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Member since: Mon Jul 15, 2019, 06:26 PM
Number of posts: 1,928

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Facebook removes accounts with AI-generated profile photos

Source: Ars Technica

Facebook on Friday removed what it called a global network of more than 900 accounts, pages, and groups from its platform and Instagram that allegedly used deceptive practices to push pro-Trump narratives to about 55 million users. The network used fake accounts, artificial amplification, and, notably, profile photos of fake faces generated using artificial intelligence to spread polarizing, predominantly right-wing content around the web, including on Twitter and YouTube.


The images were used to enhance the authenticity of some of the 610 Facebook accounts, 156 groups, 89 pages, and 72 Instagram accounts associated with “The BL,” a digital news outlet that described itself as a “pure mountain spring, moistening the heart of every reader” on Facebook before it was removed. Facebook’s investigation connected The BL to The Epoch Times, a conservative media organization with ties to Chinese spiritual group Falun Gong and a history of aggressive support for Donald Trump.

Ostensibly a US-based media organization, The BL network’s pages were operated by users in Vietnam and the US, who Facebook says made widespread use of fake accounts to evade detection and funnel traffic to its own websites. A report by Graphika and DFRLab researchers, found that the majority of The BL network’s fake accounts were used to maintain a cluster of over 80 groups and pages promoting President Trump. The accounts acting as administrators for these pages—which boasted names such as “America Needs President Trump,” “Trump for America’s President,” and “WE STAND WITH TRUMP & PENCE!”—were predominantly fake and created in Vietnam.


Read more: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/12/facebook-removes-accounts-with-ai-generated-profile-photos/

This is the latest in the international work by fascist groups to support fascism in the US and around the world. We need to be looking not just to foreign interference in our elections, but to the pattern of extremely high-tech attacks against democracy, progress, and social and economic justice by both state and non-state actors (i.e. decentralized terrorists) promoting fascism.

Amazon: Trump used "improper pressure" to block AWS from DOD cloud contract

Source: Ars Technica

In a redacted filing released today by the US Federal Court of Claims, attorneys for Amazon asserted that Amazon Web Service's loss of the Department of Defense Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contract to Microsoft's Azure was the result of "improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump, who launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer the JEDI Contract away from AWS to harm his perceived political enemy—Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS' parent company, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon", and owner of the Washington Post."

The suit cites Trump's instructions to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis to "screw Amazon" out of the contract, as recounted by Mattis' former chief speechwriter, and numerous other incidents of direct interference by Trump in the contract competition, including ordering an "independent" review of the contract by Defense Secretary Mark Esper in August of 2019.

Read more: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/12/amazon-sues-dod-claims-trumps-improper-pressure-blocked-cloud-contract-win/?amp=1

Donnie Dumpsterfire gets caught again misusing his public office, this time as a personal vendetta and an attempt to take a shot at the Washington Post through its owner. Newsflash, Donnie - actual billionaires with a grudge can afford lawyers to investigate and kick your ass.

In all seriousness, Patel/Nunes needs followup. Ethics complaints?

If anyone is still unaware of the Devin Nunes misconduct in inserting his own crooked dudebro, Kashyap Patel, as a fake Ukraine expert to "advise" Trump with info that NUNES wanted him to believe, here's where to get caught up:


This raises a couple major issues. First, this is more than Nunes offering a convenient yes-man. This took Patel misrepresenting himself to feed (mis)information to Trump, presumably (mis)information that Nunes wanted Trump to act on.

Second, who is Nunes beholden to? Whose (mis)info is he feeding to Trump, for the sake of manipulating policy? We have a pretty good guess, but that doesn't show us the lines of human agents.

By the way, Patel has his own shady past, as the articles allude to. He was once smacked by a Judge for being an inept prosecutor. (https://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/lawyer-drafted-nunes-memo-brutally-slapped-judge-order-ineptitude/) So what is his angle in this? A failed prosecutor trying to worm his way into a different career? A useful idiot or up to his eyeballs in the scheme?

Either way, this story is far more important than people are recognizing. There needs to be more investigation. At minimum, we need to be asking for an ethics investigation into Nunes. Also, since Patel is an attorney, there may be a route to make an ethics complaint to his bar once we know more. To me, this story is more of a concern, in some ways, than Trump being crooked Trump. Throw the orange bastard out, but Nunes can't continue to hold his seat with this being an aside in the impeachment discussion.

Best protest ad campaign of the month!

Some geniuses have been putting up ads in subways for Rudy's law firm.


Yes, the website really exists. www.CrazyRudyLaw.com

NYT: Trump met with NRA chief for financial support

Source: Axios

President Trump met with Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, on Friday to discuss how the gun advocacy group "could provide financial support for the president’s defense as he faces political headwinds, including impeachment," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: "... in return for the support, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House 'stop the games' over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said," according to the NYT.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/nyt-trump-met-with-nra-chief-for-financial-support-1b8f4195-513f-4156-ab0d-ff3228090d44.html?fbclid=IwAR0TzoC5sRdOm3mpHLx11Z_tXQnYuogNh_ID_lSvbhR8ljk48t8NaCStjKE

Excuse us? Needy Amin is going to the NRA to get Russian funding and social media support? Can he be any more pathetically obvious?
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