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Mass Twitter Walkout

On Thursday, hundreds of Twitter employees left the company, further depleting a workforce needed to maintain the integrity of the site and its content-moderation system. This follows Musk’s layoffs of half the Twitter staff, and a series of high-profile departures from key Twitter trust and safety; security; privacy; and compliance personnel. Musk had given Twitter's employees until 5 p.m. ET, Thursday, to decide whether they wanted to commit to his employment terms, which included a call to be “extremely hardcore” and work very long hours. Refusing to do so would effectively signal resignation, according to an email Musk sent to staff Wednesday. Upon seeing that few had accepted his terms by Thursday afternoon, Twitter decided to close company offices through Mon., Nov. 21.

Researchers Find Massive Anti-Russian ‘Bot Army’

A team of researchers at the University of Adelaide have found that as many as 80 percent of tweets about the 2022 Russia-Ukraine invasion in its early weeks were part of a covert propaganda campaign originating from automated fake “bot” accounts. An anti-Russia propaganda campaign originating from a “bot army” of phony automated Twitter accounts flooded the internet at the start of the war. The research shows that of the more than 5 million tweets studied, 90.2 percent (both bot and non-bot) came from accounts that were pro-Ukraine, with fewer than 7 percent of the accounts being classed as pro-Russian. The university researchers also found these automated tweets had been purposely used to drive up fear amongst people targeted by them, boosting a high level of statistically measurable “angst” in the online discourse.

Meet The Ex-CIA Agents Deciding Facebook’s Content Policy

It is an uncomfortable job for anyone trying to draw the line between “harmful content and protecting freedom of speech. It’s a balance”, Aaron says. In this official Facebook video, Aaron identifies himself as the manager of “the team that writes the rules for Facebook”, determining “what is acceptable and what is not.” Thus, he and his team effectively decide what content the platform’s 2.9 billion active users see and what they don’t see. Aaron is being interviewed in a bright warehouse-turned-studio. He is wearing a purple sweater and blue jeans. He comes across as a very likable, smiley person. It is not an easy job, of course, but someone has to make those calls. “Transparency is incredibly important in the work that I do,” he says. Aaron is CIA. Or at least he was until July 2019, when he left his job as a senior analytic manager at the agency to become senior product policy manager for misinformation at Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Cuba: One Year After 7/11

On July 11, it will be one year since the riots in Cuba that made headlines around the world. Anger flared then with the explosive mix of pandemic effects, Donald Trump’s suffocating sanctions that Joe Biden kept intact in the midst of a global health emergency, the accumulated social problems, the economic crisis, the inclement temperatures in the island summer. The systemic and prolonged attack on the daily life of Cubans paid off and the 48 hours in which acts of vandalism were carried out in several cities of the country generated rivers of ink and the prognosis that the revolution would collapse, sooner rather than later.

Instagram And Facebook Remove Posts Offering Abortion Pills

Facebook and Instagram have begun promptly removing posts that offer abortion pills to women who may not be able to access them following a Supreme Court decision that stripped away constitutional protections for the procedure. Such social media posts ostensibly aimed to help women living in states where preexisting laws banning abortion suddenly snapped into effect on Friday. That’s when the high court overruled Roe v. Wade, its 1973 decision that declared access to abortion a constitutional right. Memes and status updates explaining how women could legally obtain abortion pills in the mail exploded across social platforms. Some even offered to mail the prescriptions to women living in states that now ban the procedure.

The NATO To TikTok Pipeline

Culver City, California – As the bloody conflict in Ukraine continues to escalate, so does the online propaganda war between Russia and the West. A prime example of this is the White House directly briefing influencers on popular social media app TikTok about the war and how to cover it. As the crisis spirals out of control, Americans have turned to TikTok to view real time videos and analysis of the invasion. With the app estimated to have around 70 million U.S. users, the White House is keenly aware of its impact. “We recognize this is a critically important avenue in the way the American public is finding out about the latest … so we wanted to make sure you had the latest information from an authoritative source,” President Joe Biden’s director of digital strategy, Rob Flaherty, told 30 top TikTok influencers.

An Intellectual No-Fly Zone

Mountain View, California – Google has sent a warning shot across the world, ominously informing media outlets, bloggers, and content creators that it will no longer tolerate certain opinions when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this month, Google AdSense sent a message to a myriad of publishers, including MintPress News, informing us that, “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.” This content, it went on to say, “includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

Notes From Wartorn Ethiopia, Part II

Even the Embassy of Bangladesh is building new floors right across the street from my alleyway hotel. Mercedes drive in and out, and I wonder how such a poor country affords them, but Mercedes seem to be the ambassadorial vehicle of choice. Governments like Bangladesh, which don’t maintain embassies in many other countries, no doubt maintain them here because Addis Ababa is the seat of the African Union, and with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam coming online, Ethiopia is emerging as a regional powerhouse, despite how much that dismays US policymakers. The European Union embassy flies its flag behind a concrete wall topped with barbed-wire several blocks around the corner from where I’m staying.

