DeVos at Education Says CommonCore is Dead, Sorta

Fake news should also include news that is not reported unless you go find it as cable news such as CNN does not cover it.

In the case of education, there has been some significant success, CommonCore is dead, at least at the agency. But there is still a privacy concern as well as legislation on the databases dealing with students and families.

HR4174​ ​is another federal bill that will weaken parental ​and citizen ​authority and give the federal government flexibility to gather any data on any citizen on any topic they want, to answer their desired policy questions.

HR4174 was developed in response to the report by the Commission on Evidence-Based Policy-making (CEP). The justification is to monitor the effectiveness of federal programs, ​however no evidence is provided to:

  • ​      demonstrate that the federal government has the capacity to use evidence in policy development
  •       demonstrate the federal government has the capacity to protect personal data
  •    ​   demonstrate the federal government has the capacity to collect data accurately in the first place

Cradle to grave….does the Department of Education address this as CommonCore is dead?

Image result for common core photo

Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”

She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency.

DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared,” she said.

And she touched on a favorite topic, school choice.

“Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms,” she said. “It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.”

It was a long speech so I have edited it a bit here:

By Betsy DeVos

To a casual observer, a classroom today looks scarcely different than what one looked like when I entered the public policy debate thirty years ago…The vast majority of learning environments have remained the same since the industrial revolution, because they were made in its image. Think of your own experience: sit down; don’t talk; eyes front. Wait for the bell. Walk to the next class. Repeat. Students were trained for the assembly line then, and they still are today.

Our societies and economies have moved beyond the industrial era. But the data tell us education hasn’t.

The most recent Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, report, with which you are all familiar, has the U.S. ranked 23rd in reading, 25th in science and 40th in math. And, you know this too: it’s not for a lack of funding. The fact is the United States spends more per pupil than most other developed countries, many of which perform better than us in the same surveys.

Of course there have been many attempts to change the status quo. We’ve seen valiant efforts to improve education from Republicans and Democrats, liberals, conservatives and everyone in between.

The bottom line is simple: federal education reform efforts have not worked as hoped.

That’s not a point I make lightly or joyfully. Yes, there have been some minor improvements in a few areas. But we’re far from where we need to be. We need to be honest with ourselves. The purpose of today’s conversation is to look at the past with 20/20 hindsight, examine what we have done and where it has – or hasn’t – led us.

With No Child Left Behind, the general consensus among federal policymakers was that greater accountability would lead to better schools. Highlighting America’s education woes had become an American pastime, and, they thought, surely if schools were forced to answer for their failures, students would ultimately be better off.

President Bush, the “compassionate conservative,” and Senator Kennedy, the “liberal lion,” both worked together on the law. It said that schools had to meet ambitious goals… or else. Lawmakers mandated that 100 percent of students attain proficiency by 2014. This approach would keep schools accountable and ultimately graduate more and better-educated students, they believed.

Turns out, it didn’t. Indeed, as has been detailed today, NCLB did little to spark higher scores. Universal proficiency, touted at the law’s passage, was not achieved. As states and districts scrambled to avoid the law’s sanctions and maintain their federal funding, some resorted to focusing specifically on math and reading at the expense of other subjects. Others simply inflated scores or lowered standards.

Where the Bush administration emphasized NCLB’s stick, the Obama administration focused on carrots. They recognized that states would not be able to legitimately meet the NCLB’s strict standards. Secretary Duncan testified that 82 percent of the nation’s schools would likely fail to meet the law’s requirements — thus subjecting them to crippling sanctions.

The Obama administration dangled billions of dollars through the “Race to the Top” competition, and the grant-making process not so subtly encouraged states to adopt the Common Core State Standards. With a price tag of nearly four and a half billion dollars, it was billed as the “largest-ever federal investment in school reform.” Later, the Department would give states a waiver from NCLB’s requirements so long as they adopted the Obama administration’s preferred policies — essentially making law while Congress negotiated the reauthorization of ESEA.

Unsurprisingly, nearly every state accepted Common Core standards and applied for hundreds of millions of dollars in “Race to the Top” funds. But despite this change, the United States’ PISA performance did not improve in reading and science, and it dropped in math from 2012 to 2015.

