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Facebook Politics Social Media Twitter

List of Facebook and Twitter execs that donated to Biden’s campaign

The big tech monopolies have come under a lot of scrutiny lately, and it’s about time. Facebook is now the subject of anti-trust lawsuits filed by the government of the United States as well as the attorneys general of 47 US states. The CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Google (check out Google adwords agency) have all been grilled by the US Congress in recent months. During these congressional hearings, Democrats mostly concentrate on anti-trust violations while Republicans complain about censorship of conservative voices.

While Republican rhetoric is almost 100 percent nonsense, it’s abundantly clear that Facebook and Twitter do in fact have a cultural and political bias that favors shallow mainstream liberalism. The kind of liberalism conveyed by Joe Biden, for example. Indeed, Fox News reports that top executives at both Facebook and Twitter donated many a dollar to Biden’s presidential campaign. Moreover, none donated to Trump’s fascist reelection campaign.

Using Federal Election Commission records, Fox discovered that Erin Egan (Facebook vice president of public policy) donated the maximum $2,800 to Biden in October. She also donated the same amount to Biden’s uninspiring primary campaign.

Also donating the maximum allowable amount to Biden during the primary was Facebook’s chief revenue officer David Fischer, who went on to give a niggardly $750 to Biden during the general election.

David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, also pumped the maximum $2,800 into the Biden campaign. As did four of Facebook’s vice presidents—Gene Alston, Michael Verdu, Shahriar Rabii and T.S. Khurana—and the chief operating officer of Instagram (owned by Facebook), Marne Levine.

It was pretty much the same story at Twitter, which, you may recall, drew the ire of Republicans shortly before the election by flat-out censoring a New York Post story alleging financial and political improprieties on the part of Joe Biden’s ne’er-do-well son Hunter (now under investigation for tax fraud). Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey—who now sports a Russian peasant beard—later testified to the US Congress that it was a mistake to censor the article. But the damage had been done.

Anyhow, Twitter VP Matt Derella gave Biden’s campaign $2,000 in September, while senior director Ryan Oliver and senior director of product management James Kelm (not execs) donated the full monty. Kelm donated $2,800 to Biden’s primary campaign as well.

Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment, while Twitter said it “enforces the Twitter rules judiciously and impartially for everyone on our service.” A demonstrable absurdity contradicted by their prolific censorship.

Categories
Politics Social Media Twitter

China attacks Australia with graphic tweet

Chinese official Lijian Zhao, who is the foreign ministry spokesman for the government, caused worldwide controversy on Twitter on Monday 30th November 2020. His graphic tweet featured an Australian soldier using a knife to slit the throat of a small Afgan child from behind. The faked image saw the pair placed on top of overlapping Australian and Afgan flags. The tweet came in response to the recent Brereton report on the 19th November 2020, that saw 39 accounts of murder committed by Australian special forces soldiers against Afghanis. The report is a large part of Australia’s reckoning with its past and history of involvement in the region. 

Taking to Twitter

In a move similar to one that might be expected of former USA president Donald Trump, China’s government chose to expose their feelings on the situation via the social media platform Twitter, rather than more traditional diplomatic routes. The graphic nature of the tweet however promoted current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to label them as “disgusting” and “repugnant” according to multiple news reports. The image, which was accompanied by text at the bottom of the photo saying ‘-Don’t be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace’, makes for a truly haunting piece of anti-Western sentiment to come out of China. 

Silence is violence 

In a clapback against Morisson’s claims that the tweet from China was reprehensible, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying if Australia’s outrage at the tweet meant the people and government of Australia thought “the coldblooded murder of Afghans is justified?” She went on to comment that “The Australian government should feel ashamed of this; they owe an explanation to the world and they should solemnly pledge such crimes will not be repeated.” 

It is said the Australian government has reached out to Twitter to ask for the graphic image to be removed, but Twitter has been slow to respond to the breaking news.

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Apps Streaming

Australian episode of ‘The Crown’ receives critical response

Netflix tv show ‘The Crown’ has received a critical response from viewers for a number of reasons. The show, which already was causing controversy for its Charles and Diana storyline and its portrayal of the Royal Family, has been further chastised for their choice to film entirely outside of Australia, and false comments made by former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. The tv show first aired on our tv screens in 2016 to much success and is based on the award winning play ‘The Audience’ by Peter Morgan. The premise of the four series has been to follow the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the day of her wedding to Prince Phillip of Greece in 1947 until the present day. Season 4 of the tv drama was released on Netflix on the 15th November 2020 and features the period of time between 1977 and 1990. The show, which has for the most part been received with great success, was recognised as the world’s most expensive tv show upon Season’s 1 initial release. 

