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Posts Tagged ‘Astroturf’

A vast network of shadowy news sites promote conservative talking points mixed with floods of algorithmically generated “news”

Columbia Journalism School's Tow Center has published the results of a longrunning investigation into a network of shadowy "local news" sites whose bulk content is composed of algorithmically generated stories about subjects like local rates of gas tax, or which bridges are most structurally sound.

Suspended in this slurry of robot-content are kernels of hard-line, far-right ...

Leaks reveal how the “Pitbull of PR” helped Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers ignite the opioid crisis

Propublica has obtained a tranche of leaked internal communications between the Sackler family's Purdue Pharma, makers of the lethal opioid Oxycontin, and Dezenhall Resources, known as "The Pitbull of Public Relations," whose previous client roster includes Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, Exxon and other "beleaguered corporations," who masterminded a "blame the victim" strategy that apportioned responsibility ...

Banned from Youtube, Chinese propagandists are using Pornhub to publish anti-Hong Kong videos

China's state disinformation campaigns against the Hong Kong protesters are unwelcome on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, with the mainstream platforms shutting down accounts that spread propaganda videos; but increasingly these blocked videos are available on Pornhub, something that has been jubilantly announced by mainland Chinese social media influencers on Wechat.

Six of them were from a ...

Leaks reveal how creepy, cultish monopolist Intuit lobbied Congress and the IRS to **** free tax-filing

Virtually every rich country on Earth provides pre-completed tax-returns that you can either ignore (and pay an accountant or do your own taxes), or just sign and return: after all, the government already knows what you're earning and how much tax you paid, so they can do all the heavy lifting for your annual return.

But ...

Amazon pays happy warehouse workers to tweet about how happy they are whenever someone complains about warehouse conditions

Nelsie writes, "Twitter user tweeting about inhuman conditions at Amazon warehouses gets brigaded by tag-team of warehouse workers who are paid to tweet about working at Amazon warehouses two days of the week."

i feel like im talking to the borg

— Diana Wilde (@rulesObeyer) August 15, 2019
Read the rest ...

The only thing health insurance companies are good at is scaring us about socialized medicine

In a new column in the LA Times, business columnist Michael Hiltzik makes the argument that the only thing health insurers have done with any effectiveness is scare us into thinking that the socialized medicine services that every other advanced country has will not work in America.

Insurers are not even good at being profitable: the ...

Paying for climate change: the question isn’t “How?” but “Who?”

Writing in Wired, political scientist Henry Farrell points out what should be obvious: we're going to pay for climate change (that is, either we're going to rebuild the cities smashed by weather and take care of the people whose lives are ruined, or we're going to pay to cope with the ensuing refugee crisis), so ...

Health industry lobbyists are posing as “ordinary citizens who don’t want Medicare for All”

Here are some "ordinary citizens" who have recently been featured in the press as people who are completely OK with the state of American healthcare and totally opposed to Medicare for All or any other project to reform America's worst-in-the-world health care system: "Mustafa Tameez, businessman, Texas" (Tameez is managing director at Texas-based Outreach Strategists, ...

Blockbuster Gizmodo investigation reveals probable masterminds of the massive anti-Net Neutrality identity theft/astroturf campaign

US government agencies can't just make up rules: they're require to show that the rules they make reflect the best evidence, and part of that is a "notice and comment" period for major policy shifts where the public gets to weigh in on proposals.

When Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai decided to **** Net Neutrality, he ...

If you tell Facebook you’re a senator looking to buy political ads, they just take your word for it

Vice decided to test out Facebook's commitment to positively identifying the people and organizations behind political ads, so they applied for clearance to buy ads in the names of ever sitting US Senator, showing no proof, and Facebook granted permission in each case.

They didn't go on to buy ads, but if they had, those ads ...