Behind China’s viral curtain

first_imgThe Chinese government fakes 448 million social media posts a year in a strategy that seeks to create the appearance of “viral” outbursts of Web activity, according to a new study by Harvard data scientists.The posts appear under the names of apparently ordinary people, and aim to distract from topics related to actual or potential collective action, said Gary King, the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor, who carried out the research with two of his former graduate students: Jennifer Pan, now an assistant professor at Stanford University, and Margaret Roberts, an assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego.The researchers’ foundation was an analysis of a 2014 leak of emails to one county’s propaganda department. The team used this information to extrapolate countrywide and understand the content and purpose of the social media posts and the Chinese government’s strategy.The research shows that assumptions about the Chinese government’s tactics in this area are wrong, King said. The prevailing belief among journalists, academics, and activists, he said, has been that the government maintains an aggressive social media strategy that actively rebuts anti-government posts and tries to cast opponents, whether domestic or foreign, institutional or individual, in a negative light.In fact, such posts make up a tiny minority, the researchers found. Most qualify as “cheerleading”: praise for the government and items on revolutionary history, national holidays, and other patriotic themes. In short, King said, the government is trying to distract people, and defuse tension over fraught issues.The strategy makes sense, he said. The chance of changing minds through argument is remote; changing the subject is usually a more effective tack. “It’s the same strategy we use with our kids. We distract them: ‘Look at this shiny thing’ or ‘You have a good argument. Now let’s go out for ice cream,’” King said.The research, supported by the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, which King directs, grew out of an earlier project to analyze a tool created to automatically understand textual data from blogs, websites, and social media sites. After success in developing the methodology and analyzing English-language social media posts, King and his colleagues wanted to stress-test the tool’s limits. Since it was created in English, they decided to target a notoriously difficult language: Chinese.When the group examined the results, King realized that they somehow had been able to scrape social media posts that were subsequently censored by the Chinese government. They examined which posts were censored, finding that the government didn’t censor all critical posts, only those calling for protests and other collective action. In fact, it even censored posts calling for rallies in the government’s favor.The new work probes deeper into a sophisticated strategy that doesn’t seek to stifle all discontent, but instead focuses on discouraging on-the-ground action against the government.The findings also shed light on who’s behind the posts. Speculation has often centered on the so-called 50-cent party, thought to be a cadre of dedicated posters paid 50 cents — 8 cents U.S. — per post. But the research suggests that the 50-centers are regular government workers who author the posts without extra compensation, perhaps as an add-on to their everyday duties.The 2014 email leak, by an anonymous blogger, released an archive of all 2013 and 2014 emails to the account of Zhanggong District’s Internet Propaganda Office, which included numerous emails from workers claiming credit for completing their 50-cent posting assignments, as well as other communications.The archive’s size and the complexity of its content — it included screen shots, numerous attachments, different document formats, multiple email storage formats, and links to outside information — had been an obstacle to systematic analysis. King and colleagues devised a variety of procedures, some automated and some manual — such as hand coding — to categorize the content of the leaked messages.The researchers identified 43,797 fake social media posts as well as the accounts behind them. They expanded their analysis to all posts from those accounts — some 167,971 — and then analyzed the account characteristics to identify similar accounts nationwide. At each step, they developed novel data science to examine the content of the posts and found that the dominant category amounted to cheerleading, with some factual reporting along with innocuous praise and suggestions.Overall, the research estimates that the government fakes some 448 million social media posts a year, all written by humans without automation. While that may seem like a lot, about half are posted on official government sites; those posted to accounts on commercial sites amount to just one in every 178 on those accounts. Still, King said, the government’s strategy — coordinated bursts in response to specific calls for collective action — probably gives the posts an outsized effect.The research identified significant spikes in posts after the late June 2013 Shanshan riots; after the April 2014 Urumqi Railway Explosion; and around significant official events and holidays, such as Martyrs’ Day, Tomb-Sweeping Day, and the 18th Party Congress’s third plenary session.King said the ability to rise above background noise is what makes a viral strategy effective. Getting clued in to what others are talking about is a major reason people use social media in the first place, he pointed out.“That’s why you go to social media,” King said. “That’s what social media is. It’s likely this activity has a big effect. … What we do not know is the trajectory or ultimate outcome of the ongoing arms race between government efforts at information control and popular efforts at expression and collective action.”last_img read more

