Archive for social media

"Online privacy is like Taliban science. A fictional concept."

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Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with online privacy in general, and Facebook in particular. Take it away, Will:

DIGITAL CHEESE

Plenty of people had good reason to be in a foul mood back in 2012. The Detroit Tigers. Members of the Romney family. And, after making the acquaintance of a windy lass named Sandy, most of New England. Now, we can add to that list the thousands of suckers who were manipulated by our good friend at Facebook. Although the word they coined- “unfriend,” might fit better here.

Recently it was revealed the social media behemoth filtered the messages of 700,000 users by flooding them with uplifting and/ or depressing posts, then monitoring who got happy and who got sad. “Oh no. Grandma’s bicycle got run over by a garbage truck. Awww. But hey! Watch what happens when this pit bull chews on a kiddie pool.”

They say we agreed to this kind of BS when we signed on, but- come on. Its doubtful even the employees who write them, read those user agreements. Typically, they’re longer than the migratory path of the monarch butterfly, more confusing than Cantonese crosswords and displayed in flea font.

Corporate lawyers didn’t evolve from mud- sucking, bottom- feeders for nothing. They know how to hide all sorts of stuff in that fine print. Wouldn’t be surprised to discover there’s a clause stating that in time of war, they own one of my kidneys. And another that gives them the right to call at any time of night demanding help in moving a body.

Google also admits to running 20,000 experiments on its search results every year and you can bet Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest and Crabgrass.com are doing the same. Probably even Yahoo has scientists using tools calibrated back in the 90s. The 1890s.

Some bloggers claim to be outraged, but anybody not expecting to be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed and numbered is probably a big fan of the tooth fairy and still drinking juice out of a sippy cup, wearing footy pajamas. Online privacy is like Taliban science. A fictional concept.

Think of it as Newton’s Law 3.1. The price we must pay for having the world at our fingertips, is maintaining an equal and opposite availability to everyone else’s fingertips. Some of which are cold and clammy. Especially the Faceless ones with the chromium digits. But we’ve adapted. You don’t hear a lot of noise about folks going back to MySpace. Or Compuserve.

Facebook claims they’re simply trying to create the best environment possible for their petri dish of social contact. And we microbes can expect the research to not only continue, but get more sophisticated. Won’t be long before they are able to predict which of our family members will pass out before Thanksgiving Dinner. Which could come in handy with menu planning.

Our best bet is to nudge them in consumer friendly directions. Don’t they want to know how many people would delete their accounts after all cute cat videos were outlawed? How about a “Bummer” button for deaths, divorces, debacles, disasters and defeats?

The thing is, if Mark Zuckerberg and his ilk are going to use us as lab rats, the least they could do is throw us some minor rewards. When rats finish a maze, aren’t they supposed to get cheese? Hey Zuck, where’s our digital cheese? Make mine Cheddar. Swiss puts me in a bad mood. Ooops. Shouldn’t have said that.

Copyright ©2014, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about the new documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances including his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” at the Santa Cruz Fringe Festival July 10- 19. Scfringe.com.

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The New Political Battlefields: Red Meat Base-Baiting Comment Threads

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gop-lies-big
Many of us enjoy the occasional drop into Alternet, they truly do find or write up the unusual with consistent flair and By Golly, there was a gem today.

There is some really serious red-meat base baiting going on out there.

Divisiveness is at an all time high, this surprises no one. We all enjoy a good troll slaying from time to time, and even the Twitterz can get ugly. But here's some slightly more alarming quotes from an article by their Roberto Rodriguez.

please tread on me

The unexpected new locations for hate crime scenes in the 21st century appear to be the comments sections of the nation's leading newspapers, where calls to violence have become routine and through which progressives have decided correcting the record is a waste of their time. ...

