The knowledge of this was as high up as Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the man who appears to be driving the whole country from the back seat.
One of many, many articles available in Polish press: https://www.rp.pl/Sedziowie-i-sady/309239933-Farma-trolli-w-...
Edit: added „line of“ in „ They used to slander judges who were not in the political line of thought of the previous / current leading party.“
Yes, sadly, I am invoking everyone is doin' it.
If a party manages to dupe people into thinking their populist cause is important enough to see past the use of troll factories for message control, then that I think says a lot about the health of a democracy. I can imagine this happening in Poland, Hungary or perhaps even Italy, but not in that many places in the EU apart from those.
They could go on TV saying "we are corrupt and we are stealing from you" and they would still win these elections just because they paid for the votes. That's how populism works.
Frankly I'm amazed they managed to lose the Senate and only won the Sejm (lower house - more important in Poland).
> I can imagine this happening in Poland, Hungary or perhaps even Italy, but not in that many places in the EU apart from those.
May I remind you Trump is the president of USA (and his lawyer is arguing he could murder someone on the street and would still be free to go) and UK voted for Brexit? Social networks and troll farms played a big role in both events.
This is how democracy works now... It's like in 20s-30s last century - radio was invented and democracy wasn't ready for it - and when crisis came the result was totalitarianisms.
Now democracy wasn't ready for internet and after crisis came the result is resurgence of populism.
I really do wonder what can be done about the misinformation problem. It doesn't seem like educating the populace is a very effective solution, because even educated people fall for it.
Arguably the downfall started with Sulla :
> Sulla's military coup—ironically enabled by Marius' military reforms that bound the army's loyalty with the general rather than to the Republic—permanently destabilized the Roman power structure. Later leaders like Julius Caesar would follow his precedent in attaining political power through force.
A far cry from the traditional virtue embodied by Cincinnatus :
> He came from his plow to assume complete control over the state but, upon achieving a swift victory, relinquished his power and its perquisites and returned to his farm. His success and immediate resignation of his near-absolute authority with the end of this crisis (traditionally dated to 458 BC) has often been cited as an example of outstanding leadership, service to the greater good, civic virtue, humility, and modesty.
I mention this, as when I mentioned it to the locals, none of them understood what I was talking about.
You see, when your entire reality glows orange, that becomes normal to you. You cease to notice that everything is orange. You even vehemently disagree with anyone who’s just arrived and asks “why is everything around here orange?”.
This is how propaganda works. Degree by degree everything turns orange, and unless you get out of it once in a while, you never notice.
'Today Trump repeated a debunked hoax as though it were true'
is one thing, to say
'Today Trump said "The FBI didn’t take Hillary Clinton's email server. It was taken by somebody that, I guess, it’s CrowdStrike — that’s what I’ve heard.", which has been debunked long ago'.
Is another. The second may be more sexy and may draw more eyeballs and therefore ad impressions but it still gives Trump a platform for his BS and plenty of people will believe the president over some reporter saying that this was already debunked as an afterthought.
I never for a second made that connection, thank you very much.
Interesting. Can you suggest additional reading on this?
> It would not have been possible for us to take power or to use it in the ways we have without the radio....It is no exaggeration to say that the German revolution, at least in the form it took, would have been impossible without the airplane and the radio. ...[Radio] reached the entire nation, regardless of class, standing, or religion. That was primarily the result of the tight centralization, the strong reporting, and the up-to-date nature of the German radio....Above all it is necessary to clearly centralize all radio activities, to place spiritual tasks ahead of technical ones,...to provide a clear worldview,
> By the start of the Second World War, over 70% of German households had one of these radios, which were deliberately limited in range in order to prevent loyal citizens from considering other viewpoints in foreign broadcasts. Radio broadcasts were also played over loudspeakers in public places and workplaces.
> During the democratic period, when the Weimar government introduced progovernment political news, the growth of Nazi popularity slowed down in areas with access to radio. This effect was reversed during the campaign for the last competitive election as a result of the pro-Nazi radio broadcast following Hitler’s appointment as chancellor. During the consolidation of dictatorship, radio propaganda helped the Nazis enroll new party members. After the Nazis established their rule, radio propaganda incited anti-Semitic acts and denunciations of Jews to authorities by ordinary citizens. The effect of anti-Semitic propaganda varied depending on the listeners’ predispositions toward the message. Nazi radio was most effective in places where anti-Semitism was historically high and had a negative effect in places with historically low anti-Semitism
Remember that before radio the best you could get was newspapers and leaflets, and both were mostly ignoring the lower strata of society. In religious regions you could also make a deal with the church I guess, it was the only information network that reached masses regularly.
People in countryside don't get leaflets. Poor people don't spend on newspapers. Radio was "free newspaper everyday", and Nazis gave the radios for free.
Also when you buy a newspaper you presumably already agree with its message at least a little, so it's hard to make people change their minds with newspapers. When you buy a radio you get all the stations, so you can be persuaded by them to change your mind over time.
Then, along comes the ability to move type, and re-use your castings. Luther prises the faultlines in religion wide open with handbills. The English and the French end up having revolutions, promulgated by samizdat handbills disseminated throughout society. The abolitionist movement promote their cause through the same, and American dissenters publish their ideas to a malleable audience with cheap ease, resulting in another revolution.
