Many Republicans are refusing COVID vaccines. Consultants are attempting to alter that

A woman in a MAGA hat holds up a sign reading COVID 19 vaccination equals death.

Enlarge / A Donald Trump supporter holds an false anti-vaccine signal whereas protesting in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (credit score: Getty | Bloomberg)

Whereas the Biden administration anticipates having sufficient COVID-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate all adults by Could 1, well being consultants and coverage advisors are attempting to determine methods to truly get these photographs into the arms of individuals—notably people who find themselves hesitant or distrustful of the vaccines, a lot of whom are Republicans.

For many of the nation—about 69 p.c—getting vaccinated and having the ability to return to some regular actions is a straightforward promote. Over 21 p.c of individuals in America have already gotten at the least one dose of a licensed vaccine. Three vaccines are presently licensed to be used within the US, all of that are extremely efficient and protected. For the remaining pro-vaccine individuals, it’s only a matter of time earlier than they will get one. In reality, many individuals across the nation are anxiously attempting to get in line and scouring on-line sign-up web sites for an open vaccination slot.

However about 30 p.c of adults should not getting in line, in line with a ballot by the Pew Analysis Middle reported March 5. About 15 p.c of individuals stated they might in all probability not get vaccinated and an extra 15 p.c stated they might undoubtedly not get a shot. That’s sufficient individuals to sprint any hopes of ending the pandemic by vaccination. It’s additionally sufficient to wreck the Biden administration’s plans of celebrating our independence from the virus on July 4.

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Proposed Sec. 230 rewrite may have wide-ranging penalties

Cartoon hands hold out a band-aid over the words Section 230.

Enlarge (credit score: Aurich Lawson / Getty Pictures)

A trio of Democratic Senators has taken this administration’s first stab at Part 230 reform with a brand new invoice that may make platforms, together with giants akin to Fb and Twitter, chargeable for sure restricted classes of harmful content material. Sadly, though the invoice’s authors attempt to thread a difficult needle rigorously, critics warn that bad-faith actors may nonetheless simply weaponize the invoice as written in opposition to each platforms and different customers.

The invoice (PDF), dubbed the SAFE TECH Act, seeks to not repeal Part 230 (as some Republicans have proposed) however as a substitute to amend it with new definitions of audio system and new exceptions from the regulation’s notorious legal responsibility defend.

“A regulation meant to encourage service suppliers to develop instruments and insurance policies to assist efficient moderation has as a substitute conferred sweeping immunity on on-line suppliers even after they do nothing to handle foreseeable, apparent and repeated misuse of their services to trigger hurt,” stated Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), who launched the invoice. “This invoice doesn’t intervene with free speech—it’s about permitting these platforms to lastly be held accountable for dangerous, usually legal habits enabled by their platforms to which they’ve turned a blind eye for too lengthy.”

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Klobuchar targets Huge Tech with greatest antitrust overhaul in 45 years

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on Jan. 21, 2021.

Enlarge / Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), throughout a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee listening to on Jan. 21, 2021. (credit score: Stefani Reynolds – pool | Getty Photographs)

With a brand new session of Congress underway and a brand new administration within the White Home, Huge Tech is as soon as once more in lawmakers’ crosshairs. Not solely are main companies akin to Apple, Amazon, Fb, and Google below investigation for allegedly breaking current antitrust legislation, however a newly proposed invoice within the Senate would make it tougher for these and different companies to change into so troublingly massive within the first place.

The invoice (PDF), known as the Competitors and Antitrust Legislation Enforcement Reform Act (CALERA for brief, which remains to be awkward) would change into the most important overhaul to US antitrust regulation in not less than 45 years if it grew to become legislation.

“Whereas america as soon as had a few of the only antitrust legal guidelines on the planet, our financial system as we speak faces a large competitors downside,” mentioned Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) when she launched the invoice on Thursday. “We will not sweep this situation below the rug and hope our current legal guidelines are ample,” Klobuchar added, calling the invoice “step one to overhauling and modernizing our legal guidelines” to guard competitors within the present period.

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Parler CEO says board fired him for planning to ban “neo-Nazi” teams

Parler leadership is a bit shadowy at the moment.

Enlarge / Parler management is a bit shadowy in the mean time. (credit score: Pavlo Gonchar | SOPA Pictures | LightRocket | Getty Pictures)

Parler co-founder and CEO John Matze, who helmed the corporate by its explosive 2020 development and much more explosive 2021 deplatforming, has reportedly been fired.

The corporate board ousted the previous government final Friday, The Wall Road Journal was first to report. In an announcement, Matze stated he “met fixed resistance” to his “product imaginative and prescient,” his “sturdy perception in free speech,” and his view of how Parler ought to be run, including that he advocated for “extra product stability and what I consider is a simpler strategy to content material moderation.” Matze claimed to have been inside “days” of bringing Parler again on-line on the time he was ousted.

Matze’s authentic strategy to content material moderation—i.e., not having any—is what landed Parler in sizzling water final month and resulted in it will definitely being kicked off all the Web.

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A information to being an moral on-line investigator

As rioters stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, Theo—like many People—watched, dumbfounded and in horror.

Then he had an concept. “What if we went on social and began pulling these screenshots collectively and tried to go round and crowdsource [the rioters’] identities?” he remembers considering.

So Theo purchased a burner telephone, arrange a faux e-mail deal with, and created an Instagram account over a VPN: @homegrownterrorists. Inside hours, and earlier than the FBI had issued its plea for assist to determine rioters, Theo (a pseudonym for the account holder, who requested to stay nameless due to demise threats he has acquired) had gained lots of of hundreds of followers as he furiously posted photographs and video. Hundreds of individuals had been commenting on and sharing the photographs, with the objective of figuring out the perpetrators. 

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The assault on the Capitol, its aftermath, and the prospect of what federal authorities have warned may very well be a second wave of violence within the days main as much as Joe Biden’s inauguration have impressed a brand new military of on a regular basis on-line investigators. Individuals comb social media and archive posts, photographs, and movies earlier than they’re deleted. Then they cross-reference these findings with open-sourced data to determine perpetrators and, they hope, deliver them to justice. Like Theo, they’re politically and invested however wouldn’t take into account themselves activists beneath regular circumstances; moderately, the January 6 assault was the final straw for many individuals.

