Friday, December 9, 2016

Censorship

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china

Everyone scrolls down their Facebook newsfeed and read your friend’s latest posts, but is Facebook controlling what posts you see?

In countries like Russia and Pakistan, Facebook has built a way to keep certain restricted information from landing in people’s news feed.

The New York Times is reporting that Facebook has designed software to keep people from seeing content based on geographic areas.

The social media giant even deletes or blocks some content to Americans at the request of our government.

During a six-month period in 2015, Facebook blocked about 55,000 pieces of content.

People go to Facebook to read and respond to friends, family and businesses they trust. People trust that they are seeing a balanced slice of what their friends are posting.

In reality, it is possible that Facebook could suppress positive Trump posts during the campaign and push the negative ones onto people’s newsfeeds. A claim that many conservatives said was happening.

All of the censorship changes at Facebook could be the result of a dream the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has to be in China.

There is a rumor online that Obama turned over the power of the Internet in October to help Facebook get access into China. The rumors of not confirmed, but Facebook and it’s employees support the Democratic Party passionately.

Mark Zuckerberg has been learning Mandarin and has met with President Xi Jinping on several occasions.

There are over a billion people in China and the tightly controlled Internet could be a gold mine for Zuckerberg.

In order to be in China, the social media king will need censor a great deal of content that the government doesn’t allow its people to see.

Currently censorship is a big deal with Facebook and the government. Both want to ban “fake and misleading” content from the platform and the Internet as a whole.

Controlling the media Americans can consume sounds a lot like China and it is scary to think who is actually picking the “trustworthy” news.

Have you ever questioned how a story ended up on your newsfeed on Facebook? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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censor

A liberal professor named Melissa Zimdars created a list of websites should be banned from the Internet because they offer fake or misleading news.

The progressive left is really trying to push through a ban on “fake news” sites, but when they produced this list, it was littered with conservative websites and sprinkled with a few liberal ones.

The list doesn’t contain liberal sites that intentionally mislead like, Snopes, Huffington Post, Slate or Newsweek, but only conservative ones. And many don’t even post “fake news” but actual news that exposes the left.

The top sites that the liberals want to ban from the Internet, notice how they are all from one side of the political spectrum.

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You better dress to impress in Dadeville, Alabama–because their city council might be on the cusp of banning short skirts, sagging pants, and some shorts.

City Councilman Frank Goodman insisted that the proposed new law was to help young people, who are the most likely offenders of the stringent new dress code, rather than punish them.

“Who is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself?” he asked, at last month’s city council meeting. “The reason I brought this up is I think people deserve respect when they are in public. I think slacking is disrespectful. I think it gives our younger generation the wrong impression of what is cool.”

Goodman initially just proposed the ban on sagging pants–but his colleagues quickly jumped in, deciding that government shouldn’t just tell men what to wear; they should tell everyone what to wear.

Stephanie Kelley, another member of the city council, quickly added that girls’ skirts and shorts be added to the city-wide dress code as well.”

“I think for the girls, with these shorts up so high looking like under garments and dresses so short, I don’t want us to be showing favoritism,” she explained.

It’s unclear how the law would hold up if challenged in court–the First Amendment guarantees Americans the freedom of self-expression, which would certainly include clothing that’s racy and suggestive, but not technically obscene.

But, regardless of what happens down the road, the rest of the city council also showed support for the proposal and seems to be behind it–meaning that it could very likely become city law.

The ordinance will tentatively be voted on at the next city council meeting in October.

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The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) – a publicly funded institution run by hardened establishment liberals – succumbed to demands by Ben Affleck that producers of the PBS program “Finding Your Roots” delete details about the actor’s ancestors who owned slaves according to an email exchange between Sony the show’s host leaked last week.

The exchange between Sony CEO Michael Lynton and “Finding Your Roots” host Henry Louis Gates Jr. revealed that an unnamed “megastar” had asked producers to “edit out something about one of his ancestors – the fact that he owned slaves.” In a quandary, Gate’s said:

“Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including Ken Burns. We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found…” “What do we do?”

Lynton asked who else knew about the historical discovery and said “it gets tricky” when editing out material “based on this kind of sensitivity.” Gates replied that the producers of the show, the star’s PR agents, and PBS already knew about the slave-owning ancestor. The exchange continued:

“To do this would be a violation of PBS rules, actually, even for Batman,” Gates wrote.

“[T]hen it is tricky because it may get out that you made the change and it comes down to editorial integrity,” Lynton emailed back. “We can talk when you land.”

In response, Gates said “Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.”

At the end of the exchange, Gates signaled that that the producers of the show would not edit out the information about Affleck’s ancestor but it was not to be so.

“Finding Your Roots” producers made the change deleting Affleck’s slave-owning ancestor from the actor’s segment on the program. Instead, Affleck’s segment followed the exploits of the actor’s sixth grandfather, Jesse Stanley, who fought in the American Revolution, and another grandfather who served as a mystic during the Civil War.

