Reuters: Facebook plans to use U.S. mail to verify IDs of election ad buyers

Reuters: Facebook plans to use U.S. mail to verify IDs of election ad buyers. “Facebook Inc will start using postcards sent by U.S. mail later this year to verify the identities and location of people who want to purchase U.S. election-related advertising on its site, a senior company executive said on Saturday.”

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.”

Los Angeles Times: The goal was espionage. The tactics were social media 101

Los Angeles Times: The goal was espionage. The tactics were social media 101. “If a brand today wants to promote a new product, it would order its social media team to tailor posts that resonate with its audience, buy targeted ads to reach impressionable eyeballs, and closely monitor the performance of its messaging to ensure it reaches, and influences, as many viewers as possible. If a Russian troll farm wanted to disrupt an American election and amplify discord in an open society, it would apparently do the exact same things.”

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.”

Notre Dame: Study shows social media an effective tool for predicting voting outcomes

Notre Dame: Study shows social media an effective tool for predicting voting outcomes. “A new study reveals social media may highlight intergroup polarization of voter opinion more adequately than traditional polls when predicting election outcomes. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame studied Colombia’s national referendum vote and initial rejection of a peace agreement to understand the influence of polarization and public sentiment. They also looked at how social media could be used to better evaluate public opinion and how it might be leveraged to impact election outcomes.”

Washington Post: Russians got tens of thousands of Americans to RSVP for their phony political events on Facebook

Washington Post: Russians got tens of thousands of Americans to RSVP for their phony political events on Facebook. “Russian operatives used Facebook to publicize 129 phony event announcements during the 2016 presidential campaign, drawing the attention of nearly 340,000 users — many of whom said they were planning to attend — according to a company document released by the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday.”