“That is the primary time I’ve seen this quantity of tagging on Twitter,” says Giancarlo Fiorella, a senior investigator on the open-source intelligence company Bellingcat. “I’ve had individuals e-mail me out of the blue and say, ‘Put me to work.’ I don’t suppose you may make a pattern out of a singular occasion, however I’ve by no means seen this earlier than.” Even celebrities like Pedro Pascal and Jane Lynch are getting concerned.

However this exercise raises some advanced moral and sensible points. How will you, a mean particular person, be an moral digital activist? What counts as going too far? How will you hold your self secure? How will you take part in a manner that doesn’t put anybody at risk? Beneath are some pointers which may assist.

Keep in mind, you aren’t a hacker: There’s an enormous distinction between accessing publicly obtainable data, like a photograph from a Fb profile web page that paperwork criminal activity, and hacking into an individual’s in any other case non-public account to seek out that picture. That’s crossing the road.Within the US, the Pc Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) limits the quantity of entry an individual has to a different’s data “with out authorization,” which is undefined; this lack of readability has pissed off attorneys who signify activists. “Those that do [violate CFAA] are breaking the legislation, they usually’re criminals,” says Max Aliapoulios, a PhD pupil and cybersecurity researcher at New York College. It’s value protecting in thoughts regional legal guidelines as properly. Within the European Union, “publicly figuring out a person essentially means processing personally identifiable data; subsequently people performing such actions want a authorized foundation to take action [under Article 6 of the GDPR],” says Ulf Buermeyer, the founder and authorized director of Freiheitsrechte, a German-based civil rights group.

Moral points abound: It’s not simply authorized points that would-be beginner on-line investigators want to pay attention to. A lot of the net exercise carried out within the wake of the Capitol riots raises moral questions, too. Ought to an individual who didn’t storm the Capitol however attended the rallies main as much as the riots be recognized and danger punishment at work? Do those that had been in and across the Capitol on January 6 robotically lose the precise to privateness even when they weren’t concerned in riots? It’s value considering via how you’re feeling about a few of these questions earlier than you proceed. Few are clear minimize.

So, the place does the knowledge come from? “Our bread and butter is open supply,” Fiorella says. “Open-source media” refers to data that’s publicly obtainable to be used. Knowledge archivists, or those that acquire and protect data on-line for historic functions, accessed such open-source information to avoid wasting posts earlier than they disappeared as social media firms pushed President Donald Trump and plenty of of his supporters off their platforms. “In case you had been on the Capitol storming and recorded video and took selfies that anybody can entry, and it’s overtly obtainable on the web, it’s truthful sport,” says Fiorella.

It’s your First Modification proper to entry open-sourced data. Hacktivists and digital activists trawling social media alike will agree on this: they are saying it’s an important facet of their work. “Using open-source intelligence isn’t a criminal offense,” says Daly Barnett, an activist and employees technologist on the Digital Frontier Basis, a nonprofit digital rights group. “Archiving isn’t a criminal offense. Freedom of data is sweet.”

Misidentification is an actual hazard. “Anybody with an web connection and free time and willingness to do these items could be a part of crowdsourcing efforts to make clear what occurred,” Fiorella says. However crowdsourced efforts could be problematic, as a result of individuals could zero in on the mistaken particular person. “There’s a basic stress right here,” says Emmi Bevensee, a researcher and founding father of the Social Media Evaluation Toolkit, an open-source instrument that tracks developments throughout mainstream and fringe social media platforms. “The extra individuals you may have engaged on an issue, the extra probably you might be to seek out the needle within the haystack. There’s a danger doing issues like this, although. Not everybody has the identical analysis abilities or methodological accountability”—and errors could be devastating for the particular person misidentified. Misidentification carries potential authorized dangers, too.

You’ll be able to be part of up with extra established investigators as a substitute of going it alone. There’s, clearly, the FBI, which has collected photographs and is in search of the general public’s assist in figuring out home terrorists. Bellingcat, one of the crucial revered, thorough investigatory websites dedicated to this goal, has created a Google spreadsheet for photographs of suspects that want figuring out. Organizations additionally usually have moral requirements put in place to information new sleuths, like this one Bellingcat created in mild of the Black Lives Issues protests.

Don’t doxx. Doxxing—or digging up private data and sharing it publicly—is unlawful. “The vast majority of doxxing has occurred from open-source intelligence,” Barnett says, and information hygiene remains to be one thing many individuals on-line wrestle with. In case you come throughout passwords, addresses, telephone numbers, or every other comparable identifier, don’t share it—it’s a criminal offense to take action. r/Datahoarder, a Reddit archiving group, notes that its members “do NOT help witch looking.” 

In case you discover one thing on-line that may very well be incriminating, ask, “Am I placing this particular person at risk?” Fiorella says he asks himself that query persistently, notably in instances the place an individual may need few followers and is utilizing social media simply to share photographs with buddies.

Present your methodology. Similar to in center college math class, present your work and the way you bought your outcomes. Knowledge researchers who do that work are famously diligent and exhaustive in how they file their work and triple-check their data. That kind of checking is particularly essential to make sure that persons are correctly recognized and that others can be taught from and retrace your steps for subsequent prosecution. (Methodology could take some technical experience in some instances, and information researching organizations usually run workshops and coaching periods to assist individuals learn to do that.)

Don’t share names on-line. Let’s say you see an image of a doable suspect on-line and also you acknowledge who it’s. Whilst you is likely to be tempted to tag the particular person, or screenshot the picture and put some commentary in your Instagram to get that addictive stream of likes, don’t. This work must be deliberate and sluggish, says Fiorella: “There’s a danger of misidentifying an individual and inflicting hurt.” Even when there’s little doubt that you’ve got found out who an individual is, maintain again and, on the most, submit your data to a company like Bellingcat or the FBI to test your work and ensure it’s appropriate.

