Tag Archives: facebook

World Review: A president assassinated, a president suing, a president withdrawing and Covid soaring

In this weekend’s review, LDV’s foreign correspondent Tom Arms talks of events in Haiti, a basket case of a country whose presidents tend to come to an untimely end, including this week President Moise.

Joe Biden is continuing to withdraw from Afghanistan. Donald Trump is suing Facebook. Both difficult strategies.

The delta variant of Covid-19 is causing cases to rise rapidly around the world, especially in countries with low levels of vaccination. Vaccinating Africa must become a priority to save lives in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres.

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Our next leader must condemn Nick Clegg

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Nick Clegg is one of our most well-known figures. But he has abandoned our principles, and we must now condemn him for it.

Splashed across the news are stories of Facebook defying a boycott aimed at getting them to tighten up on hate speech and information on their platform. And just behind Zuckerberg is our former leader, massaging the facts and spreading his own misinformation in an attempt to ameliorate his boss’s critics.

“Facebook does not profit from hate”, he says. This is an obvious lie – Facebook profits from advertising, and so profits from every piece of content and every interaction with the platform. To have hate on Facebook is to profit from hate on Facebook.

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We need to talk about how we use Facebook

For the AGM of our local party, our diligent party secretary recently emailed the local members outlining the elected positions (Membership Secretary, Diversity Officer etc.) of the local exec. He helpfully included a link to the party’s website with some guidance on what’s involved in each role, and what help and support is available from the party. For one role I looked at, the top 3 sources of support are:

It strikes me that, intentionally or otherwise, a large part of our party’s support network is being run through Facebook. This could mean that people who don’t have a Facebook account don’t get the support they need; or are put off from getting more involved in the party; or aren’t even aware of developments within the party. This strikes me as problematic:

  • Young people simply don’t use Facebook to the extent that people in older age cohorts do. If we’re relying on Facebook to organise ourselves, then we may be excluding a lot of people under 30.
  • Even for those people who do have a Facebook account, all the indications are that usage has dropped off a cliff, especially over the last 18 months.
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The Great Hack: What we should take away

If you have  a Netflix account it’s likely you’ve already seen The Great Hack.  This near two hour documentary  details the Cambridge Analytica scandal and examines the wider issue of our rights to our data. For many Liberal Democrat campaigners and Pro-EU activists who have kept up with this whole scandal, what the documentary revels is not new  but it leaves us with a cause that should be a natural rally for the Liberal Democrats.  It creates a foundation for meaningful policy regarding the giants of Silicon Valley and how our democracy and use of social media can work in harmony with each other. 

The Great Hack hints towards a potential path for the party which links our belief in economic liberalism and property rights along with our belief in privacy and personal freedom. Currently the data which we willingly leak onto social media is just skin deep for the user but behind the curtain this data is valuable information for advertisers and campaigners to ensure that the ‘right’ advertisement on visible on your Facebook or Twitter news feed. Globally this can range from the harmless like a good deal for a tent on Amazon to horrific and extreme cases where military personal in Myanmar manipulated users  using Facebook to facilitate genocide towards the Rohingya people.

Every day in the UK we see thousands  drawn into arguments online  and very little room is left for compromise or compassion. To paraphrase Carol Cadwalladr, in an effort to connect people, these social media moguls have instead facilitated on driving us apart. This has allowed for a sense of invincibility of consequence to our words and a thin layer of anonymity where we dehumanise to an extent those we disagree with and pander to those we do. It is vital that the Liberal Democrats start to lead the charge on how we should be thinking of social media differently as this is now here to stay and will be (already is in some cases) a central part of our lives.

 To start we need to explore the idea of breaking down Facebook’s monopoly of social media as Sir Vince Cable has mentioned in the past. Even though since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke Facebook’s users took a very minor hit, those same users appeared to just simply switch to Instagram which is also owned by Facebook. Secondly we must be fighting now for a major review of our electoral law and its relation to social media especially after the Culture Committee expressed the current laws are not ‘fit for purpose’.

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I’ve reached 1.4 million people in the last month, and I am quite proud of that

A little over three years ago, just as Cameron named the date for the 2016 Europe referendum, I set up a Facebook page as a place to … well, I wasn’t sure, to be honest … however, I knew I wanted to campaign online as well as face-to-face.

