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Ed Webb

Doha sues 'QatarExposed' for spreading false info | Qatar News | Al Jazeera - 0 views

  • Qatar's government communication office has filed a lawsuit in the United States against people who launched a social media campaign to spread false lies about the Gulf state to harm its interests.

    In its complaint before a court in the state of New York, the office said its defendants used social media accounts since October 2017 to spread fake information about Qatar and that it harbours "terrorism".

  • the adverts accusing Qatar of funding "terrorism" and mistreating foreign workers were paid for by "secretive campaign groups" - Qatar Exposed and Kick Qatar Out, neither of which own websites on the Internet.

    The two Twitter accounts were created within minutes of each other last October.

    According to analysts, the two campaigns are funded by groups linked to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – which, along with Bahrain and Egypt, have severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar.

Ed Webb

Nabi Saleh is where I lost my Zionism | +972 Magazine - 0 views

  • the Achilles heel of the Israeli media — i.e., its willingness to report communiqués issued by the army as straight news, without any fact checking. Even though the Israeli security establishment has been caught lying on countless occasions, journalists who report for mainstream media outlets continue to accept without question the information they are given about events they neither witnessed nor verified independently
  • I’ve seen soldiers grab crying children and shoving them into military vehicles, pushing aside their screaming mothers.

    I’ve seen soldiers grab a young woman by her arms and drag her like a sack of potatoes for several meters along an asphalt road so hot that it melted the rubber soles of my running shoes, before tossing her into a military vehicle and driving away.

    I’ve had my ankles singed black when a security officer looked me straight in the eyes and threw a stun grenade at my legs.

    Israeli army sharp-shooters regularly shoot unarmed demonstrators in Nabi Saleh with both rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. They break into houses and drag people out, arresting them on the claim that they allowed demonstrators to hide in their garden.

    And then I would go back to Tel Aviv and be told by my friends that I could not have seen what I saw, because “our soldiers” do not behave that way. Soon, I had to distance myself from those friends in order to keep my own emotions in check.

  • By the time I began going to Nabi Saleh, I had spent about four years reporting on what I saw in Gaza and the West Bank, and watching detachedly as my politics moved ever leftward from the liberal place in which they started, as a consequence of what I saw on the ground. But it was in Nabi Saleh that I lost the last remnants of what I would call — for lack of a word to describe my nostalgia for the idea of a state for the Jews — my Zionism.

    My radicalization was not only a consequence of witnessing brutal violence perpetrated right in front of my eyes, by soldiers of the army that was supposed to protect me. It was also a result of my seeing the Tamimi family endure that violence week after week, seeing their relatives injured, arrested and killed, and still not coming to the conclusion that the price of resistance is too high. They simply refuse to submit.

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  • The Tamimis clearly understand the power of social media. But they don’t manufacture those confrontations. In fact, I have never seen a video that comes remotely close to conveying the true brutality I saw in Nabi Saleh. Maybe you need to smell the tear gas and feel the smallness of the place to see how outrageous it is for soldiers to act as they do there: to, with a sense of entitlement, enter a village and break up a gathering of unarmed demonstrators; to kick open the doors of homes and drag off to jail unarmed people who pose no threat; to break into a house at 4 a.m., to roust a teenage girl from her bed and drag her off to jail, denying her even the right to be accompanied by a guardian.
  • Is Israel, with all the money and manpower it pours into sophisticated advocacy campaigns via social media, really in a position to criticize the Tamimis for understanding how to publicize their own cause? As Jonathan Pollak says to Yaron London, the reason those Nabi Saleh videos make Israel look bad is because Israel is doing bad things.
Ed Webb

US buys ads on Facebook to fight militants - 2 views

  • the US has found this year that online ads on social media websites like Facebook, rather than posts, are a cost-effective way to fight the propaganda of the Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups
  • Facebook's detailed metrics for advertisers helps the government campaign reach its targets - people who might be groomed online by militants.

    "Using Facebook ads, I can go within Facebook, I can grab an audience. I can pick country X, I need age group 13 to 34, I need people who liked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or any other set, and I can shoot and hit them directly with messages," he said.

    "In some places in the world, it's literally pennies a click to do it," he said.  

  • Facebook, he noted, offers the government access to affordable amassed and collated user data for singling out target groups and individuals for anti-militant ads the US government runs.