You’ll run into conditions the place issues usually are not clear. Theo shared the story of the viral video through which a Black Los Angeles lady is bodily attacked by Trump supporters calling her the n-word. Within the video, a person is seen together with his arms across the lady amid the violent, jeering crowd. In preliminary reviews, the person was described as a part of the mob and harming the girl. Video footage appeared to point out him placing her in the best way of pepper spray, for instance. Then police stated the person was really making an attempt to guard the girl and that she had confirmed this model of occasions, although she later urged to BuzzFeed that maybe he ended up doing as a lot hurt nearly as good. Theo shared the picture of the person within the rapid aftermath of the incident, after which he noticed the account suggesting he was a very good Samaritan. “I felt horrible,” he says. Theo factors out that the person was additionally recorded utilizing xenophobic and racist language, however “that acquired me to pause somewhat bit and take into consideration what I’m doing that might affect individuals,” he says. “It’s a blurred line.” It doesn’t damage to repeat it once more: Don’t share names on-line.

Your security could also be in danger. Theo says he has acquired demise threats and has not felt secure up to now week, persistently trying over his shoulder if he steps out. Bevensee has acquired a number of demise threats. Many digital activists have burner telephones and backup computer systems, and work away from their households to guard them.

Preserve your psychological well being in thoughts. This work can contain viewing violent photographs. Theo says he has been coping with migraine complications, sleep issues, paranoia, and the misery that comes with making an attempt to maintain up together with his day job whereas dealing with his Instagram accounts and its sister Twitter account, @OutTerrorists. “I’m just one particular person, and I’ve to deal with DMs and hold all the pieces updated,” he says, noting that he additionally updates posts with verified identifications from the FBI, goes via feedback, and forwards data to the FBI himself. Take time to course of and understand that it’s okay to really feel upset. It’s one factor to make use of this as motivation to proper the wrongs of the world, however practically each professional and activist instructed me that having a technique to cope with disturbing photographs is essential.

Share your data with legislation enforcement—if it’s applicable. Bevensee and Aliapoulios stated the digital activism motion was a direct response to the perceived lack of official motion. Many activists have a robust mistrust of US legislation enforcement, pointing to the distinction between how the Capitol rioters and Black Lives Matter protesters had been handled. However within the case of the revolt, which carries federal prices, consultants and activists agree that the precise factor to do is to take data to the authorities.

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How an web lie in regards to the Capitol invasion was an on the spot conspiracy idea

Simply as well-known, simply identifiable far-right figures livestreamed themselves invading the Capitol in Washington, DC, a lie began spreading across the Trump-supporting web: What if the mob was really a gaggle of antifa activists making an attempt to make the president’s supporters look unhealthy? The rumor was false, and debunked repeatedly—not least by the phrases and actions of the MAGA personalities who had been main the cost in entrance of a reside viewers.

The lie had been seeded already, since false claims about antifa are peppered via the historical past of far-right on-line areas. A typical conspiracy idea options an unfounded warning that buses loaded with protesters are being despatched to trigger bother in small cities. President Trump himself has repeatedly promoted such claims, serving to to show anti-fascist protesters into go-to villains for his supporters. 

That gave gas to the newest rumor, false although it was. It quickly made its means via social networks, broadcast information, and on-line media—and was amplified and supported by some Republican politicians.

Based on information from media intelligence agency Zignal labs, at the very least 411,099 mentions of the lie appeared on-line in lower than 24 hours. The rumor morphed and gained traction as extra individuals contributed subplots, and it swerved via area of interest platforms and into the mainstream, the place a Republican member of Congress blamed antifa for the revolt.

The way it occurred

Because the congressional certification of electoral votes happened on Wednesday, a Trump rally outdoors the Capitol rapidly was chaos. At round 2.30 p.m. EST, protesters moved via police strains and mobbed the constructing.

Round 3:30 p.m., Lin Wooden, a widely known right-wing conspiracy theorist, posted on Parler, the social community that’s fashionable amongst some Trump supporters. He claimed that the mob had been antifa supporters, and that two separate photographs—certainly one of a person from the Capitol mob and the opposite supposedly from “”—confirmed the identical individual. The put up received 5.6 million views and over 56,000 upvotes.  With that, the seed was planted.

An hour later, Wooden posted one other picture on Parler. The second put up was an annotated model of the now-infamous {photograph} of a person standing on the vice chairman’s marble dais within the Senate chamber. The put up had an enormous crimson circle over a photographer believed to be Win McNamee of Getty Photos, who seemed down from the balcony onto the rioter under. Wooden claimed that the photographer’s presence was proof of a set-up. The second put up received virtually as a lot consideration as the primary. 

From there, the rumor rapidly moved past Parler onto extra mainstream social media web sites. Tweets selling the antifa lie rapidly amassed tens of 1000’s of retweets. Some, like these from Wooden’s Twitter account, are not obtainable (Wooden was completely banned from Twitter on Wednesday afternoon), however others stay on-line. At 4:39 p.m. the Trump-supporting televangelist Mark Burns tweeted {a photograph} of Jake Angeli, a widely known QAnon follower who was a part of the group that invaded the Capitol. Burns claimed, “That is NOT a Trump Supporter … This can be a staged #Antifa assault.” Eric Trump, the president’s son, favored the tweet, additional distributing it to his 4.5 million followers. Regardless of its false declare, Burns’s tweet remains to be obtainable on Twitter, and not using a disclaimer.

The rumor was spreading on Fb by midafternoon as properly. In numerous “Cease the Steal” teams monitored by MIT Know-how Overview, posts that includes annotated photographs of protesters scrutinized their likenesses, tattoos, and clothes for supposed antifa symbolism. The engagement on the posts was excessive relative to different content material within the teams, and we had been in a position to hint a number of photographs and textual content throughout a number of teams. Fb has since eliminated a number of the posts, however many stay. 

It was on Fb that the rumor morphed to envelop different “indicators” of antifa involvement. These included claims that rioters with MAGA hats worn backwards had been really antifa supporters, and allegations that such an enormous safety breach may solely be the results of a coordinated setup. 

By 5:00 p.m., the rumor was effervescent as much as the ears of officers and information organizations. Arizona consultant Paul Gosar, a Republican, retweeted a now-deleted message from right-wing campaigner Michael Coudrey that claimed a video of a number of the mob carrying knee pads “has the hallmarks of antifa provocation.” Coudrey’s Twitter account has since been suspended.

