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Defying crackdowns, QAnon continues its relentless global spread

Enlarge / BOSTON—A man wearing a QAnon vest held a flag during a No Mandatory Flu Shot Massachusetts..



Enlarge / BOSTON—A man wearing a QAnon vest held a flag during a No Mandatory Flu Shot Massachusetts rally held outside of the State House in Boston on Aug. 30, 2020, to demonstrate against Gov. Charlie Baker's order for mandatory influenza vaccinations for all students under the age of 30, an effort to lower the burden on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.Boston Globe | Getty Images

The online phenomenon known as QAnon is evolving beyond its pro-Trump roots and spreading rapidly into new global communities, despite efforts by social media platforms to stamp out the worlds most persistent conspiracy theory.

Cryptic posts by the group or individual known as “Q” first began appearing on the imageboard 4chan in 2017, propagating a theory that swiftly gained traction online in which the US president is leading a battle against a “deep state” that wields control over the country.

In July, TikTok blocked several hashtags, while Twitter banned thousands of accounts. Last month, Facebook launched a sweeping crackdown on the movement, including shutting down 790 QAnon-related groups.

But adherents of QAnon have been swift to adapt to their new conditions, rebranding themselves to avoid detection and piggybacking on to related movements to further propagate their message.

“Its a meta-conspiracy—it just has so much in it you can pick and choose from, which explains its rapid spread,” said Chine Labbe, European managing editor at NewsGuard, a counter-misinformation organization. “It seduces people in a lot of different circles and across ideologies.”

After the shutdowns

Facebooks actions succeeded in removing some of the biggest accounts from the platform, including QAnon News and Updates—the largest group on the site, with 200,000 members at its peak. But a range of groups from a wide variety of communities has since absorbed the newly displaced believers.

As of September 9, a search for “QAnon” on Facebook yielded 11 groups with 10,000 or more members, compared with 30 in July. One, a private group called QAnon Update Group, has more than 39,000 likes and predates the first QAnon post, with previous names referring to extraterrestrials, popular video games, and a Vietnamese marketplace.

Meanwhile, members of the closed QAnon groups have used a range of tactics to remain on the platform and continue to spread their message. Some have migrated to other areas, said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, targeting related communities such as anti-mask groups or remnants of the Tea Party, to maintain their network on the platform.

“If [Facebook] had taken their action a year ago, you would not have seen that explosive growth [in QAnon] which began in March,” said Mr. Carusone. “The core infrastructure would not have been able to scale with it.”

Aoife Gallagher, a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think-tank, added that some QAnon believers were trying to circumvent detection, sometimes by changing their names. One group with around 3,000 followers had substituted the word Cue for the letter Q.

A spokesperson for Facebook said that the company always removes content which incites violence and had removed QAnon accounts, groups, and pages that had violated the policies in the past. They also said that they were aware that movements and groups can evolve quickly and that the platforms teams were studying attempts to avoid enforcement.

New dimensions

The social media crackdown came as QAnon had already begun to move into a range of new online communities, tweaking its message in the hope of broadening its network and capturing more adherents.

On Facebook, for instance, QAnon-related content has been posted on a number of spiritual, wellness, and alternative medicine groups. One such group, with over 90,000 members, featured memes about crystal healing, palmistry, and alien technology interspersed with QAnon-related claims about pedophilia and COVID-19 denialism.

“If you post a QAnon meme to one of these groups, they can be distributed far and wide,” said Mr. Carusone.

A newer breed of QAnon believer has emerged from these communities, said Joe Ondrak, senior researcher at Logically, a counter-misinformation organization, which he dubs “lower-case q.” Rather than the political dimension of the conspiracy theory, they are primarily focused on child sex-trafficking claims—one of the other original tenets of QAnon.

“Theyre all about the narrative itself—theyre not big on personalities except when it comes to the bad guys,” he said. “Its not the Trump cult for them—its about saving kids from this shadowy cabal.”

“A real knot of different narratives”

QAnon content now circulates freely on anti-child abuse groups on Facebook. Several of these were created in recent months, coinciding with QAnon-driven conspiracies about child trafficking and efforts by believers to hijack hashtags such as #SaveTheChildren.

Content in these groups ranges from genuine news reports of pedophilia and child abuse to misinformation. References are often made to the QAnon mythos, even when the wider movement is Read More – Source

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Spain’s competition watchdog opens disciplinary case against Google



Spain’s competition watchdog, the ‘Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia’ (CNMC) has opened a disciplinary case against Google for alleged anti-competitive practices affecting publishers and Spanish news agencies, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

CNMC said it was investigating whether Google had abused its dominant position in the Spanish market. The proceedings involve Google LLC, Google Ireland Ltd, Google Spain, SL., and the overall parent company Alphabet Inc.

The alleged practices also include distorting free competition and imposing unfair conditions on press publishers and Spanish news agencies, CNMC said.

The watchdog’s investigation was sparked by a complaint from the Spanish Reproduction Rights Centre (CEDRO).

CNMC will investigate the case over the next 18 months, during which both sides can present their arguments.