Arguably, the last gasp of newspapers as the primary medium of movement was the First World War - and then radio took the helm, then television, and now, the internet.
It’s not so much that we’re unready for these media so much as we never will be. We receive subjective realities willingly - it’s how we form social bonds. All that changes is the accessibility of broadcast through the medium, and radio and tv were machines for centralised messaging, whereas the printing press and internet have allowed dissenting voices to once more gain a foothold in the minds of many.
If we follow pattern, we are in for a rough ride, but perhaps a better state of affairs at the end of it.
That's how socialism works. You take some money from people, give half of it back to them and they cheer you for it.
Many of them will be doing it through a PR firm to maintain deniability in the event of disclosure. But each and every party is doing it.
Have you thought about the idea that you yourself are a victim of a marketing department if you believe every criticism is related to Russian campaigns?
That’s not the claim, and you hyperbolizing that way is a classic technique for muddying the waters.
> everything is shilled on you
That’s simply not true. There are many shills, but not everyone is a shill.
There is a difference between responsible marketing and lying. Every institution has to choose which they engage in.
Now in addition to the above we have the currently ruling party that is correctly characterised as being way too religious even going as far as equating Catholicism with being Polish in some of their talks, being stupid in their attempts to reform the openly corrupt justice system causing correct accusations of breaking the law. At the same time they proven not to be corruptible by sorting out the tax system to the effect of increasing the budget almost by half (it turns out we had massive Vat fraud previous guys knew and did absolutely minimum about and half of small businesses were cheating at taxes). The currently ruling party implemented a system where if you "forget" about a vat invoice it'll text you about it making people much more honest about paying. Additionally, the ruling party is the only political force ever in Poland that actually implemented all of their campaign promises. Many people like myself don't like the religiousness, but value that those the only people that went into politics to actually implement their campaign promises. This is completely unheard of in Poland. As a result of the lack of open thievery the previous guys were engaging in and their social programs which increase the amount of money in hands of previously poor people the economy is much better. The unemployment is non existent in big cities etc.
The bottom line is, who would you vote for: A dishonest person)(a known thief and conman) who tells you what you want to hear, or honest people you disagree with on some principles? That's why the ruling party won its second election. Not because it is great, but because they are seen as the only force that is non-corrupt(or at least less corrupt) and fulfilling its promises.
The opposition are either dishonest, incompetent or a joke depending on who you look at. I really wish there is time we have honest opposition in Poland. Maybe the new left once they drop the ex-communists will become that for the next election. We'll see.
There is currently huge affair in Ministry of Finances because they were covering tax frauds and even doing them themselves :) https://www.money.pl/podatki/afera-w-resorcie-finansow-szefa...
There was also a corruption scandal with KNF chief Chrzanowski nominated by PIS. https://www.newsweek.pl/szef-knf-oskarzony-o-korupcje-rezygn...
And the tax fraud by chief of controlling agency (NIK) Banaś - also nominated recently by PIS.
Of course nobody cares because social money flow :)
As for the "increase of budget" - mostly it comes from changes in the system already introduced by the previous government but with vacation legis (like electronic reporting for microcompanies - JPK). And of course PIS has the luck to rule during a worldwide economic boom.
As for the previous guys bringing up microreporting.... please, that is such a worn out excuse. They were in power for 8 years and they actually managed to start serious work on that particular solution half a year before they left office, becuase they knew they absolutely have to. How is that not doing absolute minimum they can get away with? Have you seen the answer the back then minister of finance gave when he was asked a question what did he do when he was informed there are likely billions of VAT refunds beign scammed out of the system? His answer was "I don't remember".
Also tell Germans, China and many other countries about that worldwide economic boom we've been experiencing for last 4 years :-)
I'm no fan of PiS. In fact I voted for their rivals 12 years ago because I did believe their promises of 3x15%, low taxes etc. I still remember many scandals that are forgotten today. For example billions spent on motorways built by the state and then given to companies owned by "friends" for 50 year lease so they could make profits by charging drivers whatever they want for using infrastructure funded by people's own taxes. But my biggest dissapointment with them was not even thievery as it can perhaps be explained that not everyone was a theif etc, but the fact they didn't implement a single one of their promises. They did nothing about rotten to the core bureaucracies of the tax offices, national insurance (ZUS) and tried to privatise the health service through the back door. It is no simple task to resolve this. Even though PiS has very little sucess in those areas, at least they are talking about this and are seen as trying with their "Constitution for Business" that is the only law (other than the actual constitution) that states tax man is supposed to use presumption of innocence not presumtion of guilt as it is done usually and actually treat people fairly in their dealings with the tax offices.
It is true that many people vote for PiS because of new social programs. However, there are many people that vote for them because there is no other viable choice. Sometimes the least bad is the only option.
Anyway, as George Bush famously said: "Full me once, shame on you, full me tw-you can't get fooled again!" :-)
Meanwhile Szyszko "forgot" to include land and a house in Mazury lake resort worth hundreds of thousands of PLN and nothing :)
> They were in power for 8 years and they actually managed to start serious work on that particular solution half a year before they left office, becuase they knew they absolutely have to.
