99

Social Media: Ground Zero for the War on Ideas

Julian Glassford

This time last year I cautioned, in a commentary for the libertarian e-zine Spiked, that Twitter’s leadership had finally sold-out on free speech. Much to the consternation of right-minded users of the social network, Jack Dorsey & co’s outfit had begun to surreptitiously stem the free flow of dialogue, ideas, and information via a wave of so-called ‘shadow bans’.

Undeterred by such criticism, sadly the platform has doubled down on creeping censorship and mass deplatforming in the time since. I, myself, recently discovered that many of my tweets were subject to (inexplicable) ‘deboosting’ i.e. the process by which social media comments are deliberately hidden or otherwise obscured by online platforms.

On Twitter the process entails replies to tweets being hidden behind a ‘show more replies’ link buried at the bottom of the list of unadulterated replies below any given post. Consistent with reported shadow bans, the network is doing this without warning, explanation, or effective means of appeal. Affected users are simply left, to languish, in the dark.

In my case, the platform’s support service did not bother to respond or take any apparent action in relation to contact queries on this matter, and no ‘deboost’ information popped up when I searched their help portal. And so it seemed my further contributions were destined to be auto-filtered out of public consciousness, on the sly.

Naturally, this had the not unpredictable effect of disincentivising and generally disenabling my continued participation in broad-based political discourse. Reflecting on this, and seeing no reason to maintain a ghost of a Twitter presence, I have for the time being deactivated my personal account. Mission accomplished, Jack?

In acting in this way Twitter is, in effect, silently going about working to help institute a two-tier system of online citizenry, i.e. ‘digital apartheid’, apparently in an attempt to insulate users from too much information (of the wrong type); and, by extension, perhaps also to minimise moderation costs and complexity. So much for the firm’s guiding values, purportedly centred on belief in: “free expression” and the power of “every voice … to impact the world”.

In an earlier analysis written for the progressive news site LeftFootForward, I explored some of the dangers posed by the run-away train that is (neoliberal) digital transformation.

In it, I observed that “certain major search engines and social media platforms have transformed into data swiping ‘attention merchants’, relentless marketeers, social engineers, and unelected arbiters of truth”. Per the above, this has now been further borne out by my own treatment.

In the absence of due clarification on the part of those responsible, I cannot discount the possibility that I may have been targeted precisely because I dared to undermine the Big Tech Gods in drawing attention to the unethical/unsustainable nature of various aspects of their newfound dominion. However, having investigated, it seems likely that users are being deboosted when they use particular (patterns of) taboo words or links. Users who do not follow all that many other accounts, or attempt to post replies to more than a small number of tweets from accounts with large numbers of followers, may be particularly vulnerable e.g. possibly (mistakenly) targeted by the algorithm as potential bots or ‘bad actors’.

So what? You might say. Really worth kicking up a fuss? You might add. Perfectly understandable responses, but such experiences form part of a wider trend that is in fact rather serious indeed. On a scale of one to proroguing Parliament for an extra week it is … well, let’s just say it’s off the scale. Why? Because, as I observed in writing recently to Jack & pals: “Twitter enjoys an ostensive monopoly of informational & ideas exchange, and in the political domain in particular”.

The comparison to shutting down Parliament may seem a little farfetched; but the stealthy and unjustified smothering of particular voices, in what has swiftly become arguably the most directly and immediately significant pool of public (political) discourse, represents an insidious threat to truly vibrant, healthy, and pluralistic tech-connected (political) systems.

Twitter is now the go-to common resource for most journalists, commentators, and reporting organisations (of virtually all kinds), as well as a large, vocal contingent of their audiences, critics, and subjects alike – including almost all politicians and a great many other public figures. Beyond this, it has become a powerful social barometer and unique tool for not just social networking and commercial marketing, but also non-commercial educating and influencing – across virtually every domain under the sun: from Accounting to Zoology.

Jack’s platform has – somewhat inadvertently – helped to deliver unprecedented improvements in the capacity of the average Joe to scrutinise, interrogate, debate, and remonstrate. For these transformative, emancipatory new powers to be selectively impaired, apparently without good cause, is not just unacceptable but also dangerous. As I have previously warned, it is at once inherently discriminatory, intolerant, repressive, and (hence), by extension, alienating, radicalising, and potentially destabilising.

