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Stan Lee, Marvel Comics’ Real-Life Superhero, Dies at 95 (Plus His Top 10 Greatest Comics)

By Mike Barnes | The Hollywood Reporter

The feisty writer, editor and publisher was responsible for such iconic characters as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther and the Fantastic Four — ’nuff said.

Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor and publisher of Marvel Comics whose fantabulous but flawed creations made him a real-life superhero to comic book lovers everywhere, has died. He was 95.

Lee, who began in the business in 1939 and created or co-created Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil and Ant-Man, among countless other characters, died early Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a source told The Hollywood Reporter.

Lee’s final few years were tumultuous. After Joan, his wife of 69 years, died in July 2017, he sued executives at POW! Entertainment — a company he founded in 2001 to develop film, TV and video game properties — for $1 billion alleging fraud, then abruptly dropped the suit weeks later. He also sued his ex-business manager and filed for a restraining order against a man who had been handling his affairs. (Lee’s estate is estimated to be worth as much as $70 million.) And in June 2018, it was revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department had been investigating reports of elder abuse against him.

On his own and through his work with frequent artist-writer collaborators Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko (who died in July) and others, Lee catapulted Marvel from a tiny venture into the world’s No. 1 publisher of comic books and, later, a multimedia giant.

In 2009, The Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion, and most of the top-grossing superhero films of all time — led by Avengers: Infinity War‘s $2.05 billion worldwide take earlier this year — have featured Marvel characters.

“I used to think what I did was not very important,” he told the Chicago Tribune in April 2014. “People are building bridges and engaging in medical research, and here I was doing stories about fictional people who do extraordinary, crazy things and wear costumes. But I suppose I have come to realize that entertainment is not easily dismissed.”

Lee’s fame and influence as the face and figurehead of Marvel, even in his nonagenarian years, remained considerable.

Beginning in the 1960s, the irrepressible and feisty Lee punched up his Marvel superheroes with personality, not just power. Until then, comic book headliners like those of DC Comics were square and well-adjusted, but his heroes had human foibles and hang-ups; Peter Parker/Spider-Man, for example, fretted about his dandruff and was confused about dating. The evildoers were a mess of psychological complexity.

“His stories taught me that even superheroes like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk have ego deficiencies and girl problems and do not live in their macho fantasies 24 hours a day,” Gene Simmons of Kiss said in a 1979 interview. “Through the honesty of guys like Spider-Man, I learned about the shades of gray in human nature.”

(Kiss made it to the Marvel pages, and Lee had Simmons bleed into a vat of ink so the publisher could say the issues were printed with his blood.)

The Manhattan-born Lee wrote, art-directed and edited most of Marvel’s series and newspaper strips. He also penned a monthly comics column, “Stan’s Soapbox,” signing off with his signature phrase, “Excelsior!”

His way of doing things at Marvel was to brainstorm a story with an artist, then write a synopsis. After the artist drew the story panels, Lee filled in the word balloons and captions. The process became known as “The Marvel Method.”

Lee collaborated with artist-writer Kirby on the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Silver Surfer and X-Men. With artist-writer Ditko he created Spider-Man and the surgeon Doctor Strange, and with artist Bill Everett came up with the blind superhero Daredevil.

Such collaborations sometimes led to credit disputes: Lee and Ditko reportedly engaged in bitter fights, and both receive writing credit on the Spider-Man movies and TV shows. “I don’t want anyone to think I treated Kirby or Ditko unfairly,” he told Playboy magazine in April 2014. “I think we had a wonderful relationship. Their talent was incredible. But the things they wanted weren’t in my power to give them.”

Like any Marvel employee, Lee had no rights to the characters he helped create and received no royalties.

In the 1970s, Lee importantly helped push the boundaries on censorship in comics, delving into serious and topical subject matter in a medium that had become mindless, kid-friendly entertainment.

In 1954, the publication of psychologist Frederic Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent had spurred calls for the government to regulate violence, sex, drug use, questioning of public authority figures, etc., in the comics as a way to curtail “juvenile delinquency.” Wary publishers headed that off by forming the Comics Code Authority, a self-censoring body that while avoiding the heavy hand of Washington still wound up neutering adult interest in comics and stereotyping the medium as one only kids would enjoy.

Lee scripted banal scenarios with characters like Nellie the Nurse and Tessie the Typist, but in 1971, he inserted an anti-drug storyline into “The Amazing Spider-Man” in which Peter Parker’s best friend Harry Osborn popped pills. Those issues, which did not carry the CCA “seal of approval” on the covers, became extremely popular, and later, the organization relaxed some of its guidelines.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, he grew up poor in Washington Heights, where his father, a Romanian immigrant, was a dress-cutter. A lover of adventure books and Errol Flynn movies, Lee graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project, where he appeared in a few stage shows, and wrote obituaries.

