Who’s Haunting Your Network?

Shares in Facebook plummeted this week, wiping $37bn off the company’s value, following reports on Cambridge Analytica, a firm a whistleblowerreferred to as a “dirty MI6” that used Facebook user data to target and manipulate people with (often false) information.

The Oscar-winning Social Network remains an impressive film, and who better to continue the Facebook narrative than director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who have both worked on House of Cards and The West Wing respectively?Hollywood has already started weaving social networks into dystopian tales, Facebook being riffed on in Tom Hanks and Emma Watson-starrer The Circle and Jesse Eisenberg,

Mr Kurtz had been discussing a related topic – a poll by the same group that addressed how often news outlets report “fake news” and the graphic was displayed incorrectly, per his statement posted on Facebook. He said the Associated Press “should be embarrassed” about its report regarding the network’s error. “Its dishonest piece was made worse by the fact that the wire service didn’t bother to contact me or Fox News for comment,” Mr Kurtz had written.

The Associated Press story noted Mr Kurtz had asked his team to take down the graphic during the broadcast but did not report that the graphic had been used again later on.

“During the segment, the control room mistakenly posted the graphic early, while I was dealing with the fake news questions. So I calmly asked that it be taken down. About a minute later, I asked for the graphic to be put back on the screen and discussed the finding with my guest, pollster Frank Luntz,” Mr Kurtz explained in the Facebook post.

 

The host also said the “echoed partisan chatter online” is also misinterpreting the graphic itself. He wrote that “the Monmouth poll found that 30 percent of those surveyed said they trusted Fox more and 20 percent said they trusted Trump more. Another 37 percent said they trusted both equally.

The poll found that respondents trusted CNN more than Trump by 48 to 35 percent, but only 13 percent trusted both equally. The survey said those questioned trusted MSNBC more than Trump by a 45-32 margin, but only 16 percent trust both equally”.

Mr Kurtz had said the Associated Press owed him an apology for its report, to which it later posted a correction.

The social network on which the alleged Pittsburgh shooter spewed vile antisemitic conspiracy theories is finding itself at the centre of unwelcome scrutiny.

Robert Bowers, accused of killing 11 Jewish people at the Tree of Life synagogue, was a paying “pro” member of Gab and posted on his profile before the attack.Inspection of the Gab account in his name showed months of antisemitic and racist posts that had been allowed to remain online.PayPal swiftly banned Gab from its platform, as did the payment processing site Stripe, while cloud hosting company Joyent said it would suspend the site from Monday – meaning it could be down for weeks.After accusing a Jewish charity of bringing in “invaders that kill our people”, the 46-year-old allegedly wrote: “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

The firm deleted the profile hours after the attack and vowed to help law enforcement, but service companies have started pulling support.

Chief technical officer Ekrem Büyükkaya also announced his resignation as chief technical officer on Sunday, citing “relentless attacks from the American press”.The firm describes itself as a network aiming to “empower free speech and expression”, but it was started explicitly as a response to the suspension of far-right accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

For anyone monitoring Gab since it was founded by a Donald Trump supporter in August 2016, the question is not why this backlash is happening but why it took so long.

Earning the nickname “Twitter for racists” because of its similarity to the social network, Gab has become a haven for extremists kicked off mainstream sites.

It plays host to right-wing fanatics of all variations, from white supremacists to neo-Nazis, Islamophobes, white genocide conspiracy theorists, ethno-nationalists and incels.The majority of Gab’s users operate individually or post to informal groups dedicated to various interests, including “Ban Islam”, “The Donald” and alt-right conspiracy theory “QAnon”

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