Then, rightly, came the public backlash to federally imposed tests and the Common Core. I agree – and have always agreed – with President Trump on this: “Common Core is a disaster.” And at the U.S. Department of Education, Common Core is dead.

On a parallel track, the Obama administration’s School Improvement Grants sought to fix targeted schools by injecting them with cash. The total cost of that effort was seven billion dollars.

One year ago this week, the Department’s Institute of Education Sciences released a report on what came of all that spending. It said: “Overall, across all grades, we found that implementing any SIG-funded model had no significant impacts on math or reading test scores, high school graduation, or college enrollment.”

There we have it: billions of dollars directed at low-performing schools had no significant impact on student achievement.

So where does that leave us? We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared.

Throughout both initiatives, the result was a further damaged classroom dynamic between teacher and student, as the focus shifted from comprehension to test-passing. This sadly has taken root, with the American Federation of Teachers recently finding that 60 percent of its teachers reported having moderate to no influence over the content and skills taught in their own classrooms.

Let that sink in. Most teachers feel they have little – if any — say in their own classrooms.

That statistic should shock even the most ardent sycophant of “the system.” It’s yet another reason why we should shift power over classrooms from Washington back to teachers who know their students well.

Federal mandates distort what education ought to be: a trusting relationship between teacher, parent and student.

Ideally, parent and teacher work together to help a child discover his or her potential and pursue his or her passions. When we seek to empower teachers, we must empower parents as well. Parents are too often powerless in deciding what’s best for their child. The state mandates where to send their child. It mandates what their child learns and how he or she learns it. In the same way, educators are constrained by state mandates. District mandates. Building mandates… all kinds of other mandates! Educators don’t need Washington mandating their teaching on top of everything else.

But during the years covered in your volume, the focus was the opposite: more federal government intrusion into relationships between teachers, parents and children.

First, we need to recognize that the federal government’s appropriate role is not to be the nation’s school board. My role is not to be the national superintendent nor the country’s “choice chief” – regardless of what the union’s “Chicken Littles” may say! Federal investments in education, after all, are less than 10 percent of total K-12 expenditures, but the burdens created by federal regulations in education amount to a much, much larger percentage.

The Every Student Succeeds Act charted a path in a new direction. ESSA takes important steps to return power where it belongs by recognizing states – not Washington — should shape education policy around their own people. But state lawmakers should also resist the urge to centrally plan education. “Leave it to the states” may be a compelling campaign-season slogan, but state capitols aren’t exactly close to every family either. That’s why states should empower teachers and parents and provide the same flexibility ESSA allows states.

But let’s recognize that many states are now struggling with what comes next. State ESSA plans aren’t the finish line. Those words on paper mean very little if state and local leaders don’t seize the opportunity to truly transform education. They must move past a mindset of compliance and embrace individual empowerment.

Under ESSA, school leaders, educators and parents have the latitude and freedom to try new approaches to serve individual students.

My message to them is simple: do it!

Embrace the imperative to do something truly bold… to challenge the status quo… to break the mold.

One important way to start this process is to make sure that parents get the information they want and need about the performance of their children’s schools and teachers. ESSA encourages states to be transparent about how money is spent, down to the school-building level.

Some states have developed information that is truly useful for parents and teachers. Others have worked just as hard to obfuscate what is really going on at their schools. To empower parents, policymakers and teachers, we can’t let “the system” hide behind complexity to escape accountability.

We must always push for better.

ESSA is a good step in the right direction. But it’s just that – a step. We still find ourselves boxed in a “system,” one where we are in a constant battle to move the ball between the 40-yard lines of a football field. Nobody scores, and nobody wins. Students are left bored in the bleachers, and many leave, never to return.

So why don’t we consider whether we need a new playbook?

That brings me to point number two. And, to finish the analogy… let’s call a new play: empowering parents.

Equal access to a quality education should be a right for every American and every parent should have the right to choose how their child is educated. Government exists to protect those rights, not usurp them.

So let’s face it: the opponents of parents could repeal every voucher law, close every charter school, and defund every choice program across the country.

