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Twitter suspends journalist who exposed democratic spambots

Twitter’s inability or unwillingness to allow criticism of their platform’s shortcomings is an affront to our freedom and to the American Dream.

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For months now, political observers have believed that something fishy was going on in the realm of democratic social media.

Certain aspects of this tomfoolery are fairly obvious:  Google’s blatant burying of certain stories, Facebook’s algorithmic malfeasance, and Reddit’s shadow banning all come to mind.

But Twitter is another animal altogether.  This real-time platform could very well be one of the most important tools that Americans have when it comes to protecting the First Amendment and, thusly, preserving our democracy.

That is why it is of the utmost importance that we remain vigilant to any and all egregious behavior by the blue bird posse.

Trending: Army Officer Who Knew Him Says Lt. Col. Vindman Has History of Anti-American Behavior

Geoff Golberg from Medium.com has done just that, by exposing how democratically-driven spambots were pushing the narrative that Andrew Yang would beat Donald Trump in a head-to-head race – despite the obvious flaws in that claim.

The #YangBeatsTrump hashtag began trending on Twitter earlier this afternoon after a poll showed President Trump trailing Andrew Yang by 8 points in New Hampshire.

Let’s take a look at some of the more active accounts pushing the hashtag.

BRI (@comeatmeehoe)

Meet “BRI” (@comeatmeehoe), who according to their Twitter bio is from Queens, NY…

“Bri” has tweeted more than 600 times today (September 10th, 2019) and more than 1,600 times over the past 3 days.

Moreover, @comeatmeehoe has retweeted tweets that include #YangBeatsTrump 387 times today (inclusive of retweets, it has tweeted the hashtag a total of 419 times today).

Golberg went on to expose several more of these dubious accounts, concluding:

At the time of data collection, #YangBeatsTrump had clocked around 15K tweets.

It certainly appears that coordinated inauthentic activity has contributed to #YangBeatsTrump trending.

For example, the 4 accounts reviewed in this post have tweeted the hashtag 1,151 times alone! (8% of the 15K tweets).

So, what has this intrepid journalist received for his work?

Democracy is dependent upon the freedom of speech.  Period.  Twitter’s inability or unwillingness to allow criticism of their platform’s shortcomings is an affront to our freedom and to the American Dream.

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Science/Tech

Report: Google Does Blacklist Conservative Sites Despite Claiming It Doesn’t

Google is secretly blacklisting conservative sites to prevent them from appearing in search results, despite public denials of doing so.

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Google is secretly blacklisting conservative sites to prevent them from appearing in search results, despite public denials of doing so.

The tech giant has claimed that it does not manipulate its search results to exclude conservative sites and also denies manipulating results to benefit certain big corporations. But a new report finds that the search giant has lied. It absolutely manipulates the results in those ways.

The report at the Wall Street Journal claims that Google blacklists certain sites going back as far as the early 2000s, including sites that continually break copyright laws and sites that contain certain types of pornography.

But Google also blacklists conservative sites so that they do not appear in searches for news.

Explaining the results of the report, Google claims that sites that do not adhere to its “inclusion policies” are “not eligible to appear on news surfaces or in information boxes in Search.”

Even though it appears that mostly conservative sites are blacklisted, Google maintains that it does not employ “political bias” to exclude sites from search results.

Indeed, just last year Google said it doesn’t blacklist conservatives at all. In a public statement, Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of public policy, said, “We don’t use blacklists/whitelists to influence our search results.”

Google also slammed the Journal’s story. In a statement this week, Google said:

This article contains a number of old, incomplete anecdotes, many of which not only predated our current processes and policies but also give a very inaccurate impression of how we approach building and improving Search.

Google adds that it only works to quash sites that are “actively deceptive.” By that they mean sites that hide true identities of owners, writers, and participants of the site, or sites that actively push false stories.

The Journal also found that Google pushes sites of big corporations over other small companies, especially big corporations that are Google advertisers.

Finally, the Journal report found that Google screens negative searches from its autocomplete results for Democrats to help maintain the left’s positive veneer.

The paper noted that if you type in “Joe Biden” in a number of search engines, one of the autocomplete choices is always “creepy” except when you use Google. “Creepy” is never associated with Biden in a Google search because, the paper says, Google purposefully prevents such results for Democrats.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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Science/Tech

Google Collected Medical Data on Millions of Americans Without Telling Patients or Doctors

Tech giant Google has been caught red-handed secretly collecting the medical data about millions of Americans without telling the doctors or patients involved.

