Sunday 20 March 2022

Social media abuse and the attention economy

Poelposition blog - " abuse in the attention economy": 

Work in progress - Update 0.32 30/7/22

When is a contract not a contract?

The Jesuits made a religious axiom from what parents had known throughout human civilisation, namely "give me the child until he/she is 8 years old, and I will show you the adult". 

Not many parents and families would want to disagree with that generalisation. But it is fundamental to the broken world where kids are targeted and pressurised by all manner of efforts to confuse and abuse them in the names of an enlightened woke society, driven by the agenda-driven attention economy, with social media at the core.

Social media has emerged from the early days of online, where are all manner of fringe interest groups were able to find each other, and gather in dark corners to create unregulated "news group" - which quickly became echo chambers - in which they shared all manner of aberrant behaviour that would be regarded as unacceptable in polite society that was bounded by a conservative morality, intended to protect the young untilt they had accumulated enough experience of the world to make their own informed judgements. This became "normality" as old restraints were progressively phased out until those things once regarded as perversions became accepted as just another component part of what we were assured was a "tolerant and inclusive society". And we were assured by the new libertarians that this was part of the process of enlightened tolerance that would be good for us, and create an equitable society for all. This process has been accelerated and consolidated through the control of social media by a fabulously wealthy liberal elite technocracy that has assumed control, and that sets the so-called community standards and with it, a general social agenda.

I'm going to try a small experiment here and include a link to a YouTube presentation by anOmaly that absolutely nails stories emerging from Florida and Walt Disney... It is typically long and rambling, but it is also really valuable. When you feel you must, by all means pop out and continue reading down this post as I will repeat the link towards the end where you can jump back in for the next instalment of this video. You should resume exactly where you jumped out.

Contracts with devils ... by not charging for user access, platform operators believed they were immune from all legal complications and contractual reponsibility to those users. There has been a long-standing debate on vague questions around publisher and common carrier status, leading to a generally poorly defined relationship between platform operator and platform user.

However, there is a move to address that, with various legal actions proposing that the fact your information is being monetised and sold to advertisers amounts to  de-facto consideration for a contract to exist. 

This is the "attention economy" after all, and your attention is plainly the currency that has made social media platform operators fabulously rich.

International competition law expert Dr Liza Lovdahl Gormsen has launched a major class-action claim against Meta for abusing its market dominance for a minimum of £2.2 billion damages on behalf of affected UK Facebook users.

Follow this on Twitter @LizaGormsen - Liza Lovdahl Gormsen, and also a broader discussion at

Free speech or "community standards"?

The story of the tyranny of social media begins with the abuse of free speech and expression where the scope and range of discussion - is limited by reference to ideas of "community standards" that are simply not defined or discussed, merely made up and adjusted as the thought police go along.

This is the famous 1st amendment in the US Constitution:-

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Facebook and Twitter have selectively used the excuse of their self-defined "Community standards" to arbitrarily censor any content that doesn't suit their platforms, without explanation or right of appeal. As part of this process, they have established the idea (also eagerly adopted by the BBC) that there are now just two states of political alignment - namely "woke liberal" aka "right think" and "extreme right wing" aka "wrong think". This means that anything that is not obviously "right think" must be "wrong think".

Viewpoints that do not perfectly align with "right think" but have a following in the "culture" may be referred to as "populist", and edged towards the abyss of oblivion. There are various stages of oblivion prior to an outright cancellation, or "deplatforming", that involve shadow bans - where an awkward user or viewpoint is not deleted but "placed lower down the newsfeed" until it disappears in the noise (of which there is a lot!)

Social media platform operators learnt a long time ago that it was better to simply turn down an "unsound" user's volume without telling them - rather than adopt more obvious sanctions, and deal with the inevitable indignation storm.

The US version of Russell Brand - both started out as entertainers, both are now surprisingly detailed and accurate analysts in a sea of misinformation and fakery - An0maly - has found and exhumed the Yuri Bezmenov KGB predictions that the west would destroy itself from within over a period of 30 years, and placed them in current context. There can be very little to disagree with in his analysis... 