But school choice still wouldn’t go away. There would still be school choices… for the affluent and the powerful.

Let’s empower the forgotten parents to decide where their children go to school. Let’s show some humility and trust all parents to know their kids’ needs better than we do.

Let’s trust teachers, too. Let’s encourage them to innovate, to create new options for students. Not just with public charter schools or magnet schools or private schools, but within the traditional “system” and with new approaches yet to be explored.

What we’ve been doing isn’t serving all kids well. Let’s unleash teachers to help solve the problem.

You know, I’ve never heard it claimed that giving parents more options is bad for mom and dad. Or for the child. What you hear is that it’s bad for “the system” – for the school building, the school system, the funding stream.

That argument speaks volumes about where Chicken Little’s priorities lie.

Our children deserve better than the 19th century assembly-line approach. They deserve learning environments that are agile, relevant, exciting. Every student deserves a customized, self-paced, and challenging life-long learning journey. Schools should be open to all students – no matter where they’re growing up or how much their parents make.

That means no more discrimination based upon zip code or socio-economic status. All means all.

It’s about educational freedom! Freedom from Washington mandates. Freedom from centralized control. Freedom from a one-size-fits-all mentality. Freedom from “the system.”

Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms.

It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.

Which leads to my final point: if America’s students are to be prepared, we must rethink school.

What I propose is not another top-down, federal government policy that promises to be a silver bullet. No. We need a paradigm shift, a fundamental reorientation… a rethink.

“Rethink” means we question everything to ensure nothing limits a student from pursuing his or her passion, and achieving his or her potential. So each student is prepared at every turn for what comes next.

It’s past time to ask some of the questions that often get labeled as “non-negotiable” or just don’t get asked at all:

Why do we group students by age?

Why do schools close for the summer?

Why must the school day start with the rise of the sun?

Why are schools assigned by your address?

Why do students have to go to a school building in the first place?

Why is choice only available to those who can buy their way out? Or buy their way in?

Why can’t a student learn at his or her own pace?

Why isn’t technology more widely embraced in schools?

Why do we limit what a student can learn based upon the faculty and facilities available?


Now, I don’t have all the answers or policy prescriptions. No one person does. But people do know how to help their neighbors. People do know how they can help a dozen students here or 100 there. Because they know the students. They know their home lives. They know their communities. They know their parents. They know each other.

I’m well aware that change — the unknown – can be scary. That talk of fundamentally rethinking our approach to education seems impossible, insurmountable.

But not changing is scarier. Stagnation creates risks of its own. The reality is… we should be horrified of not changing.

What do you Know About H.R. 4174?

Conservatives declared that CommonCore was bad for education and needed to be terminated in all states. Sadly, in many cases it was just renamed.

Are you fine with social engineering in education? Are you good with peer to peer teaching? Are you aware of the changing syllabus and use of textbooks? Did you know the data on you, the family and the student is being collected from pre-Kindergarten all the way through entry into the workforce? How about medical and personal data being sold to third parties for a profit without your knowledge or approval? Can you opt out? Nope.

It appears the government believes it now owns individual military data, IRS data, Census data, and all citizen-level data in any federal agency. One exception to this ownership assumption exists in medical data, which as defined and protected by HIPPA, belongs to the patient (or their guardian).  However, medical data is “leaking” into other data streams such as education data. This blurs the lines for HIPPA protections and allows medical information to become part of the integrated, government data system.

USPIE’s primary mission is to close the U.S. Department of Education, repeal all federal education mandates and return control of education to parents and local communities.  Our efforts include protecting the privacy of student data from government-directed collection, integration, and sharing. Big data is big business and America’s children are not for sale. More here.

Do you as a taxpayer have a voice in this legislation? Are there are protections to the data regarding you?

So, what is P20W anyway?