According to RTVE, Spain’s national broadcaster, Google will analyse the file and respond to the ‘doubts’ of the CNMC. They said that Google ‘works constructively with publishers in Spain and Europe’ and would ‘need time to analyse the details … as the nature of the claims is still not clear’.

It is not the first action by the Spanish competition regulator against Google, nor the first in which its dominant position in the media sector stands out. In 2021, CNMC already warned that this company and another technology giant, Amazon, monopolised 70% of internet advertising in Spain.

Other lawsuits in the Netherlands and the UK have previously accused the technology company of abusing its dominance in the digital advertising market to harm its competitors. France also fined Google in 2021 for not negotiating in good faith compensation for the media for using its news content.


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How does technology affect reading and writing?



Technology has dramatically changed the way we read and write in the 21st century. From e-books and online articles to social media and instant messaging, technology has made reading and writing more accessible and convenient. However, it has also brought about new challenges and concerns.

One of the biggest benefits of technology is the increased access to information. With just a few clicks, people can access an endless supply of books, articles, and other written materials from all over the world. This has made reading and writing more accessible for people who may not have had the opportunity to do so in the past. It has also allowed for greater collaboration, as people can now share their writing and receive feedback from a global audience.

Technology has also made writing and reading more interactive. Social media and blogs have made it possible for people to engage with written content in real-time, sharing their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with others. This has led to a more dynamic and engaged reading and writing community, with people able to communicate and connect with each other in new and meaningful ways.

However, there are also concerns about how technology is affecting our ability to read and write. One of the biggest concerns is the decline of attention span. With so much information available at our fingertips, it can be difficult to stay focused and absorb what we are reading. Many people find it difficult to concentrate on longer written works, and are instead drawn to shorter, more bite-sized pieces of content.

Additionally, technology has led to an increase in informal writing. The widespread use of text messaging and instant messaging has led to the widespread use of shorthand and abbreviations. This has created concerns about the impact it may have on people’s writing skills, as well as the way they communicate with others.

Another concern is the rise of “fake news.” With the ease of publishing content online, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between credible and unreliable sources. This has led to a decline in trust in the media, and has created a need for critical thinking and media literacy skills.

Despite these concerns, technology has also provided new opportunities for writing and reading. E-books and online platforms have made it easier for people to self-publish their work, giving them greater control over the distribution and promotion of their writing. This has created a more democratized publishing industry, and has made it possible for voices and perspectives that may have previously been excluded to be heard.

In conclusion, technology has had a profound impact on reading and writing. While there are certainly challenges and concerns, the increased access to information, the ability to connect and engage with others, and the opportunities for self-publishing have all made reading and writing more accessible and dynamic. As technology continues to evolve, it will be important to address the challenges it presents and embrace the opportunities it provides.

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How to measure human intelligence?



Measuring human intelligence is a complex task that has been attempted by many experts and researchers over the years. Intelligence is often defined as an individual’s ability to think, reason, and solve problems. However, this definition is not enough to capture all the aspects of intelligence. In this article, we will look at some of the ways that human intelligence can be measured and evaluated.

  1. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) Tests: IQ tests are the most commonly used method of measuring intelligence. They are designed to measure an individual’s ability to solve problems, think logically, and understand abstract concepts. The results of an IQ test are expressed as an IQ score, which is a number that represents a person’s intellectual abilities in comparison to the general population.
  2. Achievement Tests: Achievement tests are designed to evaluate an individual’s knowledge and skills in specific subjects such as mathematics, reading, or science. These tests can be a good indicator of a person’s intelligence in a particular subject area and are often used in schools and colleges to assess students’ abilities.
  3. Neuropsychological Tests: Neuropsychological tests are used to evaluate the functioning of the brain and nervous system. These tests can be used to diagnose neurological disorders, measure cognitive abilities, and determine the impact of injury or illness on a person’s cognitive abilities.
  4. Cognitive Ability Tests: Cognitive ability tests are designed to measure an individual’s mental abilities such as memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. These tests can be useful in determining a person’s potential for learning and development.
  5. Behavioral Assessment: Behavioral assessment involves evaluating an individual’s behavior, including their social skills, emotional regulation, and communication abilities. This type of assessment can be useful in identifying areas where an individual may need support or intervention.
  6. Performance-Based Tests: Performance-based tests are designed to measure an individual’s abilities in real-world tasks and activities. These tests can be useful in determining a person’s practical intelligence and can be used in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, and healthcare facilities.

It is important to note that no single method of measuring intelligence is perfect and each has its own strengths and limitations. Additionally, the results of intelligence tests can be influenced by many factors such as cultural background, education, and experience. As a result, it is important to use a variety of assessment methods to get a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intelligence.

In conclusion, measuring human intelligence is a complex task that involves evaluating a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and performance-based abilities. While intelligence tests can provide valuable information about a person’s intellectual abilities, it is important to use a variety of assessment methods to get a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intelligence. By using a combination of tests, experts and researchers can get a more complete picture of an individual’s intellectual abilities and potential for learning and development.

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