In 1939, Lee got a job as a gofer for $8 a week at Marvel predecessor Timely Comics. Two years later, for Kirby and Joe Simon’s Captain America No. 3, he wrote a two-page story titled “The Traitor’s Revenge!” that was used as text filler to qualify the company for the inexpensive magazine mailing rate. He used the pen name Stan Lee.

[Read more here]

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They Want To Kill FREE SPEECH [But We Won’t Let Them]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeIAzl_BpAQ

Source: SGTReport

Facebook is targeting what they deem “fake news” with third party verification, while in the EU the fascist oligarchy in the European Parliament has passed the Copyright Directive with Articles 11 and 13 which are targeted directly at free speech, which fortunately is protected in the United States by the Constitution, and on line by the Fair Use clause. But it’s clear that the NWO would like to kill the internet and cleanse it of free speech because they are losing badly in the public square of ideas. Bill Ottman the CEO of Minds.com joins the SGTReport to discuss.




Facebook Accused of ‘Full-Frontal Suppression of Dissent’ After Independent Media Swept Up in Mass Purge

“Those who demanded Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants censor political content—something they didn’t actually want to do—are finding that content that they themselves support and like end up being repressed,” noted The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald in response to Facebook’s announcement. “That’s what has happened to every censorship advocate in history.” (Photo: Legal Loop)

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

The massive shutdown affected many sites devoted to covering war, police brutality, and other issues neglected by the corporate media.

After Facebook announced on Thursday that it shut down and removed hundreds of pages and accounts that it vaguely accused of spreading “spam” and engaging in “inauthentic behavior,” some of the individuals and organizations caught up in the social media behemoth’s dragnet disputed accusations that they were violating the platform’s rules and raised alarm that Facebook is using its enormous power to silence independent political perspectives that run counter to the corporate media’s dominant narratives.

While it is reasonable to assume that some of the more than 800 total pages and accounts shut down by Facebook were engaged in overtly fraudulent behavior—such as the use of fake accounts and bots to generate ad revenue—numerous independent media outlets that cover a wide array of issues say they were swept up in the massive purge despite never using such tactics.

“Facebook has removed the pages of several police accountability/watchdog/critic groups, including Cop Block, the Free Thought Project, and Police the Police,” Washington Post journalist Radley Balko noted in a tweet following Facebook’s announcement. “They’ve also apparently severely restricted activity for the Photography Is Not a Crime page.”

Activist, comedian, and political commentator Lee Camp argued that Facebook’s purge is clear evidence that the “purging of anti-establishment thought is upon us” and described the account shutdowns as “full-frontal suppression of dissent.”

Speaking to journalist Alex Rubinstein after they found out Facebook shut down their pages—some of which had hundreds of thousands of followers—the founders of Police the Police, the Free Thought Project, and other now-shuttered pages denied Facebook’s hazy charge of “fraudulent” activity and accused the company of attempting to suppress dissenting voices that refuse to toe the corporate line.

“Our approach generally is to cover stories and angles that corporate media underreport or misreport and to amplify activist and anti-war voices and stories. All of our content is professionally fact-checked and edited,” said Nicholas Bernabe, founder of The Anti-Media, a self-described “anti-establishment” website whose Facebook page was shut down along with hundreds of others on Thursday. “I can only speculate that these suspensions were a coordinated effort to stifle our message ahead of the coming elections.”

While some of the pages Facebook removed on Thursday were affiliated with right-wing sites that were spreading patently false stories, censorship opponents have long warned of the “slippery slope” of empowering corporate giants to suppress certain kinds of content, given that the suppression almost always expands far beyond the original target.

“Those who demanded Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants censor political content—something they didn’t actually want to do—are finding that content that they themselves support and like end up being repressed,” noted The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald in response to Facebook’s announcement. “That’s what has happened to every censorship advocate in history.”

Though Facebook has yet to release a full list of the pages and accounts it removed, several individuals affected by the purge have taken to other social media platforms to denounce the social media giant for squashing pages that took years to develop.


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THE PURGE IS HERE: Hundreds of Political Social Media Pages Deleted Without Warning

Source: Press For Truth

The Press For Truth Facebook page with over 300,000 followers, and the Anti-Media page of over two million Facebook followers were both unpublished on October 11 without warning, as well as hundreds of other indy/alternative news Facebook pages. For details, watch the above video with Dan Dicks of Press For Truth.

CLN Editor Note: The Conscious Life News Facebook page was one of the many, many fan pages removed during the first round of the Facebook purge. See HERE a list of pages removed in early June of this year.

