Nine US states launch probe into whether Facebook broke antitrust rules

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Several state attorneys general united forces to investigate if the social media giant Facebook violated antitrust laws, hurting its users in the process.

The prosecutors will check whether Facebook “stifled competition and put users at risk,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James who is leading the probe.

Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers.

The attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia are also taking part in the probe.

In recent years Facebook has greatly expanded its business ventures, acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp Messenger which unlike their parent company are growing fast.

Facebook allows massive data leaks with no rules in US to prevent it – expert to Boom Bust

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Meanwhile the social media behemoth is facing a litany of accusations for violating users’ privacy and misusing their data. In July, the Justice Department (DoJ) launched a probe into whether the big tech firms are complying with antitrust laws. The officials did not explicitly call out Mark Zuckerberg’s company but hinted that they will be going after the major players.

Congress also started an investigation into Facebook and other IT giants. The House Judiciary Committee head, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), voiced concern that “a handful” of companies have taken control over the vast sectors of online commerce and communications. The issue even came up in the 2020 presidential race with Democratic nomination hopefuls, like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, arguing that Facebook is too powerful and needs to be “broken up.”

Facebook, of course, denies it violated any antitrust rules, and said it is eager to work with lawmakers to come up with regulations to “protect” users.

REPORT: Tech Elite Building ‘Social Credit’ System Masters of The Universe to Track Everything You Do Zuckerscore: Points Control Your Freedom?

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By Allum Bokhari

Fast Company has caught on to what Breitbart News has been highlighting for some time: that the Big Tech Masters of the Universe are developing systems to monitor and regulate personal behavior that closely resemble China’s totalitarian “social credit” system.

The “social credit” system assigns all Chinese citizens a “social credit score.” A citizen’s score drops if he engages in a range of disfavored activities, ranging from littering to supporting political dissidents.

Citizens whose score drops low enough can find themselves subject to strict punishment, including bans from the use of public transport, exclusion from top jobs, and prohibitions on their children attending top-rated schools.

This may sound alien and Orwellian, but as Fast Company notes, Silicon Valley is bringing a version of this grim reality to America.

Via Fast Company:

Many Westerners are disturbed by what they read about China’s social credit system. But such systems, it turns out, are not unique to China. A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies.

The articles goes on to note a range of ways in which western citizens are being systematically rated, and in some cases excluded, by corporate America. These include insurance companies scanning the social media feeds of applicants, an app called “PatronScan,” that logs the face and name of troublesome bar and restaurant clientele, and the growing tendency of services like Airbnb, Uber, and WhatsApp to ban users for arbitrary reasons.

The comparison to China’s social credit system is similar to the one this reporter made on Breitbart News Daily in June:

In China, they have what’s called a “social credit system” — in which, if you engage in behavior that the regime doesn’t like, they’ll assign you a score, and when it drops below a certain point, they’ll exclude you from certain basic services, like transportation, they might not let your kids go to good schools — all sorts of basic services, they’ll cut you off from.

We have a corporate version of this already evolving. So if you don’t do the things that Facebook approves of, they’re going to cut you off from their platform, which is now essential for maintaining a social network, building a business, running for office. We rely on Facebook and other social media platforms for so many things. Uber and Lyft will also ban you now — they’ve started to ban people for political viewpoints, so you think China is the only one that’s going to cut you off from transportation for having the wrong opinions — well, Western corporations are now doing that, too. Airbnb, Amazon, they’re all doing it.

One other comparison from the Fast Company article deserves note — the Chinese communist government’s partnership with tech platforms like Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. Far from aiding dissidents, Chinese social media companies like Weibo and WeChat aid and abet the government in the persecution of its citizens.

That too, has eerie parallels with the West, where social media platforms have become a means of extra-judicial censorship for politicians. Because America has the First Amendment, politicians can’t pass laws suppressing speech or punishing dissidents against the established order — but they can, and frequently do, bully tech companies into doing their dirty work for them.

