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August 2012, Week 2

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Tue, 14 Aug 2012 20:09:58 -0400
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Media Bits and Bytes - Fake News Edition! - August 14, 2012

# # #

Mitt Romney Violated Twitter's Terms of Service by Buying Fake
Followers

by Jason Easley

PoliticusUSA
August 7th, 2012

http://www.politicususa.com/mitt-romney-violated-twitters-terms-service-buying-fake-followers.html

Here is what we now know about Romney's Twitter new followers
from July 21-26: The number of Romney's followers increased 17%
(or 116,922) on a single day; 80% of them are less than 3
months old; 23% or about 1/4 of these followers have no tweet;
10% of these account has already been suspended by Twitter.
Based on the above distinguishable features, we believe most of
these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter
population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower
service.

# # #

Pandora asks listeners to share their e-mail addresses with
Romney

by Lois Beckett

ProPublica
August 8, 2012

http://www.propublica.org/article/pandora-asks-listeners-to-share-their-emails-with-romney

North Carolina resident Crystal Harris was listening to Garth
Brooks' "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" when an ad
appeared on her iPhone screen, followed by a pop-up message.
"To help Mitt Romney become the next president, Romney for
President, Inc would like to use your e-mail address - tap OK
to let Pandora share this info," the message read. Pandora's
targeted e-mail sharing pitch isn't new, but it's being offered
to political advertisers for the first time this year, and both
Democrats and Republicans, for both local and national
campaigns, have used the service to collect voter e-mails.

# # #

Washington's press is the cabin boy of the political class -
do quote me on that

by Bob Garfield

Guardian (UK)
August 3, 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/03/washington-press-corp-cabin-boy

Too caught up in its own self-importance and petty competition
to understand it has become the cabin boy of the political
class, Washington reporters are co-conspirators in an ongoing
fraud. Here's what it looks like: USA Today: "Mitt Romney is
planning a bus tour ahead of the Republican national
convention. A Romney campaign aide confirmed the bus trip to
USA Today. The aide, who is not authorized to discuss the trip
publicly, asked for anonymity because details have not yet been
announced." Oh, wait. They have too been announced. Just now.
By the Romney campaign.

The epidemic of blind quotes is a standard way of giving a
platform to officials speaking in an official capacity, yet
with zero accountability. The practice is also supremely
manipulative, giving the most banal information the allure of
forbidden fruit.

# # #

Facebook: More than 83 million users are fake

by Helen A.S. Popkin

MSNBC.com Technolog
August 2, 2012

http://www.technolog.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/facebook-more-83-million-users-are-fake-919873

People with multiple Facebook accounts, profiles for pets,
"zombie blondes" are a few examples of the 83.09 million fake
users Facebook revealed this week as part of the social
network's first public quarterly earnings report. These fake
accounts make up 8.7 percent of Facebooks 955 million monthly
active users, a huge jump, both in raw numbers and as a
percentage from Facebook's last estimate. The jump in numbers
doesn't denote a jump in false accounts, but increased
transparency in tracking, as is required of a public company.

# # #

Reuters Runs Interference for Elite Corruption, Scrubs Article
That Shows How Banks Get Out of Jail Free

by Yves Smith

Naked Capitalism
August 9, 2012

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/08/reuters-runs-interference-for-elite-corruption-scrubs-article-that-shows-how-banks-get-out-of-jail-free.html

Marcy Wheeler put up a useful post yesterday morning, based on
a Reuters article describing the efforts of Standard Chartered
to combat the damage done by its making illegal transfers on
behalf of Iranian banks. Her article revealed the techniques
used by big banks to escape suffering meaningful consequences
of their misdeeds so the proles don't learn how craven banks
really are.

I decided to go have a look myself, and guess what -- the story
now at that URL was not the same story. Yes, there was a story
on Standard Chartered. But the version that Marcy worked on,
titled "U.S. regulators irate at NY action against StanChart,"
is NOT the version posted later, titled "Standard Chartered
begins fightback on Iran allegations." Her version of the story
has been expunged from the Reuters website.

# # #

Yahoo Assigns Arithmetic Challenged Team to Cover Social
Security

by Dean Baker, CEPR

Business Insider
August 9, 2012

http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-assigns-arithmetic-challenged-team-to-cover-social-security-2012-8

Yahoo clearly has trouble attracting staff with the necessary
skills in arithmetic and logic, since it ran a piece on Social
Security which contained major errors in one or both. The piece
recounts the story of Mary Ann Sorrentino, a woman who spent a
career in relatively low- paying jobs, but nonetheless managed
to save and invest successfully and thereby accumulate a
substantial amount to support her retirement. But just about
every assertion in this piece is wrong, and if Yahoo had
mischaracterized a private corporation like Goldman Sachs or
Morgan Stanley the same way, it is likely that it would be
facing a serious lawsuit for libel. The Yahoo piece also badly
misleads readers about the financial condition of Social
Security.

# # #

BIG DATA IS OUR GENERATION'S CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE, AND WE don't
KNOW IT

by Alistair

Solve for Interesting (Otherwise Life is Dull)
July 31, 2012

http://solveforinteresting.com/big-data-is-our-generations-civil-rights-issue-and-we-dont-know-it/

Because it can be used in unintended ways, Big Data is the
civil rights issue of our generation. Data doesn't invade
people's lives. Lack of control over how it's used does. What's
really driving so-called Big Data isn't the volume of
information, it's about a reconsideration of the fundamental
economics of analyzing data. In the old, data-is-scarce model,
companies had to decide what to collect first, and then collect
it. With the new, data-is-abundant model, we collect first and
ask questions later. This means we collect information long
before we decide what it's for. And this is a dangerous thing.

# # #

20,000 AT&T workers strike; company says customers 'a
priority'

by Tiffany Hsu

Los Angeles Times
August 7, 2012,

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-att-strike-20120807,0,1704022.story

About 20,000 AT&T Inc. workers started striking Tuesday even as
the telecommunications giant reached tentative deals with
unions in the Southeast. The company's contracts with two
major branches of the Communications Workers of America expired
in early April. Now, 17,000 wireline employees in California
and Nevada and 3,000 employees in Connecticut have decided to
strike. Wireline businesses have slumped in recent years as
use of land-based phones falls off with the rise of mobile
devices...

# # #

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