Fraudbook

Social media algorithms are front and center during the latest Senate Judiciary Hearing. The algorithms for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. “Nearly all social media platforms — including the three companies represented at Tuesday’s hearing — use algorithms to curate what their users see and when they see it… These algorithms impact what billions of people read, watch and think every single day, and it’s critical that Congress and the American public understand how they work and how we can curb the amplification of misinformation and political polarization,” Senator Chris Coons.

So what? 

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have so much power, too much power. The algorithms should be taken into consideration and looked at from under the microscope. Of course, Twitter tries to justify its algorithm usage. “Lauren Culbertson, Twitter’s head of US public policy, will emphasize to the Senate committee that algorithms are not all bad. “We use technology every day in our efforts to automatically improve outcomes and experiences for people on Twitter.” Culbertson also goes on to say that algorithms are often used to protect people from harmful content. Sure, I could see that, but there’s not much money to be made in that. I think they mostly use the algorithm for biased reasons, propaganda, and to make money from advertisements!

“YouTube has approximately two billion users worldwide, and 70% of what those users watch comes from YouTube’s recommendation algorithm,” Coons said.” Two billion YouTube users, that is insane!

Lastly, this article closes by mentioning how talking about the algorithms in this context is just the “tip of the iceberg.” If that is the case, then more regulations will most likely come into play. With all of the power that these companies hold, I don’t think that would be a bad thing.

REFERENCE:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/27/media/social-media-algorithms-reliable-sources/index.html

COMPLETED: 4/27/21

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The Verdict

On April 20, 2021, the verdict that many people have been waiting for came in! “The nation stopped and then held its collective breath when word came down Tuesday afternoon that a verdict had been reached in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.” Chauvin was found guilty. The three major networks all stopped their programming to air the verdict. That’s something that has never happened before in regards to a verdict.

So what? 

The collective airing of the verdict showcased an abundance of media coverage. All aspects were filmed and recorded. Including Chauvin being taken away in handcuffs, people’s reactions outside of the courtroom and throughout the country. Also, many news anchors and commenter’s thoughts and opinions. “The major and cable news networks did an outstanding job on a day that we knew was coming, but still came sooner than expected. The networks adjusted on the fly. The coverage wasn’t perfect, but it was good.”

REFERENCE:

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/minnesota-police-promise-not-detain-pepper-spray-journalists-covering-protests-2021-04-18/

COMPLETED: 4/25/21

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1st Amendment?

Police Officer Kimberly Potter shot and killed a young unarmed man, Duane Wright, on April 11, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Since then, there have been protests in that area. People are looking for justice. The journalists are showing up to these protests to report on the civil unrest. According to this article though in the wake of these protests, “Police impeded the work of journalists even after a U.S. District Court judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order that forbade them from arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists.” Journalists were pepper-sprayed and the officers even “forced some to lie face-down.”

So what? 

Journalists are supposed to be the “watchdogs” of our society. They help find the truth and report on it. Freedom of the Press is a part of the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If the journalists are being pepper-sprayed and thrown into jail how are they supposed to do their jobs? If not them, then who? Also, are these officers or agencies going to be held responsible? It doesn’t seem likely. We must protect the journalists so they can help protect us. “All journalists must be allowed to report the news in the public interest without fear of harassment or harm, wherever they are, the international news agency said in a statement.”

REFERENCE:

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/minnesota-police-promise-not-detain-pepper-spray-journalists-covering-protests-2021-04-18/

COMPLETED: 4/20/21

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In Google we Antitrust

It is not that surprising to find out that Google has been practicing greedy and shady behaviors. This article shines a light on the recent proof of Google’s misconduct. Starting with its accidental reveal of their Project Bernanke, “In which Google used its knowledge of past ad bids to alter bids put forward by its clients, giving Google an advantaged position to win auctions for ad impressions over other market rivals.” That sounds about right. That’s not all either, there was also the reveal of Jedi Blue (by the way who comes up with these names?) which is “a secret collusion deal between Facebook and Google to give Facebook a preferential position in ad auctions, purportedly in exchange for Facebook’s agreement not to compete with Google in the online advertising space.”

So what? 

Google already has what seems to be a monopoly occupying the web search of the internet. At least here in America. This reminds me of totalitarian behavior and can affect things beyond what we could imagine. Like the article mentions how it has already affected the market. “Google’s actions in the market, particularly in the digital advertising space, have distorted the marketplace and crushed entire competitors and industries under their dominant weight. America’s news business, from the New York Post to The Washington Post, CNN to Fox News, has suffered the brunt of Big Tech companies, which, according to one study, make billions from circulating the content of news publishers while paying nothing for the privilege.” That is a lot of power, too much power. They are raking in millions and millions of dollars why other businesses are crushed. Something needs to change and fast, but I don’t know what that looks like. Hopefully, someone does and we can start the necessary and significant change.

