Facebook Employees Mount Censorship Backlash Against Bosses

Non-leftists at Facebook are in a distinct minority but they are banding together to challenge Facebook’s rampant censorship of conservative thought. These employees will face stiff peer pressure and possible retaliation for speaking up. Meanwhile, Facebook is being ‘punished’ by its users who are deleting their accounts en-masse. ⁃ TN Editor

The post went up quietly on Facebook’s internal message board last week. Titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” it quickly took off inside the social network.

“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer, wrote in the post, which was obtained by The New York Times. “We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”

Since the post went up, more than 100 Facebook employees have joined Mr. Amerige to form an online group called FB’ers for Political Diversity, according to two people who viewed the group’s page and who were not authorized to speak publicly. The aim of the initiative, according to Mr. Amerige’s memo, is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company.

The new group has upset other Facebook employees, who said its online posts were offensive to minorities. One engineer, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said several people had lodged complaints with their managers about FB’ers for Political Diversity and were told that it had not broken any company rules.

Another employee said the group appeared to be constructive and inclusive of different political viewpoints. Mr. Amerige did not respond to requests for comment.

The activity is a rare sign of organized dissent within Facebook over the company’s largely liberal workplace culture. While the new group is just a sliver of Facebook’s work force of more than 25,000, the company’s workers have in the past appeared less inclined than their peers at other tech companies to challenge leadership, and most have been loyalists to its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.

But over the past two years, Facebook has undergone a series of crises, including the spread of misinformation by Russians on its platform and the mishandling of users’ data. Facebook has also been accused of stifling conservative speech by President Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, among others. This month, the social network barred the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a move that critics seized on as further evidence that the company harbors an anti-conservative bias.

Within Facebook, several employees said, people have argued over the decisions to ban certain accounts while allowing others. At staff meetings, they said, some workers have repeatedly asked for more guidance on what content the company disallows, and why. Others have said Facebook, out of fear of being seen as biased, has let too many right-wing groups flourish on the site.

The dispute over employees’ political ideology arose a week before Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, is scheduled to testify at a Senate hearing about social media manipulation in elections. A team helping Ms. Sandberg get ready for the hearing next Wednesday has warned her that some Republican lawmakers may raise questions about Facebook and biases, according to two people involved in the preparations.

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Premier Xi Jinping Brags Internet Must Be ‘Clean And Righteous’

China’s censorship is being exported throughout the world in order to “Uphold a clean and righteous space.” Xi wants to promote ‘works of culture and art’ but rejects all types of political dissent; it has the most draconian form of censorship and control of any nation on earth. ⁃ TN Editor

The internet must be “clean and righteous” and vulgar content must be resisted in the field of culture, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a meeting of senior propaganda officials, state media said on Wednesday.

The government has been tightening controls over internet content as part of what it says are efforts to maintain social stability, taking on “vulgar” and pornographic content as well as the unauthorised dissemination of news.

The moves come amid a broader clamp-down targeting online content from livestreams and blogs to mobile gaming, as the country’s leaders look to tighten their grip over a huge and diverse cultural scene online popular with China’s youth.

Speaking at a two-day meeting, attended by officials from major state media outlets and the internet regulator, Xi said propaganda efforts needed to be put front and centre, the official Xinhua news agency said.

“Uphold a clean and righteous internet space,” the report cited Xi as saying.

China shut as many as 128,000 websites that contained obscene and other “harmful” information in 2017, Xinhua reported in January, citing government data.

China’s media regulator has also been cracking down on video spoofs, as part of the intensified crackdown on any content that is deemed to be in violation of socialist core values under Xi.

Despite strict censorship, China has a fairly lively online community of bloggers, who frequently respond to breaking events with humorous – and sometimes risqué – sketches and short videos, although they often face their posts being taken down.

Xi told the meeting that those who work in culture and the arts had to express quality and responsibility and respect the law, Xinhua said.

“Reject the vulgar, the base and the kitsch,” Xi added. “Put forward more healthy, high quality internet works of culture and art.”

