The Hissy Fit Generation and The Loss of Free Speech VI: The Jekyll & Hyde of Social Media (3)

Photo by Zulmaury Saavedra on Unsplash

“People will accept ideas presented in technological form that would be abhorrent in any other form. It is utterly strange to hear my many old friends in the world of digital culture claim to be the true sons of the Renaissance without realizing that using computers to reduce individual expression is a primitive, retrograde activity, no matter how sophisticated your tools are.”

  — Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget

Censorship and Fakebook News

Since the fake news trope has been doing the rounds Facebook is now the Establishment’s social media tool of choice to combat the rise of alternative news outlets, as well as more mainstream but editorially more responsible news rooms such as Russia’s wildly popular flagship news network RT.  Under the banner of “tackling fake news” Zuckerberg’s crusade is the perfect platform for the terminally offended and the easily swayed by the vast echo chamber of predominantly left-liberal delusions that make up Facebook’s political discourse. News is further filtered, sanitised and put through the algorithmic grinder of FB’s ideology.

It doesn’t matter whether you are left or right leaning in your views  – one political belief censored in favour of another is bad news for free speech and democracy. Indeed, in late 2016 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to employ a few websites that would have the honour of labelling stories as “fake news” according to an agreed media consensus. These include ABC News, and PolitiFact, and the so-called myth-busting website According to conservative website The Daily Caller there is a problem:Almost all of the writers churning out fact checks for Snopes have a liberal background, and many of them have expressed contempt for Republican voters. The Daily Caller could not identify a single Snopes fact-checker who comes from a conservative background. Snopes did not respond to a list of questions from The DC regarding the site’s ideological leaning.” [1] Match this with Facebook curators and you are unlikely to get unbiased news, rather  it will be selected according to what is deemed acceptable to modern day, left-liberal thinking. As discussed previously such thinking is no longer the kind of leftism that values free speech but has slipped into opinion-hungry authoritarianism.  

Debunking spurious news stories is less admirable when it comes from mega-corporations who are walking in step with Establishment, the cogs of which are greased by psychopathic perceptions. Thankfully, a large proportion of the public are simply not buying it.[2] This is due to the hard evidence provided by independent media of the very thing of which it has been accused: propagating lies and fake news propaganda. This is what makes it so painfully ironic. The mainstream media is, and has always been fake news. It has been caught red-handed, with its pants down  on numerous occasions, peddling sometimes subtle psyops and on other occasions ludicrous BS that would have made Machiavelli cry with shame. Whether it’s 24hr fear-mongering, Deep State anti-Russian propaganda, paid-up editorials, or the ping-pong of culture wars,  the MSM has been at the forefront of the most atrocious fake news for many decades.

Facebook has elected to take on the “disinformation” circulating from alternative news outlets and conveniently forget the most obvious examples of fake news which was spread by most of the corporate-chained MSM. The explosive details of tacit media support and collusion for the Clinton election campaign exposed in the Wikileaks Podesta emails and by The Intercept was purposely omitted and suppressed by Facebook, Google and Twitter as a matter of policy – policy which is founded on personal opinion of their CEOs and shaped by the Liberal arm of the Establishment.  This included drafting news pieces and handing them to suitably “friendly” media plants dotted around MSM outlets. [3] An internal strategy document dated January 2015 reads: “As we discussed on our call, we are all in agreement that the time is right [to] place a story with a friendly journalist in the coming days that positions us a little more transparently while achieving the above goals.” [4] All of this and more was happily shared on social networks with Facebook as the primary disseminator.

Similarly, if it does not conform to Facebook’s community guidelines, terms and conditions (which are heavily influenced by the now dominant reflex of postmodern (PC) nonsense) then it is, according to Facebook,  hate speech. Since genuine hate speech occurs in only a tiny majority of cases, as admitted by Zuckerberg himself, then it stands to reason that the right to a reasonable discussion of important topics that dominate broader issues is under serious threat.

Since Donald Trump – like him or loathe him – won the election despite the factual and proven DNC corruption,  it seems social media as a whole is being redesigned to ensure such a populist rejection of Elite control does not occur again. Which is why FB is dutifully cracking down on all things Russian, including news stories from international news room RT (formerly known as Russia Today) because painting the fantasy of president Vladimir Putin and his minions as arch-hackers of the US election is required by the Clinton cartel and their media lackeys. Any narrative counter to “The Russians hacked the election” “Hillary Clinton should have been President” “Trump is racist” “Vladimir Putin is evil” etc. – all of which are supreme examples of verifiable fake news – then you can expect censorship problems regarding your Facebook account.