For additional perspectives regarding the Facebook purge, watch the videos below with Carey Welder (Anti-Media) and Derrick Broze (The Conscious Resistance):

Source: Carey Wedler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMlUBaU35nk

Source: The Conscious Resistance




Visionary Report Demands ‘New Social Contract’ to Curb Threats Tech Giants Pose to Democracy

A report from New America calls for federal action establishing a digital social contract that is “rooted in transparency, privacy, and competition.” (Image: bitsfrombytes.com/Flickr/cc)

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams

“The crisis for democracy posed by digital disinformation demands a new social contract for the internet rooted in transparency, privacy, and competition,” declares a new report that challenges the overwhelming power wielded by large tech firms and the online platforms they now control.

Published by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank New America—and building on a previous paper titled Digital Deceit—the new report by Dipayan Ghosh of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and Ben Scott of the Omidyar Network argues that “as a democratic society, we must intervene to steer the power and promise of technology to benefit the many rather than the few.”

The intervention they propose in Digital Deceit II is not small. As Ghosh told the Wall Street Journal, “We need to completely reorganize the way that industry works.”

“For two decades, public policy has taken a hands-off approach to these new markets, believing that regulation might blunt innovation before these technologies reached maturity,” the report explains. “Now, we have dominant market players that have built the most valuable companies in the world, and yet they still operate largely without the oversight of public government.”

Considering that “the companies that control this market are among the most powerful and valuable the world has ever seen,” it notes, “we cannot expect them to regulate themselves.”

Collectively presented as a “digital social contract,” the report’s proposed federal regulations fall into three categories—transparency, privacy, and competition—and are “designed to foster open digital markets while protecting against clear public harms and supporting democratic values.”

To promote more disclosures regarding the forces that use social media in hopes of influencing public opinion, they call for:

  • Real-time and archived information about targeted political advertising;
  • Clear accountability for the social impact of automated decision-making; and
  • Explicit indicators for the presence of non-human accounts in digital media.

To safeguard consumer privacy and promote users having more control over personal data, they suggest:

  • Consumer control over data through stronger rights to access and removal;
  • Transparency for the user of the full extent of data usage and meaningful consent; and
  • Stronger enforcement with resources and authority for agency rule-making.

To ensure that consumers “have meaningful options to find, send, and receive information over digital media,” they recommend:

  • Stronger oversight of mergers and acquisitions;
  • Antitrust reform including new enforcement regimes, levies, and essential services regulation; and
  • Robust data portability and interoperability between services.

Recent state-level action and polling show that the American public supports stricter regulations for tech firms. In June, Pew found that the majority of Americans “believe these companies should be regulated more than they are now.” That same month, California lawmakers passed legislation that led some to conclude that the state  “could be the bellwether for the privacy movement.”

Ghosh and Scott recognize the California measure was “watered down after interest lobbying,” but assert in the new report that as “the most protective privacy standard anywhere in the United States,” the law deserves “recognition as the starting point for a path forward at the national level.”

Pointing to their January paper and changes to data collection and advertising standards that tech companies have announced in recent months, Ghosh—who previously worked as a White House technology adviser under former President Barack Obama—told the Journal he doesn’t believe that major firms will go far enough to protect consumers unless they are forced to by federal regulatory action.

“I think we both felt at the beginning of the year, there was potential to talk to the industry,” Ghosh said, referring to his co-author. “We are increasingly disillusioned now.”

Meanwhile, Congress appears inclined to only hear the recommendations from the tech industry. Representatives for Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter are slated to testify Wednesday for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation about protecting users’ data. Despite outcry that corporate interests will dominate the hearing and demands that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the committee chairman, also invite the nation’s leading consumer advocacy groups to attend, the witness list has not changed.


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Facebook Condemned for Empowering Right-Wing Magazine to “Drive Liberal News Outlets Into the Ground”

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

When Facebook selected the right-wing, Iraq War-boosting magazine The Weekly Standard as an official fact-checking partner last year as part of its effort to combat “misinformation,” progressives warned that the conservative publication would use its power to suppress accurate articles published by center-left and left-wing outlets.

That’s precisely what happened.

After ThinkProgress published an article by Ian Millhiser last week arguing that Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh’s comments during his Senate confirmation hearings combined with a speech he gave in 2017 eliminates “any doubt” that the judge opposes the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, the Weekly Standard deemed the article “false“—a designation that, given Facebook’s rules and the platform’s enormous power, cuts off 80 percent of the piece’s future traffic and penalizes other pages that dare to post the article.

Expressing opposition to Facebook’s decision to hand the factually-challenged Weekly Standard the power to decide what is and isn’t fact-based news, The Intercept republished Millhiser’s piece on Friday with a statement from The Intercept‘s editor-in-chief Betsy Reed, who condemned the social media giant’s decision to tank “a fairly straightforward legal analysis” at the behest of a right-wing magazine.

