Fake Reputation, Fake Society, Fake Economy, Fake Truth, Real Power, Real Stupidity

Today’s society is pervaded by luminaries with millions of “followers”. Selena Gomez (never heard of her) has nearly 150 million followers, followed by a famous tax evader who kicks a ball for a living, making him popular with young losers, etc. The buns of Kim Kardashian make the top five. Some will sneer that it’s not surprising that dummies are so popular with dummies. However, it turns out many “followers”, and perhaps most, in all too many cases, have been purchased.

The New York Times (we are friends again since it apparently lifted its censorship of your truly, having changed “leader”) made an extensive inquiry, in just one small corner of the web. The NYT purchased 25,000 followers (for $225!) from a company called Devumi, and then using those, proceeded to uncover much more. 

“The Follower Factory: Everyone wants to be popular online.

Some even pay for it.

Inside social media’s black market. By Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.x. Dance, Richard Harris And Mark Hansen. Jan. 27, 2018

Celebrities, athletes, pundits and politicians have millions of fake followers.

The Times reviewed business and court records showing that Devumi has more than 200,000 customers, including reality television stars, professional athletes, comedians, TED speakers, pastors and models. In most cases, the records show, they purchased their own followers. In others, their employees, agents, public relations companies, family members or friends did the buying. For just pennies each — sometimes even less — Devumi offers Twitter followers, views on YouTube, plays on SoundCloud, the music-hosting site, and endorsements on LinkedIn, the professional-networking site.”

One has to be reminded, at this point that the five richest so-called “public” (so-called public, in Americanese) companies in the universe are all into “social media” (where they do pretty much what they want, including no paying taxes at all, quite often!) Actually the fakery, the lies, the inequity is so pervasive, it looks hard to see where to start. Contemplate the one below: 

I am the cat, you are the birdie tweeting around. Twitter queen Martha Lane-Fox, British Lord and Plutocrat, in her office. Fake people, Real potentates. I Made It. Why Didn’t You, Loser? Ms. Lane Fox, a British e-commerce pioneer, member of Parliament and Twitter board member, blamed a “rogue employee” for a series of follower purchases spanning more than a year. She declined to name the person, adds the New York Times. The lady may be a Lord, but she is also a tramp.

The More Powerful The Tech Monopolies, The Greater Obama’s Plausible future Income Stream used to look:

One has to be reminded that Trump’s predecessor did all he could to make those companies ever more powerful, at the cost, not just of decency and democracy, but innovation itself. Killing innovation is the royal road to plutocracy, fascism, war. But let’s read more of the Times:

“At a time when Facebook, Twitter and Google are grappling with an epidemic of political manipulation and fake news, Devumi’s fake followers also serve as phantom foot soldiers in political battles online. Devumi’s customers include both avid supporters and fervent critics of President Trump, and both liberal cable pundits and a reporter at the alt-right bastion Breitbart. Randy Bryce, an ironworker seeking to unseat Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, [Paul Ryan is the head of Congress, no less!] purchased Devumi followers in 2015, when he was a blogger and labor activist…

Devumi’s products serve politicians and governments overseas, too. An editor at China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, paid Devumi for hundreds of thousands of followers and retweets on Twitter, which the country’s government has banned but sees as a forum for issuing propaganda abroad. An adviser to Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, bought tens of thousands of followers and retweets for Mr. Moreno’s campaign accounts during last year’s elections.

“Social media is a virtual world that is filled with half bots, half real people,” said Rami Essaid, the founder of Distil Networks, a cybersecurity company that specializes in eradicating bot networks. “You can’t take any tweet at face value. And not everything is what it seems.”

High follower counts are also critical for so-called influencers, a budding market of amateur tastemakers and YouTube stars where advertisers now lavish billions of dollars a year on sponsorship deals. The more people influencers reach, the more money they make. According to data collected by Captiv8, a company that connects influencers to brands, an influencer with 100,000 followers might earn an average of $2,000 for a promotional tweet, while an influencer with a million followers might earn $20,000.”