That's one interpretation. Another is - when you don't have single majority and have to coordinate with your coallition partners stuff takes more time. When you actually ask people and do all the proper processes - legislation takes time.
On the other hand you can do it like PIS does - change law in 1 night without any review, and then it turns out it contains logical errors, duplicated articles, and have to be fixed 9 times (like the law about KRS was :) ).
I much prefer slow and steady to fast and chaotic. Law is in may respects like code, and PIS is doing spaghetti code.
It may be that I have become too cynical lately, but if some court cases taught us recently, it is that popular fora of all kinds are a battleground of sorts and everyone there is either an FBI agent, a shill or a dog.
For the record, the moment you used word populist makes me question whether you have an axe to grind yourself ( ie. UE establishment is not that happy about Poland and Hungary breaking ranks), but I digress..
This how bad it is. HN is pretty decent moderation-wise and I still keep my guard up.
Well the US has been openly doing it for nearly a decade. Care to reconsider your point of view?
Astroturfing is incredibly common, it's part of many public relations firms standard services. In person actors are obviously more expensive than their online equivalent but it's all just viewed as a tool for a campaign.
Even if the original topic was only tangentially related it will get changed. A post with puppy photos can turn into a climate change discussion because "nuclear power is so green".
It's so common now that it's uncanny.
If I had to guess at any motivation other than a lot of people actually liking nuclear power, it would probably be that nuclear power is one of the few controversies where a reasonably intelligent person can easily grasp a series of basic arguments and then virtue-signal about being more scientifically literate than the unwashed masses. It's basically the same social dynamic that used to motivate the type of people who argued with creationists and climate change deniers.
It's also the Generically Dumbest Conspiracy Theory On The Internet to say "everybody who disagrees with me is a paid shill". People on the internet tend to hold and express opinions because it's an emotionally compelling thing to do, not because they're being paid off by Westinghouse or George Soros or whoever. It's literally an accusation you're making without evidence--I could just as easily suggest that maybe YOU'RE a shill for the photovoltaic industry? ;)
But if this happens frequently on a wide range of topics, on a regular basis it gets to a point where a rational person has to question the validity of the information source.
It's really hard not to point out when people start talking about better solar and battery storage that we could be solving this problem right now with tech we already have. Instead our solution to climate change keeps being pushed out into the nebulous future because people refuse to look at the obvious solution.
The IV generation plants people keep talking about didn't happen in time. With the current pace, we're at least ten years from commercial roll out, and at that point there's no market left for something that needs to run 24/7 to be competitive. Wind turbines and solar are falling in price YoY.
I'm afraid even your "We could dramatically cut ... now" is hyperbole. Nuclear power plants take many years to plan and build.
“People are stupid” is not a valid reason for not choosing a technology. It’s just something that needs to be overcome. Do you realize how complex and out of grasp a basic SCADA controller is to normal people? A modern turbofan? Yet people entrust their lives to these things every day wi the no issue.
> incredible strides PV and wind turbines have made in the past decades.
PV and wind absolutely do not matter. They cannot provide stable base load. Solar enthusiasts bury their heads in the sand when it comes to base load and hand wave about batteries, pumped storage, etc when in reality they are just signing civilization up for more gas turbine plants and coal while virtue signaling that they care about the environment.
Not to mention that many of the delays and drawbacks of nuclear power are precisely due to the antinuclear movement itself, which imposes barriers and regulations instead of the subsidies that renewables have received.
Please stop spreading misinformation: While we've failed our planned reduction goals, we did in fact reduce fossil fuel usage.
Meanwhile the renewables are being choked by increasing regulatory burdens (which the coal lobby lobbied for) and fake news (pushed by the coal lobby) to prevent even those who pass the burden from building anything. In Bavaria the area where wind turbines can still be built is less than a percent of the total area of the state, the coal lobby meanwhile is building a new coal plant (they got a permit to build one and politics is unwilling to revoke it).
Renewables could have easily replaced a large part of nuclear if not for the coal lobby.
Yes, there are new coal powered plants being build, but mostly to replace inefficient older ones. There might be an argument that a new NPP would have been a better solution, but it wouldn't have worked out economically. Maybe with taxes on carbon dioxides if that would have been implemented.
I think subsidies for renewables are a far better investment compared to NPP.
Is this an unreasonable assumption considering the topic here?
This entire topic is based on proof of this.
Even here on HN, there's occasionally jokes like "cool, how long before they shut it down" on Google's products as an example. There's nothing wrong with this comment but it has the patterns you also ascribed to trolls.
Who benefits? Are there any major initiatives in the nuclear industry? Are any new plants starting to be built?
All I've seen is a bunch of plants that have horrible cost overruns and no fixed time line for being finished.
That doesn't sound like something that you'd want to raise public awareness about if you were in the nuclear industry.
So who does this kind of campaign benefit if not the nuclear industry? It doesn't seem to benefit the oil and gas industry who are without a doubt the masters and originators of propaganda in this market. It doesn't benefit solar and wind generators -- so who?
Pro-Troll Filter: (first draft)
1. Is the commenter able to rationally discuss the downsides of their position?
NO? Possibly a pro-troll or an irrational comment.
