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A New Facebook Psychology: How to Account for Violating Public Trust

Rebecca L. Durbin

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Technology has become society’s answer for everything. The internet has virtually replaced brick-and-mortar libraries, has infiltrated most aspects of research, and has become the largest means by which people communicate and share information. However, information is not always accurate. Worse, information is often edited to purposefully alter perception. A lack of accountability further encourages erroneous internet content as there are few regulations and fewer methods for enforcement due to vague laws. Monopolies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft benefit from the current unregulated structure, as they profit off the consumers’ inability to hold them accountable for violations. This presents a conflict of interest to consumer privacy, as people allow access without understanding what they’ve allowed and how the information can be used.

Neglecting or refusing to update internet policy and law in order to maintain a lack of regulation, enforcement, and accountability is unethical if not illegal. Violations of consumer trust are not always expressly illegal, though violating such trust has an enormous impact on companies that rely on consumer opinion to stay in business. Yet why would companies maintain trust when there is no competition for their services? At some point, conventional wisdom says, the scale will tip against the company. If Facebook fails to keep users, its power, prestige, profit, and influence will likewise narrow.

When the consumers have influence they feel invested. However, when a company subverts the trust of the consumer to benefit itself, such as the recent privacy violations allowed by Facebook, consequences are far-reaching. Facebook and similar online tech companies feel entitled to require consumers to disclose personal information before allowing access and use of their product. This collection of content extends to individuals with whom consumers share a connection: a single Facebook account can provide personal information for literally thousands of people. Even deleting an account will not eliminate information gathered, as Facebook reserves the right to keep information others have shared after the fact.

Though consumers were aware their information was being gathered to personalize commercial ads within Facebook’s application, it was considered an acceptable trade for free use of applications, operating systems, and connectivity. However, consumers were not aware of the extent their personal information was made available to third party companies who purchased the information from Facebook for exploitation purposes. In the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook enabled personal information of 87 million accounts to be sold to a political-advertising firm, who then used psychological information derived from the accounts to customize advertisements designed to motivate users into electing President Donald Trump. Additionally, Facebook does not monitor or prevent fake news and ads on its platform, to include those planted by foreign actors, designed to manipulate the US public and potentially compromise democratic integrity.

After a breach of public trust, regaining the previous level of confidence is more difficult than the initial efforts taken to earn it. In the past, innovators and politicians have used modified business models to influence the public: company mission statements (political platform), management of employees (running a campaign), marketing (lobbyists), and consumers (the public). To monitor social media companies and rebuild consumer trust, it may be advantageous to capitalize on traditional business tactics initially used to achieve consumer trust. However, the previous business model must be redefined and expanded as current practices do not address the limitations in how Facebook leverages user data in order to better sell to advertisers.  Zuckerberg must address privacy issues when restructuring a new business model rather than being perceived to manipulate consumers. The methods utilized for his initial success should be reapplied: he must cater to the psychological needs of consumers by developing a product they use for life enhancement rather than a product that uses them to build external revenue.

The current business model at Facebook does not address how violations of privacy can be devastating to the consumer and has failed to monitor these violations.  This abuse may be purposeful for profit, but it can also derive from inadvertent neglect and complacency. Jane Dalton quoted the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in The Independent in 2018, “Google and Facebook are becoming too big to be governed and may face getting dismantled.” In an article written by Jeremy White in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg stated, “it’s not a question of ‘if regulation’, it’s a question of ‘what type.’” The population is concerned that dismantling social media sites will fundamentally alter them and that government regulation would include censorship laws that would be too restrictive. Each concern renders social media sites unattractive for use.

