mfioretti: trump*

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  1. Di nuovo: dove sta lo scandalo di questi giorni, dunque? Lo scandalo sta nell’evidenza di un errore di fondo nella concezione delle interazioni umane, la concezione che Mark Zuckerberg ha imposto — per sua stessa ammissione, nel tanto agnognato intervento post-Cambridge Analytica — dal 2007. L’idea cioè di costruire un “web dove si è social di default”. Dove cioè la norma è condividere. Un principio che è strutturalmente opposto alla tutela della privacy individuale, che si fonda sulla riservatezza come norma, riguardo ai propri dati personali.

    Zuckerberg lo spiega benissimo nel suo più recente intervento, individuando - giustamente - in quell’errore filosofico e antropologico la radice della tempesta in cui è costretto a destreggiarsi: “Nel 2007, abbiamo lanciato la Facebook Platform nella convinzione (“vision”) che più app dovessero essere social. Il tuo calendario doveva poterti mostrare il compleanno degli amici, le tue mappe mostrare dove vivono i tuoi amici, il tuo address book le loro foto. Per farlo, abbiamo consentito di accedere alle app e condividere chi fossero i tuoi amici e alcune informazioni su di loro”.

    È questo che conduce, nel 2013, Kogan a ottenere l’accesso ai dati di milioni di persone. E certo, quei dati hanno un immenso valore scientifico — ed è giusto che la ricerca, se condotta nel pieno rispetto del consenso informato degli utenti divenuti soggetti sperimentali, possa accedervi. Per soli scopi accademici, però. E anche così, già nel 2014 il famoso esperimento condotto da Facebook stessa sulla manipolazione delle emozioni di centinaia di migliaia di utenti, a cui erano stati mostrati deliberatamente più contenuti positivi o negativi, aveva dimostrato che anche quando non ci sono di mezzo fini commerciali, la questione è ambigua, complessa. E che no, non basta accettare condizioni di utilizzo intricate e che non legge nessuno per dire che allora ogni utente ha, per il fatto stesso di avere accettato di essere su Facebook, di diventare indiscriminatamente un topo di laboratorio arruolato in esperimenti di cui ignora tutto.

    Eppure è proprio la piattaforma a rendersi conto, già in quello stesso anno, che così le cose non vanno. Che a quel modo Facebook perde il controllo su quali terze parti hanno accesso ai dati dei suoi utenti. La policy dunque cambia, e da allora gli “amici” devono acconsentire al trattamento dei propri dati da parte di una app. La nuova filosofia, ricorda Albright, è “people first”. Ma è tardi. E l’incapacità di rientrare davvero in possesso di quell’ammasso di informazioni, dimostrata dal caso Cambridge Analytica – possibile Facebook debba scoprire dai giornali che l’azienda non aveva cancellato i dati che diceva di aver cancellato, o che debba comunque condurre un auditing serio per verificarlo ora, dimostrando di non avere idea se lo siano o meno? – fa capire che il problema va ben oltre il singolo caso in questione, ma è sistematico.

    Per capirci più chiaramente: come scrive Albright, la prima versione delle API v.1.0 per il Facebook Graph – cioè ciò che gli sviluppatori di applicazioni potevano ottenere dal social network tra il 2010, data di lancio, e il 2014, data in cui la policy è cambiata – consentiva di sapere non su chi si iscriveva a una determinata app, ma dagli amici inconsapevoli, i seguenti dati: “about, azioni, attività, compleanno, check-ins, istruzione, eventi, giochi, gruppi, residenza, interessi, like, luogo, note, status, tag, foto, domande, relazioni, religione/politica, iscrizioni, siti, storia lavorativa”. Davvero si poteva pensare di controllare dove finissero tutti questi dati, per milioni e milioni di persone?

    E davvero Facebook lo scopre oggi? Nel 2011, la Federal Trade Commission americana aveva già segnalato la questione come problematica. Non ha insegnato nulla
    https://www.valigiablu.it/facebook-cambridge-analytica-scandalo
    Voting 0
  2. I interviewed Green about what he learned after spending so much time digging into Bannon’s ideology. He argued that religion is more important to understanding the operative than one might think — that he has an apocalyptic, decline-obsessed worldview and a very real interest in esoteric mystic thinkers.

    But in the end, Green says, what helped both Trump and Bannon rise to prominence in the Republican Party was much more simple and crude: They realized “the power of demonizing immigrants as a way of motivating grassroots voters.”

    This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

    The major elements to it, as far as I’m able to detect, are an antipathy to free trade, a hostility to immigrants both legal and illegal, this kind of misty nostalgia for the white, blue-collar manufacturing economy of the mid-20th century.

    And in terms of foreign policy, there’s a kind of America-first isolationism coupled with what I guess you could describe as Islamophobia. But that isn’t rooted in the Fox News post-9/11 strain of Islamophobia; it’s something much deeper and religiously driven in Bannon that’s been around for a lot longer.