Republican consultant Matt Gaetz, of Florida, advised the Home that antifa was behind the invasion that had disrupted proceedings and left 4 individuals lifeless. (Home Tv through AP)

At 7:45 p.m., Sarah Palin went on Fox information to assert the mob was really led by antifa supporters, echoing Lin Wooden’s authentic posts on Parler. Fox Information host Laura Ingraham continued to amplify the rumors on her present, whereas area of interest conservative media shops just like the Washington Occasions revealed articles that asserted these lies as reality, together with one claiming {that a} facial recognition firm had recognized members of the mob. The publication has since retracted its story, however earlier than it disappeared, it had been shared 87,800 instances on Twitter and 89,700 instances on Fb, in response to Zignal. 

Then, when the invasion was over and Congress resumed within the late night, Consultant Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, took to the Home ground and blamed antifa throughout a fiery speech. In it, he claimed that “a number of the individuals who breached the Capitol in the present day weren’t Trump supporters. They had been masquerading as Trump supporters and actually, had been members of the violent terrorist group antifa.”  

Gaetz cited the now-deleted Washington Occasions story to assist what he was saying. 

And on Thursday morning Republican congressman Mo Brooks tweeted that “fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol assault with intelligent mob management ways.” Whereas he claimed to offer proof of this, his later explanations largely simply referred to different false on-line rumors and attacked the “#fakenewsmedia.” The thread gained greater than 25,000 retweets in just a few hours on Thursday and continues to be shared at a brisk tempo. 

A touch of the long run

All this occurred though Trump himself was clear that the Capitol invaders had been his supporters, and though the president had inspired his followers to go to Washington and disrupt the certification of an election consequence that he falsely claimed was illegitimate. 

In actual fact, the fast propagation of the Capitol false flag idea hints at what would possibly occur as soon as the president loses energy in 14 days—even when strikes by Twitter and Fb to dam Trump’s social media accounts grow to be everlasting.   The community of right-wing conspiracy theorists could maybe lose certainly one of its most amplifying and strategic voices, however it doesn’t want Trump to stay harmful. 

Even once they seen occasions with their very own eyes on Wednesday, throughout one of the disgraceful moments in fashionable American historical past, the ecosystem of Trump supporters, right-wing media shops, and a few politicians as an alternative selected to imagine one thing that sounded higher to them—whether or not it was a lie or not.

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The race to get Georgia’s 23,000 17-year-olds registered to vote

On November 13, Michael Giusto turned 18 years previous. Turning into an grownup is at all times an enormous second in any teenager’s life. However Giusto’s landmark birthday comes with added accountability. Due to a quirk in Georgia’s legal guidelines that requires no less than 50% of the vote to win a US Senate seat, each the state’s Senate races are going to a runoff on January 5, 2021. 

Giusto, a highschool senior from Alpharetta, a suburb north of Atlanta, missed voting within the 2020 election by simply 10 days. This time he has the chance to vote for his state’s senators—as long as he registers by December 7.

“It’s type of surreal,” he informed me the day earlier than his birthday. “I’m coming to the conclusion that voting is a extra highly effective and helpful strategy to take part within the authorities than the rest I might do, and I’ll have this accountability dropped on me in lower than 12 hours.”

Giusto is considered one of about 23,000 17-year-olds who—in keeping with the Civics Middle, an  group dedicated to youth civic engagement—had been ineligible to vote within the presidential election however will likely be eligible to vote within the Georgia runoff. 

That quantity will not be sufficient to shut the hole between both Democrat Jon Ossoff and the Republican incumbent, Senator David Perdue, or Democrat Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent, Senator Kelly Loeffler. However the Gen Z vote, which tends to favor Democrats, might make a severe dent within the Republican lead.

That might have big implications. The Senate is intently divided, with 50 Republicans to 48 Democrats proper now. The remaining two seats will likely be determined by Georgia’s runoffs, which might result in two very completely different situations. If the seats go to 1 Republican and one Democrat or each seats go to Republicans, Republicans may have energy within the Senate, and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will retain his position as majority chief, creating an impediment that would severely cut back President-elect Joe Biden’s probabilities of passing laws. If, nevertheless, each seats go to Democrats, the Senate will likely be 50-50, and Kamala Harris, within the vice chairman’s conventional position as president of the Senate, would have the ability to interrupt a tie. This might give Democrats the benefit.

No marvel highly effective political motion committees are devoting a whole lot of tens of millions of {dollars} and loads of consideration to the Georgia Senate runoffs. However grassroots organizations are getting concerned too. Typically with the assistance of Twitch dwell streams, cellular video games, and social media, they hope to affect teenagers about to show 18 to register to vote.

Georgia’s demographics are quickly altering, says Niles Francis, a 19-year-old freshman at Georgia State College who was the youngest analyst for Resolution Desk HQ. “Cobb County has gotten extra youthful and numerous,” he says of his residence county, which swung for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and went for Joe Biden in 2020. “It’s a kind of counties which have change into extra educated, extra prosperous, and youthful.”

That inflow of youth is integral to Georgia’s quickly altering political panorama. And it means there’s a rising untapped cohort of would-be voters on the market.

Unsurprisingly, Instagram has change into a focus for get-out-the-vote campaigns. One Instagram group is Pals Vote Collectively, which matches phone- and text-banking volunteers to swing counties.

Lots of these volunteers weren’t in a position to vote within the final election. “There’s a false impression that if you’re not but 18, you can’t have an energetic position and take part in volunteering for campaigns,” says Cate Mayer, the group’s founder. Pals Vote Collectively at present has greater than 40 teenage volunteers phone-banking and text-banking for the upcoming Georgia election, she says.

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Whereas phone-banking efforts have centered on youth voters, the very fact is that texts and calls are much less efficient for this era.

The video-streaming web site Twitch, nevertheless, has blossomed in latest months as a strategy to attain out to Gen Z voters, because the dwell stream of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taking part in Amongst Us confirmed. The Amazon-owned platform has quite a bit going for it: its viewers is younger; the platform’s dwell streams embrace a number of the hottest influencers at the moment, usually taking part in video video games; and the chat perform is vigorous and could be moderated. As Ocasio-Cortez’s record-breaking occasion confirmed, there’s an viewers for dwell streams which can be politically tinged, and voters are open to registering to vote if the chat is sprinkled with reminders from campaigns.

