Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Don’t

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Do

Postby admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:37 am

Everyone Is Wrong About the Bernie Bros: How a necessary critique of leftist sexism deteriorated into a dumb flame war.
By Amanda Hess
February 3, 2016

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A man dressed as “Bernie Warrior” stands outside a campaign event of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders at Grand View University, Jan. 31, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, the political press has been following an elusive campaign animal. Known as the “Bernie Bro,” he typically presents as a white, male Bernie Sanders supporter who haunts Internet comment sections. He has been spotted orchestrating pile-ons on Hillary Clinton’s Facebook page and firing off tweets reducing Clinton and her supporters to their vaginas. BuzzFeed News reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro recently observed these “unruly online men” and determined that even “the Sanders campaign and the Sanders digital army are aware that the Bros are a real issue, a dangerous and unruly crowd that can shock even the closest Sanders supporters.” The BBC reports that the Bro has earned Sanders supporters a “bad reputation online.” Time’s Charlotte Alter claims that he has recently been spotted in—dun dun dun—“real life.”

Or maybe the Bernie Bro is just a fantasy. On Sunday, the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald diagnosed the Bro talk as a “cheap,” “false,” “handy, all-purpose pro-Clinton smear” meant to "inherently delegitimize all critics of Hillary Clinton by accusing them of, or at least associating them with, sexism.”

My own Bro research has revealed that both viewpoints are correct, depending on how you choose to filter your Twitter feed. The divide in how Clinton and Sanders supporters view Bernie Bros—or whether they see them at all—is emblematic of how social media has accomplished the impressive feat of making American political discourse even more annoying.

The Bernie Bro first emerged in a lark of an Atlantic piece published last October. Robinson Meyer's short and sweet portrait identified a particular strain of Sanders supporter, an individual who is so obsessive about his candidate that he has lost all self-awareness—the type of dude who rants about his relationship with feminism and writes on Facebook as if he is “declaiming in the Roman forum.”

Meyer included the disclaimers that the "Berniebro is not every Bernie Sanders supporter” and that though "Sanders’s support skews young” it’s “not particularly male.” His meditation was buttressed, though, by a series of tone-deaf pieces that served as a Bernie Bro proof of concept, essays by Sanders boosters like Walker Bragman (“Hillary’s personality repels me”); Michael Sainato (“Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton all share a common insincere, yet polished, demeanor inherent with an affluent lifestyle”); and Ben Norton, who dismissed feminist identification with a female candidate as “high-school clique drama.”

Everything that Bernie Bros have been accused of doing is something I’ve seen from One Direction fans on Twitter.

The Sanders campaign’s critics had plenty of material to work with beyond those blithely condescending columns. They could throw in a bunch of bottom-feeding social media sexists, like the poster in a pro-Sanders Facebook group who called Hillary “clitrash.” The campaign also made its own gendered gaffes, including the smug statement that Bernie was “willing to consider” Hillary for veep. Finally, there’s the tendency of online Sanders supporters to call Clinton fans corporate-shilling “Hillary bots” and to argue that journalists are “auditioning for jobs with the Clinton White House.” Put it all together, and you have a perfectly reasonable (though not unimpeachable, and certainly not universal) argument that Bernie has a little bit of a Bro problem.

But as soon as the Bernie Bro materialized, the conversation around it deteriorated. As the meme gained momentum, some popularizers stopped bothering to marshal any kind of evidence that Sanders supporters were sexist. The argument bottomed out with a Mashable article branding Sanders supporters as “a sexist mob” while doing little to justify the claim beyond conjuring the word “Reddit.” On the other side, Greenwald centered his debunking of the Bernie Bro narrative on the shakiest specimens of the genre. He chose to ignore the most substantive accounts of Bernie Bro behavior, like this piece from Sanders supporter Kathleen Geier, who says that a fellow #Berner accused her of “angling for a job in the Clinton administration” when she took note of anti-Clinton sexism online.

This is a familiar online phenomenon. Just as mansplaining “morphed from a useful descriptor of a real problem in contemporary gender dynamics to an increasingly vague catchall expression,” as Salon’s Benjamin Hart put it in 2014, the Bernie Bro argument has been stretched beyond recognition by both its champions and its critics. What began as a necessary critique of leftist sexism has been replaced by a pair of straw men waving their arms in the wind.

One persistent critique of the Bernie Bro phenomenon is that it’s unfair to single out Sanders supporters when Clintonistas are just as obnoxious. Sanders supporters have fought back against the Bro attack by producing evidence of anti-Semitic image macros and racist tweets fired off by Clinton supporters. Unfortunately, the nation’s pollsters have been busy asking Americans who they plan to vote for in the real election, not which faction is the most intolerant on the Internet. But the Hillary-people-are-just as-bad critique falls flat when you hop between Sanders and Clinton posts on Instagram or Facebook. You’ll see a lot more Sanders supporters dropping into Hillary’s feed to drop a hashtag or a burn than the other way around. When the Clinton campaign posted a photo celebrating the candidate’s close-call win in Iowa on Monday, Sanders stans scrolled over to her feed to lodge substantive complaints like “Hillary is a liar and she doesn’t care about you vote for Bernie,” “It was a tie. Probably rigged in your favor,” and “Ew. No.”

The problem here, as one Sanders supporter put it, is that “there’s just more of us on the internet in general so it probably just seems like we’re disproportionately trollish.” The Sanders campaign is justifiably proud of its clear social media dominance, and it makes sense that a larger movement would produce a bigger pool of jerks. This is not Sanders’ fault, but the Vermont senator’s own thoughtful and pleasant conversational stylings don’t make the experience of discussing the campaign with his supporters any less annoying.

In the past week, the Sanders camp has smartly acknowledged the existence of overly aggressive Bernie fans and distanced the campaign from their tactics. “We have many hundreds of thousands of supporters, and some of them have gone over the edge. I apologize for that,” Sanders told Ebony’s Jamilah Lemieux. “If you support @berniesanders, please follow the senator's lead and be respectful when people disagree with you,” Sanders rapid-response director Mike Casca tweeted. “Above all: just know you represent our movement and be respectful with those who disagree with you,” Sanders digital media director Héctor Sigala wrote on Reddit.

Is the Democratic Party’s primary flame war the Internet’s fault? It’s at least a little bit the Internet’s fault. The online battle between Bernie Bros and Hillary bots has been compared to #GamerGate by that movement’s critics, sympathizers, and fence-sitters. In truth, any prominent online mob—Florida State football fans, the right-wing #Twitchy crew, boy band acolytes, ISIS supporters—can be caught cribbing from the same online playbook.

Everything that Bernie Bros have been accused of doing is something I’ve seen from One Directioners on Twitter—a group so displeased by an article I wrote three years ago that they invited me to sit on a chair upholstered with glass shards. Cross them, and you’re liable to be swarmed by a loosely coordinated crew of obsessives who will accuse you of rank opportunism. (“You just writted about one direction because you want fame,” or as Sanders supporters put it, “you’re a paid Hillary shill.”) They will also slide into your timeline under the auspices of asking a perfectly innocent question (“I just wanna know why are you so obsessed with one direction?” / “Why criticize only Bernie? Please answer”), make irrelevant aesthetic arguments (“gotta hide them cankles”), and add that anyone who complains about personal attacks is “discounting true criticism.”

The endlessly filterable nature of social media only exacerbates these problems. On Twitter, Facebook, and other online spaces, political debate often takes the form of anonymous randos pinging contextless nonsequiturs to one another. Thanks to Twitter’s search functionality, nearly any vile viewpoint can be conjured instantly by plugging in the right combination of terms. Try #FeelTheBern + vagina, and you’ll get a few hits from stray Bernie Bros (and some pro-Sanders women) that otherwise never would have surfaced for anyone but their own handful of followers.