2. Is the commenter willing to admit past errors in implementing of their ideal solution, and also consider the same errors could occur again? (ie, no true Scotsman logical fallacy)
3. Is the commenter willing to look at and/or discuss real data, even if it contradicts their position?
4. Does the commenter devolve into ad hominem attacks?
YES? Possibly a pro-troll or an irrational comment.
People have bad days and can act irrationally at any time. But I have found that when someone is unable/unwilling to admit error tries to support an idea based on limited information will devolve into irrational comments when challenged with counter arguments/questions. Not sure how this will help with pro-troll filtering, but it's more data to consider.
Only fanboys dig in and defend a subject with senseless arguments once they become emotional.
If you’re trying to come up with a filter, decide: do you want to filter out trolls or just people that are fans of topics that hurt your feelings? Right now it just looks like a filter for any conversation with a human you disagree with.
Yes, they do. They want their followers to behave irrationally, so they lead with it. A group of well considered and thoughtful people can change their mind with new evidence and information.
A pro-troll doesn't want that, they want blind devoted followers that repeat a message blindly, loudly and often.
If anyone is going to have a script and long list of references to draw from, wouldn’t it be the paid shill? Provided by their employer?
It seems more likely to me that most people are just an emotional wreck and don’t perform well in debate.
This is why they use irrationality as a weapon.
An [x] shill making poor arguments the those on the fence is going to do less good for their employers than a shill making the strongest possible case for [x].
If anything, you'd assume the 'irrational' nuclear shills are actually being paid by natural gas and renewables interests, and vice-versa, to make the other side seem obnoxious and crazy.
Republicans: (fox news) Illegals are taking over America and stealing your jobs!
Democrats: (cnn) Conservatives are hate filled racists who hate equality!
The same thing is happening online because this works with the masses.
Couldn't it be fossil fuel groups who benefit. They know there are groups who fight for green energy who are very strongly against nuclear and that by pushing for nuclear, it creates internal conflict which reduces the pressure being put on existing fossil fuels. It is also an easier target to focus on with propaganda. Nuclear has a certain level of fear in our social psyche that doesn't exist with other green energy which makes for easier propaganda.
The best thing for fossil fuels in the current climate is to keep everyone against nuclear. A solar/wind future without the fantasy breakthrough in cheap storage is actually just a solar/wind + fossils base-load future. Anti-nuclear == pro-fossils in any solution that doesn’t involve significant blackouts.
It's unfortunate that I mentioned "nuclear" without adding other industries to buffer that one. No one takes issue with me listing the "medical industry" as paying for trolls, not sure why so many care about nuclear over the medical industry here...
My counter argument here is simple:
1. You have outlined a pattern of behavior that in your opinion indicates that someone is a paid shill.
2. However you yourself have engaged in the exact pattern of behavior you describe.
3. Therefore we are left with two options:
A: Your theory is correct, and you are a paid shill for renewables.
B: You are not a paid shill, and hence the pattern of behavior you describe is not actually strong evidence of shilling.
Which one is it?
"I don't think it's just government, but also likely industries as well. I've seen what could only be trolling for support of multiple industries."
Since this was my intent to state in the first place, do you disagree with this because you think it's impossible? Or because you think it's unlikely? Or some other reason?
The original post demonstrated proof that governments pay trolls, do you believe the only customers for these businesses are governments?
I'd say it's almost a forgone conclusion that it's happening.
Edit: From 2015
Link in the article to Monsanto trolling:
A glow in the dark Shrek I suppose.
with the internet comes a lot of freedom and this is part of the price of having it because you can bet there is a politician waiting in the wings who will ask you to let them muzzle someone to protect you all the while another politician may be selling your right to speak.
For example home owners that do not want a nuclear reactor in their backyard are not likely candidates for troll farms, but huge energy companies (or whomever) are.
As for nuclear NIMBYs, sure, individually they don't have the money (I'm a nuclear YIMBY, and I don't have it either). But there's plenty of organizations with money and influence, campaigning against nuclear - e.g. fossil fuel industry, Greenpeace. So I'm going to back the GP - everyone does that.
It's the vastness of comments that I find as evidence of something wrong, not specific posts.
If you believe all pro-nuclear-energy people are extremist environmental nuts, or all anti-nuclear-energy are anti-science luddites, then you've got a lot of people who are going to be easy to manipulate, since they won't ever entertain any argument from the other side.
This is crucial. I think it makes sense to recognize how, since the invention of speech, there have been those who accrue power by hiring professional trolls.
Ethics don't matter in that case.
'company’s rightwing accounts would then oppose the leftwing accounts, generating conflict and traffic' reads like something straight from Douglas Adams works.
Article also fails to mention a real political troll farm discovered some time earlier https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://... ran by current parliament member (representing failed party, PO, the one whose members recently voted pro censorship in EU) inside a Town Hall and utilized city employees on the clock.
I wish I saw a way out.
Simple. Because they're making money on the garbage. It's a misalignment of incentives. Until that is fixed, through reorganization or regulation, the problem will persist. They will only do enough to fight this -- both in terms of technology and public image -- so that it doesn't impact their bottom line(s).
Go look at a political subreddit, or some controversial tweet. There’s little conversation or context. Most users could be bots.