I threw myself into that referendum campaign. I did plenty of street campaigning right across the South West, speaking with voters in places like Truro, St Austell, Liskeard and Plymouth as well as Taunton, Stroud, Bristol and Bournemouth.

Also when I wasn’t shuttling between high streets wearing the uniform of the time – an “I’m IN” T-shirt is worn tightly and awkwardly over all one’s other clothes – I was populating that Facebook page with news, links that helped willing volunteers to find local campaign opportunities, and a whole host of other things.

Moreover, that has never stopped. Now, three years later, the Campaign to Remain – keep Britain in Europe Facebook page is a community of over 55,000 people. In the last four weeks alone the page’s posts have reached 1.4 million people and generated 1.3 million engagements – that’s likes, comments, clicks on links, etc. The top post alone has been seen by 135,300 people and generated 49,900 engagements.

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Nick Clegg to move to 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California

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The Guardian reports:

Facebook has hired Sir Nick Clegg, the former UK deputy prime minister, as its head of global policy and communications.

Clegg, 51, will join Facebook as it struggles to cope with mounting political pressure over issues including fake news, data protection and the threat of government regulation.

The former head of the Liberal Democrats will move to Silicon Valley in January.

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We’ve given an eye-wateringly broad “Snoopers’ Charter” to big corporations

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As Lib Dems we have campaigned long and hard for curbs on the government’s power to snoop on our internet data.

Yet, most of us (not all) have personally given an eye-wateringly broad “Snoopers’ Charter” to big corporations – namely Facebook and Google.

I know, I have checked on my data held by Facebook and Google. You can do it too. Facebook had all my photos, posts, friends etc etc going back to February 2007. The data was 354 megabytes in size. That’s equivalent to 71 copies of the Complete Works of Shakespeare.

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LDV at 10: Pick of the posts: All about Facebook

Fake Norman Lamb Facebook group screenshotOn 27th August, LDV will be 10 years old. In that time, we’ve brought you over 24,000 posts and published over 337,000 comments. Over the Summer holidays, we’ll take you on a nostalgic meander through a decade of Liberal Democrat history, seen through the eyes of our editors and contributors. We hope you enjoy our choices.

LDV was actually set up before Facebook became a thing. Or at least before it became a thing outside universities.

The first mention I can find came back in February 2007 when Mark Pack spied Liberal Democrat MPs flocking to the New Big Thing.

There’s been a flurry of Liberal Democrat MPs starting to use the social networking site Facebook in the last few weeks – including party leader Ming Campbell (the first UK party leader to do so, just as he was the first on Google Video and YouTube), Jo SwinsonSteve WebbStephen Williams and Lynne Featherstone.

Facebook used to only be open to students – and so there is a strong Lib Dem Youth and Student presence on it – but has recently been opened up to anyone.

If you are a Facebook user yourself or you become one after reading this post and wondering what on earth it is all about, don’t forget to join the Liberal Democrat group (currently 561 members, rather more than Labour’s 490).

Five months later, Mark charted how the parties were using Facebook in parliamentary by-elections, complete with 3D bar charts.

Facebook provided some early mysteries, such as the time someone set up a fake profile of Norman Lamb which mentioned his opponent more than you would expect.

The plot got very much thicker and Mark turned detective to try to unmask the culprit.

Amongst the Wikipedia edits is a plug for this anti-Liberal Democrat film which tries to pass itself off as an official pro-Liberal Democrat film (e.g. in the YouTube description: “Watch the video to find out why you should re-elect the Liberal Democrat run North Norfolk district council.” and the start of the film, which says it is “the Liberal Democrats broadcast for the local elections”).

The same username as that used on YouTube to upload the film – daisydukew – has also been used to make pro-Conservative comments elsewhere online: here and here.

d.The same IP address has also been used to make – deep breath – eleven different comments over four days on Liberal Democrat Voice claiming to be from seven different people (plus a couple of anonymous ones). .

It must be like Piccadilly Circus at that computer!

All of the names given are names that haven’t been used before to post on this site. One thing they all have in common is that where they try to place responsibility for the faking on anyone, it is always someone other than the Conservatives.

Then there was the final descent into farce.

Mark will probably kill me for unearthing this one, where he sings the praises of Lib Dem ACT. Remember that? I thought I’d give ACT the benefit of the doubt at the time but it seemed to be daft when everyone was on Facebook. Mark said:

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Carmichael: Britain needs to hear liberal internationalist voices like never before

Alistair Carmichael has given his reaction to the referendum result on his Facebook page, reproduced here with his permission.