Whether or not these streams translate to precise registrations and votes, nevertheless, will not be recognized. However more and more, organizations see Twitch as the following frontier for political canvassing.

Nse Ufot, the CEO of the New Georgia Venture, one of many largest nonprofits working to register younger voters, carried out two profitable “Twitch the Vote” occasions with the assistance of a sneaker giveaway. The outcomes included getting 9,000 new voters to enroll on Nationwide Voter Registration Day in September.

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Ufot notes that Twitch streams are nonetheless a thriller to many political operatives. “We have now to elucidate to them what Twitch is,” she says. “The concept that individuals will present as much as watch e-sports gamers watch video games and discuss politics—they don’t get it. However we received 500,000 distinctive guests on our Twitch the Vote occasions!”

It’s change into more and more obvious that gaming can fold in politics and leisure, and that it will probably change into a platform for political energy. Ufot says she’s had cellular gaming vehicles at key polling places to get the phrase out and has discovered that these vehicles—the place anybody can are available in and play video games whereas speaking about political points—are a wonderful strategy to attain underserved voters, like many within the Black neighborhood.

Georgia has traditionally been a serious goal for Black voter suppression by way of practices like arbitrarily making use of guidelines requiring signatures and particular marking on ballots, or creating hostile environments at polling stations, in keeping with the nonpartisan Middle for Public Integrity. Amid battles over such points, nevertheless, the state has gone from predictably Republican to a tossup. One of many largest teams addressing voter suppression is Truthful Combat Motion, based on the evening former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams misplaced her bid in 2018.

Ufot’s New Georgia Venture works intently with Truthful Combat Motion and says the group has constructed its personal know-how to ensure Black voters, irrespective of their age, really feel protected voting. For instance, the group’s app consists of an SOS button the place a voter can report threats of violence. GPS coordinates are then despatched to the New Georgia Venture, which might hint which polling station is problematic. 

The challenge is now centered on reaching Georgia’s helpful 18-year-olds: “We’re dropping in on Zoom highschool authorities lessons. We’re doing extra Twitch the Vote occasions. We’re going to graduations on the finish of the semester.” And is it working? “Yesterday, we got here in at just below 1,000 new voters,” she says.

The timing of the runoffs can be fortuitous. Due to the pandemic and the vacation break, many school college students from Georgia will likely be at residence when the vote occurs.

Edward Aguilar simply turned 17, which implies he was ineligible to vote on November three and might’t take part within the upcoming runoffs both. However for the presidential election he co-developed an open-source algorithm, now a Google Doc, to assist school college students work out the place their vote counted extra: within the district the place they went to highschool or the one they referred to as residence. Now he’s obsessed with getting his associates and their associates to vote. 

“We began realizing there’s a distinctive scenario the place college students have this voting energy, and that energy will help inspire them,” Aguilar says. “Their vote has a say.” 

A type of associates is Giusto, who helped his mother place Warnock and Biden-Harris indicators round polling stations in his hometown of Alpharetta. Now, as a newly eligible voter, he’s reaching out to the following cohort. “We’re going to a whole lot of youth-run political golf equipment in excessive faculties throughout Georgia to search out individuals who will now be capable to vote,” Giusto says. “From there, we begin actual, in-depth conversations concerning the upsides and drawbacks of voting for one candidate versus one other.”

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How social media websites plan to deal with untimely election declarations

The election outcomes will begin to are available as early as 7pm Jap Time on Tuesday, when seven states start closing the polls. The following few hours will see extra polls shut across the nation, extra votes processed, extra counts up to date. However we gained’t have the ultimate end result that night time.

This isn’t uncommon: Within the US, counting votes and formally certifying them all the time goes on longer than Election Day, and the coronavirus means the counting will in all probability take longer than typical. However on Sunday, Axios reported that President Trump intends to prematurely declare victory if it appears to be like like he’s main within the early returns, even when there are nonetheless thousands and thousands of votes left to be counted. He has denied this particular declare, however it’s according to his lengthy marketing campaign to undermine the legitimacy of the election, and matches his promise to make use of attorneys to cease poll counting in Pennsylvania as quickly as polls shut—though the state will nonetheless have many mail-in ballots left to rely and report. 

So what precisely will occur if a candidate prematurely declares victory earlier than the competition is really over?

Social media

This the entrance line. Any untimely declaration will possible hit American networks like Twitter, Fb, and YouTube first, so the best way these platforms deal with this sort of exercise will inform what occurs subsequent. These three websites are planning to make use of labeling to cope with this sort of disinformation.

Twitter, the president’s social media platform of selection, says it is going to prominently label deceptive tweets about election outcomes from candidates, in addition to any viral tweet. Disputed bulletins can be met with a label that claims “Official sources might not have known as the race when this was Tweeted.”

To verify outcomes, the corporate can be leaning on state and native election officers in addition to main nationwide information retailers with devoted election protection desks. A minimum of two sources must affirm the outcomes of a race earlier than a candidate can tweet about outcomes with no warning label being utilized.

YouTube, which has been a prime marketing campaign promoting battleground, will place an info panel on movies prematurely declaring victory. That can hyperlink to Google’s election outcomes function, which is being produced in partnership with the Related Press.

“We’ll additionally proceed to lift up authoritative content material from information organizations and scale back the unfold of borderline election misinformation,” stated Google spokesperson Ivy Choi. “Moreover, if a bit of content material, in the midst of prematurely declaring victory, misleads viewers about voting or encourages interference in democratic processes, we’ll take away that in accordance with our group tips.”

When the polls shut, all Google’s advert platforms—together with YouTube and its search engine—will pause advertisements that reference the 2020 election. Which will reduce off one other potential avenue for disinformation throughout the corporate’s web empire.

Fb is putting its personal hopes in labels as properly, together with a preemptive notification in information feeds to observe authoritative information retailers like Reuters and the Related Press for election outcomes. Fb’s regular response to false information is to cut back its unfold on the community and companion with fact-checkers for added labeling.

Elsewhere, TikTok’s coverage reduces the visibility of posts prematurely claiming victory and is engaged on an “expedited” schedule with reality checking companions round Election Day. 