The Liberal Establishment arm of the Deep State is having its own hissy fit since it didn’t get Hillary into the Whitehouse, nor did it get its sticky fingers on Syria and therefore its plans for the Middle East. It is for this reason that they hate Russia and Putin with a passion, especially since the Russian military have managed to rout the Anglo-American proxy force called “ISIS” and comprehensively redraw Middle Eastern strategy away from the carnage that was state-sponsored terror and regime change. Which is why the US State Department and the Department of Defence have legitimised a new form of “red-under-the-bed” McCarthyism with  social media mobilised to serve their  agenda.

And if you think THIS is a product of fake news then have a look at what former U.S. Army officer Clint Watts had to say at the (very poorly attended) Congressional hearing on “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online.” As a self-elected “expert” on Russian interference, he whipped up images of shadowy hackers and their Kremlin overseers stating: “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”  [5]

Watts is a fairly standard representative of a low-level paranoid authoritarian follower who is intent on “driving dissident media off the internet.” He and many individuals like him are being shunted into the media spotlight and milked as propaganda capital. Deep insiders have enormous vested interests in finding a new enemy upon which the financial and geostrategic advancements can continue unabated. They are also determined to distract and divert us from the real disintegration of their power base, both financial and political. As economics and tech author Charles Hugh Smith describes, this is a powder-keg of realisation that they are hoping to micro-mange: “…history is clear: declining social mobility, declining access to political power, declining financial security and the rising concentration of wealth and power in elites are what drives social discord and instability, not the meddling of “outside agitators.”  The elite tried the same strategy in the era of social discord created by the wealth-power extremes of The Gilded Age: to distract the nation from the obvious source of instability– unprecedented concentrations of wealth and power in the hands of the few–the media was filled with stories blaming ‘outside agitators.’ Don’t fall for it[6]

And with the worlds’ richest 500 having just increased their wealth by $1 trillion due to a huge increase in global stock markets means income inequality is as wide as ever.   They are not about to give this addiction up without new forms of coercion.

Source: Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management, World Wealth Report, 2015

And this all leads back to why RT’s Facebook page was blocked by the social media giant, an unprecedented move since no other media outlet’s content has been targeted in quite the same way. This attack on free speech extended to blacklisting journalists and academics who had appeared on RT care of PropOrNot, a not-so-mysterious intel psyop creation whose funders were entirely absent due to its crudely obvious role as an online psyops outlet. Its remit is to bolster the flagging witch-hunt against Russia and those that support her. The blacklist of 200 independent media web sites was happily shunted around social media despite its ties to Koch Bros, Soros, CIA, MI6 and Ukrainian Nazis. [7]

Why is RT popular? Could it be that it is offering something Western media is not? Or as Alex Gorka of Strategic Culture Foundation wrote:  “RT challenges the West’s hegemonic grip on shaping and controlling the global media agenda. The broadcaster is popular with Western audiences because it offers a refreshingly different perspective. The RT broadcasting is called ‘propaganda’ simply because it says something different.” [8]

With any luck, the more Western presstitutes attempt to shut down RT’s reach, the more likely it is to push up its ratings still further. Elite plans haven’t been going too well of late, though not for the want of trying. Accounting for perhaps 90 percent of all search engine traffic, Google has disclosed plans to “de-rank” articles from Sputnik and RT to reduce their reach – a clear case of censorship and very far from net neutrality.

The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act was part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, (NDAA) that President Obama signed into law last year. The bill effectively outlines the creation of an Orwellian Ministry of Truth that will censor social narratives deemed propaganda and therefore against American interests: “the U.S. Congress would ask the United States Secretary of State to collaborate with the United States Secretary of Defense and other relevant Federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center to fight against propaganda from foreign governments, and publicize the nature of ongoing foreign propaganda and disinformation operations against the U.S. and other countries. The bill said this inter-agency effort should: “counter foreign propaganda and disinformation directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests.” [9]

Eddward Rhymes of Telesur describes what this really means for users of social media:

“One can see how open-ended such a law is and how broad the implications against free speech are. This law, that hasn’t been paid attention to a great deal, is the chief reason that the U.S. can pressure a media organization, such as RT, into registering as “foreign agents.”  The more diabolical aspect of this, is where Facebook and Twitter comes in. Part of the Countering Foreign Propaganda & Disinformation Act are the government grants available to those who help ‘collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda’ directed at the U.S. and its allies, as well as “counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability” of the U.S. and allied nations.