Facebook asks what is on my mind. This may not be the most coherent answer I can give in my sleep-deprived state but here goes :

1. As a result of the referendum vote we now have massive economic issues to face and deal with – the priority for all parties should be to tackle that.

2. We can not tackle these problems while, as a country, we are split down the middle so this is a time for bringing people together and healing the divisions if we can. I sense a lot of anger amongst my friends and I share the frustration but we can not allow that anger to be self-indulgent. There is too much at stake.

3. The only way in which a break up of the UK can now be avoided is if we go for a properly federal structure and elect it proportionately. Brexit is the consequence of a broken political system.

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Muscly Putin stickman – my part in the #EUref

Whenever I’ve tired during this long referendum campaign I’ve thought about how I will feel as I watch the results come in during the small hours of 24th June. Fear of losing, especially if not by much, has driven me to throw myself into the campaign.

And one of the benefits of a truly national election is that there are no safe seats or swing seats. Every vote genuinely counts as much as any other. It’s given me the freedom to get out and about as I campaign. It means that last weekend I was in Bournemouth, the week before in Liskeard, and this Saturday I’ll be at home in Plymouth (feel free to come along).

I wanted to do even more though, so my partner and I set up a Facebook group as somewhere to try out ideas and see if anyone thought they were any good. We called it Campaign to Remain – keep Britain in Europe.

We didn’t expect much. At first we thought it would be a niche little thing where we’d be breaking open the champagne if a post ever got over 10 likes. But we’ve been really lucky.

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Let’s all defer our tax liability for a year, shall we?

So we have another instance of a large corporation deciding how much tax it’s going to pay. Why does the Government let companies like Facebook, Starbucks, Amazon and Google get away with this?

It’s another example of where being rich and powerful gets you special treatment. The BBC reported:

After heavy criticism that it was avoiding tax, the BBC can reveal that profits from the majority of Facebook’s advertising revenue initiated in Britain will now be taxed in the UK.

It will no longer route sales through Ireland for its largest advertisers.

That includes major businesses such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, consumer goods firm Unilever and advertising giant WPP.

Smaller business sales where advertising is booked online – with little or no Facebook staff intervention – will still be routed through Ireland, which will remain the company’s international headquarters.

I am told the change will mean that Facebook will account for substantially more revenue in the UK and will therefore pay a higher level of corporation tax on the profits it makes here.

Corporation tax is levied at 20% on the profits a business makes.

The changes will be put in place in April and Facebook’s first, higher, tax bill, will be paid in 2017.

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Alistair Carmichael receives death threat over Syria vote

The Courier reports today that the Police are investigating a death threat sent to Alistair Carmichael that is believed to be related to his vote in favour of airstrikes on Syria. The threat was received at his constituency office last Thursday.

The “abhorrent” threat is believed to relate to Mr Carmichael’s backing for air strikes in Syria and officers have deemed it serious enough to offer safety advice to the former Scottish Secretary.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Officers in Kirkwall are making inquiries following correspondence received at the constituency office of Alistair Carmichael. Safety advice has been given.”

Police are understood to have ruled out any link to terrorism in connection with the letter. Mr Carmichael said he could not comment while the police investigation was ongoing.

A Scottish Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said they hoped police would catch the person behind the letter, which was received by Mr Carmichael’s office on Thursday.

She said: “A threatening letter related to the recent vote on Syrian air strikes was sent to one of the constituency offices and was reported to police. These kind of comments are abhorrent and it’s only right that the police investigate who is behind them.”

While this is a serious actual threat, you do have to wonder about the sense of perspective of some cybernats. In a Facebook conversation about the failure of the election petition against Alistair, the Yes Shetland Facebook account and another poster are debating the merits of arranging a “hit.” I don’t think they were talking about going for the Christmas number one.

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Opinion: The right is winning on Facebook and votes, but the left on Twitter

facebook and twitterI have been thinking why it seems that right wing parties are more toxic than left wing parties. Is this true? Or is it simply my prejudices? Is there anything in the “shy Tory” phenomenon?

It does seem that popular culture is more left leaning, but I thought some numbers would help us understand society better and also help Liberal Democrats decide who to vote for in the upcoming leadership election.

