The ongoing snow job and spam.

This week I’ve had feedback that is is hard to get onto this site. I’ve also had difficulty getting onto other sites, that use Cloudflare. I use a similar product — which stops over 5K spam a week, which is a lot. In the meantime, the official browser people are having problems curating their stores.

The new hack is to put something in the app store that has the name of a product you want, particuarly Tunneling software, that is malicious. It is affecting Chrome and Edge browsers.

In a statement, Microsoft officials wrote: “We’re investigating the reported extensions listed and will take action as needed to help protect customers.” The statement follows comments in this Reddit comment in which someone identifying herself as a community manager for Microsoft Edge said the company is in the process of investigating the extensions.

“The team just updated me to let me know that anyone seeing these injections should turn off their extensions and let me know if you continue to see them at that point,” the person using the handle MSFTMissy wrote. “Once I have any news from them, I will update this thread accordingly.”

The maker of the legitimate TunnelBear software and browser extensions told me that the add-on hosted in Microsoft’s official Edge store is a fake. It said there’s an extension in the Chrome Web Store that’s also fraudulent.

“We are taking action to have these removed from both platforms and investigating the matter with both Google and Microsoft,” a TunnelBear representative said. “It is not uncommon for popular, trusted brands like TunnelBear to be spoofed by malicious actors.”

The real AdGuard VPN, for its part said issued a statement from CEO Andrey Meshkov that said: “We are taking action to have these removed from both platforms and investigating the matter with both Google and Microsoft,” a TunnelBear representative said. “It is not uncommon for popular, trusted brands like TunnelBear to be spoofed by malicious actors.”

NordVPN, meanwhile, issued a statement that said in part: “We noticed this fraudulent extension on Friday and immediately took action to have it removed.”

I’ve defaulted to using Brave for almost everything now. The exception is research, where the zotero plugin for firefox helps sometimes, but most of the time I download the citation into the standalone version anyway.

Edge and Chrome are better browers than internet explorer, but that is a very low threshold for better.

The big companies are no better. They want to remain Opaque. Doctorow is sort of reliable but he does consider any questioning of the cheating in the most recent elections bad think that should be expunged, instead of examined.

For political dirty tricksters, Facebook’s self-serve ad platform is a juicy target: If you want to spread disinformation, the platform will help you narrow down the people who’ll see it. A canny political actor can use Facebook ads to show lies and vile incitements to people who might act on them, and, just as important, not show those ads to the rest of the world, which would reveal the way politicos talk when they think there’s nobody here but us chickens.

Facebook’s been fined over this, its execs raked over the coals in Congress and the British Parliament, and it says it has learned its lesson, putting in place measures that will prevent it.

Enter Ad Observer and the Ad Observatory, a project of NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. Ad Observer is a browser plug-in that Facebook users voluntarily install. The plug-in scrapes (makes a copy of) every ad that a user sees and sends it to Ad Observatory, a public database of Facebook ads that scholars and accountability journalists mine to analyze what’s really happening on the platform. Time and again, they’ve discovered gross failures in Facebook’s ability to enforce its own policies and live up to its promises.

Facebook has threatened legal action against the Ad Observatory team, claiming that the Ad Observer plug-in violates its terms of service. They want it removed by the Monday after Thanksgiving, or else. In other words, Facebook wants independent, third-party scrutiny of its ad policy enforcement to end at the very moment that its enforcement failures are allowing false claims about the outcome of the 2020 election to spread, challenging the legitimacy of American democracy itself. This deadline also roughly coincides with Facebook’s reinstatement of political advertising. In other words, the company is opening the door to far more paid political disinformation at the very same moment that it is shutting out independent watchdogs who monitor this stuff.

Cory Doctorow, Wired

I don’t do facebook. Or twitter. The noise to signal ratio is too high. This means I have to rely on my wife to find out what is happening among those members of the family who only use facebook and won’t email, message, or phone.

Or write letters.

A hint on where to look for stuff, from Adam.

The biggest drama is the disputed United States election. As I no longer get my news from the mainstream media I have had to rely on other sources to pick through the surplus information. My go to sites are Vox Day and Nourishing Obscurity, and on Gab it is Roissy and Neon Revolt. Sure there are other sources that are worthwhile, but these are whom I choose to put my trust. Not only that but they either do the very hard work of sifting through all of the noise or they have people doing that for them. Either way, it is a win for me.

I would add to his list of people — I go to Adam a lot just to get to the link list — Anonymous Conservative. AC does news a bit different from the Other McCain or Instapundit. But Instapundit does allow for Sarah Hoyt rants. And this one is a doozy. I’m not eidetic, but I learned to hide the fact I remember a lot of things real early.

The only thing more complex than relationships between village women is world nations vying for primacy. But at least I never had to stand in a room while China and Russia insisted they were never friends, and did you know what China said about our Babuska? Which is good, because I had to listen to village women doing this. And I could never understand when both turned on me when I reminded them of something they’d said three days before and quoted them verbatim. This led to my mom ordering me never to speak in public without her permission, which didn’t work, because…. well, there’s a reason I ended up here, you know?

There are those who will troll through your facebook stuff and tweets and gabs and whatever and find offence. Weaponised Autism is a tool: both sides have basement dwellers who have no other utility.

The rest of us should get on with life and get off facebook.

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Jonathan
Jonathan
3 months ago

I haven’t had any trouble getting on this site. I’m using Firefox.

Unfortunately, since most media won’t cover the election results, I have to go to small lesser known platforms. Some of them end u being confusing because they cover every reported tidbit individually and get thrown around by the noise…