 

Facebook had human contractors ‘reviewing’ users’ Messenger voice chats

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Facebook says it has stopped feeding users’ audio chats to human reviewers for transcription, similar to what other Big Tech were recently caught doing. Facebook’s contractors were reportedly kept in the dark about their job.

The company “paused human review more than a week ago,” Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the audio being reviewed was from Messenger users who opted in to having their voice chats transcribed to text by AI. The human transcribers were merely checking whether the AI transcriptions were correct, the company said.

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Monopoly? What monopoly? Facebook to consolidate empire by branding Instagram, WhatsApp

Contractors often caught snippets of intimate or “vulgar” chats, though the messages were anonymized, and they were not told why they were transcribing the audio, where it came from or how it was obtained, contractors told Bloomberg. Some said the uncertainty and apparent duplicity – Facebook doesn’t tell users third parties may review their audio – troubled them.

While the company admits it collects “content, communications and other information you provide [when you] message or communicate with others,” there is no mention in its data use policy of humans processing the information. Instead, it’s Facebook’s “systems” that are supposed to “automatically process content and communications you and others provide to analyze context and what’s in them.” Even the list of third parties who might potentially receive users’ information doesn’t explicitly include human transcription teams, only “vendors and service providers who support our business” by “analyzing how our products are used.”

Further adding to contractors’ concerns about eavesdropping on users’ private messages is the fact that Facebook forbids at least one outsourcing firm from referring to them by name. Santa Monica, California-based TaskUs instead refers to one of its largest and most important clients only by the code-name “Prism” – which is, ironically, also the name of the NSA initiative exposed by Edward Snowden that installed backdoors in popular online platforms like Google, Skype, Twitter, and…Facebook.

TaskUs contractors also moderate content for policy violations, screen political ads, and work on “election preparation,” an ominous term Bloomberg opts not to define but which has previously coincided with mass deplatforming of political accounts in the months preceding elections. Facebook’s content-moderation contracting practices were exposed earlier this year after ex-contractors from outsourcing firm Cognizant complained that the work was giving them PTSD, leading them to drown their traumas in drug use and casual sex, and shaking their beliefs in the “official” versions of historical events like 9/11 and the Holocaust. Those employees, too, were forbidden from referring to Facebook by its given name.

Facebook added the AI transcription function to Messenger in 2015 and claims it is switched off by default. Its documentation, however, reveals that only one participant in a chat needs to opt in for the audio to be transcribed.

After similar practices were exposed by Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri, all three have promised to end the human eavesdropping – or at least give users the option of avoiding it. Apple has reportedly ended human “grading” of Siri recordings until a future software update gives users the option of participating, while Amazon has added an opt-out setting and Google has promised to suspend human review…in Europe, for at least three months.

#CLINTONBODYCOUNT TRENDING AFTER JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S MYSTERIOUS ‘SUICIDE’

#ClintonBodyCount Trending After Jeffrey Epstein's Mysterious 'Suicide'

Another Clinton associate dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances

Only hours after authorities discovered the body of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in his prison cell in an apparent “suicide,” #ClintonBodyCount began trending on social media in a dig to the Clintons and the curious habit of their associates always turning up dead.

Epstein was found dead in his cell at 7:30 am from an apparent suicide, despite the fact he was on 24/7 suicide watch and was only allowed to wear paper clothes.

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Users on Twitter were quick to point out that some powerful people were likely pleased to see Epstein dead, including the Clintons, due to flight logs showing Bill Clinton’s frequent trips with Epstein on his private plane “Lolita Express.”

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The ClintonBodyCount meme essentially began after several Clinton scandals ended with many suspicious and unusual deaths, beginning in the 1990s with Bill Clinton’s former Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster.

RELATED: ANN COULTER: JEFFREY EPSTEIN ‘PROBABLY DIDN’T KILL HIMSELF AT ALL’

RELATED: JEFFREY EPSTEIN FOUND DEAD IN JAIL CELL DESPITE BEING ON 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH

CNN & AP FINALLY ADMIT THE DAYTON MASS SHOOTER WAS A LEFT-WING EXTREMIST

CNN & AP Finally Admit the Dayton Mass Shooter Was a Left-Wing Extremist

After 48 hours of misleading statements.

