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Former Facebook Workers: “We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News.”

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The way people receive, interact with, and share news has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. The days when staying informed and current meant reading the heavy weekend edition of the paper have largely disappeared, as people have become not only accustomed but entitled to receiving their news digitally and in real-time.

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We want to know what is happening when it is happening; we want live footage, photos, and eyewitness testimony at the click of a button. And perhaps because we have such seemingly broad and instantaneous access to news, we assume we are getting the full story. Social media websites like Facebook show us what the world is reading and watching at any given moment and we believe this to be an accurate depiction of our consumption habits. But according to former employees of the social media giant, that simply isn’t the case.

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A former journalist who worked on Facebook’s relatively recent “trending” news section has revealed that Facebook workers routinely suppressed stories about conservative politicians and events, preventing stories about conservative topics from appearing in the trending section, despite being heavily read and shared among the site’s users.

Workers were also instructed to artificially create trending topics, Gizmodo reports. Known as Facebook “news curators,” these contract workers were tasked with “injecting” handpicked stories into the module, regardless of whether they were popular enough to warrant inclusion, or even trending at all.

Perhaps more disturbingly, they were also explicitly told not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.

Additionally, according to one former curator, who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the company, “things would be blacklisted or trending” depending on who happened to be working that evening. They also remarked that they were one of the (very) few politically conservative curators working on the trending team: “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”

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Disturbed by this blatant manipulation, they kept a running list of every omission and have since provided these notes to Gizmodo. Suppressed topics included: “former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder.”

This left-leaning bias has been corroborated by another former curator. “It was absolutely bias. We were doing it subjectively. It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is,” they said. “Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.” Unless mainstream websites like the New York Times, the BBC, and CNN covered trending conservative stories — featured on such outlets as Breitbart, Washington Examiner, and Newsmax — they would be excluded from Facebook’s algorithm.

Gizmodo reports that other former curators “denied consciously suppressing conservative news” and that they were “unable to determine if left-wing news topics or sources were similarly suppressed,” noting as well that “there is no evidence that Facebook management mandated or was even aware of any political bias at work.” These decisions are entirely attributed to the judgement of individual curators.
Considering the difficulty which alternative media outlets such as CE have had with Facebook in recent months — the website has placed increasingly imposing obstacles in the way of alternative content reaching mass audiences — it would not be surprising if they turned out to be specifically blocking left-wing, and certainly alternative, news as well.
While reports of these omissions of conservative stories have been denied, as mentioned above, managers on the trending team did influence the trending module in another way, bumping up stories which, while users were not currently reading, they themselves deemed important. According to Gizmodo:
Several former curators described using something called an “injection tool” to push topics into the trending module that weren’t organically being shared or discussed enough to warrant inclusion—putting the headlines in front of thousands of readers rather than allowing stories to surface on their own. In some cases, after a topic was injected, it actually became the number one trending news topic on Facebook.

“We were told that if we saw something, a news story that was on the front page of these ten sites, like CNN, the New York Times, and BBC, then we could inject the topic,” revealed one former curator. “If it looked like it had enough news sites covering the story, we could inject it—even if it wasn’t naturally trending.”

The same thing would happen if a breaking story wasn’t trending quickly enough on Facebook to be featured in the module. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, for example, weren’t trending organically on the site, so curators injected it themselves, citing a need to compete with Twitter as one major incentive for doing so. “We would get yelled at if it was all over Twitter and not on Facebook,” revealed one former curator.

Stories were also injected in order to make Facebook appear more serious, a place to find and discuss real, hard-hitting news. “People stopped caring about Syria,” said one former curator, nothing that if “it wasn’t trending on Facebook, it would make Facebook look bad.”

Gizmodo contacted Facebook in order to discuss and verify these claims, but were met only with silence.

In the grand scheme of things, these tactics are neither surprising nor innovative. Every newsroom, every publication, operates in this way to some degree, “reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation,” as Gizmodo writer Michael Nunez so eloquently puts it, but we have been told time and time again that Facebook does not do this. The trending module operates, according to Facebook, by listing “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook,” factoring a number of conditions into its algorithms, such as “engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.”