For online denizens grappling with big issues, Twitter provides some instant gratification. The underrepresentation of women in government is an intractable problem with no clear culprit, but a Bernie supporter’s tweet can be screenshotted and copied and passed around; it’s so real, you can almost touch it. And Sanders supporters are right that in both politics and media, power and influence are wielded by socially insular groups, and stitching together tweets and Wikipedia articles and social media connections to make that case furnishes the Sanders in-crowd with a satisfying visual.

But for all the talk of Twitter’s democratizing power, it’s a mistake to consider these online tactics effective electioneering. In recent weeks, Sanders supporters on Reddit have written in to remind the crew that their goal is not to deliver the sickest burn or capture the perfect tweet illustrating the stupidity of Hillary supporters. Rather, they want to convince people to vote for Bernie Sanders, and the movement’s online tactics need to be suited to that end. As one Sanders supporter put it: “Being a dick alienates people who might otherwise be open to dialogue.”
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Re: Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Do

Postby admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:03 am

The “Bernie Bros” Narrative: a Cheap Campaign Tactic Masquerading as Journalism and Social Activism
by Glenn Greenwald
January 31, 2016

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Top photo: Actress Susan Sarandon watches as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign event at Music Man Square, Jan. 27, 2016, in Mason City, Iowa.

The concoction of the “Bernie Bro” narrative by pro-Clinton journalists has been a potent political tactic — and a journalistic disgrace. It’s intended to imply two equally false claims: (1) a refusal to march enthusiastically behind the Wall Street-enriched, multiple-war-advocating, despot-embracing Hillary Clinton is explainable not by ideology or political conviction, but largely if not exclusively by sexism: demonstrated by the fact that men, not women, support Sanders (his supporters are “bros”); and (2) Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive and misogynistic in their online behavior. Needless to say, a crucial tactical prong of this innuendo is that any attempt to refute it is itself proof of insensitivity to sexism if not sexism itself (as the accusatory reactions to this article will instantly illustrate).

It’s become such an all-purpose, handy pro-Clinton smear that even consummate, actual “bros” for whom the term was originally coined — straight guys who act with entitlement and aggression, such as Paul Krugman — are now reflexively (and unironically) applying it to anyone who speaks ill of Hillary Clinton, even when they know nothing else about the people they’re smearing, including their gender, age, or sexual orientation. Thus, a male policy analyst who criticized Sanders’ health care plan “is getting the Bernie Bro treatment,” sneered Krugman. Unfortunately for the New York Times Bro, that analyst, Charles Gaba, said in response that he’s “really not comfortable with [Krugman’s] referring to die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters as ‘Bernie Bros'” because it “implies that only college-age men support Sen. Sanders, which obviously isn’t the case.”

It is indeed “obviously not the case.” There are literally millions of women who support Sanders over Clinton. A new Iowa poll yesterday shows Sanders with a 15-point lead over Clinton among women under 45, while one-third of Iowa women over 45 support him. A USA Today/Rock the Vote poll from two weeks ago found Sanders nationally “with a 19-point lead over front-runner Hillary Clinton, 50 percent to 31 percent, among Democratic and independent women ages 18 to 34.” One has to be willing to belittle the views and erase the existence of a huge number of American women to wield this “Bernie Bro” smear.

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But truth doesn’t matter here — at all. Instead, the goal is to inherently delegitimize all critics of Hillary Clinton by accusing them of, or at least associating them with, sexism, thus distracting attention away from Clinton’s policy views, funding, and political history and directing it toward the online behavior of anonymous, random, isolated people on the internet claiming to be Sanders supporters. It’s an effective weapon when wielded by Clinton operatives. But, given its blatant falsity, it has zero place in anything purporting to be “journalism.”

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To see the blatant disregard for facts in which this narrative is grounded, let’s quickly look at two of the most widely cited examples of online “Bernie Bro” misogyny from this week’s deluge of articles on the topic, smartly dissected by columnist Carl Beijar (“How many smears on Sanders supporters can we debunk in one week?”). A much-cheered Mashable article — headlined “The bros who love Bernie Sanders have become a sexist mob” — purported to describe the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon as Sanders supporters who are “often young, white, and predominantly male” and whose messages are “oftentimes derogatory and misogynistic.” It cited a grand total of two examples, both from random, unknown internet users. Here was one of those examples, left in response to a Facebook post from New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen about a Clinton rally she attended:

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These were the types of comments that followed:
Carol Jean Simpson. I am no longer voting for you. You should have supported someone with integrity instead of a lying shitbag like HRC. #FeelTheBern.
January 23 at 12:17 pm.


There are two small problems with this example. First, it’s written by a woman, not a man. Second, it’s not remotely sexist. If anything is sexist, it’s the branding of Carol Jean Simpson as a “bro” because she supports Sanders rather than Clinton. And while I’m sure it’s terribly unpleasant for a former governor and two-term U.S. Senator such as Jeanne Shaheen to have her favorite presidential candidate described as a “lying shitbag” and be told that she lost a supporter as a result, there’s nothing particularly inappropriate, or at least not unusual, about this kind of rhetoric being used in online debates over politics — unless you think the most powerful U.S. politicians are entitled to the reverence that London elites accord British monarchy.

Then there’s the most widely cited example, used by that Mashable article as well as one from the BBC titled “Bernie Sanders supporters get a bad reputation online.” This example originated with the New Yorker TV critic (and Clinton supporter) Emily Nussbaum, who claimed that she was called a “psycho” by the “Feel the Bern crew” after she praised Clinton. Nussbaum’s claim was then repeatedly cited by pro-Clinton media figures when repeating the “Bernie Bro” theme. The problem with this example? The person who called her a “psycho” is a right-wing Tea Party supporter writing under a fake Twitter account of a GOP congressman — not remotely a Sanders supporter. As Beijar put it:

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UPDATE: Turns out one the Republican Congressman who called Emily Nussbaum a "psycho" doesn't even exist. So just to clarify: this Berniebro story exists because
1) Wonkette's Kaili Joy Gray is citing
2) The New Republic's Jamil Smith, who cited
3) Mashable's Emily Cohn, who cited
4) New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum, who credited to a Berniebro a quote from
5) A Republican Congressman's Twitter account, who turns out to not even be a Congressman, but rather
6) A random troll who created a character "based on J.D. 'Boss' Hogg from the classic TV show, "The Dukes of Hazzard".


What this illustrates is that Clinton media operatives are campaigning for their candidate under the guise of journalism and social issue activism. I don’t personally have a problem with that: I see nothing wrong with journalists being vehemently devoted to a political candidate. But it’s important to know what it is. As is true for most campaign operatives, they have thrown all concern about truth and facts into the garbage can in exchange for saying anything that they perceive will help the Clinton campaign win.

Have pro-Clinton journalists and pundits been subjected to some vile, abusive, and misogynistic rhetoric from random, anonymous internet supporters of Sanders who are angry over their Clinton support? Of course they have. Does that reflect in any way on the Sanders campaign or which candidate should win the Democratic primary? Of course it does not. The reason pro-Clinton journalists are targeted with vile abuse online has nothing specifically to do with the Sanders campaign or its supporters. It has everything to do with the internet. There are literally no polarizing views one can advocate online — including criticizing Democratic Party leaders such as Clinton or Barack Obama — that will not subject one to a torrent of intense anger and vile abuse. It’s not remotely unique to supporting Hillary Clinton: Ask Megyn Kelly about that, or the Sanders-supporting Susan Sarandon and Cornel West, or anyone with a Twitter account or blog. I’ve seen online TV and film critics get hauled before vicious internet mobs for expressing unpopular views about a TV program or a movie.


Mike J. M
‏@Farrier1959
She's always been a stupid bitch

"Susan Sarandon feels the Bern, works the phone banks for Bernie Sanders" http://twitchy.com/2016/01/27/susan-sar ... e-sanders/

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Colin D. Garland ‏@ColinDGarland 8h
well thought out indictment of Sarandon's political views. Thanks for that. I'll explain sarcasm later.


