YOUTUBE ‘Mistakenly’ Pulls Right-Wing Channels…

KNOW YOUR ENEMY!

By Mark Bergen

YouTube’s new moderators, brought in to spot fake, misleading and extreme videos, stumbled in one of their first major tests, mistakenly removing some clips and channels in the midst of a nationwide debate on gun control.

The Google division said in December it would assign more than 10,000 people to moderate content after a year of scandals over fake and inappropriate content on the world’s largest video site.

In the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, some YouTube moderators mistakenly removed several videos and some channels from right-wing, pro-gun video producers and outlets.

Some YouTube channels recently complained about their accounts being pulled entirely. On Wednesday, the Outline highlighted accounts, including Titus Frost, that were banned from the video site. Frost tweeted on Wednesday that a survivor of the shooting, David Hogg, is an actor. Jerome Corsi of right-wing conspiracy website Infowars said on Tuesday that YouTube had taken down one of his videos and disabled his live stream.

Shutting entire channels would have marked a sweeping policy change for YouTube, which typically only removes channels in extreme circumstances and focuses most disciplinary action on specific videos. But YouTube said some content was taken down by mistake. The site didn’t address specific cases and it’s unclear if it meant to take action on the accounts of Frost and Corsi.

“As we work to hire rapidly and ramp up our policy enforcement teams throughout 2018, newer members may misapply some of our policies resulting in mistaken removals,” a YouTube spokeswoman wrote in an email. “We’re continuing to enforce our existing policies regarding harmful and dangerous content, they have not changed. We’ll reinstate any videos that were removed in error.”

The misstep pulls YouTube, Google and parent Alphabet Inc. deeper into a toxic political fights over gun control, fake and extreme content, and whether internet companies should be responsible for what third parties post on their services. The episode also shows how the huge video site continues to struggle with policing the service and how difficult it is to spot troubling content and decide whether the material should be taken down.

Gun reform calls since the shooting have sparked a rash of conspiracy theories on the web about the student activists. YouTube was criticized last week after promoting a video with a title that suggested Hogg, the teen survivor of the Florida school shooting, was a paid actor. The clip contained footage from an authoritative news source, leading YouTube’s software-based screening system to misclassify it. After YouTube was alerted to the video, it was pulled.

In the wake of the Florida shooting, Google and other internet companies are facing external pressure to remove the National Rifle Association’s NRA TV channel from their video streaming services. To date, YouTube and other services haven’t pulled the NRA’s official channel.

YouTube’s official policy says that “harmful or dangerous” and “hateful” content can violate its guidelines. If video creators break the rules three times within three months, YouTube terminates the account.

Alex Jones, who runs Infowars and has pushed conspiracy theories about school shootings, is the most outspoken self-proclaimed victim of YouTube. He said this week that YouTube told him his account faces two strikes. On Tuesday, an Infowars article stated that Google was “purging conservative media,” claiming that “CNN and other news outlets” were lobbying Google to terminate the Infowars channel.

YOUTUBE SECRETLY USING SPLC TO POLICE VIDEOS

The SPLC and other program members help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called hate speech to terrorist recruiting videos

Daily Caller – FEBRUARY 28, 2018

  • YouTube is getting help from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center in its effort to identify extremist content.

  • YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” police the platform for so-called hate speech to terror-related content.

  • The SPLC has labeled pedestrian conservative groups as hate groups in the past.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is assisting YouTube in policing content on their platform, The Daily Caller has learned.

The left-wing nonprofit — which has more recently come under fire for labeling legitimate conservative organizations as “hate groups” — is one of the more than 100 nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and government agencies in YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program, a source with knowledge of the arrangement told TheDC.

The SPLC and other program members help police YouTube for extremist content, ranging from so-called hate speech to terrorist recruiting videos.

All of the groups in the program have confidentiality agreements, a spokesperson for Google, YouTube’s parent company, previously told TheDC. A handful of YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers,” including the Anti-Defamation League and No Hate Speech — a European organization focused on combatting intolerance — have gone public with their participation in the program. The vast majority of the groups in the program have remained hidden behind their confidentiality agreements.

The SPLC’s close involvement in policing content on YouTube is likely to cause consternation among conservatives who worry that they may not be treated fairly. The left-wing group has consistently labeled pedestrian conservative organizations as “hate groups” and has been directly tied to violence against conservatives in the past. Floyd Lee Corkins, who opened fire at the Family Research Center in 2012, said he chose the FRC for his act of violence because the SPLC listed them as a “hate group.”

