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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Merkel Fears Social Bots May Manipulate German Election

    BERLIN
    Chancellor Angela Merkel's biggest contender in next year's German election campaign may not be a rival party leader but so-called "social bots" software programmed to sway opinion on social media sites.

    In her first speech to parliament since announcing plans on Sunday to seek a fourth term as chancellor, Merkel called for a debate on how fake news, bots and trolls can manipulate public opinion.

    "In order to reach people, to inspire people, we need to deal with this phenomenon and - where necessary regulate it," Merkel told lawmakers on Wednesday.

    The role social networks Facebook and Twitter play in spreading false and malicious information has shot up Merkel's agenda after the shock election of U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump as president.

    Social bots are software programs that mimic human behavior on social media sites, such as by publishing messages or liking posts. They can be used to spread erroneous

    information and muddy the debate. Some critics say the proliferation of fake news helped sway the U.S. election in Trump's favor.

    With the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) having chipped away at support for Merkel's conservatives by attacking her open-door refugee policy, alarm is growing over the influence of bots and fake news on potential voters.

    In a sign of how seriously Merkel is taking the matter, she invited Simon Hegelich, professor of political data science at the Technical University of Munich, to brief the executive committee of her Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday.

    "Merkel is really interested in the topic of bots and fake news and hate speech on the Internet and she's very well informed," said Hegelich.

    While all of Germany's political parties have said they will not deploy bots in the campaign, the fact that they are mostly anonymous makes it hard to work out who is behind them. Hegelich does not rule out third parties using them to try to discredit parties or politicians.

    The head of the domestic intelligence agency raised concern last week about potential Russian interference in Germany's election through the use of misleading media stories. Moreover, fake news has become a lucrative business model.

    In the U.S. election campaign, bloggers without political affiliation realized they could earn money by spreading sensational and false stories.

    "They act as if they were a news provider, but all the news is fake. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, it's just a business model to get more clicks on advertising," said Hegelich.


    Echo rooms


    Germany's established parties, the CDU and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), are lagging the AfD in engagement on social media. The AfD has racked up more than 300,000 likes on Facebook, while the CDU and SPD can barely muster 240,000 together.

    While this may not seem many among Germany's 62 million voters, many Facebook users share posts with one another, increasing their reach.

    Algorithms on Facebook also shape what content appears in a user's news feed, creating so-called "echo rooms" in which posts only reflect user's own views.

    Facing a barrage of criticism for failing to stem a flood of phony news articles in the run-up to the U.S. election, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has disclosed steps to weed out hoaxes and other false information.

    These include making it easier to report false content, working with third-party verification organizations and journalists on fact-checking efforts, and exploring posting warning labels on content that has been flagged as false.

    Justice Minister Heiko Maas said last week Germany would closely monitor how Facebook responds to the challenge of fake news, but said legislative measures were limited. Merkel has raised the idea of a code of conduct for social networks.

    Thomas Jarzombek, the CDU's spokesman for digital policy, says more transparency is needed and called on journalists at traditional media companies to debunk fake news and create a more informed debate.

    He said with 10 months to go until the election, he believed Germany had time to raise awareness of the issue among voters.

    Merkel Fears Social Bots May Manipulate German Election

  2. #2
    Head Skivvie Stacker Storekeeper's Avatar
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    https://www.theguardian.com/politics...p-nigel-farage

    Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media

    With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network

    "THE war of the bots is one of the wilder and weirder aspects of the elections of 2016. At the Oxford Internet Institute’s Unit for Computational Propaganda, its director, Phil Howard, and director of research, Sam Woolley, show me all the ways public opinion can be massaged and manipulated. But is there a smoking gun, I ask them, evidence of who is doing this? “There’s not a smoking gun,” says Howard.

    “There are smoking machine guns. There are multiple pieces of evidence.”

    “Look at this,” he says and shows me how, before the US election, hundreds upon hundreds of websites were set up to blast out just a few links, articles that were all pro-Trump. “This is being done by people who understand information structure, who are bulk buying domain names and then using automation to blast out a certain message. To make Trump look like he’s a consensus.”

    Open link to read the entire article ...

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Storekeeper
    articles that were all pro-Trump.
    The only way this can be said in an unbiased manner would be to admit that there were also misinformation campaigns deployed against Trump also, supporting Clinton.

    I don't have Facebook, but the wife does and some of the shit thats thrown around on there is ridiculous & makes brietbart look like angels.

    This whole thing is now being spun to somehow benefit the losers, when the losers themselves partake in the same shit. The only debate now is who is more guilty.

    And lets be real, these politicians need to fuckin nut up and do some good, honest, down to earth campaigning and keep policies/positions that a majority wants. If they were to actually do that, then this shit would be a non-issue.

    But, no, instead of trying to figure out what the people want, they do this. Complain that they lost because of "fake news" and "everyone is an idiot" so we need to deploy a "make sure the idiots know what they are reading" campaign filter, totally forgetting that 90% of this shit is satirical and mostly jokes, memes, and stupid shit.

    Dear far left:

    Your missing the point. Deal with your own failures before looking at everything else like you did nothing wrong. Stop finger-pointing. Its stupid, and makes you look even weaker.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat Jesus Jones's Avatar
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    Does she mean those pesky Russians? The preplanned bogeyman from 2007!

  5. #5
    Head Skivvie Stacker Storekeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus Jones
    Dear far left: Your missing the point. Deal with your own failures before looking at everything else like you did nothing wrong. Stop finger-pointing. Its stupid, and makes you look even weaker.
    Yeah, it does make us look weak ... while the right was able to get out the vote to rally around an issue like abortion .... we expect voters to get motivated by issues like transgender bathrooms seriously.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Storekeeper
    issues like transgender bathrooms
    That's an incredibly important issue for many of our TD posters.........and if you are not on side you must be a racist, homophobic, misogyanist, islamist, extremist from the right wing fever swamps....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Storekeeper
    while the right was able to get out the vote to rally around an issue like abortion
    TBH Donald didnt get elected on 'abortion' issues.

  8. #8
    Head Skivvie Stacker Storekeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slick View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Storekeeper
    while the right was able to get out the vote to rally around an issue like abortion
    TBH Donald didnt get elected on 'abortion' issues.
    Nope, but that one issue helped motivate a lot of evangelicals to vote.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat Jesus Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Storekeeper View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus Jones
    Dear far left: Your missing the point. Deal with your own failures before looking at everything else like you did nothing wrong. Stop finger-pointing. Its stupid, and makes you look even weaker.
    Yeah, it does make us look weak ... while the right was able to get out the vote to rally around an issue like abortion .... we expect voters to get motivated by issues like transgender bathrooms seriously.
    I don't remember posting that.

  10. #10
    Head Skivvie Stacker Storekeeper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus Jones View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Storekeeper View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus Jones
    Dear far left: Your missing the point. Deal with your own failures before looking at everything else like you did nothing wrong. Stop finger-pointing. Its stupid, and makes you look even weaker.
    Yeah, it does make us look weak ... while the right was able to get out the vote to rally around an issue like abortion .... we expect voters to get motivated by issues like transgender bathrooms seriously.
    I don't remember posting that.
    Looks to me like it was Slick. Have no idea how your nick got attached to it.

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