“That legal analysis, the article noted, matched comments Kavanaugh had made in a speech in 2017,” Reed writes. “Facebook, meanwhile, had empowered the right-wing outlet the Weekly Standard to ‘fact check’ articles. The Weekly Standard, invested in Kavanaugh’s confirmation, deemed the ThinkProgress article ‘false.’ The story was effectively nuked from Facebook, with other outlets threatened with traffic and monetary consequences if they shared it.”

“The story is republished below with permission from ThinkProgress,” Reed concluded, “though not from Facebook or the Weekly Standard.”

Progressive outlets and commentators have been warning since Facebook launched its latest news feed algorithm that allowing such a powerful corporation to become the arbiter of “trustworthy” sources would threaten non-corporate and left-wing outlets that publish information.

These warnings took on a new sense of urgency after Facebook began giving a ton of airtime to Fox News and making publications like the Weekly Standard the gatekeepers of legitimate news.

Demonstrating that Facebook has no plans to apply critical scrutiny to articles published by the very outlet it has empowered as an official fact-checker, The Intercept‘s Jon Schwartz found three basic falsehoods in a single paragraph of an article published on the Weekly Standard‘s website on Friday.

As of this writing, the Weekly Standard has not yet deemed its article “false.”


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Do Your Good Deed for the Day, Share Wai Lana’s New Colors Video

In what has now turned into a much-anticipated tradition, world-renowned yoga teacher Wai Lana has released another new music video in celebration of the 4th Annual International Day of Yoga on June 21st. The release of Colors follows Wai Lana’s three previous Yoga Day releases, each of which were viewed by millions of people from all over the world.

Beginning in 2015 on the first International Yoga Day, Wai Lana’s Namaste spread the important message of being respectful to all. Then in 2016, her Alive Forever short film brought to life the ancient yogic meditation “Aham Brahmasmi,” showing us that, by appreciating the immortality of the soul, we can overcome the sadness that often accompanies the aging of our bodies. Then came 2017.

Oh My Sweet Lord was a beautiful masterpiece, revealing Wai Lana’s heart and soul. It reminded us to always remember our Sweet Lord and thus fulfill our inherent desire to love and be loved. Now, with her fun and upbeat Colors music video, Wai Lana is introducing us to a simple and practical world-view, one that can put an end to unnecessary racial conflict and disharmony. So check out Colors. It’s such an easy good deed to share it with your friends and family, but it can make a world of difference in people’s lives.

 




Facebook User Engagement Dives As Social Media Alternatives Boom

By Joseph Jankowski | Activist Post

As Facebook continues to grapple with the revelations of private user data being leaked to Cambridge Analytica, and taking part in the suspicious deplatforming of Alex Jones, the social media giant has taken a double-digit hit on key metrics.

According to Wednesday night data from website ranking service Alexa, Facebook is down 10% on Daily Time on Site.

Daily Time on Site is a measurement of the daily amount of time each visitor has spent on the platform.

Zuckerberg’s brainchild is also up 13% on Bounce Rate, meaning more people have been visiting the page only once, without exploring the site further.

Alexa engagement metrics are updated daily based on the trailing 3 months.

The metrics reveal that Facebook is down almost 10% on Daily Pageviews per Visitor, an indication that users may be lacking interest in what they see and experience on the site.

The amount of people landing on the website from a search engine is also down more than 7%.

As Facebook slumps, alternative social media platforms are booming.

Minds, an open source social media site running on blockchain tech, is up 3,334 slots in its global daily rank as of Wednesday evening.

According to Alexa, a website’s global rank is calculated with a combination of average daily visitors to this site and pageviews on the site over the past 3 months. The site with the highest combination of visitors and pageviews is ranked #1.

Minds is down more than 11% on Bounce, up 24% on Daily Pageviews per Visitor and up 10% on Daily Time on Site.

Gab.ai, the sworn alternative to Twitter and Facebook, is also up in global ranking, with Alexa showing a positive move of 225 slots.

Gab.ai is also up 5% on Daily Pageviews per Visitor and 2% on Daily Time on Site.

Facebook’s double-digit downs are happening at a time when the President himself is beginning to be vocal about social media censorship.

“We are also standing up to social media censorship, that’s the new thing, that’s the new thing,” Trump said at his rally Tuesday in West Virginia. “You know, I’d rather have fake news like CNN, I’d rather have fake news, it’s true, than have anybody including liberals, socialists, anything, than have anybody stopped and censored.”


Joseph Jankowski is a contributor to PlanetFreeWill.com. His works have been published by globally recognizable news sites like Infowars.comZeroHedge.com, GlobalResearch.ca, and ActivistPost.com.

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That Facebook Will Turn to Censoring the Left Isn’t a Worry—It’s a Reality

People first? Well… not exactly. (Photo: rojean/flicker/cc)

On August 6, a number of giant online media companies, including FacebookYouTubeAppleSpotify and Pinterest, took the seemingly coordinated decision to remove all content from Alex Jones and his media outlet Infowars from their platforms.