Data governance is both an organizational process and a structure. It establishes
responsibility for data, organizing program area/agency staff to collaboratively and
continuously improve data quality through the systematic creation and enforcement of
policies, roles, responsibilities, and procedures. Data governance is necessary for creating
clear roles and responsibilities for each member of the project team.
This document relates to P-20W or interagency data governance rather than K12 or
intra-agency data governance. While there are many similarities in structure and process
between inter- and intra-agency data governance, there are key differences. For example,
among the various P-20W agencies, there are varying security requirements, data uses,
reporting requirements, and timelines. There is also a different, broader research agenda at
the P-20W level. (See Figures 1 and 2, next page, for depictions of single agency vs. P-20W
data governance structures.)
When data governance is effectively established, the quality of data collected, reported, and
used by state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs)—as well as early childhood,
postsecondary, and other agencies (Department of Labor, Department of Health, etc.)—
is enhanced; staff burden is reduced; and communication, collaboration, and relationships
with the various agencies, information technology (IT) staff, and program areas are
It is also a grant program to the States. Read the document here.
There is also an annual summit, a data summit.
Scrolling through this document as it relates to P20W is actually terrifying. The Department of Education is collaborating with the Department of Labor and the entire student education history and behavior is recorded including that of the family of record and will stay in a data system for decades…
Simply scroll here to see how the data is collected, where it originates and how it is used and shared. People in government and private enterprise that don’t know you are scoring behavior and psychology of the entire family structure but is that a good thing? Hardly.

H.R. 4174 was introduced by Congressman Paul Ryan and co-sponsored by Trey Gowdy. Yep…believe it. What is really shady is the legislation was not in the education committee…

Note the following:

Sponsor: Rep. Ryan, Paul D. [R-WI-1] (Introduced 10/31/2017)
Committees: House – Oversight and Government Reform | Senate – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee Reports: H. Rept. 115-411
Latest Action: Senate – 11/16/2017 Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  (All Actions)

California: 200,000 Acres and Epic Homelessness

Just how more twisted can it all get in California? Anyone heard from Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior lately?

AP: Homelessness is not a new issue to America’s West Coast. But it’s getting worse – much worse.

On any given night, more than 105,000 people are sleeping unsheltered in some of the country’s biggest and trendiest metropolises, driven there by soaring housing costs, rental vacancy rates that rival those in Manhattan and a booming tech economy that’s leaving thousands behind. Another 63,000 are sleeping in shelters or transitional housing with no safety net.

The rising numbers have pushed abject poverty into the open like never before.

San Diego now scrubs its sidewalks with bleach to counter a deadly hepatitis A outbreak that has spread to other cities and forced California to declare a state of emergency. In Anaheim, home to Disneyland, 400 people sleep along a bike path in the shadow of Angel Stadium. Organizers in Portland, Oregon, lit incense at a recent outdoor food festival to mask the stench of urine in a parking lot where vendors set up shop.

All along the coast, elected officials are scrambling for solutions .

“It’s a sea of humanity crashing against services, and services at this point are overwhelmed, literally overwhelmed,” said Jeremy Lemoine, who works for a Seattle nonprofit that provides various forms of assistance to the homeless. “It’s catastrophic.” The photo gallery is here.

SEATTLE (AP) — Housing prices are soaring here thanks to the tech industry, but the boom comes with a consequence: A surge in homelessness marked by 400 unauthorized tent camps in parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. The liberal city is trying to figure out what to do.

Public health is at risk, several cities have declared states of emergency, and cities and counties are spending millions — in some cases billions — in a search for solutions. Organizers in Portland lit incense at an outdoor food festival to cover up the stench of urine in a parking lot where vendors set up shop.

They have no running water and no propane for the cook stove. They go to the bathroom in a bucket and dump it behind a nearby business.

After four months, the stench of human waste inside the RV is overwhelming. They are exhausted, scared and defeated, with no solution in sight.

“Between the two of us a month, we get $1,440 in disability,” he said. “We can’t find a place for that.”

Voters have approved more than $8 billion in spending since 2015 on affordable housing and other anti-homelessness programs, mostly as tax increases. Los Angeles voters, for example, approved $1.2 billion to build 10,000 units of affordable housing to address a homeless population that’s reached 34,000 people within city limits.

Jeremy Lemoine, an outreach case manager with REACH in Seattle, called it the situation a refugee crisis.

*** So, what role does the Department of Fish and Wildlife along with the Department of Interior play in this homelessness at least in California?

