Tag Archives | Social Media

Social Media Recruiting Grounds for Cults

hare krishna zombieForget tambourines and flowers, the new cults (and some of the old ones) are recruiting via social media.

Via The Kernel:

The days of wearing hooded robes and waiting for initiates to slink furtively into your taffeta-draped S&M temple are, sad to say, long gone. As any cult’s social media manager (bear with us) will tell you, the easiest way to find new members for your crackpot cargo cult is to use websites like Facebook to spread your messages – however bonkers they might be.

The Cult Information Centre defines as a cult as an organisation which among other things uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members.

So who fits the bill? Well, I know they don’t like being referred to as a cult, but the Church of Scientology certainly uses Facebook to share “resources” to both its existing members and people who haven’t encountered the “church” before.

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Using Facebook For Witchcraft

CaptainAldenDenouncedOK, it sounds crazy, but sociologist Robert Bartholomew believes that Facebook and other social media platforms can give rise to Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI), also known as Mass Hysteria. Laura Dimon reports for The Atlantic:

“Eerie and remarkable.”

Those are the words that Robert Bartholomew used to describe this past winter’s outbreak of mass hysteria in Danvers, Massachusetts, a town also known as “Old Salem” and “Salem Village.”

Bartholomew, a sociologist in New Zealand who has been studying cases of mass hysteria for more than 20 years, was referring to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693, the most widely recognized episode of mass hysteria in history, which ultimately saw the hanging deaths of 20 women.

Fast-forward about 300 years to January 2013, when a bizarre case of mass hysteria again struck Danvers. About two dozen teenagers at the Essex Agricultural and Technical School began having “mysterious” hiccups and vocal tics.

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Israel To Cover Tuition For Students Who Tweet Or Post Pro-Government Content On Social Media

israel

The Washington Post on the new propaganda distribution model:

Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks — without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said Wednesday.

The Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel online. It said students’ messages would parallel statements by government officials.

“This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption,” the statement said.

Israel isn’t the only country to set up such a system. In China, members of the so-called “fifty cent army” sprinkle positive, pro-government messages across the web and social media.

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Data Analytics Firm Developing Sarcasm Detection App

shutterstock_656644-e1373035802202Via Slashdot

Oh, look everyone, a Sarcasm Detector. What a useful invention. This will go great for my iPhone!

French tech firm Spotter has apparently devised an analytics platform capable of identifying sarcastic comments, according to the BBC.

Spotter’s platform scans social media and other sources to create reputation reports for clients such as the EU Commission. As with most analytics packages that determine popular sentiment, the software parses semantics, heuristics and linguistics. However, automated data-analytics systems often have a difficult time with some of the more nuanced elements of human speech, such as sarcasm and irony—an issue that Spotter has apparently overcome to some degree, although company executives admit that their solution isn’t perfect.

“One of our clients is Air France. If someone has a delayed flight, they will tweet, ‘Thanks Air France for getting us into London two hours late’—obviously they are not actually thanking them,” Spotter executive Richard May told the BBC.

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Is Jay-Z Working for the NSA?

magna cartaWe all know that the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) is monitoring social network and other communications activity, so New York Times music critic Jon Pareles takes issue with Jay-Z’s deal with Samsung to make his new album “Magna Carta … Holy Grail” available only if you share all sorts of personal information:

In “Jay’s Back ASAP,” a song on a 2010 mixtape called “Creative Control,” Jay-Z was indignant about phone surveillance and bribing witnesses: “They tap, them feds don’t play fair/They pay rats to say that they’re part of your operation,” he rapped. But to market his new album, “Magna Carta … Holy Grail,” he didn’t exactly stand on principle.

Samsung bought a million downloads of the album, for $5 each, to be given away on July 4 — five days before the album’s official release — through a mobile application, JAY Z Magna Carta, on certain Samsung models.

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Former Facebook Security Chief Left To Join NSA in 2010

facebook security chiefOn the symbiotic relationship increasingly being revealed between government intelligence agencies and internet corporations, Facecrooks writes:

In another twist in what was already a complicated story about Facebook’s involvement in the National Security Agency’s PRISM wiretapping technology, the New York Times revealed that Max Kelly, Facebook’s former security chief, left the site in 2010 and joined the NSA.

“Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business,” the Times wrote. “Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.”

As Max Kelly’s move to the NSA in 2010 illustrates, the ties between government agencies and the country’s biggest tech companies is strong.

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Uncle Sam and Corporate Tech: Domestic Partners Raising Digital Big Brother

Thomas Friedman 2005 (5)A terrible formula has taken hold: warfare state + corporate digital power = surveillance state.

“National security” agencies and major tech sectors have teamed up to make Big Brother a reality. “Of the estimated $80 billion the government will spend on intelligence this year, most is spent on private contractors,” the New York Times noted. The synergy is great for war-crazed snoops in Washington and profit-crazed moguls in Silicon Valley, but poisonous for civil liberties and democracy.

“Much of the coverage of the NSA spying scandal has underplayed crucial context: The capacity of the government to engage in constant surreptitious monitoring of all civilians has been greatly enhanced by the commercialization of the Internet,” media analyst Robert McChesney pointed out this week.

Overall, he said, “the commercialized Internet, far from producing competition, has generated the greatest wave of monopoly in the history of capitalism.” And the concentration of online digital power is, to put it mildly, user-friendly for the surveillance state.… Read the rest

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How Censorship In China Allows Criticism But Silences Collective Organizing

censorship in chinaVia the American Political Science Review, Harvard researchers pinpoint the surprising heart of authoritarian state censorship — anti-government criticism is in fact allowed, but not references to collective action of any sort:

We have devised a system to locate, download, and analyze the content of millions of posts from nearly 1,400 different social media services all over China before the Chinese government is able to find, evaluate, and censor (i.e., remove from the Internet) the subset they deem objectionable. We compare posts censored to those not censored.

Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not likely to be censored. Instead the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future—and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.

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Is Our Addiction To Tragedy On Social Media Inspiring Violence?

via Tech Crunch F036-006

Anyone who uses social media has witnessed or been apart of this somewhat new phenomenon of being a part of an unfolding event that is so huge it will change how we operate. So many have an opinion this way or that. Others have theories, and others just want it to go away. Wellm, it may be really bad for everyone to be flinging around this information like a hot potato. It could be debasing all involved as well as giving those who did the deed just what they want and need.

If terrorism requires an audience, then the recent mainstream adoption of social media may be giving violent actors a bigger stage than ever before. There are many reasons people lash out at the world, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that becoming the center of the attention could be a factor pushing some to commit atrocities.

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