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China Names Technocrat Xu Lin As New International Propaganda Chief

Xu Lin is a Technocrat who was formerly China’s top Internet regulator. Now he will be in charge of global propaganda. He is an insider to top leadership and undoubtedly will attempt to spread censorship throughout the world. ⁃ TN Editor

China has officially appointed its former internet tsar Xu Lin, a trusted aide to Xi Jinping, as its new international propaganda chief.

The appointment confirms an earlier report by the South China Morning Post that Xu would take charge of the State Council Information Office, the government press office which doubles as the Communist Party’s international propaganda office.

The appointment is the latest move in a shake-up of China’s propaganda and internet leadership, as an increasingly assertive Beijing tries to improve its image abroad and push the party’s line at home, amid growing criticism.

Xu, 55, a former aide to Xi when the latter was the Shanghai party boss, had been the head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the chief online watchdog and censor, since June 2016. He was replaced earlier this month by Zhuang Rongwen, 57, another former aide to Xi.

The changes are part of Beijing’s efforts to fix a propaganda and censorship system plagued by corruption scandals, including the downfall of Lu Wei, Xu’s predecessor at the CAC whom Beijing labelled “tyrannical” and “shameless”.

Lu has since been charged with taking “huge amount of bribes” and is awaiting trial.

Analysts have said that by installing trusted aides in the key posts, Xi was attempting to build a loyal and effective team to improve China’s image on the international stage, just as it is coming under greater scrutiny by governments ranging from the United States to Australia.

Under Xi, Beijing has adopted a more assertive foreign policy, proudly showcasing its economic, military and technological might and taking on a leadership role in areas such as combating climate change. It has also declared to the world its ambitions to retake the global centre-stage, as part of the “great rejuvenation of the nation”.

But the country’s growing ambition and nationalist pride has also aroused unease among its neighbours, who are watching with wary eyes the rapid expansion of its belt and road trade and investment initiative, and its growing military presence in the disputed South China Sea.

Beijing’s alleged political interference in Western countries such as Australia – which China denies – has also triggered a strong backlash, prompting the Australian government to pass sweeping national security legislation that bans foreign interference in politics.

Some critics have also blamed the overblown, nationalistic claims in state media about China’s strength and progress – billed as dwarfing its counterparts in the West – and the cheering of its industrial development policy for raising alarm in the West, prompting the US to bill China as a strategic competitor and rival power.

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Scientists: AI Algorithm Betters Humans In Finding Fake News

Technocrat data scientists are barking up the wrong tree. Note they never say that their black box algorithms can find truth, which logically should precede isolating falsehoods. Yet, their alleged breakthrough is hailed as ‘a new weapon in the fight against misinformation.’ ⁃ TN Editor

An algorithm-based system that identifies telltale linguistic cues in fake news stories could provide news aggregator and social media sites like Google News with a new weapon in the fight against misinformation, according to new research.

The researchers who developed the system demonstrated that it’s comparable to and sometimes better than humans at correctly identifying fake news stories.

In a recent study, the system successfully found fakes up to 76 percent of the time, compared to a human success rate of 70 percent. In addition, their linguistic analysis approach could be used to identify fake news articles that are too new to be debunked by cross-referencing their facts with other stories.

Rada Mihalcea, a computer science and engineering professor at the University of Michigan who’s behind the project, says an automated solution could be an important tool for sites that are struggling to deal with an onslaught of fake news stories, which people often create to generate clicks or to manipulate public opinion.

Catching fake stories before they have real consequences can be difficult, as aggregator and social media sites today rely heavily on human editors who often can’t keep up with the influx of news. In addition, current debunking techniques often depend on external verification of facts, which can be difficult with the newest stories. Often, by the time a story is proven a fake, the damage has already been done.

Linguistic analysis takes a different approach, analyzing quantifiable attributes like grammatical structure, word choice, punctuation, and complexity. It works faster than humans and it can be used with a variety of different news types.