Seeking to free up about 200,000 acres from Ventura County to San Diego for housing, a group representing property owners, homebuilders and others has filed a lawsuit seeking to loosen the endangered species status for the coastal California gnatcatcher.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday, Nov. 2, by the Pacific Legal Foundation, asks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a fair review of scientific evidence that has emerged casting doubt on the rarity of the bird. More here.

*** So we have this bird, a gnatcatcher that is getting in the way of housing and property rights at least in parts of California. Yup, you read that right. There is a lawsuit underway and honestly, it has been a legal issues for decades….yes….decades.


Remember that Delta Smelt, that little fish that was destroying farming in California? (A case that is in fact still an issue in 2017) Now we have a bird, that is not an endangered species that is hurting property owners and the entire construction and housing industry in California.

Wonder if those homeless know about that gnatcatcher…

Tech Companies Regulate Free Speech, are they a Utility?

When social media sites like Google, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter terminate accounts over  subjective decisions due to ‘offensive’ material, there is very little the user can do to fight back. Most users complain among themselves and give up the fight immediately. Others file a challenge and the success rate is slim.

So, social media tech companies are privately owned except for Google and Google should be made to answer when it comes to videos that are moved from YouTube.

Related reading: How to Break Silicon Valley’s Anti-Free-Speech Monopoly


The left, the liberals and the Marxists launched a 1st Amendment battle that few are set to confront to our own peril.Frankly there should be congressional hearings where these tech company officials should be required to answer on the record just how and why these random decisions are made. Further, if a tech company regulates free speech and content, they are self described as utility companies….agree?


There are some reasonably strong arguments that the biggest online services today are similar to traditional public utilities due to their high market share, network effects, and difficulty for consumers to live without the service.  On the other hand, the old public utility approach to regulation had numerous flaws, and does not adapt readily to high-innovation markets where competition is typically based on factors other than price.

Rather than fitting public utility models for electricity or airline pricing, the emerging calls for regulation bear a closer resemblance to some of the Federal Communications Commission’s past efforts to use its public utility authority to regulate television content. The growing calls for online services to take down ISIS and other terrorist communications can be seen as an update to the FCC’s prohibitions on profanity (George Carlin’s “seven dirty words”) and broader historical efforts to prohibit indecent content.  The calls for limits on fake news can similarly start to resemble a modern-day Fairness Doctrine, where “fake news” is unfair and blocked, while “real news” is fair and goes out to viewers.    Read more here from Lawfare.

We do have a champion on this argument…..

PragerU — the educational video outfit founded by conservative commentator Dennis Prager in 2011 — is suing YouTube and its parent company Google for unlawful censorship and free speech discrimination.

Prager said in a statement that his company believes the internet giants are trying to squelch “conservative political thought” by restricting access to or demonetizing PragerU videos.

How did this all start?

  • PragerU CEO Marissa Streit told TheBlaze that college students began contacting PragerU in the summer of 2016 saying they couldn’t view some of the outfit’s videos on campus browsers.
  • That’s when PragerU discovered that YouTube subjected the videos to “restricted mode” filtering.
  • Streit said at first YouTube didn’t respond to PragerU’s information requests — but after a ton of people signed a petition and the issue began hitting the news cycle, YouTube finally started answering.
  • This summer, she said, YouTube indicated it had reviewed the videos in question and determined they should be restricted as “inappropriate” for younger viewers or demonetized — which means PragerU loses advertising revenue.
  • The explanations for the decision were vague and included continued referrals to YouTube’s community guidelines, which Streit said are so broad that they amount to “we can do whatever we want.”

How about an example?

  • The suit said Google/YouTube told PragerU the videos “Why Isn’t Communism as Hated as Nazism?” and “What’s Holding the Arab World Back?” were placed in Restricted Mode because they purportedly discussed “hate and genocide” and “terrorism and genocide,” respectively.
  • “No further explanation as to what language constituted an inappropriate discussion of ‘hate and genocide’ or ‘terrorism and genocide’ was given,” the suit read.
  • Following rebuff after rebuff, PragerU brought the suit Monday in U.S. District Court, asking for monetary damages and an end to the censorship.

What did YouTube/Google have to say?

