‘This should go well’: Trolling and worry as Twitter reveals plan to flag ‘lies & misinformation’

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Twitter is experimenting with features that will supposedly help identify tweets containing lies with community help, but the social media giant’s track record of bias and questionable banning standards has users concerned.

Tweets that spread “lies” or “misinformation” will be highlighted for users with a bright-colored warning that is nearly the same size as the offending post, according to a report from NBC News. The changes are supposedly part of a policy revamp at Twitter, scheduled to go into effect next month.

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Who are these “community” judges, juries and executioners? “Fact-checkers and journalists” who are verified on Twitter will be the able to decide which tweets promote “misleading” information, though a Twitter spokesperson told NBC that the site will be testing “many different ways” to combat “misinformation.” 

“Community Notes” section also gives users the ability to earn points based on being a “good neighbor,” which is apparently a Twitter euphemism for someone who flags other people’s tweets. Points and community badges could be rewarded to those who act in “good faith” when targeting offending tweets.

The point system is meant to prevent “bad actors” from abusing it. Considering how much political fighting there is on Twitter, odds that this tool will be abused are close to 100 percent, however.

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Screenshots from a public testing site show tweets from both conservative and liberal politicians being flagged, as well as tweets denying climate change.

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Having been accused of political bias and shadowbanning users with more right-wing beliefs in the past, many do not have faith in Twitter responsibly identifying “misleading” information.

“Can’t wait to see just how much of a disaster this is going to be,” reporter Seth Mandel tweeted in response to the coming changes.

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“This should go well,” added commentator and podcaster Stephen Miller.

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Twitter already put a new policy in place last month banning tweets that share “manipulated media.” That, however, could mean anything from deep fakes to memes such as that of President Donald Trump giving a medal to the military dog Conan, an obviously humorous and trolling tweet that was quickly “fact-checked” by reporters anyway.

With such precedents, it’s not surprising that many Twitter users fear the new tools could be abused to flag legitimate satire.

Facebook has faced similar criticism for attempts at censorship of what they deem to be harmful content. CEO Mark Zuckerberg even recently set up an Oversight Board, completely funded by Facebook of course, so people can attempt to appeal the social media giant’s decisions on banned content.

Twitter also has a history of trying to punish “wrongthink.” Author Yasha Levine had his account locked after objecting to the US pushing for war with Russia. Actor James Woods only recently returned to the platform after months-long absence, after Twitter locked his account and demanded he delete an offensive tweet.

“If you try to kill the King, you better not miss,” the politically-outspoken Woods tweeted, quoting a line from the famous TV show ‘The Wire’ that paraphrases Ralph Waldo Emerson. Twitter deemed it to be some kind of threat or incitement of violence.

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With the new flagging rules and seemingly impossible-to-control policies in the pipeline, it would be no surprise to see even more attempts at thought control, putting a wedge between the social media giant and already frustrated users.

SORE LOSERS: ANTIFA MOB PROTESTS AGAINST RESULT OF A DEMOCRATIC ELECTION

Sore Losers: Antifa Mob Protests Against Result of a Democratic Election

Proving they’re the real fascists.

  – DECEMBER 13, 2019

A mob of Antifa thugs wearing black masks have descended on London to protest against the result of a democratic election.

Britain soundly rejected Labour and their hard left policies in yesterday’s national election, with the party suffering its worse result since 1935.

Video footage shows the group of radicals clashing with police while waving a huge Antifa flag near Downing Street.

Rejecting the result of a democratic election is a quintessentially fascist trait. Antifa have proven once again that it isn’t a cliche to say they are the real fascists.

“You either accept democracy, or you don’t,” commented Old Holborn. “Those who don’t tend to be Fascists. Even if they label themselves “anti Fascists.”

The mob also carried a banner which read ‘Power Beyond Parliament’ – illustrating how they have zero respect for democracy.

Antifa’s hateful and divisive message is being rejected across the west.