History records that arbitrarily disempowering entire cohorts pushes them towards the fringes of (digital) society – enhancing the ‘echo chamber’ effect that we are told should concern us all – and hence promotes the (re-)establishment of relatively radical factions and forces. This may suit the narrow purposes of certain interests, for a while at least, but rarely works out well for anyone in the long run.

If the internet is a ‘global commons’, and it most certainly is, then conversational and ideational online ‘markets’, and the (natural) monopolies that have come to corner them, must by now surely be considered integral to this precious, rapidly expanding and evolving digital ecosystem; democratised digital assets in their own right. That being so, the next question has to be: are such increasingly pivotal e-tools and resources not worth protecting from in-house (as well as external) manipulation and abuse? What is good for the goose is good for the gander, after all.

It’s not just Twitter, either. Whistleblowers from Google and Facebook have also reached out to Project Veritas in recent months: exposing targeted human and algorithmic blacklisting and deboosting (mal)practice apparently mostly aimed at interlocutors assumed to be right-wing e.g. on the basis of (automated) syntax analysis. If the reports we are getting are to be believed then such corporations have evidently strayed far from their purportedly humble, diverse, and progressive origins, and are fast becoming a prejudicial and oppressive law unto themselves.

An unknown number of people and organisations are being ever so quietly and gently excluded from the (digital) Speakers Corner and town halls of the 21st century – apparently often on the basis of little more than rough indicators pertaining to politics and linguistics; both a strong function of one’s personal background, education, and lived experience. Our only apparent crime: believing we could be part of “what’s happening” (Twitter’s slogan) and also be ourselves. Is this not the very definition of bigotry? Would it not have Orwell turning in his grave?

In the continued absence of suitable checks and balances Big Tech is now injudiciously constraining – if not (yet) completely purging – public opinion, where and when it suits. Naturally, this runs contrary to modern, inclusive Western values of the post-enlightenment, and is arguably at odds with universal human rights including liberty, equality, dignity, and freedom of thought, speech, and expression.

What we are witnessing, however subtle and underreported, is nothing short of calculated social engineering and political interference on an undisclosed but conceivably industrial scale. Forget largely contrived #RussiaGate narratives, and the like, #MissingVoices is the real deal and it’s happening right now, and right under our noses.

To take my case as an example: I had only a small number of ‘followers’ but my replies – mostly to posts from popular Twitter accounts – had registered hundreds of thousands of impressions prior to the imposition of this curious deboosting impediment. Extrapolate those figures across just a hundred, or a thousand, and never mind a million critical voices, like mine, and the potential systemic impact is huge. And that, it would seem, is the point.

A brief sampling exercise reveals that up to one in three replies to randomly selected BBC news report tweets about all too common media talking points – like Brexit, Trump, and climate change – are being deboosted. Many of the affected accounts/posts appear contrarian/sceptical, e.g. of liberal mainstream narratives, if not consistently left or right-wing, or generally all that radical, nor clearly in breach of the platform’s rules. Indeed, it seems that even some of the UN’s replies to their own tweets are being hidden.

Hard to say quite what the agenda is here, or quite what has gone wrong at Twitter, in the absence of more comprehensive data collection and analysis – or Twitter shedding light on things themselves, but readers can draw their own conclusions. What we do know is that a large tranche of public opinion is being hidden away and, judging by noticeably reduced (political) network activity in recent weeks and months, it seems many have cottoned on and decided, like myself, not to bother trying to be part of the conversation.

As outlined in my earlier commentary on shadow bans, the timing of these acts of (mass) manipulation could scarcely be more conspicuous. It can hardly be a coincidence that these moves come “just as contemporary technological trends have moved the average consumer of news away from traditional, reliably on-message mainstream media outfits” and towards dynamic grass-roots, community based information sharing. With major national elections on the horizon both sides of the pond, this does not look at all innocent and nor does it bode well.

The truth is, the powers that be are losing the ‘information war’ on multiple fronts. From failed attempts to brush off health, safety, security, and energy consumption concerns over 5G, ‘smart’ IoT, and AI technologies, to the decreasing resonance of FUD-based (technocratic) propaganda, the ‘little people’ are waking up and smelling the “covfefe”; and we can’t have that. Shut it down!

