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Old 2014-09-05, 09:32   #1
garo
 
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Default How trolls destroy the Internet: Anti-Semite edition

Very interesting article on the Common Dreams site.
http://www.commondreams.org/hambaconeggs

H/T http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2014/09...nternet-trolls

Quote:
Yesterday, the alternative news site Common Dreams caught a troll using scores of different user names to spew anti-Semitic bile. (Common Dreams discovered that the same troll was behind the multiple user names by tracking their IP addresses. And the troll confessed to Common Dreams.)

The troll is a “a Jewish Harvard graduate in his thirties who was irritated by the website’s discussion of issues involving Israel”.

He posted anti-Semitic diatribes – such as Hitler should have finished the job and killed all Jews – using one alias. Then – a couple of minutes later – he’d post an attack on the first poster using a different alias, claiming that criticism of Israel is the same thing as anti-Semitism. (Note: Holocaust survivors and Israeli ministers say it’s not.)

Last fiddled with by garo on 2014-09-06 at 16:36
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Old 2014-09-05, 11:37   #2
Brian-E
 
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The power that just a handful of individuals, or even just one, can have over any discussion group can indeed not be understated. And the incidence of trolling with multiple identities ("sock puppets") is widespread but, I believe, underestimated by most people on social media.

An immensely valuable Dutch discussion forum about LGBT issues, both for campaigning and support for individuals, which I moderated unsuccessfully in 2008-9, was brought down by one individual doing exactly what your linked article describes. He had multiple aliases - at least 50 I think - and every well meaning attempt to discuss something serious degenerated into a slanging match between his sock puppets and the genuine users.

So I suppose it's inevitable that this powerful tool (trolling) will be exploited for political ends, including by national governments.
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Old 2014-09-05, 15:01   #3
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Common Dreams is a .org URL.
http://www.commondreams.org/hambaconeggs

I have run into the "criticizing Israel is anti-Semitic" meme for as long as I've been involved in online political discussions. Of course, it is much older than the web.
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Old 2014-09-05, 21:33   #4
ewmayer
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@Brian: I think you mean overstated.

Related: Hasbara capture of U.S. higher education (because the media, congress and big finance are not enough):

U. of Illinois officials defend decision to deny job to scholar; documents show lobbying against him @insidehighered
Quote:
[UIUC chancellor Phyllis M. Wise] "A pre-eminent university must always be a home for difficult discussions and for the teaching of diverse ideas. One of our core missions is to welcome and encourage differing perspectives."
'...as long as they don't conflict with one of our preapproved narratives, that is."

Somehow I get the feeling that if Salaita had made similarly scathing tweets about the Palestinian authority there would have been no similar kerfuffle. "Give that man an academic chair!"
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Old 2014-09-05, 22:23   #5
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Quote:
Somehow I get the feeling* that if Salaita had made similarly scathing tweets about the Palestinian authority there would have been no similar kerfuffle......
*That's a feeling against which I wouldn't wager a cent.
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Old 2014-09-06, 11:02   #6
Brian-E
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
@Brian: I think you mean overstated.
You're right. Got in a muddle with my negatives. There may be a problem with my brain's twos-complement routines, because it's just taken me about two minutes to work out that Kieren...
Quote:
Originally Posted by kladner View Post
*That's a feeling against which I wouldn't wager a cent.
...is agreeing with you.

That article is very disturbing. If university appointments are being affected by lobbyists who want to censor opinions they don't like, the academic world has a big problem.
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Old 2014-09-06, 17:16   #7
Batalov
 
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In some countries, there is now a job of paid trolling, too.
The ones where tight control over mass media is important to the powers and blogs and comments are recognized as a form of media and actively shaped.
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Old 2014-09-06, 17:16   #8
garo
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian-E View Post
That article is very disturbing. If university appointments are being affected by lobbyists who want to censor opinions they don't like, the academic world has a big problem.
Indeed that is a very disturbing article.
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Old 2014-09-07, 13:27   #9
tha
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garo View Post
Indeed that is a very disturbing article.
What I found the most disturbing is that a University needs to have being pointed out by a number of letters that the statements of this activist are unworthy of an academic position. Surely someone who is supposed to teach in a field that requires viewpoints from very different cultures transcending many ages one would not expect such bizar statements.
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Old 2014-09-07, 15:44   #10
garo
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tha View Post
What I found the most disturbing is that a University needs to have being pointed out by a number of letters that the statements of this activist are unworthy of an academic position. Surely someone who is supposed to teach in a field that requires viewpoints from very different cultures transcending many ages one would not expect such bizar statements.
Academic freedom and a diversity of viewpoints are what make universities interesting places. In general, the first amendment applies in the US and if statements made on twitter or other social media were to disqualify people from jobs, it would make for a poorer society.
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Old 2014-09-07, 16:18   #11
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"In America, you speed-fire a tweet.
In Soviet Russia, a tweet speed-fires YOU!"

(sadly, not a joke anymore)

Last fiddled with by Batalov on 2014-09-07 at 16:22 Reason: (speed-fire is probably better)
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