“You can imagine any number of applications for this on the front or back end of a news or social media site,” Mihalcea says. “It could provide users with an estimate of the trustworthiness of individual stories or a whole news site. Or it could be a first line of defense on the back end of a news site, flagging suspicious stories for further review. A 76 percent success rate leaves a fairly large margin of error, but it can still provide valuable insight when it’s used alongside humans.”

Linguistic algorithms that analyze written speech are fairly common today, Mihalcea says. The challenge to building a fake news detector lies not in building the algorithm itself, but in finding the right data with which to train that algorithm.

Fake news appears and disappears quickly, which makes it difficult to collect. It also comes in many genres, further complicating the collection process. Satirical news, for example, is easy to collect, but its use of irony and absurdity make it less useful for training an algorithm to detect fake news that’s meant to mislead.

Ultimately, Mihalcea’s team created its own data, crowdsourcing an online team that reverse-engineered verified genuine news stories into fakes. This is how most fake news is created, by individuals who quickly write them in return for a monetary reward, Mihalcea says.

Researchers recruited participants with the help of Amazon Mechanical Turk and paid them to turn short, actual news stories into similar but fake news items, mimicking the journalistic style of the articles. At the end of the process, the research team had a dataset of 500 real and fake news stories.

They then fed these labeled pairs of stories to an algorithm that performed a linguistic analysis, teaching itself to distinguish between real and fake news. Finally, the team turned the algorithms to a dataset of real and fake news pulled directly from the web, netting the 76 percent success rate.

The details of the new system and the dataset that the team used to build it are freely available, and Mihalcea says news sites or other entities could use them to build their own fake news detection systems. She says that incorporating metadata such as the links and comments associated with a given online news item could further hone future systems.

The researchers will detail the system in a paper they’ll present at the 27th International Conference on Computational Linguistics in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Social media feeds

Social Media Technocrats Meet in Secret To Plot Election Strategies

Technocrats do very little in public because they have little regard for the political process or politicians. This is likely not the first such secret meeting as evidenced by the apparent collusion to censer certain alternative media at the same time.  ⁃ TN Editor

Representatives from a host of the biggest US tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter, have scheduled a private meeting for Friday to share their tactics in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections.

Last week, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, invited employees from a dozen companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Snapchat, to gather at Twitter’s headquarters in downtown San Francisco, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“As I’ve mentioned to several of you over the last few weeks, we have been looking to schedule a follow-on discussion to our industry conversation about information operations, election protection, and the work we are all doing to tackle these challenges,” Gleicher wrote.

The meeting, the Facebook official wrote, will have a three-part agenda: each company will present the work they’ve been doing to counter information operations; there will be a discussion period for problems each company faces; and a talk about whether such a meeting should become a regular occurrence.

In May, nine of those companies met at Facebook to discuss similar problems, alongside two US government representatives, Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Chris Krebs and Mike Burham from the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, created in November. Attendees left the meeting discouraged that they received little information from the government.

Tech companies, Facebook and Twitter in particular, have faced intense scrutiny for how slowly they initially reacted to reports that foreign intelligence and affiliated operations used their platforms to manipulate users ahead of the 2016 election, leading to drops in user confidence and a threat of regulation from lawmakers.

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Facebook Exec Warns News Outlets To Cooperate Or End Up Dying In ‘Hospice’

Technocrat social media giants are seeking to dominate the entire propaganda industry and will throw progressives and the left-wing under the bus just as fast as conservatives. This clearly demonstrates that Technocracy has a different agenda than left or right, and is much more dangerous because of the collective power that they currently wield. ⁃ TN Editor

During a closed-door and off-the-record meeting last week, top Facebook executive Campbell Brown reportedly warned news publishers that refusal to cooperate with the tech behemoth’s efforts to “revitalize journalism” will leave media outlets dying “like in a hospice.”

“We desperately need to develop alternative delivery mechanisms to Facebook.”
—Judd Legum, ThinkProgress

Reported first by The Australian under a headline which read “Work With Facebook or Die: Zuckerberg,” the social media giant has insisted the comments were taken out of context, even as five individuals who attended the four-hour meeting corroborated what Brown had stated.