The vehemence with which Twitter and Facebook are going after RT, is not based upon any democratic altruism or ‘noble’ patriotism, but rather getting its piece of the US$619 billion pie allocated to the newly created and heavily-funded Ministry of Truth and the New Red Scare. And, who knows how many other “legitimate” news organizations or social media entities have come to feed from this same trough”  [10]

Yet, it’s not only pro-Russian media outlets that are being targeted as we can see from the blatant hypocrisy of ProporNot. Any websites and blogs who offer counter-narratives to the Establishment line are coming under attack. After all, there is ultimately a lot of cash involved and peace is not profitable.

“As these internal documents demonstrate, a central component of the Clinton campaign strategy is ensuring that journalists they believe are favorable to Clinton are tasked to report the stories the campaign wants circulated.

The Intercept

Since rolling out its censorship plan a variety of tools have been tested on FB users using the criterion of “misleading language” to the wording of  news titles. It seems the vast amounts of data that will be generated is more about how to insulate and restrict important news stories rather than offer a closer approximation to the truth. Left-liberal ideology dominates social media companies which means stories will be tailored according to what they deem is best for you.

Writing for The Duran Guilherme Schneider reminds us:

“In a not so distant past, content curators from Facebook confirmed that they received direct orders from the company to decrease the relevance or even hide from the newsfeed stories and content with conservative language. While this happened in the US, similar stories have been reported in Brazil, the United Kingdom around the time of the Brexit, and in other countries” […]

It is true that when you create a profile on Facebook or any other social network, you have to accept their terms and conditions in exchange of the “non-paid” use of their platforms. Most of these terms and conditions allow the social networks to analyze the information you are publishing and reading for several proposes, including targeted advertisements and many others, but is it ethical to take advantage of this information in order to define what content you should or should not see?” [11]

Anyone in favour of free speech will surely answer “No.” But the problem with policing Facebook is due in part, to its reliance on artificial intelligence to evaluate content. Hordes of FB moderators operate across the globe who are debriefed about FB protocol and guidelines but the final word is given to an algorithm. And as journalist Pepe Escobar says: “algorithm is an opinion wrapped up in code.” And when an automated opinion is used to decide what is real news and fake news then you have a ready-made system of thought control which is subtle enough to go unnoticed – that is until you start spouting those regurgitated opinions instead of facts and claiming you have knowledge. This way lies an emotional contagion propagated by the very people who should be calling it out.

The loony-tunes nature of artificial intelligence policing new stories and their images was revealed in 2016 when Facebook censored the infamous war photo that saw the aftermath of a US bombing mission in Vietnam. The controversial image captured a Vietnamese family fleeing for their lives with a crying, half-naked little girl as the central focus, having had her clothes ripped from her body from the blast. She was Kim Phuch, the “napalm girl” who quickly became a symbol of the peace movement and very probably assisted in the eventual withdrawal of the US from Vietnam.

When Facebook user Tom Egeland wanted to begin a debate on “seven photographs that changed the history of war” he featured the photo in his FB post. To his shock and surprise, the post was deleted followed by his own suspension from the social network.

Pepe Escobar explains what followed:

Aftenposten, the number one Norwegian daily, owned by Scandinavian media group Schibsted, duly relayed the news, alongside the photo.  Facebook then asked the paper to erase the photo – or to render it unrecognizable in its online edition. Yet even before the paper responded, Facebook censored the article as well as the photo in Aftenposten’s Facebook page.  Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg protested it all on her Facebook page. She was also censored.  Aftenposten then slapped the whole story on its front page, alongside an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg signed by the newspaper director, Espen Egil Hansen, accusing Facebook of abuse of power.  It took a long 24 hours for the Palo Alto colossus to back off and ‘unblock’ the publishing. [12]

There are many other examples with less famous photos and on a variety of different topics that come under the algorithmic programming, in turn sourced from Facebook opinion. And when a mass consensus is based on enforced opinion by stealth, rather than adherence to transparency and facts then we have a problem. And it is a problem exacerbated by an unwillingness to see it because Facebook and social media in general has become so much a part of our lives.

