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How Facebook Violates Civil Rights Act

Biiig, very expensive lawsuit coming…

Facebook Makes It Easy for Advertisers to Be Racist

Imagine if, during the Jim Crow era, a newspaper offered advertisers the option of placing ads only in copies that went to white readers.

(The writers probably aren’t that up on their history…But that is exactly what they did do.)

That’s basically what Facebook is doing nowadays.

The ubiquitous social network not only allows advertisers to target users by their interests or background, it also gives advertisers the ability to exclude specific groups it calls “Ethnic Affinities.” Ads that exclude people based on race, gender and other sensitive factors are prohibited by federal law in housing and employment.

Here is a screenshot of a housing ad that we purchased from Facebook’s self-service advertising portal:

ProPublica

The ad we purchased was targeted to Facebook members who were house hunting and excluded anyone with an “affinity” for African-American, Asian-American or Hispanic people. (Here’s the ad itself.)

When we showed Facebook’s racial exclusion options to a prominent civil rights lawyer John Relman, he gasped and said, “This is horrifying. This is massively illegal. This is about as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find.”

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes it illegal “to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.” Violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits the “printing or publication of notices or advertisements indicating prohibited preference, limitation, specification or discrimination” in employment recruitment.

Facebook’s business model is based on allowing advertisers to target specific groups 2014 or, apparently to exclude specific groups 2014 using huge reams of personal data the company has collected about its users. Facebook’s microtargeting is particularly helpful for advertisers looking to reach niche audiences, such as swing-state voters concerned about climate change. ProPublica recently offered a tool allowing users to see how Facebook is categorizing them. We found nearly 50,000 unique categories in which Facebook places its users.

Facebook says its policies prohibit advertisers from using the targeting options for discrimination, harassment, disparagement or predatory advertising practices.

“We take a strong stand against advertisers misusing our platform: Our policies prohibit using our targeting options to discriminate, and they require compliance with the law,” said Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook. “We take prompt enforcement action when we determine that ads violate our policies.”

Satterfield said it’s important for advertisers to have the ability to both include and exclude groups as they test how their marketing performs. For instance, he said, an advertiser “might run one campaign in English that excludes the Hispanic affinity group to see how well the campaign performs against running that ad campaign in Spanish. This is a common practice in the industry.”

He said Facebook began offering the “Ethnic Affinity” categories within the past two years as part of a “multicultural advertising” effort.

Satterfield added that the “Ethnic Affinity” is not the same as race 2014 which Facebook does not ask its members about. Facebook assigns members an “Ethnic Affinity” based on pages and posts they have liked or engaged with on Facebook.

When we asked why “Ethnic Affinity” was included in the “Demographics” category of its ad-targeting tool if it’s not a representation of demographics, Facebook responded that it plans to move “Ethnic Affinity” to another section.

Facebook declined to answer questions about why our housing ad excluding minority groups was approved 15 minutes after we placed the order.

By comparison, consider the advertising controls that the New York Times has put in place to prevent discriminatory housing ads. After the newspaper was successfully sued under the Fair Housing Act in 1989, it agreed to review ads for potentially discriminatory content before accepting them for publication.

Steph Jespersen, the Times’ director of advertising acceptability, said that the company’s staff runs automated programs to make sure that ads that contain discriminatory phrases such as “whites only” and “no kids” are rejected.

The Times’ automated program also highlights ads that contain potentially discriminatory code words such as “near churches” or “close to a country club.” Humans then review those ads before they can be approved.

Jespersen said the Times also rejects housing ads that contain photographs of too many white people. The people in the ads must represent the diversity of the population of New York, and if they don’t, he says he will call up the advertiser and ask them to submit an ad with a more diverse lineup of models.

But, Jespersen said, these days most advertisers know not to submit discriminatory ads: “I haven’t seen an ad with 2018whites only’ for a long time.”

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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And Your Network Too! Faux News Becomes Accountable

In the beginning, there was supposed to be a separation between Fox Local News and the Fox Cable News networks. And that worked well for a number of years as the local over the air news channels became some of the best in the business – while the cable operation perused right wing and racist propaganda.

The line between the two has become increasingly diaphanous, increasingly with material from the Fox News organization going over to the Fox Propaganda organization on cable.

The result of that is increasing suspicion and disrespect for the News organization, as it is increasingly seen as an arm of the same monster.