American Commissars

The ruling class, made up of the traditional elites that run the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, is employing draconian forms of censorship on its right-wing and left-wing critics in a desperate effort to cling to power. The traditional elites were discredited for pushing through a series of corporate assaults on workers, from deindustrialization to trade deals. They were unable to stem rising inflation, the looming economic crisis and the ecological emergency. They were incapable of carrying out significant social and political reform to ameliorate widespread suffering and refused to accept responsibility for two decades of military fiascos in the Middle East. And now they have launched a new and sophisticated McCarthyism. Character assassination. Algorithms. Shadow banning. De-platforming.

Twitter Bans African Anti-Imperialists

Since November 3 and 4, when the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) started the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia by attacking a federal army base, Western policymakers and their stenographic press, especially in the U.S., have defended the TPLF, their former puppet, and maligned the Ethiopian government and its prime minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali. In December, Twitter began banning Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Somali activists who had created and built a Pan-African #NoMore movement. I spoke to Nebiyu Asfaw, founder of the Ethiopian American Development Council, who had his account permanently banned. Ann Garrison: Nebiyu Asfaw, tell us when you were suspended from Twitter. Nebiyu Asfaw: I was suspended on December 23, two days before Christmas, on the same day the #NoMoreHub account was suspended.

Censorship Is The Last Gasp Of The Liberal Class

On November 8, 2021, Twitter locked my account for a period of one day for responding to corporate media darling and Russiagate fanatic Keith Olbermann’s slanderous reply to journalist Wyatt Reed’s coverage of the Nicaraguan election. The flagged tweet simply restated Olbermann’s question, replacing “whore for a dictator” with “whoring for the American oligarchy.” Twitter demanded that I delete the tweet or send a time-consuming, lengthy appeal with no assurances as to if or when my sentence in “Twitter jail” would end. This prompted me to delete the tweet and wait for the 12-hour suspension to end. Keith Olbermann’s account went unscathed. This isn’t Olbermann’s first go-round with censorship.

Newly Released Documents Expose US Meddling In Venezuelan Elections

America’s interference in the electoral process in Venezuela is laid bare in a series of files that reveal how Washington provided significant investment to train political activists in campaigning effectively online. Documents released to researchers under the US Freedom of Information Act have revealed how US intelligence fronts weaponized social media to promote Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, and assist their election to parliament, thus laying the foundations for Washington’s appointment of Juan Guaido as the country’s leader in January 2019. The files indicate that in October 2013, seven months after the death of popular socialist President Hugo Chavez, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a US intelligence front that funds and supports political parties abroad, was provided almost $300,000 by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – a US government agency avowedly created to do overtly what the CIA had previously done covertly – for a program titled ‘Venezuela: Improved Training and Communications Skills for Political Activists’.

Meet The Nicaraguans Facebook Falsely Branded Bots Days Before Elections

Just days before Nicaragua’s November 7 elections, top social media platforms censored top Nicaraguan news outlets and hundreds of journalists and activists who support their country’s leftist Sandinista government. The politically motivated campaign of Silicon Valley censorship amounted to a massive purge of Sandinista supporters one week before the vote. It followed US government attacks on the integrity of Nicaragua’s elections, and Washington’s insistence that it will refuse to recognize the results.

Meta Deletes Over 1,000 Nicaraguan Accounts Days Before Election

On Monday, Ben Nimmo, the head of Facebook-turned-Meta’s global threat intelligence strategy, announced that the social media giant had taken down what he claimed was a “a troll farm run by the government of Nicaragua and the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) party.” The takedown included 937 Facebook accounts, 140 Pages, 24 Groups and 363 Instagram accounts in Nicaragua. The Meta report claimed the accounts were “one of the most cross-government troll operations we’ve disrupted to date, with multiple state entities participating in this activity at once,” but primarily run by employees of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and the Post (TELCOR) in Managua. “Additional smaller clusters of fake accounts were run from other government institutions, including the Supreme Court and the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute,” the report said.

CIA And DoD-Connected Organizations Mapping WikiLeaks Supporters

For Julian Assange and those closest to him, the journey to the Royal Courts of Justice this week has been arduous and fraught with nail-biting intrigue and danger. Scheduled to appear on October 27 and 28, Assange will be subjected to a US appeal against an earlier judgement by a lower Court that found in his favor. While the US attempt to strike down the previous finding again places Assange in grave peril, this time the passing months have played in his favor, as growing support for the WikiLeaks publisher has invigorated and swelled the numbers of various grassroots campaigns demanding his freedom. Assange’s lawyers will arrive armed with statements in support by 25 leading press freedom and human rights organizations, calling in unison for an immediate end to the more than decade-long multi-jurisdictional lawfare waged against the Australian journalist.
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