One normally associates hate crimes with cross burnings and lynchings or something equally heinous, however, the shocking and unexpected new locations for hate crime scenes in the 21st century appear to be the editorial pages of the nation's leading newspapers ... where calls to violence have also become routine.

don'ttrust

In Arizona, exposure to constant hate is a daily occurrence in the letters to the editor or comments section of media. Within these contexts, communities are subjected to vicious anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant hate disguised as discourse against "illegals," or "illegal aliens." ... Not a few intimate the use of extreme violence. ...

From caretaker: "FOKES THIS IS GOING TO LEAD TO US'' THE PEOPLE PROTECTING OUR COUNTRY OUR SELVES... THERE'S NO CHOICE, THIS IS WHAT OUR FORE FATHERS MEANT IN OUR CONSTITUTION ..."

From Fastfreddy: "Would you rather see the citizens of Arizona use the 2nd amendment as a solution to the illegal problem or rather see the courts try to solve the problem."
Opinion Fact

If this constant badgering and threats of violence involved the daily haranguing of other peoples, for example, Jews, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Anglo-Americans or any other identifiable group, it is assumed, per the newspaper's comment guidelines, that they would never make it into these pages. (4) But they inexplicably do and thus, the media, particularly letters to the editor sections, have become what I refer to as hate crime scenes.

hypocrite

Seriously??!! Years ago I had a sock at Stormfront, one of the most hateful places on the above ground internetz or the Undernet … but to see the same brand of xenophobic, racist hate bandied about in places/comment threads my 16 year-old niece stumbles over every day?!

Unacceptable. We have to have some semblance of civilization, here. There have to be adults in the room, adults in the comment threads and adults in the pundit seats.

memewrong
This isn't sports, when the Red Sox lose another shot at the pennant, we wail and moan and curse … then recalibrate for next season.

This is politics. It is real life. I wasn't kidding earlier, it has become blood sport. It will kick you in the gut, the soul and the wallet if you let the apathy win and don't get to the polls and cast your vote, and raise your voice for the right progressive choices.

It's this bad, people. Schismatic is not too embellished a term, Maddow had the right of using it to describe just what the Tea Party hath wrought.

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When Democrats act like right wing trolls

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rant alert

I'm trying my best to follow Doctor's orders, I really am. I'm staying away from the computer for a good part of the day, I write 90% fewer posts than I used to, and when I do write, I concentrate on more upbeat news stories.

However.

For months-- no, make that years-- it's been impossible to escape from the tea party style, trolly behavior of many so-called "Democrats" on Twitter, in TPC Comments, and on Facebook. And yes, many of these people are really, truly left leaning, not conservatives in blue sheep's clothing.

Let's start with this old chestnut: Over the years, I've been called an "EmoProg," which is supposed to be some kind of terrible, poison dart insult, the ultimate slur that can be hurled at you by a fellow Dem. My pal over at FreakOutNation, @Anomaly100, and I have mocked this lunacy by calling our selves MEmos ( adding "me" to "emo" to fake-narcisstically own our apparent evil EmoProgitude).

I've never been quite sure what EmoProg means, but per Urban Dictionary, in part:

Emo Progressive (or "emoprog") is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with libertarian leanings, whose political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly or forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.

Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as "selling out" liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy...

Emoprogs have a strong affinity for 3rd party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be "Obamabots" and enemies of liberalism.

I've also been called an "Obamabot," which as you can see is the opposite of an EmoProg, so go figure. That's how utterly inane and infantile these labels are. They're also destructive, damaging to party unity, toxic, and resolve nothing. In fact, for those who claim to be so "inclusive," this kind of name-calling is sure a funny way of displaying their "tolerance" of others.

There can be disagreement within a party without resorting to this kind of immaturity. We share the same goals, ultimately, so zinging hostile labels at political allies, alienating them instead of working together whenever possible, is at best self-defeating.

Next, and I'm putting this in all caps because I want to scream this loudly, and a few words on a page won't suffice:

PLEASE STOP USING THE WORD "RETARD" AND STOP USING "TARD" AS A SUFFIX.