Mission Committee strives to improve faith and spirituality among Belles

first_imgThe Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) is composed of seven committees, each with its own respective responsibilities and areas of expertise. The Mission Committee strives to improve faith and spirituality among Belles, while maintaining a connection with the Sisters of the Holy Cross, sophomore committee chair Angela Martinez Camacho said in an email. In addition the committee is responsible for maintaining a relationship with Campus Ministry, vice president for mission Judy Fean and SGA as a whole, she said. As committee chair, one of Martinez Camacho’s largest responsibilities is to collaborate with SGA’s alumnae relations chair to plan and execute an annual Heritage Week. According to Martinez Camacho the Mission Committee differentiates itself from other committees by types of events it hosts. “This year we were motivated to collaborate with Campus Ministry for Bible study and offer meditation sessions,” she said. “We try to correlate with the main focus of the committee but generally strive to foster the sisterhood bond. Regardless, we want to give back to the students in recognition of their hard work and dedication to the school and their academics.”Kathleen Hannon, a first-year committee member, said the intimacy of the group is a blessing in disguise. “The Mission Committee is actually only three people, so we have all bonded since the committee is so small,” she said. “This has been really neat as we have created friendships that have allowed us to work better as a group.”Last month the Mission Committee sponsored the “Letters for Sisters” event during which students wrote a letter to a Sister of the Holy Cross. Martinez Camacho said the event had a high turnout rate from students. The committee is also responsible for hosting weekly meditation sessions in Regina North Lounge on Wednesday nights.“We encourage you to take a mid-week break to focus on yourself and wind down from stress,” Martinez Camacho said. Hannon added that it is rewarding to see people attend and enjoy the events. “The mission committee does a great job of bringing a source of light to campus,” she said. Despite the high reward of the events the committee’s largest challenge has been determining what they can and cannot do in light of the pandemic, Hannon said. When asked about the importance of the Mission Committee to the greater Saint Mary’s community, Martinez Camacho said, “We believe students should take the time to focus on their faith and spirituality.” Martinez Camacho also spoke to the Mission Committee’s objective to support both students and Sisters of the Holy Cross.“Mission is perfect for that because we offer opportunities to explore those aspects of life. It is one of our school’s core values,” she said. “And the Sisters play a huge role in our school; we have to show that we appreciate them and are thinking about them, especially in these difficult times.”The Mission Committee’s next event will take place in November.“We are so excited about the first of the month event: [a] sticker handout,” Martinez Camacho said. “We designed these cute stickers with a motivational quote to inspire Belles for November, as we enter the homestretch of the semester.”Tags: mission committee, Saint Mary’s SGA, Sisters of the Holy Crosslast_img read more

Northwestern Medical Center launches electronic medical record system

first_img— end– Northwestern Medical Center, Inc,Northwestern Medical Center (NMC) successfully went live with its new fully integrated electronic medical record and enterprise-wide computer system on October 1, 2010 in conjunction with the start of the hospital’s new fiscal year.According to Kelly Barland, NMC’s Chief Information Officer, the Meditech implementation has been on an aggressive nine month implementation schedule. The project earned final approval by the State of Vermont in December of 2009. During the first few weeks of live use, people seeking care at NMC may notice that registration may take a few extra minutes as staff become accustomed to the new system. In clinical areas, nurses, technologists, and other staff will be using more computerized devices to support patient care. For instance, if you are an inpatient, you will see nurses using tablet computers on rolling carts in your room to complete documentation on your care. Also, clinical staff will use handheld devices to scan bar-coded bracelets to help confirm your identity.‘The new electronic medical record allows nurses and doctors to have all of the patient’s information at their fingertips,’ says Sandy Robinson, Chief Nursing Officer/Director of Clinical Services. ‘Allergies, past medical history and other important details are readily accessible at any time, and in all locations where the patient may be receiving care. There will be no more hunting for a patient’s chart, because everyone can access the patient’s record electronically from any location. Our ‘closed loop medication system’ assists nurses with electronic prompts to be sure that the right medication in the right dosage is being given to the right patient at the right time, by the right route. This is a very important safety feature that assists nurses when patients have many different medications for multiple medical conditions.’NMC will begin Phase II of implementation, which will implement Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) in 2011. CPOE will allow physicians to enter orders and document care directly into the EMR. Phase III will include the build and implementation of the Emergency Department system into the Meditech product in 2012.Source: NMC. 11.2.2010last_img read more

Compliance: What becomes effective in January 2020?

