Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg = Mr. Data Accumulator?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as Mr. Data Accumulator

Mark Zuckerberg, the 33 year old founder and CEO of Facebook, has developed a reputation of being stiff when forced to present himself as a typical corporate executive.

In order to prepare for the ten hours of questioning on Capitol Hill concerning data proliferation and privacy concerns in social media, Zuckerberg was prepped by K Street public relations people to look professional and less robotic.  

 


Alas, that effort was only partially  effective.   Zuckerbook lost his typical grey hoodie for a suit which helped.  But his scripted replies  seemed synthetic and akin to an android.  So much so, wags wondered if Mark Zuckerberg ought to be called Mr. Data Accumulator, an estranged relation of Data from Star Trek The Next Generation.



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Diamond and Silk on Social Media Censorship

Diamond and Silk on cyber censorship on Facebook

Prominent conservative voices in social media, such as Diamond and Silk and Dan Bongino, have vociferously voiced outrage that Big Internet has banned them as being unsafe for the social media  community because of their outspoken ideological opinions. This parallels YouTube demonetizing many of Dennis Prager's popular Prager U videos because the conservative views expressed did not sync with the progressive views of their internet overlords. And Twitter is infamous for shadow banning conservatives, even Senator Ted Cruz, without recourse or equal application against outrageous leftist Twits.

Diamond and Silk, who gained fame through their vigorous defense of then Presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, did not silently take this rough trade from Facebook. On Fox and Friends, Diamond and Silk postulated that Mark Zuckerberg needed to "[S]uck it up, buttercup" and accept diverse viewpoints and freedom of speech on its social network, just as the small Indiana pizzeria would be forced to cater a same-sex wedding despite their religious objections to the ceremony.




Alas, Diamond and Silk have a weak case in a court of law.  Without meandering into the details of RFRA and First Amendment religious liberty, same-sex marriage proponents could point to civil rights legislation which the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Harris claim a right to dignity for that class.  What protected class can Diamond and Silk rightfully claim against Facebook?

However, in the court of public opinion, Facebook engaging in ideological viewpoint discrimination could be a compelling case for action.  Does MySpace mean anything to Mark Zuckerberg?  That was a social media precursor to Facebook, but when it stopped being cool, it became ghost of itself and a dark web conduit.  Facebook is much bigger and is receiving congressional scrutiny.  Between viewpoint discrimination and revelations of data mining, shareholders should be concerned if Facebook were to become a fraction of its former self.

Facebook has ceased to be a mainly youth oriented site.  Adults may well chafe at having their lives data sold by the social media company.  But for motivated conservatives, this cyber censorship may well have this active demographic find alternatives to speak freely, like on GAB.


Ted Cruz on Social Media Censorship

Senator Ted Cruz invigilates Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on social media censorship against conservatives


Mark Zuckerberg on Hate Speech on Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies about hate speech before the US Senate


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Some Thoughts Should Be Kept Close to the ScotteVest (sic)

Scott Jordan is an entrepreneur who developed a line of clothing which allows for fashionably carrying gadgets within the garments.  Jordan even went on ABC's Shark Tank in 2012 in a bid to raise funds for his technology enabled clothing (but Jordan  rejected the the offers). 




ScotteVest snowballed into a $10 million company by 2015.

ScotteVest's pricey e-commerce product line  were often seen advertised on Fox News, presumably to appeal to geeky traveling businessmen who tired of fumbling gadgets when they went through TSA lines.



ScotteVest CEO Scott Jordan may have unraveled this fashion market niche by oversharing on social media.  Scott Jordan had developed a reputation of being an outspoken CEO on social media, pumping products and pimping his progressive politics. However Jordan recently shared on Facebook a smarmy post which revealed marketing strategy while denigrating his customers.




While one could certainly see a small time celebutard who is full of himself to contemptuously sneer at the little people on whom you've made your millions while taking  a chair lift in Ketchum ski resort.  But it is almost unfathomable that he would share this "burn" on social media. It really makes one wonder, to use Jordan's parlance, who is the "f**king idiot?

After Jordan's Facebook faux-pas festered for a few days, the ScotteVest CEO posted an incomplete apology on Twitter, which linked to the original Facebook post. Unfortunately, the Facebook post had been deleted.  





No doubt that this story certainly won't make ScotteVest's media buzz page. But the internet never forgets. The question is whether ScotteVest's customers will be willing to forget that they are considered to be gullible f**king idiots" by the guy profiting from their sales.

Social Media is a wonderful way for companies to reach customers. One need not be "Always Be Closing" when sharing on social media and genuineness is a way to cement bonds with fickle customers of an expensive, niche products.  But denigrating the demographic which lined one's pockets is an odd way to reach out to customers.  A smart CEO would have kept his crass critiques of customers closer to his ScotteVest. 