Slowly but surely, Bezmenov told us 30 years ago that carefully nurtured "useful fools" would dissolve the moral fibre using the Education process. It may seem like a dystopian vision, but it really has been going on for 30 years.  An0maly can run on a bit, but he is painstakingly honest in ways that all too few news analysts are. Click the settings cog can speed him up to 1.5x

He doesn't have advertisers to appease, and does not shy from daring to call out the inconsistencies in Zelensky's behaviour, and doesn't shrink from suggesting Zelensky's thespian background and style has frequently taken liberties with the truth. An0maly points out the inconsistencies.  Which is very brave at a time when Zelensky has done the same sort of impassioned number on world leaders that Greta managed with her passionate climate spin.

Bezmenov's description of the process where Russia would infiltrate western media to encourage the spread of cultural Marxism by demoralising and destroying the traditional middle classes that form the backbone of any democratic society - 30 years ago - now seems so obvious. But, once again, no-one ever wants to admit they have been fooled. Especially after they have been warned they are going to be fooled - and dismissed the warnings.

And especially enjoyable is Bezmenov's description of how the supporters of "idealistic socialism" are described as useful fools, who will be lined up against the wall and shot when they purpose has been served. Why? Because their idealism will be a considerable problem once they understand how they have been used and deceived by their "handlers" and heros. Basic human nature ensures that idealistic socialism cannot make any sort of sustainable sense in a world of dwindling resources.

He understands that Donald Trump was misrepresented and misunderstood and illustrates the "forgotten" warnings when German representatives at the UN laughed at his warning that Germany was beholden to Russia for energy - because the liberal media narrative had invested years in school yard name-calling and character assassination.

But always remember this: people really hate to admit they have been fooled and "taken in" and will go to great lengths to construct complex excuses to try and justify and minimize the embarrassment of what happened. The BLM movement is an example of mass deception.

Something has to be done about the way antisocial media is abusing its audience to "control the narrative" and actively prevent debate and open discussion of topics - especially inconvenient truths - that someone, somewhere, has decided are just too inconvenient? Nebulous "community interests" are cited to cover a multitude of presumed Orwellian sins, and justify withdrawal of privileges by cancellation.

Who does Facebook think it is, Vladimir Putin and the FSB? (maybe we should also now add the BBC into this examination?)

One way to summarize the challenge is to remember the extreme example that "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". Lower down the scale of confrontation comes the probing issue of "are you a cat or a dog person?". 

But the middle ground is filling with growing areas of contention, including matters such as vaccines and climate change. Ancillary topics such as veganism are becoming conflated with climate change - weaponised even - when so much surrounding climate change remains a hypothesis yet cannot be questioned in open debate - or the social media thought police and their dubious fact checkers will be displeased.  Closed minds MUST be challenged by open debate. The challenges of the pandemic should have highlighted many of the awkward and dubious consequences of politicians and cancel-culture media that seemed too eager to blindly "trust the science" where it suited the bigger agenda, until it became "the narrative"...

As for religion and race? Well.... how long have we got?

The illiberal cancel culture of Hollywood is outed here by Tucker Carlson, speaking to Kirstie Alley about politics in entertainment on Fox Nation.

Famously, social media users demanded apologies from Rachel Maddow and MSNBC over the liberal host's insistence in March 2021 that the COVID-19 vaccine stops the virus dead in its tracks and prevents further transmission.  Which of course it did and does not, but all trace of that once widely available video has now been disappeared from search engines and platform, since Rachel Maddow and MSNBC are on the inside of the tent of the woke liberal media elite, where history can be retrospectively adjusted to avoid embarrassment caused by awkward encounters with the truth.  

That level of fake news would get mortal users cancelled and banned by the thought patrols of the social media giants - but fiesty Maddow has been protected by the liberal virtue-signalling vaccine, with a booster shot of agressive sexual identity politics.

And then there is the climate debate... this is another subject that the prescriptive media has taken out of the realm of discussion to make a cancellation offence. But it's not actually a discussion or debate, it's a belief-based assertion based on the same amount of evidence that most religions can muster to support the existence of their chosen brand of sky fairy. Lashings of scientific evidence with about the same provenance (and distance from self-interest) as enjoyed by the various diktats that have been progressively discredited as the truth has emerged. 

So a fundamental topic that exists in the ecology debate that hardly anyone is discussing, despite the statistics being absolutely clear cut, is that of world population. Although a major issue for the 1960s and 70s, it has all but ceased to be a topic for discussion in 2022. There are presently more than 200,000 new arrivals - net of "departures" - each day, to provide with energy, food, and other finite resources.

