pimping and selling young girls into the sex trade.

    The first, titled “Online Sex Trade Flourishing Despite Efforts to Curb It,” left a sting in me, not just because I’ve been behind many efforts to curb the use of online ad sites for soliciting sexual encounters but more because police seem to have a “love-hate” attitude about the online sex ads.

    What can anyone possibly love about this online sex trade? Yes, it’s a sad state of society that this modern-day slavery exists, but police explain that online ads have given them a new tool to learn more about this once-underground world and “crack the code” that pimps and johns use to set-up sexual encounters. While I won’t dispute the need for police to be up-to-speed on the latest techniques and technologies, we can’t lose sight of the fact that every ad that law enforcement takes time to study is an ad for a real person trapped in this horribly violent world.

    The second article, an Op-Ed titled “Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods,” honed in on the sites that turn a blind eye on these sorts of advertisements, specifically Backpage.com, an online classifieds operation owned by Village Voice Media. For many companies, a scathing set of words in the New York Times would be devastating but the folks at Backpage are defiant and defensive about all of it. After all, they’re trying to protect their bread-and-butter.

    The AIM Group, a research firm, reports that online prostitution advertising on five U.S. web sites generated at least $3.1 million in February 2012, a jump of nearly 10 percent from February 2011. Of that, nearly 80 percent – or about $2.5 million – came from Backpage. On an annual basis, the AIM Group estimates at least $36.6 million in advertising revenue, with more than two-thirds – $26 million – generated by Backpage.

    As the owner of Geebo, an online classifieds site that doesn’t host a forum for “personals” ads, I’m not reaping the financial rewards that come from these sorts of ads – but my conscience and I are sleeping well at night. I killed the personals section on Geebo in September 2010. For some time now, I’ve been standing out on that limb all alone, asking my industry counterparts to join me in removing personals ads from their sites but instead being met with a deafening silence in response.

    Fortunately, while my industry counterparts stay silent, other groups, such as FAIR Girls, are turning up the heat on these site owners and working to raise awareness about what’s really happening on these sites. Andrea Powell, co-founder and executive director of FAIR Girls, takes exception to the idea that Backpage is being responsible, as it claims, because it says it tries to screen ads for minors and alerts law enforcement when it suspects trafficking.

    “As an advocate who also searches for missing and exploited girls, I can say honestly that it is very hard to find sex trafficked girls using the online classified ad sites,” Powell said. “Pimps hide their victims in hotels, use fake names, and make a real effort to keep us from helping their victims escape. Online classified sites like Backpage.com make it easier for pimps, not victims. It’s the new frontier of sex trafficking, and we want to see these sites shut down.”

    At the very minimum, it’s time for sites like Backpage to recognize that they’re not helping the problem but instead are making it worse, providing pimps and johns with an anonymous access to an online marketplace for sex. Certainly, I’d welcome any of my competitors in classifieds to shut down but if they want to stay in the game, I’ll just keep asking that they at least kill the area of ads where pimps and johns continue to destroy innocent lives.

     
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