Most retweeted tweets of 2017

2017 isn’t over yet but the most retweeted tweets of the year are already announced. Some of them are a result of campaigns to get retweets, two for a good cause, #1 inane.

Interestingly Donald Trump isn’t included, but Barack Obama features thrice (#8, #5 and #2).

10.

9.

8.

7.

6.

5.

4.

3.

2.

1.

Source: http://time.com/5048929/most-retweeted-tweets-2017/

Golriz Ghahraman, hate and discrimination

There is a feature article at The Wireless new Green MP Golriz Ghahraman (“the first MP to have entered New Zealand as a refugee”) by Meg Williams, who is disclosed as “has a strong connection to the Green Party as Young Greens Co-Convener, and has been a member of the party for the last three years”. It could be seen to an extent as a party promotional piece.

The headline makes strong assertions: Golriz Ghahraman on discrimination, hate, and white dudes on Twitter

To me ‘hate’ is a strong word and is overused a lot. It’s common for people to use it for dislike and disagree.

“I got such a broad spectrum of attacks. They were sort of ranging from race hate to muslim hate to immigration hate, women, young women, women that look a certain way…”

Did anyone on Twitter hate Golriz? Was it clear they hated her for being a Muslim? Possibly, there is quite a bit of prejudice about Muslims.

Was it clear they hate immigrants? Possibly, there has been a lot of anti-immigration feelings stoked in the election campaign, with Winston Peters playing the anti-immigrant card quite a bit – he’s the leader of the party who Golriz’s Greens are supporting to form a new government.

I’m a lot more dubious about hate on “women, young women, women that look a certain way…” – there’s a tendency for people to make ill-founded presumptions when they are criticised and politically attacked.

The headline includes ‘white dudes on Twitter’ alongside hate and discrimination.  The reference to white dudes is here:

Ghahraman laughs in disbelief as she tells the story of a political commentator who questioned her intelligence on Twitter. Realising he had perhaps gone too far, and that his behaviour warranted an apology, the commentator decided to send a private apology to Ghahraman’s partner, comedian Guy Williams, instead of apologising to her.

A private apology, made public to make a point. Golriz will need to be more careful with private communications now she is an MP.

“How embarrassing is that?” she says, her hands held up to the sides of her face with second-hand shame. “Every time I say it I feel so embarrassed for this dude… he said in that message, ‘I just don’t want you to think I’m another one of those white guys who just hates Golriz.’ But he didn’t apologise to me, like I wasn’t human enough for him to apologise to.”

“Wasn’t human enough”? Perhaps that’s how people who are subjected to racial and religious discrimination feel. That’s sad.

There may have been a simpler explanation – the ‘commentator’ may have known Williams, they must at least have cross-liked each other to be able to send private messages, and he may not have been able to private Golriz.

If he questioned her intelligence publicly on Twitter he should have apologised publicly on Twitter. Perhaps he did, but that isn’t mentioned.

But there’s a bigger issue here – the claims of hate and discrimination directed against Golriz (fair enough) while targeting ‘white dudes’. That is also discrimination.

You won’t fight discrimination with counter discrimination.

You can call out individual attacks and individual examples of discrimination, but implicating a whole racial or gender group is discriminatory.

I often see attacks on white males on Twitter and elsewhere in social media.

I’m a white male, and I’ve been attacked quite nastily on Twitter, and elsewhere. Some of those attacks are from younger people, some from females, some from people with different religious views, some possibly from immigrants.

And I’ll point out that Green supporters are amongst those who have attacked me on political grounds, it’s not uncommon for some of them to get nasty and personal when they disagree on political or party or ideological topics.

Is any of it hateful? That’s hard to judge, it’s common for people to overstate emotions online, and it’s common for people to e-abuse others when they wouldn’t do it face to face. This is a major issue with the Internet.

Golriz talked of having her intelligence questioned on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago a Green supporter tweeted to me “Shit your arrogance is quite astounding. Your ignorance is also shining through”.

Petty attacks can be confused with hate and discrimination. An accumulation of petty attacks can constitute discrimination.