“Mark doesn’t care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes,” Brown reportedly said, referring to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “We will help you revitalize journalism… in a few years the reverse looks like I’ll be holding hands with your dying business like in a hospice.”

As The Guardian reported on Monday, Facebook is “vehemently” denying the veracity of the comments as reported by The Australian, referring to its own transcript of the meeting. However, Facebook is refusing to release its transcript and tape of the gathering.

Brown’s warning about the dire prospects for news outlets that don’t get on board with a future in which corporate giants like Facebook are the arbiters of what is and isn’t trustworthy news comes as progressives are raising alarm that Facebook’s entrance into the world of journalism poses a major threat to non-corporate and left-wing news outlets.

As Common Dreams reported in July, progressives’ fears were partly confirmed after Facebook unveiled its first slate of news “segments” as part of its Facebook Watch initiative.

While Facebook claims its initiative is part of an effort to combat “misinformation,” its first series of segments were dominated by such corporate outlets as Fox News and CNN.

Reacting to Brown’s reported assertion that Zuckerberg “doesn’t care about publishers,” Judd Legum, who writes the Popular Information newsletter,argued, “Anyone who does care about news needs to understand Facebook as a fundamental threat.”

“In addition to disputed quote, there are also Facebook’s actions, which are fully consistent with the quote,” Legum added. “We desperately need to develop alternative delivery mechanisms to Facebook.”

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Google Launching Censored Search Engine In China

Technocrat birds of a feather flock together but take urgent warning here: If Google bows to autocratic China to censor its citizens, it will bow to any government to do the same. In fact, the censorship engine is already built and tested and effectively weaponizes the Internet against the people of the world. ⁃ TN Editor

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept can reveal.

The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

Teams of programmers and engineers at Google have created a custom Android app, different versions of which have been named “Maotai” and “Longfei.” The app has already been demonstrated to the Chinese government; the finalized version could be launched in the next six to nine months, pending approval from Chinese officials.

The planned move represents a dramatic shift in Google’s policy on China and will mark the first time in almost a decade that the internet giant has operated its search engine in the country.

Google’s search service cannot currently be accessed by most internet users in China because it is blocked by the country’s so-called Great Firewall. The app Google is building for China will comply with the country’s strict censorship laws, restricting access to content that Xi Jinping’s Communist Party regime deems unfavorable.

The Chinese government blocks information on the internet about political opponents, free speech, sex, news, and academic studies. It bans websites about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, for instance, and references to “anticommunism” and “dissidents.” Mentions of books that negatively portray authoritarian governments, like George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, have been prohibitedon Weibo, a Chinese social media website. The country also censors popular Western social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as American news organizations such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Documents seen by The Intercept, marked “Google confidential,” say that Google’s Chinese search app will automatically identify and filter websites blocked by the Great Firewall. When a person carries out a search, banned websites will be removed from the first page of results, and a disclaimer will be displayed stating that “some results may have been removed due to statutory requirements.” Examples cited in the documents of websites that will be subject to the censorship include those of British news broadcaster BBC and the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

The search app will also “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, the documents state. The censorship will apply across the platform: Google’s image search, automatic spell check and suggested search features will incorporate the blacklists, meaning that they will not recommend people information or photographs the government has banned.

Within Google, knowledge about Dragonfly has been restricted to just a few hundred members of the internet giant’s 88,000-strong workforce, said a source with knowledge of the project. The source spoke to The Intercept on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to contact the media. The source said that they had moral and ethical concerns about Google’s role in the censorship, which is being planned by a handful of top executives and managers at the company with no public scrutiny.

“I’m against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people, and feel like transparency around what’s being done is in the public interest,” the source said, adding that they feared “what is done in China will become a template for many other nations.”

Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with human rights group Amnesty International, told The Intercept that Google’s decision to comply with the censorship would be “a big disaster for the information age.”

“This has very serious implications not just for China, but for all of us, for freedom of information and internet freedom,” said Poon. “It will set a terrible precedent for many other companies who are still trying to do business in China while maintaining the principles of not succumbing to China’s censorship. The biggest search engine in the world obeying the censorship in China is a victory for the Chinese government – it sends a signal that nobody will bother to challenge the censorship any more.”

