With the midterms just a day away I thought it might be a good time to bring up a topic that really doesn’t get much media attention as it should. Whoever you were going to vote for or have voted for in the past was probably because of some key areas you sided with your candidate. The public usually chooses candidate based on the issues that matter to them. If an election team can show you in comparison to another candidate’s their likability in certain areas that are also coextensive to yours than you more likely to vote in favor of the person whose interests you share. Simple, right? No one doubts the polls and charts and graphs that are totally accredited.
The agency GCHQ according to The Intercept has tools that can manipulate internet traffic and spread preselected messages across social media. Documents provided by Edward Snowden show how GCHQ has the ability to plant false stories and accusations into the internet , tweaking the results of online polls, inflating pageview counts, and censoring videos that are deemed extremists.The information provided below was provided by ZDNet:
— Astral Projection: Remote GSM secure covert Internet proxy using TOR hidden service
— Poison Arrow: Safe malware download capability
— Airwolf: YouTube profile, comment and video collection tool
— Birdstrike: Twitter monitoring and profile collection
— Glassback: The technique of getting a target’s ISP address by pretending to be a spammer and pinging them; the target does not need to answer
— Miniature Hero: Active Skype capability; a provision of real-time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) as well as bidirectional instant messaging and contact lists
— Photon Torpedo: Technique to actively grab the ISP address of an MSN messenger user
— Spring-Bishop: Finding private photos of targets on Facebook
— Bomb Bay: The ability to increase hits to websites, thereby increasing rankings
— Burlesque: The ability to send spoofed SMS messages
— Gestator: The amplification of a given message, usually a video, on popular multimedia sites like YouTube
— Scrapheap Challenge: An amazing tool used to spoof emails from Blackberry targets
— Sunblock: The capability to deny functionality to send/receive email or view material online
— Underpass: This can change the outcome of online polls (it was previously known as Nubilo)
— Warpath: The mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations (PSYOPS) campaign
— Husk: A secure, one-on-one web-based dead drop message platform
The document then quotes: “fully operational, tested and reliable,” adding, “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.” Further, the document notes: “We only advertise tools here that are either ready to fire or very close to being ready.”
In 2012 Facebook increased the number of hard news feeds at the top of almost 2 million of its users. This was done three months prior to Election Day. As a result, voter turnout and engagement was at an all time high. There was an experiment based on adding the “I’m Voting” button to a user’s feed. Out of the 61 million users, a group of 600,000 users were shown the button, but not the info if their friends had voted and the results they found were that 20 percent of the users who saw their friends using the I voted button also would use the button as opposed to 18% who didn’t get the I voted message from their friends. The study also concluded that Facebook increased voter turnout 340,000 of .14 percent of the total voting age population in 2010.
9 million people clicked on the button on election day back in 2012. There are no stats on the effect of Facebook on the election turnout,but it did introduce another kind of polling. Academics and Facebook scientists revealed that they altered the emotional content of 700,000 users news feeds. The data showed that the user would likely post four more negative words per 10,000 written after one positive post was removed from their feed. The public should be fearful since Facebook can use algorithms and data to manipulate people in ways they don’t understand. Sociologist Zeynep Tufecki calls this learning how to “engineer the public” without public knowledge. There are not protocols in place for Facebook to be transparent so these tactics may have already played out in past elections and upcoming ones as well.
Statistics can be made up on the spot. 86% to be exact, according to truthpizza.org and the other 24% can be misleading. It seems that the sampling can play a huge role in statistical manipulation. If you take five people and ask them about Barack Obama and they have really nothing flattering to say about the current President of the United States then based on those five people a poll can say Barack is not well liked. What I didn’t tell you is that these five “random” people were chosen based on their bias views on the President. They were pre-selected based on their past voting behavior which was most likely conservative republican, who voted against Barack in the past. So don’t let the polls fool you. Another concern is about generalization in statistical polls. Some false generalizations may come from a stat that is used when, for example, ask another 5 random people (for real random this time) and you find out of the 5, 3 people think education is the most important issue in the election. Based on that it would be safe to assume that a majority of the whole out of the pool you sampled from also think education is the most important issue, when in fact it could have been number three on the list. See how that works!!!!
We also have to take into account poll questions that can be misleading as well. If I ask you, “Do you think it’s fair to increase taxes to help the moochers get more in welfare money? Hmmm, what would say? Suppose I asked you the same question this way. “Do you think it’s fair to increase taxes to help the homeless, veterans, disabled and less fortunate? What answer would you say now? Get my point? So clearly it’s how the questions are asked that makes a difference. Another way would be asking multiple questions from one side of an argument, then asking the poll responder about the same issue. This can also influence poll responses favorably or unfavorably.
It can also be misleading using factual information. How can that happen? Let me explain If tell you taste testers say an increasing number of people believe Burger King has the best tasting french fries. Then, someone else says there’s an increasing number of people who believe Wendy’s has the best tasting french fries. You might think, both can’t be true, wrong. If I increase the survey responders than the original than poll before me and notice a 30% increase in survey size and they both have a noticeable difference in size of people who like their product it’s a win win for both fast food companies. You also take this group of stats.
January $ .76
February $ .54
March $ .51
April $ .63
May $ .80
June $ .91
July $ .76
You could easily say from March to June the prices jumped from .51 to .91 cents or an increase of 78%… Zooooinks!!!!! That’s a lot. If you include the whole, you’ll find that there is no increase. Other, aversion, you need to look at is if someone points out a ranking, such as he’s the second highest paid actor in Hollywood. They never really state that if an actor get revenue from the film alone or has a hand in writing it as well or producing the film. Watch those ranking stats. If I say Tupac was the greatest musical artist to come out of California. You might take me seriously since I said musical artist, but there many more types of musical artist than just hip hop. Qualifiers can be misleading as well. Last using percentages instead of actual number can work for or against the narrative. If I say 27 urban males were killed this year due to violence in my town. If I say 6% of urban males in my town were killed due to violence you can sense the difference. Now what if I said that the time span for the measurement was over ten yrs, doesn’t that alter the polls?
The moral of the story is that these polls and statistics we put emphasis on can be misleading.
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