  • Google on Tuesday didn’t immediately reply to TheBlaze’s request for comment on the matter.

Which PragerU videos have been affected?

  • PragerU made a list of nearly 40 videos that YouTube restricted — and many of them also have been demonetized, the suit says. The total number of videos that have been restricted or demonetized is about 50, Streit said.
  • Among the restricted videos are “Why America Must Lead,” “The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,” “Why Did America Fight the Korean War,” and “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.”


  • Of course, less controversial videos like the clip on forgiveness have been left alone, she said:


  • “It looks like it’s the videos they don’t agree with ideologically,” Streit told TheBlaze.
  • And since PragerU’s charter includes a commitment to reach young people with its conservative message, the censorship hurts all the more, she added.
  • For noted Harvard Law Professor Alan Derschowitz — who spoke on a PragerU video on the legal founding of Israel — the fact that YouTube restricted his clip was unsettling.
  • Streit recalled getting a phone call from Dershowitz in which he asked, “Does YouTube think our content is pornographic?”

  • In fact, she said, there’s “no profanity, nudity or otherwise inappropriate ‘mature’ content” in PragerU videos, which “fully comply with YouTube’s user guidelines.”

How has PragerU been impacted?

  • Streit told TheBlaze it isn’t as though PragerU has tens of thousands of videos in its library — there are only about 250, she said.
  • Therefore when 50 or so are restricted or demonetized — a fifth of its total catalogue — that’s a significant portion.
  • Streit added to TheBlaze that PragerU is in the process of determining how much ad revenue it has lost due to demonetization — but she mentioned a couple of other disturbing revelations found along the way.
  • She said YouTube “copycats” have taken videos restricted on PragerU’s YouTube page, uploaded them on their personal pages — and voila: the videos weren’t restricted anymore.
  • Streit told TheBlaze that means the issue isn’t a global algorithm but a concerted effort by YouTube to “specifically” target PragerU videos.
  • What’s more, she said those “copycats” also are making ad money from PragerU clips.
  • Streit added that new PragerU videos are added Monday mornings and “within an hour they’re restricted.”

What does PragerU want?

  • “As the person who runs this organization, I want fair treatment,” Streit said. “I don’t want to be discriminated against. … Our hope is to make a correction that will lead to goodness.”
  • But in the end, the lawsuit isn’t about recouping lost ad revenue — it’s about taking a stand for freedom of speech and “for America.”
  • “Can you imagine what the wold would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?” Streit asked.
  • And right now Google/YouTube is “controlling one of the largest vehicles of information of all time,” she told TheBlaze — and their video censorship is “one of the most un-American things you can do.”
  • “We feel like this is an important cause to take on,” Streit added, knowing full well that comparatively tiny PragerU taking on behemoths like Google and YouTube is akin to David challenging Goliath.
  • But she said, “somebody has to fight Goliath.”

Here’s a look at another restricted PragerU clip:

Facebook Scrubbed Data, Possible Obstruction of Investigation

Related reading: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg meets with lawmakers investigating Russia-linked Facebook ads

Blame ‘crowdtangle’ among others. As noted on their site: ‘the easiest way to keep track of what’s happening of social media. Other sites such as meltwater broadcasts that they are ‘influencers’ and then leaderboards are created such that real or hoax operations become a trending topic.

Lots of fake news gets blamed on bloggers posing as official media outlets while quoting unnamed sources and rightly so. Some of those blogs are concoctions of Moscow while others websites repeated fake stories stoking issues and divisions within the United States from Russia media outlets such as Sputnik News and RT.

Facebook is the location of choice for millions to park links and fake items resulting in Facebook often being referred to as Fakebook.

Moscow, along with out social media tech software in the United States created algorithms that counted ‘likes and ‘shares’ which then manifested unreliable stories and questionable sources. These analytic tools have become the norm across the world and consequentially having credibility and reliance on issues or stories has fallen.

It all boils down to communication, collaboration, branding, feedback and scoring results. You are the sheep, money is made from your activity on social media with every keystroke and you don’t get paid a dime….secret financial extortion, meaning without your knowledge unless you read ALL the mice type. Facebook is a master and frankly a player where you are being punked.