And while people in some minority groups are, just like in offline life, lavished with special, noxious forms of online abuse — people of color, LGBTs, women, Muslims — that has been true in basically every online realm long before Bernie Sanders announced that he would rudely attempt to impede Hillary Clinton’s coronation. There are countless articles documenting the extra-vitriolic abuse directed at women and minorities for many years before “the Sanders campaign” existed.

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Women, LGBT Least Safe on Facebook, Despite "Real Name" Policy


Pretending that abusive or misogynistic behavior is unique to Sanders supporters is a blatant, manipulative scam, as anyone who ever used the internet before 2015 knows. Do pro-Clinton journalists really believe that Sanders-supporting women, or LGBTs, or people of color, are exempt from this online abuse from Clinton supporters, that this only happens to people who support Clinton? (In 2008, Krugman used the same tactic on behalf of the Clinton campaign by claiming that Obama supporters were particularly venomous and cult-like.)

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Melissa Tucker
I just had to block another cruel & arrogant #Berniebot. Why are they so hateful? Everyday I block anywhere from 1-9.
LIAR
[Bernie Sanders] I'm for the 99 percent
Gerard Di Trolio, Jan 29
We need to talk about Hillary supporters and their problematic online behaviour and antisemitism
A tweet yesterday from a devoted supporter of Hillary Clinton.


Just as neocons have long sought to exploit “anti-Semitism” accusations as a means of deterring and delegitimizing criticisms of Israel (thus weakening and trivializing the ability to combat that very real menace), Clinton media supporters are cynically exploiting serious and disturbing phenomena and weaponizing them as tools for the Clinton campaign. Online abuse in general, and toward specific groups, is a very real and serious problem; it is not a tool to be used to advance the political empowerment of Hillary Clinton by smearing Sanders supporters as particularly guilty of it.

Clinton-supporting journalists this week made much out of the fact that the Sanders campaign felt compelled to issue a statement asking its supporters to comport themselves respectfully online, as though this proved that Sanders supporters really are uniquely abusive. That’s absurd. What that actually proved is that pro-Clinton journalists at large media outlets vastly outnumber pro-Sanders journalists — that’s what it means to say that she’s the “establishment candidate” — and have collectively used their platform to spin this harmful narrative, forcing the Sanders campaign to try to defuse it.

To put it simply: if you really think that Sanders supporters are particularly abusive online, that says a great deal about which candidate you want to win, and nothing about Sanders supporters. If you spend your time praising Clinton and/or criticizing Sanders, of course you personally will experience more anger and vitriol from Sanders supporters than Clinton supporters.

Conversely, if you spend your time praising Sanders, you will experience far more anger and vitriol from Clinton supporters. If you spend your time criticizing Trump, you’ll think no faction is more abusive than Trump supporters. If you’re an Obama critic, you’ll conclude that his army of devoted worshippers is uniquely toxic. And if you opine that the original Star Trek series is overrated, you’ll be able to write a column about the supreme dark side of nerds, armed with numerous horrifying examples. Welcome to my inbox and Twitter feed:

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From: saywhat805@aim.com
To: Glenn Greenwald
9/24/14, 2:58 PM
Shut your fucking mouth you fucking dick riding sand nigger lover. Move to Syria so you can be bombed off the face of this earth. You are a fucking coward and a spineless bitch. You support sand niggers because you are afraid of what they will do to you if you disagree with their fucked up fallacy. You are a fucking BITCH. Keep supporting those sand niggers you fucking pussy because you will get your fucking teeth knocked out if you support them around me. I will fuck you up. Watch your shit you fucking faggot.


Vin DiCator @VINDICATORofYah
God bless Ed Snowden. Watching CITIZEN FOUR docu. (Too bad he chose HOMO Glenn Greenwald reporter tho.)#HATEtheSTATE #NSA pukes. #Statism
4:35 AM - 15 Jan 2016


gazarin @ahmedgazarin
Unfollowed Glenn Greenwald the homo, hope the Justice Department arrest him.
7:52 PM - 6 May 2015


David @cupsdaddy
Glenn Greenwald to keynote terror-linked CAIR's annual banquet http://wp.me/pbU4v-fJq 'Homo Hanging' to be the evenings 'entertainment'?
7:38 AM - 6 Oct 2013


Glenn Greenwald to keynote terror-linked CAIR's annual banquet
via Glenn Greenwald, Journalist Who Reported on NSA Surveillance Leaks, to Address Islamic Event | CNS News. By Patrick Goodenough The American journalist and commentator who first reported on Edwa...
creepingsharia.wordpress.com


favete linguis @Socialism_Never
Guardian Whines: Glenn Greenwald's homo sex prtnr David Miranda (irony) detained under UK Patriot-type act for 9 hrs http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/a ... d-heathrow
3:44 PM - 18 Aug 2013
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Photo published for Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours
Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours
David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act
theguardian.com


Jeff Gauvin @JeffersonObama
Who's going to walk Greenwald's dogs and water his lawn and estate grounds in Gavea, Brazil now??? #laffaireGreenwald
9:38 PM - 18 Aug 2013


I got all of that — and so much more like it — without having to praise Hillary Clinton! How could that happen? We’ve been hearing that it’s Sanders supporters who uniquely spew this kind of ugliness at Clinton-supporting media figures.

Hillary Clinton is the establishment candidate. Therefore, she has far more supporters with loud, influential media platforms than her insurgent, socialist challenger. Therefore, the people with the loudest media platforms experience lots of anger and abuse from Sanders supporters and none from Clinton supporters; why would devoted media cheerleaders of the Clinton campaign experience abuse from Clinton supporters? They wouldn’t, and they don’t. Therefore, venerating their self-centered experience as some generalized trend, they announce that Sanders supporters are uniquely abusive: because that’s what they, as die-hard Clinton media supporters, personally experience. This “Bernie Bro” narrative says a great deal about which candidate is supported by the most established journalists and says nothing unique about the character of the Sanders campaign or his supporters.

As I documented last week, it is hard to overstate how identical is the script being used by American media elites against Sanders when compared to the one used by the British media elite last year to demonize Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. This exact media theme was constantly used against Corbyn: that his supporters were uniquely abusive, vitriolic, and misogynistic. That’s because the British media almost unanimously hated Corbyn and monomaniacally devoted themselves to his defeat: So of course they never experienced abuse from supporters of his opponents but only from supporters of Corbyn. And from that personal experience, they also claimed that Corbyn supporters were uniquely misbehaved, and then turned it into such a media narrative that the Corbyn campaign finally was forced to ask for better behavior from his supporters:

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THE SPECTATOR: Jeremy Corbyn's New Politics Has Ushered in an Era of Appalling Online Bullying, by Sebastian Payne


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BBC NEWS: Jeremy Corbyn Warns Labour Members Over "Abuse"


Just as happened with Corbyn, the pro-Clinton establishment media first created this narrative about the Sanders campaign, then seized on its being forced to respond to it — the narrative they created — as vindication that they were right all along. As the media critic Adam Johnson put it this week:

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Adam Johnson
Anatomy of a manufactured scandal:
1. Constantly assert BernieBro phenomenon based on a handful of cherry picked idiots
2. Have several big-name Clinton partisans and a few credulous journalists write about it (only 1 or 2 examples necessary)
3. Eventually Sanders camp says of course online harassment is bad
4. Use this as evidence that Sanders camp "admits it has a problem"
5. Rise and repeat until nomination is secured
6. Never discuss class, inequality, or substance of any kind


Jamil Smith on Twitter
"The @BernieSanders campaign knows that the "Bernie Bros" are a problem. Read @EvanMcSan's report https://t.co/SVdEirbU1Z"


It’s the exact same script. And in both cases, it’s not hard to understand. If you were a supporter of Hillary Clinton, think of all the things she’s said and done that you would be desperate not to have to discuss or defend. Several days ago, the African-American professor Michelle Alexander, whose book The New Jim Crow about the sprawling, racist U.S. penal state is one of the most important of the last decade, wrote this on her Facebook page:

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Michelle Alexander: If anyone doubts that the mainstream media fails to tell the truth about our political system (and its true winners and losers), the spectacle of large majorities of black folks supporting Hillary Clinton in the primary races ought to be proof enough. I can't believe Hillary would be coasting into the primaries with her current margin of black support if most people knew how much damage the Clintons have done -- the millions of families that were destroyed the last time they were in the White House thanks to their boastful embrace of the mass incarceration machine and their total capitulation to the right-wing narrative on race, crime, welfare and taxes. There's so much more to say on this topic and it's a shame that more people aren't saying it. I think it's time we have that conversation.


