Update 2: Minutes after Stamos' tweet statubg he was still "fully engaged" at Facebook, Reuters 'sources' reported that he will leave the firm effective in August, and has already has responsibilities for countering government-sponsored disinformation taken away from him.
In short: a mess.
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Update 1: It appears The New York Times may have taken some liberty with the facts, as Stamos just tweeted to confirm he had not actually departed Facebook but is working on election security...
Despite the rumors, I'm still fully engaged with my work at Facebook. It's true that my role did change. I'm currently spending more time exploring emerging security risks and working on election security.— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) March 19, 2018
So to sum up - a fake-news-battling Facebooker denies fake-news spread about fake-news-spreading Facebook by the NYT.
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Less than six months after exclaiming his concerns about algorithmic censorship on social media, and fears about becoming a 'ministry of truth', Alex Stamos - Facebook's chief information security officer - is leaving the tech giant following "internal disagreements" over how the company should handle disinformation spread over its platform, according to the New York Times.
His departure was reportedly planned long before the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted over the weekend.
Stamos famously unleashed a scathing tweet storm late last year warning the FBI and intrusive Democratic lawmakers (who are again banging the regulation drum) that "censorship is easy", but separating Russian bots from legitimate posters would be much, much harder, and essentially would require Facebook or the government to become a "Ministry of Truth" - referring to a government ministry from George Orwell's 1984 responsible for rewriting history.
"It’s very difficult to spot fake news and propaganda using just computer programs," Stamos said in a series of Twitter posts on Saturday.
“Nobody of substance at the big companies thinks of algorithms as neutral,” Stamos wrote, adding that the media is simplifying the matter.
“Nobody is not aware of the risks.”
"So if you don't worry about becoming the Ministry of Truth with ML systems trained on your personal biases, then it's easy!"
Stamos, according to the NYT, had reportedly clashed with other senior executives over how the company should handle disclosures of "Russian interference" on its platform. Stamos called for more transparency and disclosure.
His repeated conflicts led to his day-to-day responsibilities being reassigned late last year in preparation for his departure - which wasn't expected to happen until August.
After his day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others in December, Mr. Stamos said he would leave the company. He was persuaded to stay through August to oversee the transition of his duties because executives thought his departure would look bad, the current and former employees said. He has been overseeing the transfer of his security team to Facebook’s product and infrastructure divisions. His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees said.
Stamos is the first senior employee to leave the company since the controversy surrounding the purported $100,000 in fraudulent ad spending by a "Russian troll farm" was first publicly confirmed in September.
Last month Facebook VP of advertising Rob Goldman weighed in on the Russian meddling narrative in a string of tweets responding to special counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russian nationals running a "bot farm" which, according to Mueller (via Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein), was unsuccessful at influencing the 2016 election.
Notably, Goldman points out that the majority of advertising purchased by Russians on Facebook occurred after the election - and was in fact designed to sow discord and divide Americans.
The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election. https://t.co/2dL8Kh0hof— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
The main goal of the Russian propaganda and misinformation effort is to divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us. It has stoked fear and hatred amongst Americans. It is working incredibly well. We are quite divided as a nation.— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
The Russian campaign is ongoing. Just last week saw news that Russian spies attempted to sell a fake video of Trump with a hooker to the NSA. US officials cut off the deal because they were wary of being entangled in a Russian plot to create discord. https://t.co/jO9GwWy2qH— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
President Trump fired off Goldman's comment in a Saturday morning tweet:
The Fake News Media never fails. Hard to ignore this fact from the Vice President of Facebook Ads, Rob Goldman! https://t.co/XGC7ynZwYJ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018
If we are to accept Mueller's findings that Russian disinformation campaign was focused on elevating an outside candidate to win the White House, no matter who it was (Mueller notes they supported both Sanders and Trump, while using "any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest"), then the logical conclusion is that while there was no collusion with the Trump campaign, the ultimate goal would be to weaken America by creating a divide in the long-standing establishment power structure.
To that end, this 1985 interview with ex-KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov, who defected to the West in 1970, is a must-watch. in it, Bezmenov very clearly outlines that the KGB's primary goal is not covert intelligence; it's a long-term campaign of ideological subversion, or "active measures."
The entire interview is over two hours long, and both condensed and extended versions can be found below. In summary,the KGB, for decades, hass had a goal of altering the average American's perception of reality in order to confuse and divide the US population, while reducing our men of fighting age to feminized soy boys.
There are four basic stages:
1) Demoralization: This will take 15-20 years (which would bring us to around 2000-2005), which is enough time to educate a generation of students and indoctrinate them into a Marxist-Leninist ideology as "useful idiots." The result of this stage of subversion is that the "useful idiots" will be "contaminated" through ideological and irreversible brainwashing. According to Bezmenov, the demoralized person is unable to assess fact-based information. You can shower him with documents, facts and other solid evidence, and he will refuse to believe it until kicked in his "fat bottom" by troops."
Bezmenov said (in 1985), that the demoralization campaign had been active for 25 years.
2) Destablization: Once the population has been programmed and "contaminated," the subverter does not care about your ideas, the patterns of your consumption, whether you eat junk food and get fat and flabby. It doesn’t matter anymore. This time, and it only takes from two to five years to destabilize a nation, what matters is essentials, economy, foreign relations, defense systems.
3) Crisis: Once destabilization has occurred, "It may take only six weeks to bring a country to the verge of crisis. You see it in Central America now."
4) Normalization: "And after crisis, with a violent change in power, structure, and economy, you have the period of so-called normalization will last indefinitely. Normalization is a cynical expression borrowed from Soviet propaganda"
If Bezmenov was correct about the KGB's "recipe" for subverting the United States, one need look no further than a generation of pussy-hat wearing, hypersensitive, multi-gendered, ultra politically-correct Social Justice Warrior mentality that's infiltrated the West - most recently characterized by Justin Trudeau's recent "peoplekind" admonishment of a young and inquisitive student.
Justin Trudeau tells a woman she should say peoplekind, not mankind. But was he mansplaining? pic.twitter.com/nyMG9RHo5x— RTÉ News (@rtenews) February 7, 2018
The tools of subversion are identity politics and the destruction of culture, often conducted under the guise of "equality" and humanitarianism. Has the forced integration of scores of migrants across Europe strengthened or weakened nations with open-border policies? Are Poland and Hungary stronger or weaker for resisting said invasion?
Indeed, it can be said that Europe has been demoralized through social-justice identity politics, which has paved the way for the active and ongoing destabilization of Europe's long-knit social and economic fabric.
Next will be Crisis brought on by the powder-keg created by "cultural enrichment" and no-go zones, after which Europe will surely be forced to normalize under a brave new regime in which the ongoing threat of civil war will keep Europe weak for decades.
One has to consider who destabilized North Africa despite Ghadaffi offering to hold migrants at bay for a mere £4bn-per-year. Who then welcomed migrants which were the byproduct of said destabilization? And what will be the end result when we roll the clock forward five, ten, fifteen years?
One could make the argument that we are now shifting from demoralization and destabilization, to crisis.
Watch Bezmenov's interview below:
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Facebook shares, which entered correction territory during Monday's session, were down 1% after hours, back at the lows of the day...