This is yet another form of cyber-warfare….

Facebook scrubbed potentially damning Russia data before researchers could analyze it further

  • Facebook scrubbed thousands of posts shared during the 2016 campaign by accounts linked to Russia.
  • The removals came as a Columbia University researcher was examining their reach.
  • Facebook says the posts were removed to fix a glitch.

BI: Facebook removed thousands of posts shared during the 2016 election by accounts linked to Russia after a Columbia University social media researcher, Jonathan Albright, used the company’s data analytics tool to examine the reach of the Russian accounts.

Albright, who discovered the content had reached a far broader audience than Facebook initially acknowledged, told The Washington Post on Wednesday that the data had allowed him “to at least reconstruct some of the pieces of the puzzle” of Russia’s election interference.

“Not everything, but it allowed us to make sense of some of this thing,” he said.

Facebook confirmed that the posts had been removed, but said it was because the company had fixed a glitch in the analytics tool — called CrowdTangle — that Albright had used.

“We identified and fixed a bug in CrowdTangle that allowed users to see cached information from inactive Facebook Pages,” said Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman.

Facebook’s decision to remove the posts from public view raised questions about whether the company could be held liable for suppressing potential evidence, given its role in the wide-ranging investigation of Russia’s election interference.

Albright told Business Insider that “because this is clearly a legal and imminent justice-related matter, I can’t provide much critical insight at this stage.

“I feel like my 10 rounds with the $500 billion dollar tech juggernaut are over,” he said.

Legal experts and scholars on the subject say scrubbing the data Albright used for his research is Facebook’s prerogative as long as it isn’t knowingly removing content sought under a court order or by government request.

“If Facebook has no reason to think that it should retain the data (subpoena, court order), then it can make choices about what appears on its platform,” said Danielle Citron, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, where she teaches and writes about information privacy.

Citron said Facebook and other private tech companies have in the past argued, successfully, that they have free speech interests and enjoy immunity from liability for the content posted by their users — immunity that extends to their ability to remove it if it violates their terms of service.

Albert Gidari, the director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said it’s likely that Facebook has kept copies of “anything at issue as part of its preservation obligation” in light of special counsel Robert Mueller’s search warrant and the House and Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas.

Gidari said that because there hasn’t been any allegation against Facebook itself, the company has no obligation, absent a court order, to maintain information “that later may be evidence.”

But the question becomes more complicated when considering the ethical obligations of a company whose tools were exploited by a foreign adversary to try to influence a US election.

Gidari, for his part, said he doesn’t think “any platform has an independent or ethical obligation to run a research playground for third-party data analysts.”

But Tom Rubin, a lecturer at Stanford Law School, said that Facebook’s “credibility as a global social platform and its responsibility as an internet giant require it to fully embrace an independent, urgent and public review of the facts.”

“Facebook’s Russia predicament is of its own doing — it controls the platform, runs the ads, and profits mightily,” said Rubin, who previously served as the assistant US Attorney in New York heading investigations and prosecutions of computer crimes.

“The investigation here is as serious as it gets: illegal and hostile foreign influence on the US presidential election,” Rubin said. “The issue confronting Facebook is the extent to which it should commit to complete transparency, and the answer to that is straightforward.”

Citron agreed.

“For transparency’s sake and for our broader interest in our democracy, people should know the extent to which they have been played by the Russians and how a hostile state actor has interfered with, manipulated, and generally hacked our political process,” she said.

That is what Albright said was his mission when he downloaded the last 500 posts shared by six accounts that Facebook has confirmed were operating out of Russia. Those accounts — Blacktivists, Being Patriotic, Secured Borders,  Heart of Texas, LGBT United, and Muslims of America — were among the 470 pages Facebook shut down in September as part of its purge of “inauthentic accounts” linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency.

The data Albright obtained using CrowdTangle showed that the Russians’ reach far exceeded the number of Facebook users they were able to access with advertisements alone — content including memes, links, and other miscellaneous postings was shared over 340 million times between the six accounts.

The other 464 accounts closed by Facebook have not yet been made public. If they are, an analysis of their combined posts would likely reveal that their content was shared an estimated billions of times during the election.