Facebook was deploying its fascist boot on patriots sharing news across its platform again this week.
Unlike last month’s purge, which came with a heads-up leaked to NBC News, these new warnings were in the form of subtle upgrades to its Terms of Service, but will likely prove devastating to those who they want to censor.
A new rule coming into effect on October 1 will allow the platform to remove content or restrict access “if we determine that it’s reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”
The biggest regulatory impact for social media is the White House’s Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship to close the Section 230 (c) loophole to compel them to be either a platform open for all or a publisher who can censor without being sued.
The new bit of legalese is trying to take the censoring part out a priori — in other words, because your words put us in jeopardy if we were to delete them as publishers, we will prevent you from saying them beforehand, so we can remain an open platform. (No, no, no, we’re still not publishers censoring you but the open platform just looking out for our business model, sheesh.)
Like the internet, itself, Facebook’s staying power has been in how its algorithms bring people together, even its enemies. The platform’s best feature for years has been Facebook Groups, effectively, a limitless LISTSERV, the original and industry standard email list management software, but now where hundreds of thousands of people can both contribute, connect with each other and read the best news citizen journalists contribute each day. The cream rises the top based on the likes, it’s genius, really.
Great for puppy pics, but also for sharing FOIA documents, links to banned books or explainer articles. And, of course, devastatingly true pictures with simple captions, aka memes.
Last month’s purge decimated so many patriot groups, though the impact of their hard work cannot be taken away — eyes once opened never shut, and those who know cannot sleep.
Facebook survivors who backed up their work offline are copying and re-posting, but the threat to those Groups still online continues.
Another pop-up seen this week about “Group Quality” will surely be used to silence more voices.
Here, in what seems to be a three-strikes-you’re-out rule, a Group Admin who approves a post that violates community standards — ie. pisses someone off because it’s too true — will be punished with the closure of said Group.
Mostly, these are closed groups where members have to ask to join, and usually are not those who would accuse the Admin of violating standards. Here, what Facebook has done is partner with “third-party” groups, including Politifact, who troll those posts and, like a Snopes, determine their legitimacy, and more on that in a moment.
When they cannot prove the posts are untrue, in other words, truly are fake news, they can issue a thumbs down because the information has not been confirmed by another “third party” or equally lame, if someone “without evidence,” as the phrase goes now, cannot prove something to be true, how dare you imply it?
Without going deeper into the semantics of journalism, the takeaway here is, indeed, Facebook may not be acting like a publisher censoring content, but these smarmy people who they have given permission and, likely — he said without evidence, but read on! — are being paid for this job, determine what information should be censored. Like a publisher.
This framework creates a cautionary incentive this newspaper has already seen in action where our last viral story based on just retelling the history found in books was rejected by one Group because we didn’t want to add an unnecessary “allegedly” to the headline.
The attraction for truthtellers of Facebook is the audience and the ease in which stories can be shared because of the density of Groups and the personal distribution networks of each user; it’s just too good to pass up. On the other side, from the “DARPA LifeLog” point of view, creating this massive electronic web of connections and detailed information about citizen’s lives was also too great for Big Tech to resist. Hence, the final showdown: 60 days til the election.
And as for those “independent third-parties” the infrastructure behind their modus operandi was also revealed this week.
Where this reporter thought he was just unlucky that these “non-censors” were just stumbling coming across our blockbuster reports, it turns out, there’s an App for it.
The case here was about a document that showed how a Soros family PAC and its Treasurer were actually named in documentation used to organize, prepare, arm and pay the rioters who took Baltimore in 2015.
Now, where Buzzfeed famously published the Steele Dossier, with all of its unsourced, unverified allegations that even the FBI could never back up, let alone that it was paid opposition research elevated beyond bad gossip to become gospel truth, Politifact busted us.
We published a story referencing the 2015 Soros documents to shed on light how the organized riots five years later were shaping up along the very same lines. That certainly passed the sniff test as to being real, and much more so than Steele’s calumnies, plus no one had ever said the docs were fake — they were just ignored by everyone but a few experts, including one on riots who thought they were extremely telling.
Politifacts argument was not that these were proven to be false documents, but that they were also not proven to be real. Not like Soros’s PR flak would admit that to us, really, but how dare we publish them!
That seems to be their prerogative, it seems, though it stinks and the smell in my nose of censorship then our First Ammendment rights were curtailed. Because of this subjective black mark, QMN was blocked from posting to those infamous patriot groups from a month, but also somehow permanently blocked from posting to our own, members-only Quartermaster News Group. What gives?
As the editor who enters the arena every morning, what I was more worried about was how did they find us so quickly? Out of the millions of posts, were these nerds just sitting waiting for me to publish something incendiary? We posted in the morning; these worms had their mushy denial story up by lunch.
The app is called CrowdTangle. It’s free to sample by dropping in any link and it can show how the story’s “moved” across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit, where it’s gained sharing velocity, by whom, and what other articles are popping up to support or refute its assertions. But to use this thing at scale, only Facebook’s media friends get access, free of course. Facebook bought it in 2016.
What this means is that, indeed, these nerds can watch all of the internet move at once, see in an instant what stories are moving, ie. dangerous, and dispatch their censors to shut it down. Powerful stuff.
The other takeaway is that CrowdTangle is the new 4AM drop. Famously, Gannett, the McLean, Va.-based (yes, across the street from the Pentagon) publisher of USA Today and a million other local rags, would put out the headlines at 4AM that the rest of the media would echo. It’s how so many outlets at once get the same story, the same spin, the same headlines and keywords without seeming to be working in collusion.
See TEGNA on the list — that’s the TV and digital arm spun out from Gannett in 2015.
Well, I can tell you “without evidence,” besides the fact that it exists, CrowdTangle is doing the 4AM drop today. A truthteller told me on Facebook.
As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, in January (2017) CrowdTangle became free for publishers and journalism schools to help give partners the data and insights they need. In the first half of this year, CrowdTangle on boarded over 1,600 new partners around the world. Moreover, overall usage of the tool tripled, the platform is growing quickly in emerging markets like India and Brazil and is now being used in over 1,000 local newsrooms.
That’s from the October 2017 press release of the Local Media Consortium (LMC), “a strategic partnership of leading local media companies,” including 75 corporations, including GateHouse Media and McClatchy, representing more than 1,700 digital news properties.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, one of 130 daily newspapers and 555 websites owned by GateHouse Media, used a national live display provided by the CrowdTangle platform to identify story ideas throughout Hurricane Irma. GateHouse’s newsrooms also use CrowdTangle to source stories from alerts generated from topics over-performing (ugh!) on CrowdTangle, which has resulted in additional stories generated across the GateHouse network.
McClatchy, a longtime member of the LMC and parent to the Miami Herald, the Sacramento Bee and more than two dozen other news properties across the country, uses CrowdTangle at both the corporate and local levels. “Our real-time teams use CrowdTangle’s over performing and viral alert features to monitor content from our competitors, local organizations, and people in the community,” said Jessica Huff, McClatchy’s Social Media Director. “The reporters on our real-time teams are often the number one traffic drivers in our company, and for good reason. They’re our first-responders, and the folks who are keeping up with the social media conversations happening in our markets.”
Watch out, friends, Big Brother is upon us.
If you read this yarn on Facebook, it won’t be up for long. Shameless plug — if you like reading real news, subscribe to the daily emailer. Also, look for our headlines on WhatFinger.com, where Sgt. K is dutifully carrying the world of truth on his wide shoulders, every day posting all the news truly fit to print.
Support victory, the enemy is on the run.
Sixty more days.