Tag Archives: Facebook

What ACLU Says Was Trump Call to “Literally Murder Protesters,” Facebook Says Doesn’t Violate Standards

“Facebook has once again failed to act against an explicit violation of its own rules and has allowed the violent and racist post to remain up.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2020

Photo: Anthony Quintano/flickr/CC

Civil rights advocates are condemning Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg over a decision announced late Friday to let stand a post by President Donald Trump that threatened to have the U.S. National Guard open fire on demonstrators in Minneapolis enraged over the police killing of George Floyd.

While the ACLU earlier on Friday condemned the social media post by Trump—a message that was shared on both Twitter and Facebook—as “hypocritical, immoral, and illegal” and nothing less than a call to “literally murder protesters,” Zuckerberg in his statement said Facebook “decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.” Continue reading

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Espionage and repression in the Middle East courtesy of the West

Western companies are providing surveillance tools to authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.

By Jon Hoffman.  Published 5-13-2020 by openDemocracy

Cellphone tower | Picture by Peter Bjorndal / pixabay.com. Public Domain

Regime-directed surveillance has taken new forms within the Middle East as governments have been forced to adapt to new technological and social environments. While government surveillance of its citizens is not new to the region, this old authoritarian impulse has been revamped in the attempt to subvert opposition and monitor dissidence amid widespread use of social media and access to smartphones within the region.

New forms of targeted hackings and espionage have therefore become commonplace throughout the region, and often extend across borders into the international arena. Western companies, governments, and individuals have provided extensive assistance to the surveillance efforts of these governments, often by supplying them with the necessary technology and expertise needed to conduct such sweeping operations. However, regional countries – particularly Israel – have increasingly constructed and exported their own indigenous operations and platforms designed to surveil their publics. Conducted on a mass scale and bolstered by western technological support, these new and sophisticated forms of surveillance have supplied these governments with the tools necessary to go on the offensive against all who seek to challenge the status quo. Continue reading

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Millions of People Face Stimulus Check Delays for a Strange Reason: They Are Poor

The IRS has had trouble getting money to people quickly because millions of Americans pay for their tax preparation through a baroque system of middlemen.

By Paul KielJustin Elliott and Will Young. Published 4-24-2020 by ProPublica

Image: Jernej Furman/flickr/CC

Last week, a group of angry and desperate Citi Tax Financial customers gathered outside the company’s storefront in Augusta, Georgia. Millions of Americans had received a big deposit from the IRS in their bank accounts, but they had not. The IRS website told them their coronavirus stimulus checks were deposited in an account they didn’t recognize.

With an officer from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office beside him and another officer shouting for people to be quiet, the tax preparation company’s owner told the crowd of about 60, only a few of whom wore masks, that he didn’t have their money. Continue reading

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US Military Building Presence in Saudi Arabia for First Time in 17 Years

Some 2,500 US troops have arrived at their new home for the foreseeable future, the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.

By Alan Macleod   Published 2-28-2020 by MintPress News

Royal Saudi Air Force’s Maj. Gen. Khaled Al-Shablan, Prince Sultan Air Base installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Brent Chadick, 378th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, escort U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a tour of Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Charles)

Amid rising tensions with Iran, the United States is increasing its military presence in Saudi Arabia- separated from the Islamic Republic by only the Persian Gulf. Some 2,500 troops have arrived at their new home, the Prince Sultan Air Base, some 60 km southeast of Riyadh. On Iran, General John Walker, commander of the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing at the base, said: “We face a thinking enemy that is playing a real regional conflict for keeps, and they’re very good.”

While the U.S. government has not given any indication of how long it expects its forces to be there, temporary structures are being replaced with more substantial ones, and the arrival of fighter jets suggests they are there for the long haul. Roads are also being resurfaced to and from the base. Continue reading

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US Clearing Anti-War Voices Off Social Media in Vast Censorship Operation

The Trump administration is ramping up its information war by suspending accounts and removing content.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 1-14-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that appear to be in support of the late Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in order to comply with U.S. sanctions, a company spokesperson recently told CNN.

We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the IRGC and its leadership,” the spokesperson said in a statement. Continue reading

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Unprecedented ‘Architecture of Surveillance’ Created by Facebook and Google Poses Grave Human Rights Threat: Report

“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-22-2019

A new report from Amnesty International says Facebook and Google have a “surveillance-based business model.” (Photo: flickr/GostGo/cc)

A new report from Amnesty International accuses Facebook and Google of having a “surveillance-based business model” that threatens users’ right to privacy and other human rights.

The tech giants, said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, have amassed “unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.” Continue reading

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You’d be better off lighting your money on fire than giving it to a politician to spend on TV ads

Hillary Clinton may have lost to Donald Trump because she bought the wrong kind of ads. AP/David Goldman

Liberty Vittert, Washington University in St Louis

Alright, you want to make this country a better place for yourself, your children and the many generations to come. So you make a donation to a political candidate you believe will fight for a better country.

But, in reality, you are wasting your money. Here’s why.

Television has long been the golden goose of political advertising. The conventional wisdom is that the candidate who can spend the most on it will most likely win. Continue reading

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Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to ‘Censor the Internet’ Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict

“In practice, this executive order would mean that whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-11-2019

“It’s hard to put into words how mind bogglingly absurd this executive order is,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, following a leaked White House draft of what her group has dubbed the ‘Censor the Internet’ order. Image: Public domain

Civil liberties groups are warning of a major threat to online freedoms and First Amendment rights if a leaked draft of a Trump administration edict—dubbed by critics as a “Censor the Internet” executive order that would give powerful federal agencies far-reaching powers to pick and choose which kind of Internet material is and is not acceptable—is allowed to go into effect.

According to CNN, which obtained a copy of the draft, the new rule “calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.” Continue reading

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Privacy Advocates Celebrate Court Ruling on Class-Action Suit Targeting Facebook’s Facial Recognition Tech

“Both corporations and the government are now on notice that this technology poses unique risks to people’s privacy and safety.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2019

A federal court ruled Thursday that a class-action suit targeting Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology can continue. (Photo: Legal Loop)

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court in San Francisco ruled Thursday that Facebook users in Illinois can sue the social media giant on the grounds that its facial recognition technology violates a strict state privacy law.

“This decision is a strong recognition of the dangers of unfettered use of face surveillance technology,” Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement after the ruling. Continue reading

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Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes

The three-year-old group, which has roughly 9,500 members, shared derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers who plan to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes.”

By A.C. Thompson  Published 7-1-2019 by ProPublica

(Photo: Legal Loop)

 

Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.

In one exchange, group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to the post of a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in May while in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas. One member posted a GIF of Elmo with the quote, “Oh well.” Another responded with an image and the words “If he dies, he dies.” Continue reading

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