Facebook and Google may be using copyright scanners to suppress ‘extremist’ speech

by T.C. Sottek, The Verge

The systems that automatically enforce copyright laws on the internet may be expanding to block unfavorable speech. Reuters reports that Facebook, Google, and other companies are exploring automated removal of extremist content, and could be repurposing copyright takedown methods to identify and suppress it. It’s unclear where the lines have been drawn, but the systems are likely targeted at radical messages on social networks from enemies of European powers and the United States. Leaders in the US and Europe have increasingly decried radical extremism on the internet and have attempted to enlist internet companies in the fight. Many of those companies have been receptive to the idea. But their definitions of extremism, and how automated systems are being used, is still a secret; neither Facebook or Google would confirm these efforts to Reuters, which relied on two anonymous sources who are “familiar with the process.”

So far, major internet companies have relied on their users to flag illegal or restricted content. Earlier this year, Facebook said its users flag more than one million items for review every day. Twitter has been busy playing whack-a-mole against ISIS-related accounts at a furious pace, suspending 125,000 accounts as of February. And Google said it received over 75 million DMCA takedown requests in just one month in 2016. There’s also precedent for using automated systems to flag other kinds of illegal content; several major internet companies, including Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, and Google, use automated systems to identify the transmission of child pornography.

But upgrading automated systems for the suppression of extremist content would be a step with potentially serious and unknown consequences, since existing systems that take down content for suspected copyright and other violations deal with huge volumes of information and are routinely abused to suppress legal speech. Additionally, suppression of extremist speech may contain a lot more grey area than clearly-defined illegal content, like pirated media and child pornography.

The secret identification and and automated blocking of extremist speech would raise new, serious questions about the cooperation of private corporations with censorious governmental interests. Governments and private individuals have already attempted in recent years to hold internet companies and service providers liable for the actions of third-parties with varying degrees of success; the EU’s right to be forgotten rule now requires companies like Google to comply with individuals who want to scrub search results that point to their sensitive personal information. That rule has already been abused to try to suppress journalism.

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Dislike: Facebook names Netanyahu’s former advisor ‘head of policy’

from al Araby

Jordana Cutler, also chief of staff at the Israeli embassy in Washington, has joined Facebook’s Israel office to oversee the planning and execution of measures taken to combat BDS campaigns.

Cutler’s new post was applauded by the minister of public security Gilad Erdan, who announced on Thursday a series of legislative measures taken by his government against promoting the boycott of Israel.

“If we want to convince the world that de-legitimation of Israel is something wrong and that there should be consequences, we must start here in Israel,” Erdan was quoted by Israeli media as saying during a conference in Herzliya.

“There will now be a real price to pay for someone working […] to isolate [Israel] from the rest of the world. I set up a legal team, together with the ministry of justice, that will promote governmental legislation on the matter,” Erdan said.

There has been an advance in dialogue between the state of Israel and Facebook,” he said, “Facebook realises that it has a responsibility to monitor its platform and remove content. I hope it will be regulated for good.”

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The Boss Level of Stupid in the Hillary Clinton Propaganda Campaign: “You down with TPP?”

by Scott Creighton

and so did Warren!

You down with TPP?!” Fallon

Yeah, you know me!” Obama

On the same day that neoliberal corporate shill President Obama “made history” by endorsing his political mentor and benefactor, neoliberal corporate shill Hillary Clinton, he also did a little stunt on the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show, something called “Slo Jam News” where Obama, Fallon and some other guy, “slo jam” various outrageous propaganda points about the ‘success” of the Obama administration.

It’s supposed to be hip and funny and irreverent and get the real message out to all those young Jimmy Fallon viewers who might be crossovers from the Sanders campaign which Hillary and her team suppressed, disenfranchised and otherwise just flat out robbed of their primary election votes.

Keep in mind, this little propaganda stunt took place a mere two hours after “progressive” “liberal” anti-corporate, anti-globalization senator Elizabeth Warren sold out on the Rachel Maddow show and gave a breathless, life or death fear-mongering endorsement of neoliberal corporate shill Hillary Clinton. Elizabeth Warren and the Sanders supporters her endorsement was designed to target are extremely dead set against fascist corporate trade deals like the TTIP, TiSA and of course, the TPP.

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Gov. Cuomo Decrees Boycott & Blacklist to Silence Global BDS Movement for Palestinian Rights

(Now openly creating blacklists for political dissent here in the states. Notice the Common Dreams writer didn’t want his/her name attached to this article. Guess that’s not hard to figure out.)

from Common Dreams

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stirred the immediate ire of human rights campaigners around the world on Sunday by signing an executive order calling for the creation of a “blacklist” that would track groups and individuals who support Palestinian rights through the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement known as BDS.

As the New York Times reports:

But on Sunday, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, flexed his executive power — a more familiar demonstration in the governor’s second termjoking that passing legislation can “often be a tedious affair,” and saying instead he wanted “immediate action” on B.D.S., while challenging other governors in other states to do the same.

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Is anti-BDS group Sawtona impersonating Palestinians?

by Charlotte Silver, Electronic Intifada

Claiming to be a group of Palestinians opposed to the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in the US, an organization calling itself Sawtona – “our voice” in Arabic – has emerged over the last two months.

But the organization does not appear to be what it says it is.

The group first emerged at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) last month when faculty and students were meeting to discuss BDS and support for Palestinians.

It then popped up at City University of New York (CUNY), just ahead of today’s scheduled graduate student council vote on a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

The group claims to be a voice “from the ground” in Palestine that is dedicated to ending Israel’s occupation. But so far the only objective Sawtona has in fact pursued is to stop BDS, claiming it does more harm than good for Palestinians.

And some evidence – including fraudulent postings on Facebook – cast significant doubt on the group’s central claim that it is run by Palestinians.

Rather, the group would appear to be based in present-day Israel – not Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank where people representing Sawtona claim to live.

Sawtona has emerged at a moment when Israel has greatly stepped up its efforts to sabotage and attack the BDS movement, including efforts to undermine it by Israeli intelligence agencies.

[read more here]