Case in point –

I expect things will be getting increasingly hostile and dangerous for Fox News crews.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, Domestic terrorism, Faux News

 

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The Blonde Bimbo’s Revenge – Fox News Begins Payout for Sexual Harassment

The empire is crumbling over at Faux News. Multiple lawsuits from current and former announcers against the network, which while under the leadership of Roger Ailes openly practiced sexual harassment and abuse.

At least one of the victimized women claims the harassment and violations came from more than just Ailes, naming Faux Announcer Bill O’Reilly, and a toxic environment.

Fox News is willing to pay big bucks to protect their media “hosts”…

In a system where “good in bed” equated to airtime.

Fox News host Gretchen Carlson (screen grab)

Gretchen Carlson settles sexual harassment case against Fox News for $20 million

It looks as though Fox News really, really didn’t want to see former host Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit make it to court.

Vanity Fair reports that Fox and Carlson have agreed to a massive $20 million settlement of her sexual harassment claims — and she’s even received an official apology from the network over the treatment she received from former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

“During her tenure at Fox News, Gretchen exhibited the highest standards of journalism and professionalism,” Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox said in an official statement announcing the settlement. “She developed a loyal audience and was a daily source of information for many Americans. We are proud that she was part of the Fox News team. We sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect that she and all our colleagues deserve.”

Carlson filed a lawsuit back in early July alleging that she was fired from her job for refusing to have sex with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes. Less than a month later, Ailes stepped down from his role as CEO after sexual harassment allegations from several other women against him came to light.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2016 in Faux News

 

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Twitter Hacked?

Following Facebook a few weeks ago, Twitter is experiencing both global and “roaming” outages around the world. Could be any one of several problems including bad software updates, bugs introduced by new changes, or …Hackers.

Twitter Experiencing Worldwide Disruptions

Twitter was experiencing global disruptions on Tuesday that prevented many of its 300 million users from staying connected or from logging on to the social network in the first place.

The company said it was not clear what had caused the problems, which began around 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and prevented many users from sharing updates on their smartphones, computers and other mobile devices. As of about 8:30 a.m., the company said the disruptions were still occurring sporadically worldwide.

Twitter declined to specify how many of its users were affected, or what had caused the disruptions — saying only that it was “working towards a resolution.”

Although the disruptions were among the most extensive the company has yet encountered, Twitter is not the only popular social network to have faced technical problems. Facebook, whose users now number more than 1.5 billion worldwide, has also had a spate of shutdowns over the last 18 months, though often the problems have been corrected within hours.

Because Twitter is an important news source, as well as a popular sounding board, the shutdowns were a significant disruption in the global conversation. When other technology and media companies have faced similar problems in the past, people have often turned to Twitter to vent their frustrations — an outlet unavailable this time because the platform itself was the cause of the problem.

“Thanks for noticing,” read a brief note that appeared on users’ Twitter pages when the website had problems loading. “We’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.”

The hashtag #TwitterDown started to trend on the site when it was working, as well as on its rival Facebook, where people playfully mocked Twitter’s disruptions.

“Apt song for the #TwitterDown crises we are facing at the moment,” Paul Lee Lotter, a Facebook user from South Africa, said in a post that included a link to the Led Zeppelin song “Communication Breakdown.”

Twitter has had a string of difficulties recently, with the American company facing growing investor anger since its blockbuster initial public offering in 2013.

The company’s stock, for instance, has lost almost a quarter of its value in the past month, amid criticisms of the way Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder who recently returned to become its chief executive, is running the platform.

That includes experiments to introduce a longer form of tweet, in what would be a move away from the simplistic design that the service was originally founded on. Mr. Dorsey has also tried to broaden Twitter’s appeal, a problem the company has struggled with for years, much to the consternation of its investors.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2016 in American Greed, General

 

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Jada Pinkett Smith – “Stop Begging…Boycott the Oscars”

Right on point…

Black folks generate between $1.5 trillion to $2.0 trillion of the $17 trillion dollar US economy. If that were a country, it would rank somewhere between 10th and par with Russia and Canada, and larger than Australia, South Korea, pain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world’s countries.

Beg?