The best way for companies to protect consumers from abuse without dismantlement or overzealous censorship is for the consumer to be more involved: consumers of social media ostensibly create the very content of social media and should therefore become real shareholders and stakeholders in its management. This would enable the public to provide input on how the company coordinates, collaborates, updates, synchronizes, and corrects mistakes. As a commonwealth company, the public could be held more liable for the content they provide to social media sites. This law would therefore not be a platform to limit the freedom of speech, enforce politically correct commentary, or censor content, but rather hold companies – and its users – responsible for posting and hosting illegal content. The potential for neglect and complacency is avoided. The burden of responsibility is shared and enforced by all. The masses feel reinvested, consumers have a product they want, and companies can earn back credibility.

To ensure this new business model functions as desired and does not fail means changing laws and policies to prevent future breaches rather than signing agreements which can be reworded to benefit the company rather than the consumers. What must also be understood is that during a transition, laws and policies must not stall in the diagnostics phase. The intent of the law should be followed so solutions and preventative measures with real consequences can be implemented. As the company is crowd-owned, interpretation is left to how a reasonable public understands the intent. This prevents delaying laws and policy while lawyers sneak legal loopholes into regulations. When such loopholes are found, they should be immediately amended. Policies and laws should be made public so that the public can act as mediator.

To sustain this new business model, getting caught up in the momentum of reaching end-state goals should not distract from assessing and understanding new risks. Moving forward, Facebook needs to prevent this, which Mark Zuckerberg seems to have taken to heart. He has promised to assess the lack of oversight at Facebook in addition to assessing future risk. He has also promised to address the lack of strong leadership. Leadership needs to be ethical as well as supervisory: an anti-corruption Chief Compliance Officer should be put in place and be willing to take accountability of compliance to prevent profits from competing with anti-corruption, compliance, and ethics programs. If people control their own privacy settings, then allow them to decide what information to give and how much compensation to receive in trade. As with companies like Ebay, Facebook can take a percentage of this transaction. This ensures Facebook will have sufficient resources to continue providing a platform for social media but does not allow the platform to become too large and unmanageable as it is now. Clear procedures and policies should be made available, showing clear documentation of expectations. Communication and training will ensure compliance, but training can’t be one-size-fits all. Monitoring must be sufficient to ensure anti-corruption, but in this case, it would be focused on Facebook’s policies rather than its consumers. This ensures that owners, executives, employees, and shareholders equally account for wrong-doing and provides a means for corrective action that remains consistent.

A new European Union privacy law is already in place which gives consumers greater control over the use of their data. Harper Neidig explains users will be able to request what personal information companies have, request their information be deleted, order the cessation of distribution of personal data to third parties, and to revoke consent for personal information shared. (Neidig 2018) In this new business model, the public does not partner with the social media platform, but it does control the information and how it is shared: nothing can be shared without the specific release of the initial poster. Such release restrictions limit availability of information based on constraints set by the initial poster, which in turn limits how much manipulation can occur post-posting. A full release is considered fully public and available. This release also ensures information can be traced to the initial poster to ensure content laws are enforced, fake news is prevented, and unauthorized information leaks are quickly contained. When each consumer has control over their own personal information, selling that personal information then becomes a choice for each individual.

When such changes are implemented, it is more likely that consumers will regain trust. Psychologically, Facebook needs to return to a time when the wishes of consumers were more important than profit. Zuckerberg needs to target connectivity and the exchange of ideas between people once again rather than targeting people for their private information in order to exploit potential commercial activity. Consumers should not be treated like credit but should control the means by which companies earn credibility. When the masses have such influence, they feel invested, protected, and they will trust the future of the company. This may be asking for a new psychology of Facebook. But clearly in light of recent information, a new psychology is desperately needed.

Rebecca L. Durbin holds Masters degrees in both Strategic Intelligence and Psychology and is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree in Strategic Intelligence at the American Military University. Commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer in 2006, she has three combat deployments. Since 2010, she has supported several agencies within the Department of Defense conducting Counter and Human Intelligence analysis.