Billionaire George Soros has for decades used his money to manipulate US  federal and foreign election laws which includes the financial support for colour revolutions and its related media coverage across the world.  Fresh from donating millions to the doomed Clinton election bid and long time donator to the Clinton Foundation, Soros’ Open Society Foundation was busy funding Facebook’s so called “fact-checking initiative” designed to graciously flag disputed news stories for loyal users. As Brian MacDonald wrote for RT last year:  “To filter content, Facebook has joined up with Poynter, an self-proclaimed ‘international fact-checking network’ which presents itself as a neutral body with great integrity. Yet, a cursory glance at its funding sources is enough to set alarm bells ringing. They include Pierre Omidyar, George Soros and Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA soft-power cutout. As it happens, regular RT readers will remember these three as the primary foreign backers of Ukraine’s Maidan coup in 2014.” [13]

In fact, as recently reported in a Bloomberg article this month, FB has its own roving global government and politics team that “actively works with political parties and leaders including those who use the platform to stifle opposition—sometimes with the aid of “troll armies” that spread misinformation and extremist ideologies.” Not our Zuckerberg surely? It’s much professed neutrality is a sop to those who are happy to take their word for it. Unfortunately, the social media giant will work for anyone at all. According to Lauren Etter, Vernon Silver and Sarah Frier investigations: “The unit is led from Washington by Katie Harbath, a former Republican digital strategist who worked on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. Since Facebook hired Harbath three years later, her team has traveled the globe helping political clients use the company’s powerful digital tools.” Political campaigns are graced with Harbath’s team who “sit alongside Facebook advertising sales staff who help monetize the often viral attention stirred up by elections and politics. They train politicians and leaders how to set up a campaign page and get it authenticated with a blue verification check mark, how to best use video to engage viewers and how to target ads to critical voting blocs.” [14]

You can easily see that this is somewhat more than just a  mutual back-scratching exercise when we factor in US intelligence providing spook support at strategic points in this operations. As the writers of the Bloomberg article mention: “The company’s relationship with governments remains complicated.” Not so. It is very probably a lot less complicated than we think since the government wholeheartedly supports Facebook behind the scenes as part of the new information-industrial complex and essential to its social deconstruction.

There may be apparent pressure from civil liberty groups and civic organisations saying that Facebook is failing to monitor extremism of all kinds but this is both a logistical impossibility without that is, giving up some of freedoms for the greater good. (See that familiar pattern once again?) Meantime, Facebook’s political unit can be on hand to offer digital training whomever they wish and preferably those contiguous with Anglo-American geopolicy. Data is just too valuable to waste when you can employ a range of platforms that switch on a multitude of propaganda buttons all at the same time, from oiling the indignation for regime change to ensuring Barack Obama was “the first Facebook President” for our times.

“Facebook in particular is the most disgusting of all espionage tools ever invented.”

— Julian Assange

All of this isn’t exactly a shock for those who have recognised that FB was hi-jacked by the CIA very early on. Now, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is being groomed to take over the role of Soros as the fresh-faced soci0-cultural dominator of our times. Zuckerberg has followed a similar path to Bill Gates who was quickly courted by the same bottom-feeders who see access to great wealth as fair game for the Grand Design. Since Bill & Mark are pretty much the same personality profile (authoritarian followers, programming geniuses, Narcissistic tendencies, easily manipulated by flattery etc.) with staggering wealth it was only a matter of time before Zuckerberg was fated to become the new tech-luvvie of the Left-Liberal Establishment order and tasked with information warfare and mass mind control through his massive Facebook leverage.

The power of the media monopoly is being transferred to social media with the potential to shape public opinion in ways undreamt of. Facebook can legally it seems, tamper with news feed stories in order to stifle more conservative viewpoints and inflate left-liberal causes. More worryingly, they can keep a tight lid on their strategy in the same manner as any vast corporation whether it’s about their face scanning, violation of user privacy or encroaching censorship. Users are dollar signs. That’s it.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks has called the mainstream media creators of “weaponised text” designed to coerce and disinform behind a mask of good journalism. He had no doubt read uber-programmer Cathy O’Neil’s book: Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (2016). In the book O’Neil shows just how pervasive the use of algorthims and artificial intelligence really is stretching across all societal domains from government, law enforcement and business to banking and the justice system. It’s like a primitive religion grafted onto a rapidly developing technology that has yet to catch up with any form of wisdom and real-world applications. Or, as O’Neil opines: It’s like you’re being put into a cult, but you don’t actually believe in it.”

