A census of leading Italian politicians' Twitter followings finds a horde of zombies and bots

As Italy heads into a national election in which mass inequality and food poverty have disrupted Italy's always-shaky political equilibrium, La Republica publishes its analysis (Google Translate) of the Twitter followers associated with each of Italy's political superstars and finds some pretty intense inflation in the numbers. Read the rest

The intrinsic comedy of a self-inflating airplane emergency escape slide

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In the USA, Trump supporters are the most prolific users and sharers of "junk news" (a mix of untruth and distastefully presented materials)

Oxford's Computational Propaganda Project surveyed 13,500 "politically active" US Twitter users and 48,000 publicly visible Facebook pages, coding them for political affiliation, then measuring how much "junk news" (a news article that fails to live up to three or more of the following: professionalism, style, credibility, bias, counterfeit) was consumed and share by users based on their political affiliation. Read the rest

The true and complete story of Bitcoin

Bryce Elder's epic Twitter thread finally reveals the one true tale of Bitcoin's genesis ("invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, a developer at Nintendo who mysteriously disappeared in the 1990s"); the environmental cost of Bitcoin ("whenever you give a hacker money he will upgrade his graphics card") and the story the mainstream media refuses to tell you ("You will have seen the recent plunge in the price of Bitcoin. This was triggered by Bolgakov last week upgrading to an NVidia GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti, which can play Quake III in max resolution at 60fps with all the lighting and textures enabled," which means, "Bolgakov has been playing Quake III and not buying any Bitcoin"). Read the rest

Tweet-bot shares Prince Vultan's greatest hits

I woke up this morning thinking the world needed a Prince Vultan tweet-bot.

You know he'll say it sooner or later...

Jack Burton is still talking to whomever is listening, and Sherman T. Botter contiues to share Potterisms. Read the rest

Tory Council Leader's son gets plum job with government contractor, teen constituent damned as an "appalling little child" for asking about it

Kevin J Davis is the leader of the Council for the London Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames; his son Cameron Davis's Linkedin profile shows that he is now a Trainee Development Manager at CNM Estates, a major contractor to the Borough of Kensington. Read the rest

What living in a dictatorship feels like, and why it may be too late by the time you notice it

Comics writer G. Willow Wilson, who previously lived in Egypt and wrote for the opposition weekly Cairo Magazine, writes movingly and hauntingly on Twitter about the experience of a living in a state that is transitioning into dictatorship, which does not feel "intrinsically different on a day-to-day basis than a democracy does," but rather is marked by "the steady disappearance of dissent from the public sphere. Anti-regime bloggers disappear. Dissident political parties are declared 'illegal.' Certain books vanish from the libraries." Read the rest

Fitness app releases data-set that reveals the location of sensitive military bases, patrol routes, aircrew flightpaths, and individual soldiers' jogging routes

Strava is a popular fitness route-tracker focused on sharing the maps of your workouts with others; last November, the company released an "anonymized" data-set of over 3 trillion GPS points, and over the weekend, Institute for United Conflict Analysts co-founder Nathan Ruser started a Twitter thread pointing out the sensitive locations and details revealed by the release. Read the rest

New York Times profiles a sleazy Twitter follower-farm, the sleazy serial liar who made millions on it, and the celebs, politicians, sports figures and "influencers" who paid him

Devumi is a sleazy Twitter-bot farm founded by German Calas, a serial liar who buys wholesale Twitter bots from even scummier bottom-feeders than him, and pays a series of low-waged patsies to direct them to follow people who want to seem more popular and influential than their actual Twitter follower-count suggests. Read the rest

Research report explains how adtech supercharges political deceit, allowing even bumblers to be master propagandists

A new report from the New America Foundation uses the current fear that Russian government elements manipulated the 2016 US election to explore the relationship between advertising technology, surveillance capitalism, and "precision propaganda," showing how the toolsuite developed for the advertising industry is readily repurposable by even modestly competent actors to spread disinformation campaigns. Read the rest

Just look at this banana-futures-speculation cryptocurrency

Just look at it. Read the rest

#BrexitStamps: The sarcastic commemorative Brexit stamps of Twitter

MP Andrea Leadsom wants the Royal Mail to commemorate Brexit with a postage stamp. Twitter has run with the idea, shooping and tagging with #BrexitStamps, making sure to tag @andrealeadsom. Read the rest

Marriott fires employee for "willfully liking" a tweet in support of Tibetan independence

Marriott has fired one of its social media managers because the employee "wrongfully liked" a tweet from Friends of Tibet, a group that supports Tibetan independence from China. Read the rest

Twitter complies with Germany's new hate-speech laws by cutting off the account of a satirical magazine that mocks hate speech

When a German neo-Nazi politician tweeted that German police were trying to "to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men," her account was briefly suspended -- but when the satirical magazine Titanic put up its own tweet mocking the Nazi, their account was suspended, too. Read the rest

"LOCK HIM UP!" A guy heckles the Trumpbot at Disney World's Hall of Presidents

Jay Malsky knew he'd never get close enough to Donald Trump to heckle him in person, so he did the next best thing, chanting "LOCK HIM UP, LOCK HIM UP" when the Trumpbot took the stage at Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents. Read the rest

After 8 years of archiving, the Library of Congress will stop ingesting the Twitter firehose

In 2010, Twitter gave the LoC a copy of every tweet sent since the first one in 2006, and the Library embarked on a program to archive every public tweet sent on the service -- but that will stop after Dec 31. Read the rest

"Financial dominatrix" orders the rich men who submit to her to operate a "crypto slave farm" to mine bitcoin

Theodora is a "financial dominatrix," a woman who sexually gratifies rich and powerful men by humiliating them with orders to give her money; in the age of cryptocurrency, she says her clients are now operating a "crypto slave farm" of cryptocurrency mining rigs built to her specification, which mine bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for her. Read the rest

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