Similarly, here’s what Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in The Atlantic last week:

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What candidates name themselves is generally believed to be important. Many Sanders supporters, for instance, correctly point out that Clinton handprints are all over America's sprawling carceral state. I agree with them and have said so at length. Voters, and black voters particularly, should never forget that bill Clinton passed arguably the most immoral "anti-crime" bill in American history, and that Hillary Clinton aided its passage through her invocation of the super-predator myth. A defense of Clinton rooted in the claim that "Jeb Bush held the same position" would not be exculpatory. ("Law and order conservative embraces law and order" would surprise no one.) That is because the anger over the Clintons' actions isn't simply based on their having been wrong, but on their craven embrace of law and order Republicanism in the Democratic Party's name.


If you’re a Clinton media supporter, the last thing you want to do is talk about her record in helping to construct the supremely oppressive and racist U.S. penal state. You don’t even want to acknowledge what Alexander and Coates wrote. You most certainly don’t want to talk about how she’s drowning both personally and politically in Wall Street money. You sure don’t want to talk about what her bombing campaign did to Libya, or the military risks that her no-fly zone in Syria would entail, or the great admiration and affection she proclaimed for Egyptian despot Hosni Mubarak, or revisit her steadfast advocacy of the greatest political crime of this generation, the invasion of Iraq. You don’t want to talk about her vile condemnation of “superpredators,” or her record on jobs-destroying trade agreements, or the fact that she changed her position from vehement opposition to support for marriage equality only after polls and most Democratic politicians switched sides.

Indeed, outside of a very small number of important issues where her record is actually good, you don’t want to talk much at all about her actual beliefs and actions. Watch how many progressive endorsements of Clinton simply ignore all of that. It’s much better to re-direct the focus away from Hillary Clinton’s history of beliefs and policy choices onto the repugnant, stray comments of obscure, unknown, anonymous people on the internet claiming (accurately or not) to be supporters of Bernie Sanders. The fact that it may be an effective tactic — mostly because most Democratic media figures are equally fervent Clinton supporters and thus willing to unite to prop it up and endorse it — does not make it any less ugly or deceitful.
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Re: Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Do

Postby admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:20 am

How many smears on Sanders supporters can we debunk in one week?
by Carl Beijer
January 30, 2016

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Look for the BernieBro, and at the most you'll find a few examples that are easily explained as statistically insignificant.

Or you will find the flat refusal to provide any examples at all.

Or you will find the repeated and demonstrable misrepresentation of quotes, as in the case of Rebecca Traister's article. Or as in a Jezebel article posted yesterday, where the "Berniebro" quoted turns out to be a woman.

Sometimes you'll get a variation on this when another journalist cites the misrepresented quote, as Jessica Valenti does for the article above. Or more recently, when BBC and Mashable both quote uncritically another journalist, Emily Nussbaum, claiming that "the Feel the Bern crew" called her "psycho" - when it was, in fact, a Tea Party Republican Congressman from Georgia.

But for the most part, you'll get what I've been railing against since September: an endless chain of writers citing other writers, as when Jamil Smith cites the Mashable article. And as when Kaili Joy Gray cites...Jamil Smith.

These are not trivial or isolated instances. Traister, Valenti, Smith, and Gray are all prominent media figures. New York Magazine, Jezebel, BBC, Mashable, and The New Republic are influential, mainstream outlets with giant, corporate-sponsored platforms. These people (and their boosters) have been aggressively promoting this smear for months on end, all while refusing to respond to sustained, serious and direct criticism.

Criticism from the usual Sanders supporter suspects is not going to stop this. What could curb it is if journalists realize that they're ruining their professional reputations by peddling this nonsense. Editors should ask their writers if they really want to be the next Jerome Corsi. Colleagues should tell them to stop embarrassing their publications. Political allies should remind themselves that Clinton has done this before, and ask themselves if they really want to be a part of it.

UPDATE: Turns out one the Republican Congressman who called Emily Nussbaum a "psycho" doesn't even exist. So just to clarify: this Berniebro story exists because

1) Wonkette's Kaili Joy Gray is citing
2) The New Republic's Jamil Smith, who cited
3) Mashable's Emily Cohn, who cited
4) New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum, who credited to a Berniebro a quote from
5) A Republican Congressman's Twitter account, who turns out to not even be a Congressman, but rather
6) A random troll who created a character "based on J.D. 'Boss' Hogg from the classic TV show, 'The Dukes of Hazzard'".
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Re: Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Do

Postby admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:37 am

Online abuse against women: 'free speech' is no justification
Death and rape threats against women continue to proliferate on some of the world's most popular social-media sites. The perpetrators must not be allowed to think they have the right to continue
by Laura Bates
November 8, 2013

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Are women being force out of online spaces? Photograph: Alamy

Just over a month ago, while doing research for a book about sexism, I opened an internet browser, typed "chat rooms for kids" into Google, and clicked on one of the first links that appeared. There was no registration process, no age check -– I just typed in a made-up username, and immediately chat windows started appearing on my screen. Within seconds I had over 10 messages, almost every one of them reading: "ASL?" I wrote back: "What is ASL?" The answer came quickly: "Age. Sex. Location." I replied, claiming to be a 12-year-old girl from the US. The responses were immediate:

"Do you like sex?"

"Can I teach you?"

"Bra size?"

"Do you want to earn some extra pocket money?"

"Can I cu?"

While I hesitated, the messages quickly intensified: "My dick is long and hard" … "I am so horny" … "My wet dripping dick". I closed the windows. The whole thing took less than three minutes.

In the course of my work around violence against women and the forms it takes online, I've learned that it can get far more complicated -– one expert recently told me about scenarios where men have sent messages to girls in chat rooms claiming to have uploaded a virus on to their computer … but they'll delete it on the condition of a video chat … if the girl does what she's told.

This week a Dutch children's charity carried out a very similar experiment on a much larger scale, using a computer-generated 10-year-old girl they named Sweetie. The results were chillingly similar, with 20,000 men contacting Sweetie over two months, and 1,000 offering to pay her to carry out sex acts on a webcam. But the reaction of law enforcement agencies to the revelations has been notably muted –- though the UK's National Crime Agency has agreed to look at the information passed on by the charity, a spokesperson for European policing agency Europol told Reuters: "We believe that criminal investigations using intrusive surveillance measures should be the exclusive responsibility of law enforcement agencies." No promise of more concrete action has yet been forthcoming. This has only confirmed what we already knew –- when it comes to online abuse, women and girls are on their own.

The internet is a fertile breeding ground for misogyny –- you only have to look at the murky bottom waters of Reddit and 4Chan to see the true extent to which it allows violent attitudes towards women to proliferate. But, crucially, it also provides a conduit that enables many who hold those views to attack and abuse women and girls, from what they rightly perceive to be an incredibly secure position. Meanwhile, the police seem near-powerless to take action, social media sites shrug their shoulders, and women are left between a rock and a hard place -– simply put up with the abuse as a part of online life, or get off the internet altogether.

These are not just nasty comments, or harsh criticisms –- they are extreme, detailed and vitriolic threats of rape, torture and death. I have received messages detailing exactly how I should be disembowelled, which weapons could be used to kill me, and which parts of my body should be raped. When I ignored the threats, they intensified and proliferated, finding out information about my family members and threatening to rape them instead. They are the kind of messages that race around your head at night when you try to sleep, no matter how much you wrote them off as empty scare-mongering during the day. They make you hesitate to post online and change the way you use social media. And nobody seems to be able to do anything about it. Of the three rape threats I reported to police in recent months, two have already been dropped because the police are unable to trace the perpetrators. When I went to the police last year with a pile of abusive messages, including rape and death threats, they said they were unable to trace the perpetrators, even though I was able to provide IP addresses. When I showed them a specific website where users were being encouraged to send me abuse and threats, the police said it was US-registered, and therefore outside their jurisdiction.