Enjoy your  après-ski canapés and hope that your cup is not forever full of sour grapes. 

Knob Hill Ski Lodge, Ketchum, Idaho 





Friday, January 27, 2017

Gabbing about the Capricious Cupertino Walled Garden of Apple

GAB CEO Andrew Torba on Apple App Vetting



Gab is a new micoblogging site which was started in the summer of 2016 as conservative voices experienced cyber-censorship about content from social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter.  Gab wants to create a cyber community which users can speak freely and exercise their own judgment to filter content. 

Gab started with a beta platform geared towards personal computers.  However, since the growth in social media is associated with mobile internet applications, Gab has sought to get approval from Apple to have their app approved to be available in Apple app store.

Because Gab encourages members to #SpeakFreely, they do not want to censor content created by Gab users, as long it conforms to US law and the Constitution regarding obscenity and pornography.  In rare instances, the Gab platform would allow for legal pornography as long as it was tagged #NSFW (not safe for work).  But this loophole created the first objection for the Apple App Review team.  To resolve this, Gab linked their EULA agreement, albeit outside of the app.  The allowed for the second rejection, which was easily abated. 

What has raised eyebrows is the tardy and hypocritical third rejection by the app team. Ordinarily, apps are evaluated within 24 hours.  For Gab's third app submission, it took 17 days. In addition, it was rejected on the grounds that "We found references to religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or other targeted groups that could be offensive to many users."



So Gab is supposed to play nanny to user epithets and ideas which an aggrieved internet denizen could find offensive.  But Gab allows its users to filter out content which they do not want to see, but the powers that be in Cupertino do not want their i-Phone/i-Pad users to be scandalized by material in Gab (which they could filter out themselves).  

Is the same stringent Cupertino standard applied to Madonna's post Women's March musings?  

Wonder why?  Is Twitter going to have their app taken away for the rude ravings of an aged Material Girl who creates controversy on social media to seem contemporary?

Gab CEO Andrew Torba wonders if the third rejection of Gab's app was timed to coincide with President Trump's first full day in office and was meant to sent a message.  Torba asserted

"This clear double standard against us is potentially politically motivated and clearly targeted. When you actively search for something on a user generated website, chances are you're going to find what you are looking for."



Progressives sought to kill Gab by claiming that it was only for the alt-right and that it lacked diversity, which fails when one considers that Gabs leadership team is comprised of an American Christian, a Turkish Muslim Kurd and an Indian Hindu.  Since the slimming was unsuccessful, it seems that progressive companies are seeking to deny Gab from tools to grow their user base by any means necessary.

With the shadow-blocking and capricious shunnings by big social media, those who want to share opinions which challenge the standard assumptions of progressive elites, they may look to social media alternatives such as Gab.  Alas, Apple continues to make access restricted inside the walled garden

Monday, January 23, 2017

President Trump to Name Net Neutrality Critic Ajit Pai as FCC Chair

[N.B. This article was originally published February 10, 2015 on DistrictofCalamity.com ]


Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission, has become outspoken in his objections to the political imposition of Net Neutrality by what is supposed to be an independent Federal commission.




Commissioner Pai noted that: “It’s no wonder that net neutrality proponents are already bragging that it will turn the FCC into the “Department of the Internet. For that reason, if you like dealing with the IRS, you are going to love the President’s plan." 

Many progressives have rallied around the concept of Net Neutrality thinking that it is hurting corporations and encouraging competition.  What Commissioner Pai points out is that applying Title II regulation to the internet, which was designed for railroads and Ma Bell, will stifle competition and favor behemoth businesses because of the regulatory burdens.

Congressional critics such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) have likened Net Neutrality as being Obamacare for the Internet, regulations sold to lower prices and improve delivery but which in reality do the opposite while making Uncle Sam the undisputed middle man.

Another alarming feature of such broad regulation by the FCC is the relative obscurity in which the rules are being cobbled together.  President Obama pressured the FCC in November 2014 about Net Neutrality.  Chairman Tom Wheeler, who had been a big Obama fundraiser, is complying but promises to make some changes in Title II to make it better.  Oh, so a regulatory schemata which was drawn up in 14 can be tweaked to apply to the internet age.  Right. FCC Commissioner Mike O'Reilly warned the public about the dangers of forbearance as applied to Title II Common Carriers. 

There is the larger issue, however, about whether Congress ceded its legislative mantle to the FCC to strictly regulate the internet. If we hold fast to living in a constitutional democratic Republic, shouldn't our elected representatives, not bureaucrats who are unaccountable to the people (or for that matter Men in Black) be crafting such momentous law?

UPDATE 01/23/2017  President Trump is poised to name Ajit Pai as Chairman of the FCC, replacing Democrat activist FCC Chair Tom Wheeler.  Pai has been a critic of the Commission's impetus to impose net neutrality and thereby expand the FCC's role into regulating the Internet.