Ten publishers are responsible for 69% of digital climate change denial content on Facebook, a new study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has found. The outlets, which the report labels the “toxic ten”, include several conservative websites in the US, as well as Russian state media.
- Breitbart, a far-right news site once run by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon
- Western Journal, a Conservative news site
- Newsmax, which has previously been sued for promoting election fraud conspiracies
- Townhall Media, founded by the Exxon-funded Heritage Foundation
- Media Research Center, a “thinktank” that received funding from Exxon
- Washington Times, founded by self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon
- The Federalist Papers, a site that has promoted Covid misinformation
- Daily Wire, a conservative news site that is of the most engaged-with publishers on Facebook
- Russian state media, pushing disinformation via RT.com and Sputnik News
- Patriot Post, a conservative site whose writers use pseudonyms
Social media is polarizing. While it’s done a lot of good for society, bringing people together, it’s also responsible for fomenting a lot of anger and distrust. From conspiracy theories to tools for radicalization, and the hostility that some users experience, social media services are responsible for amplifying anger, hatred, and racism.
A lot of the effects of social media depend on how we use these services. The problem with social media is that it thrives on “engagement,” and anger and fear or powerful ways of getting people to engage (like posts, comment on them, share them, etc.). The more engagement on social media, the more views, and the more ad revenue the companies make.
Many people are deciding to change the way they use social media: either curtail their usage, or stop using some social media services entirely.
Experts say the public deserves to see the list, a clear embodiment of US foreign policy priorities that could disproportionately censor marginalized groups.
“The lists seem to create two disparate systems, with the heaviest penalties applied to heavily Muslim regions and communities,” Patel wrote in an email to The Intercept. The differences in demographic composition between Tiers 1 and 3 “suggests that Facebook — like the U.S. government — considers Muslims to be the most dangerous.” By contrast, Patel pointed out, “Hate groups designated as Anti-Muslim hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center are overwhelmingly absent from Facebook’s lists.”
Anti-government militias, among those receiving more measured interventions from Facebook, “present the most lethal [domestic violent extremist] threat” to the U.S., intelligence officials concluded earlier this year, a view shared by many nongovernmental researchers. A crucial difference between alleged foreign terror groups and say, the Oath Keepers, is that domestic militia groups have considerable political capital and support on the American right. The Militarized Social Movement entries “do seem to be created in response to more powerful organizations and ethnic groups breaking the rules pretty regularly,” said Ángel Díaz, of UCLA School of Law, “and [Facebook] feeling that there needs to be a response, but they didn’t want the response to be as broad as it was for the terrorism portion, so they created a subcategory to limit the impact on discourse from politically powerful groups.” For example, the extreme-right movement known as “boogaloo,” which advocates for a second Civil War, is considered a Militarized Social Movement, which would make it subject to the relatively lenient Tier 3 rules. Facebook has only classified as Tier 1 a subset of boogaloo, which it made clear was “distinct from the broader and loosely-affiliated boogaloo movement.”
A Facebook spokesperson categorically denied that Facebook gives extremist right-wing groups in the U.S. special treatment due to their association with mainstream conservative politics. They added that the company tiers groups based on their behavior, stating, “Where American groups satisfy our definition of a terrorist group, they are designated as terrorist organizations (E.g. The Base, Atomwaffen Division, National Socialist Order). Where they satisfy our definition of hate groups, they are designated as hate organizations (For example, Proud Boys, Rise Above Movement, Patriot Front).”
The author tweeted »
The heavily restricted “Terrorism” category, which makes up over 50% of the entire list, is almost all of Muslim, South Asian, and Middle Eastern ppl and orgs. Armed right-wing militias in the US are placed in a far more permissive 3rd tier, subject to the lightest restrictions.
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) October 12, 2021
Louis Barclay built a tool that lets people unfollow everyone on Facebook so they can rebuild a calmer, more intentional, less addictive news feed.
If someone built a tool that made Facebook less addictive—a tool that allowed users to benefit from Facebook’s positive features while limiting their exposure to its negative ones—how would Facebook respond?
I know the answer, because I built the tool, and Facebook squashed it. This summer, Facebook sent me a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal action. It permanently disabled my Facebook and Instagram accounts. And it demanded that I agree to never again create tools that interact with Facebook or its other services.
The tool I created, a browser extension called Unfollow Everything, allowed users to delete their News Feed by unfollowing their friends, groups, and pages. The News Feed, as users of Facebook know, is that never-ending page that greets you when you log in. It’s the central hub of Facebook. It’s also a major source of revenue. As a Facebook whistleblower observed on 60 Minutes on Sunday, time spent on the platform translates to ads viewed and clicked on, which in turn translates to billions of dollars for Facebook. The News Feed is the thing that keeps people glued to the platform for hours on end, often on a daily basis; without it, time spent on the network would drop considerably.
Also » ZDNet
Whistleblower Frances Haugen told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that Facebook is “morally bankrupt” and in need of regulation and independent oversight. Haugen said, “There is nobody currently holding Zuckerberg accountable but himself.”
Frances Haugen is Smart. Forthright. Trustworthy. A Powerful combination.
MIT Technology Review » The Facebook whistleblower says its algorithms are dangerous. Here’s why.
Mother Jones » The Facebook Whistleblower Doesn’t Have the Solution
- Haugen was an insider, making her a powerful critic
- Research shows Facebook coveted young users, despite health concerns
- Democrats and Republicans actually are united on regulating Facebook
- Haugen says Facebook broke the law
GZERO Media » Is Facebook like a car or a cigarette?
The private and personal information of over 1.5 billion Facebook users is being sold on a popular hacking-related forum, potentially enabling cybercriminals and unscrupulous advertisers to target Internet users globally.
This constitutes the biggest and most significant Facebook data dump to date.
It is seemingly unrelated to an earlier 2021 Facebook data dump, where 500 million users were affected.
- Data scrapers are selling sensitive personal data on 1.5 billion Facebook users.
- Data contains users’: name, email, phone number, location, gender, and user ID.
- Data appears to be authentic.
- Personal data obtained through web scraping.
- Data can be utilized for phishing and account takeover attacks.
- Sold data claimed to be new from 2021.