Globe and Mail: Facebook reduces transparency of information on political-ad targeting

Globe and Mail: Facebook reduces transparency of information on political-ad targeting. “The company is asking users to complete a ‘captcha’ – a visual challenge that asks people to pick out similar items in a photo or type out a sequence of letters and numbers, for example. These captchas are preventing tools designed to monitor users’ feeds from automatically collecting ad-targeting information. The impact of the captchas on the tool’s ability to collect targeting information is significant. In August, more than 86 per cent of ads collected had targeting information. Since the federal election campaign began, that number has dropped to 16 per cent.”

Columbia Journalism Review: India had its first ‘WhatsApp election.’ We have a million messages from it

Columbia Journalism Review: India had its first ‘WhatsApp election.’ We have a million messages from it. “At the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, we used the Indian election cycle, which ran between April 11 and May 19, 2019, as a case study for assessing both general political discourse and information manipulation on WhatsApp. With no APIs, tools, or best practices in place to help outsiders tap into ongoing activity inside closed groups, we devised a strategy to monitor a subset of the political conversation, over a period of three and a half months. The study’s resulting data set—which grew to over a terabyte in size—contains 1.09 million messages, retrieved by joining 1,400 chat groups related to politics in the country.”

Facebook Political Ads: What the 2020 Candidates’ Campaign Spending Reveals (New York Times)

New York Times: Facebook Political Ads: What the 2020 Candidates’ Campaign Spending Reveals. “Collectively, the 19 current Democratic candidates for president have poured nearly $32 million into Facebook ads this year — more money than they have spent so far on television ads, a striking measure of the social network’s ever-rising influence in politics. The heavy spending on Facebook comes even as leading party officials have raised alarms about the site’s role in American democracy.”

Reuters: Biden campaign asks Facebook, Twitter and Google to take down Trump ad

Reuters: Biden campaign asks Facebook, Twitter and Google to take down Trump ad. “U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign sent letters over the last week to Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, asking them to take down a social media ad from President Donald Trump which the Biden campaign said contained false claims.”

New York Times: Could Facebook Actually Nuke Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign?

New York Times: Could Facebook Actually Nuke Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign?. “Yes, Facebook’s willingness to let politicians lie sets a worrying precedent. And yes, lack of oversight into the platform’s decisions opens up a host of plausible election interference conspiracies. But Facebook’s essential threat to democracy isn’t that Mr. Zuckerberg will intervene on behalf of his preferred candidate — it’s more fundamental than that. Mark Zuckerberg need not intervene, because Facebook, the platform, will do so instinctively.”

New York Times: Facebook’s Hands-Off Approach to Political Speech Gets Impeachment Test

New York Times: Facebook’s Hands-Off Approach to Political Speech Gets Impeachment Test. “Facebook has been dogged by accusations of censorship by conservative politicians, including President Trump, who argue that the Silicon Valley company gives greater attention to liberal points of views on the social network. But by removing itself as the moderator of political content — including in paid ads on the site — Facebook has left itself open another avenue of criticism.”

Report: Hackers use simple trick to target U.S. presidential campaign and government officials (Mashable)

Mashable: Report: Hackers use simple trick to target U.S. presidential campaign and government officials. “Hacking email accounts doesn’t have to be a sophisticated affair. We are reminded once again of this fact thanks to a report released Friday by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center detailing how a group of hackers targeted the email accounts of journalists, government officials, and the campaign of a U.S. presidential candidate. And here’s the thing, the bad actors didn’t use some fancy 1337 computer skills, but rather employed the oldest trick in the book: the password reset.”