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Federal Employees monitoring internet forums


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Bureaucrats eyeing online forums to correct information

The next time you post an opinion in an online forum or a Facebook group message board, don't be surprised if you get a rebuttal from a federal employee.

The government is looking for ways to monitor online chatter about political issues and correct what it perceives as misinformation.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has paid a firm $75,000 "to monitor social activity and help identify ... areas where misinformation is being presented and repeated as fact," Simone MacAndrew, a department spokesperson, said in an email.

The firm alerts the government to questionable online comments and then employees in Foreign Affairs..., who have recently been trained in online posting, point the authors to information the government considers more accurate.

Some groups are wary of government employees being paid to post comments.

It appears to be just the beginning.

This in itself might not seem to be a big deal but it makes one wonder, how far will they go with it. Will they identify themselves as government employees. Will they use forums as a platform to promote pro-government initiatives, as a means to sway the opinion of voting public. Especially, if these federal employees have been given training in the techniques for posting information vetted by the government that amounts to propaganda.

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So now Canadians will know were some of the tax dollars are going and I find a bit of a farce concerning the answers or no answer we get in the Commons from them. Why not correct this in the Commons in question period rather than spend more of our money? How would Canadians know if its the real truth or just the government opinion?

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This in itself might not seem to be a big deal but it makes one wonder, how far will they go with it. Will they identify themselves as government employees. Will they use forums as a platform to promote pro-government initiatives, as a means to sway the opinion of voting public. Especially, if these federal employees have been given training in the techniques for posting information vetted by the government that amounts to propaganda.

IMO it would be pretty naive to think this hasn't been a common practice by all political parties whether in power or not. The issue here is who should be paying for these things. If the taxpayer is going to get stuck with one of these bills, they at least have a right to know where the posts are coming from.

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IMO it would be pretty naive to think this hasn't been a common practice by all political parties whether in power or not. The issue here is who should be paying for these things. If the taxpayer is going to get stuck with one of these bills, they at least have a right to know where the posts are coming from.

Well let's see, Guergis case they were trying to pull of that stuff, pretending to be ordinary citizens supporting her at arms length.

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As far as I know, it is not a common practice, but considering the internet and how many people now get their information, it's not a bad idea. In fact, it's about time the gov't had people out there on forums correcting the left wing propaganda and disinformation.

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Someone said: "the government thinks for you and decides what you're allowed to believe."

The government have advantage, they have endless money to do that. And you talk with your own limited time. If it is a lie like "Iraq has WMD" or "H1N1 is Pandemic" or "globe warming is caused by activities of human beings", they can repeat it constantly try to make every other one trust it. So that they can help related companies to take more money and make others lost everything, that is what they want.

It is just like CAS lawyers vs. poor people who have involved.

They did it all the times on TV, they are in internet now.

Edited by bjre
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The 50plus forums are no longer functioning, the whole forum remains for reading only. Taken down by Moses Znaimer for financial reasons, so I don't see how you can say what is left is Conservative - what is left btw, where are you talking about. If you mean Zoomers, it's huge but not much there politically. Is there another site you are speaking of?

Moses Znaimer is of the liberal persuasion, one of the reasons and no coincidence that his radio station is promoting the NDP state run pension scheme.

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2010/01/11/terence-corcoran-stop-the-music-carp-speaks.aspx

Edited by scriblett
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Lets just call this what it is, a waste of taxpayer funds.

It also seems like government surveillance, for the purposes of identifying opponents of government. Oh and it is also just another taxpayer funded CPC propaganda excercise. Big Brother. Police State. Fascism. How long before the CPC is threatening lawsuits against anyone who posts an internet opinion that they don't like? Anybody who continues voting for these assholes is an enemy of the people.

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It also seems like government surveillance, for the purposes of identifying opponents of government. Oh and it is also just another taxpayer funded CPC propaganda excercise. Big Brother. Police State. Fascism. How long before the CPC is threatening lawsuits against anyone who posts an internet opinion that they don't like? Anybody who continues voting for these assholes is an enemy of the people.