Google often has the advantage of having hard (url) or soft (product/key word mention) links that point to something extremely rare and “unimportant”. Everyone is bitching about politicians and policy in a way that’s not far from a Markov chain.
As someone said, we live in strange timeline where comedians are more trustworthy than politicians.
If bot/organized posts are properly classified as spam then surely the factual accuracy of someone's postings don't really matter anymore, as anything "inaccurate" falls into the realm of "opinion" or just human error. Presumably it's ok to be wrong.
So I don't see any problem with a person believing that e.g. Epstein was killed, and posting online about this belief. I don't see a problem with grassroots communities arising around this belief. It only seems to me to be an issue when such postings are sponsored/encouraged because of e.g. some political aim, and proper spam detection would mitigate this.
Paul Julius Reuter worked at a book-publishing firm in Berlin and was involved in distributing radical pamphlets at the beginning of the Revolutions in 1848.
Besides, the problematic part with "news" involve "non-factual" news but rather political "news". Whether globalism is good or bad. What, if anything, to do about climate change. Nonsense like veganism, etc. There, by nature, can't be fact-checked because it is a value/contextual judgment rather than a factual one. Capitalism vs communism, nationalism vs globalism, immigration vs nativism, alt-right vs alt-left, traditional media vs social media, etc.
Nobody in charge needs to (or even can) decide if something like globalism or communism is good or bad, just that no obvious lies are spread while discussing it.
Never mind Google, most people are unable to recognize when they are behaving in a bot-like manner themselves...and if you point it out to them, in my experience 90%+ of the time they will become hostile and double down on their clearly not correct statements.
EDIT: Which is often reflected in willingness to entertain or debate ideas, as well as voting patterns. But alas, it seems I am done on HN for the day, due to "posting too fast".
It’s so gross.
The staggering amount of power we grant to the executive branch is one of several elephants in this particular room that no one really wants to talk about.
Happy to hear a good counter-argument, though...?
BTW, I agree with you that it is gross but thems the rules. So if we extend this logic we need to convince the corporation that it is not in there financial interest to continue with the status-quo.
No matter how "smart" they seem like they should be you'll get some of the worst, lowest quality opinions imaginable.
Most people do not know how to say "I'm not really sure about that". The absolute worst thing you can do south the average person is ask them to think about a new concept, and the internet is a medium which puts a box in front of you and says "have your say".
The spam blocking they do is designed to eliminate unwanted bulk mailings from automated systems, not some one off bit of content from an individual.
If it is reported by a recipient using the report button most email providers have then your email host gets a black mark in various databases. With repeat reports over time, more and more of thier legitimate customers stuff gets filtered.
That means your email host is incentivised to find and shut down spam accounts, ideally before they start sending mail. Register a bunch of accounts from one computer or from a proxy? Closed.
You could get around this with your own smtp server buuut... If you send a lot of reported emails your home isp will chuck you. They don't want thier ip block blacklisted. Your cloud smtp spam server will be pulled by amazon and they won't let someone who seems to be you create a new account.
So yes, you can send a few manually written emails and send them to a couple people at a time, but anything with wider reach will be shut down rapidly at various levels.
Meanwhile, you can script create thousands of twitter bot accounts with obvious bot names and... If they are looking for them, they aren't looking harder than they are being made to.
I guess this is a strong argument for federated Internet infrastructure. Everyone is incentivised to play nice because thier partners can cut them off.
I would be interested in an analysis of who funds those troll campaigns. I'd wager billionaires rank very far below governments, political parties and corporations.
It means that disinformation is relatively less important to billionaires compared to others.
Not sure what the linked article has to do with it.
Edit: The reason why I'm even debating this not very important difference is that I feel that structural issues with our political and economic system are too often obscured and trivialised by blaming it all on powerful evil individuals.
For instance, billionaires want the companies they own shares in to make as much money as possible. CEOs who measure their success in increasing share prices are therefore incentivised to occasionally break the law.
Does that mean billionaires wanted or even told the CEO to break the law? Not necessarily. Does it mean CEOs wouldn't break the law if the shares were owned by a pension fund and not by billionaires? No.
So there are more complex structural issues that shouldn't get buried in too much finger pointing at rich individuals. Of course that doesn't mean there are no evil billionaires or that some of them wouldn't like to own a personal troll army. Who knows.
Naval Ravikant made a very good point on Joe Rogan where he said that as soon as social media platforms decided to censor content they started a war they can't win because they end up having to chose sides. He said their position should be (recalling from memory here) "we're a publishing platform not responsible for the content that's being published. If you have a warrant, we'll take it down, otherwise it's hands off". Censoring, demoting or stopping the spread, it's basically the same thing.
They absolutely are making money on the garbage as well, as you said.
Can't help but notice that this kind of argument never really worked for torrent platforms.
Google hasn't solved the spam problem for end users at all. Google has solved its liability to spam.
But how do you tell the difference between a political activist who just joined Twitter and a troll account? You seem to think this is a trivial problem so I am curious to see your answer.
Whereas social media doesn't really have a to: list. By design it's broadcast. That puts a major limitation on using as similar solution.
Solving comments isn't.
Also, google has the same incentives as facebook and twitter. I don't see why you are separating google from facebook and twitter.
