NBC News: Fans of Sean Hannity, Black Lives Matter among targets of Russian influence campaign

NBC News: Fans of Sean Hannity, Black Lives Matter among targets of Russian influence campaign. “Russian propaganda efforts used ads on Facebook and Instagram to push divisive messages to fans of a variety of pages including Black Lives Matter and Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to a new batch of sponsored posts released on Thursday. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee just released thousands of divisive ads created by the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-backed organization that targeted American voters on Facebook and Instagram around the 2016 presidential election.”

Washington Post: Facebook may have violated FTC privacy deal, say former federal officials, triggering risk of massive fines

Washington Post: Facebook may have violated FTC privacy deal, say former federal officials, triggering risk of massive fines. “Two former federal officials who crafted the landmark consent decree governing how Facebook handles user privacy say the company may have violated that decree when it shared information from tens of millions of users with a data analysis firm that later worked for President Trump’s 2016 campaign. Such a violation, if eventually confirmed by the Federal Trade Commission, could lead to many millions of dollars in fines against Facebook, said David Vladeck, who as the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection oversaw the investigation of alleged privacy violations by Facebook and the subsequent consent decree resolving the case in 2011. He left that position in 2012.”

The Daily Beast: Russians Used Reddit and Tumblr to Troll the 2016 Election

The Daily Beast: Russians Used Reddit and Tumblr to Troll the 2016 Election. “A leak of internal data from the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency discovered by The Daily Beast serves as the first confirmation that the Russian troll farm deployed its online agitators on Reddit as part of its campaign to interfere in American politics. The leak also reveals 21 Tumblr accounts, including login credentials, run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA). The listing for the leak offers ‘American proxies’ for Reddit and viral meme site 9Gag. The leak comes after months of speculation from Reddit users that the site had been targeted by a foreign influence campaign.”

CNET: US charges Russian social media trolls over election tampering

CNET: US charges Russian social media trolls over election tampering. “US special counsel Robert Mueller has filed charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups for allegedly interfering with the 2016 presidential election. In an indictment released Friday (PDF), Mueller and the Justice Department call out the Internet Research Agency, a group linked to Russian propaganda efforts across social media. Employees for the IRA created troll accounts and used bots to stage arguments and sow political chaos during the 2016 campaign.”

New York Times: To Stir Discord in 2016, Russians Turned Most Often to Facebook

New York Times: To Stir Discord in 2016, Russians Turned Most Often to Facebook. “In 2014, Russians working for a shadowy firm called the Internet Research Agency started gathering American followers in online groups focused on issues like religion and immigration. Around mid-2015, the Russians began buying digital ads to spread their messages. A year later, they tapped their followers to help organize political rallies across the United States. Their digital instrument of choice for all of these actions? Facebook and its photo-sharing site Instagram.”

Wired: Inside The Two Years That Shook Facebook—and The World

Wired: Inside The Two Years That Shook Facebook—and The World. “[Benjamin] Fearnow, a recent graduate of the Columbia Journalism School, worked in Facebook’s New York office on something called Trending Topics, a feed of popular news subjects that popped up when people opened Facebook. The feed was generated by an algorithm but moderated by a team of about 25 people with backgrounds in journalism. If the word ‘Trump’ was trending, as it often was, they used their news judgment to identify which bit of news about the candidate was most important. If The Onion or a hoax site published a spoof that went viral, they had to keep that out. If something like a mass shooting happened, and Facebook’s algorithm was slow to pick up on it, they would inject a story about it into the feed.”