Quick mathematics, which the New York Times didn’t make shows this: a million followers will cost: $225 x 40 = $9,000. Yet, it earns $20,000. Thus purchasing followers enables one to make more than 100% profits. None of this is surprising: the mood was set by Obama’s 2007-2008 campaign (on which I worked and helped considerably behind the scenes; I would certainly not redo exactly what I did then, BTW). Obama, when talking about his campaign never talks about ideas he promoted then (turns out there were none to be put in practice), but how he beat up the opposition by using Internet followers games. He is not even aware that he reduced politics to a celebrity game (with him Obama as celebrity central), instead of an elaboration of ideas. That has helped setting up a disastrous mood that popularity is more important than essence.

“Genuine fame often translates into genuine social media influence, as fans follow and like their favorite movie stars, celebrity chefs and models. But shortcuts are also available: On sites like Social Envy and DIYLikes.com, it takes little more than a credit-card number to buy a huge following on almost any social media platform. Most of these sites offer what they describe as “active” or “organic” followers, never quite stating whether real people are behind them. Once purchased, the followers can be a powerful tool.”

But it gets worse.

***

The Truth Is What Shall Make Plutocrats Wealthier:

Follower counts have started to become part of the system the social media monopolies are using to determine who they “recommend”. One expects no less from people without a college education, except from a deluge of dollars coming their way.

“You see a higher follower count, or a higher retweet count, and you assume this person is important, or this tweet was well received,” said Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, a company that makes search engine optimization software. “As a result, you might be more likely to amplify it, to share it or to follow that person.”

Twitter and Facebook can be similarly influenced. “Social platforms are trying to recommend stuff — and they say, ‘Is the stuff we are recommending popular?’” said Julian Tempelsman, the co-founder of Smyte, a security firm that helps companies combat online abuse, bots and fraud. “Follower counts are one of the factors social media platforms use.”

A mood of fakery and theft has settled over civilization. Indeed, critters monetarize their follower counts, and certainly, even more so, their power.

“While some said they believed Devumi was supplying real potential fans or customers, others acknowledged that they knew or suspected they were getting fake accounts. Several said they regretted their purchases. “It’s fraud,” said James Cracknell, a British rower and Olympic gold medalist who bought 50,000 followers from Devumi. “People who judge by how many likes or how many followers, it’s not a healthy thing…”

A Twitter account belonging to Paul Hollywood, the celebrity baker, was deleted after The Times emailed him with questions. Mr. Hollywood then sent a reply: “Account does not exist…”

Ms. Ireland has over a million followers on Twitter, which she often uses to promote companies with whom she has endorsement deals. The Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance, for example, said that the former model was one of its most influential Twitter “brand ambassadors,” celebrities who are paid to help promote products.

But in January last year, Ms. Ireland had only about 160,000 followers. The next month, an employee at the branding agency she owns, Sterling/Winters, spent about $2,000 for 300,000 more followers, according to Devumi records. The employee later made more purchases…”

Lane Fox is a spectacular example of how plutocracy works nowadays. Born and raised into and attending Oxford U. (in drama and politics, of course), she got on the “.com bubble“, became very rich that way (her company was bought for nearly a billion; we don’t know who slept with whom… I knew once a pretty pushy young lady, without much education (I use to climb with her), she met the right guys and made millions at the time). Lane Fox was made a member of the “most excellent” Order of the British Empire, and a member of the House of Lord, where she sits as a baroness with a fancy title. This is most excellent, and most rotten by the same token. We The People will erroneously scoff: such people “lead” the world, into the abyss.

Says the New York Times: “Martha Lane Fox, a businesswoman and member of Britain’s House of Lords, blamed a rogue employee for at least seven Devumi purchases made using Ms. Lane Fox’s email address. The biggest — 25,000 followers — was made days after she became a Twitter board member in April 2016.”

