Twitter Reverses Position, Will Allow Elon Musk Access to Background Data


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on June 8, 2022 | Sundance

I think most people agree, the request from Elon Musk to see the background data from Twitter, used to evaluate bots and fake accounts, was entirely reasonable.

Twitter’s prior position that they would not permit Musk’s team to see the data stream was in ordinary violation of the terms of purchase.  It would seem to be commonsense that Musk has every right to inspect the data and evaluate Twitter’s prior assertions.

WASHINGTON POST – After a weeks-long impasse, Twitter’s board plans to comply with Elon Musk’s demands for internal data by offering access to its full “firehose,” the massive stream of data comprising more than 500 million tweets posted each day, according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the state of negotiations.

The move aims to end a standoff with the billionaire, who has threatened to pull out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter unless the company provides access to data he says is necessary to evaluate the number of fake users on the platform.

The firehose could be provided as soon as this week, the person said. Currently some two dozen companies pay for access to the trove, which comprises not only a real-time record of tweets but the devices they tweet from, as well as information about the accounts that tweet.

[…] Twitter’s leaders are skeptical of Musk’s ability to use the fire hose to find previously undetected information: The data stream has been available for years to some two dozen companies, which pay Twitter for the ability to analyze it to find patterns and insights in the daily conversation. They, along with some analysts and Silicon Valley insiders, say that Musk is using the data requests as a pretext to wiggle out of the deal or to negotiate a lower price. (read more)

Twitter Agrees to Pay $150 Million FTC Fine for Using Two Factor Authentication as Ruse to Sell Targeted User Data to Advertisers


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on May 25, 2022 | Sundance

Two-Factor authentication has always been a platform ruse for gathering data on platform users.  Twitter was just one company amid a large number of on-line platforms who pushed “two factor authentication” as a security measure.  The real motive of TFA was to gain the user cell phone number in order to gain more specific information about the user.

Today multiple media outlets are reporting the FTC and Twitter have agreed to a settlement where Twitter will pay a $150 million settlement for violating user privacy and selling user data.  Twitter collected cell phone and email account information for users under the auspices of user security.  However, Twitter actually planned to use the cell phone and email data to sell a more comprehensive package of user identification to advertisers.

(Reuters) – […] The company will pay $150 million as part of the settlement announced by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In addition to the monetary settlement, the agreement requires Twitter to improve its compliance practices.

The complaint said that the misrepresentations violated the FTC Act and a 2011 settlement with the agency.

“Specifically, while Twitter represented to users that it collected their telephone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, Twitter failed to disclose that it also used user contact information to aid advertisers in reaching their preferred audiences,” the complaint said.

[…]  “Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan in a statement. “This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.”

The complaint also alleges that Twitter falsely said it complied with the European Union-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks, which bar companies from using data in ways that consumers do not authorize.

Twitter’s settlement follows years of fallout over the privacy practices of tech companies.

Revelations in 2018 that Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, was using phone numbers provided for two-factor authentication to serve ads enraged privacy advocates.

Facebook, now called Meta (FB.O), similarly settled with the FTC over the issue as part of a $5 billion agreement reached in 2019. (read more)

Two Factor Authentication (TfA) and the 5G telecommunications network work hand in glove.

By connecting the registered user id to their cell phone number, advertisers can target platform users with far more granular detail.  3G networks tracked user history to build the user portfolio.  5G networks bridge the space between user identity, cell phone, and geolocation services and apps on cell phones.

Cell phones are registered to people.  The TfA purpose was to identify the actual people behind the registered accounts and then monitor them for enhanced targeting.  The data of the user is monetized and your unique identity is sold to advertisers.

This is one of the reasons CTH does not track anyone, or ask for any data on any user.  We do not monetize users at The Conservative Treehouse, and all of our engagement systems, including the comment system, are built around the principle that user privacy is our number one priority.

Any engagement platform that asks you to enter your cell phone as part of the registration process is going to have the ability to sell your data and user identity to a third party.  It really is that simple.

Elon Musk Puts Twitter Acquisition on Hold Pending Verification of 95 Percent Authentic Users


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on May 13, 2022 | Sundance

Earlier today Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”  He also said, “still committed to acquisition.”

While tech stocks have been collapsing over the past 15 days, from a big picture perspective this approach by Musk looks like a potential negotiation strategy to lower the offer.  The actual number of spam/bot accounts on the platform is unknown.

CNBC – […] Twitter shares fell more than 8% Friday and are down about 23% from Musk’s agreed-upon purchase price of $54.20 per share. Part of the dip is related to an overall slump in technology stocks this month. The Nasdaq has fallen another 11% since the market close on April 25, the day Twitter accepted Musk’s offer.

