TWITTER bans bots pimping Saudi propaganda

❝ Anyone who tweeted about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the past two weeks saw major pushback on Twitter from accounts in Saudi Arabia. But that could slow down in the coming days. Twitter has now reportedly banned an unspecified number of alleged bots that were pushing pro-Saudi propaganda.

The revelation comes from an NBC News report about the “hundreds of accounts that tweeted and retweeted the same pro-Saudi government tweets at the same time.” But Twitter doesn’t get all the credit for spotting the bot network. The accounts were first spotted by IT specialist Josh Russell, whose work was shared with the social media giant via spreadsheet.

❝ Khashoggi, a Saudi national and permanent resident of the U.S., became an exile from Saudi Arabia not for his criticism of the Saudi royal family but because he criticized President Trump shortly after he was elected president in November of 2016. Khashoggi had questioned Trump’s close relationship to Russia and what that would mean for America’s alliances in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia banned Khashoggi from writing and making TV appearances in the country in deference to the American president.

Just in case you haven’t noticed any of our fearless journalists explaining why Khashoggi was exiled and then murdered.

FCC Chair killed rules which would have helped Hurricane victims


Ajit Pai listening to Trump

❝ The Federal Communications Commission chairman slammed wireless carriers…for failing to quickly restore phone service in Florida after Hurricane Michael, calling the delay “completely unacceptable.”

But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement ignored his agency’s deregulatory blitz that left consumers without protections designed to ensure restoration of service after disasters, according to longtime telecom attorney and consumer advocate Harold Feld.

The Obama-era FCC wrote new regulations to protect consumers after Verizon tried to avoid rebuilding wireline phone infrastructure in Fire Island, New York, after Hurricane Sandy hit the area in October 2012. But Pai repealed those rules, claiming that they prevented carriers from upgrading old copper networks to fiber. Pai’s repeal order makes zero mentions of Fire Island and makes reference to Verizon’s response to Hurricane Sandy only once, in a footnote.

Part of the function of good journalism is exposing corrupt practices – whether justified by ignorance or just plain stupid ideology. The Republican Party specializes in both and more – which is how we got to this footdragging on aid for hurricane victims’ communications.