2020-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-06-06 11:50:27 UTC
2020-06-06 12:04:18 UTC
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A study by researchers at Oxford University concluded that sharing fake and junk news is much more prevalent amongst Trump supporters and other people with hard right-wing tendencies.
The study, from the university's "computational propaganda project", looked at the most significant sources of "junk news" shared in the three months leading up to Donald Trump's first State of the Union address this January, and tried to find out who was sharing them and why.
"On Twitter, a network of Trump supporters consumes the largest volume of junk news, and junk news is the largest proportion of news links they share," the researchers concluded. On Facebook, the skew was even greater. There, "extreme hard right pages – distinct from Republican pages – share more junk news than all the other audiences put together.
What kinds of social media users read junk news? We examine the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address. Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, we find that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. We demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook's public pages.
[Ed. note: page is loading very slowly; try a direct link to the actual report (pdf). --martyb]
Pope Francis ' recent decision to replace two Chinese bishops loyal to Rome with selectees of the country's Communist government, heralding his broader moves to reset the Vatican's ties with Beijing, has drawn cries of betrayal from advocates of the country's long-persecuted "underground" Catholic Church.
The pope's actions in China are characteristic of a leader who has repeatedly practiced realpolitik to achieve important goals. But they clash with Pope Francis' image among many Catholics and others as a defender of the oppressed—a profile likely to be further tested by his campaign to improve Vatican-China relations after seven decades of estrangement.
The pope has decided to recognize seven government-appointed Chinese bishops, according to a person familiar with the matter, in a major concession to Beijing in pursuit of warmer relations and—in the very long term—possible reestablishment of diplomatic ties broken in 1951. As part of that decision, Pope Francis has moved to replace two bishops loyal to the Vatican with prelates from China's state-controlled Catholic church.
Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep the Guantánamo Bay prison camp open, reversing the policy of the Obama administration.
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Trump said he had directed the defence secretary, James Mattis, "to re-examine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay". He added that he expected that "in many cases" captured terrorists would be sent to the camp.
The Trump executive order instructs Mattis, in consultation with the secretary of state and other officials, to deliver a new policy on battlefield detentions, "including policies governing transfer of individuals to US Naval Station Guantánamo Bay" within 90 days.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Hackers from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD have provided the FBI with crucial information about Russian interference with the American elections. For years, AIVD had access to the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. That's what de Volkskrant and Nieuwsuur have uncovered in their investigation.
It's the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has penetrated the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, oblivious to the implications. One year later, from the AIVD headquarters in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues witness Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything.
That's how the AIVD becomes witness to the Russian hackers harassing and penetrating the leaders of the Democratic Party, transferring thousands of emails and documents. It won't be the last time they alert their American counterparts. And yet, it will be months before the United States realize what this warning means: that with these hacks the Russians have interfered with the American elections. And the AIVD hackers have seen it happening before their very eyes.
The Dutch access provides crucial evidence of the Russian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous. It's also grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of the Russian interference on the election race between the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Translated by: Lisa Negrijn
It's quite an interesting read.
The New York Times reports "Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit":
President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.
Mueller Investigation: Three Former Trump Aides Charged
Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty to Lying to the F.B.I.
UK Election Results; Fired FBI Director's Testimony on Trump; Trump Nominates New FBI Director
A couple days back, Newsweek reports:
Feminist activists on Sunday are planning to commemorate last year's Women's March, the response to the election of President Donald Trump that was widely regarded as the biggest demonstration in U.S. history.
As they do so, the so-called alt-right—an anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic movement that has struggled to recruit women—is aiming to co-opt this political moment with a series of stunts, including spreading propaganda and a counterdemonstration in Knoxville, Tennessee. This targeting of a feminist event is part of an ongoing pattern of misogynistic behavior in the movement, according to activists and a rights group that spoke to Newsweek.
[...] Trolls from 4chan, an imageboard website that is popular with the alt-right, are planning to post signs at women's studies departments on college campuses Sunday with the hashtag #mybordermychoice, a deliberate perversion of the abortion-rights slogan "my body my choice," according to a series of posts on the site and research conducted by antifascist activists.
[...] Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a rights group, told Newsweek that Heimbach [Leader of the Traditionalist Workers' Party] is "no defender of women," referring to altercations involving the opposite sex he has had at demonstrations.
Heimbach replied to that notion by saying legal abortion and illegal immigration were victimizing the unborn and women, and that "women have had their femininity put under attack by a culture that treats them as either sex objects or as mere economic cogs in the capitalist system." Heimbach is a critic of the capitalist system while also being a critic of socialism, and views a "national socialism" system that includes only white non-Jews as an alternative to both. He said the policies of his group were structured to "empower women to their God given honorable place as true equals to men in society through their unique role as mothers and wives." To be clear, he is an ardent critic of contemporary feminism.
Message received, very clear.
"The Supreme Court announced Friday it will take up the case against the latest version of President Trump's travel ban, which bars entry in to the United States for residents of six majority-Muslim countries.
The court will hear arguments in April and is expected to issue a ruling by June." http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/01/19/supreme-court-announces-it-will-rule-on-trumps-travel-ban.html
After 10 PM EST on Friday, The U.S. Senate rejected a deal that would fund the U.S. government for another month:
Only five Democrats voted to advance the bill — Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), who are all up for reelection this year in states carried by President Trump in 2016 election, and newly-elected Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.).
Republicans were also not united, as Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) also voted against advancing the legislation. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer, was absent.
The procedural vote remained open late Friday, though it needed 60 votes to pass and was well short of that number with 48 senators voting against it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer continued to negotiate after the vote opened (archive), but no deal has been reached yet. As of midnight (5 minutes before this story went live), the government shutdown was in effect.
Senate Democrats have put together 50 votes for a measure meant to block the Federal Communications Commission's December decision to end net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration.
Democrats are just one GOP vote shy of the 51-vote threshold for a Senate resolution of disapproval, which would strike down the FCC's December rules change.
"With full caucus support," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, "it's clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options."
The Democrats' effort won the support of its first Republican backer, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), last Tuesday.
Facebook has blocked users from sharing a social media video promoting the January 16 online meeting "Organizing resistance to Internet censorship," featuring World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board Chairman David North and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. The initial post of the video, uploaded Friday, cannot be shared by any user. Those who attempt to do so receive an error message that seems to imply a technical failure.
Users reported, however, that upon clicking "If you think you're seeing this message by mistake, please let us know," they were presented with a notice that clearly indicates the content had been blocked in the name of keeping Facebook "safe."
WSWS published an open letter about internet censorship and net neutrality on November 25. The FCC repealed net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017.
In this AC's opinion, Facebook is certainly within their rights to refuse to host any content for any reasons they choose. However, for many people, Facebook is the internet.
Should we worry about entrenched services such as Facebook and Google using their positions to suppress information? Does the presence or absence of net neutrality change one's analysis of the situation?