We are being lied to.

What’s worse, we are being manipulated without our realizing it. Many people are exposed to and consume news solely through social media outlets, and they are doing so under the assumption that what they are reading represents the current conversation in its entirety. Shame on us, perhaps, for buying into the notion of unbiased journalism which, rather like unbiased history, is purely fiction. But the problem remains: Facebook dictates what its users — 167 million in the US alone — are reading at any given moment, all while offering up the false assumption that their reading has been comprehensive. And while this kind of editorial bias may be standard practice in the industry — a fact in itself which I think we should be questioning — it has previously, at least, been more transparent.

If there is any message to take away from these revelations, I think it must be caveat emptor, or ‘let the buyer beware.’ Trusting blindly in any institution, any business, or even any one person’s opinion — this author’s included — is both irresponsible and lazy. No matter how enlightened we may be, or think we may be, every one of us operates based on our own personal biases and perceives the world based on our own unique experiences. While there are absolutely degrees of editorial bias, or personal bias, rarely is a story shared without some reason, some agenda, behind that sharing. It is up to each and every one of us to think critically, to seek out multiple perspectives, and to form our own opinions, to the best of our ability, based on the information we have gathered.

Source:

  1. http://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006

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Abductions & Car Vandalism – Startling Australian UFO Report Unclassified

Gautam Peddada

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An uncovered Australian report performed by their Department of Defence. “Scientific Intelligence — General — Unidentified Flying Objects” is trending again. Those who have done extensive research on UFOs will find the Australian version of disclosure to be far more intellectually honest than the American version. Albeit it was conducted decades ago.

According to ex-US intelligence official Luis Elizondo, the Defense Department’s Inspector General is presently conducting three reviews. The inquiries vary from the Department of Defense’s handling of UFO claims to Elizondo’s alleged whistleblower retribution. The open IG cases are crucial to Australia’s report because they establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US Department of Defense is being dishonest and shady when it comes to the UFO subject. For decades, Australia has been a loyal friend of the United States. Within Australia’s boundaries, they share a military installation (Pine Gap). When a close defense ally’s intelligence agencies determined that the US was not being intellectually honest in its approach, perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that there is more to the tale than the 144 incidents studied since 2004 by the UAPTF.

The CIA became alarmed at the overloading of military communications during the mass sightings of 1952 and considered the possibility that the USSR may take advantage of such a situation.

Australian UFO study.

According to the summary, OSI, acting through the Robertson-Panel, encouraged the USAF to use Project Blue Book to publicly “debunk” UFOs. In a tragic twist of fate, when Australian authorities sought explanations from the US Air Force, the allegation was debunked. The authors of the study were depicted as conspiratorial and even crazy by the US Air Force. Ross Coulthart reported this, and it may be heard in a recent Project Unity interview. Courthart is an award-winning investigative journalist who is drawn to forbidden subjects. He also stated on the same podcast that a senior US Navy official identified as Nat Kobitz told him that the US had been in the midst of reverse-engineering numerous non-human craft. According to his obituary, Mr. Kobitz was a former Director of Research and Development at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Continue reading the entire article at The Pulse. 

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Exopolitics

New UFO Film Questions What The US Government Is Hiding

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The US recently released its highly anticipated Pentagon UAP report, but it wasn’t much more than a 9 page rundown of what has been known for decades. Regardless, for many, what was promising was that the UFO subject was being taken seriously again – and perhaps many more scientists might get involved.

For decades many have been warning about leaving UFO disclosure in the hands of a government that likes to use crisis’ or current events to expand its defense budgets. Further, why would we suddenly expect a government, who has been lying about this subject for 70 years, to suddenly come forth with the truth? What would inspire them to suddenly change their mind?

Perhaps it’s because the search for ET is an idea who’s time has truly come. We’ve reporting on this for over 13 years, and are mongst a community of researchers who have been encouraging humanity to look at the evidence for more than 70 years. It feels like an idea that human collective consciousness is more than ready to explore.