Abundant inconsistencies 

Season 4 follows the events of the Margeret Thatcher years and sees the Charles and Diana story play out against a backdrop of other real life events both political like the troubles in Northern Ireland and in South Africa, as well as personal scandals from within the royal family itself. The series has faced much criticism for the amount of fictionalisation throughout the season, where its portrayal of senior members of the royal family has been noted as far from favourable. This has caused much controversy both in England and the rest of the United Kingdom, as well as making global news headlines around the world. 

The Australian Tour
One person who comes out well from the season however is Lady Diana who later became The Princess of Wales. Episode 6 of the series is set in Australia and features the couple’s 1983 tour of Australia and New Zealand. Australian’s in particular have criticised the production, which was filmed entirely out of Australia. Australian tv channel 4corners have also tweeted their disapproval of the portrayal of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s appearance on their network.

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Influencers Social Media Society TikTok

Don’t read this if you like cereal

Darwin was wrong, and the #CerealChallenge proves it. What is the #CerealChallenge, you say? Brace yourself. Take a breath. Stop reading if you’re feeling irritable and/or eating cereal. The #CerealChallenge is the latest trend on TikTok. Have you ever felt inclined to eat cereal out of someone else’s mouth? Well, now you have an excuse not only to do it, but to film yourself doing it and then to upload it on the internet. Because that’s what the #CerealChallenge entails.

When I first read that people were eating cereal out of each other’s mouths, I saw an image in my mind of people imitating the feeding techniques of birds. Meaning one person chews cereal and then lets it drop into the other person’s mouth. That was the wrong interpretation. I suppose I should have known better.

In the #CerealChallenge, one person’s mouth acts as the bowl. He or she lies down flat on his or her back. (The floor and the table are ideal surfaces based on my research.) That person then opens up wide, as you do at the dentist’s office. The other proceeds to pour cereal and milk into the gaping mouth (the cereal is typically poured first, though I’ve seen it done the other way round; each to his own).

Once the cereal is in the “bowl,” the upright person grabs a spoon and digs in. The video clip is usually accompanied by some atrocious R&B song.

It’s a repellent spectacle. It’s also, as you might imagine, quite dangerous. In one video, a man attempts (or pretends to attempt) to do this with a young woman he introduces as his sister. The sister dumps the milk in first. It’s too much, though, and once the cereal is added the man spits it all over his face and the table.

I’m waiting for the news story about the teenager who choked to death while trying out the #CerealChallenge.

The #CerealChallenge is revolting in any case. But more so when someone tries it with a dog, as one person did. In that clip, a boy who looks to be college-age lies down on the floor and someone else pours milk into his mouth as a dog looks on. Once the milk is in place the dog is allowed to walk over, at which point it begins to drink the milk from the boy’s mouth. Off camera someone can be heard laughing inanely.

The video’s caption says that “he yakked in the bathroom after this.” You don’t say …

The first such “challenge” I remember seeing is the Ice Bucket Challenge. That, while dumb, reportedly raised more than $200 million for ALS research. The only value the Cereal Challenge is likely to have is providing extraterrestrials with a case study in primitive human behavior.

Categories
Influencers Politics Social Media Twitter

Jack Dorsey’s personal fortune has tripled since Trump’s election

Remember when Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in the summer of 2015? Came down the escalator in Trump Tower and gave an interview in which he railed against Mexican immigrants, establishing himself as the Racism Candidate and guaranteeing himself tons of free media coverage.

Trump’s train wreck candidacy was a bonanza for the media industry, and everyone wanted a piece of the action. In the guise of challenging Trump, all the big Western media gave him wall-to-wall coverage. They projected Trump into our living rooms and workplaces. They made it impossible for people to ignore him and his antics. They breathed life into his clownish campaign and, in doing so, helped to polarize American society in a way that had not been achieved since the Civil War. And the circus continued into Trump’s first term.

Why did the media do this? Because it was good for business. Pure and simple. All the cable news stations enjoyed record-breaking ratings. Trump articles in the major newspapers got enormous traffic. But Trump wasn’t just a windfall for CNN and the New York Times. Social media got a big piece of the pie too.