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Intelligence

Why America’s Torture-Chief Now Runs the CIA

Eric Zuesse

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On May 17th, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10 to 5 to approve Gina Haspel as America’s new chief of the Cenral Intelligence Agency. Back in 2002, she had headed the CIA’s “black site” in Thailand where she ordered and oversaw the torturing of Abu Zubaydah, trying to force him to provide evidence that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, but Zubaydah had no such evidence and wasn’t even able credibly to concoct a story that President George W. Bush could use to ‘justify’ America’s invading Iraq in response to 9/11. Subsequently, Zubaydah has been held incommunicado in Guantanamo in order to prevent him from being able to be heard by the American public regarding what ‘our’ Government did to him (and possibly even in order to bring formal charges against the U.S. Government regarding its treatment of him), and (to the extent that he knows) why the U.S. Government did this. Even to the present day, the U.S. regime still has not brought any legal charges against Zubaydah, because it possesses no evidence that he was connected to the 9/11 attacks and hasn’t succeeded in fabricating such, but especially because it insists upon refusing to provide him a day in court in which the American public (and the world-at-large) might be able to hear the incriminating further evidence against itself, from him.

Haspel’s confirmation as Trump’s CIA Director is also confirmation that everything which candidate Trump had said on the campaign trail against America’s having invaded Iraq was lies from him, and that he is actually fully on board not only about that invasion, but about the continuing lies about it — and the cover-ups (which are, quite evidently, still ongoing).

If the U.S. regime is allowed to get away with this, then any pontifications from it about such things as “America is under attack” from Russia, and that there has been ”Russian election interference” involved in “this attack on the United States,” is preposterous, but is even worse than that: it is based on flagrant lies by, and on behalf of, a U.S. regime that tortures in order to obtain ‘evidence’ for its invasions, and that hides, for decades, the truth about this, from its own public.

A writer for the Brookings Institution and the Washington Post asserts that America’s Democratic Party’s “haste to brand President Trump a tool [of Russia]” is “unwittingly doing the Russians’ work for them: validating the notion that our democracy is a sham.” But perhaps the prominent publication, and think-tank promotion, of such writers as that, in the United States, is, itself, yet further evidence that “our democracy is a sham.” Only one scientific study has ever been published about whether America’s “democracy” is authentic or else a sham, and it found that this ‘democracy’ certainly is a sham, but the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution etc., don’t publish that information — they hide it, and you’ll see and hear about it only at ‘fake news’ sites such as this. (The real fake-news sites, in the English language, include all of the mainstream ‘news’media and almost all of the ‘alternative news’ ones — but not this site, which is one of the few that are in English and not fake ‘news’.)

The making-Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, was a bipartisan action by this regime, this fake ‘democracy’, by two fascist political Parties; and, yet, the American public see and hear, in this nation’s leading ’news’ media, such drivel — accusations that Russia is doing, what the U.S. has actually been doing, for decades.

However, this isn’t to say that Russia has actually been doing these things, but only that the U.S. has definitely been doing it — and is set to continue doing it in the future.

Measuring American ‘democracy’ by how uniformly the U.S. Government carries out its “Cold War” against Russia — a ‘Cold War’ that never really was about communism at all but only pretended to be — isn’t just fraudulent, but it is downright stupid, and it seems now to be the established norm, in the United States. A dictatorship can fool its public like that; and, if it doesn’t, it won’t continue to rule.

So, in America and its satellites, Gina Haspel is a ‘patriot’ who wins a top post of power, while Julian Assange is not only an ‘enemy of America’ but one whom the U.S. and its satellites have silenced and are slowly killing. On 14 December 2011, the Washiington Post bannered, “Poll: Americans say WikiLeaks harmed public interest; most want Assange arrested”, and reported that “68 percent say the WikiLeaks’ exposure of government documents about the State Department and U.S. diplomacy harms the public interest. Nearly as many — 59 percent — say the U.S. government should arrest Assange and charge him with a crime for releasing the diplomatic cables.” The American people have been fooled to favor the regime in this, just as they were fooled in 2003,during the lead-up to the regime’s invasion of Iraq.