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Congress Starts Fight Against Twitter Over Shadow Banning

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Twitter after he discovered that his account was being shadowbanned – the practice of excluding or reducing the visibility of one’s tweets from normal circulation on the platform.

Gaetz’s decision comes after several weeks of conservative users proving that they’ve been subject to “Quality Filter Discrimination” (QFD) shadowbans, as well as a “glitch” reported by VICE that excluded user’s names from auto-populating search results.

During an appearance with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Gaetz announced that he had filed the FEC complaint, which “gives his political rivals an unfair advantage,” reports Cassandra Fairbanks of the Gateway Pundit.

Earlier in the week, Gaetz told the Daily Caller “The evidence is piling up that I am being treated differently on Twitter than people on the political Left and I don’t like that because I enjoy the Twitter platform, I enjoy the engagement, I enjoy the candor,” adding “I would think that having won my election with 69 percent of the vote to serve in the Congress that the marketplace of ideas could accommodate my views.”

Gaetz also equated his Twitter shadowban to directly helping his political opponents.

“So I believe that Twitter may have illegally donated to the campaigns of my opponents by prejudicing against my content,” he said, while also noting over Twitter that several prominent conservative lawmakers were also subject to the practice.

Perhaps in his FEC complaint Gaetz will include undercover videos from Project Veritas, which caught several Twitter employees in Januaryadmitting to shadow bans and other bias against conservatives.

Abhinav Vadrevu:  “One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control. The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting but no one sees their content.”

“So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it. I don’t know if Twitter does this anymore.”

Meanwhile, Olinda Hassan, a Policy Manager for Twitter’s Trust and Safety team said on December 15th, 2017 at a Twitter holiday party that the development of a system of “down ranking” “shitty people” is in the works:

“Yeah. That’s something we’re working on. It’s something we’re working on. We’re trying to get the shitty people to not show up. It’s a product thing we’re working on right now.”

As we reported on Wednesday, Twitter’s product lead Kayvon Beykpour issued a mostly useless explanation over the platform on Wednesday morning, suggesting that they’re “always working to improve our behavior-based ranking models,” and that their “breadth an accuracy doesn’t make judgements based on political views.”

And on Friday, Twitter issued an Orwellian proclamation announcing that they totally don’t shadowban people, except then they describe exactly how they do so.

People are asking us if we shadow ban. We do not. But let’s start with, “what is shadow banning?”

The best definition we found is this: deliberately making someone’s content undiscoverable to everyone except the person who posted it, unbeknownst to the original poster.” –Twitter 

Then, Twitter reiterates they don’t shadow ban – with the caveat in parentheses that you may need to go directly to the timeline of some users in order to see their tweets.

“We do not shadow ban. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.” –Twitter 

In other words, Twitter says they don’t shadow ban – it’s just that tweets from people you follow may never appear unless you click directly into their timeline.

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Youtube Bets $300 Million To Become Top Content Provider For ‘Authoritative’ News

Youtube is dominating the global news cycle by providing and pushing what it determines is ‘authoritative news’. The Google News Initiative will invest up to $100 million per year for the next three years to lifting up ‘quality journalism.’ Internally, they are developing a working group of newsrooms to crank out their own news stories.  ⁃ TN Editor

Following a year in which YouTube has repeatedly promoted conspiracy theory videos during breaking news events like the shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Las Vegas, on Monday the company announced a slew of new features it hopes will help makes news on the platform more reliable and less susceptible to manipulation. The company is also investing $25 million in grants to news organizations looking to expand their video operations as part of a larger, $300 million program sponsored by YouTube’s sister company, Google.

According to YouTube executives, the goal is to identify authoritative news sources, bring those videos to the top of users’ feeds, and support quality journalism with tools and funding that will help news organizations more effectively reach their audiences. The challenge is deciding what constitutes authority when the public seems more divided than ever on which news sources to trust—or whether to trust the traditional news industry at all.