According to a new report in Forbes, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has seen his net worth climb more than 240% since Trump was elected president. “He now sits atop a $4.4 billion fortune, more than triple the $1.3 billion he had at the start of Trump’s presidency.” Here’s more:

“Twitter’s stock has climbed 105%, boosting Dorsey’s stake in the company from $275 million to $610 million. A bigger share of his wealth comes from Dorsey’s other business, payments firm Square. The Twitter chief executive also serves as CEO of Square, in which he held a bigger, $1 billion stake at the time of Trump’s inauguration. Square shares have surged nearly 370% since then, compared to a 45% increase in the overall stock market. Dorsey’s Square stake is now worth $3.6 billion, enough to compose 80% of the tech tycoon’s fortune.”

That’s right—@jack has benefited more from Trump’s presidency than perhaps anybody else. It’s insane to think that he would ever consider suspending Trump’s Twitter account, despite his passion for political censorship and Trump’s tendency to use Twitter to threaten entire countries with massive acts of violence, including war crimes.

I think it’s safe to say that pledging to bomb Iran’s cultural sites—a unambiguous war crime—violates Twitter’s “community guidelines,” for example. But @jack doesn’t care. He’ll just keep pulling accounts belonging to Iranians and Venezuelans and Syrians, and alternative voices inside the US, all the while raking in a few more billion dollars. Jack’s a jerk-off.

Categories
Facebook Policy Politics Privacy Social Media Society

Facebook extends more tentacles into UK economy

Facebook is reportedly going to bring in 1,000 employees from London, mostly for product development and safety purposes, bringing the tech/surveillance/censorship company’s UK workforce to more than 4,000. According to Reuters, most of the new jobs will be tech-related—e.g. software engineering and data science. The rest will be part of Facebook’s “community integrity” squad, whose job it is to “remove harmful content from platforms like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.” “Community integrity” is an interesting euphemism for censorship. (See here.)

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the company was satisfied with Prime Minister Boorish Johnson’s attempts to address its Brexit-related concerns.

“The Johnson government has been very clear about what that looks like,” Mendelsohn said, “and so we will continue to invest here in London.”

Boorish is happy about it:

“We are committed to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online, alongside being one of the best places for technology companies to be based.”

As Reuters reports, Facebook is taking measures to rehabilitate itself after the Cambridge Analytica mess, in which a third party company was able to collect private information from millions of Facebook users without their consent. Facebook didn’t address, or even divulge, the massive breach until it was called out by several news outlets. Zuckerberg eventually agreed to testify about the scandal in front of the US Congress, giving a decidedly robotic performance.

“We also understand that this [securing user data] is an ongoing important conversation—we want to be part of that conversation,” Mendelsohn said in a boilerplate statement. “We want to be working with policymakers in this area to get to thoughtful policy.”

She proceeded to boast, based on Facebook’s own reading of a study by Copenhagen Economics, that the company has created more than 3 million jobs in Europe.

Given less attention is Facebook’s ability to eliminate jobs. Here’s an example. In 2016, Inc. Magazine named Render Media the second fastest-growing media company in the United States. Two years later Render Media announced that it was going out of business.

“In a note to clients, Render Media blamed changes to Facebook’s branded content guidelines, which led it to no longer support its partner publishing network with articles,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “The spokeswoman for the company also said that the social media site’s recent news feed algorithm tweak contributed to the decision, among other factors.”

Render isn’t the only casualty:

“The branded content changes, along with a related tweak to Facebook’s news feed algorithm that reduces the amount of content from publishers in favor of posts from friends and family, have stymied companies that rely heavily on traffic from Facebook to prop up their businesses. Earlier this year, the female-focused digital publisher LittleThings closed its doors, after the news feed change caused its traffic to plummet by 75%.”

Categories
Companies Policy Politics Social Media Society

Big Tech ramps up censorship activity

Twitter rang in the new year with one of the most prolific political purges in the young history of the digital age, leapfrogging Facebook and YouTube to claim the top spot in the censorship sweepstakes.