Time for them to home.

Microsoft Partners With Neocon-Backed ‘Fact Checker’ Seeking To ‘Wage War On Independent Media’

by Chris Menahan

Microsoft has partnered with a shoddy Neocon-backed “fact checker” called NewsGuard which rates websites’ “credibility” in-browser and NewsGuard’s CEO says their goal is to have their software on all smartphones and computers by default. 

From MintPressNews:

How a NeoCon-Backed “Fact Checker” Plans to Wage War on Independent Media

As Newsguard’s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site’s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States.
by Whitney Webb
January 09th, 2019

Soon after the social media “purge” of independent media sites and pages this past October, a top neoconservative insider — Jamie Fly — was caught stating that the mass deletion of anti-establishment and anti-war pages on Facebook and Twitter was “just the beginning” of a concerted effort by the U.S. government and powerful corporations to silence online dissent within the United States and beyond.

While a few, relatively uneventful months in the online news sphere have come and gone since Fly made this ominous warning, it appears that the neoconservatives and other standard bearers of the military-industrial complex and the U.S. oligarchy are now poised to let loose their latest digital offensive against independent media outlets that seek to expose wrongdoing in both the private and public sectors.

As MintPress News Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh recently wrote, MintPress was informed that it was under review by an organization called Newsguard Technologies, which described itself to MintPress as simply a “news rating agency” and asked Muhawesh to comment on a series of allegations, several of which were blatantly untrue. However, further examination of this organization reveals that it is funded by and deeply connected to the U.S. government, neo-conservatives, and powerful monied interests, all of whom have been working overtime since the 2016 election to silence dissent to American forever-wars and corporate-led oligarchy.

More troubling still, Newsguard — by virtue of its deep connections to government and Silicon Valley — is lobbying to have its rankings of news sites installed by default on computers in U.S. public libraries, schools, and universities as well as on all smartphones and computers sold in the United States.

In other words, as Newsguard’s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site’s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States. Worse still, if its efforts to quash dissenting voices in the U.S. are successful, Newsguard promises that its next move will be to take its system global.

Red light, green light . . .

Newsguard has received considerable attention in the mainstream media of late, having been the subject of a slew of articles in the Washington Post, the Hill, the Boston Globe, Politico, Bloomberg, Wired, and many others just over the past few months. Those articles portray Newsguard as using “old-school journalism” to fight “fake news” through its reliance on nine criteria allegedly intended to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to online news.

Newsguard separates sites it deems worthy and sites it considers unreliable by using a color-coded rating — green, yellow, or red — and more detailed “nutrition labels” regarding a site’s credibility or lack thereof. Rankings are created by Newsguard’s team of “trained analysts.” The color-coding system may remind some readers of the color-coded terror threat-level warning system that was created after 9/11, making it worth noting that Tom Ridge, the former secretary of Homeland Security who oversaw the implementation of that system under George W. Bush, is on Newsguard’s advisory board.

As Newsguard releases a new rating of a site, that rating automatically spreads to all computers that have installed its news ranking browser plug-in. That plug-in is currently available for free for the most commonly used internet browsers. NewsGuard directly markets the browser plug-in to libraries, schools and internet users in general.

According to its website, Newsguard has rated more than 2,000 news and information sites. However, it plans to take its ranking efforts much farther by eventually reviewing “the 7,500 most-read news and information websites in the U.S.—about 98 percent of news and information people read and share online” in the United States in English.

[…]

According to local media, Newsguard “now works with library systems representing public libraries across the country, and is also partnering with middle schools, high schools, universities, and educational organizations to support their news literacy efforts,” suggesting that these Newsguard services targeting libraries and schools are soon to become a compulsory component of the American library and education system, despite Newsguard’s glaring conflicts of interest with massive multinational corporations and powerful government power-brokers.