Just like Sweetie and any other young girls her age venturing into shared online spaces, the answer seems to be an ambivalent shrug -– this is just what happens to women online so you might as well get used to it. And woe betide you if you try to protest the apparent unfairness of that, because didn't you know that you are threatening free speech? Except that it's not a threat to free speech to suggest that once people have actually committed a crime (like threatening to rape or murder somebody, or trying to coerce a little girl into carrying out sex acts), they should be brought to justice for it. Threatening to rape somebody online is just as illegal as it is in a letter, or in person. Nobody is suggesting that the entirety of Reddit or 4Chan should be shut down, objectionable as some parts of them are.

But it's also telling that in all this hand-wringing over free speech, nobody is talking about the free speech of the women and girls who, as long as this continues to go unacknowledged and unresolved, are effectively being driven out of online spaces altogether.
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Re: Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Do

Postby admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:48 am

Women, LGBT least safe on Facebook, despite 'real name' policy
by Violet Blue , @violetblue
06.25.15

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Despite Facebook's insistence that its "real names" policy keeps its users safe, a new report reveals that Facebook is the least safe place for women online. And things are turning more explosive, as stories emerge that Facebook has been changing its users' names without their consent -- and the company isn't allowing them to remove their real names from their accounts. Meanwhile, a furious LGBT coalition has rallied around the safety threats posed to its communities by the policy. Though, it was unsuccessful in blocking the company from marching in America's largest gay pride parade.

Facebook's ongoing war on pseudonyms became well-documented in 2011 when a blogger risking her life to report on crime in Honduras was suspended by the company, under its rule requiring everyone to use their real name on the social network. The problem re-emerged in September 2014 when Facebook's policy locked an eye-opening number of LGBT accounts in violation of the "real names" rule. Facebook met with Bay Area LGBT community representatives, offered an apology, then suggested a policy change was in the works. Surprise: It never came. Nine months later, Facebook has failed to solidify or clarify this policy, and one organization has bad news for Facebook's years of "real name" policy implementation.

Epicenter of online abuse for over 23 million women

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Protest against Domestic Violence in Australia

The Safety Net Project (at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, NNEDV) recently released a report based on results from victim service providers called A Glimpse From the Field: How Abusers Are Misusing Technology.

The report found that nearly all (99 percent) the responding programs reported that Facebook is the most misused social media platform by abusers. Facebook is a key place for offenders to access information about victims or harass them by direct messaging or via their friends and family. The respondents included national domestic violence programs, sexual assault programs, law enforcement, prosecutor's offices and civil legal services.

Facebook is the most misused social media platform by abusers.

NNEDV's report (PDF) concluded that, "It is unsurprising that nearly every program reported Facebook as the main social media abusers use to harass victims." That's because, "Facebook is the hardest for survivors to shut down or avoid because they use it to keep in contact with other friends and family." And no wonder, because NNEDV recognizes the critical need to avoid isolation for abuse victims. "Although we often hear suggestions that survivors shouldn't use social media, we don't agree that this is a solution."

NNEDV tells us that one in four American women are domestic abuse survivors; in one recent 24-hour survey, NNEDV found that US domestic violence programs served more than 65,000 victims and answered more than 23,000 crisis hotline calls in one day alone. It's widely accepted that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survivors of violence experience the same rates of violence as straight individuals.

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Pew currently estimates that 71 percent of American adults (188 million) use Facebook; if half are female, and one in four of those are victims of domestic violence -- that's a little over 23 million women whose "real names" put them in danger. And that's 23 million users who, especially if they are using the social network by its own rules, are experiencing Facebook as their primary avenue of abuse, harassment and stalking.

When reached for comment about the How Abusers Are Misusing Technology report, a Facebook spokesperson referred us to this Facebook post explaining how the company's "authentic name" policy "creates a safer community for everyone."

Facebook Safety
June 1, 2015

Today marks the start of National Internet Safety Month in the U.S. Over the next four weeks, we will be posting about some of the ways Facebook works to keep people safe. We're beginning today with our authentic name policy.

The authentic name requirement has defined and distinguished our service from its earliest days. We firmly believe in and are committed to our authentic name policy, and ask that everyone on Facebook use their authentic name on their profile.

Having people use their authentic names helps protect our community from dangerous interactions, like when an abusive ex-boyfriend impersonates a friend to harass his ex-girlfriend, or a high school bully uses a fake name to post hateful comments about a gay classmate.

When people use their authentic names on Facebook they are more accountable for what they say. People can be assured that they’re really connecting with their loved ones, and no-one can hide behind an anonymous name to bully, taunt or say insensitive or inappropriate things. This creates a safer community for everyone.

Last year we realized that we were making it too hard for people to confirm their authentic identity on Facebook. For various reasons, people had difficulty with the process of verification and we are sorry to anyone who has been affected by this. So, in consultation with local and national LGBTQ community members and others who provided valuable suggestions and feedback, we’ve made significant improvements in response to some of their concerns:

• We now provide people in the U.S. access to their account while they verify or update their name. We also offer the option to act immediately or within seven days. We will be expanding this to our global community in the coming months.

• We expanded the options and documents that people can use to verify their authentic name. People can now verify their name without having to show a legal document in that name. They can confirm their name with things like a piece of mail, a magazine subscription, or a library card that include their authentic name.

• We clarified language throughout our site to make it clear that when we say authentic name, it does not necessarily need to be legal name.

As with all our products, we will continue to review and improve implementation of this policy to make sure it is working as effectively as possible, and will continue our ongoing conversations with members of the Facebook community.

We believe these changes will allow us to provide a better experience for everyone who uses Facebook, and ensure all members of the community can use the names that they use in real life, without sacrificing the safety that is important to us all.

--Justin Osofsky, Vice President of Global Operations, and Monika Bickert, Head of Global Product Policy


The Facebook prison experiment

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LISBON - DECEMBER 20, 2013: Photo of Facebook homepage on a monitor screen through a magnifying glass.

On its website resource for survivor support, NNEDV adds, "Getting off social media doesn't guarantee any level of safety or privacy. Additionally, online spaces can decrease isolation and offer much support for survivors, especially when they offer privacy and security controls to the user. Survivors shouldn't have to worry about their safety when they want to connect with friends and family online."

Facebook's very public 2013 partnership announcement with NNEDV shows that the company is fond of saying one thing, and instead doing the opposite.

Obviously, the status of that relationship is "complicated."

NNEDV's own Survivor Privacy Guide instructs survivors of abuse to never use their real names on social media accounts. "Survivors can maximize their privacy by using being careful about what they share, strategic in creating accounts (not using your real name in your email or username) and using privacy settings in social networks."

Survivor Privacy

Domestic violence survivors often require more privacy and safety considerations whether they have relocated and are in hiding or just want to minimize the information that abusers can gather about them. There are many areas that require a survivor's attention to ensure his or her privacy. This page explores some of those privacy risks and what survivors can do.

Address Confidentiality Programs (ACPs)

A key aspect for maximizing privacy for domestic violence survivors is to not give out their home addresses. Every time they are asked for their address, whether it is to vote in an election, to file a court petition, or to set up utilities in a new home, there is the potential that the abuser will get a hold of that information, which could increase safety risks. Some states offer address confidentiality programs (ACPs), which is a substitute address for participants to use. These programs are administered by states and enable victims of domestic violence (and sometimes victims of sexual assault and/or stalking) to conceal their location and minimize the ability of an abuser to find them. Participants can use this substitute address instead of their home address when receiving mail, opening bank accounts, or when asked for by state agencies, including for voting records, court filings, obtaining a driver's license, enrolling in public schools, obtaining child support, and other governmental functions that require an address. These programs are critical for survivors to maintain the privacy of their home address because most government agency records are public records and can be available and searchable online. See the Address Confidentiality Program chart below for a list of states that have address confidentiality programs.