Prominent politicians stateside have been rather slow to properly recognise Silicone Valley’s attempts to neuter the net, and have yet to do anything serious about it. That is, other than invite tech execs to appear before Congress only to essentially perjure themselves in having the audacity to claim, on the record, that their outfits are free of bias and do not seek to skew public perception.

By contrast, policymakers this side of the Atlantic have treated us to an Online Harms White Paper that gives censorious corporates the green light to get creative in keeping the (increasingly disaffected) peasantry from encountering too much in the way of (awkward) ‘disinformation’. The agenda, if not the evidence, appears to reflect concern that continued exposure to unvetted data might promote (disruptive) ‘wrongthink’ vs. (stable) ‘groupthink’. Ominously, the consultation document suggests that companies should make disputed content less visible.

Whatever happens at legislative and regulatory levels we, each and every one of us, have an important public duty to ensure that the (digital) commons may be used and enjoyed freely, openly, and on an equal basis by all rule and law abiding (digital) citizens.

Whether the solution is a full-blown digital transformation commission, more narrowly targeted regulation, and/or (the simple threat of) anti-trust interventions, what has become clear is that we urgently need to see more (open source) transparency, legitimacy, and public accountability on the part of major internet monopolies – before Big Tech fully transitions to Big Brother 2.0.

Twitter Inc was contacted by the author of this article for comment but failed to respond.
Julian Glassford is an independent researcher and social entrepreneur whose work focuses on economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

OffGuardian does not accept advertising or sponsored content. We have no large financial backers. We are not funded by any government or NGO. Donations from our readers is our only means of income. Even the smallest amount of support is hugely appreciated.

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
vexarb
vexarb

comment image

The grounds for Prof.Postol’s resignation are in 2nd para from top and 4th from bottom: suppression of scientific investigation into incidents affecting global security. Prof.Postol’s operative word is “honest”: this is not a normal journal rejection, it is the suppression of honest scientific investigation into matters of life and death.

Kudos to MIT. I had feared they would sack Prof.Postol for decent behaviour (the way the UN sacked chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter) but they seem to have kept Postol on as Emeritus even though his honest work on chemical weapons in Syria displeases the U$ regime.

Arby
Neil McCormick
Neil McCormick

Interesting that we still have our Corporate media complaining about censorship and clamping down on freedom of speech in countries they don’t like e.g. China and Russia, yet are completely silent when private companies do the same thing in the west – are they doing it on behalf of Western Governments or are they controlling Western Governments’ discourse.

MASTER OF UNIVE
MASTER OF UNIVE

USA silicon valley neutering of all online discourse has been manifesting for many years now. I was deplatformed approximately three years ago when Reddit had their shadow banning instituted. The cocksuckers that are engaged in this takeover of the Internet are the same cocksuckers that paid to have it built.

USA Military Industrial Complex cocksuckers don’t give a rat’s arse if the twittersphere cohort are getting their knickers in a knot, and frankly neither do I.

Anyone that participates on twitter incessantly on a daily basis is fixated on the reinforcement they get from all that attention. Each twit on the twittersphere counts their upvote ‘likes’ as though it is their only self reward system feedback available to them on the social side of life.

Twitter is mere distraction from reality and it is used to dissociate from real life. Getting dplatformed or shadow banned from twitter is common every day occurance and is by no means new happenstance.

If you need attention just stare at yourself in the mirror or focus on your navel.

P.S. You can always write missives to your government instead of to the twittersphere that marquees The Duck et al.

MOU

wardropper
wardropper

Well said. Reality is not what Twitter says it is, and any reasonably healthy human being knows it.

Brian Steere

Title comment:
‘War on ideas’ is also an idea. The ‘war’ is on freedom of communication on proprietary internet sites – and ultimately a proprietary controlled internet. Where does ‘ground zero’ come in? As for HOW the war is waged – look to doublethink running unchecked as a currency of deceit – NOT to the false flagged ’causes’ that are derivative expressions of a deeper slavery pursued as freedom.
War on ideas would thus be war on consciousness itself – by which ideas arise so as to deny it ability to threaten the idea of dominance as denial of others. At some point this can be recognised as identifying with the dead against the living – or BACKWARDS! Until such point the mind runs its world backwards in belief it is right and necessary.