Again, so-called "inclusive" Dems using that word as a slur is utterly counterproductive, very offensive, and plain stupid. Or ignorant. Or both. Even readers/followers I adore use it. Most stop when I explain what I'm about to write next:

I worked with special ed students for years when I taught high school theater classes. I challenge anyone who uses the R Word or suffix to look any of those dear, innocent kids in the eye and say that directly to them or within earshot of them, and then not feel like a total ass as they see the hurt and bewilderment on the sweet faces that stare back.

Are "liberal" vocabularies so limited that no other words are accessible? Words that don't sting? Words that don't devalue people with real feelings who matter and take things to heart just as you and I do? Really?

And finally, there's this: Yesterday I had a very pleasant Twitter exchange with a *gasp!* Republican TV and print commentator who shall remain nameless. In fact, I have a few far right followers who I get along with, but who I never ever discuss politics with. Our conversations are strictly goofy or personal or about movies, TV, dogs, vacations, that kind of thing. But not politics. Our mutual heads would explode if we did that.

In fact, I detest their politics at worst, and strongly disagree with them at best. But we get along, and one extremely conservative pundit in particular was the very first to "be there" for me (privately in Direct Messages) when my dad first became ill and then supported me all the way through to my father's death. I value that in a person, no matter what their beliefs or politics.

After my quippy back and forth with Mr. GOP Commentator, a follower (who I am happy to say I never followed back) called me "self-righteous" and "muted" me because I dared to engage someone who he (and I) vehemently disagreed with about the Affordable Care Act.

Call me EmoProg-- or is it Obamabot?-- but I am able to compartmentalize and remain friendly with people who are kind to me, who enjoy tweet talk now and then, who have a sense of humor, and who give me no reason to block them. If I eventually find them to be offensive or distasteful, I unfollow or block, that is my choice.

But come on, "Dems" or "liberals" or "Progressives" or "Obama supporters" or whoever you are, grow up. Throwing insults out of the blue, initiating convos only to be rude because I occasionally chat with someone whose point of view we both find objectionable is not exactly true to our Big D Democratic values.

In fact, it's more tea party than it is Dem. And that kind of behavior is intolerable.

words matter

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Video Mid Day Distraction- Prank Artist of the Day: Revealing Personal Information from Nearby Social Media Posts

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Via.

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Call to action: Twitter needs to use its power to stop graphically abusive accounts

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nsfw not safe for work animated gif

Warning: Some of the images in this post are not safe for work.

Twitter is an open forum for anyone who wants to tweet their mind. That's great. I partake in a big way. But when I get tweets-- daily, hourly, sometimes piling on one after the other-- that are abusive, insulting, viciously demeaning, hostile, and sometimes violent, then it's time to take action.

Twitter sure doesn't. I know that for a fact, because I've tried over and over again to convince them that in some cases, it stops being free speech and starts feeling like assault.

[NOTE: This post is not about cyber bullies, although they, too, are abusive; I've been harassed and smeared for years by one "progressive" who many of you became aware of and have since avoided. This is about extremist trolls, who also happen to bully.]

I regularly hear from right wing extremists, tea partiers, and total nutcases (that's not hyperbole, there are some very sick people out there). When they're civil, I simply ignore or block them, and even debate them once in awhile. And yes, I admit to succumbing to occasional lapses of playing Whack a Troll just to share their ignorance with my followers, using as much snarky mockitude as I can muster up.

But then there are those who pop in repeatedly to suggest various activities that they want me to engage in-- with my own body or theirs-- and apply colorful words like c**t and suck my c**k, simply because they've read my tweets and don't agree with me. I don't know these people nor am I familiar with their accounts, but they get some kind of perverse pleasure out of following my threads and entering my stream with slurs, attacks, and irrational tirades.

Almost without exception, these trolls oppose me politically, and that's fine. But the intense hatred spewed by many of them is disruptive, highly offensive, and completely out of line.