Maybe this is because population is not an issue that appears to bother too many advertisers (yet)? In fact, globalists appear to welcome the idea of more consumers coming online to further leverage their economies of scale. Some go to great lengths to argue that population growth slows in the wake of improved education.

 Note the increase slows after 2024 - and might thus fairly be described as "speculative", or "projected" or "extrapolated"... now please compare with this graph ...

You guessed - that's global warming. Yes the Y axis starts from diferent dates - but the average temperatire from 1700-1850 was consistent. One takeaway appears to be that of we want to live the well-resourced good life, then fewer people fighting over the poluting resources might make sense?

Do we actually want to lead a sustainable existence  by following WEF directions to eat worm pie and cycle everywhere, whilst owning nothing and being happy?

Ecology has now been mobilised as a consumer marketing weapon. Kids are told to go home and lecture their parents with the usual Net Zero zealot propaganda: "carbon", sustainability, renewable, recylcable.

This is the age of the "attention economy", and many of the cancellation evils stem from the desire to avoid upsetting advertisers, since the online world is full of protesters and protest groups grinding axes that were first honed back in the 1960s and 70s by the animal rights protest movement**. 

When an advert appears anywhere near a post that expresses an opinion contrary to the wishes of an individual or group eager to hound the advertiser that they accuse of helping to finance the platform willing to publish the "objectionable" opinion, that advertiser's marketing department will be attacked by Twitter swarms and other disruptive interventions.

The line of least resistance is for the operator of the social media platform to cancel the contentious content, without debate or discussion. Despite this policy, many outrageous posts continue to appear throughout social media, but they tend to be of an isolated nature without sustained commercial consequences.

The effort to cancel is more generally directed against "groupthink" populist themes, tropes and memes that certain pressure groups find particularly threatening to their narratives as they gather momentum within the general population. The classic example of recent times being Donald Trump, who managed to divide public opinion pretty much straight down the middle in the United States, at the same time as very effectively becoming the collator and leader of the moderate right or "silent majority" that had lost its way and become rudderless since the end of the Reagan era. 

The Clinton presidency was characterized by an absence of moral leadership and a loose vote-chasing fiscal strategy, leading to the crash of 2008. Largely mirrored in the UK by Tony Blair's 1997 junta that effectively broke up the UK through badly thought out devolution that ended up in the worst of all worlds. With a rabble-lead client-state Scotland feeling hard done by, and blaming the English for all their failed-state self-inflicted ills.

The determination to undermine and cancel Donald Trump has been extraordinary - so while Trump remains banned from Twitter, Vladimir Putin and many other blooded tyrants are still tweeting! 

And now the "anyone but Trump" world has seen its choice of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi demonstrating an embarrassing inadequacy, and unfit to be left in charge of what was once the world's leading democracy. But no one is speaking out! Imagine the hysteria if Trump had wandered around in a state of generally advancing dementia advocating regime change... so now the "anyone but Trumpists" are busily excusing and justifying his aberrative behaviour.

Putin is unlikely to overreact, he values keeping Biden as US president - an ideal "useful fool".  You don't think money was paid to bring the state of affairs about,  so that Vlad the Invader could roll into Ukraine, comfortable in the knowledge that the US was being run by a clown show, do you?

** Animal rights extremist discovered that intimidation, arson and threats of violence directed against the executives of companies believed to be involved in exploiting dumb animals in experiments for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics especially, worked well. Really well!

The cause was "sympathetically socialised" with images of beagles smoking and cute fluffy bunnies ... popular indignation ensued, and any companies involved in any aspect of animal research and testing made frantic efforts to distance themselves and move all such research far offshore.

A recent An0maly analysis featuring Florida governor Ron DeSantis pushing back against Disney and it's plunge into corporate Marxism can be reviewed here...

This may be a watershed moment in the emergence of resistance against the tide of woke misdirection that is rooted in a desire to deny all history and disown any ideas considered to be outside the tactics of division, such as critical race theory. Up to this point, globalised operations that have adopted the woke ethos at their core, have got away with promoting policies of indoctrination directly handed down by the liberal hivemind.

However, the Disney Corporation has massive influence across the lives of many - especially kids at formative ages - through its ubiquitous film and streaming businesses. 

We need more than the Florida state legislature to be watching over this massively well-funded brainwashing operation. 

