The Blight of the Bots

 

You might think social media is the salvation of democracy, but I think it’s a blight.

As a former newspaper editor, I deplore the mob mentality I come across on web sites like Twitter and Facebook – and in those odious chat rooms

Call me an elitist if it scratches your itch, but I am convinced media editors play a vital role in public debate. Without these “gatekeepers,” how can you trust the information you are getting? They are your validators.

On the wild and woolly web you might get anything – including such horrors as bullying and trolls. And malicious bots.

You know about bots, of course.

They’re computer programs designed to perform automated tasks. A recent Atlantic article explains::

They are the worker bees of the internet, and also the henchmen.  Some bots help refresh your Facebook feed or figure out how to rank Google search results; other bots impersonate humans and carry out devastating DDoS attacks.

The article adds:

I’m sure you know how Putin’s saboteurs used bots to subvert America’s 2016 presidential election.

Bots helped an army of human mischief makers spread lies and promote preposterous conspiracy theories designed to sabotage Hillary and get Trump elected.

This type of assault isn’t anything like the subtle bias you might notice in a mainstream newspaper or TV station. It’s part of a massive crusade designed to mess with your mind.

So if you’re tempted to dismiss mainstream media as “fake news,” think again. You might wake up to the reality that the hackers and bots on social media are actually the ones trying to fake you out

More on bots

The latest bot attack

More on Russia’s bots

More on DDoS attacks

3 thoughts on “The Blight of the Bots

  1. “Slaveholders pride themselves upon being honorable men ; but if you were to hear the enormous lies they tell their slaves, you would have small respect for their veracity. I have spoken plain English. Pardon me. I cannot use a milder term. When they visit the north, and return home, they tell their slaves of the runaways they have seen, and describe them to be in the most deplorable condition. A slaveholder once told me that he had seen a runaway friend of mine in New York, and that she besought him to take her back to her master, for she was literally dying of starvation; that many days she had only one cold potato to eat, and at other times could get nothing at all. He said he refused to take her, because he knew her master would not thank him for bringing such a miserable wretch to his house. He ended by saying to me, ‘This is the punishment she brought on herself for running away from a kind master.’ This whole story was false. I afterwards staid with that friend in New York, and found her in comfortable circumstances. She had never thought of such a thing as wishing to go back to slavery. Many of the slaves believe such stories, and think it is not worth while to exchange slavery for such a hard kind of freedom.”

    — _Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself_, p. 67.

    While it’s true that freedom entails the burden of taking care of oneself, it’s also true that leaving the fake-stream media reservation also entails its own perils.

    For example, on this very blog, there have been comments that seem to endorse such ideas as that negros are indigenous to the New World. Having stumbled on this in other places, it seems to be part of an effort to destabilize the Western Hemisphere in order to serve the neo-colonial ambitions of a nation state which shall remain nameless. (Actually, it’s obvious).

    As for bots, that danger is still growing as they have yet to achieve the zenith of their sophistication, which is to pass the so-called Turing Test, which is a test to measure the sophistication of artificial intelligence (AI). Whenever a human being cannot tell the difference between an AI, and another human, that AI is said to have passed the Turing Test.

  2. “This type of assault isn’t anything like the subtle bias you might notice in a mainstream newspaper or TV station. It’s part of a massive crusade designed to mess with your mind.

    So if you’re tempted to dismiss mainstream media as “fake news,” think again. You might wake up to the reality that the hackers and bots on social media are actually the ones trying to fake you out”

    That sounds a lot like the debating tactic of “accuse your opponent of what you are doing yourself.” That tactic seems to be variously attributed to Marx, Lenin, Saul Alinsky, but also ancient Rome.

    “The art of propaganda didn’t start with Bernays nor end with the NAZIs. 天長地久.

    It has been cultivated for thousands of years and, since the time of the NAZIs, cultivated with almost infinite funding and a air of desperation as, for example, the United States saw its strategic interests as opposite to “Godless Atheist Communists” that could be counted upon to exceed any decent restraint.”

    http://blogs.jamaicans.com/gwgraeme/2018/06/10/why-dont-i-just-leave/#comment-1033765

  3. The bots are responsible for retweeting odious “Fake News” so what I do is block the fake news web sites, so noting will be accidentally sent by me. I only use valid responsible news sources and stay away from YouTube because anyone can post there.

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