The impact the ET question has on our individual and collective worldview has the power to truly change the way we view ourselves and the meaning of life here on earth. Think of the implications answers to this question could have on how we set up and run our society as well. Technology, culture, collaboration etc – I spoke about this more in great detail in my extended interview for Greer’s. prior film Close Encounters of The Fifth Kind here.

Now, a new documentary from Dr. Steven Greer, directed by my good friend Michael Mazzola, seeks to explore what the films calls “the current government and media disinformation campaign promoting 3 big lies:”

1. We do not know what these UAPs/ UFOs are. WE DO.
2. Humans cannot make craft that can maneuver like UFOs. WE CAN and WE DO.
3. The UFOs are a threat. THEY ARE NOT.

Bold statements. Watch the film below and see what resonates most with you.

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General

PGA Tour To End COVID Testing For Both Vaccinated & Non-Vaccinated Players

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CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The PGA Tour has announced that it will stop testing players every week, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

  • Reflect On:

    Are PCR tests appropriate to identify infectious people? Should people who are healthy and not sick be tested at all, anywhere?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The picture you see above is of John Rahm, a professional golfer on the PGA tour being carted off the golf course after tournament officials told him he had COVID. He was healthy and had no symptoms, yet was forced to withdraw from the tournament. He was told in front of the camera’s, and a big scene was made out of the event. You would think something like that, especially when you are a big time sports figure, would be done behind closed doors with some privacy.

Earlier on in June a spokesperson for the PGA Tour said that more than 50 percent of players on the PGA tour have been vaccinated. Although it seems that the majority of players on the tour will be fully vaccinated judging by this statement, it does leave a fairly large minority who won’t be, and that’s something we’re seeing across the globe as COVID vaccine hesitancy remains high for multiple reasons.

We are pleased to announce, after consultation with PGA Tour medical advisors, that due to the high rate of vaccination among all constituents on the PGA Tour, as well as other positively trending factors across the country, testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required as a condition of competition beginning with the 3M Open. – PGA tour Senior VP Tyler Dennis

The tour recently announced that the testing of players every week will stop starting in July for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. This was an unexpected announcement given the fact that, at least it seems in some countries, vaccinated individuals will enjoy previous rights and freedoms that everyone did before the pandemic. Travelling without need to quarantine and possibly in the future not having to be tested could be a few of those privileges. Others may include attending concerts, sporting events, or perhaps even keeping their job depending on whether or not their employer deems it to be mandatory, if that’s even legally possible. We will see what happens.

Luckily for professional golfers, regardless of their vaccination status they won’t have to worry about testing positive for COVID, especially if they’re not sick. This is the appropriate move by the PGA tour, who is represented by their players and it’s a move that the players themselves may have had a say in. It’s important because PCR tests are not designed nor are they appropriate for identifying infectious people. A number of scientists have been emphasizing this since the beginning of the pandemic. More recently, a letter to the editor published in the Journal of infection explain why more than half of al “positive” PCR tests are likely to have been people who are not infectious, otherwise known as “false positives.”

This is why the Swedish Public Health agency has a notice on their website explaining how and why polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are not useful for determining if someone is infected with COVID or if someone can transmit it to others, and it’s better to use someone who is actually showing symptoms as a judgement call of whether or not they could be infected or free from infection.

PCR tests using a high cycle threshold are extremely sensitive. An article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that among positive PCR samples with a cycle count over 35, only 3 percent of the samples showed viral replication. This can be interpreted as, if someone tests positive via PCR when a Ct of 35 or higher is used, the probability that said person is actually infected is less than 3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97 percent. This begs the question, why has Manitoba, Canada, for example, using cycle thresholds of up to 45 to identify “positive” people?

When it comes to golf, the fact that spread occurring in an outdoor setting is highly unlikely could have been a factor, but it’s also important to mention that asymptomatic spread within one’s own household is also considerably rare. It really makes you wonder what’s going on here, doesn’t it?

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