By Paul Joseph Watson – AUGUST 6, 2019

After 48 hours of prevaricating, the mainstream media is finally acknowledging that the Dayton mass shooter was a left-wing extremist.

As we previously highlighted, Connor Betts described him self as a “socialist,” praised Antifa and expressed support for Elizabeth Warren amongst many other indications that he was a far-left radical.

After NBC reporter Ben Collins falsely claimed that Betts was “more neutral” with his Twitter posts (despite openly supporting numerous left-wing personalities and news outlets), the truth is finally being admitted.

“A Twitter account that appears to belong to Dayton mass shooter Connor Betts retweeted extreme left-wing and anti-police posts, as well as tweets supporting Antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters,” reported CNN.

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The Associated Press also ran a headline titled ‘Apparent Twitter feed shows shooter was leftist’.

Even Snopes, under the headline Was Dayton Mass Shooter a Self-Described ‘Pro-Satan Leftist Who Supported Elizabeth Warren’?, acknowledged this was “true”.

According to the shooter’s ex-girlfriend, the attack was almost certainly not pre-meditated, raising further speculation as to whether the massacre was a ‘revenge’ attack for the earlier El Paso shooting.

Dayton Shooter Was A Pro-Satan Leftist Who Supported Warren, Sanders, Antifa And Communism

By Tyler Durden

It has been a tumultuous weekend for the country, which suffered two consecutive mass shootings over the last 48 hours in both El Paso and Dayton.

And while the media was eager to quickly expose the El Paso shooter as a right-wing extremist with the implication that he is merely following Trump’s belligerent rhetoric, only few details had emerged about the Dayton, Ohio shooter although we certainly understand why the mainstream media may not have rushed to make these alleged details public – because according to Heavy.com, the Dayton shooter was an Elizabeth Warren (and Bernie Sanders) supporter who advocated for socialism, communism and supported Antifa.

The shooter, Connor Betts, was 24 and from Bellbrook, Ohio. His alleged social media biography started to emerge late on Sunday night, with his Twitter page stating that he described himself as:

“he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.”

On his alleged Twitter account, he promoted Antifa and the Democratic Socialists of America:

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He also appeared to be critical of President Trump’s immigration policy, using the “concentration camp” rhetoric made popular by AOC:

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The account called an Antifa terrorist who attacked an ICE facility a “martyr”:

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…and also retweeted pro communist Tweets:

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The account wrote that he would “happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, ‘I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.'”

He also allegedly retweeted a post about “rounding up hostages” in a video game before “shoot[ing] them all in the head”:

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Other posts alluded to violence with firearms:

“This is America: Guns on every corner, guns in every house, no freedom but that to kill,” he wrote in December 2018. And, “’Tis! The pistol is a Beretta 93R, called the REK7 in BO4. Do love me some guns!” He also wrote, “Hammer, brick, gun.” On Feb. 14, 2018, he tweeted this at Sen. Rob Portman: “@robportman hey rob. How much did they pay you to look the other way? 17 kids are dead. If not now, when?” That was the date of the mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida.

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On Nov. 2, 2018, the account wrote: “Vote blue for gods sake.” On the date of Republican Sen. John McCain’s death, it said “F*ck John McCain.” After Trump’s 2016 election, he allegedly Tweeted “This is bad”.

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According to his former high school classmates, he was “a bully who liked to scare women.”

Heavy.com claimed they had verified his Twitter handle “through multiple verification factors, including a matching tattoo on both a page selfie and prominent news outlets’ pictures of Connor Betts; several family linkages to the page; similar photos, including of him and the family dog, on the page and family members’ verified accounts; and references to college and growing up in Ohio and Dayton.”

By Monday morning, Twitter had suspended the account:

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