The reason why America’s torture-chief now runs the CIA, is that this is the way a dictatorship has to act in order to stay in power. And they need a gullible public, in order to be able to continue scamming the public, from one invasion to the next. That’s the unvarnished, and empirically proven, nauseating, truth. Gina Haspel and her promoters hide it from the public, but they can’t reverse it; and they are, in fact, dependent upon its continuation.

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The secret dream of all propagandists

Dr. Andrea Galli

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Not even a month after Mark Zuckerberg’s grilling at the US House of Representatives, Facebook is announcing a partnership with NATO’s social media propaganda organization: The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab). The organization claims to be the guarantor in defending the public from fake news. In its arsenal of topics to be defended, there are, of course, the usual favorite arguments of NATO. Above all, there is a strong predilection to influence the public perception about governments opposing NATO’s great design and hegemonic ambitions: such as Russia, Iran, Syria, China, Palestine…

The press release of the organizations says: “Today DFRLab announced that we are partnering with Facebook to expand our #ElectionWatch program to identify, expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the world. The effort is part of a broader initiative to provide independent and credible research about the role of social media in elections, as well as democracy more generally”.

For the uninitiated, the DFRLab serves the American-led alliance’s chief advocacy group known as the Atlantic Council. Its methods are rather simple: it grants generous stipends and fantastic academic qualifications to various activists that align with NATO’s agenda. Just look at who funds the Atlantic Council: donors include military contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon, all of whom directly profit from tensions with Russia, China, Syria… Meanwhile, in addition to NATO itself, there are also payments made by the US State Department, along with payments from the US Defense Department. Other major paymasters include the government of the United Arab Emirates, which is, of course, an absolute monarchy and other absolute monarchies in the region.

Facebook has partnered an organization funded by weapons manufacturers, the US military, and Middle-Eastern monarchies to safeguard the democratic process?  If Facebook truly wanted to “protect democracy and elections worldwide,” it would build a broad coalition of experts from a wide and disparate range of the countries it serves. Instead, it has outsourced the task to NATO’s propaganda wing.

This is a perfect situation for NATO and those who depend on it for their source of revenues and status. Because the NATO is now positioned to be the master of the Facebook servility in the information war on the social network battlefield. By marry a clearly biased actor to police “misinformation and foreign interference” and to “help educate citizens as well as civil society,” Mark Zuckerberg’s team has essentially made their company a tool of the US’s military agenda.

This is the dream of every propagandist: to infiltrate in an communication infrastructure present on every smartphone and home computer and used with addiction by the great majority of the population; to channel disinformations to the addicted public and to control “the truth”. The goal is always the same: to obtain popular support for financing the military apparatus and in the end, obtain popular support for a war. We wonder what this dream of propagandists has to do with the defense of democracy. It would come as no surprise that Facebook will be soon proclaimed a defender of freedom and human rights.

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Pathology of a soft war with Iran in cyberspace

Sajad Abedi

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The soft -war against Iran is a fact that all the scholars acknowledge. In fact, the main and hidden purpose of the soft -war is to disrupt the information system of the countries and to influence the public opinion of the countries. Cybercrime is today in the cyberspace community. With this regard, what is the position of cyber space in this media and cyber campaign?

The soft -war is a kind of conflict between countries, which is dominated by content, programs and software, mainly from the media. In fact, any confrontation between countries or groups those are rival or hostile to each other, in which media, cyber and software tools are used is regarded as a “soft- war” in the world. In the soft- war space, the subject of rockets, guns, tanks, ships and aircraft is not the subject of satellite, Internet, newspapers, news agencies, books, movies, and cinema. Naturally, the soldiers involved in this soft -war are no longer generals, officers and military, but journalists, cinemas, artists and media actors.