One way the characters in the book got around the huge signal to noise problem was by using editors who were paid to filter it out. Different people could afford different qualities of editors and that had effects on society.
It's a pretty small part of the book, but it's very interesting.
An earlier comment I made about this very point: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14554592
Stephenson has done a pretty amazing job at extrapolating the near future. I'm not sure if the idea of a crypto currency existed before he wrote Cryptonomicon, but that was 10 years before Bitcoin launched.
He expressed the idea of editors being a two-way service. They not only curated your feeds, but also monitored the data you make available to others.
Wealthy people could afford human editors to look after their personal 'brand', and ensure the quality of their consumed media, whereas poorer people had to make do with AI editors run by the likes of Google, or Facebook.
Its no wonder they dont want to ban political ads. They would have to remove their post reach boosting and super refined targeting and that's their entire business.
I heard in Google search, most of the people click ads because they dont know these are ads but this is hard to believe for me
The only plausible way out I see is first recognizing the degree to which what we consider "facts" and "factual" discourse and beliefs to actually be vague, often incorrect opinions and memes.
If one group of people of above average intelligence could learn and maintain a disciplined approach to reading and discussing issues and the news, carefully distinguishing between objective and comprehensive factual statements versus discussing things in lazy, non-comprehensive, meme and heuristic driven "facts", acknowledging the ever-present complexity, uncertainty, and nuance, might this group of people be able to finally recognize the degree to which we are mostly arguing about models and depictions of reality, rather than reality itself?
I think it is certainly possible, but it seems this idea invokes disgust in most people, of all political stripes.
Is it? If someone's job is spewing cleverly provocative, disruptive, toxic, and intentionally negative messages all day ... does that edgy skill and behaviour not leak into their home or personal life?
I understand, these workers need jobs and I'm sure some get quite proficient at trolling. But my gut says there will be personal side effects from reinforcing and working your brain and interactions like this all day. :-(
> A majority of Cat@Net’s employees are understood to be disabled, allowing the company to derive substantial public subsidies from Poland’s National Disabled Rehabilitation Fund.
> "their disabilities mean that their employment opportunities are limited"
When you have nothing to put into the pot, the perspective changes. Some of those people might be desperate for work, and in such situation one swallows their pride.
Still, not all people would do such things. But I also imagine some of them might be underestimating the power of the work they're doing and thinking "it can't possibly lead to anything serious".
It’s one step away from “I was just following orders”
I agree with you but I guess humans are very good at compartmentalizing their brain. Honestly, these jobs are not that different from working for defense contractors. They know their products are used to cause harm but still most people working in the defense industry manage to stay detached from the consequences of their work.
It's well-understood by Marxists how the mode of production determines the cultural superstructure (and vice-versa).
It's not "understood," it's a sociological theory. Hardly hard science.
Might as well talk about how it’s well understood by the Scientology community that it’s indicative of a required audit.
Or the retro seo trick where you ask a question on yahoo questions so you can answer it with another account to backlink "relevant" website.
Literally nothing new, internet has of course changed the scale and took away the monopoly from newspapers and tv.
I think that culture just sort of "evolves" out of the problem?
>Hillary Clinton's well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet's worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton's campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.
> “It is meant to appear to be coming organically from people and their social media networks in a groundswell of activism, when in fact it is highly paid and highly tactical,” said Brian Donahue, chief executive of the consulting firm Craft Media/Digital.
Yeah... no. It went full "Not My President" overnight.
Hell, not even overnight. It went full "Not My President" that very night.
And if you think that's bad, had to deal with brass at work (fintech) proclaiming that we needed to spend an insane amount of capital in preparation for the record trade volume we would need to process because the markets were going to collapse.
I was there for that too. It literally was flip of a switch speed. One of the big turning points I saw regarding the election.
Isn't that exactly what you'd expect to happen if a lot of the commenters where Democratic voters acting as rational agents in good faith? If I were a Bernie supporter in 2016 who wanted the Democratic candidate (whoever that might end up being) to win, why would I shit on Clinton after she won the nomination? It'd make more sense to support her, and I think that's what a lot of people did. That's certainly exactly what I did.
Weird, IMHO Hillary and the Democrat party really seemed to be the one's doing the dividing.
The only person HRC has to blame for losing is herself. The amount of actual-fake-news where there was total bullshit made up about her was nearly non-existent, and especially so when compared to the bullshit made up about Trump (paying hookers to pee in a bed Obama slept in, which got REAL mainstream media coverage thousands of times).
That's not why Stein is called a Russian asset; they did the same with Sanders, who acknowledged and rejected what they were doing when it was discovered, and wasn't nearly as often labeled that way. Aside from the difference in each candidates response there's other behavioral differences including, well, things like this:
Therein lies a good point I routinely use to befuddle, is how do you know these trolls are working on behalf of someone for their benefit, or working on behalf of the opposition as a way to attempt to discredit?
Attribution is hard.
This is so absurd. Given the quantity of bullshit, self-incrimination and self-contradiction coming out of his mouth, it's really hard to imagine feeling a need to make up more...
This has been confirmed with research by independent media analysts like Johnathan Albright.
There's a good summary here: https://slate.com/technology/2018/02/what-we-know-about-the-...