Jones, perhaps the internet’s most notorious far-right conspiracy theorist, has claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, the Democratic Party is running a child sex ring inside a DC pizzeria and that the Las Vegas shooting was perpetrated by Antifa. Despite or perhaps because of such claims, his website Infowars has built up an enormous following: 3 million Americans, almost 1 percent of the population, visited the site in July 2018, according to Alexa.

The reaction from the media to the decision to ban Jones and Infowars was largely celebratory. On the Late Show (8/7/18), Stephen Colbert joked that it looked like “Infowars just lost their war on info.” The Daily Beast (8/9/18) urged readers to “shed absolutely no tears for Alex Jones,” while Salon (8/9/18) and CNN (8/9/18) put pressure on Twitter to follow suit, with the former asking, “Why is Alex Jones still allowed on Twitter?”

Some worried about a slippery slope of corporate censorship. Writing in Rolling Stone  8/2/18), Matt Taibbi warned: “The endgame here couldn’t be clearer. This is how authoritarian marriages begin, and people should be very worried.”

Yet this appeared to be a minority opinion. Media critic and news presenter David Doel shared his message to progressives via Twitter (8/6/18):

Lefties defending Alex Jones right now: I hear you, on the surface it appears to set bad precedent to give massive corporations control over who’s silenced. But if you aren’t performing hate speech, libel or slander on a regular basis, then I don’t know what you’re worried about.

Unfortunately, Facebook immediately used this new precedent to switch its sights on the left, temporarily shutting down the Occupy London page and deleting the anti-fascist No Unite the Right account (Tech Crunch8/1/18). Furthermore, on August 9, the independent, reader-supported news website Venezuelanalysis had its page suspended without warning.

The site does not feign neutrality, offering news and views about Venezuela from a strongly left-wing perspective. But it’s not uncritical of the Venezuelan government, either, and provides a crucial English-language resource for academics and interested parties on all sides wishing to understand events inside Venezuela from a leftist perspective, something almost completely absent in corporate media, which has been actively undermining elections (FAIR.org, 5/23/18) and openly calling for military intervention or a coup in the country (FAIR.org5/16/18).

My latest book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting, detailed the complete lack of diversity, and the strict adherence to an anti-Chavista editorial line, across corporate media. Venezuelanalysispraised by the likes of Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and John Pilger, offers an alternative perspective.

The abrupt nature of its de-platforming is a worrying development for alternative media. Following an appeal and a public outcry on social media, Venezuelanalysis was reinstated on Facebook. However, the social media site offered no explanation for what happened.

Facebook recently announced it had partnered with the Atlantic Council in an effort to combat “fake news” on its platform (FAIR.org5/21/18). An offshoot of NATO, the Council’s board of directors is a who’s who of neo-conservative hawks, including Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger and James Baker; CIA directors like Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden; retired generals like Wesley Clark and David Petraeus; as well as senior tech executives.

Forty-five percent of Americans get their news from Facebook. When an organization like the Atlantic Council decides what news we see and do not see, that is tantamount to state censorship.

Venezuelanalysis (12/13/17) exposed that the Council was working closely with the Venezuelan opposition, donating over $1 million to it, part of a wide-ranging effort at regime change against multiple progressive governments in the region (Brasilwire12/28/17). That Facebook censored a news site responsible for investigating its partner is a worrying development in journalism.

Venezuelanalysis’ statement (8/9/18) on its removal noted that “Facebook appears to be targeting independent or left-wing sites in the wake of Russiagate.” As I previously argued (FAIR.org7/27/18), the utility of the Russian “fake news” scandal is that it allows corporate media to tighten their grip over the means of communication. Under the guise of combating fake news, media organizations like Google, Bing, Facebook and YouTube have changed their algorithms. The effect has been to hammer progressive media outlets. AlterNet’s Google traffic fell by 63 percent, Media Matters by 42 percent, TruthOut by 25 percent and The Intercept by 19 percent (WSWS8/2/17). Sites like these that challenge corporate perspectives are being starved of traffic and advertising revenue.

On August 13, the situation escalated as Facebookciting a clause in its terms of service barring “hateful, threatening or obscene” media,  deplatformed TeleSUR English, an English-language Latin American news network. TeleSUR is funded by a number of Latin American states, including Venezuela, and offers news and opinion from a progressive viewpoint. It was set up precisely to provide an alternative to Western corporate-dominated media. In its statement on its censorship, TeleSUR English (8/13/18) noted, “This is an alarming development in light of the recent shutting down of pages that don’t fit a mainstream narrative.”