Attacks in social media fly in all directions. They can be hurtful, they can be damaging to individuals.

And they are not confined to females, or to young people, or to Muslims, or to immigrants, or to Green candidates or MPs.

Hateful speech and discrimination are sadly very common in New Zealand political and social forums.

They should be confronted and criticised. Good people have to speak up.

But care needs be taken not to try to fight discrimination with counter discrimination, as that’s more likely to antagonise and inflame than to fix anything.

Golriz says “And I can’t shed my skin”. Neither can I.

It’s going to be tough for Golriz now she is an MP and will be the focus of a lot of attention. Some of that attention won’t be nice – there will be discrimination, and there may be justified perceptions of hate.

But hating on others, and discriminating against different groups of people, are not solutions.

I hope this is something Golriz will learn.

Party impact on social media

Here is the current imp[act of the major parties on Facebook and twitter, as measured by Zavy.

Facebook:

ZavyFacebook20170912

That may be a reflection of the amount of negative and attack politics that us prevalent.

Twitter:

ZavyTwitter20170912

Twitter is dominated by media reports, journalist comment and reactions to those. Labour dominates the activity but has the poorer ‘pulse’.

Both Facebook and Twitter pulses suggest that National is struggling to turn things around

 

‘Mother of all scandals’ a wind up?

The Winston Peters superannuation overpayment story has highlighted, amongst other things, the dangers of over-egging things on Twitter,

Tim Murphy kicked things off in a tweet on Saturday.

This initiated a lot of speculation and questions over the weekend. The Super story eventually broke on Sunday evening when Peters issued a press statement.

A day later:

A danger of social media and disproportionate interest media coverage.

Winding Patrick Gower up should be avoided, he seems highly enough strung as it is.

When winding people up on Twitter these days could potentially escalate into nuclear war journalists should perhaps tweet with more care.

In New Zealand politics Twitter has become a significant factor. It is a small niche in social media generally, much of the public is oblivious to it and it’s influence, but it is a major player in exchanges amongst journalists.

Competition for the next click bait headline, joking and winding each other up, could have major repercussions.

We are hardly at risk of a nuclear war here, but we are risk of serious fallout potentially from a single tweet starting a history making change.

Trump’s feed on Twitter

If you want to see what Donald trump sees on his Twitter feed you can follow this Twitter account.

Trump doesn’t seem to just feed himself on Twitter, he gorges himself.

Trump's Feed

Trump’s Feed

@trumps_feed

A bot that retweets tweets from people the president follows on Twitter. A project of .

MP should resign for misinterpreted comment

A Minister apparently tweeted something on Thursday that got picked up in social media today. A furore seems to have resulted.

Newshub covered this on their news tonight, quoting \a number of offended people including MPs and a party leader who said the Minister should resign.

Any MP deemed to have tweeted (or emailed or commented anywhere online) inappropriately by any MP from another party or any political activist should resign. That should ensure MPs take care about any possible misinterpretation of any communications.

All parties should have teams scouring the Internet for any comment that could be ridiculed or if any offence could be taken from any interpretation.

That might result in Parliamentary funkstille but most of what MPs say that’s not raked over in social media is boring anyway.

Then the social media warriors and MPs with too little positive to do would have to interpret things that weren’t said but that wouldn’t make much difference to a lot of what happens now.

UK & Europe

Topics about the UK, EU and Europe.

UK-EU


The Syrian missile attacks have blown up UK-Russian relations.

Guardian: Russia hits back at UK and Boris Johnson over cancelled Moscow visit

Russian officials have launched a scathing attack on the UK over Boris Johnson’s decision to cancel an upcoming trip to Moscow due to increased tensions about Syria, threatening to bring relations to a new low.

The foreign secretary faced criticism at home and abroad on Sunday for postponing the visit, prompting his allies to say critics had put “polls and politics above sorting out a civil war”.

With the repercussions continuing from last week’s chemical weapons attack on civilians in Khan Sheikhun and a retaliatory US strike on a Syrian government airbase, the Russian foreign ministry and embassy in London belittled Britain’s role in the crisis.