    Bannon also got a lot of attention this year when he said at CPAC that Trump wanted “the deconstruction of the administrative state.” What does that mean? Is that just a Bannon-y catchphrase for mainstream Republican deregulatory policy, or do you interpret it as something different and new?
    Josh Green

    I interpret that as being kinda two things at once. On its face it’s a nod to small-government conservatism — the kind of people who show up at CPAC, that’s their passion.

    On a deeper level with Bannon, I also think part of that is religiously driven. As nutty as it may sound, part of his “Traditionalist” philosophy holds that the rise of the modern nation-state system beginning 500 years ago has built up administrative infrastructures that have taken the place of the traditional and the transcendent. And that is one reason he’s so hostile to outfits like the EU and also outfits like the US government.
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politi...teve-bannon-devils-bargain-josh-green
    Voting 0
  3. As problematic as Facebook has become, it represents only one component of a much broader shift into a new human connectivity that is both omnipresent (consider the smartphone) and hypermediated—passing through and massaged by layer upon layer of machinery carefully hidden from view. The upshot is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine what in our interactions is simply human and what is machine-generated. It is becoming difficult to know what is real.

    Before the agents of this new unreality finish this first phase of their work and then disappear completely from view to complete it, we have a brief opportunity to identify and catalogue the processes shaping our drift to a new world in which reality is both relative and carefully constructed by others, for their ends. Any catalogue must include at least these four items:

    the monetisation of propaganda as ‘fake news’;
    the use of machine learning to develop user profiles accurately measuring and modelling our emotional states;
    the rise of neuromarketing, targeting highly tailored messages that nudge us to act in ways serving the ends of others;
    a new technology, ‘augmented reality’, which will push us to sever all links with the evidence of our senses.



    The fake news stories floated past as jetsam on Facebook’s ‘newsfeed’, that continuous stream of shared content drawn from a user’s Facebook’s contacts, a stream generated by everything everyone else posts or shares. A decade ago that newsfeed had a raw, unfiltered quality, the notion that everyone was doing everything, but as Facebook has matured it has engaged increasingly opaque ‘algorithms’ to curate (or censor) the newsfeed, producing something that feels much more comfortable and familiar.

    This seems like a useful feature to have, but the taming of the newsfeed comes with a consequence: Facebook’s billions of users compose their world view from what flows through their feeds. Consider the number of people on public transport—or any public place—staring into their smartphones, reviewing their feeds, marvelling at the doings of their friends, reading articles posted by family members, sharing video clips or the latest celebrity outrages. It’s an activity now so routine we ignore its omnipresence.

    Curating that newsfeed shapes what Facebook’s users learn about the world. Some of that content is controlled by the user’s ‘likes’, but a larger part is derived from Facebook’s deep analysis of a user’s behaviour. Facebook uses ‘cookies’ (invisible bits of data hidden within a user’s web browser) to track the behaviour of its users even when they’re not on the Facebook site—and even when they’re not users of Facebook. Facebook knows where its users spend time on the web, and how much time they spend there. All of that allows Facebook to tailor a newsfeed to echo the interests of each user. There’s no magic to it, beyond endless surveillance.

    What is clear is that Facebook has the power to sway the moods of billions of users. Feed people a steady diet of playful puppy videos and they’re likely to be in a happier mood than people fed images of war. Over the last two years, that capacity to manage mood has been monetised through the sharing of fake news and political feeds atuned to reader preference: you can also make people happy by confirming their biases.

    We all like to believe we’re in the right, and when we get some sign from the universe at large that we are correct, we feel better about ourselves. That’s how the curated newsfeed became wedded to the world of profitable propaganda.

    Adding a little art to brighten an other-wise dull wall seems like an unalloyed good, but only if one completely ignores bad actors. What if that blank canvas gets painted with hate speech? What if, perchance, the homes of ‘undesirables’ are singled out with graffiti that only bad actors can see? What happens when every gathering place for any oppressed community gets invisibly ‘tagged’? In short, what happens when bad actors use Facebook’s augmented reality to amplify their own capacity to act badly?

    But that’s Zuckerberg: he seems to believe his creations will only be used to bring out the best in people. He seems to believe his gigantic sharing network would never be used to incite mob violence. Just as he seems to claim that Facebook’s capacity to collect and profile the moods of its users should never be monetised—but, given that presentation unearthed by the Australian, Facebook tells a different story to advertisers.

    Regulating Facebook enshrines its position as the data-gathering and profile-building organisation, while keeping it plugged into and responsive to the needs of national powers. Before anyone takes steps that would cement Facebook in our social lives for the foreseeable future, it may be better to consider how this situation arose, and whether—given what we now know—there might be an opportunity to do things differently.
    https://meanjin.com.au/essays/the-last-days-of-reality
    Voting 0
  4. As far as those policies already implemented, Galvin pointed to an apparently wide gulf between the commonwealth’s policy for counting college students compared to the Trump administration’s newly enacted policy for counting such students.

