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Kenya Protests: Gen Z Shows The Power Of Digital Activism

This is a powerful moment for digital activism. The protests have seen significant participation from young Kenyans who are using digital media to organise and voice their opposition. A great number of those driving the protests are Generation Z (often referred to as Gen Z) – individuals born roughly between the late 1990s and early 2010s and characterised by digital prowess and social consciousness. They have created this organic, grassroots movement which has used platforms, like social media, to mobilise and coordinate efforts quickly. Through my work I’ve documented how essential digital media has been in political participation in Kenya in the past decade.

Biden Administration Working With Social Media Companies To Limit Pro-Palestinian Content

The Biden administration has publicly admitted that it is working with tech companies to “limit Hamas's use of online platforms, including social media,” part of a campaign to suppress pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel sentiment. Though there has been much speculation that the federal government is pressuring social media companies to police their networks, this is the first official confirmation of its counterterrorism efforts. A little-noticed readout for a May 15 Hague meeting between the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism Elizabeth Richard and other governments said that Richard “updated the group on U.S. efforts to engage tech companies in voluntary collaboration to limit Hamas’ use of online platforms, including social media, for terrorist purposes.”

TikTok Law Is An Attempt To Censor, Not A Warning To Big Tech

As US lawmakers’ agitation over TikTok culminates in a law that threatens a nationwide ban if the social media platform isn’t sold to a US buyer within nine months, an emergent media narrative finds a silver lining. Every legislative move targeting TikTok, the story goes, has the potential to inspire much-needed regulation of tech behemoths like Meta, Amazon, Google and Apple. But by conflating the US’s legal treatment of TikTok—a subsidiary of the Beijing-based ByteDance—with that of its own tech industry, media obscure the real reasons for the law’s passage. This was apparent in a New York Times piece (4/25/24) headlined “TikTok Broke the Tech Law Logjam. Can That Success Be Repeated?”

Fediverse Model Offers Social Media A Second Chance

The problems with the big social media platforms are well known: the concentration of ownership, the lack of control or privacy, the ability to spread misinformation, and more. Despite these and other problems, however, “their use is still practically compulsory in order to advertise a person’s work or spread urgent news.” The result is that many businesses (worker co-ops included) continue to use the major platforms even if they run counter to many of their values. But an alternative does exist: the Fediverse. The Fediverse, as Jakob Sitter Midttun writes, is an ensemble of interconnected – yet independent –  free, open source social media platforms utilizing federated protocols to seamlessly integrate with one another.

How The United States Is Waging Economic War On China

In our last two shows, we looked at China’s economy and where it was headed, busting major Western myths about it, and highlighting the differences between the Chinese and US economies that explain the dynamism of the former and the productive decline of the latter. We spoke about how China was embarked on engineering the next industrial revolution through a major structural transformation, not only to continue its high growth, but also to improve its quality, technologically and in human terms. And in doing this, China is increasingly taking the technological lead in more and more frontier sectors, including green technology, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology.

Film Activists Better

If you film your campaign group in action, the footage can be used on social media or even broadcast news to get the message out to a wider audience. By filming it yourself, you are being part of DIY (Do It Yourself) culture and not relying on the mainstream media to turn up. Here are a few hints to get you going, using a smartphone. Before you go out Try and make sure your phone is fully charged. Pack your charged battery pack and charging cable if you have one. Make sure you have space on your phone to record onto.

Tales From The Pages Of COINTELPRO

“Circulate, to educate, to liberate!” This was the constant intonation of Sam Napier, circulation manager of The Black Panther newspaper. As one Panther leader noted, Sam was “the main reason” why shortly after it began, the paper had “a 200,000 plus copies per week distribution.”2 Napier was a beloved member of the party, which is why many were taken by surprise when his body was found in March of 1971, tied to a chair, showing bullet wounds and signs of torture. After they left, perhaps while he was still alive, his killers set the building on fire. Sam Napier was one of the victims of a concentrated effort to destroy the Black Panthers by the U.S. government, as part and parcel of an effort to destroy the entire Black liberation movement and any other radicals who dared raise their voices against the U.S. ruling class and their imperial policies.

The Billionaire-Backed Campaign Attacking The Palestinian Cause

A week after Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel, the social media page Facts For Peace was created with the message, “Get the facts on Hamas, Israel, and peace in the region.” A few days later, the page began advertising its content. “Here is Hamas’ Founding Charter in Their Own Words,” one sponsored post reads alongside video clips of Hamas leaders speaking and snapshots of the document. The page has spent more than $945,000 on Facebook ads since the war began nearly four months ago, and according to POLITICO, was the single largest pro-Israel advertiser between November 2 and December 1, spending over $450,000 on Meta ads.

