Tag Archives: facebook

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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Doubling your traffic from Facebook: how best to integrate Twitter, Facebook and your website

Many Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners have both a Twitter account and a Facebook profile alongside their blog or website. Linking the three together efficiently can greatly increase the political impact of them individually, especially as many people find that Twitter is one of the best ways of driving traffic and Facebook one of the best places to get comments, whilst it’s on their website that is more convenient for longer or more detailed content. With each having a different role, how best then to put all three together?

The basic option that many people go for is to have a …

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Do Tweets win seats? – Micro-blogging and politics

Politicos use Twitter to communicate with voters, activists and the media. It’s sociable and fashionable. It’s useful but it has its limits.

And if this was Twitter I’d stop there, for the paragraph above is a 140-character summary of the popular micro-blogging service and its emerging role in politics. Having the luxury of a whole chapter, rather than a couple of lines, I can expound a bit. But sometimes I relish Twitter’s brevity and the way it gives me both the discipline and the excuse not to write at length.

Twitter was to the 2010 General Election what blogging had been to the previous one: novel, topical, conversational, personal. Blogging, in long and short form, is good for quickly spreading campaign messages, news and rumours and it’s freely accessible for anyone with an internet connection.

When I first subscribed to the service a couple of years ago, few news outlets or political candidates were tweeting, although the three main parties were already using it to link to party information and election results.

Over the past year, Twitter has been increasingly taken up by MPs and councillors, bloggers and journalists, even government departments, but crucially by thousands of people who are none of the above, but want to converse with them on an equal footing.

The parties continue to tweet, but now candidates, MPs and party leaders themselves are using the medium, with varying degrees of skill.

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Whither the professional journalist when we all write for free?

The Guardian reports on the 19-strong “Facebook Users’ Union” which wants Facebook’s users to have more control over where the company’s money goes.

…people are effectively working for free to create wealth for Facebook’s shareholders. “Online tools really aren’t free. We pay for them with micropayments of personal information.”

Buchanan wants someone to calculate the value of each Facebook user, based on how much money Facebook (or Google, or MySpace) makes from advertising next to their information. “It may be a small amount but it adds up when scaled into the half billion. Thus I feel we, the users, should have

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Opinion: Social media enhances our campaigns

In one sense I’m disappointed the election is over.

Returning from my own self imposed wilderness at the dismalness of the political scene to the local fold in New Forest East has been a revelation to me to see how social media networks can re energise the election process, and importantly how it has engaged more of our local membership helpers during campaigns – and not just the under 35s. The more active are definitely the silver surfers who have taken to the new technology like a duck to water. So much so, that a regular evening briefing session …

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Today’s Lib Dem Flashmobs – a planned, spontaneous, orderly uprising. All very liberal.

LDV reported on Saturday that the independent Lib Dem Facebook fan group LibDem2010.com – now numbering well over 163,000 members – had hit upon the idea of organising ‘Flashmobs’ up and down the country to demonstrate the support for Nick Clegg’s party.

Well, here’s the result from Trafalgar Square, where scores of Cleggites actually followed through with the idea to spontaneously chant “I agree with Nick”.

LibDem2010.com’s creator Ben Stockman posted the following message of thanks to those supporters who made it happen:

Ben Stockman … personally thanks all of the people that rocked up to Trafalgar Square earlier to make our flashmob such a success, and an even bigger thanks to all those people who then went to various local constituencies to campaign on behalf of their local candidates. x

To get a flavour of what actually transpired in Trafalgar Square today, enjoy the following Flashmob video:

Posted in General Election | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Philippa Stroud: the disappearing Conservative candidate

This morning The Observer ran a piece detailing the less than savoury attitude towards homosexuality of Philippa Stroud, Conservative candidate for Sutton & Cheam and head of the influential Conservative think-tank Centre for Social Justice:

A high-flying prospective Conservative MP, credited with shaping many of the party’s social policies, founded a church that tried to “cure” homosexuals by driving out their “demons” through prayer…

Abi, a teenage girl with transsexual issues, was sent to the church by her parents, who were evangelical Christians. “Convinced I was demonically possessed, my parents made the decision to move to Bedford, because of this woman

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