//Continuously being developed

Saturday 19 March 2022

The case for a return of scheduled SW broadcast radio

Ignorance is bliss ...for Vlad the Invader....  

This post "branch" will continue to focus on the strategic broadcast radio issues - ww3 speculation is Now updated at 
World War is under way...

19MAY24 update


The people of Russia are still struggling to access news and information that has not been censored by the Putin regime. The people of Russia had been given an account of the Ukrainian invasion that bore little relation to reality - so there is probably little pressure from the people of Russia on Putin to stop.

But the sabre-rattling is getting sinister when senior Kremlin folks are suggesting that the Storm Shadow cruise missiles developer - BAE systems - are considered legitimate targets. Not least because UK "advisers" are suspected to be involved in training and (successful) operation. The grumbling broke last November and is picking up momentum.

We have cleverly left Russia with very little to lose if they do take a pop, as Ukraine is proving the truth of the old maxim that a good biggun with always beat a good littleun in the long run. At the start of the Ukrainian adventure, Russia was exposed as seriously inept - but we have now graciously given it enough time to get its act together with the money from the sale of oil and gas and Ukraine is in deep trouble...  
while ignoring the Yuri Bezmenov warnings for 40 years of becoming immerseed in the nonsense of gender and pronouns for our armed forces (farces?) 

Russias great triumph has been to redue national moral to te point that 

Various observers believe that World War 3 has already kicked off involving the Russian/Iranian/Palestinian axis with ambivalence from China and India. Many missiles and drones have been launched; helicopters have come down in moutains, and undersea communication cables and pipelines have been 
failing. It's time to get serious!

All of which means the strategic case for scheduled short wave (SW) broadcast radio is as strong now as it's ever been since WW2 : especially in the online age where the path from source to listener is complex, convoluted and vulnerable witgh many points of interception and failure.  

Shortwave can reach over 4 billion listeners behind tyrant internet firewalls for a transmission cost of around £500 per hour. A £5k "field" transmitter and antenna can be set up and made operational in an hour by a trained crew.  Compare that to 20 years and ~£100bn to install and commission internet/cellphone digital broadcast infrastructure that could reach 4 billion

WW2 had made “the Wireless” the go-to national information medium for the whole world – and those sets used thermionic valves tied to mains power. The much more convenient battery powered portable transistor radio appeared in the 50s, and by the 60s every home (and teenager) had at least one. 

The swinging sixties was the seminal period for British Pop – and Radio Luxembourg (founded in 30s) was already available across the UK and Europe - despite the UK’s government’s autocratic control of the airwaves that prevented commercial broadcasting, 208 Radio Luxembourg was “adopted British media”, much to the chagrin of the BBC and UK regulatory authorities.  As the name suggests it was broadcast (legally) from tiny Luxembourg using the world’s most powerful medium wave transmitter 208m - in the medium wave, easily heard across Europe after dark. It cornered the teenage and youth market and so the advertisers lined up, it was clearly hugely popular.

Then came the offshore pirates operating in international waters off the UK’s east coast, and Radio Caroline 208, Radio North Sea International (and others) were launched from 1965 and quickly became an entertainment sensation in the medium wave. The UK response was typically anodyne with the 1967 introduction the heavily regulated BBC Radio One to sit alongside the Light Programme which became Radio two – and the Home Service became Radio 4. Various other services have come and gone over the years, and now all these and more exist in a variety of online incarnations. And then there was the podcast. 

BBC Radio has been rebranded as BBC Sounds. However, the audience has been divided rather than grown – the ability of the Home Service and light programme to reach just about everyone in the UK each week Is something a modern media mogul would die for.
Meanwhile, Television showed up! 

The arrival of commercial TV in 1955 took a fast-growing slice of media spending and the two TV channels (ITV/BBC) hoovered up the “family” audience and its attention and slowly expanded into BBC2, Channel4 and the final analogue service, Channel5. And then it all went into orbit….

… British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) was an insane aberration of a confection of poor ideas and worse management, based on an obscure technology and massive government meddling. It took all of the 80s to actually reach the market in March 1990 – a year after Sky - with its obtuse and incompatible technology in a world that had already set and established the standards for direct to home satellite broadcasting. Typical IBA and BBC hubris. There was no practical alternative but to merge 50:50 with Sky in 1990 and accept that Sky’s more cost-effective (and established) technology had won.