    According to Galvin, Massachusetts prefers to count college students during the spring while they’re still in school for census purposes, but said the Trump administration would rather stretch that count into the summer–when most college students in Massachusetts have returned home and therefore the numbers of students counted would be significantly lowered.

    In regards to policies being considered, Galvin noted, “a suggestion from the United States Justice Department to the Department of Commerce that a question be inserted into the census” regarding the respondent’s citizenship status.

    Asking such a question would likely not be illegal, but, Galvin said this proposal would almost certainly result in respondents refusing to follow through with their census forms entirely. He explained, “Everyone knows that under the federal code, everyone should be counted whether they’re citizens or not. So by putting that in there, they are clearly deterring people who might not be citizens from being counted.”
    https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/...ver-sabotaging-census-for-blue-states
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2018-02-08)
    Voting 0
  5. If the book is all lies, why did Trump go off on Steve Bannon this week?
    The White House appears to be asking people to hold two totally contradictory ideas in their heads:

    The Wolff book is a total fantasy, built on lies and the active imagination of a Trump hater
    Bannon, the former top political strategist in Trump world, is a terrible and disloyal person because of what he told Wolff in the book.

    You don't get to have both of those things be true. Either Wolff is totally wrong about everything or the book -- and Bannon's quotes in it -- is generally credible.
    http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/05/pol...s/questions-wolff-analysis/index.html
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2018-01-07)
    Voting 0
  6. Be smart: We can't say it too often: The real problem with fake news is that people don't believe real news. That's terrible for society and democracy, making good decisions less likely.
    https://www.axios.com/the-trump-cry-heard-round-the-world-2520976693.html
    Voting 0
  7. This precipitous collapse in trust in our political class and the vital institutions it oversees has arisen at an infelicitous time. Coupled with a global financial crisis that no one predicted, and amid the disorienting clamor of social media, it has surfaced an uncomfortable epiphany: the gathering realization that those who purport to be in control are, in fact, just powerless bystanders like the rest of us, beholden to their own personal knot of ignorance and bias.

    We have come to know, in some visceral way, that the complexity of the modern world is so intractable that everyone — no matter their status in society — is more or less playing at being sober adults, when in reality we all exist in a state of permanent bewilderment. Like the inner child in the poet Ted Hughes’ famous letter to his son, each one of us has been exposed as “the wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being” we truly are.
    https://medium.com/s/jeremiad/the-age-of-incompetence-cd05923bb06a
    Tags: , , , , by M. Fioretti (2017-12-14)
    Voting 0
  8. La decisione di Trump di riconoscere Gerusalemme come capitale di Israele sottende due messaggi concreti e due strumentali.

    Sul piano fattuale, conferma la strategia elettorale della Casa Bianca. Contrario o incapace di allargare il suo elettorato, in vista del 2020 Trump punta a rendere maggiormente profonda e fedele la propria base. Specie la destra religiosa, assai legata a Israele e spesso decisiva nel fronte repubblicano.

    Quindi intende smascherare la fragilità delle potenze antagoniste. A fronte di una narrazione internazionale per cui Russia e Iran sarebbero diventati gli egemoni della regione, con questa mossa unilaterale e autoreferenziale l’amministrazione Usa dimostra l’incapacità altrui di influenzarne o di neutralizzarne l’azione.

    Sul piano propagandistico, invece, annunciando il trasferimento dell’ambasciata a Gerusalemme, Washington promette al governo israeliano di rendere nuovamente prioritaria la relazione bilaterale. Promessa impossibile da mantenere, poiché nei calcoli statunitensi il Medio Oriente è da tempo scaduto di rilevanza.

    Infine, la Casa Bianca prova a convincere il fronte palestinese che, incassato un risultato tanto suggestivo, ora gli israeliani sarebbero disposti a riavviare il processo di pace e a tollerare significative concessioni in favore dei loro interlocutori. Prospettiva altrettanto irrealizzabile, eppure utile per ammantare di retorica una decisione puramente utilitaristica.
    http://www.limesonline.com/consenso-e...a-perche-trump-usa-gerusalemme/103460
    Voting 0
  9. Brzezinski protégés remain influential in the US State Department, American think tanks and among European Atlanticists. Implicit in the Brzezinski doctrine: Russia is too important to leave to the Russians. With an economy smaller than California, Russia may not have the wherewithal to become “a powerful imperial state spanning Europe and Asia,” it does have a crucial asset. The country is the Land Bridge between industrial giant China and the EU. Linking these two enormous economies would create a Eurasian economic area and would make China and the EU less dependent on the United States, and thereby less dependent on the US dollar.