Voter Confidentiality Programs

Voting in an election is a right that Americans greatly value and one that a survivor of abuse should not have to forego in order to keep her/his address confidential. However, voter registration is a public record and can be accessed by almost anyone. Some states limit access to their voter records to political parties or candidates, journalists, and academics, but other states do not restrict access at all. In fact, a study conducted by The California Voter Foundation indicates that 22 states allow unrestricted access to voter records. Confidential voter listing programs only provide confidentiality on election-related public records.

The following chart, created by the Boston Greater Legal Services, show which states offer these programs. It also includes information from the few states that provide additional location protections for victims, such as confidential sign-ups for utilities or confidential registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

• Confidentiality Programs Chart
• Domestic Violence and Voter Registration: Safety Considerations

Created by The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, this pamphlet provides survivors and advocates with recommendations for protecting and enhancing safety while exercising the right to vote.

Online Privacy

In addition to protecting location information through one of the above programs, there are many steps survivors can take to minimize the risk of personal information being shared. Online spaces have many risks to privacy. Survivors can maximize their privacy by using being careful about what they share, strategic in creating accounts (not using your real name in your email or username), and using privacy settings in social networks. Furthermore understanding how information about individuals gets shared online and how information offline gets online will help survivors strategize.

Online Privacy & Safety Tips

Browsing the web safely and privately is concern for many people. However, you can take steps to prevent sensitive and personal information from making its rounds on the Web. This one page handout has privacy & safety tips about email, passwords, social networks, online accounts, web browsing and more.

Web Wise Women

Victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking have complex safety risks and concerns when their personal information is on the Internet. This handout explains how information gets online, how it gets shared, and what you can do to limit the information that is shared about you.

Social media is one area in which many information about survivors can be shared—whether it is by the survivor or friends and family of the survivor. Using privacy settings can help ensure that survivors can still use these spaces while increasing privacy.

Privacy Considerations When Posting Content Online

The Internet is full of opportunities for us to share things about ourselves, whether it's a blog entry, updating our Facebook or MySpace status, or posting videos on sites like YouTube or Metacafe. Some people may not mind that the things they share about themselves can be viewed by anyone, but other people may be more concerned. For those who want to be more protective of their online information, here are some questions to consider when posting content online.

Privacy & Safety on Facebook

This guide addresses privacy on Facebook, as well as safety tips and options for when someone is misusing the site to harass, monitor, threaten, or stalk. It refers back to Facebook's Help Center in several places for more detailed information on settings and features – a site that all Facebook users should check out.

Other Privacy Tips

In addition to online spaces, there are many things that survivors can do to maximize their privacy. Consider using a virtual phone number and give out that phone number and turn the geotagging (location) feature off on smartphones.

Cell Phone & Location Strategies

Cell phones are integrated into our lives in a way that allows us, and potentially others, access to a lot of personal information, including our activities, social circles, and even location. The following information will help you assess whether you think your activities and location are being monitored through your cell phone and offer strategies to consider that can help maximize your safety needs.

Visit the Safety Net Page to see more information and privacy tips about relocation, technology, social networking.


The Survivor Privacy Guide isn't just the policy on "real names" for domestic violence victims; [it] is the bedrock instruction and most-cited policy for digital safety by every national sexual assault organization in the United States (including the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, National Sexual Violence Resource Center and numerous state coalitions against rape and Violence Against Women).

In NNEDV's Facebook guide for abuse survivors, it acknowledges both that Facebook's policy is to only use your "real name" and that an account's user name is one of the only things that can never be made private. The official NNEDV guide tells abuse victims and assault survivors the only option to avoid being abused, stalked and harassed by perpetrators by your real name on Facebook is... to not use Facebook.

"Victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking have even more complex safety risks and concerns when their personal information ends up on the internet," says NNEDV's Being Web Wise guide
-- where NNEDV advises only posting online anywhere using a "pen name."

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In the nine months since drag queens made headlines about Facebook's "real names" problem, the situation for LGBT people, sex workers, and female users has continued, and worsened.

Facebook, in the meantime, has kept its assurance in "expanding the options available for verifying," which now includes portals where users are told to upload their driver's licenses and passports (among many other official documents) to unlock their suddenly locked accounts. By May, the steady stream of reports that LGBT people were still being locked out of their accounts and forced to provide their legal name documentation (a terrifying predicament for many LGBT people) hadn't abated.

Believing Facebook is more interested in appearances than the LGBT community's worsening user safety problem, Bay Area LGBT figureheads concretized a movement, the MyNameIs Coalition, with a campaign to ban Facebook from this Sunday's SF Pride parade -- placing Facebook in the same category as other corporations who discriminate or behave harmfully toward LGBT people as a group, such as Coors and Exxon Mobil.

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SF Gay Pride Parade Bolstered By Recent Supreme Court Rulings

Local headlines read that the Pride board bent to pressure from Facebook.

The decision prompted the SF Examiner to write, "If you're a high-profile donor to San Francisco Pride, you might be able to discriminate against the LGBT community and get away with it." In at least one instance, Mark Zuckerberg placed at least one personal call to a board member.

According to meeting minutes, Pride board member Jesse Oliver Sanford railed at those who voted for Facebook saying, "What does it say if all it takes is a 15-minute phone call from Zuckerberg for Pride to sell out our own community?"

When reached for comment, SF Pride President Gary Virginia explained to Engadget that SF Pride would be focusing on finding a "solution to expand [Facebook's] authentication policies and procedures" in community meetings sometime in the "next 12 months."

"What does it say if all it takes is a 15-minute phone call from Zuckerberg for Pride to sell out our own community?"

Regarding the decision to keep Facebook in the parade, Virginia said, "We look at the totality of intentional support or harm to our queer community when vetting a potential sponsor or parade contingent. FB has been a staunch supporter of our queer community and has a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. These are the main factors that drove the board's decision to continue to welcome Facebook's LGBT employee group in the parade and Facebook's sponsorship."

When reached for comment about SF Pride's decision in light of MyNameIs Campaign opposition, a Facebook spokesperson told Engadget, "Facebook is proud of our commitment to diversity and our support of the LGBTQ community as a company and an employer. We have been strong supporters of the San Francisco parade for many years. ... We look forward to joining this year's 45th annual celebration."

However, Facebook didn't have anything to say to us about reports that the company is changing its users' names without their consent.

At the same time MyNameIs began organizing its movement, some Facebook users discovered that Facebook is changing the names on their accounts to what Facebook believes is their "real name" -- and they have no choice about it.


Sherry Ey @sherryey
Stupid facebook, logged me out & changed my name on me. now I can't change it back for 60days.
YES, Sherry Ann Ey is me 'Rooster' :)
10:13 PM - 26 May 2015


User Sherry Ey wrote on May 26th, "Stupid Facebook, logged me out & changed my name on me." MziAMARt tweeted on June 10th, "They kept me from my account for the last two days then CHANGED MY NAME." On June 12th, Marilyn Ollie wrote, "So freakin upset with Facebook. How you gone send me an email and tell me that you changed my name and I can't change it back." User Modar Almouhammad wrote on June 16th, "Facebook changed my name without even asking me?"

One woman, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told Engadget that six weeks ago, Facebook flagged her name as "inauthentic" and was told to change her name. She did -- to the name on her ID. She said, "Two weeks later I received another notification that they didn't think that the name I had entered was my 'authentic' name and that I had to submit documents confirming that."

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16 years

She uploaded her ID and submitted her user name to be her first and middle name, as seen on her ID. She told Engadget, "I found that when I had my profile set to my name [first and last] that I had unwanted attention from people at my day job tracking me down and able to view my profile pictures, generally available photos, view my website and essentially able to stalk me in a way that made me feel unsafe."