It’s unclear when the SPLC joined YouTube’s “Trusted Flaggers” program. The program goes back to 2012 but exploded in size in recent years amid a Google push to increase regulation of the content on its platforms, which followed pressure from advertisers. Fifty of the 113 program members joined in 2017 as YouTube stepped up its content policing, YouTube public policy director Juniper Downs told a Senate committee in January.

Downs said the third-party groups work closely with YouTube’s employees to crack down on extremist content in two ways, both of which a Google spokesperson previously confirmed to TheDC.

First, the flaggers are equipped with digital tools allowing them to mass flag content for review by YouTube personnel. Second, the partner groups act as guides to YouTube’s content monitors and engineers designing the algorithms policing the video platform but may lack the expertise needed to tackle a given subject.

“We work with over 100 organizations as part of our Trusted Flagger program and we value the expertise these organizations bring to flagging content for review. All trusted flaggers attend a YouTube training to learn about our policies and enforcement processes. Videos flagged by trusted flaggers are reviewed by YouTube content moderators according to YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Content flagged by trusted flaggers is not automatically removed or subject to any differential policies than content flagged from other users,” said a YouTube spokesperson, who would not specifically comment on the SPLC’s participation in the program.

The SPLC did not return multiple voicemails and emails seeking comment.

The overwhelming majority of the content policing on Google and YouTube is carried out by algorithms. The algorithms make for an easy rebuttal against charges of political bias: it’s not us, it’s the algorithm. But actual people with actual biases write, test and monitor the algorithms.

As noted above, Google’s anonymous outside partners (such as the SPLC) work closely with the internal experts designing the algorithms. This close collaboration has upsides, Google’s representatives have said, such as in combatting terrorist propaganda on the platform.

But it also provides little transparency, forcing users to take Google’s word that they’re being treated fairly.

The SPLC has faced criticism for its cavalier definitions of “hate group” and “extremist.” The organization stoked controversy in 2015 by labeling Dr. Ben Carson, now the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an anti-gay “extremist.” After a backlash, the SPLC reversed its ruling and apologized to Carson.

The organization  faced a similarly intense backlash in 2016 for labeling Maajid Nawaz, a respected counter-extremism activist, an “anti-Muslim extremist.” (RELATED: SPLC Says Army Bases Are Confederate Monuments That Need To Come Down)

The Washington Examiner’s Emily Jashinsky noted last year that “the SPLC’s claim to objectivity is nothing less than fraudulent, a reality that informed observers of its practices from both the Left and Right accept.”

“The routine of debunking their supposedly objective classifications occurs like clockwork each time a major outlet makes the mistake of turning to them when reporting on the many conservative thinkers and nonprofits the group absurdly designates as hateful.”

The SPLC has faced tough criticisms not just from conservatives but from the mainstream press as well.

“At a time when the line between ‘hate group’ and mainstream politics is getting thinner and the need for productive civil discourse is growing more serious, fanning liberal fears, while a great opportunity for the SPLC, might be a problem for the nation,” Politico Magazine’s Ben Schreckinger wrote last year.

Bloomberg columnist Megan McArdle similarly noted last year that the SPLC commonly lumps in principled conservatives alongside actual racists and extremists and warned of the possibility that tech companies could rely on the SPLC’s misleading definitions.

“Given the increasing tendency of powerful tech companies to flex their muscle against hate groups,” she wrote, “we may see more and more institutions unwittingly turned into critics or censors, not just of Nazi propaganda, but also of fairly mainstream ideas.”

Your Tax Dollars Are Helping to Pay for a Clown College in Nancy Pelosi’s District

BY JOHN ELLIS

As you file your taxes, try not to think too hard about the revelation that your hard-earned money is helping someone achieve their dream of becoming a clown. Because, apparently becoming a clown requires going to college, and going to college requires taxpayers footing the bill. Next time you’re at the circus, demand a “thank you” from a clown.

CNS News provides more information about the bad news regarding the gross misuse of our taxes: “The federal government is funding a clown school located in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco-based congressional district that has classes and workshops on ‘Precision Idiocy’ and how to act like a ‘Buffoon,'” CNS wrote. “The school, which is called the ‘Clown Conservatory’ and is part of the nonprofit Circus Center, received a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that runs from June 2017 through May 2018.” Clown Conservatory claims to be “the United States’ only professional training program for clowns and physical comedians.”

The Clown Conservatory is split into two sessions over 24 weeks. Tuition is $6,000. While much cheaper than many colleges, I’m not sure if the return on investment is quite the same.