If you look carefully, you might even notice there's not even an attempt to provide any evidence. Like any other article on this topic, it just presents the claims as if evidence has been provided. But there is none, only allegations, and "believed to be" based on easily spoofable attributes.
I'm not denying all of this was the Russians, I'm just pointing out that I've never seen any actual evidence, or encountered anyone who was able to provide me anything that is more than narrative based allegations, completely devoid of evidence.
I in no way expect to change your mind, I am simply stating my understanding of what is actually known (and published) versus what is speculation.
I likely won't be able to reply again due to going against the grain, but if you can post any actual evidence I promise to read it and adjust my beliefs accordingly. If posting a link to a multi-hundred page document, please include some hint as to what page some actual evidence exists on as 100% of the people I've encountered online who have taken this approach have all for some reason decided to not reveal where these shocking proofs that they've certainly personally read can be found in the document, for some strange reason.
If you are genuinely interested in this, then it is easy enough to search out what they're referencing in the article. Even the Albright research (I found it), but I'm not even sure you know what your burden of proof is here.
>>> I'm not sure when you're referencing, but Russian troll farms used Sanders to divide the left on social media websites.
>> This is news to me, are you able to cite any specific evidence? (Not vague allegations or assertions of fact, but rather actual, specific, somewhat confirmable evidence.
> ~you reply with a link to a document which is exactly what I asked you to not reply with.
I expect this is why you were downvoted.
I am downvoted (on this comment, and several others within a span of a few minutes) for not accepting the popular meme. This topic seems to be very strongly identity-related, so logical thinking seems to become very downgraded, replaced by post-hoc rationalization and a variety of other fascinating cognitive quirks.
I mean, think about it - we are on HN, a website full of very intelligent people, and any comment asking for evidence on certain topics will be downvoted. Why doesn't one person ever provide some evidence and utterly crush the "idiot" conspiracy theorists? I believe the reason is, because people literally can't think properly in certain situations. Their heuristics completely overpower their conscious and logical mind, knowingly or not. Hopefully someone starts to notice this and actually studies it, because it seems like it could be very harmful to society.
I believe this is one of the root problems of the day, so I will continue to point it out and take my downvotes in lieu of reasoned disagreement, which never comes.
> If you are genuinely interested in this, then it is easy enough to search out what they're referencing in the article.
I've done so many, many times, and at the end of the trail (if the link aren't dead as some are in the linked article), inevitably the factual proof is always based on one or more articles that I earlier described as "claims with a healthy peppering of qualification or misleadingly speculative terms like "alleged", "according to", "supports the idea", "believed to be", Russian-"linked", etc."
I continue to ask those who assert factual knowledge on the matter, and continue to be disappointed.
> I'm not even sure you know what your burden of proof is here.
I do: none, because I've made no assertion, I've only asked for evidence of yours: "Russian troll farms used Sanders to divide the left on social media websites."
I am quite certain there is only suspicion of this. This is certainly the case with the "Russian" trolls on Twitter, because they said it outright, as well as described their identification methodology. I can't comment for sure on Facebook, because I've never encountered an article that describes the identification methodology.
1. Governments using trolls is different than campaigns hiring people to discuss politics. Campaigns get volunteers all the time to affect public discourse by going door to door, sending mailers, and doing all kinds of things.
2. Trolls specifically have an antisocial goal. The trolls employed by Russian military intelligence engaged in a psy-ops campaign against America to raise domestic tensions along racial and social lines. They specifically targeted races and ideologies and used aggressive, violence-promoting tactics. By contrast, Hillary hired Americans to talk about politics online.
3. It's not illegal for campaigns to hire citizens to promote their politics online. It is illegal for foreign governments to engage in military intelligence psy-ops campaigns against our citizens, and for campaigns to coordinate with those campaigns and request them.
I think the worst part about seeing you bring up "Correct the Record" is that they spent $9 million dollars in a $1.6 billion dollar campaign. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00578997...
The conspiracy theories and propaganda that were created about this program are some of the most ridiculous lies of the 2016 cycle, and I think really go to show how little research people are willing to do before they repeat propaganda. "Correct the Record" exposes a classic propaganda pipeline for the right, because it was a tiny program that did very little, but the right managed to turn it into a massive huge conspiracy where every pro-Hillary comment must be a troll. Which was a response, of course, to the validated and legitimate left criticism that pro-Trump actors were actually foreign psy-op campaigns. There needed to be a "Both-sides-ism" to excuse the fact that a foreign government conducted a military intelligence operation against our elections.
Even today this conspiracy boogeyman gets play all over the internet, a remnant of disinformation used to justify an attack on our elections.
Both are just mindlessly trying to hit metrics(like/views/clicks/upvotes etc). And everyone is very satisfied hitting them.
But nobody has yet proved in any country, in any part of the world all this mindless metric hitting activity (amplified robotically by the news media) is actually producing a sustainable outcome.
Doesn't matter what problem domain you pick where are the outcomes that justify all this activity? One guy gets the likes today, another gets the likes tomorrow.
It's a trap. You see the same dynamics play out in Poland, Brexit, Modi's India, Duterte etc.
That only goes away once the Like/View/Click based ecosystem is dismantled.