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » The new year marks not only the start of a new decade, but the effective date of several important rules for credit unions. One rulemaking no longer belongs on the below list, NCUA agreed at its December board meeting to delay implementation of its risk-based capital rule to Jan. 1, 2022.Effective Jan. 1, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) officially extends the reporting threshold of 500 open-end lines of credit under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act to Jan. 1, 2022. The temporary threshold was scheduled to expire Jan. 1, 2020.For data collection years 2020 and 2021, financial institutions that originated fewer than 500 open-end lines of credit in either of the two preceding calendar years will not need to collect and report data with respect to open-end lines of credit.NCUA’s revision to its Interpretive Ruling and Policy Statement (IRPS) regarding statutory prohibitions, also known as NCUA’s “second chance” proposal becomes effective Jan. 2.last_img read more

Cream of the crop

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Public must help curb COVID-19 misinformation as many still believe they cannot catch it: Task force

first_imgMeanwhile, the latest survey conducted by BPS from Sept. 7 to 14, involving 90,967 respondents, showed that Maluku and North Sulawesi were ranked first and second in the category, with 29.18 and 27.66 percent, respectively, of respondents from the provinces certain that they would not get coronavirus.Doni said that a lack of public awareness campaigns was a contributing factor to the issue.Read also: More people wearing face masks, though not all of them wash their hands: BPS“There are still many people that have yet to receive full information about COVID-19,” he said.With that in mind, Doni encouraged all elements of society to take part in curbing the transmission of COVID-19.During the discussion Doni also mentioned Bali, where, according to the survey, 20.78 percent of people believe they will not contract COVID-19.Doni explained that he had asked Bali Governor I Wayan Koster to involve all elements of society in handling COVID-19.“[When] more people are involved in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, it will directly increase awareness,” he reasoned.When asked about how the government is dealing with misinformation about COVID-19, Doni explained that starting Oct. 1, the national COVID-19 task force had begun a partnership with the Press Council and other journalist associations to work on a COVID-19 awareness program.Moreover, the task force also invited 5,800 journalists from across the archipelago to participate in the Behavior Change Program, which aims to fight misinformation.Doni shared his hopes that this collaboration would help to increase awareness that COVID-19 was real and not a conspiracy.Indonesia has seen a continuously rising number of cases since March. As of Saturday, the country had recorded 328,952 confirmed cases with 251,481 recoveries and 11,765 deaths. (jes) However, despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases around the globe, a Statistics Indonesia (BPS) survey has discovered that 17 percent of Indonesians believe it is impossible for them to contract the disease.“It is a huge number,” said national COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo during a virtual event on Friday.Doni explained that given the country’s population of 270 million people, 17 percent meant that 44.9 million people believed they would not catch the virus.He went on to say that a previous survey conducted in July had revealed that there were five provinces with high percentages of COVID-19 ignorance, namely Jakarta, where 30 percent of people believe they will not catch the virus, followed by East Java with 29 percent, Central Java 18 percent, West Java 16 percent and South Kalimantan 14 percent. Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic. With the SARS-CoV-2 virus continuing to spread at an alarming rate, more and more public figures are contracting COVID-19, including United States President Donald Trump.Meanwhile, in Indonesia, high-ranked officials, including Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi, have also tested positive for COVID-19.center_img Topics : #mothermessage #wearmask #socialdistance #keepyourdistance #usesoap #avoidcrowd #washyourhand #covid19taskforcelast_img read more

Sierra Leone to hold fourth offshore licensing round in 1H 2018

first_imgSierra Leone’s Fourth Offshore Petroleum Licensing Round will take place between mid-January and the end of May 2018.This was announced by the Director General of the Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone (PDSL) Raymond Kargbo during the Africa Oil Week Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.The licensing round will be exclusively supported by the Getech Group through its wholly owned subsidiary ERCL.Getech said that the ERCL and the Petroleum Directorate have been working together since 2016 providing data required to review Sierra Leone’s proven prospectivity.Through Data Rooms in Freetown and London, investors can access 15,000 line kilometers of 2D seismic, more than 10,000 square kilometers of 3D seismic which includes PSDM volumes reprocessed by previous operators, and all wells from the 2009-2013 drilling campaigns which produced four discoveries.The 3D seismic data and wells are available to license from the PDSL and will be delivered by ERCL.Getech added that some other products, built by the company using the government’s released 3D seismic and well database, would be available. These include the Sierra Leone Digital Atlas and Sierra Leone Petroleum Geology Report.Also, Getech’s large potential fields database and regional reports are also available to assist in evaluating the Sierra Leone margin.Jonathan Copus, CEO of the Getech Group, said: “The Getech Group is proud to be working in partnership with the Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone during this exciting new phase for the country’s petroleum sector.“Located on a margin that is bookended by major discoveries in Senegal, Mauritania, and Ghana, Sierra Leone’s offshore waters contain proven petroleum systems that we believe to be conjugate to major discoveries in South America.”“As exploration interest steps up in the neighboring waters of Guinea, potential investors are able to access an extremely high quality technical database to assist in their evaluation of the undoubted potential of the Sierra Leone margin. We look forward to the Fourth Licensing Round and assisting the Directorate in attracting investment in the upstream petroleum sector of Sierra Leone.”last_img read more

