Archives for : social media

THE WEB LOVETT WOULD WEAVE

I just want to clarify an earlier post, in which I wrote that I consider both presidential candidates fatally compromised, “Tooms by his ties to corporate billionaires, Lovett by her past as head of the secret service.” This is emphatically not to say that I think Tooms, if elected, wouldn’t use the various intelligence agencies to continue attacks on privacy, as every president before him has done; nor that Lovett wouldn’t immediately cozy right up to every corporate overlord in the western hemisphere, and eagerly facilitate business as usual. Each candidate would be only too happy to play the other’s game.

In fact, the more I learn about Lovett, the more convinced I am that her campaign’s embrace of the Internet and social media is just the beginning of some longer con she’s running. I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate a secret partnership between the former governor and a major web player—Google, or Apple, or Panjea—with the aim of gathering as much intel on its subscribers as possible.

Actually, that would just be the means to the end; the end itself would be—what? Got to be something larger than just selling more crap to more people. Maybe selling policies…or propaganda. Manipulation of some kind is the key. Because government types— especially a ruthless insider like Lovett, who’s a kind of Wonder Wonk—won’t be able to resist taking the Internet, the greatest boon to social and cultural freedom in a hundred years, and turning it against itself. Making the World Wide Web into a spider’s web, and getting us all happily tangled up while they drain us dry. Your thoughts…?

ELLO: A FINE HOW-DO-YOU-DO

With Facebook threatening to delete the account of users who don’t go by their real names, many people—including, most visibly, drag performers and their sympathizers—are abandoning the site and jumping to Ello, the new player on the social media landscape. But they’d be better off looking before they leap. Turns out Ello’s promise of an ad-free, privacy-first paradise is just a chimera: the site was developed with seed money from venture capitalists, which means its subscribers are merely investments to be sold later, when their market value is worth harvesting.

This is great news for Panjea, whose own social-media arm is waiting in the wings to embrace the disgruntled and disaffected—many of whom already have Panjea email and web accounts. Unfortunately it’s this very familiarity that will keep people from looking too critically at Panjea’s own financial backing. The tech giant is notoriously secretive about its investors, but given that its advisory board is heavy on congressmen, governors, and other bureaucratic types, it isn’t too hard to drawn conclusions. When I’ve got the hard goods (and I’m spelunking as we speak), I’ll let you know. In the meantime, maybe it’s time to cut back on social media and cultivate an outdoor hobby. No one can spy on you or profit from you when you’re planting chrysanthemums. Not yet, anyway.

SHARPE: COVER BOY FOR LOVETT’S CORPORATE RUN

Last month I reported that Governor Angela Lovett had hired media guru Kevin Sharpe as her presidential campaign’s “senior strategist and media advisor.” This week Sharpe’s grizzled mug graces the covers of both Time and Wired, where he’s been dubbed “The Architect” for his role in strategizing Lovett’s path to office.

But read the articles and you’ll find something interesting: the only description of Sharpe’s role is that of masterminding the campaign’s online component—and the only specific contribution he’s credited with is…managing Lovett’s page on the Panjea social network.

Sharpe’s past ties to Panjea and its CEO, Victor Ignacio, aren’t widely known—but they’re known well enough for this move to be considered flat-out brazen. We’re being put on notice: democracy is in the hands of the tech titans and their corporate cronies, and this election is about only two things: (1) information, and (2) how to monetize it. When these people get control of the Oval Office, your  citizenship will effectively cease to exist, except as a rhetorical concept. Better get out there and use it while you still can.

IS YOUR INTERNET TROLL A GOVERNMENT SHILL?

You know the trolls who come hammering down on you whenever you post something skeptical about Washington? Turns out, they may well be government agents—hired specifically to monitor anti-gov opinions on social media, blogs, and chat rooms, then “correct” them with pro-gov propaganda to give the illusion of a grass-roots movement. In short, your average troll is very probably a career bureaucrat.

Government agents pretending to be regular folks is the logical next step of the in a strategy chillingly similar to that of Astroturfing “grassroots” movements, but it’s even more dangerous. This is the kind of stuff we criticize the Chinese government for doing!