REFERENCE:

https://nypost.com/2021/04/11/news-media-suffering-the-brunt-of-tech-titans-greed/

https://nypost.com/2021/04/11/googles-project-bernanke-gave-titan-unfair-ad-buying-edge-lawsuit/

https://nypost.com/2020/12/29/this-was-googles-code-name-for-its-unlawful-agreement-with-facebook/



COMPLETED: 4/12/21

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Book Review: “The Blessed Life”

Unlocking the rewards of generous living BY robert morris

I read this book at the beginning of quarantine last year. The concepts and values that I learned have stayed with me. So much so, I decided to finally write about it.

To be honest, I still consider myself a “baby Christian.” But I am not sure how much longer I can get away with this act. I started my relationship with Christ in July of 2016. That will be 5 years this summer! Once and a while I’ll say “oh I don’t know that much about __, I’m still a “baby Christian” or something to that nature. However, I am on a mission to continue to learn and grow my faith! This book was extremely helpful in doing just that.

As a new Christian, when it comes to tithing I was always confused. How much do I give? What do others give? Why do I give? Since starting church I’ve also been a struggling entrepreneur that would frequently find myself in between part-time jobs. I would volunteer too. To me, that counted as “tithing.” However, as great as volunteering is, it’s not tithing.

After reading The Blessed Life I understood why I tithe, how to tithe, and all of the blessings that come with tithing. To my surprise, it’s not just about giving money, it’s so much more than that.

“It always requires faith to give the first. That’s why so few Christians experience the blessings of tithing. It means giving to God before you see if you’re going to have enough. By tithing, it is as if we are saying to God, ‘I recognize You first. I am putting You first in my life, and I trust You to take care of the rest of the things in my life.’”

I not only started tithing, but I also set up my business to give the first as well! It has been a blessing in both areas of my life. Again, it’s not a huge amount of money (right now), but it is something. It’s also not about the money, it’s about the posture of my heart. It is about being a steward. How do I expect God to bless me with more if I don’t give a portion of what I have now?

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to grow a stronger, deeper relationship with the Lord and to be blessed!

Some of my favorite quotes:

“The tithe, the firstborn, and the firstfruits all belong to the Lord.” (Exodus 13:2, Exodus 23:19, Malachi 3:6)

“All tithers give the testimony that they are blessed, and all nontithers give the testimony that they can’t afford to tithe.”

“Tithing is not law to me—it is life!”

“There is a second principle of multiplication: Only what is given away can multiply.”

“The truth is that God not only uses our stuff to test us, but He uses other people’s stuff as well. In other words, how we respond to someone else being blessed says a lot about the condition of our hearts.”

“God is not against us having nice things. On the contrary, He loves to see His people blessed. But motives are everything!” Proverbs 16

“A valuable practice is to pray about every significant financial purchase and wait overnight before you commit.”

“The truth is no amount of money will ever impress God. There is only one thing you can possibly give to God that would constitute an extravagant gift—yourself.”

Lastly,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Morris shared many tithing testimonies and how he’s been able to bless others. Morris makes everything relatable, tangible, and overall inspiring.

On an extremely personal note and I guess my own little testimony: I started reading this book on May 3, 2020. On June 17, 2020, I wrote on page 47, “Lord, from here on out I will tithe 10% of all income; myself and my business. I love you. I promise I will try my best to always stay true to my word.” I finished reading The Blessed Life on September 26, 2020. Not even a full month later I randomly applied and was accepted to be on a reality zoom cash show via a local radio station. I came in second place and won an advertising campaign for my business! Which is set to launch in May, almost one full year later. I didn’t put the pieces together until now, but wow, it’s incredible. I am not sure what’s going to come from it, but I’m expectant because I believe in an expectant God!

To continue being honest, I haven’t always had a healthy relationship with money. It was frequently a problem in my childhood home growing up and now as an adult, I have learned that it takes time, patience, and knowledge to be responsible when it comes to money. Reading this book has helped tremendously! Lastly, I don’t always tithe perfectly. However, I continue to try and put God first in all aspects of my life, the best I can, one day at a time.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

★★★★★

Power of the China Ban

In February of 2021, China decided to ban the BBC. If you don’t know what that is, the BBC is the British Broadcasting Corporation. China states that decision was made after “It accused the BBC of failing to meet the requirement for news to be truthful and fair, and accused it of damaging China’s national interests.” This also includes reporting on the coronavirus and the alleged rape and torture of women in Uighurs “re-education” camps. The BBC strongly disagrees. In a statement from the BBC “The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favour. They also added, “we are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action.”

