Sacha Baron Cohen just slammed Facebook for being a home for conspiracy theories that could ‘kill democracy as we know it’
- Actor Sacha Baron Cohen wrote an op-ed for Time condemning social media platforms for allowing misinformation to spread, and he singled out Facebook in particular.
- The “Borat” actor, who has come out hard against Facebook before, said the company is a “dutiful ally” to President Donald Trump and attacked the firm for its failure to fact-check misleading political ads and posts.
- Cohen wrote how the “trifecta” of President Trump, Facebook, and the spread of misinformation has created “a whirlwind of conspiratorial madness” leading up to the 2020 election that could “kill democracy as we know it.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Actor Sacha Baron Cohen in an op-ed for Time Magazine called for an end to the proliferation of conspiracy theories on social media platforms — and the actor zeroed in on Facebook specifically.
The actor slammed the company for the role it has played in misinformation spreading online, calling out Facebook’s algorithm that is designed to promote content that more people find interesting. Cohen also called Facebook out for its refusal to fact-check political ads and remove misleading posts.
The actor pointed out that conspiracy theories are more easily spread during times of uncertainty.
“Donald Trump — who averages 23 lies a day and is the world’s greatest superspreader of coronavirus conspiracies —has caught the virus himself. He has a dutiful ally in Facebook — the greatest propaganda machine in history. And this is a time when Americans are especially vulnerable to lies and conspiracies. This trifecta has created a whirlwind of conspiratorial madness,” Cohen wrote in the op-ed.
Cohen’s damning remarks come as the 2020 presidential election looms just
Updated 8:50 p.m. ET Wednesday
A federal judge in California has ordered that Twitter reveal the identity of an anonymous user who allegedly fabricated an FBI document to spread a conspiracy theory about the killing of Seth Rich, the Democratic National Committee staffer who died in 2016.
The ruling could lead to the identification of the person behind the Twitter name @whyspertech. Through that account, the user allegedly provided forged FBI materials to Fox News. The documents falsely linked Rich’s killing to the WikiLeaks hack of Democratic Party emails in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
While Twitter fought to keep the user’s identity secret, U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu in Oakland, Calif., ordered on Tuesday that the tech company must turn over the information to attorneys representing Rich’s family in a defamation suit by Oct. 20.
It is the latest twist in a years-long saga over a conspiracy theory that rocked Washington, caused a grieving family a great deal of pain and set off multiple legal battles.
In a now-retracted story, Fox News falsely claimed that Rich’s computer was connected to the leak of Democratic Party emails provided to WikiLeaks, and that Rich’s slaying was related to the purported leak. The theory was even debunked in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The Washington Times later reported in 2018 that Rich’s brother, Aaron Rich,
- Citigroup has fired an employee who ran a website dedicated to QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory alleging that President Donald Trump is fighting a cabal of human traffickers.
- Jason Gelinas, a New Jersey employee of the company, was previously put on paid leave when Logically.ai reported that he operated QMap.pub, a main aggregator of “Q drops,” the messages that are the foundation of the conspiracy theory.
- Gelinas’ QAnon website earned 10 million monthly visitors, according to the analytics firm SimilarWeb.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Citigroup has fired an employee who ran a popular website dedicated to the QAnon conspiracy theory, Bloomberg News first reported on Tuesday.
Jason Gelinas, a New Jersey man who worked at Citigroup as an information technology specialist, operated the website QMap.pub, which recently earned 10 million average monthly views, according to data from SimilarWeb, a digital analytics firm.
A spokesperson for Citigroup told Insider, “Mr. Gelinas is no longer employed by Citi. Our code of conduct includes specific policies that employees are required to adhere to, and when breaches are identified, the firm takes action.”
QAnon — the baseless far-right conspiracy theory that claims President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a “deep state” cabal of satanic pedophiles — is based on cryptic messages left by an anonymous figure called “Q” on 8kun, an anonymous message board formerly known as 8chan.
Gelinas had previously been put on paid leave after the fact-checking website Logically.ai reported his ties to QAnon on September 10. The website was taken down soon after the publication of the Logically.ai report.
It’s also possible that Gelinas had ties to 8kun, as the two websites shared an IP address, according to research by Fredrick Brennan, the founder of 8chan.
QMap.pub aggregated “Q drops,” or the anonymous posts by “Q,” and spread
From Men’s Health
Spoiler warning: the following story discusses the entire episode, including the ending, of “Eugene, Oregon” from Hulu’s Monsterland.
The second episode of Hulu’s horror anthology series, Monsterland, explores the dangers of internet conspiracy groups and radicalization.
Titled “Eugene, Oregon,” the episode follows a teenage boy, Nick, who cares for his ill mother and shoulders much of his family’s hardships, financial and otherwise.
Here’s how we can interpret the episode and its ending.
Just in time for Halloween, Hulu’s new horror anthology series Monsterland is here to bring all the creepy, scary goodness you can fit into a 50-minute package. Done in the style of Netflix’s sci-fi megahit Black Mirror, each episode of Monsterland takes place in a different city, focused on different types of monsters, both human and not human. Embedded within each episode’s horror story also comes a layer of social commentary, explaining what can drive humans to do real-world monstrous things that we see and hear about with sometimes alarming frequency.
The second episode in the series, titled “Eugene, Oregon,” is ostensibly about shadow monsters. The protagonist of the episode is a boy named Nick (played by Ozark star Charlie Tahan), who lives an extremely troubled life—he’s about a year removed from his mother suffering a crippling stroke, rendering her unable to work. He’s dropped out of school to work a fast food job for any attempt to make ends meat, and his health insurance no longer covers the medication that his ailing mother desperately needs.
So when he sees a living shadow in his room, he doesn’t know what to make of it. We know he’s tied to a virtual life—he gets his joy from gaming online and video-chatting with others. The shadow does nothing more than
Flightradar24 website Hit By Three Suspected DDoS Attacks In 48 Hours Prompting Wild Conspiracy Theories
Someone hiding in the long shadows of the Internet has taken against the world’s most popular flight tracking website, Flightradar24.
The Swedish company hasn’t confirmed it suffered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack but that seems the most likely explanation for a series of outages and general instability that affected the site from the early afternoon of September 27 ET.
After subscribers took to forums to muse on odd communication errors and empty maps on the mobile app, the company’s Twitter feed initially put the issue down to “network problems.”
Cue further problems and a flurry of updates over the following 24 hours and suddenly the feed’s explanation turned from gremlins in the data center to something more significant:
“For the third time in two days Flightradar24 is under attack. Our engineers are working to mitigate the attack as quickly as possible and we hope to be back tracking flights soon. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.”
The good news is that by Tuesday, September 29, the site was available again without issues.
DDoS attacks aren’t a surprise – frankly it’d be more of a surprise if a day passed without a large site not experiencing some form of traffic issue – but potentially suffering three in rapid succession large enough to disrupt a popular service always stands out.
For those unfamiliar with the joys of Flightradar24, it is used by its two million fan base across the globe to track 180,000 aircraft movements per day in real time, complete with airspeed, altitude, flight heading, aircraft type, registration number, and airline identifier.
In late 2018, aviation enthusiasts were even able to use it to unmask President Trump’s unscheduled trip to Iraq on call sign Air Force One, after