But Facebook had its own plans after the company obtained her ID. "I received notification within two days of uploading my driver's license that they didn't accept my [first and middle name] as my legal name and would change my name to my [first and last name] unless I could provide other identity."

She said Facebook told her, "I would not be able to change my name again. Not in three months -- never."

This flies in the face of Facebook's own publicly stated policy following the September drag queen dust-up, when CPO Chris Cox released a statement saying:

"Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess."


The biggest unregulated private database on earth?

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data center with hard drives

Facebook appears to have started forcing birth names on its users around the time of the September 2014 LGBT name purge, as seen in this nine-month-old plea for help on Facebook's Help Community page. Triex Keiseki wrote, "I provided Facebook with my original birth certificate and my name change certificate -- instead they changed my name to my birth name, which I have hidden for the past years. ... and I SPECIFICALLY DID NOT WANT people to know."

Engadget spoke with two other women, and one gay male performer who has received actionable threats, each of which are terrified to experience Facebook changing their names without consent, or recourse.

Facebook maintains that its "real names" (aka "authentic names") policy is essential for user safety. It believes its "authentic names" policy protects users from abuse on the social network, "like when an abusive ex-boyfriend impersonates a friend to harass his ex-girlfriend" because "no one can hide behind an anonymous name to bully, taunt or say insensitive or inappropriate things." But rumblings about Facebook's real motivations -- to prioritize the financial value of its database are the inevitable chorus it receives in the media; Facebook's stock tanked in 2012 when it revealed 8.7 percent of its accounts to be fake.

Facebook maintains that its "real names" (aka "authentic names") policy is essential for user safety.

As Reed Albergotti wrote in The Wall Street Journal last year, "Facebook's advertising product, which will bring in an estimated $12 billion in revenue this year, rests almost solely on its ability to gather detailed, accurate information about users."

Either way, it's a hell of a database score, though it stands to reason there are humans in there somewhere: That Facebook is changing user names based on the submitted documents shows that Facebook is indeed recording submitted ID information with the user account record, somewhere.

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WARSZAWA, POLAND - APRIL 01, 2014: Loging in Facebook app on Iphone5s Facebook is the largest social network in the world.

It's interesting to note that databases such as this are usually subject to citizen protections; for instance, the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) restricts what state motor vehicle departments can do with our driver's license data -- as well as who can handle that data.

Collecting passports, marriage certificates, state ID, birth certificates, library cards, Social Security cards, insurance cards and more as part of Facebook's identity verification data set must make for an unimaginably impressive candy store for governments, advertisers, stalkers, unethical corporations, and all the creeps in the internet's clown car.

As someone who writes about privacy and security for a living, I'd say it's easily one of the most dangerous, highly targeted, unregulated private databases on the planet.


But no matter its monetary value, the view from here looks as if the cost is too high.

[Image credits: Getty (Protest, Pride parade), Facebook (Lisbon), AP (Lil Ms. Hot Mess, Sister Roma and Heklina), Flickr (Driver's licenses), Shutterstock (Facebook app)]
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Re: Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Do

Postby admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:30 am

A Glimpse From the Field: How Abusers Are Misusing Technology
by techsafety.org
February 17, 2015

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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97% of programs report that abusers misuse technology to stalk, harass, and control victims.

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96% of programs report that abusers harass victims via text messaging.

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55% of programs report that offenders post abusive content about victims online.

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71% of programs report that abusers monitor victims' computer use.

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41% of programs report that abusers stalk victims using GPS.

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86% of programs report that abusers harass victims through social media.

The Safety Net Project recently surveyed victim service providers on the misuse of technology by abusers. Of the programs surveyed, 97 percent reported that the survivors they are working with experience harassment, monitoring, and threats by abusers through the misuse of technology.

Abusers in intimate partner violence misuse technology in many ways: to stalk and monitor victims, to harass victims through the “anonymity” of the technology, and to impersonate victims through technology, such as creating false social media accounts. The survey found that 79 percent of programs reported that abusers monitor survivors’ social media accounts, 74 percent report that abusers check victims by text messages, and 71 percent report that abusers scrutinize survivors’ computer activities.

Using technology to facilitate harassment of the victim is a major tactic by abusers, according to the reporting programs. Abusers harassing survivors via text messaging was reported by 96 percent of programs, while 86 percent reported that abusers harass victims through social media.


Of the type of technology misused by offenders, social media, text messaging, and email were the top three. It is not unusual that these three technologies should be reported the most abused by offenders. Abusers seek to disrupt and interrupt survivors’ lives. Stalkers gather information and monitor victims’ activities based on where they are and what they are doing. According to Pew Research Internet Project, 74 percent of adults who are online use a social networking site of some kind and 81 percent of adult cell phone owners send and receive text messages.

In fact, nearly all (99%) the responding programs reported that Facebook is the most misused social media platform by abusers. This finding is not shocking. Facebook is a platform in which abusers and survivors both engage in. With over 1.2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a key place for offenders to access information about victims or harass the victim by directly messaging the victim or the victim’s friends and family. An advocate wrote: “Facebook is the hardest for survivors to shut down or avoid because they use it to keep in contact with other friends and family.”

Respondents to the survey also stated how difficult it is to “prove” that an abuser is behind the abuse. “Officers and state attorneys are saying that anyone could have posted those comments and pictures on Facebook, so proving in court that the abuser is doing it is very difficult,” noted one advocate. Advocates and survivors find it frustrating when they are told that it is impossible to trace harassing text messages or emails back to the perpetrator.

”A Glimpse From the Field” was conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and funded under a grant awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
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Re: Bernie Sanders Tells Berniebros To Knock It Off — ‘We Do

Postby admin » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:35 am

A Glimpse From the Field: How Abusers Are Misusing Technology
Safety Net Technology Safety Survey 2014
© 2014 NNEDV

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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This survey was conducted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, which was funded under grant 2011-VF-GX-K016, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this survey are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department Justice.

Technology intersects with virtually every aspect of our daily lives. Through the use of technology, we can pay bills without using a stamp, brew coffee before even getting out of bed, and close the garage door from miles away. For survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking, however, technology can be both a great help as well as a tool that facilitates threats and harm. In an effort to understand the impact of abusers misusing technology and the types of technology used, the Safety Net Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) conducted a survey of victim service providers. This survey was conducted in the fall of 2014, with 346 respondents from 46 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Of the programs that responded, 97% indicated that victims who seek their services are being harassed, monitored, and threatened by offenders misusing technology. The majority of survey respondents were domestic violence programs (44%) or dual domestic violence and sexual assault programs (40%). Other service providers that responded include: programs serving victims of all crimes, law enforcement, sexual assault programs, civil legal services, prosecutor’s offices, trafficking, and other programs, including programs that provide services to elders; individuals with disabilities, including Deaf and Hard-of- Hearing; community health center; and general social services.

Survey Respondents

Type of Service Providers / Percentage of Respondents

Domestic violence program / 44%
Dual domestic violence & sexual assault program / 40%
Victims of all crimes / 5%
Law enforcement / 3%
Sexual Assault program / 2%
Civil legal services / 1%
Prosecutor’s offices / 1%
Trafficking / 1%
Other / 3%


Types of Abuse

Abusers misuse a variety of technology in order to monitor, harass, impersonate, or stalk victims. For the purpose of the survey, monitoring is defined as accessing survivors’ technology, either physically or remotely, to learn/know about their activities. Harassment is defined as using technology to annoy, threaten, harass, or intimidate survivors. Impersonation is defined as pretending to be the survivor or someone else as a tactic of further abuse. For example, the abuser may access the survivor’s accounts and send messages pretending to be the survivor, create accounts pretending to be the survivor, or spoof caller ID. Finally, tracking/stalking is defined as using location technology to track survivors’ location.

The survey results found that 79% of programs report that abusers monitor survivors’ social media accounts, 74% report that abusers monitor victims by text messages, and 71% report that abusers monitor survivors’ computer activities.

