Authenticating a video showing hundreds of kneeling people in shackles and blindfolds on a Chinese railroad platform

Last week, a drone video showing hundreds of people in China being shackled and blindfolded and made to kneel on a train platform went viral; a piece of amazing digital detective work by Nathan Ruser presents a compelling case that the video is real, and that it was recorded in August 2018 near the city of Korla in Xinjiang province, where the Chinese state has been prosecuting a vicious, genocidal ethnic cleansing campaign against the predominantly Muslim Uyghur people. Read the rest

Twitter bans more psyops accounts: China, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Ecuador

Twitter announced on Friday it has suspended still more nation-state controlled accounts for conducting information operations. The latest batch of banned psyops accounts originated in China, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Ecuador. Read the rest

@Jack Hacked

The incompetence horrowshow is on Twitter right now! It's lasted a few minutes; to my shame was I there to see it and wonder how long it would last, and it has not ceased yet.

UPDATE, 1:02 p.m. Eastern Time: It has ceased. Read the rest

How did Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's account get hacked?

Oops. Read the rest

China's using LinkedIn to recruit spies... again

I don't think that I've ever met anyone that actually enjoys using LinkedIn. I mean sure, depending on what you do for a living, it might help you land a new gig. Maybe, it can help you to network with folks within your industry. But it's awful. On the occasions where I need to use it in order to get hold of a PR rep from some hard-to-reach tech firm, I've always found it slow to load and a drag to navigate. That said, the problems that folks like you and I have leveraging the platform for anything useful might not be enough to keep a motivated employer from using the social media platform to track down top-shelf talent.

From the New York Times:

Foreign agents are exploiting social media to try to recruit assets, with LinkedIn as a prime hunting ground, Western counterintelligence officials say. Intelligence agencies in the United States, Britain, Germany and France have issued warnings about foreign agents approaching thousands of users on the site. Chinese spies are the most active, officials say.

“We’ve seen China’s intelligence services doing this on a mass scale,” said William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, a government agency that tracks foreign spying and alerts companies to possible infiltration. “Instead of dispatching spies to the U.S. to recruit a single target, it’s more efficient to sit behind a computer in China and send out friend requests to thousands of targets using fake profiles.”

Lazy access to potential intelligence assets? Read the rest

Amazon pays happy warehouse workers to tweet about how happy they are whenever someone complains about warehouse conditions

Nelsie writes, "Twitter user tweeting about inhuman conditions at Amazon warehouses gets brigaded by tag-team of warehouse workers who are paid to tweet about working at Amazon warehouses two days of the week." Read the rest

Author hid funny messages on the copyright page of his book

When my first couple novels came out, I lobbied to add some kind of notation about "fair use" and "limitations and exceptions to copyright" on the copyright notice page and was told not even to try because legal would never allow even the slightest variance from the boilerplate; apparently Steve Stack is better connected than I am, because his book 21st Century Dodos, has a copyright notice that is full of whimsy and gags, as Rebecca discovered and documented. Read the rest

Irish islamaphobe condemns Halal grocery as evidence of creeping islamification, is subsequently forcefully reminded of the global proliferation of Irish pubs

If racist Gemma O'Doherty (banned from Youtube for hate speech) thinks that the Halal grocer in her Irish town is cause for alarm, how does she suppose people in every city and town in every country in the world feel about their Irish pubs? Read the rest

Hate Twitter's new design? Fix it with your own stylesheet!

I'm not a fan of Twitter's new design: in addition to all the other complaints people have, I hate the fact that if you load a tab with your mentions in it, there's no easy way to refresh it to see new mentions; I also hate the fact that when you click on a tweet to see its context, hitting escape no longer brings you back to the feed (instead, you have to target a tiny on-screen back-arrow that my old eyes have a hard time making out). Read the rest

Analyzing 800 daily tweets that say "Today was the day that Donald Trump became president"

Every day, for reasons best understood by herself, Megan Amram ("it's this weird, sexual, anti-comedy comedy that's 'in' right now") posts "Today was the day Donald Trump finally became president" to her Twitter feed. Read the rest

The snail cosmology of medieval manuscripts

We're no strangers to the delights of the rude drawings that monks doodled in the margins of medieval manuscripts around here (1, 2, 3), but University of Bonn medievialist Erik Wade's epic Twitter thread on the astonishing variety of snail-doodles is genuinely next-level. Read the rest

There's a particle accelerator in the Louvre's basement

Three basement levels of the Louvre are given over to the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF), which provides research and restoration services to France's 1,200+ art museums and galleries. Read the rest

Flickr offers the best social media experience going

On the whole, technology has been good to me.

In the mid-1990s, I was able to connect with a music magazine in Ireland--my first paying writing gig--via Hotmail. Over two decades later, I'm still writing for them. in 2009, Twitter connected me with folks who became good friends, online and face-to-face. Through them, I was able to shift out of a career that was slowly killing me with stress to begin a decade-long stretch of freelancing. Working remotely during that time, I found that I had a lust for travel, and as a consequence of one of my adventures, met my wife. Recently, I was able to land a full-time gig, still remotely, mind you, that has provided me with a steady income and a fabulous group of co-workers I'm happy to see on Slack every day.

That said, I'm also sure that a lot of the tech in my life is making me miserable.

Facebook is hot garbage, that tracks my movements across the Internet without permission. Twitter is full of thieves waiting to steal your joy and fill your days with dread. Instagram, owned by Facebook, often leaves me feeling expectant and desirous of accolades for my photos from people I've never met. Of late, outside of my work life, I've been taking strides to limit my interactions with tech and social media. I've donated all of the hardware I don't use on a routine basis to local charities, stepped back from owning multiple computers to just one and perhaps, best of all, have started relying on Flickr as a way to share what's going on in my life with the people I care about. Read the rest

Twitter's anti-Nazi policies result bans on pictures of anti-Nazi books

Twitter's Sensitive Media Policy bans the display of "symbols historically associated with hate groups" in your profile or banner, and of course that includes the covers of books that criticize hate groups, such as David Neiwert's 2017 book, Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump, whose cover features a stylized US flag in which the stars are all wearing little Klan hoods. Read the rest

Beautiful handpainted transport signs from Kolkata and south Bengal

South Indian indie publishing house Blaft Publications has tweeted a magnificent thread of hand-painted transportation signs from Kolkata and all around South Bengal, from taxi-door logos to bus-signs to danger signs to "for hire" signs. Read the rest

AOC condemns solitary confinement for Paul Manafort

Federal convict and Trump crony Paul Manafort is to be held in solitary confinement at the notorious Riker's Island prison while he faces trial for fraud in a New York court (solitary confinement is standard procedure for high-profile prisoners); Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (whose district includes Riker's) publicly condemned the use of solitary confinement for any prisoner, including Manafort, adding that, "if people aren’t willing to apply principles evenly, no matter the person, then they aren’t fighting for criminal justice reform" and "a prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations. That‘s what solitary confinement is." She concluded with "Manafort should be released, along with all people being held in solitary." Read the rest

Analysis of a far-right disinformation campaign aimed at influencing the EU elections

F-Secure Labs used a bot to harvest and analyze high-ranked disinformation tweets aimed at influencing the EU elections; they found that some of the highest-ranked xenophobic/Islamophobic disinformation came from a pair of related accounts: NewsCompact and PartisanDE, both in "the top three most engaged accounts in the EU election conversation space on Twitter two weeks ago." Read the rest

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