The move showed a “fundamental misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the events in Syria, Russia’s efforts to settle that crisis and the general objectives of diplomacy”, the Russian foreign ministry said. “The decision to call off Johnson’s visit to Moscow confirms once again doubts in the presence of added value in speaking to the UK, which does not have its own position on the majority of present-day issues, nor does it have real influence on the course of international affairs, as it remains ‘in the shadow’ of its strategic partners. We do not feel that we need dialogue with London any more than it does.”

Russia’s embassy in London, meanwhile, said it was “deplorable” that Johnson felt unable to meet his counterpart Sergei Lavrov. It tweeted mocking polls, including one that sought views on Donald Trump “as a wartime leader and Johnson as his lieutenant”.

Not a good sign.

A war of tweets is a new way to carry out international insults diplomacy – Trump already has a legacy.

The threats of President by Twitter

Just as well Robert  Muldoon didn’t have Twitter, he meddled and tried to manage a lot of things himself, and the country ended up nearly going broke.

However Donald Trump seems to be trying to influence a lot of things via Twitter.

ODT: Trump threatens border tax on GM

President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to impose a “big border tax” on General Motors Co for making some of its Chevrolet Cruze compact cars in Mexico, an arrangement the largest American automaker defended as part of its strategy to serve global customers, not sell them in the United States.

Trump’s comments on Tuesday marked his latest broadside aimed at an American company over jobs, imports and costs before he takes office on January 20, signaling an uncommon degree of intervention for an incoming US president into corporate affairs.

“General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to US car dealers-tax free across border. Make in USA. or pay big border tax!” Trump said in a post on Twitter.

Trump did not provide further details but previously vowed to hit companies that shift production from America to other countries with a 35% tax on their exports into the US. He also has denounced the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada.

If he taxes US companies for manufacturing offshore for international markets he will make some of them uncompetitive, and it will impact on their viability in the domestic market.

That’s a significant potential threat to the US economy.

President by Twitter could be a bigger threat.

Blog moderation and hypocrisy

There’s been a bit of a spat on Twitter about lack of moderation at Kiwiblog, with a number of people joining criticism of David Farrar’s hands off approach to moderation.

It’s well known that Kiwiblog comments can at times get very abusive. I’ve commented there a lot in the past and often confronted the worse of the abuse, and have been abused and lied about there quite a lot, sometimes in reactions to confronting them. Several times I reported abuse to DPF, and on one occasion  I had him remove defamatory comments, which he did as soon as I contacted him.

I have also been subjected to a lot of abuse and mob attacks at The Standard, and have been banned from there several times for confronting some of that.

So I was a bit bemused when Stephanie Rodgers joined in put me up alongside Farrar in the Twitter spat.

SRTwitterModeration.jpg

There’s a bunch of irony and hypocrisy in that.

King Kong is a regular abusive figure on NZ blogs. Yet you never see them on mine, because – radical – I moderate them.

Yes she does ‘moderate’. But one person’s moderation can be another person’s message control or even censorship.

Bloggers like DPF and Pete George want to pretend it’s hard to moderate out abuse, and it simply isn’t.

Rodgers has made that up about me. It can be easy to moderate out abuse.

What is difficult is getting the balance right between enabling and allowing free speech and free discussion but minimising abuse and personal attacks.

It can be particularly difficult to keep their own views and disagreements separate from moderation.

Likening my moderation to DPF’s  shows quite a degree of ignorance.

DPF’s moderation is very hands off. He relies on people reporting abuse to him, and rarely engages in comments threads. With the number of comments at Kiwiblog it would be a huge job to vet each one.

I am actively involved in moderation here as much as time allows. I actively discourage abuse and act on it whenever I see fit. It isn’t required often, apart from the occasional burst from individuals, because the regulars here understand my aims and support and help achieving a reasonable balance between robust comment and debate but avoiding personal attacks.