That Facebook’s stated concern about stopping the spread of hate speech is genuine is challenged by the fact that the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party went to Facebook headquarters in Berlin in 2017 to discuss how it could use the platform for recruitment and for micro-targeting in the German elections, as Bloomberg Businessweek (9/29/17) reported. Through Facebook and with the help of American companies, AfD nearly tripled its previous vote share, becoming the third-largest party in Germany, the far right’s best showing since World War II.

The Russian fake news scandal has provided enormous media monopolies an avenue to try to reassert control over the means of communication. This latest action by Facebook is part of a worrying trend towards greater censorship of media. It is unlikely it will end here. Progressives should not necessarily shed tears for Jones, but they should be aware that their media is next in line, and that Jones’ deplatforming sets a dangerous precedent that is already being used against them.

Following an appeal and a public outcry on social media, both Venezuelanalysis and TeleSUR English were reinstated on Facebook, with the latter being told being told its suspension was due to “instability” and “suspicious activity,” though it had earlier gotten a message accusing it of “violating our Terms of Use.” As Venezuelanalysis(8/9/18) noted, “the whole thing is extremely mysterious, to say the least.”


© 2018 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)




Social Score: Facebook Now Rating Trustworthiness of Users

By Joseph Jankowski

Facebook is now rating the trustworthiness of its users as a part of the effort to tackle “fake news.”

The new trustworthiness score, which was first reported in the Washington Post, will work on a scale of zero to 1 and is one of thousands of new behavioral tools Facebook uses to monitor its users with.

From the WaPo:

Facebook developed its reputation assessments as part of its effort against fake news, Tessa Lyons, the product manager who is in charge of fighting misinformation, said in an interview. The company, like others in tech, has long relied on its users to report problematic content — but as Facebook has given people more options, some users began falsely reporting items as untrue, a new twist on information warfare for which it had to account.

It’s “not uncommon for people to tell us something is false simply because they disagree with the premise of a story or they’re intentionally trying to target a particular publisher,” Lyons said.

Users’ trustworthiness score between zero and 1 isn’t meant to be an absolute indicator of a person’s credibility, Lyons said, nor is there is a single unified reputation score that users are assigned. Rather, the score is one measurement among thousands of new behavioral clues that Facebook now takes into account as it seeks to understand risk. Facebook is also monitoring which users have a propensity to flag content published by others as problematic and which publishers are considered trustworthy by users.

According to Lyons, one of the signals that will be used in the companies rating decision will be how interactions with articles are handled:

For example, if someone previously gave us feedback that an article was false and the article was confirmed false by a fact-checker, then we might weight that person’s future false news feedback more than someone who indiscriminately provides false news feedback on lots of articles, including ones that end up being rated as true.

This previously unreported rating system has been in development over the past year.

As the Washington Post notes, Facebook is likely wary to discuss the trustworthiness rating process in detail, in part because doing so might invite further gaming.

At a time when Facebook is subjectively enforcing policies which are wiping right-leaning journalists and commentators off their platform, the move to hand out a social reputation score will likely be perceived as a partisan weapon.

It wasn’t long ago that former Facebook employees revealed the company was rigging its trending news section to prevent conservative media outlets from ever reaching top ranks.

While Facebook has yet to make blatantly announcement of where its bias stands (although actions speak louder than words), Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey may have shined a light on the overall silicon big-tech attitude when he admitted this week that the bias over at his company leaned left.

The move to rank users’ trustworthiness follows a decision the Facebook made at the beginning of the year to use a similar scoring system for news organizations. All in the name of combating “fake news.”

“There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a January post. “Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don’t specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them.”

********

Joseph Jankowski is a contributor to PlanetFreeWill.com. His works have been published by globally recognizable news sites like Infowars.comZeroHedge.com, GlobalResearch.ca, and ActivistPost.com.

Follow PFW on MindsTwitterSteemitGab and sign up for our NEWSLETTER

Image credit: Anthony Freda Art




Facebook’s Anti-Fake News Campaign Backfires As People Start Trolling It For Censorship Of Free Speech

By Mike Sygula | Truth Theory

You might have seen the recent ad campaign from Facebook where they try to promote how they combat “fake news” and remove “fake accounts”. We all know that there has been a lot of misinformation and hoaxes being shared on the platform. However, their actions now seem to go way beyond removing misinformation and it seems like they are removing any content or accounts that they don’t like.

Only this year dozens of pages have been removed by Facebook, some sharing controversial information, some perhaps sharing hoaxes. The truth is that it is very hard to know what is true and what is not if you question the official story, which often is false anyway but approved by the majority.

For example, 9/11 conspiracy theories might be considered fake news by Facebook or Youtube, but it does not mean that claims coming from people who promote those stories aren’t unjustified. There are enormous inconsistencies in the official 9/11 story and many experts, including over 3000  architects and engineers, do not buy into the official story. Even some members of the 9/11 commision themselves have raised their concerns about the official story, some resigned from the board of the commission as a result. The fact that the third tower collapsed in almost free fall speed (Building 7), and it was not hit by any plane, is still a mystery to many experts.