That is an excerpt from The Consequence, our each day electronic mail on election integrity and safety. Click on right here to get common updates straight to your inbox.

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How claims of voter fraud had been supercharged by dangerous science

In the course of the 2016 major season, Trump marketing campaign staffer Matt Braynard had an uncommon political technique. As an alternative of concentrating on Republican base voters—those who present up for each election—he centered on the intersection of two different teams: individuals who knew of Donald Trump, and individuals who had by no means voted in a major earlier than. These had been each giant teams. 

Due to his TV profession and skill to court docket controversy, Trump was already a family identify. In the meantime, about half America’s potential voters, almost 100 million folks, don’t vote in presidential elections, not to mention primaries. The overlap between the teams was important. If Trump may mobilize even a small proportion of these folks, he may clinch the nomination, and Braynard was keen to place within the work. 

His technique, constructed from polls, analysis, and research of voting conduct, centered on two targets particularly. The primary was registering, partaking, educating, and turning out non-voters, the most important electoral bloc within the nation and one which’s often ignored. One latest survey of 12,000 “power non-voters” suggests they obtain “little to no consideration in nationwide political conversations” and stay “a thriller to many establishments.” 

One option to prove probably sympathetic voters could be to make use of a name heart to remind them, which might additionally assist together with his second purpose: to research and expose voter fraud. 

“For those who’re making an attempt to do systematic voter fraud, you’re going to search for individuals who haven’t or should not going to solid their poll,” he informed me in a latest interview, “as a result of should you do solid a poll for them and so they do present up on the polling place, that’s going to arrange a purple flag.”

So the plan was that after the election, the decision facilities would contact a pattern of the folks within the state who had voted for the primary time to substantiate that that they had really solid a poll. 

Not solely was pursuing voter fraud in style with potential donors, Braynard says, but it surely was additionally an endeavor supported by the tutorial literature. “I imagine it’s been documented, not less than scientifically in some peer-reviewed research, that not less than one senator within the final 10 years was elected by votes that aren’t authorized ballots,” he says. 

This single voter fraud research has grow to be canonical amongst conservative, and plenty of of right now’s different claims of fraud—comparable to by mail-in voting—additionally hint again to it.

A research like this does in actual fact exist, and it and is peer-reviewed. The truth is, it goes even additional than Braynard remembers. Revealed in 2014 by Jesse Richman, a political science professor at Previous Dominion College, it argues that unlawful votes have performed a serious position in latest political outcomes. In 2008, Richman argued, “non-citizen votes” for Senate candidate Al Franken “doubtless gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote wanted to beat filibusters with a purpose to cross well being care reform.” 

The paper has grow to be canonical amongst conservatives. Everytime you hear that 14% of non-citizens are registered to vote, that is the place it got here from. Lots of right now’s different claims of voter fraud—comparable to by mail-in voting—additionally hint again to this research. And it’s simple to see why it has taken root on the proper: increased turnout in elections typically will increase the variety of Democratic voters, and so proof of huge voter fraud justifies voting restrictions that disproportionately have an effect on them.

Educational analysis on voting conduct is usually narrowly centered and closely certified, so Richman’s declare provided one thing exceedingly uncommon: close to certainty that fraud was occurring at a big fee. Based on his research, not less than 38,000 ineligible voters—and maybe as many as 2.eight million—solid ballots within the 2008 election, which means the “blue wave” that put Obama in workplace and expanded the Democrats’ management over Congress would have been constructed on sand. For individuals who had been fed up with margins of error, confidence intervals, and grey areas, Richman’s numbers had been refreshing. They had been additionally very unsuitable.

The information dilemma

If you wish to research how, whether or not, and for whom individuals are going to vote, the very first thing you want is voters to ask. Wish to attain them by cellphone? Good luck calling landlines: only a few folks choose up. You may need a greater probability with cell telephones, however don’t count on a lot. 

Phone surveys are “barge in” analysis says Jay H. Leve, the CEO of SurveyUSA, a polling agency primarily based in New Jersey. These cellphone polls, he says, occur at a time that’s handy to the pollster, and “to hell with the respondent.” For that cause, the corporate goals to restrict calls to 4 to 6 minutes, “earlier than the respondent begins to really feel like she or he is being abused.” On-line surveys are preferable as a result of respondents can full them when they need, but it surely’s nonetheless laborious to inspire folks. For that cause, many survey firms supply one thing in return for folks’s opinion, sometimes factors that may be exchanged for reward playing cards. 

Even should you’ve discovered members, you wish to ensure you’re asking good questions, says Stephen Ansolabehere, a authorities professor at Harvard. He’s principal investigator of the Cooperative Congressional Election Examine (CCES), a nationwide survey of greater than 50,000 folks about demographics, common political attitudes, and voting intentions—and the info set utilized in Jesse Richman’s voter fraud research. It’s simple to generate bias in your outcomes by wording your survey questions poorly, says Ansolabehere.

“We’ll attempt to be literal and provides temporary descriptions, and we typically don’t do issues too adjectivally,” Ansolabehere says. However what about when the invoice you’re asking about is known as one thing inflammatory, just like the “Ache-Succesful Unborn Little one Safety Act?” “We don’t use that title,” he says.

One other downside with opinion polling is that what any person thinks doesn’t actually matter if it’s not going to translate right into a vote. Meaning you need to work out who will really present as much as the polls. 

Right here, demographic knowledge is useful. Ladies vote barely greater than males. White folks vote greater than folks of colour. These 65 and older vote at charges roughly 50% increased than these 18 to 29, and superior diploma holders as much as almost 3 times as usually as these with out a highschool diploma. 

Nonetheless, even should you ladle on the temptations, some demographic teams are merely much less doubtless to answer survey requests, which suggests you’ll want to regulate the numbers popping out of your survey group. Most polling companies do that by amplifying the responses they get from underrepresented teams: a survey with a small pattern of Hispanic voters, say, would possibly weight their responses extra closely if making an attempt to foretell conduct in a battleground state like Arizona, the place 24% of voters are Latino. 

One 2016 presidential ballot carried out included a younger Black man residing within the Midwest who supported Trump. As a result of he represented a number of harder-to-reach classes—younger, minority, male—his responses had been dramatically over-indexed.