Misusing technology to harass survivors was another tactic that was highly reported. The top 3 types of technology that abusers used to harass survivors were through texting (96%), social media accounts (86%), and email (78%).

Monitoring via Technology

Type of Technology Misused by Offenders / Percentage of Programs Reported Social media accounts 79%

Text messaging / 74%
Computer / 71%
Email / 66%
Online accounts (phone, bank, etc.) / 57%
Apps on cell phones / 54%
Cell phone features (not apps) / 39%
Tablets / 39%
GPS tracking / 37%
Gathering online data about victim / 36%
Phone (not cell phone) / 31%
Assistive technology / 10%


Harassment via Technology

Type of Technology Misused by Offenders / Percentage of Programs Reported

Text messaging / 96%
Social media accounts / 86%
Email / 78%
Phone (not cell phone) / 59%
Posting abusive content online / 55%
Cell phone features (not apps) / 37%
Tablets / 37%
Apps on cell phones / 34%
Online accounts (phone, bank, etc.) / 26%
GPS tracking / 14%
Assistive technology / 6%


Impersonation via Technology

Type of Technology Misused by Offenders / Percentage of Programs Reported


Social media accounts / 57%
Text messaging / 44%
Email / 36%
Online accounts (phone, bank, etc.) / 30%
Posting abusive content online / 27%
Phone (not cell phone) / 14%
Assistive technology / 3%


Tracking/Stalking via Technology

Type of Technology Misused by Offenders / Percentage of Programs Reported


Social media accounts / 67%
Text messaging / 57%
Computer / 54%
Apps on cell phones / 52%
GPS tracking / 41%
Email / 40%
Cell phone features (not apps) / 34%
Online accounts (phone, bank, etc.) / 30%
Gathering online data about victim / 28%
Phone (not cell phone) / 19%
Assistive technology / 5%


Abuse Facilitated Through Social Media

Social media is a space in which abusers misuse frequently to monitor and harass survivors. As the charts above show, in terms of monitoring and harassment, social media and text messaging are the two types of technology most often used.

“Abusers create false social media accounts to impersonate survivors, and there’s very little we can do. It makes folks feel extremely vulnerable and disempowered.”

-- Survey Respondent


Facebook is the most misused platform by abusers, as reported by 99 percent of programs. It is unsurprising that nearly every program reported Facebook as the main social media abusers use to harass victims. With nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a platform in which many people, including survivors and abusers, engage in. As one advocate noted in the survey, “Facebook is the hardest for survivors to shut down or avoid because they use it to keep in contact with other friends and family.”

Abusers go where survivors are, and they disrupt the technologies that survivors use. The technology itself does not necessarily increase or enhance abuse, but because the technology provides access to the survivor (or her/his information), it is the place where abuse occurs.

Social Media Platform Misused by Offenders / Percentage of Programs Reporting

Facebook / 99%
Twitter / 27%
Instagram / 25%
Craigslist / 15%
YouTube / 12%
Porn site / 10%
Tumblr / 4%
LinkedIn / 4%
Snapchat / 3%
Gaming site / 2%


Programs reported abusers misusing Twitter and Instagram at 27% and 25%, respectively. Other social media platforms in which less than 1% of programs reported as a place where abusers harass and harm victims were: Reddit, Ask.fm, Google+, Kik, Tinder, Yik Yak, Match.com, Fade, Pinterest, Topix, and other health and news sites. While programs reported fewer instances of abuse on these sites, it doesn’t necessarily mean that less abuse is occurring in these spaces or that these sites are safer. The low response could merely indicate that fewer survivors are using those platforms.

Nonconsensual Pornography (aka Revenge Porn)

In recent years, many states have passed legislation around the issue of revenge pornography, in which abusers or perpetrators post sexually explicit images or videos of survivors online. This can happen frequently in the context of domestic violence or sexual assault where the abuser posts images of survivors to humiliate or control the victim. In the survey, 55% of programs reported that the survivors they work with have had abusers post sexually explicit images of them online without consent.

Children

One of the many ways abusers control and monitor a victim is through their children. Sixty percent of programs reported that abusers have spied or eavesdropped on the children and the survivor through the use of technology. Abusers do this by giving gifts to the child or planting devices on the child’s belongings. The most popular technology misused by abusers through their children are cell phones (89% programs reported), followed by social networks (63%), and laptops (38%).

Children’s Technology Misused by Abusive Partner

Type of Technology Misused by Offenders / Percentage of Programs Report


Cell phones / 89%
Social networks / 63%
Laptops / 38%
GPS tracking devices / 23%
Toys with hidden “spying” technology / 11%
Handheld games / 7%
Game consoles / 5%


Advocates in the survey also noted that abusers, who are forbidden from contacting the survivor because of a protection order but have visitation or communication rights with the child, will use the children’s technology to try to contact the survivor –- either asking the child to share information about the survivor or using the child’s cellphone to contact the survivor. In some cases, abusers gather information about the survivor through social networks their children are a part of (66% programs reported this). Abusers use the information gathered to taunt or harass the victim or to discredit them in custody cases, as reported by 41% of programs. Abusers have also tried locating survivors through technology (45% programs reported this).

What Kind of Help Is Needed?

The survey also asked what kind of help survivors are asking for when they reach out for help. Most often, they are seeking assistance on how to use their technology safely, including how to use cell phones safely and how to use the internet more privately. The chart below describes the types of assistance requested and the percentage of programs that reported survivors asking for this help.

Type of Assistance Requested / Percentage of Programs Reported

General cellphone safety and privacy assistance / 76%
How to be safe online / 71%
Help around GPS/location tracking on phones / 58%
Technology and privacy issues associated with relocation 56%
Getting personal information or images off the internet / 53%
How to increase privacy when using computers or tablets / 51%


In general, survivors are asking for help figuring out how the technology stalking or harassment is occurring and what can be done to stop it. Advocates reported that when it comes to technology, it’s difficult to “prove” that the abusive person is behind the abuse. “Officers and state attorneys are saying that anyone could have posted those comments and pictures on Facebook, so proving in court that the abuser is doing it is very difficult,” noted one advocate. It’s not just Facebook or online abusive content that is perceived as difficult to prove. One advocate reported, “Our clients are regularly told that harassing text messages cannot be traced back to the perpetrator. This is disturbing to hear when it is clear that they are from the perpetrator.” These responses clearly show that there is a lack of understanding by service providers, including law enforcement and prosecutors, how technology works and how digital evidence can be preserved and documented. In both of the examples given, investigators could, through IP addresses, phone records, or other account information, show that the abuser was behind the threats and harassment.

Conclusion

As all of us, including survivors, use more technology in our daily lives and spend more time online and on our phones, it’s not surprising that abusers are also in these spaces. A common tactic of abusers is to control their victims, and they do that through monitoring technology use, online activities, or limiting victim’s contact with others. Technology is a tool that easily facilitates abusers’ control.

“We’re working with a 14-year-old girl whose abusive boyfriend created fake Facebook accounts and posted naked pics of her after inviting all her friends and family to be "friends.” The police won't take it seriously, Facebook says they can't really do anything to prevent it, and the community is bullying and blaming the victim.”


What is also clear in this survey is that survivors of abuse need help and assistance on what to do when abusers are misusing technology. In addition, service providers also need more education on how they can assist survivors. Survey respondents noted that they would like more trainings on basic safety planning around technology, how to enhance personal privacy, and how to detect spyware and GPS tracking/monitoring.

Through this Department of Justice funded project and survey, the Safety Net Project at NNEDV has been and will be developing resources and trainings to meet this need. For more information about resources that has been developed as part of this project, visit: techsafety.org/resources.

Limitations of This Survey

The results in this survey represent the percentage of local advocacy programs that responded to the survey, based on the experiences of survivors they assist. This data does not reflect the percentage of occurrences, prevalence, or incidences of abuse, harassment, or stalking experienced or reported by survivors or the percentage of abusers or stalkers who use these tactics. Offenders who misuse technology often misuse more than one type of technology and often perpetrate other forms of abuse, such as physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse.
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