The current “cracking down” on “fake news” coming from giants like Facebook or Youtube, is nothing more than blatant censorship of views that are challenging the official narrative. Only recently Infowars and all profiles of Alex Jones have been removed from Youtube, Facebook, and a few other platforms without showing any evidence for any violations.

The current trend is quite disturbing, but fortunately, a lot of users of the social media giant are aware of their censorship and started raising their concerns all over Facebook. The most active comments under one of their ad videos where Facebook tries to “promote how they combat fake news” are all about their recent censorship:

About the Author

I am Mike Sygula, author of this article and founder of Truth Theory, I just launched my brand new Ebook titled: “Growth Hacking Tips And Rituals For Optimal Living” CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY




‘Deeply Disturbing’: For Second Time This Year, Facebook Suspends Left-Leaning teleSUR English Without Explanation

CLN Editor Note: Facebook’s censorship is much, much bigger than just teleSUR English and Infowars. Here’s a month-old list on Reddit of 84 alternative media pages (including CLN!!!) that have been removed by Facebook without warning, without explanation, and with NO possibility for appeal (there’s very likely a bunch more by now) :

Warning!!! Facebook Has Gone Full Purge!!! They’re Deleting Alternative Media Pages En Masse!!!

I believe that Facebook’s censorship will eventually lead to their downfall. Check out this very pertinent, 4-minute video with Ben Swann (Reality Check) for reasons why I believe that.

Could Facebook’s Purge of Dissenting Voices Lead To Its Demise?



For the second time this year, Facebook removed TeleSUR English’s page without an explanation beyond claiming the media network had violated the platform’s terms of service. (Photo: TeleSUREnglish/Twitter)

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer | Common Dreams

For the second time this year, Facebook has suspended teleSUR English’s page, claiming the left-leaning Latin American news network violated the social media platform’s terms of service without any further explanation—a move that provoked outrage and concern among journalists, free speech advocates, and Big Tech critics.

In a short article posted on teleSUR’s website on Monday, the regional news network—which is based in Venezuela but also has received funding from Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua—explained:

teleSUR English’s page has been removed from Facebook for the second time this year without any specific reason being provided. It should be noted that the first time this occurred back in January 2018, Facebook did NOT provide any explanation in spite of our best efforts to understand their rationale. This is an alarming development in light of the recent shutting down of pages that don’t fit a mainstream narrative.

According to the outlet, “the only communication” teleSUR has received from Facebook was the following message:

Your Page “teleSUR English” has been removed for violating our Terms of Use. A Facebook Page is a distinct presence used solely for business or promotional purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual. If your Page was removed for any of the above reasons, it will not be reinstated. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in the permanent loss of your account.

The network has turned to Twitter to raise awareness about Facebook’s move, tweeting with the hashtag #BringBackteleSUREnglish:

Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone Project, called Facebook’s decision “deeply disturbing.” He also noted that the platform recently banned Venezuelanalysis.com, which like teleSUR offers a leftist perspective on Latin America, and raised alarm about Facebook’s work with the Digital Forensic Research Lab, a project of the Atlantic Council, a NATO-backed, D.C.-based think tank:

After Facebook banned Venezuelanalysis.com, Blumenthal shared his concerns on Aaron Maté’s podcast for The Real News:

Venezuelanalysis.com, for its part on Tuesday, offered solidarity to teleSUR againt Facebook’s “repressive actions,”  tweeting:

Comedian and activist Lee Camp, who hosts a comedy news show on RT America—a Russian government-funded, D.C.-based television news network that has been harshly ridiculed (pdf) by the U.S. intelligence community—praised teleSUR as “one of the best online resources for debunking Western propaganda about Venezuela.”

Sameera Khan, a correspondent for RT America, praised teleSUR’s coverage of the Pakistani elections, and also raised alarm about Facebook’s partnership with the Atlantic Council:

Glenn Greenwald connected the incident to the broader issue of urging social media companies to censor users, pointing to The Intercept‘s reporting on other instances of platforms silencing leftist voices:

https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1029323573805105152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Facebook’s decision to suspend teleSUR comes after Facebook, Apple, Google-owned YouTube, and Spotify banned right-wing radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. While the bans on Jones were welcomed by many, free speech advocates such as the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged caution, pointing to the other voices that have been—or could be in the future—silenced by increasingly powerful social media and online platforms.

“We should be extremely careful before rushing to embrace an Internet that is moderated by a few private companies by default, one where the platforms that control so much public discourse routinely remove posts and deactivate accounts because of objections to the content,” EFF senior staff attorney David Greene wrote for The Washington Post Monday.

