The Godfather of fake news can’t fool the Left – but, it’s red meat for Trump Chumps

faux-news

❝ A lot of fake and misleading news stories were shared across social media during the election. One that got a lot of traffic had this headline: “FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide.” The story is completely false, but it was shared on Facebook over half a million times.

We wondered who was behind that story and why it was written. It appeared on a site that had the look and feel of a local newspaper. Denverguardian.com even had the local weather. But it had only one news story — the fake one.

We tried to look up who owned it and hit a wall. The site was registered anonymously. So we brought in some professional help…

From the geek side of the question, the track-down is interesting.

❝ Jestin Coler is a soft-spoken 40-year-old with a wife and two kids. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right…

He was amazed at how quickly fake news could spread and how easily people believe it. He wrote one fake story for NationalReport.net about how customers in Colorado marijuana shops were using food stamps to buy pot.

“What that turned into was a state representative in the House in Colorado proposing actual legislation to prevent people from using their food stamps to buy marijuana based on something that had just never happened…”

❝ During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. “It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they’re about to get served,” Coler says. “It caused an explosion in the number of sites. I mean, my gosh, the number of just fake accounts on Facebook exploded during the Trump election.”

❝ Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals — but they just never take the bait.

Coler said that Lefties reading fake news generally debunk the story by the 2nd comment. Har.

RTFA. It’s a cautionary tale. Too bad the incompetents so often working as let’s-pretend journalists for the news-as-entertainment media don’t get it. Nor do the creeps in Fox Noise copycats. If fake news fits their ideology it doesn’t require fact-checking.

Sleazy surveillance firm selling your Facebook, Twitter data to police departments

❝ Business isn’t good at a Chicago tech company that was outed last month for its practice of buying social media data and re-selling it to police.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that Geofeedia had been given access to data by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which Geofeedia used to build software products for police that the ACLU called “surveillance tools.” Facebook and Instagram took cut off Geofeedia’s access in September, and Twitter blocked access after reviewing the ACLU report in October.

❝ Losing access to those social media data feeds seems to have had a big impact on Geofeedia’s business. A Geofeedia spokesperson today told the Chicago Tribune that it laid off 31 employees out of about 60 total…

Nice to see a company lose out because their opportunist corruption of civil liberties is turned out.

❝ The company…claimed more than 500 customers, including police agencies in Chicago, Denver, Seattle, and Baltimore. Denver police paid $30,000 for a one-year subscription. In a funding request, a Denver police lieutenant said the service would be used to monitor large public events, like Denver’s annual marijuana rally and Martin Luther King Day march.

I hope there aren’t too many fools out there thinking this invasion of privacy and civil liberties is going to retreat anytime soon. Not so incidentally, how about inquiring if your city has been sending these scumbags a monthly check?

Love for an educator is more powerful than the ignorant can understand

Dawson Tamatea had been a teacher at New Zealand’s Palmerston North High Boys School for nearly 30 years when he passed away suddenly of natural causes at the age of 55…The boys’ performance is a version of a “haka:” a traditional dance of the New Zealand aboriginals, called Maori. Originally performed to intimidate enemies, the haka is a powerful symbol in New Zealand culture and a fitting tribute to Mr. Tamatea’s impact.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia