Facebook: Promoting Hate and Division

MIT Technology Review offers a look inside Facebook.

Facebook uses algorithms and machine learning programs to maximize user engagement (keep users hooked). It seems people are most interested in the divisive stuff and rumors. So Facebook promotes that sort of socially-damaging stuff.

In 2017, Chris Cox, Facebook’s longtime chief product officer, formed a new task force to understand whether maximizing user engagement on Facebook was contributing to political polarization. It found that there was indeed a correlation, and that reducing polarization would mean taking a hit on engagement. In a mid-2018 document reviewed by the Journal, the task force proposed several potential fixes, such as tweaking the recommendation algorithms to suggest a more diverse range of groups for people to join. But it acknowledged that some of the ideas were “antigrowth.” Most of the proposals didn’t move forward, and the task force disbanded.

[A] former employee…no longer lets his daughter use Facebook.

Movie at the Ellipse: A Study in Fascist Propaganda

On January 6, Trump supporters gathered at a rally at Washington DC’s Ellipse Park, regaled by various figures from Trump world, including Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani. Directly following Giuliani’s speech, the organizers played a video. To a scholar of fascist propaganda, well-versed in the history of the National Socialist’s pioneering use of videos in political propaganda, it was clear, watching it, what dangers it portended. In it, we see themes and tactics that history warns pose a violent threat to liberal democracy. Given the aims of fascist propaganda – to incite and mobilize – the events that followed were predictable.

Read more at JustSecurity.org (it’s a chilling read)

Barrett was trustee at private school with anti-gay policies

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom.

The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., both before Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she served.

The three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia, are affiliated with People of Praise, an insular community rooted in its own interpretation of the Bible, of which Barrett and her husband have been longtime members.

AP

Wisconsin: Trump Fans the Flames of Hate

Trump continued to denounce Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Thursday, calling her a “dictator” and legitimizing the actions of the fascist militiamen who plotted to kidnap and kill her.

“Michigan, she [Whitmer] has to open up,” Trump said on Fox Business. Whitmer “wants to be a dictator in Michigan and the people can’t stand her,” he said, insisting that people “want to get back to work … the schools have to open, the businesses to open.”

His thinly veiled threats also highlight the critical role played by the far-right militias as the spearhead of the ruling class’ policy of “herd immunity.” Fascists are being mobilized to threaten violence against officials responsible for implementing even the most mild lockdown measures in order to force the entire country back to work.have to open.”

World Socialist Web Site

Trump Calls U.S. War Dead “Losers”, “Suckers”

A new report details multiple instances of President Donald Trump making disparaging remarks about members of the U.S. military who have been captured or killed, including referring to the American war dead at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France in 2018 as “losers” and “suckers.”

AP

In one account, the president told senior advisers that he didn’t understand why the U.S. government placed such value on finding soldiers missing in action because they had performed poorly and gotten caught and deserved what they got.

Washington Post

The Misery of Working in TrumpWorld

A lawyer working in TrumpWorld illustrates how miserable it is to do so while having functioning brain cells.

She hated going to work. In the lobby of the Justice Department building, six blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, Newland had to pass under a large portrait of the president. Every morning as she entered the building, she avoided looking at Trump, or she used side doors, where she wouldn’t be confronted with his face. At night she slept poorly, plagued by regrets. Should she have pushed harder on a legal issue? Should she engage her colleagues in the lunchroom again? How could she live with the cruelty and bigotry of executive orders and other proposals, even legal ones, that crossed her desk? She was angry and miserable, and her friends told her to leave. She continued to find reasons to stay: worries about who would replace her, a determination not to abandon ship during an emergency, a sense of patriotism. Through most of 2018 she deluded herself that she could still achieve something by staying in the job.

Then there were Tump attacks on FBI director Andrew McCabe and his wife Jill, with Trump forcing McCabe’s firing 26 hours before McCabe was eligible for his pension.

TrumpWorld is worse than a swamp. It’s a cesspool.

The Atlantic

Why Won’t Twitter Treat White Supremacy Like ISIS? Because It Would Mean Banning Some Republican Politicians Too.

Republicans have long taken to complaining when their warped ideology and tribe are questioned. One of their recent complaints: “Republicans are discriminated against on social media”. That argument is, of course, bullshit.

At a Twitter all-hands meeting on March 22, an employee asked a blunt question: Twitter has largely eradicated Islamic State propaganda off its platform. Why can’t it do the same for white supremacist content?

In separate discussions verified by Motherboard, that employee said Twitter hasn’t taken the same aggressive approach to white supremacist content because the collateral accounts that are impacted can, in some instances, be Republican politicians.

Motherboard (Vice)

It has also been observed that if Twitter banned white supremacists, many of those banned would be Trump supporters, and that would result in an uproar from the cult of the moron. Apparently, Twitter prefers to avoid an uproar from the moron’s cult.