She explains more on the nature of this coming disparity:

“…it is everywhere, so we have it in lending, we have it insurance, we have it in job-seeking. For minimum wage jobs, especially, personality tests. But for white-collar jobs you have more and more resume algorithms that sort resumes before any human eyes actually see themYou have algorithms that are the consequences of surveillance; they take surveillance at work mostly. Especially for people like truckers who used to have a lot of independence, but now are completely surveilled. And then they use all their data to create algorithms.  It is not going to get better just with better data… Because these things are being done in situations where people do not have leverage, they don’t have the ability to say “no,” like you can theoretically opt out of something online. You cannot opt out of answering questions when you’re getting a job.

These models decide what people to police or who to put into jail longer. It’s additive: A person is going to be measured up by these algorithms, in multiple ways over their lifetime and at multiple moments. The winners are going to win and the losers are going to lose and the winners are not even going to see the path of the loser. It has an air of inevitability to it. Because we don’t see it. We don’t see it happening. It’s not like a public declaration, here’s how we figured this out and here’s who won and here’s who lost. It’s often secret.  It’s subtle. It happens different times for different people, so in some ways I realized that the failure of this system was a very different kind of failure than what we had seen in the financial crisis.  When the financial crisis happened, everyone noticed. People panicked, it was very loud. This, this is the opposite. This is like a quite individual level sort of degradation. Of civil society. [15]

Which is why there’s little public debate about it. Meantime, it appears Facebook’s news feeds are ready to become the new “Ministry of Truth” for our times and a primary channel for such warfare.   

As we discussed in the first few posts in this series, hate speech is being redefined to include that which is opposite or even slightly tangential to left-liberal thinking. This is already an entirely Orwellian trajectory. Since most media and social networks are overwhelmingly influenced by millennials and generation Z it is logical that they are products of post modern, neo-Marxist programming and currently the engine of authoritarianism at this time. Social networks are beefing up their rules on hate speech and while Facebook leads the charge, Twitter is close behind.

In a new announcement this month the company said it would be enforcing stricter rules over what it constitutes as hateful and harmful behaviour on its platform. This widening of the concept of hate speech is now so obviously political censorship that there is probably no way to slow down such a momentum. According to BBC News“Information contained in a person’s profile, regardless of what they actually tweet, will now be considered. Those who express an affiliation with groups that use or celebrate violence to achieve their aims will be permanently suspended…Hateful imagery – such as the Nazi swastika – will now be hidden. A “sensitive media” prompt will be shown to users before they can opt to view it. But such content will no longer be allowed on a person’s profile page, and users will be asked to remove it. Repeat violators will be banned.” [16]

Do you see how subjective this all is? History is now prohibited and assigned only a social justice context; where “hateful” and “harmful” mean anything that offends and touches a nerve. This is mixed and conflated with genuine hate speech so that everything that is not fluidly sensitive and and socially “acceptable” will also be erased. White wash the present in order to conform to the deletion of the past as a negative feedback loop.

Remember, for the brainwashed postmodernist, there is no separation between violent speech and acts of violence. As ridiculous as that may seem it is a trenchant philosophy which has corroded the minds of many with left-liberal sensibilities. So, when Facebook and Twitter seek to ban users who have merely an affiliation and use imagery to exercise their free speech this will automatically translate as “harmful” and “hateful” thus censorship steamrolls ahead.

Twitter further states: “If an account’s profile information includes a violent threat or multiple slurs, epithets, racist or sexist tropes, incites fear, or reduces someone to less than human, it will be permanently suspended.” [17]  

Incites fear? A slur? Sexist tropes? How about hurting someone’s feelings? Freedom of speech is lost in making sure snowflake sensibility never melts when exposed to the friction of diverse and sometimes uncomfortable views. Even more darkly hilarious is that military or government entities are exempt from these new rulings along with possible flexibility for “groups that are currently engaging in (or have engaged in) peaceful resolution.” When we realise that government and the military are responsible for the most egregious crimes against humanity it displays the most ignorant – even dangerous – appraisal of reality where ordinary people are policed and the State is afforded free speech – a complete reversal of morality and basic human values.