A spokeswoman for Gates issued a statement to the Daily Mail on behalf of the Emmy-nominated producer saying:

“Ultimately, I maintain editorial control on all of my projects and, with my producers, decide what will make for the most compelling program…” “In the case of Mr. Affleck – we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry – including a Revolutionary War ancestor, a 3rd great-grandfather who was an occult enthusiast, and his mother who marched for Civil Rights during the Freedom Summer of 1964.”

In their own response, PBS said:

“It is clear from the exchange how seriously Professor Gates takes editorial integrity. He has told us that after reviewing approximately ten hours of footage for the episode, he and his producers made an independent editorial judgement to choose the most compelling narrative. The range and depth of the stories on Finding Your Roots speak for themselves.”

The leaked email exchange between Gates and Lynton was part of the roughly 30,000 Sony Pictures emails published following the release of the comedy “The Interview” – a fictionalized account about two Americans invited to interview North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after being recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate the leader.

Many believe that Sony’s email system was hacked to intimidate producers of the film and prevent its release – a ruse that worked when Sony cancelled screenings on opening day before distributing “The Interview” direct to cable and streaming sites including Netflix.

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Charlie Hebdo Attacks

“It might sound a bit pompous to say,” Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, editor of France’s satirical Charlie Hebdo, told Le Monde in 2012, “but I prefer to die standing than live on my knees.” The interview was conducted as the newspaper was once again publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, something it had already been sued, hacked and firebombed for by Islamic extremists in previous years. Charbonnier, and the staff knew they might one day be victims of terrorism to silence them, but they refused to surrender their rights to intimidation from armed thugs or those in the government.

The savagery of the assassination of those on Charlie Hebdo staff, as well as the symbolic nature of the target, was an unequivocal message of war against not just those who “insult Islam,” but the very pillar of free expression – a principle that holds the West above societies founded on fear and repression. “Je Suis Charlie!” [translated: “I am Charlie”] became the rallying cry for not just the 1.6 million people, including 40 world leaders, who marched through the streets of Paris in solidarity against extremism last weekend, but millions around the world as well.

Of course, like most cause célèbre that involve a popular, feel-good position, bleeding-heart liberals could not wait to jump on the “Je Suis Charlie” bandwagon; to pound their chests and declare how much in favor of free speech they are. The irony is, these chest-pounders are the ones stifling that very freedom here in the United States. Thanks to the insidious and continuing creep of political correctness rampant in governments at all levels, and especially in academia, rarely has it been so dangerous to express oneself in America.

The Left likes to pretend to support free expression, but rather than fight speech that is ignorant, hateful, or unpleasant with, say, more speech, it seeks to silence that speech with threats of lawsuits, or worse, outright criminalization. Today, people are going to jail for composing rap music on social media as a means to cope with a divorce (a case currently being decided by the Supreme Court). At supposedly “prestigious” institutions of higher education, we have trigger warnings for objectionable content so students are not “offended”; even codifying the words college students must use to legally engage in sex without risk of being accused of “sexual harassment.”

To cap it all off, a study conducted last year found that 51 percent of Democrats favor the criminalization of “hate speech.” Given the strong, anti-expression forces at work here at home, it is strange that so many liberals feel compelled to support the work of a foreign newspaper they would have condemned only a few weeks ago.

For example, New York Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries posted to Twitter following the Paris terror attack: “We all stand with the people of France in the face of terror. Vive la liberté.” Yet, last year, Jeffries sponsored a bill that would have mandated the federal government study “hate speech” on the Internet, which the Washington Times described as “the latest effort to deputize the federal government as the online speech police.” Jeffries then went a step further and used the Paris attacks as further justification for fully funding the Department of Homeland Security, another federal agency that places the rights of Americans at the bottom of its priority list.

It is this duplicitous attitude about free speech that has allowed the culture of political correctness to take hold as it has; and all without needing to fire a single bullet.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President George W. Bush visited Ground Zero, where he stood on top of a fire truck and shouted through a bullhorn to the first responders trying to clear the still-smoldering rubble of the Twin Towers: “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” For all of his faults, President Bush, if just for a few seconds, captured the true essence of the American spirit in that moment; unbroken and unyielding to the powers that try to destroy it. His impromptu and unscripted speech also had a much more significant meaning than merely reassuring the people of New York that the nation was with them. It also said, loudly and clearly, that American freedom – our freedom — will never be silenced by the actions of our enemies. Unfortunately, far-reaching laws passed, and executive policies implemented in the aftermath of 9-11, have severely dimmed Bush’s lofty words and sentiments.

As we move forward from the Paris attacks, we must ask ourselves if truly we are prepared to defend free expressions from all its enemies, not just against those who use guns, bombs, and planes. Clever hashtags, symbolic profile pictures, and public demonstrations in support of French cartoonists are popular right now, and are easy steps to take; but these are superficial, quickly forgotten, and easily pushed aside. The real test comes when we look in the mirror and see how the silent killer of political correctness and soft censorship here at home is destroying and chilling free speech at a far deeper substantive level than a couple of terrorists are able to do: “Today we are Charlie Hebdo,” writes Nick Gillespie at Reason. “But what about tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow?”

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