Something very dangerous is happening all around us, and even those who know it’s happening don’t seem to be taking it very seriously. Slowly, over time, but much less subtle today than even a year or two ago, the Internet is being “weaponized.” Simply put, those who do not opt in to the Orwellian thought-control model being pushed out CAN, and ultimately WILL be made invisible to their peers, and then tracked like criminals by authorities. Edward L. Bernays once said:
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
In the following video, Neil Sanders joins Jeff Rense of the Jeff Rense Program to talk about how Facebook and almost every other major social media platform are turning hundreds of millions of people into a literal “herd” or “hive” mentality, otherwise known as “Groupthink” through social engineering. Wikipedia defines Groputhink as:
A psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.
Groupthink requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates its own abilities in decision-making and significantly underrates the abilities of its opponents (the “outgroup”). Furthermore, groupthink can produce dehumanizing actions against the “outgroup”.
A major issue that far too many writers deal with on a daily basis FINALLY got some national attention this week (even if only for a minute). In a story by Michael Nunez titled,Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News, conservative writers like myself got confirmation that we’re not crazy, or imagining things after all. There isn’t some secret mythical Facebook algorithm that keeps banning or blocking many of us for days or weeks at a time, but rather we keep getting banned or blocked because of our conservative leaning views.
Another common tactic Facebook will use for blocking or banning you without explanation is to tell people that they have a virus, and only by running their special scanner can access to their Facebook accounts be regained, one which many of us use for business. Do people honesty think Facebook isn’t installing something on their computer? PLEASE! If you’ve ever gotten this message, next time try first running 5 different virus scanners, and when they all say you’re clean, try logging into 12 different computers, in 12 different locations, and see what happens. Do you REALLY think all 12 are infected, or are you being censored again, and Facebook wants to install something on your system?
Referring to the group that decides whether your voice is heard or silenced, whether your account remains in good standing, or you are banned for a set time, is group Nunez says are: “people in their 20s and early 30s, most of whom graduated from Ivy League and private East Coast schools like Columbia University and NYU. They’ve previously worked at outlets like the New York Daily News, Bloomberg, MSNBC, and the Guardian. Some former curators have left Facebook for jobs at organizations including the New Yorker, Mashable, and Sky Sports.” In other words, they HARDLY represent the common man. Hear what Fox News said:
In a post titled, Is it time to break Google, Twitter and Facebook, Joe Newby quotes retired Naval Intelligence officer J. E. Dyer:
“There was a time when it was enough for conservatives to have success with news and opinion content online. But the Internet is being transformed at a much less visible level now: at the level of basic browsing and social media algorithms, the dynamic but obscure arrangements that enable us to ‘see’ and connect with each other to exchange information,” she said.
To deal with this, she said, we must develop an “alternet,” but that will require resources and the will to create something where freedom remains.
I’ve written time and again about the abuses meted out to users by Facebook. Facebook — recently called the world’s most dangerous censor — is already working to shape and control language in Europe, with the blessings of European governments. It won’t be long before that becomes the norm in the United States.
We know from the NSA scandal that Facebook is deeply in bed with the government alphabet agencies, and Zuckerberg is particularly cozy with Obama. For more details about some of the abuses of Facebook, refer to the links at the bottom. HERE’S THE REAL QUESTION: How long before they are secretly running elections in this country? Be sure to check out the links to the studies below! Nunez writes:
Facebook has toyed with skewing news in the past. During the 2012 presidential election, Facebook secretly tampered with 1.9 million user’s news feeds. The company also tampered with news feeds in 2010 during a 61-million-person experiment to see how Facebook could impact the real-world voting behavior of millions of people. An academic paper was published about the secret experiment, claiming that Facebook increased voter turnout by more than 340,000 people. In 2012, Facebook also deliberately experimented on its users’ emotions. The company, again, secretly tampered with the news feeds of 700,000 people and concluded that Facebook can basically make you feel whatever it wants you to.
GOOD NEWS: THERE IS A SOLUTION!
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In January 2016, Facebook launched what it called the “Initiative for civil courage online.”This “initiative” claims to remove hate speech from Facebook by censoring anyone and removing comments of those who promote “xenophobia.” Facebook claims they openly erase “racist” posts from their site, or things that do not meet their “Community Guidelines.” In reality, the “guidelines” are so deliberately vague, Facebook’s PC police of young Ivy Leaguers have plenty of latitude to ban you for virtually anything.
With the way Facebook is headed it’s not going to be a place you want to stay. Sign up and create an account at Seen.Life and get away from the continuous invasive censorship!Seen.Life offers a no censorship, no tracking alternative to Facebook. Seen.Life is where you don’t have to worry about being banned for holding an opinion or publishing your beliefs. There is never any data mining from your profiles, and Seen.Life is not associated with any alphabet soup agency.
If you’re upset you can no longer buy, sell, or trade guns and ammo on Facebook, this is an invitation to check out the Seen.Life site. You will never be required to provide a photo ID or passport just for the “privilege” of keeping your account active, which Facebook has done to countless conservatives. There’s also no limit to your account’s friends. If you’re popular enough to get over 5,000 friends, we think that’s great! More power to you!
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Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.
Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.