It's sad and shocking that folks treat a massive attack on the US homeland as "equivalent to Hillary fans posting comments on Reddit".
It really goes to show you how America is failing here: if no one will defend the homeland against attack, there won't be a homeland to defend.
You're welcome to cry about "clicks" and "likes" but we were attacked and are continuing to be attacked by sophisticated, and trained intelligence officers whose goal is to increase tension, increase terrorism, increase violence: and guess what -- they are succeeding. Terrorism is up. Violence is up. Tension is up.
Feels like a huge "wake up" moment, but of course the fake "both sides" propaganda paralyzes folks into such cynicism that they watch one-sided terroristic violence roil our communities and they shrug and complain about "views"
If you don't understand what role they play, or even worse, misunderstand what role they play please read some Social Psychology specifically Conformism and how it is triggered.
The problem is most people who designed the platforms are only now learning about these things and are trying to undo the effects pretending they don't need to make changes to the original design.
I would argue that both of them are illegal.
This is not a new thing. Take for example, Poland historically used to elect a monarch. Various European powers would try to influence who was elected. In 1733, this famously culminated in the War of the Polish Succession.
Going back even further, Persia would back different Greek politicians.
This game of influencing foreign elections is a game that has been played for centuries, and is likely not going away any time soon.
You can see this very vividly demonstrated in any classical histories, like Thucydides, all the way up through history, with all types of elections, from actual every-single-citizen democracies to the just-the-Electors HRE.
This is also true in American history from the very beginning, when French interests, for example, worked against Adams. Or more famously, when the British strongly intervened to ensure the re-election of FDR.
The Kennedy election was also famously the target of Russian interference.
Simply put, there’s no foreign country in world history that wasn’t or isn’t interfering in domestic elections they have any kind of interest in. It would be very foolish not to. It’s a game that has gone on since the invention of democracy and will always go on, because every incentive is aligned with it and there are no norms against it.
In general, you have to be very careful when people claim something is new and unprecedented. Sometimes they just don’t know and lack the necessary context, but often they’re constructing a narrative that relies on historical innocence/ignorance of relatively mundane detail. This has been a major problem with our news media that has been getting worse for decades: they don’t do the very important job of putting things into historical or even a current cultural context. Instead, they create narratives that are easy, get people fired up and consuming more news, and often inadvertently (or sometimes advertently) serve a partisan purpose.
Foreigners getting paid by US citizens to the US citizens' dirty work is still a matter of foreign interference with a country's fundamental sovereignty.
Especially with the track record of the CIA.
The polish PR firm is about to get a wave of leads from this 'negative PR'
As disgusting as this is, there are so many layers to regulating, much of which stems from the nature of social media platforms vs. traditional media platforms. Are the platforms they're posting on subject to the same propaganda regulations as news outlets? Are they as individuals liable for the spread of misinformation, as a result?
It was a very curious evening. The first thing they did was reassure everyone - slightly nervously - that they weren't a cult.
"You'll see us called a cult online, but we're not a cult. Ha ha. Definitely not a cult. Certainly not. Oh no."
This denial sounds rather similar.
Strange how the statement feels chaotic and even unprofessional at times. They should get PR firm perhaps? Oh wait.
I thought this was the worst part.
It has been a gradual change, of course. But if I were to pick a date where your notion became wrong, it'd be June 29, 2007. With the launch of the iPhone, the internet forever stopped being the thing inside the big box on your desk. Once it was in our pockets (and very often right in our hands), it stopped being cyberspace and became everyday life.
Communication has always been between real people in the real world. The method by which they communicate is what has changed.
This is what makes political ads so different from the rest of them - they're not ads for products that everybody decides for themselves to buy or not. Everybody's decisions here affect everybody else.
A good example is this recent thread from Reddit for a screenshot from Facebook about a guy who was arrested and named in the media. The screenshot claims the poster is with the guy and that he was 'Released Without Charge!' - https://old.reddit.com/r/ireland/comments/dm4lda/came_across...
Lots of anger in the comments about the media, lots of sympathy for the 'poor' guy, lots of comments saying he should get a lawyer, sue the newspapers etc.
The problem is the screenshot was bullshit. He wasn't released without charge at all, he has since been charged and is looking at 10+ years in jail, but that one screenshot from Facebook was all it took for people to be convinced, and not just in cyber-space, but in the real world.
I'm from the same part of the world, and remember going into work the following day to find people talking about the 'poor guy', and expressing anger about how he had been treated, etc, because of that one screenshot doing the rounds.
I can't simply decide for other people to not be influenced.
I always get frustrated at these kinds of suggestions; "you can solve problem X by just having people stop doing y!"... well, how do we get people to stop doing Y? You can't just wish it.
I strongly disagree. Substantial amounts of similar (if to a lesser degree) behavior can be observed in any identity-related thread on HN. We may be better than the average mouth breather, but we're far from immune from delusional beliefs.
I wonder, downvoter, why do you disagree? Surely you can acknowledge that technical folks on HN are capable of critical thinking....do you truly believe this ability extends to all other domains, completely free of error? Or, might it be something else? :)
A lot of work goes into preventing bots etc on HN, but it is still not immune because the prize of getting your opinion or article read by the tech crowd is big.