    "The best I can do right now is to have access to big data and to use the analytics tools on the social media platforms, the Facebooks and the others,"

Ed Webb

They Made Him a Moron | The Baffler - 0 views

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    Great fun. Morozov takes down Alec Ross's book on technology, globalization etc.
Ed Webb

Palestinians, Israelis face off on Facebook - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • “Ever since the intifada broke out in Jerusalem, there has been an online virtual war between Palestinians and Israelis. Social networks are flooded with firsthand field news, while campaigns are launched on Twitter on a daily basis to put pressure on Israel and its supporters around the world.”
  • Raji al-Hams, a prominent presenter at Al-Aqsa TV, said his original Facebook page was closed down after it garnered 90,000 followers. He told Al-Monitor he received “a message Jan. 15 from the Facebook administration saying I had violated the website’s rules by posting [slogans] about the intifada along with pictures of armed Palestinians."
  • Israel has been urging dozens of Israeli Facebook users to submit reports to the Facebook administration claiming that Palestinian pages are inciting murder. These users mention the name of these pages in the reports and the Facebook administration shuts them down, as they contain posts inciting murder and violence, which violate Facebook’s conditions.
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  • On Nov. 24, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Google, YouTube and some other social networks agreed to fight incitement posted on their pages.
  • Israel uses a number of measures to counter the postings, most notably by creating around 5,000 fake Facebook accounts, Quds Press reported Oct. 29. Those who operate these accounts are fluent in English and Arabic, and their mission is to hack into and shut down Palestinian pages by submitting reports to the Facebook administration. Israel also has arrested of a number of Palestinians during the past three months on charges of inciting to kill Israelis in their Facebook posts.
  • the Authority for Palestinian Prisoners' Affairs reported the Israeli army has detained 27 Palestinians on charges of incitement since October, due to their activities on social networks
  • there are Israeli pages in Hebrew that call Palestinians terrorists, among other bad names, but they are not being closed down
Ed Webb

This Intifada Will Be Digital - The Black Iris - 3 views

  • In these 15 years, we went from an era where mainstream media dominated the narrative, to an era where social media dominates it. This isn’t a time when the mainstream sees the online as a playful mechanism of democratized media (or an opportunity to present their brands as participatory), but a time when the mainstream is chasing down leads from what circulates online. And the region’s people now have the power to shape the narrative (whether we’ve fully realized it or not).
  • Internet user growth in the region has gone up by 6,091.9% between 2000 and 2015
  • Arabic is now the fourth biggest language on the Web after English, Chinese and Spanish
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  • as a Jordanian, I was part of what I personally believe to be the final generation that actually gave a damn what the government did or did not do. Our relationship with the state was like our relationship with a television – a one-way communication channel, where we are on the receiving end no matter how much we yell at the screen. And that was that
  • Like everyone else, I have no idea how this conflict will end. But I know that the Web will undeniably play a leading role – and that’s not something anyone could’ve imagined back in 1948. As yet another cycle of violence is upon us, that role is worth studying, and it’s that role that I find myself paying attention to the most.
Ed Webb

Isis's online propaganda outpacing US counter-efforts, ex-officials warn | World news |... - 2 views

  • “When these people go online, they needed to be treated like trolls,” Amanullah said, “and we keep feeding the trolls.”
  • it is “impossible for State to know if it’s succeeded or failed at its task”
  • he initiative was inadvertently creating a dialogue of equals between the US and Isis, distracting from Muslim criticisms of Isis that carry more credibility within the Muslim world
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  • The “tragedy of the US government’s attempts to engage online”, Amanullah said, is that “there’s nothing these people like more than to see the US government specifically acknowledging and interacting with them online. They turn right around to their followers and say, ‘See? We’re every bit as powerful as we say we are, the US government is proof.’”
Ed Webb

Iran's Rosh Hashana Twitter diplomacy stirs amazement, disbelief | The Back Channel - 0 views

  • Iran’s new Foreign Minister Javad Zarif joined President Hassan Rouhani in tweeting “Happy Rosh Hashanah” greetings Thursday, on the occasion of the Jewish new year’s holiday, setting off a new wave of amazement, and some disbelief, in both the social media and policy universes.
  • The rare and unusually direct Twitter diplomacy between Iranian leaders and western policy observers “will go down in history,” one Hill staffer, speaking not for attribution, said Thursday, expressing the wider sense of amazement heard from many veteran Iran watchers at the display of tolerance and public diplomacy initiative coming from Tehran.

    The welcome change in atmospherics has added to hopes for a diplomatic opening created by Rouhani’s election. But it must be accompanied by substantive progress in nuclear negotiations to lead to a broader easing of ties, western analysts and officials said.

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