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Tech giant Google has been caught red-handed secretly collecting the medical data about millions of Americans without telling the doctors or patients involved.

The spy program even had a slick little name: “Project Nightingale.”

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Google began Project Nightingale in secret last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, a Catholic chain of 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and other facilities, with the data sharing accelerating since summer.

The data involved in the initiative encompasses lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth.

“Neither patients nor doctors have been notified,” the paper added. “At least 150 Google employees already have access to much of the data on tens of millions of patients, according to a person familiar with the matter and the documents.”

Google’s program was launched last year in cooperation with Ascension, a Catholic chain of 2,600 hospitals spread out over 21 states and in Washington D.C., along with other doctors.

According to Forbes, Google’s program “involves Ascension moving patient records onto Google’s cloud servers and includes a search product that allows Ascension healthcare providers to see an ‘overview page’ about their patients. The page includes complete patient information as well as notes about patient medical issues, test results and medications, including information from scanned documents, according to presentations viewed by Forbes.”

The financial magazine added, “A source familiar with the project said that patients are not aware of Google’s access to their data, though patient privacy laws generally allow the sharing of patient data with third parties without notification if it is for purposes that ‘help it carry out its health care activities and functions. Ascension employees have raised concerns internally, according to documents, about patient data privacy.”

Despite the secrecy of the program and the fact that patients were not told, both news sources claim that Google’s actions were not in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Google claims that the goal of ‘Project Nightingale’ was to collect patient data to create a better system of diagnosis. Google claimed that the program could spot things that a doctor or hospital missed.

Google is already being sued or a similar agreement with the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The New York Times recently reported that a lawsuit argues that Google violated patient privacy with its program with the Chicago medical center.

Big tech companies such as Apple and Google are making huge strides in taking over America’s medical sector.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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Science/Tech

Microsoft’s Surprise JEDI Contract Win Says More About Jeff Bezos Than Bill Gates

Did Microsoft win the contract, or did Jeff Bezos lose it?

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The size and scope of Amazon.com is stupefying, to say the least.

What began as a small online bookstore in the dawning of the internet age has become one of the most valuable and powerful corporations this planet has ever seen.  Founder Jeff Bezos now has his hands in just about everything, from mainstream newspaper news, to grocery chains; web server solutions to streaming entertainment.

Of these varied disciplines, Amazon itself does one thing better than anyone else on the planet, however, and that is Cloud computing.

A recent study showed that Bezos’ company was responsible for 33% of the world’s Cloud market share; more than double that of their nearest competitor, Microsoft, who account for only 16%.

So, when The Pentagon went looking for a company to revitalize its data systems, preferably in Cloud format, Amazon seemed like the natural choice.

Then, this happened:

On October 25, the Pentagon awarded Microsoft (MSFT) with the ten-year cloud contract for JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure). The government contract, worth $10 billion, will put the US DoD (Department of Defense) on the cloud. As a result, all of the data from the military’s computer systems will be moved to a single cloud system. According to the New York Times, a lot of the military data still operates on technology from the 1980s and 1990s. The deal would modernize the military data and address security concerns. The DoD can access the company’s networks easily from cloud platforms.

Amazon was even considered the frontrunner in the race for the JEDI contract at one point, but this alleged favoritism was a problem as well.

Reportedly, President Trump received complaints about Amazon getting the Pentagon’s contract. Other companies, including Oracle, also raised concerns about Amazon. They thought that Amazon was a favorite to win the JEDI contract. For example, Oracle CEO Safra Catz met with President Trump in 2018 to discuss the issue.

After complaints related to Amazon and the JEDI contract, President Trump delayed the decision-making process. He stated that the administration would review the process to make sure that the decision was fair. Later, Defense Secretary Mark Esper quit the Pentagon review process despite working on it for months.

Trump and Bezos have a bit of a history, with the President often lashing out at both Amazon and its founder via Tweet.

Bezos’ seemingly unending desire for power and wealth have made him a poster child for corporate greed over the course of his rise to prominence.  That, along with this never-ending criticisms of Donald Trump, set the two on a collision course years ago.

Amazon is expected to appeal The Pentagon’s decision.