They would kill you with their own kitchen knife, with their DNA, and only their DNA, all over, and blame “rogue employees”. But how uncouth of me: I forgot, those celebrities own the world, we are all their employees… when we are lucky (otherwise we would be homeless…)

***

Influenced By 14 Years Old:

The New York Times observes: “More than a hundred self-described influencers — whose market value is even more directly linked to their follower counts on social media — have purchased Twitter followers from Devumi. Justin Blau, a popular Las Vegas-based D.J. who performs as 3LAU, acquired 50,000 followers and thousands of retweets. In an email, Mr. Blau said a former member of his management team bought them without his approval.

At least five Devumi influencer customers are also contractors for HelloSociety, an influencer agency owned by The New York Times Company.

Influencers need not be well known to rake in endorsement money. According to a recent profile in the British tabloid The Sun, two young siblings, Arabella and Jaadin Daho, earn a combined $100,000 a year as influencers, working with brands such as Amazon, Disney, Louis Vuitton and Nintendo. Arabella, who is 14, tweets under the name Amazing Arabella.

But her Twitter account — and her brother’s — are boosted by thousands of retweets purchased by their mother and manager, Shadia Daho, according to Devumi records. Ms. Daho did not respond to repeated attempts to reach her.”

***

None Of This Is Legal, So Why Do They Rule Over US?

New York Attorney General woke up, after the publication of the preceding, online, by the NYT. “Impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law,” Mr. Schneiderman wrote on Twitter. “We’re opening an investigation into Devumi and its apparent sale of bots using stolen identities.”

The problem of truth is fundamental. Without truth on the basic facts, one can’t think correctly. The problem of robotic accounts is simple to solve: there is existing law, as Mr. Schneiderman noticed. More generally a star system should be used. It should be multidimensional. One dimension for plausible veracity, another for significance. And probably more.

Plausible veracity” is different from “truth”. “Truth” is whn one has elimianted the alternatives. “Plausible veracity” is when no blatantly false fake facts are used.

For example my highly significant (were they true wisdom) have high plausible veracity: I genuinely search and destroy inaccurate facts. Indeed, although I generally compose my history essays from memory, I check particular facts when I use them crucially. For example, although I know pretty well the story of the siege of Vercingetorix by Caesar at Alesia, should i write an essay on this, I would check the troop number (I think Caesar had around 50,000 soldiers, and the Gauls at least 4 times that; if I wrote an essay, i would check the latest numbers, and exert judgment whether they are reliable or not).

***

Should “Truth” Be Privately Determined By Plutocrats And Their Servants?

A crucial point missed about big social networks is that they have become “public utilities“. They are not owned just by themselves, but, de facto, by the public. Actually, if not for the public, they would be content empty. Ideally, We The People would be owners of these “social networks”, as we already own all their content.

To police “social media”, it has been suggested that “social media”, which, at this point, are private companies, not “public utilities” in the legal sense, would do it themselves. In particular, that they would evaluate truth. As we saw above, that’s not what they do. Mark Z, founder of Facebook, is a guy whose ultimate philosophy, one year was “eat what he killed”. So Mark spent a year educating himself by killing rabbits, chicken, pigs, and carrying the corpses in a car’s trunk with an elated restaurant owner driving around Silicon Valley (my spouse interviewed said elated and grateful restaurant owner).

Those individuals, those multi billionaires, those plutocrats can’t do it: all the education they have is dollars and how to make dirty deals, all the way to presidential level, to gather more dollars, influence, powers, and no taxes to pay, while posing as lovers of man (“philanthropists”). Some have little education aside from computer program tinkering (Gates and Zuckenberg left in second year college at Harvard; Bezos completed college, but not the late Steve Jobs). That makes these one-track minds particularly apt to misunderstand the notion of plausibility and a general appreciation for human culture. 

