Take a Knee appears, on some stage, like an all-American controversy — it entails soccer, the Star-Spangled Banner and the painful, unresolved historical past of race relations in the United States.
However, a Republican senator from Oklahoma warned this week, Russian trolls had been doing their finest to deepen the divisions that exist already, by amplifying the present controversy on social media.
“They were taking both sides of the argument this past weekend, and pushing them out from their troll farms as much as they could to try to just raise the noise level in America and to make a big issue seem like an even bigger issue,” James Lankford advised a U.S. Senate committee listening to.
A member of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee, Lankford can see categorized intelligence studies on Russian troll farms and their actions.
However, a few of the exercise was seen to the remainder of us.
Hamilton68, a website that tracks hashtags promoted by Russian-linked affect networks on Twitter, discovered that #boycottnfl and #nfl had been on the record of high hashtags promoted by accounts they monitor, and #nflnogozone and #totalnflblackout had been amongst the trending tags. (U.S. president Donald Trump this week urged followers to boycott the NFL for taking a tolerant angle to participant protests.)
Alert Twitter customers this week observed that a now-disabled pretend account for Boston Antifa was tweeting on the #TakeAKnee hashtag from Vladivostok, an unlikely outpost for NFL followers. (A troll apparently forgot to disable geotagging on his account; odd, since Twitter turns geotagging off by default.)
“The goal is heightened tensions,” Hamilton68 founder Clint Watts advised the Associated Press.
“They’ll use organic American content to amplify to American audiences. They would much rather use organic American content. It hits the audience better and it’s cheaper and more effective.”
“The Russians can just sit back and say: ‘Amplify on both sides. Make people angry.’ And it works, man, God, it works.”
WATCH: U.S. Senator Mark Warner, the high Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, stated on Thursday he was deeply disillusioned by the lack of knowledge Twitter supplied at a briefing for congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. election.
In pretend information information:
- On Wednesday, we lined the loss of life of Paul Horner, a distinguished pretend information writer who fell sufferer to an obvious overdose in Arizona at the age of 38. Horner truly died on September 18, and his brother introduced it on Facebook on September 22, Friday of final week. The Washington Post explains why it took a number of days for studies to floor in mainstream media — faking his personal loss of life is simply the type of hoax that the reside Paul Horner would have tried to tug off, and no reporter needed to be the sucker who fell for it. The Post‘s due diligence included written confirmation from the local sheriff’s division, a search of public information to be sure that another Paul Horner hadn’t died as an alternative, and a name to Snopes — which as late as Friday, had nonetheless not dedicated itself a method or the different.
- A examine from Oxford University discovered that U.S. voters on Twitter had been proven extra “junk news,” a time period the researchers coined to cowl “misinformation, polarizing and conspiratorial content” than actual information studies from skilled sources throughout the 2016 election. (h/t Axios and Mother Jones)
- On Thursday, Twitter advised the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that it had shut down 201 accounts related to the St. Petersburg, Russia-based Internet Research Agency, a troll farm that purchased 1000’s of advertisements on Facebook throughout the U.S. election. Sen. Mark Warner referred to as the firm’s response “inadequate on almost every level,” the Washington Post reported. Democrats in the House and Senate stated Twitter wanted a a lot deeper and extra aggressive investigation into Russian disinformation on its platforms.
- CNN reported that Russian-linked Facebook advertisements promoted a wide selection of causes, from Black Lives Matter to gun-rights activism, and ” … if it seems that the focusing on was significantly refined, questions could also be raised about how the Russians knew the place to direct their advertisements … the obvious objective of the Russian patrons was to amplify political discord and gas an environment of incivility and chaos, although not essentially to advertise one candidate or trigger over one other.”
- Bots get a lot of consideration, but Charlie Warzel of Buzzfeed reminds us that many reside people are keen instruments of misinformation: ” … Focusing on Twitter’s bot scourge is an attractive but partial clarification for a far harder downside. It’s additionally unaware of the very actual, very human media machine bent on pushing a pro-Trump narrative and trolling its opponents in any respect prices, for whom bots are simply one among many instruments.”