However beware: this weighting can backfire.

One 2016 presidential ballot carried out by the College of Southern California and the Los Angeles Instances recruited 3,000 respondents from throughout America, together with a younger Black man residing within the Midwest who turned out to be a Trump supporter. As a result of he represented a number of harder-to-reach classes—younger, minority, male—his responses had been dramatically over-indexed. This ended up throwing the numbers off: at one level the survey estimated Trump’s assist amongst Black voters at 20%, largely on the idea of this one man’s responses. A post-election evaluation put that quantity at 6%. 

The media, greedy for certainty, missed the error margins of the research and reached for the headline figures that amplified these overweighted responses. Because of this, the survey group— which had already made uncooked knowledge, weighting schemes, and methodology public—stopped releasing sub-samples of their knowledge to stop their research being distorted once more. Not all researchers are as involved about potential misinterpretation of their work, nevertheless.

An educational controversy

Till Richman’s 2014 paper, the digital consensus amongst lecturers was that non-citizen voting didn’t exist on any useful stage. Then he and his coauthors examined CCES knowledge and claimed that such voters may really quantity a number of million. 

Richman asserted that the unlawful votes of non-citizens had modified not solely the pivotal 60th Senate vote but additionally the race for the White Home. “It’s doubtless although not at all sure that John McCain would have received North Carolina had been it not for the votes for Obama solid by non-citizens,” the paper says. After its publication, Richman then wrote an article for the Washington Submit with a equally provocative headline that centered on the upcoming 2014 midterms: “May non-citizens resolve the November election?”

Unsurprisingly, conservatives ran with this new assist for his or her previous narrative and have continued to take action. The research’s followers embrace President Trump, who used it to justify the creation of his short-lived and failed fee on voter fraud, and whose claims about unlawful voting at the moment are a centerpiece of his marketing campaign. 

However most different lecturers noticed the research for instance of methodological failure. Ansolabehere, whose CCES knowledge Richman relied on, coauthored a response to Richman’s work titled “The Perils of Cherry Choosing Low-Frequency Occasions in Giant Pattern Sizes.” 

Stephen Ansolabehere testifies
Stephen Ansolabehere.

For starters, he argued, the paper overweighted the non-citizens within the survey—simply because the Black Midwestern voter was overweighted to supply an phantasm of widespread Black assist for Trump. This was particularly problematic in Richman’s research, wrote Ansolabehere, when you think about the impression {that a} tiny quantity of people that had been misclassified as non-citizens would have on the info. Some folks, mentioned Ansolabehere, had doubtless misidentified themselves as ineligible to vote within the 2008 research by mistake—maybe out of sloppiness, misunderstanding, or simply the frenzy to build up factors for reward playing cards. Critically, no one who had claimed to be a non-citizen in each the 2010 survey and the follow-up in 2012 had solid a validated vote.

Almost 200 social scientists echoed Ansolabehere’s considerations in an open letter, however for Harold Clarke, then editor of the journal that printed Richman’s paper, the blowback was hypocritical. “If we had been to sentence all of the papers on voting conduct which have made claims about political participation primarily based on survey knowledge,” he says, “effectively, this paper is an identical. There’s no distinction by any means.” 

Because it seems, survey knowledge does include plenty of errors—not least as a result of many individuals who say they voted are mendacity. In 2012, Ansolabehere and a colleague found that massive numbers of People had been misreporting their voting exercise. But it surely wasn’t the non-citizens, and even the individuals who had been in Matt Braynard’s group of “low propensity” voters. 

As an alternative, discovered the researchers, “well-educated, high-income partisans who’re engaged in public affairs, attend church often, and have lived locally for some time are the sorts of people that misreport their vote expertise” after they haven’t voted in any respect. Which is to say: “high-propensity” voters and folks prone to lie about having voted look an identical. Throughout surveys executed over the phone, on-line, and in individual, about 15% of the citizens could signify these “misreporting voters.” 

Ansolabehere’s conclusion was a milestone, but it surely relied on one thing not each pollster has: cash. For his analysis, he contracted with Catalist, a vendor that buys voter registration knowledge from states, cleans it, and sells it to the Democratic Social gathering and progressive teams. Utilizing a proprietary algorithm and knowledge from the CCES, the agency validated each self-reported declare of voting conduct by matching particular person survey responses with the respondents’ voting file, their celebration registration, and the tactic by which they voted. This type of effort isn’t just costly (the Election Venture, a voting data supply run by a political science professor on the College of Florida, says the associated fee is roughly $130,000) however shrouded in thriller: third-party firms can set the phrases they need, together with confidentiality agreements that hold the knowledge non-public.

In a response to the criticism of his paper, Richman admitted his numbers could be off. The estimate of two.eight million non-citizen voters “is itself nearly absolutely too excessive,” he wrote. “There’s a 97.5% probability that the true worth is decrease.” 

Regardless of this admission, nevertheless, Richman continued to advertise the claims.

In March of 2018, he was in a courtroom testifying that non-citizens are voting en masse. 

Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, was defending a regulation that required voters to show their citizenship earlier than registering to vote. Such voter ID legal guidelines are seen by many as a option to suppress authentic votes, as a result of many eligible voters—on this case, as much as 35,000 Kansans—lack the required paperwork. To underscore the argument and show that there was a real risk of non-citizen voting, Kobach’s group employed Richman as an skilled witness. 

kris kobach
Kris Kobach.

Paid a complete of $40,663.35 for his contribution, Richman used varied sources to foretell the variety of non-citizens registered to vote within the state. One estimate, primarily based on knowledge from a Kansas county that was later proved to be inaccurate, put the quantity at 433. One other, extrapolated from CCES knowledge, mentioned it was 33,104. On the time, there have been an estimated 115,000 grownup residents in Kansas who weren’t Americans—together with inexperienced card holders and folks on visas. By Richman’s calculations, that may imply almost 30% of them had been illegally registered to vote. Total, his estimates ran from roughly 11,000 to 62,000. “We’ve got a 95% confidence that the true worth falls someplace in that vary,” he testified. 

