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

    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 10:58 am on February 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , politics   

    Is a politics free Facebook worth it? 

    Is a politics free Facebook worth it?

    Ever since the start of 2016 presidential campaign, which feels like it started in 1988, it seems like Facebook has been a never-ending series of political memes and rants. Maybe you long for the days for when Facebook was nothing but pictures of cats, what people had for dinner, and baby pictures? Well, today is your lucky day.

    Fox News recently posted an article that shows you several different options on how you can sanitize your Facebook feed from politics.

    From following, but not unfriending, friends, to browser extensions, you have several different options to turn your Facebook back to the days before alternative facts and deleted emails. The question is though, should you?

    If you eliminate all the politics from your Facebook you could be just enforcing your own confirmation bias. While you may find political opinions different from your own distasteful, to turn off those opinions outright is akin to sticking your head in the proverbial sand. No matter how right or wrong some of the Facebook political rants are they do expose you to the lives of others whose experiences are different from your own. So maybe in the midst of those rants you can find a kernel of thought-provoking information.

  • Geebo 10:56 am on December 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , politics   

    Fake news is a problem, but is it Facebook’s problem? 

    Fake news is a problem, bus is it Facebook's problem?

    A lot has been made about Facebook and its problem with fake news articles appearing on its social network. We even started discussing this back in August. Ever since Facebook eliminated its human curation staff the site seems to have flooded over night with fake or misleading headlines.

    In a blog post on Quartz, they discuss a study that shows that a majority of traffic to these fake, or what they call hyperpartisan news sites, comes from Facebook. As you may have surmised, hyperpartisan news sites are specifically designed to garner traffic from members of whatever political party they tend to represent For example, a site called ‘Occupy Democrats’ gets almost 80% of traffic from Facebook alone while the New York times only gets 11%.

    While Facebook’s former curation team would have prevented stories like this from ending up in their trending topics, it’s ultimately up to the Facebook user who shares and spreads this disinformation or hyperbole. Again, there are too many people on Facebook and the internet in general, who are too eager to share articles that reinforce their confirmation bias no matter how outlandish the premise of the story may be.

    While Facebook’s fake news quandary is indeed a problem, ultimately it’s not really Facebook’s problem. As a wise man once said “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  • Geebo 12:37 pm on November 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , politics, representation, Shereef Bishay   

    Democracy 2.0: Please share this video 

    Democracy 2.0: Please share this video

    Rather than getting on YouTube and simply complaining about the outcome of the election, tech influencer Shereef Bishay has come up with a plan that he feels will not only give everyday citizens direct representation in congress but our opinions will actually matter. In his YouTube video entitled ‘Upgrading our democracy’ Mr. Bishay refers to democracy as an operating system that is in desperate need of an upgrade.

    In his plan Mr. Bishay suggests there should be a web portal where we vote on the issues facing congress today that go straight to our representatives. However, if we don’t want to vote on every issue we can give our votes to proxies who can vote on our behalf. The example that Mr. Bishay gives is that you can give your vote to the Sierra Club if you care about environmental issues.

    The problem is that our current representation are more beholden to lobbyists and special interest groups rather than their constituents and can vote on issues any way they see fit. Mr Bishay has a suggestion for that as well. He believes that there should be an internet candidate to congress who should be legally bound to vote as the way the constituents he or she represents have voted. He suggests we should have these internet candidates in all congressional races until all the old guard is removed and the new system is patched, as he calls it.

    He does into more detail in his video below and would like to see his video shared on Facebook at least 1000 times before he puts in money himself then starts a Kickstarter campaign to get the ball rolling. Please watch the reasonably short video in its entirety.

    Are there flaws in Mr. Bishay’s plan, of course there are. There are flaws in almost any plan, and there are definitely too many flaws in the way today’s political system works. We’ve been using the same form of representation for over 200 years and our technology has vastly surpassed that system. Isn’t it time to bring the two on par?

    Please share Mr. Bishay’s video today.

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

    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: , , , politics, ,   

    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 10:09 am on October 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , politics,   

    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: , , , Hillary Clinton, politics   

    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.

  • Geebo 9:34 am on May 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , politics   

    Off topic Friday: Is Facebook censoring conservative news stories? 

    Off topic Friday: Is Facebook censoring conservative news stories?

    DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not endorsing one political party or candidate over another. It is merely discussing a topic where politics is involved.

    Earlier this week an anonymous former Facebook employee claimed to the media that Facebook purposely tries to keep conservative news topics out if its trending news subjects. It’s gotten so much attention in some conservative circles that US Senator John Thune from South Dakota has called upon Facebook to provide information to Congress about the allegations. Some have said that Congress should not be getting involved in how Facebook conducts their business however studies have shown that 30 percent of Americans get their news from Facebook.

    Then there’s the argument that if Facebook is secretly promoting progressive news stories is that really censorship? The concept of censorship can only be really carried out by an agent of the state, i.e. the government. Facebook is a private tech entity and legally could exercise any kind of political leaning it wished. However one would think it would be a bad business decision to alienate possibly half of their userbase.

    What do you think? Is Facebook purposely squelching conservative leaning stories or is it just paranoia among some politicos?

  • Geebo 9:29 am on April 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: politics, selfies,   

    Off Topic Friday: Ballot Box Selfies 


    Love’ em or hate ‘em selfies are here to stay. They are a way of expression that almost an entire generation of young adults uses. A lot of these young adults are now registered voters and want to show their civic pride by taking a selfie in the voting booth or by the ballot box. While a number of states do allow these selfies many still do not. For example New York does allow the practice while neighboring New Jersey does not.  Many laws enacted to prevent photography in the polling place were made in order to discourage voter fraud but those were written decades ago. Do they still apply in today’s ‘photograph everything’ society?

    Mobile video sharing app Snapchat says no. Recently they filed a 28-page friend of the court brief in New Hampshire asking the Granite State to repeal their photography ban claiming it is a First Amendment right.

    What do you think? Are ballot box or voting booth selfies a protected form of expression or is it trivializing the voting process? Please leave your response.

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