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

Díaz-Canel warmly welcomes on Twitter Cuban medical brigade

Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, gave a warm welcome on his Twitter account to the 28th Brigade of the Henry Reeve Contingent after two months of intense work in Mozambique.

Welcome to the homeland compatriots. They exemplarily fulfilled their mission in Mozambique. The president wrote when he highlighted the arrival in Cuba of the 40 members of the brigade of the Henry Reeve Contingent, specialized in situations of disasters and serious epidemics, who gave their help to the people of Mozambique, after the passage of cyclone Idai, last March.

José Ángel Portal Miranda, Minister of Public Health, highlighted the work carried out under difficult conditions, as well as the satisfaction of seeing them return with their duty fulfilled.

The gratitude not only belongs to that sister nation, but also to Cuba, he affirmed, because in addition to providing a very positive result in terms of medical care, they also leave a mark of the Revolution and of the Cuban people in Mozambique.

During its stay in Mozambique, the brigade carried out 22,259 consultations and 331 surgical interventions. Likewise, actions were developed to confront malaria, an activity in which more than 17,000 homes were visited and more than 50,000 people were benefited.

Cuba does not know hatred, but infinite love and dedication for the most needy, said Dr. Rolando Piloto, Chief of the brigade, on behalf of the new arrivals. (ACN)

  • Published in Cuba

Pentagon’s top secret ‘ninja bomb’ revealed, Twitter asks if it’s really necessary

The CIA and Pentagon have apparently found a new solution to their high civilian casualty rates from drone strikes – a targeted ‘ninja bomb’ which doesn’t explode. Twitter, however, is far from convinced.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the top secret Hellfire R9X has no explosive warhead, with the US military opting instead for a payload of 100lbs of metal in the form of six blades that deploy from the body of the missile moments before impact, shredding everything in the immediate area, and bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘surgical strike.’

Drones used missiles with knife warhead to take out single terrorist targets

@Charles_Lister NEW - @WSJ confirms the @CIA & @DeptofDefense have a new "secret" missile - the R9X, or "flying Ginsu" - which kills a selected target with 6 blades, but no explosive payload.

-- "To the targeted person, it's as if a speeding anvil fell from the sky."https://www.wsj.com/articles/secret-u-s-missile-aims-to-kill-only-terrorists-not-nearby-civilians-11557403411 

The laser-guided sword has reportedly been deployed on at least six occasions to target Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders who used women and children as civilian human shields, including a January 2019 US Air Force strike against Jamal al-Badawi, the mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing that killed 17 sailors and wounded at least 40, and a 2017 CIA strike against Al-Qaeda leader Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri.

The R9X was also considered as a plan B for killing Osama bin Laden.

Also on rt.com ‘We did not expect the world to be silent’: US continuing to kill civilians with impunity...

Dubbed the “the flying Ginsu,” after a brand of knives sold via TV commercials in the US in the 70s and 80s, the weapon was reportedly in development as far back as 2011, as the Obama administration sought to limit civilian casualties during its record-setting drone operations.

Obama quickly developed a legacy as the ‘drone president’, with 541 drone strikes throughout his time in office killing an estimated 3,797 people, including 324 civilians. Current US President Donald Trump has rescinded the Obama-era mandate to report civilian casualties by drone strike outside war zones.

Since the revelations about the new weapon emerged, many on Twitter have questioned the need for the blades given that a laser-guided, 100lb chunk of metal dropped from several thousand feet would, in and of itself, be enough to obliterate a human target.

Others, however, keenly bought into the branding and shared memes and movie references.

They should went with “ Knifey McKnife Face”. My guess is someone already owns the domain name.

Also on rt.com Love, death & robots: Obama snuggles with Merkel, recalls old droning times at VIP gala in Germany...

 


 


 

 
 
  • Published in World

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

'Twitter is his sword': EPIC Warhammer 40k Trump steals the show at Italian carnival (VIDEO)

Complete with a huge 'tweet-dashing' sword and 'golden' armor, a colossal float depicted US President Donald Trump as the grandiose Emperor from the Warhammer 40,000 series.

