Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Censorship (links)

Expect additions to this thread. This is a developing story.
“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.......” the president tweeted. 
“.....Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police. If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don’t watch at all.”…
The president later added: “....Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Who is making the choices, because I can already tell you that too many mistakes are being made. Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!”...

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This raises major questions, in their statement that the deleted data was ‘administered by Russia and Iran’. It also contradicts their own official rationale. Given that these countries with combined populations of over 220 million people, it is unclear therefore if the specific allegation, and subsequent action, was based on these pages, groups, and accounts being literally run by government offices of the governments in question. That much appears very much unlikely to be so.
Rather, this appears as a case of bias, discrimination, and national chauvinism – activists from Russia and Iran are apparently not allowed to administer Facebook pages and groups, is what we can deduce at this time, in the absence of evidence to corroborate Facebook’s claims.
FRN itself has long been the subject of Atlanticist attacks, Julian Assange noted that attacks identical to those made upon FRN by Facebook are coordinated by militarized vectors of Atlanticist power.

The criteria of a ‘coordinated network’ appears to contradict allegations of being ‘administered by Russia and Iran’. Are Facebook page administrations, who agree on a range of subjects, disallowed from sending each other inbox messages and ‘coordinating’ messages? Isn’t that what activists do?Fort Russ
FACEBOOK COMMITS MASS CENSORSHIP & DISCRIMINATION; removes 652 ‘inappropriate’ accounts ‘linked’ to Russia and Iran
Paul Antonopoulos

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But, seeing as we're getting towards September when the EU Parliament will again be voting on the big Copyright Directive proposal there, including Article 13, which will require mandatory filters or other automated tools for preventing copyright infringement, I thought it was important to do a separate post calling out one of the other pages taken down by Symphonic Distribution's out of control Topple Track. And that was that it got Google to de-index an article by Julia Reda, a member of the EU Parliament who has been leading the charge against the problematic provisions in the Copyright Directive proposal.
Specifically -- and it would be hard to make this up if we tried -- Topple Track's automated filter got Google to de-index this blog post by Reda, in which she details the problems in Article 13 and how it will create mandatory censorship machines, that would likely lead to massive internet censorship of perfectly legitimate content....
TechDirt — Free Speech
Automated Filter Removed Parliament Member's Article Warning About Censorship By Automated Filters

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The algorithms that drive the bizarre universe of these videos are used to “hack the brains of very small children in return for advertising revenue,” says Bridle. “At least that what I hope they’re doing it for.” Bridle soon bridges the machinery of kids’ YouTube with the adult version. “It’s impossible to know,” he says, who’s posting these millions of videos, “or what their motives might be…. Really it’s exactly the same mechanism that’s happening across most of our digital services, where it’s impossible to know where this information is coming from.” The children’s videos are “basically fake news for kids. We’re training them from birth to click on the very first link that comes along, regardless of what the source is.”

High school and college teachers already deal with the problem of students who cannot judge good information from bad—and who cannot really be blamed for it, since millions of adults seem unable to do so as well. In surveying YouTube children’s videos, Bridle finds himself asking the same questions that arise in response to so much online content: “Is this a bot? Is this a person? Is this a troll? What does it mean that we can’t tell the difference between these things anymore?” The language of online content is a hash of popular tags meant to be read by machine algorithms, not humans. But real people performing in an “algorithmically optimized system” seem forced to “act out these increasingly bizarre combinations of words.”
Within this culture, he says, “even if you’re human, you have to end up behaving like a machine just to survive.” What makes the scenario even darker is that machines replicate the worst aspects of human behavior, not because they’re evil but because that’s what they’re taught to do. To think that technology is neutral is a dangerously naïve view, Bridle argues. Humans encode their historical biases into the data, then entrust to A.I. such critical functions as not only children’s entertainment, but also predictive policing and recommending criminal sentences. As Bridle notes in the short video above, A.I. inherits the racism of its creators, rather than acting as a “leveling force."
As we’ve seen the CEOs of tech companies taken to task for the use of their platforms for propaganda, disinformation, hate speech, and wild conspiracy theories, we’ve also seen them respond to the problem by promising to solve it with more automated machine learning algorithms. In other words, to address the issues with the same technology that created them—technology that no one really seems to understand. Letting “unaccountable systems” driven almost solely by ads control global networks with ever-increasing influence over world affairs seems wildly irresponsible, and has already created a situation, Bridle argues in his book, in which imperialism has “moved up to infrastructure level” and conspiracy theories are the most “powerful narratives of our time,” as he says below....
Open Culture
This Is Your Kids’ Brains on Internet Algorithms: A Chilling Case Study Shows What’s Wrong with the Internet Today
Josh Jones

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Unfortunately, Facebook immediately used this new precedent to switch its sights on the left, temporarily shutting down the Occupy London page and deleting the anti-fascist No Unite the Right account (Tech Crunch, 8/1/18). Furthermore, on August 9, the independent, reader-supported news website Venezuelanalysis had its page suspended without warning.…
Facebook recently announced it had partnered with the Atlantic Council in an effort to combat “fake news” on its platform (, 5/21/18). An offshoot of NATO, the Council’s board of directors is a who’s who of neo-conservative hawks, including Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger and James Baker; CIA directors like Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden; retired generals like Wesley Clark and David Petraeus; as well as senior tech executives.
Forty-five percent of Americans get their news from Facebook. When an organization like the Atlantic Council decides what news we see and do not see, that is tantamount to state censorship.
FAIR — Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
That Facebook Will Turn to Censoring the Left Isn’t a Worry—It’s a Reality


AXEC / E.K-H said...