EMGS in New Norwegian Barents Sea Survey

first_imgElectromagnetic Geoservices (EMGS) has entered into an agreement for a fully pre-funded multi-client 3D CSEM survey in the Norwegian Barents Sea.The contract has a value of USD 1.25 million.The survey is expected to be executed in the second quarter of 2019.The company will mobilize the Atlantic Guardian vessel for the survey.last_img

US Blacklists “Oil-for-Terror” Shipping Network

first_imgThe United States has blacklisted an “oil-for-terror” shipping network allegedly directed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for providing millions of dollars worth of oil to Syria.Additionally, a new international shipping advisory was issued on IRGC’s use of “deceptive shipping practices” to facilitate transactions, thereby violating U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil sales.The authorities also said that persons that engage in certain transactions with the entities blacklisted “may themselves be exposed to designation”.“Iran continues to take provocative actions to destabilize the region and the world. Treasury’s action against this sprawling petroleum network makes it explicitly clear that those purchasing Iranian oil are directly supporting Iran’s militant and terrorist arm, the IRGC-Qods Force,” Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, said.“Our actions over the last two weeks should serve as a strong warning to anyone considering facilitating the Qods Force’s oil sales that there will be swift consequences,” Mnuchin added.The U.S. noted that in spring 2019 alone, the IRGC-QF-led network employed more than a dozen vessels to transport nearly 10 million barrels of crude oil, predominantly to the Syrian regime. These shipments, taken collectively, sold for more than half a billion dollars. The same network also sold nearly 4 million barrels of condensate and hundreds of thousands of barrels in gas oil, “bringing in another quarter billion dollars.”The latest designation from U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) includes some 16 entities and 10 individuals pursuant to E.O. 13224, and is also identifying 11 vessels as property in which blocked persons have an interest. The IRGC and Hizballah, both identified as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the U.S. Department of State, are also designated pursuant to E.O. 13224.last_img read more

Giggs fears Fernandes may be a ‘liability’ for Man Utd

first_imgRyan Giggs fears Bruno Fernandes could be a defensive “liability” for Manchester United as he urged Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to find the new signing’s best position. After the Portugal midfielder finally completed a £55million transfer to Old Trafford, he made his debut in a goalless home draw against Wolves on Saturday.Fernandes – who scored 63 goals in 137 Sporting Lisbon games – started alongside Fred and Andreas Pereira in a midfield three. Despite appearing to play further forward than Fred and Pereira, the 25-year-old was forced to drop back deep without the freedom of playing in the No10 role. United legend Giggs worries the midfielder could be exposed with his back to goal, as he told former team-mate Solskjaer to identify where Fernandes is most comfortable operating. Giggs told Premier League productions: “We saw glimpses of the quality he does possess. I think it might need a bit of working out what his best position is. “With his back to goal, I don’t think that’s his position. When he’s a little bit deeper, defensively, he may be a bit of a liability. He’s in between the two really. “That’s where you want to see him, coming on to the ball. But also you see when he is that little bit deeper he can spray the passes, he has got the vision to then play those passes. “But then you need the runs. I think he’ll want to find his best position first of all. He tired towards the end but you can see the quality that he has got.” United have had a similar problem with France World Cup winner Paul Pogba, who has been a regular in the starting 11, but deployed all across the midfield. Pogba has been used in a holding pair, a No10 behind the striker and as a deep-lying midfielder since re-signing for the club in 2016. read also:Fernandes, Ighalo not among the highest paid Man Utd players When the ex-Juventus star returns to the United starting 11 alongside Fernandes, Solskjaer will have to decide if he will allow the creative pair the freedom to play further afield, or whether one of them will have to drop back in a 4-2-3-1 formation. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Loading…last_img read more