Naturally, satellite TVs and radio programs within the framework of the soft -war debate are the continuation of the domination of the capitalist system and seek to secure their own interests and interests in other countries. The main purpose of these types of networks is to influence the public opinion of their target countries and to disrupt the internal information system of the countries concerned. They use several technological tools to reach their predetermined plans, goals, and scenarios. These goals can be faced with various shapes and shapes.

Soft -War has existed throughout history. Even when technological tools such as radio, television, and satellite were not available, there was a soft- war in the context of the war of thought and psychological warfare. But what’s happening now in the world is that hardware or hard-core wars have multiple implications for the invading countries. Therefore, they are trying to achieve their goals by adopting a soft war strategy alongside their hard wars either independently and only within the framework of soft- war. As time goes by, with the growth of technology and media techniques, the working methods of these networks become more complex. Naturally, the layers of the soft -war become more complex, more complete, and the recognition of these tricks becomes even harder.

In his book Soft Power, Joseph Nye introduces elements as soft power pillars, some of which are music and art. That’s also the basis of the soft warfare. In fact, music, art, university, sports, tourism, ancient artifacts, culture and lifestyle of a nation are soft power.

On this basis, there are weaknesses and weaknesses in the internal dimension. One of the most important problems and weaknesses is the inability to use all of its software capabilities in cyber warfare and public diplomacy. In the soft -war of the other faction, the group, the person, the group, the cult, and so on, does not matter. Soft- war does not know the border. Accordingly, all internal groups in this field must be activated in accordance with the guidelines of the Supreme Leader, we must have in the internal arena and in all cultural fields and “infrastructure elements” the soft- war of maximum absorption and minimal elimination, that is, from all the capacities of the system for Cultural confrontation with hostile countries.

The most basic element of soft power is the people. Social capital, public trust, public participation, public culture, public education, and finally all the things that exist in people, localism, nativeism, subcultures, and traditional cultures come from people. In fact, this is something that should be given the most concentration and attention. Using the capacity of the people to cope with these external pressures will have the greatest success.

But how should these capacities, potentials and capital of people is used? The first is used in the media. The national identity in the world is characterized by the national image, that is, the look, the imagination and the imagination that a nation makes for itself. What image do you have in your mind when you hear German or German people? When do you hear the image of the people of Afghanistan, China, Japan, or Arab countries? This is an image that is powerful in the world and talks. Inside Iran, there was a weakness in drawing this image. To create a good image of Iran, one should use the simplest tools, including practical suggestions that media like Voice and Television Organization are capable of demonstrating to the ordinary people of the community. When a tourist arrives for the first time in the country, he is surprised at the first step in entering the airport. Because he faces scenes he did not expect or in the sense of another image of Iran.

In fact, we are now in a soft- war space. Satellite, radio and television tools, along with cyber-tools, have created a full-blown war against the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the growth of technology and media techniques, the working methods of media networks become more complicated, and more complicated, more complete, and harder to know than the soft warfare. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a good news country, but the country is not news. That is, all countries of the world receive Iran-related news on most issues and topics from countries other than us about the country. Once it has come to an end, as we resolve many of the problems in the framework of Article 44, policymakers will take steps to improve media and cyber media activities.

The following strategies can be put forward to combat soft war against Iran in cyberspace and media:

First, the establishment of the National Center for the Coordination of Soft- War is indispensable. This center is responsible for coordinating the various internal institutions in the field of countering the enemy’s soft- war and controlling, monitoring and monitoring media imaging from Iran.

Second, the launch of new media networks under the overall supervision of the audio and video, and with the production and management of the private sector is essential. These networks can informally meet the needs of people’s entertainment and information and restore the people’s confidence in the domestic media.

Third, support for the production of healthy content in cyberspace, especially native social networks, should be supported in order to defend the national interests of the country within the framework of the software movement.

Fourth, attention to the basics of soft power in the country is necessary for maximum absorption and minimal elimination. No artist should be defeated on the pretext of political orientation, the destruction of art and music and national honors, and bringing national issues into line with internal political challenges, will undermine Iran’s soft power.

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