“The power that these platforms have over the online public sphere should worry all of us, no matter whether we agree or disagree with a given content decision,” Greene added. “We must demand that they apply their rules consistently and provide clear, accessible avenues for meaningful appeal.”


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How to Do a Trump News Cleanse

By Ken Sheetz | DreamShieldPlanetaryMeditations.com

Good news, the fate of the world has not changed during my week of freedom from reading Trump news or watching Trump related media.

Even more interesting, because Trump is so omnipresent in the fixated media’s headlines and in my friends social media postings, I did not miss any important Trump news by ignoring the master agitator.

Most interesting of all, a lot of my accidental addiction to the endless cycle of anger filled Trump news has been released. I cried for half an hour today, day 7 of my #TrumpCleanse, and I do not cry as a habit very much.

I cried for the pain in both political camps, conservative and liberal. Both trapped in a cycle of mutual hatred.

I cried for my hero Tom Hanks getting smeared with the phony pedophile brush used by the extreme right to attack those who disagree with Trump.

I cried for the victims of school shootings getting accused by the extreme right of being actors.

I cried for lost friends from both ends of the political spectrum as I continue to hold the center, at least as I see it, between the true left and true right.

I cried for the left brain oriented people who love the world of illusion versus reality. The left side of the brain is numbers and analysis. So my theory, gained in the free time dropping Trump news gave me to meditate, is that left brained people are so starved for the fanciful they are prone to political brainwashing.

I cried for the rising Q movement that plays into a left-brained fever dream that Trump is some kind of genius secretly working with Mueller to draw out darkness Trump alone can solve in America’s soul. Now that’s one “sad” delusion.

I cried for great comedians of today who are raking up Trump schtick everyday.

I cried for our free press under constant attack by Trump and his followers.

I cried for a GOP in tatters and for the lost Dems, who serve the same corporate masters, who have yet to offer any real change I can discern.

I cried about the endless Russia investigation and the web of lies surrounding it on both sides.

I cried for the families of World War Two soldiers who died fighting the Nazi’s only to see Nazi-like racism rise on our own shores.

I cried for our allies who’ve been so badly mistreated by Trump.

I cried for all the people who serve and lie for Trump at the peril of the reputations and souls.

I cried for the constant devise bombardment of Russian trolls and their unchecked hacking of our democracy.

I cried for a lot more things wrong in our lives right now that have nothing to do with Trump, who serves as diversion while fat cats mess with our lives.

But most of all I cried at last for the loss of my brother Fred 8 months ago. Fred and I used to discuss politics for hours on end. I realize I’ve been using Trump news to avoid thinking of Fred.

My kid brother Fred was one of the smartest most insightful people I’ve ever known. Sadly, Fred was a perfectionist who fell into depression about our imperfect world. He escaped his pain through drugs and alcohol. And at only 62 Fred escaped this world for good, ending his life in a nursing home alone and estranged from me and our whole family.

Farewell, dear brother. I hope you’ll help us through these Trumpy times from the other side.

Fred (left) with me and mom

I am happy to report that after abstaining from Trump news for a full week I truly feel like a new man.  That’s a lot of emotional gain from simply tuning out the most famous man in the world.

Don’t believe me when I say Trump is the most famous person in the world? Well, a company called mediaQuant, which measures the value of free media exposure if it had to be bought, estimated in the month of January of 2017 that Trump got more media attention than the other top 1,000 celebrities in the world combined.  No wonder Trump’s so hard to ignore.

So feel no shame if you too are a Trump news junkie. Liberal or conservative, please consider giving yourself a Trump anger toxin free week. You will still know what’s happening without reading the slanted stories and video I assure you.

Again, tears are an emotional detox. So after a week, or longer if needed, of freedom from Trump’s circus be sure to have a box tissues ready because Trump’s angry America is a real tearjerker.

Please share this idea of doing a #Trumpcleanse. 

And be sure to check out a new cool tool for detoxing  yourself of EMF radiation we are proud to present at CoolestTechEver.com




What Will Happen Next After Alex Jones InfoWars Ban – Luke Rudkowski (WeAreChange)

In this video, Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange gives you the latest breaking news on what will happen next after the Alex Jones Infowars social media ban. Luke goes over the response from The Young Turks, Jimmy dore, vox and a lot more to highlight the argument that a private company could do what they want. Luke also discusses calls to censor Candace Owens Joe Rogan and others.




Could Facebook’s Purge of Dissenting Voices Lead To Its Demise?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaMFu3jmUJ8

Source: Ben Swann

Alex Jones banned, the Mind Unleashed disappears, and hundreds of other alt-news fan pages (including ConsciousLifeNews) removed… Is Facebook’s continued purge of dissenting voices on its platform going to lead to the demise of the company? Ben Swann gives it a Reality Check.