For this analysis I have used the Facebook likes, Twitter followers and 2015 General Election votes for the following parties: Conservatives, UKIP, Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Liberal Democrats, Labour, the SNP, The Green Party of England and Wales, the Scottish Green Party and Plaid Cymru. I didn’t use Sinn Fein because they campaign throughout the whole of Ireland and I didn’t use any other parties that I deemed to be “minor”.

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Open season on Facebook is unfair

Does Sir Malcolm Rifkind actually understand the internet? As chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee he has pointed the finger at an un-named internet giant, later revealed to be Facebook, for failing to report a threat by Lee Rigby’s killers.

There seems to be an assumption, in the coverage of this, that Facebook actually knew about the threat.

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Nick Clegg taking questions on mental health on Mind’s Facebook page today

nick clegg live tweet town hall 1st may 2014In a Facebook first, Nick Clegg will be taking questions on mental health over on Mind’s Facebook page this lunchtime, starting at 12:30 pm.

He put this brief video on his own page to explain why he thinks this is important and is quoted on Mind’s website:

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Opinion: Put revenge pornographers on the Sex Offenders Register

Smartphone bar.Facebook has just been served with its first revenge porn lawsuit. I can’t comment on the particulars of the case in question but it does appear that revenge porn is an issue the law has yet to catch up with. In my opinion, the law should be changed to allow those convicted of distributing revenge porn to be put on the Sex Offenders Register. This requires further clarification of the distinction between legal and illegal pornography.

Once explicit material is published it becomes pornography. If the individuals in the films or photographs do not consent to having the material published, even if he or she consented for the material to be made for another purpose, then it should be classified as illegal pornography. Illegal pornography should also include incidents where material has been accessed through devices without the explicit consent of the individual who owns the device and the participants in the explicit material.

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Danny Alexander doing Facebook Q and A on Scottish Independence Referendum tonight at 6 pm

Danny's indyref q and a



Danny Alexander will be answering questions on Facebook tonight for half an hour from 6 pm. If you have a question, you can submit it via the “You Decide” Facebook page which is run by the Scotland Office.

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MPs under attack again – for claiming mileage for doing their jobs

Having Nigel Farage on Question Time again was more than enough to make my blood boil last night. Sadly, even my Facebook timeline had little to soothe. I saw an 18 month old story being recycled again to give MPs another kicking.

In May last year the Telegraph had a go at some MPs who claimed mileage to attend Remembrance Day services, including a couple of Liberal Democrats. Why on earth should that particular engagement be any different than any other that they attend in the course of their official duties? How many people would meet work expenses out of …

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Scottish Liberal Democrats launch new Facebook page

Ahead of Scottish Conference in Dundee this weekend, Scottish Liberal Democrats have launched a new Facebook page for news, views, infographics and pictures about the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Their picture of today is a head shot of leader Willie Rennie with all the nice things that journalists keep saying about him.

Willie's press compliments


The Conference has its fair share of controversy – debates on secret courts, snaring and smacking over the next three days.

There will be keynote speeches from Vince Cable, Nick Clegg, Jo Swinson, Michael Moore and Malcolm Bruce as well as …

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Opinion: Calling All Bloggers – Don’t make me a tax avoidance accomplice

According to Vince Cable “No one keeps their cash in tax havens for the quality of investment advice; these are sunny places for shady people.” True to form, Vince hit the nail squarely on its head with a whammy of a quote, and how we all clapped enthusiastically. But who actually piles the cash into these rogues’ coffers in the first place? It could be you.

Many of our enthusiastic clappers routinely rock up outside Boots, on a sunny Saturday, aggressively jabbing angry posters-on-sticks skywards, in tandem with chants of

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Campaign Corner: How can I best use Facebook?

The Campaign Corner series looks to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. Do get in touch if you have any questions you would like to suggest.

Today’s Campaign Corner question: How can I get the best out of Facebook for my ward branch?

Around half the UK’s population is on Facebook, so if you’re wondering what to spend time on campaigning online, then Facebook is a very good choice (perhaps these days it is second only to email). Three pieces of advice then, as is traditional:

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Opinion: Traditional media is not all we should be looking at

It’s not often I agree with a Conservative MP, it’s even less often that I hear them say something that actually strikes me as truly insightful.