So what? 

This shows the bigger problem between China and its lack of freedom it provides to its citizens, especially when it comes to the media. If people of China can’t retrieve information about worldly news from outside sources, how will they be informed on what’s going on? China also bans many social media platforms, apps, search engines, video sharing platforms, media pages, streaming platforms, email providers, and work tools. Linked below, you can see a list for more details. China is home to an estimated 1.4 billion people. That’s a lot of people to keep information from and maybe too much power.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that this is an “unacceptable curtailing” of media freedom. Also, that “China has some of the most severe restrictions on media and internet freedoms across the globe, and this latest step will only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.”

REFERENCES:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/16/china-blocks-bbc-world-news-after-uk-revokes-license-of-cgtn.html

COMPLETED: 4/1/21

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Blockage Creates Unity

Countries all over the world are currently being affected by the same problem, the Suez Canal blockage. According to USA Today, there is currently 360 ships waiting to go through the canal. News coverage has been conducted globally. On Tuesday, March 22 was the day the container ship found itself in quite a pickle. “The rescue boats are working to float and release the Ever Given, a 59-meter-wide (193.5-feet) vessel that ran aground after 40-knot winds and a sandstorm caused low visibility and poor navigation, the Suez Canal Authority said in a statement Wednesday.” The container ship is said to be as “long as the Empire State Building is tall.”

So what? 

It has been interesting to see how one incident can bring the different countries together. Especially since this seems to be an accident, and not something done on purpose to create chaos. It’s also interesting in which the different countries have been reporting on this incident. If the ship doesn’t get freed by tomorrow, it’ll make one full week since it got stuck. We don’t know exactly what the lasting effect this will have on different countries, but we shall see. In the meantime the world will come together while trying to get this situation right sized.

REFERENCE:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2021/03/29/cargo-ship-ever-given-partially-refloated-suez-canal-blocked/7043031002/

https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/24/middleeast/suez-canal-container-ship-intl-hnk/index.html

COMPLETED: 3/29/21

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Criminals in the Spotlight

When the news media reports on crimes, even the most heinous ones, should the criminals be named? In this article, they compare the journalistic and government approaches of America, Canada, and a handful of European Countries. The person who produced this study, established the countries into three different groups in regards to how they proceed with the telling or not telling of the criminal’s names and their reasons why.

I found this article very interesting because of the different reasons why the countries share and don’t share the name of their criminals. Especially in comparison to what America does.

“In the Netherlands and in Sweden, the practices are codified in ethics codes but those aren’t laws. People follow them because they believe that’s the right thing to do not because it’s required that they do that. They have freedom of the press in the same sense of the word that we have it here in North America, but journalists routinely choose to protect names and identities because they believe that’s the ethical thing to do. Because they believe that stories about crime can be told without naming a person and sometimes implicitly by shaming them. Naming implies a punishment.”

So what? 

I believe that this topic is important. When a big news media story circulates, especially tragic ones, the information is plastered everywhere, including the culprit who committed the crime. In a matter of hours or a day, it’s on newspapers, magazines, news outlets, websites, etc.

My personal opinion is that we do not always need to know the name of the criminal. It should be on a case-by-case basis though. Not every crime is the same. However, those that are purposely seeking notoriety and commit crimes mainly to be known and remembered for that reason should not be granted that request. When we do that, wouldn’t we be enabling these people? More importantly, when we put so much focus on who did the crime, we take away the light that should be shed on the victims and their families.

Lastly, we should also take into consideration the times that people falsely get convicted and then their name is ruined. The news media drags their name in the dirt and that can never be erased. The last time I checked the American justice system is; innocent until proven guilty. However, because our society is so engulfed in details and the plastering of information everywhere, that this isn’t always the case. As a result, it ruins people’s lives and may even cause more harm and grief to the victims and their families.

REFERENCE:

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/name-or-not-name-on-the-media

COMPLETED: 3/19/21

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Opening an Old Can of Worms

I recently read an article about a 2007 interview Paris Hilton had on the David Letterman Show. The article was titled “Paris Hilton says David Letterman ‘purposefully’ tried to ‘humiliate’ her during 2007 interview about jail.” Long title, I know. During the interview, Letterman asked Paris questions that apparently she did not feel comfortable with and that’s understandable. What I don’t understand is why talk about it now? What’s the point of opening an old can of worms? Especially since Letterman apologized.