Determining what is real, good, true, worthy:
When anyone in a position of power selects some ideas as officially ‘valid’ while rejecting other ideas as invalid they impose a rule on thought that becomes hierarchical in deriving its validity from an extension of an accepted meaning.
Unlike discernment within life – judgement upon or over life uses comparison and rejection from its past ‘meanings’ as the basis for sustaining an exclusive sense of right or need. (Private agenda).
In other words the evil is used to justify the asserted ‘good’.

This mentality is the basis of ‘divide and rule’.
Relational communication has a living context for truth in terms of resonant recognition. Rule-bound or rule filtered communications operate more like the algorithms of the article above. SYSTEM is always some form of rules applied – and internalised systemic thinking operates a ‘war of ideas’ in which conflicting ideas are held in the mind as doublethink or self-contradictions that inherently and inevitably war with reality under invested identity in survival set over and against ‘evil others’ and yet all such division unites as one in its war on truth or exposure of its lack of true substance – and will keep conflict running by all or any means to divert and engage attention in a fictional identity conflict.

An inducement to enter the proprietary parlour of another to partake of extended powers conferred by another is a pact with deceit. Not that you cant communicate through such means but that someone else holds the means to control, choke it or bury it and use it for unintended purposes
https://off-guardian.org/2019/10/16/at-the-feet-of-mammon/#comment-98433

Tolkien foresaw the consequence of substituting the power of the word by a dark-crafted technology of deceit. The true power of the word is to extend a recognition of shared worth. The true sustainability of the truly fitting. What we have running now as general currency of acceptance is fitting a sacrificial population to the sustainability of a corruption of the word. False thinking accepted and run in place of true. “Tidying your room” might be taken deeper so as to accept responsibility for your consciousness – in any moment of noticing – such as to consciously embrace meanings or ideas accepted – and thus given witness to by our responses of reaction.

Everyone is a learner. Everyone is a teacher. But the attempt to learn the false must teach ourselves and each other awry.
Deciding what you teach on the basis of what you choose to learn is in some sense coming back online after a period of running AWOL or as autopilot from old inherited programs. Where do we give our focus and why? To see the errors of others – such as a social structures of control that effectively deny us a voice – merely as a call to judge and blame or attempt to shame into compliance – is to identify in thoughts of powerlessness, denial and rage – with associated depression or damage from suppression or indulgence.

Now it may be that there are some who like being ‘Them” in the role of perceived power – but the fact is that when we frame everything in terms of what ‘They’ do – we give responsibility and power away by our own definitions – by our own word.
You may say that I can meet consequences as a result of my acts – such as are meted out as social exclusion to any who don’t comply and conform who are in any position of influence. Well everything we think, say and do has consequence. Is it then not better to be able to stand in our own life and meet our consequences on our terms, rather than be defined under terms and conditions that are alien to our true desire?

If there are ‘win-win’ solutions or practical step toward the possibility of solutions we cannot now imagine – then I seek them. Debts are not only financial and the consequences of taking from others and for ourself what belongs rightly to them is to become indebted. These entanglements are complex and part of a false solution to them is limitation, degradation and denial of consciousness – over which an elitism seeks its sustainability. Many here can see this in their world, but can you see it in the structure of your own consciousness?

davemass
davemass

So someone should start another similar platform!
All you need is a lot of server PCs distributed across the web.
Rather like that idea of using everyone’s off-time PC to analyse data looking for Extra Terrestrials, just need to create a very large group of people who can host the platform, with no censorship, other than for abuse, etc.
A real free-for-all…

milosevic
milosevic
TFS
TFS

I wonder is the platforms use the same tactic as the Police called Kettleling?

Would be interesting find out if posts never make visibility outside of algorithmicly defined echo chambers.

milosevic
milosevic

I really can’t imagine why anybody would be surprised that corporate communications platforms are run in the interest of corporations and the people who own them. What would you EXPECT to happen?