    Used by permission from Merics (Mercator Institute for China Studies)

    History has a way of defying the grandest of grand strategies. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), so-called free-trade agreements but conveniently designed to economically isolate Russia and China, are virtually dead. Their demise illustrates the stunning role-reversal of the American left and right. President Barrack Obama actively promoted the free-trade deals, while Trump and many of his voters are against. Not surprisingly, Obama has since been exposed as a closet hawk in liberal clothes.

    The mantra that Russia stole the US election will probably continue until the next election (or until evidence is found that it was the US government under Obama that interfered with the US election to help Hillary Clinton – see here and here). For now, the political establishment and its compliant media have succeeded in tainting Putin enough to forestall any plans President Donald Trump may have had for rapprochement with Russia.

    But is it a Pyrrhic victory? A recent article by Michael Hudson, Trump is Obama’s Legacy, explains how the political left, the former champions of the poor and the working class, sold its soul to the billionaire class while perfecting the art of political expediency. Not without irony, Hudson quotes Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotski to sound a warning: “Fascism is the result of the failure of the left to provide an alternative.”

    China, unperturbed by it all, is playing the long game. It is implementing the 13th iteration of its five-year plan and rapidly expanding the One Belt One Road. The giant network, probably the largest infrastructure project in the world today, will ultimately connect more than 60 countries with four and a half billion people. Nothing focuses the mind like a five-year plan, and thinking 10 or 20 years ahead to set priorities for the common good. Once the Russia bashers get over their tantrums, they should try to formulate a few five-year plans themselves. China could send some of its best and brightest economists to help them get started.
    http://www.atimes.com/west-bashes-russia-china-builds-rail-roads/
    Voting 0
  10. Why are pro-conservative answers collapsed?
    William Lawyer
    William Lawyer, Conservative leaning Libertarian who writes about politics
    Updated Oct 26

    Because Conservative sympathizers are targeted.

    Our answers often get mass downvoted until they are collapsed, and I hardly ever even find out unless I get comments like this:

    We get our answers collapsed or deleted by Quora moderation on trumped up charges, often, I believe, due to mass reporting.

    William Lawyer's answer to My abortion is scheduled tomorrow, but I'm freaking out, what should I do?

    We get our profiles plastered on blogs for mass downvoting, reporting, and harassment. Same thing often ends up happening in people’s profiles:

    You have prominent left wing Quora users promoting and supporting these blogs and giving these groups a a lot of publicity, as detailed by Jon Davis:

    Normally, this wouldn’t even show up on my radar and I probably would have ignored it, if I didn’t see a friend specifically called out who I’ve never seen communicate white supremacist tendencies. This is clearly just meant to attack people who disagree with her as sexists and white supremacists, and whatever else. That said, at this point, it was small fry stuff compared to some of the organized behavior I’ve reported before. I wouldn’t give this sort of nonsense the time of day, but the reason I saw it in the first place was that another Top Writer, well known for creating a following that is hostile to Conservatives answered effectively “Yes”, to the question Should Quora ban the accounts of the users listed on the Quora blog "White Supremacists Exposed"? . That answer led me to see see the blog. At the point when another very popular Top Writer advocated support for this behavior, and seeing that the blog had suddenly had a spike of 10 times the viewership since that writer’s post, I knew that this place had the potential to be exactly the sort of hate groups I’ve advocated against for the last two years on Quora and have the potential of driving actually good Quora conservatives off the site through harassment tactics just like I talk about happening to me. (The War Elephant)

    I am surrounded by the love and praise of many on Quora, but there is no shortage of hateful and angry responses to my comments and answers from individuals who disagree with my opinions:

    You try not to let it get to you, but when you get such a tremendous negative response for so long, it is easy to become discouraged. On several occasions I have even had many Quora users who have been so intent on creating a toxic environment for me on Quora that they have commented with things like pornographic images on my answers in an effort to drive me away.

    (While I have begun to document harassment contemporaneously for my own protection, I will not be subjecting myself to that kind of content, so don’t even ask.)

    I’m not that popular of a writer, I only have 286 followers here on Quora, but if this is what I can expect when nobody knows about me, I’m not eager to join any of the bigger names out there.

    Having seen similar things happen to many other right wing writers on Quora, I must conclude that my experience is not unusual, and having spoken with many of my fellow conservatives about this, I can assure you that the situation for many of them is… equally undesirable.

    Edit: There’s a certain level of irony here:

    Dang blockquotes.
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    Hoang Nghiem (严黄)
    Hoang Nghiem (严黄)

    i’m very sorry to see that you’ve become the victim of systematic Quora witch hunts....
    3 more comments from Jonathan Roberts, Justin Busch, Lisa Kinsler
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    William Lawyer
    William Lawyer
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