There is a particularly rabid one who should be in jail or in a padded cell-- again, no hyperbole. If I were to post screen grabs of his avatars, messages, and profile photos, you'd literally want to gag. My own husband couldn't get through them. Unfortunately, catching sight of them is unavoidable when they're in my stream or when I go to block and report.

Imagine the most frantically vile, graphic images depicting blatant racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, bigotry, and self-loathing. They include explicit close-up photos of defecation and the most hard-core XXX porn you can imagine, abominable references, every kind of debasement of women and young men, degrading photos of celebrities and our president and first lady, you name it.

And the crude, twisted tweets he sends me match the vulgar visuals. He has also opened accounts using my likeness (taken from my Twitter account), as well as those of other high-profile liberals like Rachel Maddow, Lizz Winstead, John Fugelsang, Bill Maher, and Rosie O'Donnell, among others.

In short, he is an obsessed, deranged, seething, hostile, psychologically impotent (and likely, physically) conservative coward who consistently targets progressives, mostly women. Here are semi-cleaned up, edited grabs of two of his tamer suspended accounts. Trust me when I say, they get much worse than these:

troll xxx for post banner

troll xxx for post redo

troll xxx my IDHere is one of his defunct profile pages

Screen shot 2011-06-05 at 11.52.53 AM troll xxx wants my IDA tweet he sent out under my name and avi

This is one reason I stay anonymous. It started when a stalker came to close, sending me a Google map of my neighborhood, so that was that.

This person has been suspended well over 500 times. I've reported him to Twitter well over 100 times, and finally contacted my local authorities as well as the FBI more than once. But because he didn't threaten my life, they did nothing. As I type this, he's added at least three more Twitter accounts that I'm aware of.

I've endured this for years, literally. Because of this, I felt it was time to put out a call to action. Perhaps if enough of us demand more oversight from Twitter, especially those of us who are sick to death of being barraged with disgustingly offensive messages and photos, then maybe Twitter will take notice and do something.

It's unimaginable that they can't devise a better system to rid Twitter of such filth.

By the way, when I tried to fill out one of their complaint forms, I didn't have a link to the offending tweet, so the form wouldn't go through. I didn't have a link because I blocked him, and the account was immediately suspended so the tweet was no longer accessible. So I'm snail mailing them, and I'm including about two dozen graphic screen shots of 93 of the suspended profiles I've captured.

Here is the tweet:

"I'd like to take a 12 in figurine of a smiling G W. Bush and ram it up your stinking communist ass."

Please share this post and contact Twitter. It's worth a shot to at least try to turn things around for once. I'm fed up with having to so much as glance at the malignancies that come my way.

Thank you.

Twitter contact information:

Twitter, Inc.
1355 Market St, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103

And to Twitter users, some general contact info, not that it will do much good:

@Support

@Twitter

@Spam

To file a ticket, go here.

To report an abusive or offensive user, go here.

UPDATE: Here is a sample letter sent by one of my favorite commenters:

Twitter, Inc
1355 Market St., Suite 900
San Francisco CA 94103

Attn: Dick Costolo, CEO

Dear Sir:

I’ve become more and more alarmed by the threatening, harassing tweets bombarding people like GottaLaff and urge you to take them seriously. One man who sends one tweet after another threatening her, even sending her a map of her neighborhood, forced her to resort to using a pseudonym on Twitter and he still doesn’t stop.

Spam is bad enough but when one is verbally bashed and/or threatened it is not to Twitter’s benefit and such tweets should not be ignored. Just reporting or blocking them isn’t sufficient to stop their abuse; they simply open a new account under a different name - as you know.

Surely Twitter can trace an account back to an IP address and demand that they cease such dangerous behavior. I understand that tweets can be sent from IP addresses that are used by many people (at cafes, for instance) but there is such a thing as product liability. I’m urging you to hold the owners of such IP addresses responsible for the damage their users do. Even bar owners who serve people after they are drunk are held responsible for the damage their customers do.