“This is probably a negotiation tactic on behalf of Elon,” Toni Sacconaghi, Bernstein senior research analyst, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “The market has come down a lot. He’s probably using the guise of true active users as a negotiation ploy.”

Musk may feel some pressure or obligation to other potential investors in Twitter to lower the price, even if the world’s wealthiest man is more price agnostic.

Musk is in talks with outside investors for both equity and preferred financing to lessen his personal stake in Twitter. If he can get a lower price for Twitter, the returns could be higher for outside investors if and when Twitter returns to public ownership or is resold. (read more)

Suspicious Cat remains, well, suspicious…

DuckDuckGo Search Engine CEO Announces Changes to Internet Search Algorithms to Promote Approved Content


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on April 15, 2022 | Sundance 

The information war continues raging….

On one battlefront, we have Elon Musk trying to push back against quasi-government control mechanisms that constrict information and the flow of discussion and ideas.  On a lesser, albeit similar battlefield, we see this.

DuckDuckGo used to be the preferred search engine for those who wanted privacy on-line and unfiltered, i.e. organic, search engine responses.  Unfortunately, CEO Gabriel Weinberg is now stating he will change the algorithm to remove independent information and media outlets and will replace them with only approved MSM results.

“Like so many others I am sickened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the gigantic humanitarian crisis it continues to create. #StandWithUkraine️,” Weinberg tweeted on Wednesday. “At DuckDuckGo, we’ve been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation.”

Riddle me this my friends:  The White House has officially admitted to creating misinformation, disinformation and malinformation as part of their strategic campaign against Russia in Ukraine.  NBC news gleefully embraces the strategy {SEE HERE}.  However, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has an official agency mission {SEE HERE} to “help the American people understand the scope and scale of Mal, Dis, and Misinformation activities,” and Google/DuckDuckGo/Big Tech have officially aligned with both U.S. government interests, promising to target, remove and penalize any entity engaged in Mal, Dis and Misinformation activities.

Think for yourself while it is still legal to do so.

The justification for the manipulation of information, the creation of dis/mal/and misinformation, and the propaganda campaign writ large, is based on a position that the U.S. is on the virtuous side of the conflict.  Where virtue is determined by the officials creating the lies.

Yes, according to the official position of the Biden administration, lying for the public good is essentially now the admitted narrative.

Putting aside the creation of lies, to advance a strategic geopolitical objective, the bigger admission in the U.S. government statements is that much of the information coming to the American public – from them – is manufactured, false, fabricated and wrong.

Simultaneous to this admission of manufactured lies, the platforms of Big Tech and social media are saying they will target, remove and block any content that contradicts the official government position.

In the case of Google, the dominating search engine for information over the internet, they state it is an infraction against their policy to espouse a claim “that contradicts official government records.”  Yet, the U.S. government is officially admitting the information they are creating for the government records, is self-admittedly false….. and now in comes DuckDuckGo with the assist.

Not wanting to overinflate the CTH position, but this now admitted reality is exactly why we have taken the following position.

…”There is no such thing as “disinformation” or “misinformation”.  There is only information you accept and information you do not accept.  You were not born with a requirement to believe everything you are told; rather, you were born with a brain that allows you to process the information you receive and make independent decisions.”… 

There are only two elements within the public discussion of information, truth and not truth.

In an era filled with “fact-checkers” and institutional guardians at the gates of Big Tech, let me explain exactly why it is important not to accept the speech rules of the guards.

When you accept the terms “disinformation”, “misinformation” or the newest lingo, “malinformation,” you are beginning to categorize truth and lies in various shades.  You are merging black and white, right and wrong, into various shades of grey.

When your mind works in the grey zone, you are, by direct and factual consequence, saying there is a problem.  You are correct, however, this is where people may make a mistake. That problem is supposed to be there.

It is not a solution to the problem to try and remove the grey simply because it takes too much work to separate the white pixels from the black ones.  You were born with a gift, the greatest gift a loving God could provide.  You were born with a brain and set of natural instincts that are tools to do this pixel separation, use them.

If you define the grey work as a problem you cannot solve on your own, you open the door for others to solve that problem for you.  You begin to abdicate the work, and that’s when trouble can enter.  The sliding scale of Pinocchios is one of the most familiar yet goofy outcomes.

Put more clearly, when you accept the terminology “disinformation”, you accept a problem.  The problem is then the tool by which authorities will step in to make judgements.  Speech, in its most consequential form, is then qualified by others to whom you have sub-contracted your thinking.

