Shadow banning written into Twitter’s new terms of service
As reported at the Russian Times (a source that seems to be gathering support among Democrats as of the Schiff hearings), changes upcoming to the Twitter terms of service have become central. Considering that the Russian Times seems to be a mouthpiece for the Russian government (and not necessarily viewpoints that align with the points of view promoted by Twitter), one can see how this might become a central point.
Anyway, RT and Twitter-user David Reaboi make the following observations:
Twitter’s new terms of service will allow the platform to “shadow ban” users – secretly suppressing their content. While critics have long suspected the company of doing it, the new rules appear to make the practice official.
Taking effect in January 2020, Twitter’s new terms initially don’t look like much to write home about, but some tweaks to the language could have larger repercussions for users, limiting their reach behind the scenes without their knowledge.
“We may also remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, limit distribution or visibility of any Content on the service, suspend or terminate users, and reclaim usernames without liability to you,” the new terms state (emphasis added).
Last year, when I spoke to Twitter reps, they lied and gaslight us about their targeted manipulation of people’s tw… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
David Reaboi (@davereaboi) December 04, 2019
With the addition of those four words, the company is telling users it reserves the right shadow ban or “throttle” certain accounts. On what basis will it make those decisions – or whether they will be made solely by an automated algorithm – remains unclear.
While Twitter has previously insisted point-blank “We do not shadow ban,” in the pre-2020 terms the company split hairs between shadow banning and “ranking” posts to determine their prominence on the site, and acknowledged deliberately down-ranking “bad-faith actors” to limit their visibility.
In January 2018, moreover, conservative media watchdog group Project Veritas published footage showing Abhinov Vadrevu, a former Twitter software engineer, discussing shadow banning as a “strategy” the company was at least considering, if not already using.
“One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control. The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting and no one sees their content,” Vadrevu said.
(Read more at Russian Times)
Because these social media venues seem to be the best way to reach a larger audience, I have just accepted these revisions of the terms of service
However, rather than “clicking and continuing,” maybe we should find a better venue.
Twitter literally put shadowbanning in their new Terms of Service. Anyone in mainstream media wanna get on this?… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) December 04, 2019
Project Veritas Docs: Google Employees Use Coffee Beans to Explain Diversity Hiring
Breitbart reported on Project Veritas and their exposure of Google might have skirted hiring laws in their drive for diversity.
Some Google employees are using a strange analogy involving colored coffee beans to explain and promote diversity hiring, according to newly released internal documents published Wednesday by Project Veritas.
In one email exchange, a Google employee warns against sharing the document externally, citing potential legal concerns. Another found the analogy “too reductive.”
The documents are part of a larger leak from Google insider Zachary Vorhies, who turned over the documents to Project Veritas and has reportedly given more than 950 documents to the Department of Justice’s Antitrust division.
Diversity hiring has become a contentious issue at the world’s most-used search engine. Google was sued last year by a YouTube human resources employee who alleged that the company stopped hiring white and Asian male employees to technical roles in 2017 to improve employee diversity rankings throughout the company.
Former Google employee James Damore has alleged in his class-action lawsuit that Google’s definition of diversity is “women or individuals who were not Caucasian or Asian.”
Project Veritas published Wednesday an internal document titled Coffee Beans, or What Does Diversity Hiring Mean Anyway?, which relies on a complex analogy in which coffee quality must be optimized by using a blend of orange and teal-colored coffee beans. Orange beans are more abundant while teal beans are rarer.
“This document is not meant to describe an official Google policy. It is an analogy to help explain diversity hiring,” the paper states.
The document argues that in order to achieve an optimal coffee blend, “you would pick as many easily accessible orange beans as you could” but at the same time “you would spend more time looking for the teal beans, and you would spend more time evaluating them… to make sure you didn’t throw any away.”
The document concludes: “That’s what the high tech companies are doing with diversity hiring — they are looking harder for the under-represented groups and they are spending more time/effort making sure they don’t throw any of the good ones away.”
In a leaked email released by Project Veritas, one Google employee expresses the desire to share the document externally. But another cautions against it, saying that it “seems to misrepresent Google’s hiring practices in a way that could raise legal questions.”
Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) August 14, 2019
The Google employee also expresses reservations about the analogy.
(Read more at Breitbart)
This seems too great a chance for workplace issues
Of course, but who deserves it more than an office full of liberals?
Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) August 14, 2019
Drudge sells to Google
According to Investment Watch, Matt Drudge may have sold out to big tech.
If you’ve noticed that @DRUDGE_REPORT isn’t the same any more, you’re not alone.
A friend writes:
“Ron, what is going on with @DRUDGE and his recently ending his decade long independent advertising agency for his website?
“He recently signed on with a Google affiliated company, which purchased Matt Drudge’s father’s website, RefDesk, as part of the deal.
“Frankly, I’m concerned this is the sole reason Drudge went mainstream and to the left: to satisfy his new advertising agency.