In all his might and glory, His Majesty the Emperor of Mankind descended on the small town of Viareggio in central Italy on Saturday. As part of an annual carnival procession, US President Donald Trump 'appeared' cosplaying the iconic character from the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

The popular franchise of tabletops, which also spurred several video games, typically depicts the Emperor as a walking epitome of epicness and unparalleled power. The colossal float of Trump conveyed the same message. Clad in shiny golden armor, he sported a grim, yet pompous and regal look in his eyes.

Italy has created a giant God Emperor Trump

In his hand he wielded a huge broadsword. The phrase 'your duties' in Italian, engraved on the blade, hinted that he slays his enemies as boldly as he slaps tariffs on EU goods. The weapon’s hilt was fitted with blue Twitter birds, apparently suggesting that the US president pulls no punches while attacking opponents on social media.

A human-sized ‘Trump’ was also seen marching ahead on the giant float, dressed as one of the Space Marines, the Emperor’s loyal troops.

The striking float left some commenters questioning whether it was meant to ridicule Trump or compliment him.

God Emperor! Twitter is his Sword.

Others poked fun at the scene, saying that the president may use the sword to combat ‘fake news’, and an army of such warriors would be “better than the wall.”

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DzAsUDbXcAI_ii2.jpg

Meet God Emperor Trump fighting in Italy 2019 Viareggio Carnival that is several stories high with American flags, Trump dancers Check out the size of him & those Twitter birds. They also made huge Moon Dream Trump for 50th anniversary of Apollo 11

 "Trump unveils his 2020 platform," one person wrote.

  • Published in World

Twitter Erupts After 2,000 Pro-Venezuelan Accounts Are Deleted

A total of 1,196 social media accounts based in Venezuela suspected of “influencing domestic audiences.”

Nearly 2,000 pro-Venezuelan Twitter accounts have been removed for “engaging in a state-backed influence campaign,” the social media company said in a blog post on Thursday.

RELATED: Canada Denies teleSUR Press Credentials for Lima Group Meeting

A total of 1,196 social media accounts based in Venezuela suspected of attempting to “influence domestic audiences” were purged last week.

Another 764 accounts were deleted, although the San Francisco-based company told users, “We are unable to definitively tie the accounts located in Venezuela to information operations of a foreign government against another country.”

Allegations of censorship soon filled the site’s timeline.

Television host for the investigatory series, Empire Files, Abby Martin tweeted, “While pro-coup Venezuelans & right-wing exiles dominate the media sphere, tech companies are actively censoring pro-government accounts they say are working to "influence" people.”

Another journalist, Ben Norton, accused the company of catering to “U.S. government interests:” Twitter is now removing thousands of accounts supposedly linked to Venezuela's sovereign government. This comes after Twitter suspended Venezuelan government accounts 1.5 years ago. Social media corporations act as an extension of US government interests.”

Ben Norton Retwitteó Marco Rubio

Twitter is now removing thousands of accounts supposedly linked to Venezuela's sovereign government. This comes after Twitter suspended Venezuelan government accounts 1.5 years ago. Social media corporations act as an extension of US government interests

S government interestss”.

This is absolutely outrageous: Twitter is suspending foreign elected governments for criticizing the US, while it verifies literal Nazis

Twitter took down 2,000 accounts located in engaged in a "state-backed disinformation & influence campaign via for iOS

In another blog post, Twitter announced the release of five new datasets which were allegedly created in relation to suspected foreign interference efforts it had encountered.

Editor of the Greyzone Project, Max Blumenthal wrote, “Amazing how one dataset is Venezuela, just days after US set a coup into motion against its government. As usual, the caveat is buried: “We are unable to definitively tie the accounts located in Venezuela to information operations of a foreign government against another country.”

Max Blumenthal Retwitteó Yoel Roth

Amazing how one dataset is Venezuela, just days after US set a coup into motion against its government. As usual, the caveat is buried: “We are unable to definitively tie the accounts located in Venezuela to information operations of a foreign government against another country.”

The decision coincides with harsher sanctions against Venezuela imposed by the United States after opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido lead a coup on Jan. 23, declaring himself the country's "interim president," an illegal and unconstitutional move.