…the decision surprised an AWS spokesperson. The spokesperson said, “AWS is the clear leader in cloud computing and a detailed assessment purely on the comparative offerings lead to a different conclusion.” The Pentagon stated that the bid offers and the decision were fair. However, Amazon might challenge the Pentagon’s decision.

The deal could benefit Microsoft, which has a smaller share in the cloud market than Amazon. Recently, Amazon reported disappointing third-quarter results. However, the company earned $9 billion in revenues from AWS in the third quarter.

The deal is expected to boost Microsoft’s stock value for years to come, should the contract remain intact under the weight of Bezos’ possible legal assault.

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Opinion

Friday Google Outages Reignite Concerns Over Consolidation of Power Online

All of our eggs are in Google’s basket…and you know what they say about that sort of thing.

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Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

It’s a saying that we’ve heard time and time again throughout our lives, from any number of sources.  It’s the sort of cliché that has a place in almost any workplace or strategic planning session.  It’s simple to understand, and it cuts to the core of individual responsibility.

Heck, we’ve even used this principle in our legislative efforts, particularly in the realm of avoiding monopolies and taking up anti-trust efforts against those who look to consolidate any market into submission.

One place where we’ve failed to keep all of our eggs out of one basket is on the internet.  Part of the reason for this is that the world wide web itself boomed swiftly and uncontrollably, much like the early days of the California gold rush, where shrewd businessman understood the value of lawlessness and greed.  Get your fortunes while the gettin’s good, because soon, the law will come to town and button up the easy money, and make things fair.

Google is just that baron of bandwidth, soaking up an inordinate amount of the traffic online and redirecting it wherever they please.  Looking for a home assistant?  They’re not likely to steer you toward an Amazon Alexa.  Searching for a new cellular device?  You can bet that the iPhone doesn’t get the same algorithmic advantages as Android devices do.

And, of course, when exploring the wide world of news, Google is only going to give you what they want you to see.

This manipulation of our assumed freedom online is a travesty, and is indoctrinating those too naive to recognize the biases into believing that Google is a fair reputation of the world at large.  Worse still is the fact that Google is nearly inescapable.

Case in point:  This afternoon, a worrisome email chain began coursing throughout the workplace here at The Washington Sentinel.  We, along with our allies in the fight for alternative media’s rights, noticed that Google Analytics was behaving strangely.  Across the board, and across a number of websites in and outside of our purview, an 80% drop in traffic took place at precisely the same time.

Were we being throttled?  Not likely, (at least in this instance), as the reporting parties had no real common denominator other than their conservative roots.

No, Google Analytics was simply FUBAR, and for some time.  The folks at DownDetector.com reported several issues with the world’s most powerful online corporation, starting on the 17th and continuing through today.

And while the search engine leviathan was eventually able to bring its services back up to speed, the fact that this minor hiccup had such wide-ranging ramifications should, in and of itself, be cause for concern.  What if the next glitch at Google comes in the form of a Maps outage during rush hour, or a Google Pay fiasco on the first of the month?  What happens if a terror group decides to annihilate Google’s server farms one afternoon?

All of our eggs are in Google’s basket…and you know what they say about that sort of thing.

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Science/Tech

Snopes Will Abandon Facts for ‘Lived Experiences’ When It Comes to Debunking Trump

This eliminates and disqualifies Snopes as a source for “fact checking” henceforth, despite what we can only assume will be their continued meddling in the political realm. 

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The entire idea of a “fact checking” industry is a falsehood in and of itself.

Facts, and the truth that they embody, are binary.  They don’t have grey areas, maybe’s, or malleability.  They are either correct or incorrect – full stop.

So when a glut of fact-checking “companies” arose on the political scene just a few years ago, logical Americans everywhere wondered how it was possible that a need for more than one of these entities could exist?  After all, if they were truly using “facts”, there could be no chance for competition among them, right?

Now, as the fact-checking waters become muddier, the overall impression of the phony industry has become crystal clear:  These are nothing more than propaganda rudders in disguise.

Snopes, one of the foremost fact-checkers on the planet, has been forced to admit this week that facts alone cannot advance their narrative, and they will be turning to “shared stories” and “lived experiences” to counter President Donald Trump.

In a stunning admission (of what we already knew), Snopes announced Thursday that Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are such a unique threat to world that “experts must find new ways to reach people.” Which means that — get this — Trump and Johnson must be “countered by the shared stories, experiences and emotions of real people and how they are affected by the big global issues.”