It’s imperfect, and it is hard, nigh on impossible, to please all of the commenters all of the time. But it moderation is a continual effort for improving the commenting environment.

You just have to give a damn about not publishing pointles personal attacks – instead of actively encouraging them.

This looks like blind hypocrisy from Rodgers. As has been noted here in the weekend there was a typical mob attack on me at The Standard in the weekend, starting here.

That not only involved abuse, it was an obvious attempt to discredit, shut down, shout down and get me banned by someone some of the numpties there – a number of familiar names.

And Rodgers joined in. That’s a form of active encouragement.

For people like Rodgers moderation seems to be a tool to shut down comment they disagree with and shut out people they don’t like, but to allow attacks when it suits their prejudices and agendas.

it helps not to nurture a commenter base made entirely of deplorables.

But then who would comment on DPF’s obvious flamebait?

Rodgers seems to be blind to the culture of the commentariat she is a part of at The Standard, where flamebait and deplorable abuse are allowed by moderators like her.

Twitter clamping down on trolls

Twitter has announced that they have decided to clamp down harder on trolls, and at the same time have permanently banned a high profile abuser. This is an overdue toughening up, as Twitter had establish an unenviable reputation as an unsafe place.

A lot has been written about the problems. From Why some people choose to take on their Twitter trolls:

Twitter has an abuse problem — one that has been documented over, and over, and over again. For years now, choosing to have an opinion on social media is to be forced to decide how much time and emotional space to give others.

Some stand up to the bullies and abusers, but this can be challenging when dealing with anonymous cowards. Others simply give up and go elsewhere, and that may be a flood that Twitter is trying to stem.

Buzzfeed News: Twitter Permanently Suspends Conservative Writer Milo Yiannopoulos

The move comes less than a day after the notorious internet troll led a tweeted harassment campaign against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones.

Twitter has banned one of its most notoriously contentious voices. On Tuesday evening, the microblogging service permanently suspended the account of conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, a day after he incited his followers to bombard Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones with racist and demeaning tweets.

“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter,” a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News. “But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”

Yiannopoulos, who currently serves as Breitbart’s tech editor, has been hailed as a voice of the new “alt-right” movement. As such, he has made a living as a provocateur, continually inflaming tensions between progressive branches of the internet focused on identity politics and the fervently anti-PC segment that constantly trolls it.

For years, Yiannopoulous has used Twitter not only to voice his controversial opinions, but to direct his legion of followers (388,042 at the time of this writing) toward his opponents. As a result, he’s been temporarily banned from Twitter a number of times for violating its terms of service and stripped of his verified status.

But this week he went too far. According to Twitter, it was Yiannopoulos who led theharassment campaign against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones — an effort that inspired the SNL cast member to leave Twitter. The barrage of tweets, many of which decried Jones for being black and a woman, were the final straw for Twitter, which is working to try to solve its harassment problem.

I’ve been the target of ongoing harassment and abuse myself. Most people probably don’t dig their toes in and refuse to be driven off as strongly as me, quite understandably.

It won’t be easy changing the cultures of abuse that have established themselves on Twitter.

Many people seem to think that the Internet generally and services like Twitter give them an unfettered opportunity to be arseholes who aim to shut others up and drive them away. Like Yiannopoulos:

According to the company, Yiannopoulos’s permanent suspension isn’t a matter of speech as much as a matter of behavior — specifically, a violation of Twitter’s rulesregarding the targeted abuse of specific users.

“They made a very dumb decision right before I had the eyes of the world media on me. I think they’re going to come to regret it,” he said. “Anyone who believes in free speech was sent a very powerful message today, which is that you’re not welcome on Twitter.”

If Twitter do it right then it will be people like Yiannopoulos, who misuse their power and gangs of bullies and other people’s online facilities,  who are not welcome any more on Twitter.

“With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives.”

Abusive arses are the cowards who bring no-go zones on themselves.

And those who act responsibility will have more freedom to speak without risking being targeted and harassed by trolls.

But the test of whether Twitter is serious about cleaning things up is how they react to less high profile abuses that go on.