“The agency is called Granite Cubed. The timing of when all this went down is not a coincidence.
“I’ve been a reader of the site daily for 15 years. His entire message, his ‘tone and timbre’ shifted – full-on establishment approved at the same time the deal was made.”
When I asked my friend if I could share this, he said,
“Sure. Buzzfeed mentioned this months ago, but it got very little play. The Buzzfeed story on it was, oddly, and for the first time ever, a fluff piece for Drudge.
“Buzzfeed and its progeny have never once written about Drudge without a few gratuitous hits mocking his personal life or political views. Until now…”
(Read more at Investment Watch)
Drudge mystery: The brand lives, but who runs it and where is Matt?
The World Tribune reported in a 25 October 2019 article that others have noticed problems with Drudge.
So, has Drudge had a falling out with the White House? Is he just angling for clicks? Has he gone further into reclusion and delegated the site to others? Or has he sold out and allowed a Google off-shoot to drive a a media giant that now overshadows the once dominant news organizations that it has linked to since its inception?
The famously reclusive Drudge attended two White House Correspondents Dinners in 2000 and 2001 and then dropped out of public view.
WorldTribune Editor Robert Morton, then also a senior editor at The Washington Times, invited him to those two dinners. “The late Andrew Breitbart was his assistant in those years and when I last saw Andrew in 2008, he said he had not seen Matt in years,” Morton said.
Drudge’s site has remained pretty much the same since its rise to prominence during the Clinton impeachment drama.
But a significant change occurred over the summer when the Drudge Report dropped its advertising representative of close to 20 years, Intermarkets, in favor of a new and unknown company Granite Cubed.
Buzzfeed News reported:
In a surprising turn, Drudge Report removed ads between the end of May and mid-July, according to Danny Rogers, a cofounder of the Global Disinformation Index, a project that’s analyzing domains to generate “risk ratings of the world’s media sites.” After noticing an absence of ads on Drudge around May 31, “we didn’t see any ads on Drudge until about July 12,” Rogers told BuzzFeed News.
“Any time a 20-year relationship comes to an end is certainly a surprising turn of events,” said Jay Friedman, president of Goodway Group, a digital agency that specializes in programmatic media buying.
Corporate records show that Granite Cubed is owned by Margaret Otto. She and her husband, Adrian, have a business association with the Drudge family that goes back years. The couple acquired Refdesk, a reference website founded by Bob Drudge, Matt’s father, in 2017. They also operated a company that began hosting the Drudge Report in 1999 and later added Breitbart as a customer. (The couple did not answer questions about whether they still own that hosting company or if it’s still hosting Drudge or Breitbart.)
Friedman said the connections between the Ottos and Drudges raise a question of whether the move to Granite Cubed is “a relationship play [or] a revenue maximization play,” given that today’s representation firms need to be “incredibly technically savvy and have a really good grasp on how to [succeed] in an automated ad market.”
Drudge was characteristically silent when emailed by BuzzFeed News for comment about his new advertising partner and the strategy for his site. His old partners were also hesitant to speak, reinforcing how one of the web’s most influential websites remains in many ways a one-man black box.
“Intermarkets no longer represents DrudgeReport.com, and it is our policy to not discuss former clients with the media,” said Kevin Lucido, the CEO of Intermarkets, which represents other conservative publishers, such as the Media Research Center and the Political Insider.
For his part, Bob Drudge said in an email, “I am retired and have no comment.”
It all makes for a startling shift for a publisher best known for a strategy rooted in changing nothing about his site’s operation. It’s also causing the ad industry to look closely at the mysterious new firm and its high-profile customer.
Author and political commentator Jerome Corsi has repeatedly tweeted about the shift in coverage, saying Drudge has “lost his mind,” “turned left,” and become a “leftist hack beating [the] impeachment drum.”
Rush Limbaugh, a friend of Matt Drudge, has also chimed in on the matter. In late August, Limbaugh told a caller that he’s repeatedly been asked about the sudden shift to the left at the Drudge Report. “My email inbox every day, ‘What’s happening to Drudge, Rush?’ ” Limbaugh said. “And I tell people, ‘Have you ever heard of clicks?’ ”
The Drudge Report, which was seen as being solidly in President Donald Trump’s corner during and after the 2016 presidential election, has recently been linking to some of the president’s fiercest critics on impeachment.
After some suggested Drudge could be turning on Trump for web traffic, Limbaugh said, “I actually don’t know,” adding that as a “professional courtesy” he doesn’t “ask him.”
(Read more at World Tribune)
With claims of harm threatened, this sounds like a cross between a thriller and a knock off of the “Blair Witch”
So my first question is, does Matt Drudge have any connection to Hillary Clinton?
If he does, he should avoid New York jails and prisons, beaches, railroads, air planes, apartment windows, rivers, lakes, and closed rooms. For more information on why Matt should exhibit such caution, refer to the Clinton Body Count — just not too loudly.