During the parliamentary debate on the BSkyB bid there was one such moment. At 6.25pm Dr Phillip Lee stood up and spoke to a now mostly empty chamber. This was a shame, because what he had to say was, in my view, extremely relevant and highly important. (Hansard)

He spoke on the fact that a lot, if not the vast majority, of the news people are getting today comes from not the mainstream media, the …

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Opinion: The struggle for democracy persists in Europe, not just the Middle East

In December last year, Alyaksandr Lukashenka was re-elected president of Belarus, with 79.7% of the vote in elections deemed to fall massively short of OSCE standards. Under his leadership, the Belarusian regime systematically violates basic liberties. The past week has seen a worsening of the situation, with the oppressive regime using unjustifiable violence against protesters seeking democracy and freedom.

Despite a ban on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, in an attempt to try and stifle the protests, the capital Minsk has seen huge anti-Lukashenka demonstrations. The response of the Belarusian Government has been appalling. Hundreds of peaceful protesters have been …

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Opinion: Don’t reform the House of Lords; scrap it

After the humiliating defeat of the AV referendum, a system to which no party aspired to before the General Election, and the disastrous rout of elected Lib Dems in Scotland and England, serious questions must be asked about the future direction of the party and its place in the coalition government.

In order to reclaim the trust of the British electorate, we need to be bold and radical, and we must speak up for the aspirations of the British people, particularly the disillusioned young; the Facebook generation, who are the future of our democracy. Despite Nick Clegg’s promise of a ‘New …

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Use the new Facebook app while campaigning this weekend #YES2AV #LibDems

When you’re out campaigning this weekend for the elections and Fairer Votes referendum, make sure you let your friends on Facebook and Twitter know what you’ve been up to.

Hundreds of people are already using Lib Dem Voice’s new Facebook app to do just this. It’s a great way of building up a buzz around our campaigning – and the more someone sees their friends have been campaigning, the more likely they are to join in.

You get a list of actions – select one and publish it to your …

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Campaigners! Get the new Facebook app #YES2AV #LibDems

Lib Dem Voice have launched a new Facebook app to make it easy for you to let your friends on Facebook and Twitter know what campaigning you’ve been doing.

This is a great way of building up a buzz around our campaigning – and the more someone sees their friends have been campaigning, the more likely they are to join in.

You get a list of actions – select one and publish it to your newsfeed.

Some actions are of the simple “I have done” variety whilst others have the …

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Lessons from Barack Obama, round two

Here we go again. As Barack Obama hits the online campaign trail for his 2012 re-election campaign, expect a trickle, then a steady flow and finally a flood of posts about how Obama’s online campaigning should be copied by everyone from your pet cat to your grandparents.

On past form, many will gloss over the big differences between US and UK politics and the differences between a campaign headed up by the first non-white President and one aiming to make people buy your brand of shirts.

But as the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones, one of the more perceptive commentators on Obama online first …

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Online politics: get your content by following the ‘little and often’ rule

I’ve talked before about how slow and steady progress is usually the way to successful online politics (as in The secret to getting 1,000 ward residents to follow you on Twitter), but slow and steady progress often runs into a problem: where do you get the content from?

Whether it’s building up an email list, getting a decent readership for your blog or accumulating a good network of residents on Facebook, as you steadily build up towards large audiences you need a regular supply of content, and all the more so once you have got your large audience. Being seen …

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“In a civil union” now a relationship status option on Facebook

You can now choose Civil Union as your Facebook relationship status
Facebook has updated its list of options for displaying a user’s relationship status.

You can now choose “In a civil union” or “In a domestic partnership” from a list which previously consisted of single, in a relationship, engaged, married, it’s complicated, in an open relationship, widowed, separated and divorced. (And, of course, you can choose not to display a relationship status at all.)

The options appeared from yesterday for users in the UK, as well as in North America, …

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Opinion: social media priorities

The last article I wrote conjoured up a utopian vision of Liberal Democrat e-campaigning. However, it might not be a realistic aim for individuals or groups who lack social media expertise, or time, to develop a fully fledged social media presence. How, then, should Liberal Democrats prioritise the different elements of social media?

The first choice is an absolute no-brainer. If you do nothing else, start a Facebook page. Don’t mistake a Facebook ‘group’ for a Facebook ‘page’. Though they share some features, they are different beasts. A local Party group should have an ‘official’ Facebook page. Individuals may …

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