The choose ended up ruling that voter ID legal guidelines had been unconstitutional. “All 4 of [Richman’s] estimates, taken individually or as a complete, are flawed,” she wrote in her opinion.

Unseen impression

One consequence of this unreliable knowledge—from residents who lie about their voting file to those that mistakenly misidentify themselves as non-citizens—is that it additional diverts consideration and assets from the voters who lie outdoors conventional polling teams.

“For the [low-propensity] crowd it’s a vicious cycle,” wrote Matt Braynard in his inner memo for the Trump marketing campaign. “They don’t get any voter contact love from the campaigns as a result of they don’t vote, however they don’t vote as a result of they don’t get any voter contact. It’s a persistent state of disenfranchisement.” 

Campaigns deal with constituents who’re prone to vote and certain to offer cash, says Allie Swatek, director of coverage and analysis for the New York Metropolis Marketing campaign Finance Board. She skilled this bias firsthand when she moved again to New York in time for the 2018 election. Although there have been races for US Senate, governor, and state congress, “I acquired nothing within the mail,” she says. “And I used to be like, ‘Is that this what it’s like when you haven’t any voting historical past? No one reaches out to you?” 

Based on the Knight Basis’s survey of non-voters, 39% reported that they’ve by no means been requested to vote—not by household, mates, lecturers, political campaigns, or group organizations, nor at locations of employment or worship. Nonetheless, that could be altering. 

Stacy Abrams runs for governor of GA
Stacey Abrams’ marketing campaign for governor of Georgia focused “low propensity” voters.

Braynard’s mobilization technique performed a task within the 2018 marketing campaign for governor of Georgia by Democrat Stacey Abrams. She particularly focused low-propensity voters, particularly voters of colour, and although she finally misplaced that race, extra Black and Asian voters turned out that yr than for the presidential race in 2016. “Any political scientist will inform you this isn’t one thing that occurs,” wrote Abrams’s former marketing campaign supervisor in a New York Instances op-ed. “Ever.”

However even when campaigns and specialists attempt to break these cycles—by cleansing their knowledge, or by concentrating on non-voters—there’s a way more harmful downside on the coronary heart of election analysis: it’s nonetheless vulnerable to these working in dangerous religion.

Backtracking claims

I requested Richman earlier this summer time if we should always belief the form of wide-ranging numbers he gave in his research, or in his testimony in Kansas. No, he answered, not essentially. “One problem is that folks wish to know what the degrees of non-citizen registration and voting are with a stage of certainty that the info at hand doesn’t present,” he wrote me in an e-mail. 

The truth is, Richman informed me, he “finally agreed” with the choose within the Kansas case even though she known as his proof flawed. “On the one hand, I believe that non-citizen voting occurs, and that public coverage responses should be cognizant of that,” he informed me. “Then again, that doesn’t imply each public coverage response makes an acceptable trade-off between the assorted sorts of danger.” 

Behind the tutorial language, he’s saying basically what each different skilled on the topic has already mentioned: fraud is feasible, so how can we stability election safety with accessibility? Not like his friends, nevertheless, Richman reached that conclusion by first publishing a paper with alarmist findings, writing a newspaper article about it, after which testifying that non-citizen voting was rampant, possibly, regardless of later agreeing with the choice that concluded he was unsuitable.

No matter Richman’s causes for this, his work has helped buttress the avalanche of disinformation on this election cycle.

All through the 2020 election marketing campaign, President Trump has continued to make repeated, unfounded claims that vote-by-mail is insecure, and that thousands and thousands of votes are being illegally solid. And final yr, when a poll harvesting scandal hit the Republican Social gathering in North Carolina and compelled a particular election that led to a Democratic win, one operative made an look on Fox Information to accuse the left of encouraging an epidemic of voter fraud.

“The left is smitten by embracing this method in states like California,” he mentioned. “Voter fraud’s been one of many left’s most dependable voter constituencies.” 

The speaker? Matt Braynard.

Nonetheless, Braynard is in contrast to some voter fraud evangelists, for whom discovering no proof of fraud is just extra proof of an unlimited conspiracy. He not less than purports to have the ability to change his thoughts on the idea of latest details. This implies that there could also be a approach out of this present state of affairs, the place we challenge our personal assumptions onto the uncertainty inherent in voting conduct. 

After leaving the Trump marketing campaign, he based Look Forward America, a nonprofit devoted to turning out blue-collar and rural voters and to investigating voter fraud. As a part of the group’s work, he and 25 different volunteers served as ballot watchers in Virginia in 2017. 

The method wasn’t as clear as he would’ve favored. He wasn’t allowed to look over ballot employees’ shoulders, and there have been no cameras to {photograph} voters as they solid their ballots. However although he wasn’t completely sure that the election was clear, he was nonetheless assured sufficient to subject a press launch the next day. 

“A minimum of the place we had been current, the native election officers faithfully adopted the lawful procedures,” LAA’s assertion mentioned. “We did observe just a few events the place polling workers may gain advantage from higher training on the comparatively latest voter ID legal guidelines. Nonetheless, they labored diligently to make sure the election legal guidelines had been adopted.”

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Decide: Trump Admin‘s TikTok ban would trigger “irreparable hurt” to creators

Visitors visit the booth of Douyin (TikTok) at the 2019 smart expo in Hangzhou, China, Oct. 18, 2019.

Enlarge / Guests go to the sales space of Douyin (TikTok) on the 2019 good expo in Hangzhou, China, Oct. 18, 2019. (credit score: Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Photographs)

A federal decide in Pennsylvania has blocked a Trump administration order that may have banned TikTok from working inside the US as of November 12, discovering that content material creators who use the short-form video platform to make a residing would endure “irreparable hurt” if the ban have been to undergo.

The “important and unrecoverable financial loss brought on by the shutdown of the TikTok platform” was grounds for granting an injunction, Decide Wendy Beetlestone of the US District Courtroom for Japanese Pennsylvania wrote in a ruling (PDF) as we speak.

President Donald Trump in August issued an govt order declaring TikTok (in addition to one other China-based app, WeChat) to be a nationwide emergency. That order gave the Division of Commerce 45 days to place an inventory of banned actions into place. Commerce did so, prohibiting new TikTok downloads after September 20 and banning practically each different TikTok characteristic after November 12.

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