The festivities began in earnest in 2018 with the coordinated banning of right-wing nutbag Alex Jones and his conspiracy program Infowars. This was done under the guise of protecting innocent people from “fake news.” How good of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey to act as our nannies. Without their paternal oversight our small little minds might be corrupted by unsavory views. Sarcasm aside, I happen to think that grown-ups should be allowed to decide for themselves what is true and what is false. In order to do so they have to have access to all the available perspectives, including those deemed “dangerous” by tech monopolies. If a small percentage end up adopting the wrong opinions, well, that’s part of living in a free society. If you want total conformity of thought, enforced by powerful people, move to Saudi Arabia.

Evidently, many people slept through Orwell Day in high school. How else can we explain all the positive reactions to blatant political censorship?

It began with Alex Jones; now it has expanded to social media accounts belonging to governments at odds with the United States; alternative media outlets countering official US narratives; and even individual people with no connection to any government or media outlet, but who raise inconvenient questions and look at things from a different perspective than the one espoused by, say, the Washington Post.

Twitter’s most recent censorship spree was reported on in detail by The Grayzone:

“In this latest purge, Twitter suspended the official accounts of Venezuela’s National GuardNavyAir ForceStrategic CommandPetroleum MinistryPenitentiary Services MinistryNational Commission of Information Technology, and Foundation Engineering Institute.

“The office of the government of the Capital District, the office of the vice president of the economy, and the press office of the armed forces also had their accounts removed by Twitter.”

Alternative news outlets in Venezuela were also unplugged, as was the account of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (it was later reinstated).

Washington is targeting Maduro’s government; therefore, so is Twitter.

Who else is being targeted by Washington? Iran is. Therefore:

“In the wake of the Trump administration’s execution of Iran’s top general Soleimani, a clear act of war, Twitter moved to restrict the account of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” Moreover:

“Many individual Iranians have been targeted as well. Users posted lists of dozens of Iranians who had their accounts taken down. These included prominent activists, journalists, and researchers who challenged Western propaganda and disinformation against their country.”

Ditto Syria:

“On January 4, Twitter temporarily suspended the official Twitter account of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A few days later, amid backlash, it restored the account.

“Twitter has repeatedly suspended and restricted the profile of Syria’s president, forcing the country’s presidential office to create multiple accounts (neither of which has verified by the company).”

Is that clear enough? As we move deeper into the darkness of the digital age, I think it’s time we retired the term “Stalinist Purge” (most young’uns probably don’t know who Stalin was) and replaced it with Dorsey-esque Purge.” Or “Zuckerbergian Purge.” Either will do.

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Apps Companies Influencers Instagram Social Media Society

Murderer plugs Instagram page ahead of trial

In an example of life imitating art imitating life, or something approximating that, a 19-year-old facing a double capital murder charge plugged his own Instagram while being questioned by a gaggle of reporters.

Kiernan Christopher Williams of San Antonio was allegedly at a bar called Ventura when he shot dead two fellow patrons. The arrest affidavit quotes witnesses as stating that Williams was fighting with one of the victims before the shooting.

One witness said they saw Williams “intentionally shoot [the victim]. The Defendant continued to fire his weapon into the crowded venue causing several victims to be struck by gunfire.”

As two cops conveyed a handcuffed Williams through a parking garage on the way to a police car, the alleged murderer spoke candidly to reporters.

“He [the victim] told me he was gonna kill me,” Williams said. “He told me because I bumped into him he was gonna kill me.”

He added, “Don’t worry about me. I’m gonna be alright.” Then came the money shot:

“Man, y’all gotta follow me on Instagram: _32baby.k9_. That’s me. Actually I’m an upcoming artist.”

One reporter responded by asking Williams if he realized the gravity of the charges leveled against him.

Williams: “I do realize my charge of capital murder.”

Reporter: “Do you think you’ll ever be able to listen to your music again?”

Williams: “I bet you I will—self-defense, sir.”

Asked if he had any regrets, Williams said, “On the cool, I regret everything that I did. No lie. I do.”

Reporter: “Do you know them [the victims]? Are you friends? Do you know them? Had you seen them before?”

Williams: “Yes, sir.”

Reporter: “Why did you feel like you had to pull the trigger?”

Williams: “Because he pulled a gun on me.”

Reporter: “Did he ever fire the gun?”

Williams: “No, sir. He didn’t have a chance.”

End of interview.

This reminds me of one of the Scream films. Specifically the end of the second one, in which Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) articulates his motive for the murders he committed. Here’s a extract from his manic soliloquy:

“This is just the beginning, a prelude to the trial. That’s where the real fun is, because these days it’s allll about the trial. … I’ll get Dershowitz or Cochran to represent me. … People love a good trial. It’s like theater, they’re dying for it. And I’ve worked hard to give the audience what they want.”