Notably, Newsguard has a powerful partner that has allowed it to start finding its way into public library and school computers throughout the country. As part of its new “Defending Democracy” initiative, Microsoft announced last August that it would be partnering with Newsguard to actively market the company’s ranking app and other services to libraries and schools throughout the country. Microsoft’s press release regarding the partnership states that Newsguard “will empower voters by providing them with high-quality information about the integrity and transparency of online news sites.”

Since then, Microsoft has now added the Newsguard app as a built-in feature of Microsoft Edge, its browser for iOS and Android mobile devices, and is unlikely to stop there. Indeed, as a recent report in favor of Microsoft’s partnership with Newsguard noted, “we could hope that this new partnership will allow Microsoft to add NewsGuard to Edge on Windows 10 [operating system for computers] as well.”

Newsguard, for its part, seems confident that its app will soon be added by default to all mobile devices. On its website, the organization notes that “NewsGuard will be available on mobile devices when the digital platforms such as social media sites and search engines or mobile operating systems add our ratings and Nutrition Labels directly.” This shows that Newsguard isn’t expecting its rating systems to be offered as a downloadable application for mobile devices but something that social media sites like Facebook, search engines like Google, and mobile device operating systems that are dominated by Apple and Google will “directly” integrate into nearly every smartphone and tablet sold in the United States.

A Boston Globe article on Newsguard from this past October makes this plan even more clear. The Globe wrote at the time:
Microsoft has already agreed to make NewsGuard a built-in feature in future products, and [Newsguard co-CEO] Brill said he’s in talks with other online titans. The goal is to have NewsGuard running by default on our computers and phones whenever we scan the Web for news.”
This eventuality is made all the more likely given the fact that, in addition to Microsoft, Newsguard is also closely connected to Google, as Google has been a partner of the Publicis Groupe since 2014, when the two massive companies joined Condé Nast to create a new marketing service called La Maison that is “focused on producing engaging content for marketers in the luxury space.” Given Google’s power in the digital sphere as the dominant search engine, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, and the owner of YouTube, its partnership with Publicis means that Newsguard’s rating system will soon see itself being promoted by yet another of Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies.

Furthermore, there is an effort underway to integrate Newsguard into social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, as Newsguard was launched, co-CEO Brill stated that he planned to sell the company’s ratings of news sites to Facebook and Twitter. Last March, Brill told CNN that “We’re asking them [Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google] to pay a fraction of what they pay their P.R. people and their lobbyists to talk about the problem.”

[…]

Notably, Newsguard has a powerful partner that has allowed it to start finding its way into public library and school computers throughout the country. As part of its new “Defending Democracy” initiative, Microsoft announced last August that it would be partnering with Newsguard to actively market the company’s ranking app and other services to libraries and schools throughout the country. Microsoft’s press release regarding the partnership states that Newsguard “will empower voters by providing them with high-quality information about the integrity and transparency of online news sites.”

Since then, Microsoft has now added the Newsguard app as a built-in feature of Microsoft Edge, its browser for iOS and Android mobile devices, and is unlikely to stop there. Indeed, as a recent report in favor of Microsoft’s partnership with Newsguard noted, “we could hope that this new partnership will allow Microsoft to add NewsGuard to Edge on Windows 10 [operating system for computers] as well.”

Newsguard, for its part, seems confident that its app will soon be added by default to all mobile devices. On its website, the organization notes that “NewsGuard will be available on mobile devices when the digital platforms such as social media sites and search engines or mobile operating systems add our ratings and Nutrition Labels directly.” This shows that Newsguard isn’t expecting its rating systems to be offered as a downloadable application for mobile devices but something that social media sites like Facebook, search engines like Google, and mobile device operating systems that are dominated by Apple and Google will “directly” integrate into nearly every smartphone and tablet sold in the United States.

