Uncommon Sense

November 27, 2019

A New Version of “If Their Lips are Moving . . .”

Filed under: Politics,Technology — Steve Ruis @ 9:42 am
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I read that the only Dutch-speaking fact checker working for Facebook has quit in protest in Facebook’s policy that it will not fact-check political ads.

I applaud the decision as one of personal integrity but it will mean next to nothing to Facebook as they . . . do . . . not . . . care. Actually they care about making money, but fact checking, preserving people’s privacy, etc. not so much.

This serves merely to bring up my question: Are there still people who believe that you can learn anything of value from a political ad, enough so that they are worth watching? These “advertisements” are exactly what they are as used in commerce—misleading statements that are trying to sell you something. The whole modern practice of advertizing grew out of what was called at the time . . . propaganda. (I kid you not. And this was before propaganda was seized upon for political use in a major way.) And, ironically, modern economic theory is based upon “buyer” and “seller” having the same information, which means there should be no need for advertising, certainly not the deceptive kind.

I stopped watching/listening to political ads years ago. There is no upside. Well, there is the upside that politicians will waste their money producing the damned things.

So, I recommend to you that you should also eschew political ads as they are misleading propaganda that have very little up side and a big downside. They are hardly worth fact checking as most would not pass muster.

The old joke was: Question: How can you tell a politician is lying? Answer: His lips are moving. Maybe we need an update on this: the modern version is: Question: How can you tell a politician is lying? Answer: When you hear/see him saying “I am <name> and I approve this message.”



October 10, 2017

Russian Facebook “Culture Hacking” Problem Solved!

Filed under: Culture,Politics,Technology — Steve Ruis @ 12:18 pm
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It is now clear that Russian intelligence agents worked overtime harvesting Internet meme stories off of “social media” and rebranded them in an attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Fearing that this practice has opened our elections to outside manipulation I have invested just over  4.2 milliseconds of my precious time to come up with a solution. Here it is:

People need to stop consulting Facebook for news.

That’s it.

I went a bit farther. I deleted my Facebook account (at least on the surface, apparently they store away all of your information in hidden locations to read late at night under their blanket).

Really, people! Facebook? For news? I understand that the “normal channels” for acquiring news have become compromised by corporate and political interests, but Facebook? Have you really considered what the name of the service implies? (Hint: it is site catering to narcicists.)


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