Monday, November 27, 2017

Leftist weaponisation of social media

John Naughton writes a London Guardian essay:
One of the biggest puzzles about our current predicament with fake news and the weaponisation of social media is why the folks who built this technology are so taken aback by what has happened. ...

It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters. Hence the obvious question: how could such smart people be so stupid?
No, they were not so stupid. Not only were they aware of the utility of political ads, they spent millions of dollars marketing those services to political operatives.
Now mathematics, engineering and computer science are wonderful disciplines – intellectually demanding and fulfilling. And they are economically vital for any advanced society. But mastering them teaches students very little about society or history – or indeed about human nature. As a consequence, the new masters of our universe are people who are essentially only half-educated.
Being half-educated is better than being negatively educated. Humanities majors are brainwashed into leftist thinking. Those professors do not teach human nature, they teach a denial of human nature.
“a liberal arts major familiar with works like Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, or even the work of ancient Greek historians, might have been able to recognise much sooner the potential ...
Note that he has to go back centuries to find scholars concerned with human nature.
All of which brings to mind CP Snow’s famous Two Cultures lecture, delivered in Cambridge in 1959, in which he lamented the fact that the intellectual life of the whole of western society was scarred by the gap between the opposing cultures of science and engineering on the one hand, and the humanities on the other – with the latter holding the upper hand among contemporary ruling elites.
Snow's conclusion was that the humanities scholars were the half-educated ones. He found that the science and engineering scholars were well-educated in the humanities, but the humanities scholars were science illiterates.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter are run by leftists who use the platform to promote leftist views, and censor others. The same could be said for the NY Times, Wash Post, CNN, NBC, NPR, etc.

What seems to bug the leftists is that their control is not universal. You can hear non-leftist views on talk radio, Fox News, RT TV, and the internet. Furthermore, recent disclosures have shown that maybe 0.0001% of Facebook ad revenue was used for political ambiguous messages from sources that cannot be precisely identified.

Sure, RT has criticism of American capitalism, but so does NPR. At least RT is not using American tax money for its anti-American propaganda.

So what did Facebook do that was so bad? The essay refers to this:
Along with his fellow Jews, Mark Zuckerberg introspected over Yom Kippur and asked for forgiveness via Facebook from “those I hurt this year … for the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together”. He promised to “work to do better”.

Presumably, Zuckerberg was referring to the two types of harm that Facebook has recently acknowledged causing: allowing Russian nationals to purchase Facebook ads to aid Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and allowing ad buys on hateful search terms.

It took congressional investigations, a special counsel investigation, and great reporting by Politico to get Facebook to fess up to these sins. It took President Obama pulling Mark Zuckerberg aside shortly after the election and schooling him in Facebook’s responsibility for distributing electioneering lies.
How is this harmful?

Clinton outspend Trump on advertising by about $1B to $200M. In terms of free partisan news stories and editorials in the mainstream media, favoritism towards Clinton was maybe 10-1 or 20-1. The Russians only spent several thousand dollars, and most of it did not even mention Trump.

I am all in favor of pointing out foreign influence on our elections, but the biggest NY Times stockholder is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. He is a Trump-hater with a financial interest in Mexicans invading the USA. The NY Times is run by Jews who have ties to Israel. The NY Times, and its foreign influences had a vastly greater effect on the election.

Everyone points to the 17 USA intelligence agencies that supposedly said that the Russians influenced the election. In fact, none of those intelligence agencies said that the Russians had any influence on the election. Their report mostly consisted of reciting some RT stories that were critical of the USA.

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