Although, I may not be treating the Clown Conservatory fairly. As my editor pointed out, I may just be jealous. It’s true that I have taken mime classes and had to pay for them out of my pocket; I received no federal financial aid to help pay for my mime classes. So, in the issue of full disclosure, I may simply be bitter that I’m now having to pay for other people’s mime classes via my tax dollars.

With that in mind, maybe we should allow some of the student testimonials offer a defense of the school’s value:

  • “The SF Clown Conservatory is the most important springboard into the world of clown I’ve received.”
  • “The program helped me to realize how to work the funny bones I’ve always had. If I wouldn’t have found the Clown Conservatory, I wouldn’t have found myself.”
  • “Sara Moore [the school’s director] is simply the greatest thing to have happened to me. She taught a clowning master class when I was 19 years old, and within those three hours she had given me the key to unlock the door to The Silly inside, and helped me train it and use it to the fullest.”

Nope.

The testimonials have only made it worse. I’m still angry, if not angrier, that my idiotic government thinks that paying people’s tuition to clown college is an efficient use of my tax dollars. I mean, the person who “wouldn’t have found [them self]” if it weren’t for the Clown Conservatory makes me wonder if I shouldn’t ship my kids off to military school before it’s too late and they end up clowns.

Tax day is almost upon us. Every year, as the amount of money I am forced to turn over to the government becomes larger and larger, the more irritated I get at my liberal “friends” who insist that they know better how to spend my money than I do—and the more fiscally conservative I become. This nonsense about tax dollars financing people’s dreams to become clowns is only going to make April 15 that much harder. If liberals want to pay for people’s clown college tuition, nothing is stopping them from writing a check to the Clown Conservatory. But it’s flat-out theft for the government to forcibly take my money so that someone can take a class called, “Human Cartoon: The Art of Elastic.”

Homicide, narcotics trafficking & dishonesty – Florida Sheriff’s Office has history of failure

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel © Lannis Waters / Global Look Press

The Broward County Sheriff Office in Florida is facing a total of 66 misconduct investigations, it has been revealed, while its sheriff faces widespread condemnation for poorly handling the Parkland school shooting.

With the dust not yet settled on the recent attack, Sheriff Scott Israel claims he has demonstrated “amazing leadership” throughout his tenure at Broward County. The string of accusations aimed at him and his colleagues over the last six years tells a different story and has left many suggesting that the department’s failures are not limited to their handling of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School two weeks ago.

The list includes accusations that Israel’s deputies and other employees are responsible for drug-trafficking, armed kidnapping, falsifying records, battery, assault and more.

One of the investigations in question is the shooting of Jermaine McBean, an African-American IT engineer who was killed by officers in 2013 when they received a call saying he was walking around with a gun. It later transpired that the weapon resting on his shoulders was an unloaded air-rifle that he bought that afternoon. Two years later, photographs of the victim revealed that McBean had been wearing headphones when he was shot, which explained why he did not react to warnings from police. At the time of the incident, however, those same headphones were said to have been found in the victim’s pockets, which has lead to suspicions of an attempted cover-up.

The details outlining the broader failures by the Sheriff’s Department have been brought to light by David Schoen, the attorney representing McBean’s family, who accuses Israel of trying to shift blame, saying “the buck never stops with him.”

Court records filed against Sheriff Israel by Schoen reveal the extent of the accusations being made.

Approximately 66 BSO (Broward Sheriff’s Office) deputies and other employees, including supervisory personnel were arrested for, charged with, and/or convicted of crimes that run the gamut from Armed Kidnapping, to Battery, Assault, Falsifying records, Official Misconduct, Narcotics trafficking, and other crimes involving dishonesty and violence in the years immediately proceeding [sic] 2013 when Jermaine was killed. Most of the offenses on the list occurred in the years 2012-2013.

Schoen goes on to outline that the cases are often resolved byguilty pleas resulting in short or no period of incarceration and a chance for the criminal record to be cleared after a period of time.”

The major source of criticism for the embattled sheriff has come in the light of apparent failures following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. Israel is accused of not taking responsibility for the fact that his deputies did not attempt to stop the shooter sooner and that they prevented paramedics from treating victims at the scene. There are also concerns that the Sheriff is hiding important information in his refusal to release footage that might shed light on what exactly happened during the shooting.

It has also been demonstrated that his department received no less than 23 calls relating to the possibility that the shooter was a risk to the community, two of which referred specifically to his intention to attack a school.

Furthermore, accusations of racism at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office are emerging on Twitter as users point to news stories in the past where it had been alleged that the department was using women to entrap black men into committing crimes and that deputies had been asked to wear ski-masks and disrupt hip-hop events.

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