- The Washington Post‘s Chinese-language version (or a website purporting to be) “has built up a loyal audience among Chinese readers eager for international coverage,” the Financial Times reported this week. The downside? Not solely is it not run by the Post, the paper didn’t even learn about it till the FT referred to as them to ask about it. The website truly paid to syndicate actual Post materials but combined it with on-line copy from the Chinese state information company, attributed to the Post. The Post put its foot down, and sunnewswp.com is now not fairly such an overt forgery (right here’s what it used to appear like.)
- Also in the Post: a lengthy learn on the way it dawned on Facebook final yr that Russian operators had been utilizing it as a instrument of political manipulation. (Once once more, the social media platform appears profoundly out of its depth in coping with a downside that they appear to not have conceptualized till not too long ago.) Facebook’s safety specialists had been conscious of the Russian hacker workforce Fancy Bear as way back as June of 2016, the Post says, but misunderstood what it was doing: ” … (They) assumed that they had been planning some form of espionage operation — not a far-reaching disinformation marketing campaign designed to form the final result of the U.S. presidential race.”
- Politico studies that Russian-funded Facebook advertisements promoted anybody who would possibly minimize into Hillary Clinton’s assist, together with Democratic rival Bernie Sanders and Green presidential hopeful Jill Stein, in addition to Donald Trump: ” … The advertisements present a difficult effort that didn’t essentially hew to selling Trump and bashing Clinton. Instead, they present a need to create divisions whereas generally praising Trump, Sanders and Stein.” Politico cites its supply as “a person with knowledge of the ads.”
- Not extensively reported at the time, maybe important now: the Daily Beast appears again at Ukranian complaints a few years in the past that anti-Russian posts on Facebook had been shut down when organized troll campaigns flagged them as hate speech or porn. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blew the considerations off, at the time. (The story recollects one in Wired again in June that prompt that Russia was utilizing Ukraine to check out cyberwar ideas and that we might be sensible to pay very shut consideration.)
- Defense One appears again at a giant-scale cyberattack on Estonia on 2007. “Russia denied any involvement, but Estonia didn’t believe it … The attacks made Estonia more determined than ever to develop its digital economy and make it safe from future attacks. ‘I think every country should have a cyber war,’ says Taavi Kotka, the government’s former chief information officer.”
- The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab has some put up-sport evaluation of disinformation in Sunday’s elections in Germany. It appeared to be designed to spice up the far-proper AfD, which at 12.5 per cent of the vote did very properly, for a fringe social gathering. It featured an AfD marketing campaign on the social community VK, a Russia-based equal of Facebook that has many customers in Germany, and a social media marketing campaign round alleged voter fraud. Its poster youngster was an imaginary ballot employee who tweeted that she was trying ahead to invalidating ballots solid for the AfD. (DFRLab traces the account’s profile image to an actress in Pakistan.)
- The New York Times has a lengthy examine how tradition battle-pushed distorted studies of a intercourse crime in Twin Falls, Idaho, fuelled by anti-Muslim bloggers, despatched the city into chaos.
- Facebook stated this week that it will make political advertisements on the platform extra clear. But in ProPublica, Julia Angwin argues that it doesn’t go so far as it might. A web page can purchase an advert, for instance, but the proprietor of the web page and its funding might nonetheless be opaque. Also, Facebook will get to outline what counts as ‘political advertising’ on its platform and what doesn’t. WNYC’s interview with Angwin about what Facebook has and hasn’t finished, and will do, is right here: “The truth is we haven’t had an election where you could automate your lying … and never have anyone see or know about it.”
- War on the Rocks reminds us that there’s nothing new in the thought of state-sponsored disinformation focusing on different international locations’ elections, simply the type it’s now taking leveraging social media.
- In politics, “Dramatic lies do not always persuade, but they do tend to change the subject — and that is often enough,” writes Tim Harford in the Financial Times. ” … The very means of rebutting the falsehood ensures that it is repeated again and again. Even somebody who accepts that the lie is a lie would discover it a lot simpler to recollect than the reality.”
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