Guaido, the United States and right-wing governments in the region have been calling on the Venezuelan military to oust Maduro. There have been whispers in Washington that the Donald Trump administration is “seriously considering” a military intervention in Venezuela if Maduro does not step down or be ousted internally.

RT Correspondent Dan Cohen, tweeted, “Since I began reporting on the coup attempt, I've been inundated with hate from accounts that appear to be exiled, right-wing Venezuelans. Like clockwork, Twitter shuts down accounts providing a counter-narrative to the propaganda onslaught.”

The social media company has been known to arbitrarily delete accounts before particularly those supporting movements in Iran, Russia, or Bangladesh, citing “malicious” activity, “inauthentic behavior” or contributing to national conflict.

 

  • Published in World

Twitter warns that private tweets were public for years

Private tweets sent by users of Twitter's Android app could have been exposed publicly for years.

Twitter said it had discovered a security flaw which meant "protected" tweets became public when some changes were made to accounts.

Anyone who updated the email address linked to their account between November 2014 and January 2019 could have had messages exposed, it said.

Twitter said it had started to let affected users know about the bug.

It added that it had turned the protections back on for Android users who had inadvertently switched them off.

Twitter said it was also issuing a public notice about the error because it could not confirm the exact number of accounts that had been affected and wanted to reach those it could not identify by an internal investigation.

"We're very sorry this happened and we're conducting a full review to help prevent this from happening again," it said.

It encouraged users to check their privacy settings to make sure they reflected their preferences.

Twitter said it fixed the flaw on 14 January and would share more information if it became available.

Anyone who used Twitter via an Apple device or through the web would not have been caught out by the bug.

Trump says he will 'devastate Turkey economically' if it attacks Kurds

President tweets blunt warning over Syria troop pullout, drawing a swift response from Ankara.

Donald Trump has warned Turkey of economic devastation if it attacks Kurdish forces in the wake of the US troop pullout from Syria, while also urging the Kurds not to “provoke” Ankara.

“Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” Trump tweeted, while pushing for the creation of a 20-mile ‘safe zone’. He then added: “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”

Trump did not detail who would create, enforce or pay for the safe zone, or where it would be located.

He called the Syria pullout “long overdue” but said the US would still hit “the little remaining Isis territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms.”

“Russia, Iran and Syria have been the biggest beneficiaries of the long term US policy of destroying ISIS in Syria – natural enemies. We also benefit but it is now time to bring our troops back home. Stop the ENDLESS WARS!”

The posts drew a swift response from Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin. “Mr @realDonaldTrump It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the US terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter.

“Terrorists can’t be your partners & allies. Turkey expects the US to honor our strategic partnership and doesn’t want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda,” he said.

Trump’s Twitter posts on Sunday were the the latest in the slow drip-drip of information being released by his administration after his shock December announcement of a troop withdrawal.

Trump’s top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, is on a whirlwind regional tour aimed at reassuring Washington’s Kurdish allies in the fight against Isis. They fear the departure of American troops would allow Turkey to attack them.

Turkey had reacted angrily to previous suggestions that Trump’s plan to withdraw troops was conditional on the safety of the US-backed Kurdish fighters, who are seen by the Turkish government as terrorists.

US-led operations against Isis in Syria have been spearheaded on the ground by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Ankara sees the backbone of that alliance, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

On Saturday, more than 600 people were evacuated from the remaining Isis holdout in eastern Syria, a monitor said, as US-backed fighters prepared for a final assault on the area.

Rami Abdel Rahman from the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several dozen jihadist fighters were among those evacuated to areas held by the Kurdish-Arab alliance.

Abdel Rahman said 16,000 people, including 760 Isis fighters, had fled the area since the start of December, though this marked the first time the SDF and the coalition provided buses, suggesting a deal struck between the warring sides.

The United Nations said on Friday 25,000 people had fled the violence over the past six months as jihadists defend their dwindling bastions.

An estimated 2,000 civilians remain trapped in the area around the town of Hajin, the United Nations said.

The US-led coalition on Saturday fired more than 20 missiles against jihadist positions, the observatory said.

The monitor said 300 SDF combatants had deployed near the village of Sousa in preparation for a final assault.

Agence France-Presse and Reuters contributed to this article

  • Published in World
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