 

10  Russia[n 2] 1,860,598
11  Canada 1,785,387
12  Australia 1,442,722
13  South Korea 1,410,383
14  Spain 1,406,538
15  Mexico 1,291,062
16  Indonesia 888,648
17  Netherlands 880,716
18  Turkey 798,332
19  Saudi Arabia 746,248
 
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Posted by on January 18, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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France – And American Right Wing Racist Hate Speech

The horrific and despicable attacks in Paris, France will dominate the news cycle for at least a week to come. However for most Americans living in America, and especially for minority Americans, the threat of being harmed by International terrorism is about the same as getting hit by a meteorite from the sky while walking down the street. The threat of being the victim of Domestic Terrorism, either violent – or nonviolent through word, symbolic attack, or state sponsored through the Law Enforcement is an everyday reality.

A “Hate Crime” is an act of Domestic Terrorism by different euphemism. The last week’s series of death threats against black kids at U-Mo, Howard, Mich, Bowie U, and now George Mason illustrates just how common race or ethnic based Domestic Terrorism is. Not even discussing the murders at a Church in Charleston. More people in the US have been killed by Domestic terrorists since 9-11 than jihadis.

Part of the reason for that is, despite the success by ISIS in recruiting a few disaffected Americans to their murderous case – Islamic Fanaticism has no real outlet in America. There is no newspaper spouting “Kill the Infidels” daily in articles across it’s front page, no cyber madrasas teaching the religion of hate, no web sites teaching how to blow up your neighbors for the Islamic fanatic cause… And no television or cable channel(s) dedicated to the views of violent Islamic Fanatics.

But there is for the racist white wing.

“Allowable Terrorism”, brought to you by the right wing media, each and every day.

And so the hate speech begins: Let Paris be the end of the right’s violent language toward activists

In a still developing situation, the city of Paris, France, is under attack by terrorists armed with guns and explosives. Many dozens of people have been killed. A still undetermined number of people have been wounded. The terrorists took dozens of hostages in a concert hall. French police and military forces have been deployed. There is mayhem and blood in the streets of Paris.

President Obama has correctly described this day’s horrific events as “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”

Terrorism is politically motivated violence against a vulnerable population that is designed to intimidate, sow fear, create panic and alter public policy.

Terrorism is serious business that kills people, breaks bodies and alters lives.

It is not a game.

In the United States, the right-wing media and movement conservatives have for decades consistently used eliminationist and other violent rhetoric to describe liberals, progressives and other people with whom they disagree. As was seen in the recent attacks on a Charleston-area black church, and other violence by right-wing anti-government militias, such rhetoric does not float in the ether of the public discourse, harmless and unacknowledged. No, it does in fact lead to action.

In recent months, the right-wing media has used language such as “terrorism” and “violent,” or that the latter is “targeting police for murder” to describe the Black Lives Matter movement. Such bombastic and ugly screeds–which are wholly unfounded, with no basis in empirical reality–have also been used by right-wing opinion leaders to describe the African-American students who are fighting against racism at Yale and the University of Missouri.

There are many examples of this type of incendiary rhetoric from conservatives and their sympathizers.

A few examples.

Bill O’Reilly has declared “war” on Black Lives Matter and in doing so described them as a type of contemporary Ku Klux Klan (KKK). At its height of popularity in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the KKK was America’s largest terrorist organization. It was responsible for the murders of thousands of African-Americans. In contrast to the KKK, Black Lives Matter is a group dedicated to protecting the human rights of all people against state-sponsored violence and police thuggery and murder.

Ben Carson, in his designated role as a black conservative whose primary purpose is to disparage black Americans and to excuse-make for white racism, recently told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that the black and brown students who are advocating for their full rights and respect at Yale University are ushering in “anarchy” and “this is just raw emotion and people just being manipulated, I think in many of these cases, by outside forces who wish to create disturbances.”

Likewise, Fox News has repeatedly described the student protesters at Yale and Missouri using the same language. O’Reilly has even gone so far as to suggest that Black Lives Matter and the students who are protesting racist treatment are part of a cabal that is engaging in “fascist” behavior and “running wild” against white people. Trumping his allusions to “fascism,” on his October 22, 2015 episode of his TV show, Bill O’Reilly even made the absurd claim that Black Lives Matter is akin to the “Nazis.”

These are implicit threats and overtures to violence as racial authoritarian fascists are a clear and present danger to democracy and freedom. Thus, they must be eliminated by any means necessary.

Other critics of the student activists at Yale University and Missouri such as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf have even made the absurd claim that so-called “safe spaces” are being “weaponized” by student activists in order to deny free speech.