When you willingly sub-contract information filters to others, you have lost connection with the raw information.   CTH was founded upon the belief that truth has no agenda, nor does it care about you, your feelings, or your opinion of it.  It just sits there, empirically existing as evidence of information in its most pure form.

The search for truth, in all things, is the mission objective of this assembly.  Often, we don’t like the truth; often, the truth is bitter, cold, challenging and even painful to accept.  However, the truth doesn’t care.  Information in its most raw form is ambivalent to your opinion.  If you struggle to accept these things, that’s when you need grey.  The New York Times is not called the “grey lady” accidentally.

Personally, I am an absorber of information – perhaps on a scale that is unusual.  But I do not discount information from any form until I can put context to it and see if the information makes sense given all the variables present.  When something doesn’t feel right, it’s almost always because it isn’t right.

Often, I find myself struggling in the grey and complex.  It is not unusual to spend days researching, digging, clarifying a situation, only to discover the path to finding the truth is in another direction entirely.   Erasing everything and starting over is frustrating, but it is genuinely the only approach that works; and often finding truth is supposed to be difficult, that’s why it is rewarding.

In the digital information age, we are bombarded with information.  It is easy to be overwhelmed and need to find something or someone who has better skills at separating the black grains from the white ones.  All opinions in this quest should be considered; thus, it is important to allow the free flow of information.

I am not necessarily a speech absolutist.  There is some language that needs to be constrained if we are to participate in a respectful society, with grandma’s rules and knowing the audience.  The CTH has guidelines for comments for this exact reason.  However, those constraints need to be based on a set of inherent values.   When it comes to information it is important to draw a distinction from speech.

There needs to be an open venue for all information. Unfortunately, when we begin to apply labels or categorization to information, there’s an opportunity for information to be manipulated – even weaponized.  Saul Alinsky spent decades pondering the best techniques to weaponize information and speech.  Alinsky’s intentions, in the endeavor to change society by changing how language and information was used, were not good. He devoted his completed rulebook book to Lucifer.

Be careful about anyone saying we need to label or categorize information in order to control or remove speech from the discussion.

You were not born with a requirement to believe everything you are told; rather, you were born with a God-given brain that allows you to process the information you receive and make independent decisions.

Unfortunately, the collectively aligned group of U.S. Govt, the Intelligence Community and now Big Tech, are saying they will put every roadblock they can muster in your way as you attempt to navigate through the misinformation they control.

With that in mind, I would finish with this.  Be kind to those who cannot see through the misinformation, and do not invest too much time trying to convince them.  Convincing is an endless quest, because it transfers the responsibility of discernment from them to you. They will become dependent on you and that my friends can be a heavy weight.

Remember, “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” ~ Max Ehrmann

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“Some people are just nuts”…

Black Lives Matter Leaders Spend Charitable Donations on Lavish Lifestyles


Armstrong Economics Blog/Corruption Re-Posted Apr 11, 2022 by Martin Armstrong

Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become a money-laundering operation. The problematic organization used a catchy slogan to spread hate while the people in charge became millionaires. It recently came to light that the group purchased a mansion in Los Angeles for $6 million in October 2020 with charitable donations. Dyane Pascall, a BLM member with close ties to co-founder Patrisse Cullors, purchased the mansion in cash before transferring the deed to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation days later.

Pascall simply stated, “I don’t owe you an explanation,” when questioned about the illegal transaction. “This home is not just a home — it’s, like, four structures,” Pascall told the Washington Examiner. “It’s a film studio, sound stage, commercial space, office space. It’s a campus. It’s got 20 parking spaces so people can come and work. It’s not a home per se. It’s an actual campus space for people to work from.” The 6,500 square foot mansion boasts six bedrooms and room for over 20 cars. Is that not a red flag?

Worsening matters, some news agencies are reporting that Dyane Pascall purchased the nearly $6 million mansion days after another BLM member purchased it for nearly half the price. This is not the only mansion that the organization owns under the tax-exempt status that was provided to them in December of 2020. Interesting that self-proclaimed Socialists would be interested in high-end luxury real estate. But as with all Socialists, the problem becomes when they run out of other people’s money.

BLM has become untouchable because people are afraid to be labeled racist. In reality, BLM has caused more harm than good for their own community. Since the left is desperate for voters, they have pandered to this organization and turned a blind eye to the blatant crime. BLM burned down shops and toppled police cars, yet there was never an investigation, and the protests were permitted to continue. The money that was supposed to help uplift those who they believe are systematically oppressed was instead used to make the founders multi-millionaires. California threatened to sue the organization for failing to report its finances, and Amazon removed the organization from its AmazonSmile charity program. The Department of Justice needs to investigate, and the donors should be outraged. Politicians such as Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau needed the BLM organization to create a racial divide and secure the minority vote instead of actually implementing policies that would help their cause.

