Facebook Purges More than 800 Political Pages, Some with Millions of Followers, Just Ahead of the Midterm Elections

Facebook is again being called out for purging political accounts on the left and the right that challenge mainstream media and establishment political content, just in time for the 2018 midterm elections.  The pro-NATO think tank Atlantic Council, which counts warmongers Henry Kissinger and Michael Chertoff as board members, announced it was joining Facebook as a “fact-checking” partner, serving as its “eyes and ears“.

Facebook is again being called out for purging political accounts too far left and right of center, after it removed more than 800 pages just in time for the 2018 midterm elections. Some had millions of followers.

Many of the affected pages were supposedly sharing links between groups using fake accounts, which then clicked “Like” on the posts, artificially upping their engagement numbers. This “inauthentic behavior” violates Facebook’s anti-spam policies and goes against “what people expect” from Facebook, the company said.

While some of the deleted pages have been known to run content of questionable credibility at times, Facebook did not expressly accuse them of spreading “fake news” – or actually provide a list of names or examples of postings at all. However, under the platform’s new policies, simply spreading “news” is frowned upon: it has recently tweaked its algorithm to prevent users’ feeds from being dominated by news stories.

Twitter was in an uproar as many voices on the left and right alike saw their pages removed without cause.

On the Left, AntiMedia, with its 2.1 milion followers, and the Free Thought Project with 3.1, were among the victims. AntiMedia’s Twitter account was suspended shortly after they posted about their removal from Facebook.

Right Wing News (more than 3.1 million followers) and Nation In Distress (also over 3mn followers) were some of the conservative pages that got the axe.

Among those dragged under in the ‘inauthentic behavior’ purge is RT America correspondent Rachel Blevins, who says she took years to build up a following by posting her reports and articles – though RT content is probably not very popular with Facebook staff these days.

In August, the aggressively pro-NATO think tank Atlantic Council announced it was joining Facebook as a “fact-checking” partner. A press statement from the social media platform gushed that the think tank, which boasts such esteemed warmongers as Henry Kissinger and Michael Chertoff on its board, would serve as the “eyes and ears” of Facebook, so the platform could play a “positive role” in ensuring democracy was practiced correctly in the future.

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Journalist Who Criticized Saudi Arabia Is Feared to Have Been Murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey

Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and a critic of Saudi Arabia, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey last week to try to obtain a document certifying he had divorced his ex-wife.  He never emerged because he was murdered inside the embassy, according to the Turkish government that says he recorded his death on his Apple Watch.

Senators Bob Corker, Bob Menendez, Lindsey Graham and Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to the White House invoking the Magnitsky Act, triggering an investigation into the journalist’s disappearance; if it is shown that the Saudis murdered the journalist, the US will be forced to impose sanctions and review of its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Senator Rand Paul said that he will introduce a bill that would cut off military aid to Saudi Arabia until the missing Saudi-born dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is found safe and well.  Paul has made two other attempts in the past to stop the sale of arms to the Saudis.

 

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has said he will introduce a bill that would cut off military aid to Saudi Arabia until the missing Saudi-born dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is found safe and well.

Khashoggi, who writes opinion columns for the Washington Post, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday and Turkish officials have claimed that he was possibly murdered while inside the building, before being dismembered and then secretly driven away.

Speaking to Fox News, Paul said the incident was “just one more reason” why the United States should be wary of selling arms to Saudi Arabia. “If they have the ability and also the audacity to go into another country and kill a journalist, these aren’t the kind of people maybe that we want to be selling arms to,” he said.

The Kentucky senator said that while there “may not be proof” yet that the Saudis had killed Khashoggi, there is still “enough to indicate that they were involved” in his disappearance.

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Uber to Spend $10 Million Lobbying Cities Across the US to Charge a Tax on Entering Congested Areas

Uber plans to spend $10 million on lobbying cities to institute new ‘congestion pricing’ tax which is a toll on drivers who enter certain parts of the city at certain times.  Uber has contributed to traffic in highly populated areas, and regulators in New York City have brought the hammer down on the ride sharing service.  Uber is pushing for the tax that could increase its volume of riders, instead of the alternative of  limiting the number of Uber cars allowed in busy area. 

  • Uber recently announced a three-year lobbying initiative costing $10 million
  • Company wants cities to institute a tax on drivers entering congested cores
  • Tax could help company boost rider volume by making private trips more costly
  • Alternative could be caps on the number cars Uber is allowed to have in a city 
  • New York City has already put a one-year ban on new ride-hailing licenses
  • Uber vows to spend $1 million next year in NYC alone to push congestion prices 

Uber has vowed to spend $10 million lobbying city governments across the U.S. to institute so-called ‘congestion pricing’ taxes on drivers.

The company, which has already aggressively pursued a congestion pricing law in New York City, announced the three-year lobbying plan last month, saying it would pursue such policies in other cities.

In a statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company would lobby for ‘ideas that put the long-term public interest over maintaining the mobility status quo, even when doing so is politically difficult.’

As yet, no American city has ever implemented a congestion pricing zone, which is essentially a toll on drivers who enter certain parts of the city at certain times.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (above) has announced a plan to lobby for congestion pricing taxes in cities across the US – a policy that the company stands to benefit from

The congestion pricing approach has been tried in European cities such as London and Stockholm, and urban planning experts say it allows cities to manage traffic without persistently adding new lanes and roads.

For Uber, the business appeal of congestion pricing is clear.

A recent study shows that services like Uber increase traffic congestion in dense cities rather than relieving it.

That’s because the majority of Uber riders would have taken transit, walked or biked if they hadn’t used the ride hailing service, the study found.

Faced with mounting traffic congestion, regulators in New York City have brought the hammer down on Uber and similar ride-hailing services.

In August, New York’s city council passed a one-year moratorium on new licences for for-hire vehicles while the city studies the rapidly changing industry.

By making private trips more costly, Uber could see its number of rides increase. Congestion pricing would also circumvent attempts to limit the number of Ubers in NYC (pictured)

As an alternative to such a moratorium, congestion pricing would present Uber with several benefits. The company could simply pass the toll along to riders, and would likely see ride volume increase as the costs of personal vehicle trips went up.

Consequently, Uber has been lobbying aggressively for congestion pricing in New York, and has committed to spending over $1 million next year to lobby legislators to pass such a plan.

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California: Almost Overnight the State Turned Liberal, Became Mired in Over-Regulation and Over-Taxation Leading to Poverty

Victor Davis Hanson explains how California has gone from the most prosperous state to having the highest poverty level in the US with tent cities, disease and open drug use.  He says that Facebook, Google and Apple brought $3 trillion into the state and, along with Hollywood and the universities, made rules that they are not subjected to themselves.  New green regulations resulted in raising the price of housing, small businesses fled, gasoline taxes increased and income tax rose. In addition, 10 to 15 million illegal aliens crossed the southern border into the state.  The golden state accounts for one third of all welfare recipients and 20% of the residents live below the poverty line.