The obvious solution to the censorship that centralized corporate control enables, is to use communications networks which are not under centralized control. Anybody can set up an email server, or any other communication system for which public specifications and implementations exist, whereas Facebook and Twitter are corporate monopolies. That’s why they exist, to exploit and control you.

https://joinmastodon.org/

https://diasporafoundation.org/

different frank
different frank

If the service is free, than you are the product.

johny conspiranoid
johny conspiranoid

Since all the technology is in the public domain what is to stop private individuals from setting up their own internets (if they have the skills).

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

Money. The gear is expensive. Who makes the gear? Theoretically, you can build your own global network via satellite. But then you need your own satellites and still pay someone to launch them. The internet must be nationalized and encrypted. Every Nation has to provide access to the servers that are free of charge to private individuals.

smoe
smoe

several of my post from prior articles and this one have been removed. ?

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

In the continued absence of suitable checks and balances Big Tech is now injudiciously constraining – if not (yet) completely purging – public opinion, where and when it suits. Naturally, this runs contrary to modern, inclusive Western values of the post-enlightenment, and is arguably at odds with universal human rights including liberty, equality, dignity, and freedom of thought, speech, and expression.

Universal human rights are rolled back as we type. And it is much more sinister than the censorship in comment sections of any kind of political web sites. While I have tasted that bitter poison yesterday, I am also subjected to targeted throttling of content that is undesirable and suppressed. Accessing any Weatern regimes critical website, my bandwidth drops to next to zero. I can prove it. It happens with OffGuardian, PressTV, MintPress, StrategicCulture, GlobalResearch, Jimmy Dore on Youtube and GreyZone, to name but a few. So, when I attempt to visit those pages, or watch dissenting videos, the throttling is overwhelming.

The Internet must be nationalized. It must be treated as a collective public library and especially the part involving politics must be freed from influence by the owner class and their agents. Servers need to be public utilities. Why do I need to look at pop up windows asking me for money to ‘save democracy’, ‘save journalism’, ‘save liberty’, or ‘save the planet’? These parts of humanity must be ripped out of the whole for-profit-scheme that has driven the cart called mankind to the edge of the cliff. And it is taking the cliff with it.

Now I decided to not post the censored comment. Instead I would like to discuss the Chris Hedges piece, where he blames ‘evil’ for the problems that plague mankind: “The Age of Radical Evil”.

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker

You need to use a reputable non-5 Eyes based VPN, switched on all the time. Far less opportunity to throttle your bandwidth because they can’t see which sites you are visiting.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

Good suggestion, Frank. Any recommendations?

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

How much money are you willing to spend?

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker

Proton VPN. Built by the engineers at CERN, covered under strict Swiss privacy laws.
Nothing is perfect, but this is the best one I’ve found, probably tried them all over the years. Not the cheapest, but you get what you pay for. The same guys make Protonmail.

johny conspiranoid
johny conspiranoid

What’s a VPN?

Frank
Frank

A Visible Panty Network

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

Various Posh Nuns

Frank Speaker
Frank Speaker

What’s a VPN?

Visibly Panicked Neoliberals ?
Because they can no longer sniff your web traffic.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

I have used HMA for years but struggle to survive and can’t afford it any longer. The open source versions are a pain in the proverbial to install.

hollyPlastic
hollyPlastic

“Universal human rights are rolled back as we type”

Countries like Australia never had a human rights charter. So, the slippery slope is very slippery.

Essentially, human rights are the enemies number one of neoliberal governments anywhere on this planet.

Endless Manufactured Hysteria, in controlled corporate mass media, is continualy playing a huge role in dumbing people down and distracting them from seeing and thinking about human rights abuses

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

Twitter Inc, owner and operator of twitter.com has been a publicly listed company (NYSE: TWTR) for over half a decade. Got a bitch about how they run their business? Buy a share and stand up shouting at their AGM. The FTC won’t help you–Twitter doesn’t control the market and the only barrier to entry is the laziness and stupidity of its users and their independent, external exploiters. You’ve been twatted.

RobG

I get fed-up with all this fecking censorsh…

mark
mark

No, no, it’s not censorship, it’s just Newsguard, Integrity Initiative and Propornot protecting you from all those nasty Russian bots.