Doubtless, _32baby.k9_ has considerably more followers now than it did before Williams murdered those people in the bar. There’s your motive. Wes Craven was a modern day prophet.

Categories
Politics Reddit Social Media

Reddit ‘discovers’ diabolic Russian campaign to influence UK election!

The Russians are coming again, and again, and again. A sinister Russian propaganda/disinformation/trolling/interference/meddling/hacking campaign has been uncovered yet again … on Reddit. You see, shortly before the recently concluded UK national election, in which the clownish Boris Johnson made mincemeat of the decent Jeremy Corbyn, documents were leaked pertaining to trade negotiations between the UK and the US.

The leaked documents were presented in redacted form by Corbyn’s Labour Party, as they judged them to be in the public interest and damaging to the Tories.

Last week, a post on Reddit titled “Suspected Campaign from Russia on Reddit” asserted the following:

“We were recently made aware of a post on Reddit that included leaked documents from the UK. We investigated this account and the accounts connected to it, and today we believe this was part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia.”

Note the use of equivocal phrases such as “we believe” and “has been reported as.” Such language is code for: “we don’t know this to be true but we would like it to be.”

It’s like when intelligence agencies state that they have “high confidence” in their assessment of this or that. According to legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, that means “we really don’t know squat.”

But back to Reddit. The post goes on to say:

“Earlier this year Facebook discovered a Russian campaign on its platform, which was further analyzed by the Atlantic Council and dubbed ‘Secondary Infektion.’

“Suspect accounts on Reddit were recently reported to us, along with indicators from law enforcement, and we were able to confirm that they did indeed show a pattern of coordination. We were then able to use these accounts to identify additional suspect accounts that were part of the campaign on Reddit.

“This group provides us with important attribution for the recent posting of the leaked UK documents, as well as insights into how adversaries are adapting their tactics.”

The Atlantic Council, in case you’re curious, is funded in part by the US State Department and NATO. It is a highly politicized organization and any of its “findings” are to be taken with an entire bag of salt. Reddit provides no evidence that these accounts or that this irregular behavior was part of some campaign directed by the Kremlin, but that’s obviously what they’re implying. The big media outlets ran with the story, needless to say. Just as they did with the DNC email hack (still not proven) and the Skripal affair (questions remain) and the chemical weapons attacks in Syria (narratives unraveling as I write).

Eh, evidence is overrated anyway.

Categories
Apps Social Media Society TikTok

WWE and TikTok: Match made in Neverland

Hey, all you grown-ups who still watch professional wrestling, the WWE has teamed up with another entertainment service designed for teenyboppers—TikTok. (I naturally assume that adults who never grew out of their Degeneration-X phase are also using TikTok, but I could be wrong.)

The new partnership will be officially launched today, 15 December, just in time for the WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view extravaganza. According to a WWE press release, the company now has an official TikTok account featuring entrance theme music from over 30 famous wrestlers. Among them, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker (is that cat still alive?), the Ultimate Warrior (pretty sure he’s dead by now), Becky Lynch (whoever that is), and John Cena.

“The themes and original entrance music will be integrated into TikTok’s vast content library joining music from top artists like Lil Nas X, Mariah Carey, Lizzo, and emerging artists like Arizona Zervas,” the press release states. ”By offering WWE’s iconic entrances for TikTok users to play off of and make their own unique videos, the partnership provides fans a new way to engage with their favorite Superstars.”

Jayar Donlan, WWE’s Executive Vice President, Advanced Media, is very excited, or pretending to be.

“We are thrilled to be launching this partnership which offers a new level of engagement with WWE content by enabling the TikTok community to create their own shareable stories tied to WWE‘s world renowned Superstars,” she said.

Mayan Scharf, Global Partnerships, TikTok, sounded an equally euphoric note.

“By capturing the passion and thrill of wrestling, WWE is at the forefront of bringing together sports and entertainment in an unconventional and fun way,” Scharf said. “Through our partnership with WWE, we’re looking forward to bringing the excitement of the WWE experience to TikTok’s global community.”

What are you waiting for? Open up your TikTok app, follow the WWE account, crack open a few Budweisers and start blasting that Stone Cold theme song.