Meanwhile, back on earth … TV had progressed to 5 terrestrial channels and the start of the idea of digital terrestrial TV – with another muddle of regulation, incompatible non-standard technology and an obsession with encryption. Predictable commercial folly ensued. The public was more confused than ever, and the same audience with a “legacy” UHF band4 TV antenna that once had the choices of BBC1/2 and ITV, could now spread itself thinly over about 50 digital channels.

Digital terrestrial television launched as ONdigital in the UK on 15 November 1998. However, ONdigital had problems from the start, and renaming the service ITV Digital on 11 July 2001 failed to help the matter.

All subscription services except E4 and FilmFour went off-air on 1 May 2002 after the consortium collapsed, explained as being due to paying too much for the television rights for The Football League. However, the choice of 64QAM broadcast mode, the fact that at least 40% of homes would need new aerials to receive it, a high churn rate, an insecure hackable encryption system, the cost of having to provide free set-top boxes, and aggressive competition from BSkyB all contributed to ITV Digital's spiralling costs, before shareholders Granada and Carlton called a halt to the venture.

All this sets a scene that suggests the UK broadcast industry in the 90s might have been better managed if operated by a troupe of chimpanzees. 

VAST amounts of money had been wasted on new technology follies - and for some reason the BBC and UK government decided to cut the relatively minor cost of one broadcast service that had been quietly and effectively going about its job of delivering authoritative news, “soft diplomacy” and British culture to the world: the BBC World Service on radio - since December 1932!

And then in the midst of this confusion, the number of digital TV and radio channels proliferated, and spread the same audience ever more thinly across all these new channels. In the golden age of 5 channel TV, ITV and BBC still commanded 20m audiences for prime time. And then the 500 channel digital diaspora was further confused by TIVO/personal video recorder devices - and now ultimately 5 million channels of internet and streaming. 

I don’t think it can get any worse!  Sooner or later, new formats of advanced programme guides will come along to help round up and redirect dispersed audiences to available services. Smart EPGs are a very big subject for another blog post. They can even be operated if the internet is taken down by WW3.  

One thing has emerged as a really good idea: to rethink and relaunch the one broadcasting format that allows the truth to reach everybody on the planet in the most direct fashion, simultaneously: short wave radio! Remember that any smartphone is going to betray the user's identity and location - even to the extent of providing targeting information... 💥

The really fascinating allure of SW was and remains that broadcasts from the right type of antenna installations at just 1 to 5 locations around the planet can reach battery portable receivers in the hands of all 8 billion inhabitants of that planet. The ultimate mass medium.

There is no need for a subscription. A SW radio receiver is a one time purchase. Emergency and temporary transmitters can be put up in a day. 

Internet infrastructure has taken 25 years to evolve to the current level, and it most certainly cannot be replaced in the day following a major natural or unnatural catastrophe.

An Achilles heel of short wave broadcasting is that it may be jammed by those who would prefer the information did not receive the audience. This is, however, an imprecise process, and new and sophisticated ways to dodge jamming are possible. However, the very presence of a jamming signal will indicate to the audience that there is information that somebody wants to conceal from them... and it is human nature to be curious...
However, it is in the fascinating nature of short wave that the signals are bounced off the Ionosphere - which varies in height and density according to time of day and location. It is possible that a transmitter 10 miles away will be inaudible - but is perfectly audible 1000 miles away. The "skywave" signal sails over the local receiver on its way up to be reflected from the ionosphere. Back in the day, the transmitter engineers and frequency planners of the World Service could aim to "drop a signal" into a specific location. This can make jamming short wave broadcasts into an impossibly complex process.

Continued at

The real challenge is to make sure the audience has the means to receive the short wave transmissions. Some snazzy tech coupled to compelling content is a place to start thinking.

Once upon a time, almost everyone had access to a "regular" radio with coverage of the short wave bands. Listening to the radio services from around the globe was a big part of my youth in the 60s/70s – I used to listen to the English language services of the Voice of America, Radio Canada International, Radio Netherlands – plus Radio Moscow and Radio Peking and many others. Almost all countries at that time invested an hour a day to broadcast their “state news” in English. Every house had at least one “AM” radio somewhere that was capable of receiving these programmes with a modest antenna.

Next time you watch missiles on TV news, you might like to contemplate how you can remain informed once the internet has been disabled by missiles or "unfriendly" hackers. Which will almost certainly also take out digital TV services.

(C) WSP 2022/2024