Anyway, where would we be if people started thinking?
Anything could happen.
They might think things they’re not supposed to think.
I always leave the thinking to the horses – they’ve got bigger heads than what I’ve got.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

I didn’t know we were supposed to think at all. I thought we were just put here to consume!

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

You are and agreed to that at birth. It’s in the fine print that came with your citizenship. Thinking is a disease that occupies the mind incessantly. Show me someone that doesn’t think all the time and show you a healed human. The regimes, oops, I mean governments are helping you to overcome thinking through consumption. You pay them taxes for this service. It’s all in the citizenship fine print, beginning at page 8,965.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar

Rather than change the behomoths, convince the populace to move elsewhere.

I live very happily with no Facebook, no Twitter and no Instagram. I am just as well informed as most, mainly because I do not waste time on the vast amounts of dross found on both Facebook and Twitter.

However, things like Disqus and WordPress are also astonishingly antidemocratic censors. I even had ‘Criticise George Soros, everyone!’ temporarily censored yesterday: a few scornful comments later, pointing out the censorship, everything was miraculously uncensored. But the geriatric societal vandal is very sensitive about criticism….

The best way to avoid censorship is to set up communally owned platforms, be that search engines not created by- and for Americans, online libraries not edited by the CIA, social media not linked to US platforms like Disqus and WordPress etc.

Facebook and Google changed after major IPOs.

Next generation platforms should avoid the same mistake.

hollyPlastic
hollyPlastic

The Internet is designed to excel at functions like

setting up communally owned platforms

and yet, every burp and blurb, every finger snap and every whistle basically passes through the Pentagon’s servers or servers that are readily accessible by the Pentagon and Co. How did that happen, so quickly?

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

…every burp and blurb, every finger snap and every whistle [on the Internet] basically passes through the Pentagon’s servers or servers that are readily accessible by the Pentagon and Co. How did that happen, so quickly?

(1) It didn’t happen so quickly.
(2) Guvmint doesn’t fuck around where the Money isn’t.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

Not a surprise. The Pentagon invented the internet.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

How do you keep your brain so still while your fingers are typing so fast?

Siddo
Siddo

Just set up a Gab account and fire away.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

Or vk.com.

hollyPlastic
hollyPlastic

Is it now clear what ‘free service’ means?

Is it now clear how charitable these CIA-Pentagon-and-State-Department-shopfronts mega corporations are?

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

Allow me to share my experiences with ‘disqus’ – perused at the so called ‘Truthdig’ website. For some time now, it has become apparent how well manipulated the content of ‘Truthdig’ actually is. After having detected this current between the lines, I observed it to ooze out into the open. The reason for my visits to ‘Truthdig’ were opinion pieces by Chris Hedges. I have been following his articles a while now and noticed no uncertain criticism emanating from the ‘disqus’ comments about his lastest writings.
To these writings one has to add, that they have become more shrill over the last month, with the latest piece pointing at “The Age of Radical Evil”.

The immediate problem for anybody that has not succumbed to organized delusion/religion, is the equating of the present ‘age’ as being one of ‘radical evil’. Evil. Does ‘evil’ exist in science? Does it exist in architecture – if not for temples dedicated to it? Does it exist in manufacturing? Most importantly, does it exist outside of the realm of BELIEF? No, it doesn’t. Whether something is evil or not, is a matter of belief, not knowledge, nor intellect. It exists exclusively in the domain that is ruled by religion – belief.

Looking at the present state of the Western world, with all the protests, demonstrations and demands for redress by the masses, one point becomes apparent. The masses are fed up with their corrupt, inept, incapable, racist, discriminatory and violent regimes. At this point, I insist that the majority of Western nations are no longer governments, but regimes. These regimes, under the wrap of being ‘democratic’ and ‘free’, are brutally suppressing any dissent about their two most profitable business ventures: lending and war – both increasingly at home and abroad.

When Hedges describes the roots of the manifold crimes against humanity, he uses religion to explain them: Evil. Very evil. Radically evil. This is not to contest the belief in such. The masses believe in this Universal principle of good and evil. Evil is the last resort to describe something that is violent and descructive as actually not being human. If it is ‘evil’, it is not human, because ‘evil’ is ‘evil’ and ‘human’ is ‘human’.