In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”
These new allegations emerged after Gizmodo last week revealed details about the inner workings of Facebook’s trending news team—a small group of young journalists, primarily educated at Ivy League or private East Coast universities, who curate the “trending” module on the upper-right-hand corner of the site. As we reported last week, curators have access to a ranked list of trending topics surfaced by Facebook’s algorithm, which prioritizes the stories that should be shown to Facebook users in the trending section. The curators write headlines and summaries of each topic, and include links to news sites. The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the US alone—are reading at any given moment.
“I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.”
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said.
Another former curator agreed that the operation had an aversion to right-wing news sources. “It was absolutely bias. We were doing it subjectively. It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is,” said the former curator. “Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.”
Stories covered by conservative outlets (like Breitbart, Washington Examiner, and Newsmax) that were trending enough to be picked up by Facebook’s algorithm were excluded unless mainstream sites like the New York Times, the BBC, and CNN covered the same stories.
Other former curators interviewed by Gizmodo denied consciously suppressing conservative news, and we were unable to determine if left-wing news topics or sources were similarly suppressed. The conservative curator described the omissions as a function of his colleagues’ judgements; there is no evidence that Facebook management mandated or was even aware of any political bias at work.
Managers on the trending news team did, however, explicitly instruct curators to artificially manipulate the trending module in a different way: When users weren’t reading stories that management viewed as important, several former workers said, curators were told to put them in the trending news feed anyway. Several former curators described using something called an “injection tool” to push topics into the trending module that weren’t organically being shared or discussed enough to warrant inclusion—putting the headlines in front of thousands of readers rather than allowing stories to surface on their own. In some cases, after a topic was injected, it actually became the number one trending news topic on Facebook.
“We were told that if we saw something, a news story that was on the front page of these ten sites, like CNN, the New York Times, and BBC, then we could inject the topic,” said one former curator. “If it looked like it had enough news sites covering the story, we could inject it—even if it wasn’t naturally trending.” Sometimes, breaking news would be injected because it wasn’t attaining critical mass on Facebook quickly enough to be deemed “trending” by the algorithm. Former curators cited the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris as two instances in which non-trending stories were forced into the module. Facebook has struggled to compete with Twitter when it comes to delivering real-time news to users; the injection tool may have been designed to artificially correct for that deficiency in the network. “We would get yelled at if it was all over Twitter and not on Facebook,” one former curator said.
“Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black gi.”
In other instances, curators would inject a story—even if it wasn’t being widely discussed on Facebook—because it was deemed important for making the network look like a place where people talked about hard news. “People stopped caring about Syria,” one former curator said. “[And] if it wasn’t trending on Facebook, it would make Facebook look bad.” That same curator said the Black Lives Matter movement was also injected into Facebook’s trending news module. “Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black Lives Matter,” the individual said. “They realized it was a problem, and they boosted it in the ordering. They gave it preference over other topics. When we injected it, everyone started saying, ‘Yeah, now I’m seeing it as number one’.” This particular injection is especially noteworthy because the #BlackLivesMatter movement originated on Facebook, and the ensuing media coverage of the movement often noted its powerful social media presence.
(In February, CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his support for the movement in an internal memo chastising Facebook employees for defacing Black Lives Matter slogans on the company’s internal “signature wall.”)
When stories about Facebook itself would trend organically on the network, news curators used less discretion—they were told not to include these stories at all. “When it was a story about the company, we were told not to touch it,” said one former curator. “It had to be cleared through several channels, even if it was being shared quite a bit. We were told that we should not be putting it on the trending tool.”
(The curators interviewed for this story worked for Facebook across a timespan ranging from mid-2014 to December 2015.)
“We were always cautious about covering Facebook,” said another former curator. “We would always wait to get second level approval before trending something to Facebook. Usually we had the authority to trend anything on our own [but] if it was something involving Facebook, the copy editor would call their manager, and that manager might even call their manager before approving a topic involving Facebook.”
Gizmodo reached out to Facebook for comment about each of these specific claims via email and phone, but did not receive a response.
Several former curators said that as the trending news algorithm improved, there were fewer instances of stories being injected. They also said that the trending news process was constantly being changed, so there’s no way to know exactly how the module is run now.But the revelations undermine any presumption of Facebook as a neutral pipeline for news, or the trending news module as an algorithmically-driven list of what people are actually talking about.
Rather, Facebook’s efforts to play the news game reveal the company to be much like the news outlets it is rapidly driving toward irrelevancy: a select group of professionals with vaguely center-left sensibilities. It just happens to be one that poses as a neutral reflection of the vox populi, has the power to influence what billions of users see, and openly discusses whether it should use that power to influence presidential elections.
“It wasn’t trending news at all,” said the former curator who logged conservative news omissions. “It was an opinion.”
[Disclosure: Facebook has launched a program that pays publishers, including the New York Times and Buzzfeed, to produce videos for its Facebook Live tool. Gawker Media, Gizmodo’s parent company, recently joined that program.]
Update: Several hours after this report was published, Gizmodo editors started seeing it as a topic in Facebook’s trending section. Gizmodo’s video was posted under the topic but the “Top Posts” were links to RedState.com and the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Update 4:10 p.m. EST: A Facebook spokesperson has issued the following statement to outlets including BuzzFeed and TechCrunch. Facebook has not responded to Gizmodo’s repeated requests for comment.
“We take allegations of bias very seriously. Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum. Trending Topics shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics.”
Article posted with permission from The Last Great Stand. Article by Michael DePinto.