Again, which opinion and ideology decides who is “peaceful” and who is “hateful”? Those that conform to Official culture. We can begin to understand this inversion when Twitter’s Orwellian Trust and Safety Council  consists of “representatives from more than 40 organisations dealing with, among other things, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism and racism.” [18] 

Clearly, a most unbiased and impartial gathering of ideologues…

Although some commentators believe Facebook “has a First Amendment right to publish content in any way it wants, just as a newspaper or magazine publisher has a free hand in deciding what to print”, this is a deeply naive appraisal of the role of corporations and the State, not least as the effects of digital information becomes wired into our every waking moment. The First Amendment was formulated under the assumption that corporations do not become an extension of government policy and further, when the algorithmic reach becomes an integral part of lives in ways that newspapers were not. Facebook does not offer another version of “freedom of the press” but actively encourages a form of addiction predicated on profits. At the same time it filters reality in order to replace it with government sourced propaganda and the increased censorship that inevitably follows. This is a form of digital mind colonisation that is individually tailored and thus a form of ubiquitous neuro-hacking, tied as it is to personal and private worlds. The danger is that propaganda narratives become fused with dopamine hits and taken as facts because we are in a state that is open to such material. And Facebook means to dissect your life for data if it means it has to track you wherever you are online to do it.

“What facial recognition allows is a world without anonymity”

— Alvaro Bedoya, Georgetown University Law Centre

The Book of Faces: Tracked and Surveilled

Although some studies suggests that Facebook appears to be waning as the primary tool for social media by millennials (who prefer Instagram and Snapchat – which Facebook owns) other analyses indicate the opposite. It appears that the younger segment of millennials (20-25) are much more likely to have an account than those aged 26-30 for example. [19] Nonetheless, the bottom line: the vast majority of the public find the social media platform the most popular, fully integrating its functionality into smart phone usage and the lap top at work. Yet, despite the common knowledge that our data is being mined by corporations to be sold on to advertisers and marketers and for surveillance by the State, it doesn’t seemed to have dented the steady rise of new users signing up for Facebook accounts. It is all the more bizarre since Facebook curators routinely lie about their true reasons for claiming our data, covering up their objectives with flowery words of networking communities that will bring the world together to fight injustice and inaugurate a new time of peace and plenty for all.

Take this example of “brutal dishonesty” from which illustrates how Facebook says one thing publicly and does something quite different privately:

“Facebook does not track users across the web…” – A Facebook spokesperson on September 5, 2011.

“Generally, unlike other major Internet companies, we have no interest in tracking people.” Facebook employee on September 25, 2011 v.

“A method is described for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain.” – Facebook Patent application dated September 22, 2011. [20]

Not content with tracking your every online move, it seems that facial recognition is the latest weapon to be found in Facebook’s arsenal of privacy invasion care of its Paris-based artificial intelligence lab. Facebook has the biggest cache of images – mostly of the public – anywhere and at any time in history. And as we know, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In the hands of the technocrats words and pictures are fused to produce an even greater information resources on each and every individual user.

Facebook worked with an Israeli company called for purposes of identifying and “tagging” photos of users, ostensibly for greater networking potential. developed an app for i-phones whereby users can automatically tag photos – including details of age and gender – prior to posting on FB.  The social network bought the company in 2012 for an estimated $55 and $60 million with a view to extending its reach on both desktop PCs and smart phones, an expansion that is fast moving ahead. This is a great news for their intelligence overseers and even better news for Facebook since its continued success depends how much trust it can garner from Wall St. As Somni Sengupta writes in The New York Times: “Facebook’s short term future … depends in large part on how it takes advantage of cellphones and tablets – and how it spins money from one of its singular assets: pictures of babies, weddings, vacations and parties.” [21]

This means that the 83% percent accuracy of the image surveillance technology can a vast storage of images from Flickr to Picasa and allow even more flexibility and options for FB users. And the down side? Clare Bernish writing for AntiMedia highlights the controversy of such a move:

“Though the algorithm is strikingly advanced, its very concept allows a rather gaping potential for abuse. When identifying someone in public is as simple as an automated algorithm, there is no opting out.  Facial recognition is yet another example of technology outpacing law. Talks held last week by U.S. government agencies to establish guidelines for the new technology failed miserably when privacy advocates stormed out in protest. At issue was the answer to a seemingly simple question: ‘If you are walking down the street, a public street, should a company be able to identify you without your permission?’ ” [22]

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