Social Networks and the New World of Lies

Last Tuesday, Kristinn Hrafnsson —Wikileaks’ editor in chief— stated before a group of foreign press correspondents that the case of Julian Assange, incarcerated in UK and claimed by the U.S., is part of a conspiracy against press freedom.

It is not an isolated case —pointed out the Icelander journalist before adding that the recent attacks on media in California, U.S., the searches carried out by the Federal Police at the headquarters of ABC network in Sydney, Australia, and the incarceration of Swedish journalist Olin Bin, in Ecuador, are also part of a global strategy to stamp out investigative journalism.

Even more disturbing, nonetheless, is the fact that more important than press “freedom” or investigative journalism, the truth itself seems really in danger of vanishing. While the truth is incarcerated in the role of Julian Assange, lies are unleashed and multiplied like never before in the media and social networks.

At the same time Hrafnsson offered his statement in London, an international survey carried out that day and released in Canada showed that 86% of people have taken for granted at least one fake news they have read in social networks.

According to the 82% of people consulted in the Ipsos survey for the Canadian analysis group Center for International Governance Innovation, the platforms of social networks were regarded as the main responsible for the dissemination of fake news. The 77% of users had pointed at Facebook as the main source of fake news while 62% chose Twitter.

The problem is truly alarming if we take into account that there is an increasingly high number of people using social networks as information source. In the words of communication connoisseurs, beyond the technological progresses, the rising number of users in social networks has to do with the discredit of traditional media in recent years. However, is there any credibility in social networks after the results of this survey went public?

To make things worse, it was released a fake video in Instagram with the one and only Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. In the video, manipulated by artificial intelligence, Zuckerberg stands there saying, while describing his own personality: “Imagine this for a second: a man, with a total control of data stolen from millions and millions of people, all their secrets, their lives, their futures.”

The fake video shows Zuckerberg bragging about his dominance. The video was created by Israel’s emerging company Canny AI, and artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, allegedly for an artistic project called Spectrum, which was screened at the British International Documentary Festival Sheffield Doc/Fest.

It is shocking that Instagram —which belongs to Facebook— will not blocked the video. Therefore, it will be added to a series of other manipulated videos, known as “deepfake” due to the use of artificial intelligence with extremely realistic results.

The most popular of this sort of “masterpieces” falsifying reality, which Facebook denies to block by the way, is the ridiculously false video released one month ago where the Speaker of the House of Representative of the U.S., Nancy Pelosi, was talking as if she were drunk.

The video involving Pelosi was released to the world in a tweet posted by the U.S. President Donald Trump. And now that we are referring to lies and Trump, the president of the nation of “press freedom,” the first champion against fake news, recently called for a mass boycott from Americans against AT&T, one of the greatest telecom giants of the country, to force them to make “huge changes” within CNN network, owned by that company. According to Trump, CNN is so unfair with such bad, fake news! When the world watches CNN, it gets a false picture of USA.”

And it was not a fake tweet, as it was Pelosi’s video. This tweet came out of the brain of the U.S. President who has turned the foreign policy of his nation into an anthology of lies and vulgar threats against those countries resilient to the Empire dominance. The same Trump who attacked the media for what he called “a fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” stated immediately thereafter in another tweet that such reports had a positive impact since “Iran does not know what to do now, which is a good thing after all.”

In this new world, those who dare to denounce a crime, as in Assange’s case, are condemned by those who committed such crime. The goal will be always to achieve nobody knows what to think, not to mention when the information is true or false; and that is the only truth.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSí Translation Staff

Record-breaking Facebook & Instagram outage sparks Twitter meme frenzy

Netizens from all parts of the world have taken to Twitter to complain about their inability to log on to Instagram or Facebook, as both social media networks have been down with an unknown technical glitch for more than 10 hours.

In what is believed to be the longest outage ever suffered by Facebook and Instagram, which is also owned by the social media giant, users either have been unable to access the platforms, or use certain essential functions such as leaving comments or uploading photos.

When both Facebook and Instagram are down but Twitter is working.

According to the Down Detector, Facebook has been plagued by unknown problems since 12:01pm Wednesday (ET). While Facebook acknowledged on Twitter that it was aware of the issue and was scrambling to resolve it "as soon as possible," full access to the platform has not been restored even after 10 hours of work.

"I can't comment, even on my own thread, or post. I'm getting no new notifications after 20hrs. In North West Montana," a frustrated user wrote.

READ MORE: Facebook briefly takes down Elizabeth Warren's ads on breaking up Facebook

"Is facebook game over? Down for 8 hours already. What is the stock price of facebook today? XD," another quipped.

"I've logged in IG but all my stories and pics are gone :(" a user wrote on the Down Detector.

The outages have impacted different parts of the world, from the US, parts of Latin America, the Philippines to the UK, India, Canada, Turkey, and others.

While the outage has left many unnerved to the point of almost converting to Snapchat, chaos and panic caused by Instagram and Facebook withdrawal saw Twitter, the last social media bastion standing, awash with memes.

MySpace getting ready to relaunch:

Deprived Instagram and Facebook followers served to bump up Twitter user numbers.

All joking aside, the outage apparently trigged withdrawal symptoms, with social media addicts frantically refreshing their pages.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think today has been the longest/worst outage in the history of Facebook/Instagram! It’s driving me crazy!!! Really affecting my work!!

Some pointed out an ironic coincidence – the woes that befell Facebook and Instagram mark exactly 30 years since the internet was created.

Others used the outage as a case in point against monopolies, of which Facebook is a prime example.

Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp all down at the same time. Is anyone talking about the weakness of monopolies? How on earth are all these things on the same backbone?

  • Published in World
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