President Trump Files a Massive Civil Lawsuit Against the Entire Russia Conspiracy Scheme Team


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on March 24, 2022 

President Trump named just about everyone connected to ‘Spygate’ and the manufactured ‘Trump-Russia’ fraud in a civil lawsuit filed today in the jurisdiction of Miami, Florida.

[108 page Lawsuit HERE]

“Acting in concert, the Defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty,” the president states.  The ramifications could be significant as the Durham criminal probe continues to generate evidence that supports the Trump lawsuit.

“Under the guise of ‘opposition research,’ ‘data analytics,’ and other political stratagems, the Defendants nefariously sought to sway the public’s trust. They worked together with a single, self-serving purpose: to vilify Donald J. Trump,” says one segment of the lawsuit.

All of the claims within the filing are substantiated by documents outlining the history of the events.  I’m not sure any defendant is going to be successful getting themselves out of the target zone on the lawsuit.  The suit alleges “racketeering” and a “conspiracy to commit injurious falsehood,” among other claims.

Defendants include: Hillary R. Clinton, HFACC, Inc., the Democratic National Committee, DNC Services Corporation, Perkins Coie, LLC, Michael Sussmann, Marc Elias, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Charles Halliday Dolan, Jr., Jake Sullivan, John Podesta, Robert E. Mook, Phillipe Reines, Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., Christopher Steele, Igor Danchenko, Neustar, Inc., Rodney Joffe, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith and Andrew McCabe

The suit was assigned on Thursday to U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks, who is based in West Palm Beach, FL, a Bill Clinton appointment.

The 5th Horseman


Armstrong Economics Blog/Censorship Re-Posted Sep 13, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

CNN Struggles With Even Modest Push-back Over Their Adoration of Anthony Fauci


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on July 22, 2021 | Sundance | 197 Comments

The look on the panel’s faces as they get intentionally gentle push-back over their sycophantic worship of Dr. Fauci is a little funny.

The CNN crew seems emotionally hurt at the suggestion that Dr. Fauci may be less than honest.  WATCH:

Does Formal Education Prevent Critical Thinking? A North Korean Defector Weighs In


Armstrong Economics Blog/Education Re-Posted Jun 21, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

Click here to watch Yeonmi Park’s commentary.

Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector, compared her experience at Columbia University to life in the “hermit kingdom.” Education (i.e., indoctrination) in North Korea is designed to teach children from a young age how to think, what to think, and not to question the status quo. “History is forgotten in North Korea,” Park stated, adding she was excited to learn the true facts of history while studying in the land of the free.

To her dismay, she quickly discovered that her American ivy league college participated in the same behavior. After stating that she enjoyed Jane Austen and classical works, her teacher quickly corrected her for adoring books written by authors who were “bigots” with a “colonial mindset.” Students cheered for communism and socialism without regard for past events, such as the millions of lives lost under Mao Zedong’s rule. “They are dying to give their rights and power to government…they take it for granted. They don’t know how hard it is to be free,” Park stated. She failed to understand how students paying tens if not hundreds of thousands for education could cry oppression.

The most confusing part for Park is that Americans, unlike North Koreans, have access to the internet, books, and a plethora of information, yet they “choose to be brainwashed.” She concluded by determining that education is designed to prevent people from critical thinking. “The future of our country is as bleak as North Korea’s if we don’t rise up right now,” Park warned.

Can Shareholders Bring Suit Against Dorsey for Securities Fraud?


Armstrong Economics Blog/Rule of Law Re-Posted Jun 21, 2021 by Martin Armstrong

In July 2015, then CEO Dick Costolo departed Twitter, and Jack Dorsey assumed the role of interim CEO. Twitter was created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams in March 2006 and launched in July 2006. By 2012, the platform had more than 100 million users. I am surprised that they have not figured out that Dorsey can be personally sued for securities fraud since he marketed Twitter as being the platform for “freedom of expression,” whereby he has personally taken charge of the company and did exactly the opposite of what was said when they went public.

If I raised money and said we would invest in BioTech, but then after getting the money I invested in real estate, that would be securities fraud. We cannot count on the SEC to defend the people. They get their marching orders and will never cross paths with someone like Dorsey. Worse still, if you take a public corporation and you flip it around for personal use, that too is actionable. Dorsey is obviously incompetent as a CEO.