A Boston Globe article on Newsguard from this past October makes this plan even more clear. The Globe wrote at the time:
Microsoft has already agreed to make NewsGuard a built-in feature in future products, and [Newsguard co-CEO] Brill said he’s in talks with other online titans. The goal is to have NewsGuard running by default on our computers and phones whenever we scan the Web for news.”
This eventuality is made all the more likely given the fact that, in addition to Microsoft, Newsguard is also closely connected to Google, as Google has been a partner of the Publicis Groupe since 2014, when the two massive companies joined Conde Nast to create a new marketing service called La Maison that is “focused on producing engaging content for marketers in the luxury space.” Given Google’s power in the digital sphere as the dominant search engine, the creator of the Android mobile operating system, and the owner of YouTube, its partnership with Publicis means that Newsguard’s rating system will soon see itself being promoted by yet another of Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies.

Furthermore, there is an effort underway to integrate Newsguard into social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, as Newsguard was launched, co-CEO Brill stated that he planned to sell the company’s ratings of news sites to Facebook and Twitter. Last March, Brill told CNN that “We’re asking them [Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google] to pay a fraction of what they pay their P.R. people and their lobbyists to talk about the problem.”

[…]

Financial censorship

Another Newsguard service shows that this organization is also seeking to harm independent media financially by targeting online revenue. Through a service called “Brandguard,” which it describes as a “brand safety tool aimed at helping advertisers keep their brands off of unreliable news and information sites while giving them the assurance they need to support thousands of Green-rated [i.e., Newsguard-approved] news and information sites, big and small.”

At the time the service was announced last November, Newsguard co-CEO Brill stated that the company was “in discussions with the ad tech firms, leading agencies, and major advertisers” eager to adopt a blacklist of news sites deemed “unreliable” by Newsguard. This is unsurprising given the leading role of the Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest advertising and PR firms, has in funding Newsguard. As a consequence, it seems likely that many, if not all, of Publicis’ client companies will choose to adopt this blacklist to help crush many of the news sites that are unafraid to hold them accountable.

It is also important to note here that Google’s connection to Publicis and thus Newsguard could spell trouble for independent news pages that rely on Google Adsense for some or all of their ad-based revenue. Google Adsense has long been targeting sites like MintPress by demonetizing articles for information or photographs it deemed controversial, including demonetizing one article for including a photo showing U.S. soldiers involved in torturing Iraqi detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

Since then, Google — a U.S. military contractor — has repeatedly tried to shutter ad access to MintPress articles that involve reporting that is critical of U.S. empire and military expansion. One article that has been repeatedly flagged by Google details how many African-Americans have questioned whether the Women’s March has aided or harmed the advancement of African-Americans in the United States. Google has repeatedly claimed that the article, which was written by African-American author and former Washington Post bureau chief Jon Jeter, contains “dangerous content.”

Given Google’s already established practice of targeting factual reporting it deemed controversial through Adsense, Brandguard will likely offer the tech giant just the excuse it needs to cut off sites like MintPress, and other pages equally critical of empire, altogether.
Read their full report.

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This has been a dream of the establishment for over a decade.

One of these NewsGuard “journalists” contacted yours truly with a review of Information Liberation that was so shoddy I didn’t even bother to respond as almost everything he said was wrong and his reading comprehension was terrible.

I figured it’s a waste of time to respond as I would be doing the reporter’s job for him by correcting him and I would only be improving his shoddy work.

It’s blatantly obvious their goal is not to create an honest assessment of any of our websites but instead to compile whatever slander they can throw together to suit their pre-ordained narrative.

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer has also written an excellent article exposing NewsGuard titled, “Steven Brill’s NewsGuard and the ‘fact-checking’ scam.”

Just look at the guys behind this:

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Would you trust those men to walk your dog?

The reason no one ever bothered implementing any scheme like this is because it’s so obviously a fraud and an affront to people’s intelligence that it is more likely to have the opposite effect — negative rated sites are going to be viewed as more credible as evidenced by the fact they’re being slandered by these establishment hacks.

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