Musk’s Lawsuit Is About Destroying Free Speech

He wasn’t bluffing. After threatening to sue liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America (CNBC, 11/18/23), Twitter’s principal owner Elon Musk did just that, arguing in papers filed in a Texas court that the group “manipulated” data in an effort to “destroy” the social media platform, causing major advertisers to pull back (BBC, 11/20/23). The world’s richest human was responding to an MMFA report (11/16/23) about Twitter—which Musk has rebranded as X since purchasing the once publicly traded company—and its promotion of far-right, antisemitic content. It said that while “Musk continues his descent into white nationalist and antisemitic conspiracy theories,” the social media network has been “placing ads for major brands like Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), IBM, Oracle and Xfinity (Comcast) next to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.”

Revealed: Fossil Fuel Giants Are Using British Influencers To Go Viral

Oil and gas supermajors including Shell and BP are using UK influencers to push false solutions to the climate crisis and manufacture a more family friendly image, DeSmog can reveal. The influencers have included a popular former BBC presenter, a polar explorer, and an exasperated father of five who needs a break and finds it in the form of BP’s rewards app. The campaigns have been deployed across a number of social media platforms and are part of a global effort to give “millennials a reason to connect emotionally” with oil and gas firms, and to tackle their perception as “the bad guys”. DeSmog analysed examples of more than 100 influencers being paid to promote fossil fuel firms worldwide since 2017, from the US to Malaysia, in campaigns that have reached billions of people.

The ‘Disinformation Industry’ Lands In Court

What kind of a week was last week in the theater of war wherein battles rage over illegal censorship, illegal attacks on freedom of speech, illegal government infringements on our constitutional rights, and, amid it all, the complicity of our most powerful media in these illegalities? For a brief while it looked as though it was a very fine week. On July 4, an excellent day for this, a district court in Louisiana ruled that the White House and a long list of other federal agencies are barred from all contacts with social media companies if the intent is to intimidate or otherwise coerce Twitter, Google, Facebook, and other such platforms into deleting, suppressing, or in any way obscuring content protected as free speech, to paraphrase a key passage in the ruling.

US Court Victory Against Online Censorship

A judge in Louisiana has barred the F.B.I. and other government agencies from asking social media companies to suppress free speech, reports Joe Lauria. A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction against a number of government agencies preventing them from talking to social media firms for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.” Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that the agencies couldn’t identify specific social media posts to be taken down or ask for reports about the social media company’s efforts to do so.

‘Twitter Files’ Journalist Matt Taibbi Claims IRS And FBI Retaliation

On March 9th, 2023, Matt Taibbi appeared before Congress regarding the revelations uncovered by the “Twitter Files,” which demonstrated the US federal government and social media companies worked together to censor information and accounts unfavorable to US interests. The same day, an IRS agent visited Taibbi’s home in New Jersey. Matt Taibbi joins The Chris Hedges Report to discuss the case opened against him, as well as the role of the FBI and multiple law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the Foreign Influence Task Force which identified accounts and stories for censorship from Twitter.

Montana TikTok Ban A Sign Of Intensified Cold War With China

There is an emerging consensus in US foreign policy circles that a US/China cold war is either imminent or already underway (Foreign Policy, 12/29/22; New Yorker, 2/26/23; New York Times, 3/23/23; Fox News, 3/28/23; Reuters, 3/30/23). Domestically, the most recent and most intense iteration of this anti-China fervor is the move to ban the Chinese video app TikTok, which is both a sweeping assault on free speech movement and a dangerous sign that mere affiliation with China is grounds for vilification and loss of rights. Several TikTok content creators are suing to overturn “Montana’s first-in-the-nation ban on the video sharing app, arguing the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights,” on the grounds “that the state doesn’t have any authority over matters of national security” (AP, 5/18/23). TikTok followed up with a lawsuit of its own (New York Times, 5/22/23).

‘Peaceful’ Protest A Tool For Regime Change

The “groundwork for insurrection” in Nicaragua was laid down months and years before the coup attempt began, as our first article explained. But the coup could only succeed if it mobilised sufficient people into demanding that President Daniel Ortega resigns. How was this to be done, with polls showing his government had some 80 per cent support in a country that had enjoyed several years of prosperity and social development? One tool was old-fashioned class war. The middle and upper classes could be convinced to follow the example of the elite and of business leaders if they thought this would bring Nicaragua closer to the US, favour multinational investment and end the revolution, but only if there was no threat to their current prosperity.
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