Hate to say it but until they change the out of date libel laws they have every right to.

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I agree. It's not only a waste of money, but a waste of time as well.

Probably it's a waste of time because IMO people who post on these types of forums will not change their minds based on fact or new information.

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My question is - how can we get them to post performance stats on here instead of PR-type corrections ?

I had a dialogue with another poster on here last week, discussing the Manitoba Healthcare System and lo-and-behold it turns out that they don't post proper performance statistics either.

We need the public to start demanding this from government:

Performance statistics ($ spent, wait times, catalogues of services offered, number of people served, etc.) that are:

- truthful(ideally audited by an independent 3rd party)

- understandable

- sampled regularly and frequently

- displayed in a simple format

- accessible

Is it too much to ask ? They're taking those stats now - we should demand that they post them !

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The question really is: how do you know who is a party operative?

IF they are going to do something like this, and I totally disagree with them doing it at all, they should legally have to identify themselves as a government representative. I do not expect any kind of honesty on any issue from THIS government however.

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IMO it would be pretty naive to think this hasn't been a common practice by all political parties whether in power or not. The issue here is who should be paying for these things. If the taxpayer is going to get stuck with one of these bills, they at least have a right to know where the posts are coming from.
So, bureaucrats earning annual six figure incomes, gold plated pensions, are reading the meanderings of Topaz and me to understand what ordinary Canadians think about Canada's policy on Yemen.

WTF?

Instead, I think rather that these bureaucrats are no different from Topaz and me, they too want to post on Internet forums, and they have now found a scheme to do it. But they get paid high salaries while Topaz and I do it for nothing.

Lets just call this what it is, a waste of taxpayer funds.
Exactly.

From OP:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has paid the firm $75,000 "to monitor social activity and help identify ... areas where misinformation is being presented and repeated as fact," Simone MacAndrew, a department spokesperson, said in an email.

The firm alerts the government to questionable online comments and then employees in Foreign Affairs or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who have recently been trained in online posting, point the authors to information the government considers more accurate.

Edited by August1991
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We need the public to start demanding this from government:

Performance statistics ($ spent, wait times, catalogues of services offered, number of people served, etc.) that are:

- truthful(ideally audited by an independent 3rd party)

- understandable

- sampled regularly and frequently

- displayed in a simple format

- accessible

Is it too much to ask ? They're taking those stats now - we should demand that they post them !

Your idea is laudable but laughably naive. You are dealing with people who have finagled a way to an Iron Rice Bowl, deposited bi-monthly into their bank account, and now depend on it for their family's livelihood. They are brazen to the point where they can read the Internet and justify this as "a job".

If you think that your list above will reign these people in, you are sorely mistaken.

IF they are going to do something like this, and I totally disagree with them doing it at all, they should legally have to identify themselves as a government representative. I do not expect any kind of honesty on any issue from THIS government however.
Dr Green, you really, really miss the point here. Edited by August1991
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My opinions are free:

Man never landed on the moon.

The Governor General has more power than the Prime minister.

Canada is currently craptacular as a weak democracy, but not too bad as a strong monarchy.

MP's should all have their parliamentary priveledges stripped back down to Legislative only.

North Korea has six nukes and 100 submarines.

As long as I get to throw in the occasional knock against MP's that should probably be in jail (like Rob Anders) I'm pretty ok with it.

Disclaimer: Not afilliated or paid by anyone within the Canadian government.

Edited by ZenOps
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If Parties want to monitor forums and add responses, which they all probably do, then fine - they pay for it. But when the government starts using my tax money for purposeful propaganda (you know, the truth as they want you to see it) then we should all object. Brainwashing should be on their own dime, not ours.

Trust Harper to come up with another self-aggrandizing stunt paid for by us.

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