“Public austerity measures, for example, are not simply about financial facts,” Snopes mewls. “Indeed, when presented merely as economic data, many people can neither identify with nor understand them. Instead, austerity poses problems that compel us to examine how they affect people and families in their daily lives. The experiences of those individuals must be shared.”

This eliminates and disqualifies Snopes as a source for “fact checking” henceforth, despite what we can only assume will be their continued meddling in the political realm.

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Opinion

Democrats Furious with Facebook for Airing Trump Campaign Ad

Really tells you all you need to know about the left’s longterm plans for freedom.

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We have been given a task, America.  This task has been handed down by the Founding Fathers, and we were just sort of carrying it around with us all these years, waiting until it was time to get to work.

Well, guess what time it is.

This task is to protect the First Amendment of these United States unconditionally.  You see, the Founding Fathers had wisdom beyond their years – heck, beyond 240 of their years – in understanding that free speech would come under attack again, as it had before.

This year, 2019, in the 21st Century of all places, is where we will have to face the tyranny again it seems, as the liberal left in the United States turns ever more fascist in their approach to political opposition.

Take, for instance, their outrage that Facebook would choose to air a Donald Trump campaign ad simply because it attacks his political rival.

The 30-second video ad released by the Trump campaign last week is grainy, and the narrator’s voice is foreboding. Former vice president Joe Biden, it says, offered Ukraine $1bn (£820m) in aid if the country pushed out the man investigating a company tied to Mr Biden’s son.

Saying it made false accusations, CNN immediately refused to air the advertisement.

But Facebook did not, and Tuesday, the social network rejected a request from Mr Biden’s presidential campaign to take it down, foreshadowing a continuing fight over misinformation on the service during the 2020 election as well as the impeachment inquiry into president Donald Trump.

In a letter to the Biden campaign, Facebook said the ad, which has been viewed 5 million times on the site, did not violate company policies. Last month, the social network, which has more than 2 billion users, announced that politicians and their campaigns had nearly free rein over content they post there.

It should be noted, of course, that Facebook has had a horrid reputation for bias over the course of the last few years, particularly as it pertains to the censorship of conservative ideologies and alternative media networks.

Now, the moment that they err on the side of free speech, the Democrats pounce.

Really tells you all you need to know about the left’s longterm plans for freedom.

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Science/Tech

Growing Number of Americans Realizing Internet Censorship is Getting Worse

Americans increasingly don’t trust the social media and Big Tech giants that are censoring the news..

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The number of Americans coming to understand the worsening left-wing censorship occurring on the Internet is growing according to a new poll. The poll shows that Americans increasingly don’t trust the social media and Big Tech giants that are censoring the news.

In a recent Pew poll, three quarter of those who claim to be Republican or Republican leaning say that social media companies have too much control over the news that users see on a daily basis.

The survey of 5,107 U.S. adults finds that Independents are also worried about the growing censorship forced onto the Internet by left-wing Big Tech companies.

“As heated debate continues over how social media sites can improve the quality of news on their platforms while enforcing rules fairly,” Pew writes, “most Americans are pessimistic about these efforts and are highly concerned about several issues when it comes to social media and news.”

“Majorities say that social media companies have too much control over the news on their sites,” the poll continues, “and that the role social media companies play in delivering the news on their sites results in a worse mix of news for users. At the same time, social media is now a part of the news diet of an increasingly large share of the U.S. population.”

Naturally, respondents who lean to the right feel the censorship is worse from their point of view (after all, the censorship is in favor of the far left).

75 percent of center-right respondents say it is bad, and 66 percent say that the left’s censorship gives them a “worse mix” of news.

Also, 43 percent of Righties say that censorship is a “very big problem,” while 64 percent say that most of what they see on the Internet is left-wing information because their side’s info is being squelched.

But the number in general is also rising. 43 percent say that things they see on the Internet are mostly left-wing compared to the small number of 14 percent who think most Internet sites skew rightward.

Overall, only 15 percent feel that social media companies are doing a good job of balancing what is seen on their platforms and most everything is leftist. But even 53 percent of Democrats say that the social media giants are failing in their efforts to censor the news.

In the end, this poll finds that there is little trust in the social media companies that are routinely banning conservatives from their public spaces.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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