Among the many changes YouTube announced Monday are substantive tweaks to the tools it uses to recommend news-related videos. In the coming weeks, YouTube will start to display an information panel above videos about developing stories, which will include a link to an article that Google News deems to be most relevant and authoritative on the subject. The move is meant to help prevent hastily recorded hoax videos from rising to the top of YouTube’s recommendations. And yet, Google News hardly has a spotless record when it comes to promoting authoritative content. Following the 2016 election, the tool surfaced a WordPress blog falsely claiming Donald Trump won the popular vote as one of the top results for the term “final election results.”

YouTube is also expanding a feature, currently available in 17 countries, that shows up on the homepage during breaking news events. This section of the homepage will only surface videos from sources YouTube considers authoritative. The same goes for the videos that YouTube recommends viewers watch next.

These changes attempt to address the problem of misinformation online without adding more human moderators. With some 450 hours of video going up on YouTube every minute, “human curation isn’t really a viable solution,” Neal Mohan, YouTube’s chief product officer, told reporters Monday.

Traditionally, YouTube’s algorithm has prioritized a user’s personal viewing history, as well as the context of the video that user is currently watching, when deciding what videos to surface next. That can be problematic because, as researchers have found, once you watch one conspiracy-theory video claiming that the student survivors of the Parkland shooting are crisis actors, YouTube may recommend you watch even more. With this change, the company is trying to interrupt that downward spiral. It’s important to note, though, that YouTube is applying that standard only to breaking news and developing stories. For all other videos users find on YouTube, the recommendation engine will work the old-fashioned way, which, YouTube executives acknowledge, may well turn up content that people find objectionable.

“There are going to be counter points of view, and there’s going to be [videos] where people who have a conspiratorial opinion are going to express them,” Mohan says. “What I think we can do is, instead of telling users what to think, give them as much information as possible, so that they can make those decisions themselves.”

To that end, YouTube is also beginning to implement its previously announced partnerships with Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica, which it will use to fact-check more evergreen conspiracy theories about, say, the moon landing or the Bermuda Triangle. Those videos will now feature an information panel with context from either Encyclopedia Brittanica or Wikipedia. For the moment, though, these panels are being applied only to a small subset of videos that, Mohan says, “tend to be accompanied by misinformation,” meaning they’re hardly a cure-all for the vast quantities of new and less predictable misinformation being uploaded to YouTube every day.

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Major Labor Union Joins Coalition To Regulate Facebook

For every regulation imposed there are 10 ways to get around it, and Technocrats at Facebook have proven themselves to be very agile. Free market forces are the best way to curtail Facebook by simply refusing to pay money to it. Meanwhile, many other alternatives are popping up that will take market share away from Facebook. ⁃ TN Editor

The leading U.S. communications union is joining a coalition calling for the Federal Trade Commission to break up and regulate Facebook.

Bloomberg reports that the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the top U.S. communications union, has joined the Freedom From Facebook coalition. “We should all be deeply concerned by Facebook’s power over our lives and democracy,” said Brian Thorn, a researcher for CWA, which currently has approximately 700,000 members. In an email to Bloomberg, Thorn stated that for the FTC to not break Facebook up and impose stronger privacy regulations “would be unfair to the American people, our privacy, and our democracy.”

Facebook is currently being investigated by the FBI, the SEC, the FTC and the Department of Justice in relation to user privacy issues following the Cambridge Analytica user data leak which allegedly involved the personal information of 87 million Facebook users left vulnerable.

The CWA currently represents workers for a number of companies, such as AT&T, but does not currently represent Facebook employees. CWA communications director Beth Alen discussed the union’s ability to influence regulatory processes saying in an interview: “There’s a lot of public pressure around this issue. We hope to increase that public pressure around it, and I’m fairly optimistic that there is an appetite for making some progress there.”

Allen further stated that Facebook is “a whole new kind of entity that I think regulators are struggling to keep up with,” noting that the company has such a wide-range of businesses that fall under the Facebook brand, such as WhatsApp, Instagram and many more.

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