Although I have done it before, somewhere else, I had saved my comment before I posted it to compare the outcome. Then I received notification for upvotes. A look onto the disqus interface revealed that my comment was marked as ‘spam’ and no longer visible. Now, I like to make it visible here to ask You if, what I had written is ‘spam’. But I will not do so without asking first. It is, however censorship and revealing in the context with the latest Chris Hedges Article on ‘Truthbury’. And I did what I should have done earlier. I deleted my ‘disqus’ account. And more traffic for Truthbury.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

Of course: “And NO MORE traffic for Truthbury.”

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig

Hedges is an ordained Presbyterian minister with a degree in Divinity, so that’s probably why he’s partial to using terms like ‘good’ and ‘evil’. To be sure, you don’t need to be religious–or even believe in God–to know that good and evil exist. They are all around. Only psychopaths and sociopaths can’t sense them.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

To be sure, you don’t need to be religious–or even believe in God–to know that good and evil exist. They are all around. Only psychopaths and sociopaths can’t sense them.

Again, they exist only in the human realm, or better ‘in the mind’. They are non-physical, but can take physical form – as in building a temple to worship either.

Martin Usher
Martin Usher

Twitter is just a spruced up version of USENET that’s under corporate control so it can be used to generate analytics that can be monetized. Its obviously got improvements over the original USENET but that’s to be expected since its implementation is much newer. It also has corporate oversight over what’s posted, a mixed blessing since it prevents the wholesale spam that degraded USENET and so made it unusable but it also invites censorship.

You don’t need a lot of computing power or network bandwidth to run a mail reflector. Unfortunately generations are now schooled to believe that the only way to exchange information is through a Server/App ecosystem, something that can only be implemented inside a corporate environment (cloud computing, managed servers and so on). Since the end of net neutrality also means that communication paths can be managed for profit (and censored as necessary) we are unwittingly enabling the environment that controls us. The solution in the short term is to use more primitive tools but then information exchange needs little more than text and the occasional picture or video file, it really doesn’t need animation effects, emoticons or any of the other gimmicks used to make applications attractive to a mass audience.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

For “…we are unwittingly enabling the environment that controls us” read “…we are thick as pigshit and twice as lumpy”.

There. Fixed that one for you.

BigB
BigB

Echoes of Crank below: the internet as global commons?

It is about this point in the film a guy called Morpheus shows up. He tells Julian (who’s real name is Neo): that in ancient history – a lone blind Seer – who live alone in a council flat – prophesied that the internet was in fact ‘Darpanet’ …which was set up by the joint intelligence communities as a ‘Society of Control’. The Seer – whose name we find out later is Nafeez Ahmed – also prophesied that not just Darpanet – but Alphabet – the first of the tech giants – the ”Big Tech Gods” – that came to dominate Darpanet – was also seed funded by the NSA and CIA for ”intelligence superiority”. The rest – says Morpheus – is history.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/how-the-cia-made-google-e836451a959e

Morpheus then explains that the Society of Control acts as a ‘singularity of objectivity’ or ‘self-constituted Matrix’. There is no need to go into that here. Then, in the most famous scene in the movie: Morpheus offers Julian (Neo) two pills …the Red Pill or the Blue Pill. The offer is simple. All the Western ”post-enlightenment” values mentioned – universal human rights including liberty, equality, dignity, and freedom of thought, speech, and expression – only operate in the Matrix. They are part of the illusion that freedom is control. The Blue Pill allows you to awake from your psychotic episode when all is calm and ordered and as it should be …back inside the Matrix.

The Red Pill: she’s a bitch and a hard taskmaster – as we find out in the movie (actually a real life parallel of art). It leaves no choice but to pull at the fabric of the Matrix – the illusion of the Western post-enlightenment values – until they all unravel. Then you become part of the Resistance – but it is no life …not compared to the illusion of freedom, prosperity, progress, hedonism and ‘free’ expression simulated in the Matrix. Real: or the hedonic illusion of Hypperreal and Spectacular?

Careful, Neo – sorry, Jason – it’s a time limited offer and a one time choice with no return.

You decide.