I’ve enjoyed Twitter for a few years and want to continue to do so but such threatening behavior makes a pleasant experience completely abhorrent and there’s a limit to the amount of such behavior I, and others, will accept.

Please develop a policy to identify & ban such people from the Twitter feed.

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Guest Post-- Bashar al-Assad: Our first truly Internet-era foe

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Social Media

My former student and dear pal Lucia Fasano has submitted another post for your consideration. You can also see Lucia in my BLUNT VIDEO: Not Guilty– The George Zimmerman Verdict.

This is Lucia's third contribution to TPC. Her first was "Oregon festival empowers girls, promotes Planned Parenthood, anti-domestic & sexual violence groups, more." Next came "If I have to endure being followed in a store, racism isn't over."

Please link over and read what she's been up to. This is one involved twenty-year-old.

Here is her latest:

On September 8th, 2013, at the Presidential Palace in Damascus, Charlie Rose interviewed Syrian President Bashar Assad. I know-- I read about it on Facebook, through Twitter, it was on Hulu.

There’s been a lot of talk about Syria, about what Assad did and didn’t do, what action President Obama will take, if Kerry lied, how many people died.

On Charlie Rose, an extremely affluent and eloquent Assad commented on the conflict in Syria and America’s "short, unbelievably small" intervention, as if he’d been following Jon Stewart and John McCain on Twitter.

His phrasing comparing Kerry to Powell, his knowledge of American public opinion on the war-- it’s appealing to American citizens. This is really the first time in history that diabolical dictators can get their message out across the world via phone, via computer, via TV-- faster than any plane can drop leaflets or even bombs.

And in a way that not even young Kim Jong-Un has utilized. We’re entering an era of international relations that is truly socially networked.

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Who The Hell Is Martin O'Malley?

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2016 Presidential check list

I was reading a fine article on MSN called: 2016 Presidential Checklist. Sadly, they didn't include Senator Rafael 'Ted' Cruz because undoubtedly it would be even more humorous. This article tackles topics like the candidates' "non denial, denials" that they're running. Another addresses who's hogging the TV time -- especially on the Sunday talkers. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio lead that category. Democratic presidential candidates hardly appear at all.

Just for the record, the list of Republicans the article focuses on are: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. As I said, Canadian born Rafael Cruz wasn't included. Maybe they thought he wasn't American enough.

On the Democratic side are: Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

What? Who? Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley? Where'd he come from? Yes, I know. Maryland. But I'm talking politically. Certainly to be included in this list (and not Senator Elizabeth Warren) or even Rafael Cruz tells us something.

Curiosity piqued, my eyes caught the section entitled, ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING, where each candidate's accomplishments are listed. We all know about Biden, Clinton, probably Cuomo but then came O'Malley.

Accomplishments

O'Malley: Toughened gun laws, repealed death penalty, saw voters approve gay marriage after he got behind legislation to approve it, set up a framework to develop offshore wind power.

Gotta like that. What else? Well, below is the section entitled, TAKE A NATIONAL STAND.

O'Malley: The liberal checklist: more spending on education, infrastructure, transportation; supports same-sex marriage, immigration reform, repealing death penalty, pushes environmental protections.

I'd say that's pretty impressive. I'm starting to like this guy. But what put it over the top and moved him from my Mr. Nobody's list and made him a real vice presidential possibility is what it said about him in the GET WITH IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, where each candidate's presence on the Internet is explored.  And here's Governor Martin O's entry:

Social Media

O'Malley: On Twitter, standard governor's fare but promotes rare appearances by his Celtic rock band, O'Malley's March, for which he sings and plays guitar and tin whistle. On Facebook, his PAC-generated page is more active than official governor's account.

A Celtic rock band? Plays tin whistle! C'mon, Republicans, this guy's got it all over you. What do you have to offer? Senator Rafael Cruz and his Canadian Mariachi band?

Folks, this O'Malley guy is someone we should keep an eye on. BTW, he's only 50 years old. And when it comes to gun control, check the guns on this guy!

Martin O'Malley

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