Truth, or, more exactly, plausible veracity, like justice, should be a matter judged by We The People, or its representative institutions… Once those who have it have been given plentiful opportunity to expose it. An example: California & France decided to vaccinate forcefully! (Ah, but the argument can be made, that the government of We The People has been captured by plutocrats. As observed. So we can’t let, as is already happening, Plutos decide of the truth. That’s not a valid retort, as plutocracy, already happening, is not democracy, indeed, that’s precisely the point! “We The Satanists, We The Plutocrats” is not “We The People“!)

We need a department of truth, or ministry of truth… but not as G. Orwell envisioned it. As I just said, this is already happening, and it will happen more if “social networks“, right now led by plutocrats, without “public utility mandate“, are encouraged, as they presently are, to exert censorship (nude female chest will get you in trouble in Saudi Arabia, and Facebook; thus face book is, at least partly so, Saudi Arabia, even though Zuckenberg had a “Bar Mitzvah”, a sort of Jewish enthronement, when he was 13…!) 

Technology has always evolved, ever more complex. Thus laws have evolved, ever more complex. Having a “department of Justice” was fiction, 5,000 years ago. Now no country goes without. But justice without truth is impossible. Just as having the proper moods, while being immersed in lies, is also impossible. Justice is mandatory, truth should be recommended. Justice is mandatory, truth should be recommended. Either are too important, too vital, without We The People oversight…

To try to fight off Russian propaganda (which is very sophisticated, have a look at “RT”), Ukraine created a “ministry of information policy”.

*** 

And what of foxy lady Lane Fox?

Here is a few more details,  thanks to Wikipedia, of how .com celebrity can be leveraged:

Lane Fox was appointed Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for “services to the digital economy and charity”.[23] In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.[24] In the same month it was announced that she was to be created a life peer in the House of Lords as a crossbencher.[25]

On 25 March 2013, she was raised to the peerage as Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, of Soho in the City of Westminster[26] and was introduced in the House of Lords the next day…

Now foxy Fox rules over Tweeter. As a director, she makes more than $200,000 a year. Not bad for meeting only a necessary three times a year (I guess first class travel from the House of Lords is paid too!) This sort of foxes owe their elevation to the ruling elite, they will serve it, tooth, claw and nail. And their souls are all devoted to the powers that be. That’s why they get rewarded so well.

Remember Obama’s Nobel peace prize? Obama went on to start a full new nukes program, and inventing “signature strikes”, in which, if people gathered somewhere, and Obama took the fancy of doing so, he would kill them all, by pressing a button. Once Obama’s soul had been bought with the Nobel Peace Prize, he would do whatever it took, to pay back his debt. Say what you want, he is no ingrate… Say what you want too, but we all now pay the moral price: the truth is Obama has made these into times of deliberate murder, and all avert their eyes, from sheer Political Correctness (Obama, having brown skin was viewed as PC, on this ground alone, by hundreds of millions, even with yours truly included, and this is the truth… Just as it is the truth that dozens of millions are starting to realize they were had, just as we were had by Hillary Clinton whose latest revealed extravaganza was to protect a harasser of women…)

This world society where fake people, fake appreciation, fake ideas, fake news, fake truths, really rule is clearly heading towards real imbecility, not just real inequality. Just when intelligence is in need of a quantum jump, to avoid an all too deplorable outcome…

The truth of the elite is the truth which serves the elite. Contemplating any alternative, is to lie to oneself.

Patrice Aymé

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2 Responses to “Fake Reputation, Fake Society, Fake Economy, Fake Truth, Real Power, Real Stupidity”

  1. Gmax Says:

    I come all the time across bloggers who have nothing to say and have millions of followers. I have a neighbor who says nothing, he is totally clueless, a total bore and has 35,000 followers. Now I understand why. Should be illegal because it is deception, especially when people make lots of money out of it. Influences like the baroness

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes. Deliberate public lying and deception should be punished when one can prove a profit motive or the motive to seriously hurt or deprive people. It will have to be stopped there, to NOT hurt in turn imagination, poetry, expression, etc…

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