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Thread: Social media abuse - your views please

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Social media abuse - your views please

    Here on TFSA we have had a sudden flood of posts / attempted posts around issues of race in the USA.

    One theme has been the protests around the death of George Floyd.
    The second theme is around the disproportionate death rate from COVID-19 when split by race in the USA.

    Without doubt, both are significant social issues around race and racism in the USA. What is curious about the posts on TFSA though is the source of the activism.

    We have had a series of new profiles registering and promoting remarkably similar content and themes. The profiles claim to be from various parts of South Africa. However, Akismet is throwing a fit. And tracing the origin via IP is showing the posts as coming from China. Coincidentally we have also had a post in the same run commenting on what a fantastic job China did with the epidemic.

    As many will know I am a staunch supporter of freedom of speech, but stoking the fires in foreign countries...
    There's a part of me that feels this is not far off actionable abuse of the social media medium.

    Something of a heads-up for regular visitors to TFSA as to what you may be seeing right now (which is actually the tip of the iceberg). And a plea for you to share any views you may have on the topic.

    ps. This gem was posted from Russia - also part of the same run.

  2. #2
    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    I noted the posts you refer too, and mentally thought that this sounded like AI bots spilling false information into the social media space.
    Personally I would delete the posts, as they are not free speech per se, but more about sowing propaganda.

    or maybe highlight the post to users that this may be an AI bot sowing propaganda, and allow each member to decide for him/herself
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  3. #3
    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    We all have views on the matter but I do think that our views don't add any value to resolving their issues.

    I think that we should stay away from it - Leave them to sort out their own mess.

    We should focus on improving the lives of our own population.
    “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

  4. #4
    Diamond Member Mike C's Avatar
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    I also am a supporter of free speech but I trust your gut feeling on this Dave. If a person wishes to participate in a forum such as this their bona fides need to be transparent - else the forum is open to all kinds of trolls.
    People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

  5. #5
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Dave you may be in a better position to see what is happening on the Forum. Yes, free speech is being abused and organisations are using social media for their dark agendas. Word wide there seems to be a psychological war being fought with weird and sinister things starting to happen. False news, bad being propagated as good and good being rubbished. I do not want to elaborate here, but one should be careful not to be drawn in and to test everything against known facts.

    I am always weary of people (or bots) posting on social media with no traceable profile or reference.
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  6. #6
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    Hi Dave

    When someone uses an alias, I take what they say with a pinch of salt.

    Derek Stuart. ( nothing to hide )

  7. #7
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    This is social media... its full of trolls... rats and mice ...with a few honest people in the mix.

    I dont trust people in person ...surely people arent that stupid that they actually trust info on the internet ... in saying that people still beleive an EFT can be confirmed via an SMS ( like the cheque is in the post ...for us older folk )

    Even if a person using his name and advertises his business and personal info the interent ... come on people wake up ... on the internet you can be whatever or whoever you want to be ... some fools even employ staff to present their info oon the internet to make them leek good.

    Next thing you gonna tell me ... if you switch you locaction services off on your phone ... nobody can track you ... or access the dirty pics which are suppose to be encypted.

    I had a good laugh in a webiner during the lockdown ...we were discussing CCTV cameras which are linked to your alarm system ... all the one person was concerned about was wether or not the company which created the app for the camera to link to the alarm app ... had access to the footage ... its not that little alarm manufacturing you need to be worried about the servers which Dahua control you should be worried about ... we are so naive.
    Comments are based on opinion...not always facts....that's why people use an alias.

  8. #8
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I 'd personally assume that any new member who's outright lying about their location is here to spam or promote a specific agenda.

    Freedom of speech...yes but there's also a difference between a forum and billboard. Posting some kinda political statement and not following it up with discussion and debate makes the forum a billboard, not a forum.

    Usually the evidence is there that the poster is lying about their location or has an agenda to promote a certain political view if you do you due dilligence. Looking at the 'Russian' post Dave linked to for example, even as a casual member without IP tools the members name looks spammy, it's got a Chinese feel to it. Secondly if you look at the image info they're both grabbed from WeChat (微信 = WeChat). Finally the member stated July 7th 1997 as their birthday... the day of the Hong Kong handover....coincidence? I doubt it. Put these 3 things together and you should be asking questions about the intentions of the member who posted it.

    I guess to truely support freedom of speech this type of post should be allowed and we hope everyone reading it also notices the signs and starts questioning the motive of the poster rather than getting hung-up on the invariably high-impact content of the post itself. In reality I'd have deleted this thread and banned the member as a spammer because of his obvious lack of honesty and I think the duty of the forum to remain a forum and not be a noticeboard for bad actors outweighs the other considerations.

    The middle ground also appeals to me whereby we make a new section called 'spam' or 'bad actors' where all these types of thread are placed and we use them as teaching aid by listing the telltale signs that they're spam in order to encourage and instruct casual readers how to do their own due dilligence and spot bad actors themselves using the evidence available to them.

    ******Edit, Apologies. I had a nagging thought I was wrong about Hong Kong and just Googled it. Apparently it was July 1st, not July 7th. I've left the mistake above because, although it was factually incorrect, it illustrates the type of think I'd look for when sniffing out a spammer.
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  9. Thank given for this post:

    Derlyn (10-Jun-20), Justloadit (08-Jun-20), Mike C (09-Jun-20)

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