New York Times: Russian Effort to Influence 2016 Election Targeted African-Americans (This is a different report than the one that was covered in The Washington Post.) “The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of posts on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its Facebook operations, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee.”
Nieman Lab: Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots actually become more conservative. “Social media companies have been big on injecting “alternative views” into users’ feeds — the idea, seemingly, being that exposing people to values and beliefs that conflict with their own will expand their worldviews or making them more tolerant. (See also: a zillion different ‘burst your bubble’ efforts. In some ways, this makes all the sense in the world. On the other hand, changing people’s minds is hard.” There are limitations to this study and I’m not here to make RB political. However I have severe problems with those folks who say, “All you have to do is explain your side and people will understand.” Would that were true, but it’s not.
Fast Company: Find out if your coworkers or company gave money to Trump or Hillary. “Zippia just released a fun new tool that will help you while away the hours in your cubicle. They released a website that helps you figure out the favorite political parties of your favorite companies. For example, Apple and Walmart employees have both made big donations, but to opposing parties, proving that politics’ favorite color is not red or blue, but green.” It’s kind of weird; I put in some larger company names and this site had no data on political donations, but then I put in JBC Inc of Plano, Texas (which I’m sure is a lovely company but is small in comparison to, say, Monster Energy), and a ton of information pops up.
WHTC: Key Democrats urge social media companies to investigate Russia-linked accounts. “Senior U.S. congressional Democrats urged social media companies on Tuesday to investigate reported actions by automated Russia-linked accounts, in connection with a Republican memorandum that was said to be critical of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of President Donald Trump’s ties with Russia. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, wrote to Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc , requesting an ‘in-depth forensic examination.'”
CNET: For Congress members, divisive news is a hit on Facebook. “For Congress members, widening the political gap appears to lead to success on Facebook. People on Facebook shared and liked posts from politicians more often if they contained links to national news outlets on the most liberal or most conservative ends of the political spectrum, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.”
FiveThirtyEight: Political Twitter Is No Place For Moderates. “Twitter has never been a bastion of the Queen’s English, but recent reporting has unearthed a variety of polarizing posts about American politics that are presumed to be of Russian origin, in part because some of them use awkward English. The revelations have led to recriminations against the tech platform and an invitation for the company to testify before Congress this week. The Russians might have occasionally gotten their words mangled, but they were right when it came to mimicking their targets, attacking from both the right and the left. It turns out that American Twitter users who tweet about politics overwhelmingly come from the extremes of the political spectrum as well.”
BuzzFeed: Inside The Partisan Fight For Your News Feed. “The most comprehensive study to date of the growing universe of partisan websites and Facebook pages about US politics reveals that in 2016 alone at least 187 new websites launched, and that the candidacy and election of Donald Trump has unleashed a golden age of aggressive, divisive political content that reaches a massive amount of people on Facebook.”