This became news after Paris mentioned it on her podcast a few days ago. The first paragraph of the article on USA Today writes “During Monday’s episode of her podcast “This is Paris.” etc. I didn’t even know Paris had a podcast until reading this article. I’m not trying to negate how she felt during the interview and the overall situation, but I can’t help but to hesitate these days on what people say when. Celebrities often use “stunts” like these to draw attention to their podcasts, projects, things they’re selling, etc. As of now, there are articles about this interview on; Fox News, Buzzfeed News, USA Today, Yahoo, Entertainment Weekly, Insider, and more.

So what? At the end of the article, it mentions how Letterman apologized. He sent Paris a case of wine. Also, he had her back on his show a few months later to apologize. Letterman stated “I found out afterward I had offended you. I felt horrible about it because I’m not here to make enemies, honestly,” “So I called you, and you took the call, which I thought was very nice of you, and now you’re back and thank God, and I’m terribly sorry.”

Of course, this apology is at the way end of the article, so if you just read the headline or the beginning of the article you can quickly make your assumption. Most likely in a negative view of Letterman. I’m also not saying that it’s okay to talk about subjects that make others uncomfortable and to push boundaries. However, people make mistakes. When does the bullied become the bully? And to add to that, when does the media become the accomplice?

I believe that some things are better left in the past. What’s the point of bringing this up again? Maybe if it wasn’t resolved, sure. However, it just seems as though people want to talk about anything to remain relevant and the media let’s them do it for click bait. It’s like the cans of worms that feed each other. Lastly, why is this on Fox News? It’s laughable how far away the “news” is from reporting on actual news.

REFERENCE: https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/paris-hilton-david-letterman-purposefully-humiliate-2007-interview-jail

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2021/03/01/paris-hilton-accuses-david-letterman-trying-humiliate-me/6878152002/

COMPLETED: 3/4/21

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Tweets from the Underground

Firstly, I want to mention that I am not writing about this in support of racist remarks. However, I wanted to talk about the resurfacing of racist tweets and my thoughts about them.

The latest person to be called out on old tweets is Alexi McCammond. McCammond is the new editor at Teen Vogue. In 2011 she posted a few racists remarks on Twitter about Asians. I will not go into the details about the tweets, but the link below has more information. Some people think that McCammond should step down from her new position. However, it does not seem like Teen Vogue, Condé Nast, or McAmmond has any plans of doing so. She apologized two years ago when the tweets first resurfaced. McCammond took responsibility then and apologized again when they recently came back to “haunt” her.

So what? 

We are living in the first time in history where people can have a thought, instantly grab their internet source, type words into a box, and send it out where millions of people could potentially see it. Yes, in the past people had written letters and emails, but I don’t think they are as extorted and available as tweets are. Also, I would argue that emails and letters take more time and thought process. Not only that but if the tweets are not deleted or censored, they get collected over the years.

We are still navigating this new socially technological world and clearly, this is one of the downsides. Yes, the rebirth of a tweet can shine a light on a person with a flawed character, but what about people who are young and growing?

Young people can be ignorant. That is not a bad thing per se. I would argue that young people are ignorant because they have the least amount of experience simply due to their age. Their brains are still developing and there is a process of going from accepting what your family believes in and creating your own beliefs and values. This is not an overnight perfect process.

I would also argue that many people grow out of those thoughts in a natural process. However, nowadays the ignorant tweets are stored and saved for years. They make their way back from the underground when people get new jobs. Often ones that are in the spotlight: politics, movie stars, and in this case, popular teen magazines.

People change, people grow, but old tweets stay the same. Yes, you should think twice or maybe three times before clicking the send button. Also, allow some grace to people who make mistakes. We are all flawed, nobody is perfect. I know that if I were young and had Twitter available at all times of the day, I would have said some dumb stuff! Probably even had some drug paraphernalia as many of us have had that stage in life.

This is not the first article I have seen in regards to racist or negative tweets being recovered, examined, and then exploited on the news. Remember when we click the articles, the online media pages make money! Racist or ignorant tweets grab clicks, especially if it’s someone in the spotlight.

Note for self: delete old tweets or Twitter in general! Or better yet, try to bite your tongue if you are processing racist negative thoughts about someone. Give it to God and keep it moving!

REFERENCE:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2021/03/10/olivia-munn-asks-teen-vogue-editor-acknowledge-past-racist-tweet/6946991002/

COMPLETED: 3/11/21

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