You don’t see what you don’t see: censorship in the econoblogosphere
Comment on Barkley Rosser on ‘Kevin Hassett In Lie Lie Land’ and Tom Hickey on ‘Censorship’

Barkley Rosser rates the personnel of the current administration: “Pretty much everybody else appointed was some combination of corrupt …, incompetent …, or just plain insane ….

As an economist, though, Barkley Rosser is in NO position to rate any personnel/institution because it is pretty obvious that the representative economist himself is incompetent/corrupt/insane. The four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and all got profit ― the pivotal concept of the subject matter ― wrong. With the pluralism of provably false theories, economists have not achieved anything of scientific value. They nonetheless hold up the insane claim to be scientists.

One tends to think that economics started as Political Economy and that the economists of old were according to their self-definition more agenda pushers than scientists but that this has changed in the meantime. Yet, this is definitively NOT the case, economists ignore/violate scientific standards to this day. As incorrigible political agenda pushers, economists apply all tools and tricks of political warfare. And they do keep up with the times.

In the great wave of privatization, censorship, too, has been privatized. This is provably true for economic discussion/debate/dispute. As a starting point for a thorough analysis, in the following a provisional list of blogs is provided that tend to violate the first rule of “the friendly-hostile cooperation of scientists” that is “… a critical discussion is well-conducted if it is entirely devoted to one aim: to find a flaw in the claim that a certain theory presents a solution to a certain problem.” (Popper)#1

In the econoblogosphere, it is not unusual to make critique/refutation disappear or to bury it under a heap of irrelevant/off-topic filibuster and then to go on to recycle one’s junk. This is not a new phenomenon of the social media age but standard operating procedure since the founding fathers. Morgenstern reminded his colleagues back in 1941: “In economics we should strive to proceed, wherever we can, exactly according to the standards of the other, more advanced, sciences, where it is not possible, once an issue has been decided, to continue to write about it as if nothing had happened.”

It is important to remind oneself that Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism is refuted according to the scientific criteria of material and formal consistency. However, this junk is undeviatingly recycled. In the social media age, refutation is simply blocked or deleted and then all goes on “as if nothing had happened”. Most of the private censors have an academic degree, are honorable members of honorable economic societies, have published in peer-reviewed journals, and their blogs reappear regularly in the Top-10, -20, -100 charts.#2, #3, #4, #5, #6

See part 2

AXEC / E.K-H said...

Part 2

No doubt, everything looks good with economic communication except for the fact that the general public does not see what has been made to vanish into thin air.

Currently, every blog owner is entitled to reject submissions for whatever reason. There is nothing illegal in selecting the content of one’s own blog and in tuning up consent and in tuning down dissent. This is standard operating procedure in the political realm, however, this is an absolute no-go in the scientific realm.

Social communication is composed of information, misinformation, disinformation, story-telling, and deceit. Propaganda, fake news, lies, and censorship are bad in politics but worse in science because, of all human endeavors, science is explicitly committed to truth. Political corruption is bad but scientific corruption is the worst thing of all. An economist who hyperventilates about the incompetence/corruption/insanity of political figures has lost his priorities, his compass, the reality of his discipline, and makes a fool of himself.

Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

#1 Multiple or one-time blocking/deleting/manipulation/threat of blocking: Economist’s View, Billy blog, Real-World Economics Review blog, Lars P. Syll blog, Uneasy Money, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, EconoSpeak, The Baseline Scenario, Social Democracy For The 21st Century, bradford-delong, Stumbling and Mumbling, Roger Farmer’s Economic Window, evonomics, Critical Macro Finance, INET, Naked Keynesianism, The Conversation, Information Transfer Economics, Bloomberg View, Dietrich Vollrath, EconBlog101, heteconomist, Fresh Economic Thinking, Noahpinion, Robert Skidelsky, Angry Bear, Renegade Inc, Social Europe, The Everyday Economist, Dani Rodrik’s Weblog, On the Economy Jared Berstein Blog, New Economic Perspectives, Michael Roberts Blog, The Harvard Crimson, Asymptosis, longandvariable, taxresearchuk.

#2 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Lars Syll’s spam folder

#3 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Bill Mitchell’s spam folder

#4 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Real-World Economics Review’s spam folder

#5 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Mark Thoma’s spam folder

#6 Cryptoeconomics ― the best of Nick Rowe’s spam folder