Terrorism has been practiced in the United States. It was used by a Herrenvolk white settler society built upon the genocide of First Nations peoples and the enslavement of African-Americans to control, intimidate, and murder non-whites. The decades of Jim and Jane Crow white supremacy were also a form of State-sponsored terrorism as well. Political violence continues in the present where in too many of America’s communities, police and other security forces kill with impunity, force the black and brown poor into a state of “custodial citizenship”, and act in a thuggish and illegal way towards the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

Black Lives Matter stands against such violence. The student protesters at Yale and Missouri who are fighting for fairness and justice stand against violence. Liberals and progressives as a matter of principle, a belief in the Common Good, and a humane society stand against violence.

Despite what the right-wing media, Bill O’Reilly, and the opinion leaders in the White Right routinely bloviate, those groups and individuals are not terrorists.

Real terrorists have killed people in the streets of Paris. The right-wing media needs to take note of that fact and moderate their rhetoric and abusive language accordingly.

Given the American right-wing’s casual habit of using violent language to describe their foes, and to gin up fear and anxiety among the movement conservative base, the Fox News’ right-wing echo chamber and its elites should be ashamed given the death and destruction that terrorism actually reaps in practice.

 

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Black Woman Photobombs Trump Speech

Hey! Want to be on National TV?

Easiest photobomb in the world is for a black person to show up at a Republican candidate’s speech. They put every one of the half dozen or so which show up at the major rallys in seats behind the candidate to be “visible” as supporters.

This woman objected to being used as a black prop.

Organizers seat woman behind Trump ‘because she’s black’ — so she silently protests by reading her book

An Illinois woman became an Internet celebrity after she read a book during a campaign speech by Donald Trump.

Johari Osayi Idusuyi, a student at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, said she brought a copy of “Citizen,” an award-winning book on everyday racism by Claudia Rankine, to a rally near her home, reported WICS-TV.

“I’m genuinely not interested in him as a person, but if you have the chance to see a presidential candidate, why not?” Idusuyi said.

She and some friends ended up with a spot directly behind the Republican candidate after seeing an open seat and being invited into the VIP section by a campaign staffer.

“I think we were chosen for obvious reasons,” Idusuyi told Jezebel. “We are minorities and there weren’t a lot of minorities there. He also instructed us to sit in the middle, so we kind of already knew what this was.”

Idusuyi insisted she went into the rally with an open mind, but she took out her book and began reading after Trump demanded the removal of some protesters, and she said supporters cheered after a supporter removed a woman’s Obama hat and tossed it into the crowd.

“I thought, ‘That’s bullying, that’s aggressive,’” she said. “I don’t think Trump handled it with grace. I thought, ‘Oh, you’re really not empathetic at all.’ That’s when the shift happened.”

She decided to take out her book and read it conspicuously, realizing she was on camera behind Trump.

“Why not use the opportunity to promote a great book?” Idusuyi said. “I didn’t expect to get in an argument with the people behind me.”

Idusuyi gained online notoriety after video showed a white man sitting near her tapping her on the shoulder and angrily telling her to put away her book.

She can be seen telling the man to leave her alone, and she puts the book back in front of her face and resumes reading.

“The man, he was mad but not as mad as his, maybe, spouse,” Idusuyi said. “He had a more calm demeanor, just like, if you don’t want to be here, leave.”

She said the woman wouldn’t let it go.

“The woman kept saying, ‘If you don’t want to be here then leave. You didn’t even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance,’” Idusuyi said. “I said, ‘I do want to be here, that’s why I’m here. You don’t know who I am. I’m reading my book because I’m uninterested. Did you not just see what happened? This person disrespects women, minorities, everybody and you’re still supporting him. He’s not saying anything of substance.’”

She said the couple seemed like nice enough people, but she didn’t appreciate the way they treated her.

“I don’t think they have any right to tell me what to do,” Idusuyi said. “The lady, actually, she mumbled something. I didn’t hear but my friend told me the next day that she said, ‘I’m so glad you’re not my daughter,’ or something along those lines — and I was thinking, ‘I’m glad I’m not your daughter either!’”

She said Trump had not won her vote.

“I came here, yes, to observe a man that I already had low expectations for, but I thought maybe he could change my mind,” Idusuyi said. “Maybe it was just a media thing, and I’m judging too fast based on what the media says, and I was wrong — (but) I wasn’t. He was exactly what I expected him to be and his supporters are exactly what I expected them to be.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z47xoC2T7Lc

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2015 in The Clown Bus

 

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