New York Times: Epoch Times, Punished by Facebook, Gets a New Megaphone on YouTube

New York Times: Epoch Times, Punished by Facebook, Gets a New Megaphone on YouTube. “The shifting tactics of partisan publishers pose a challenge to tech platforms in the lead-up to the 2020 election. Despite their efforts to limit the spread of misinformation, the platforms remain a powerful megaphone for publishers like The Epoch Times, which has used conspiracy theories and dubious growth tactics to expand its audience. In all, the outlet has spent more than $1 million on YouTube ads, according to a person familiar with its spending, who discussed private information on the condition of anonymity.”

New York Times: Buckle Up for Another Facebook Election

New York Times: Buckle Up for Another Facebook Election. “The social network has spent much of the past three years apologizing for its inaction during the 2016 election, when its platform was overrun with hyperpartisan misinformation, some of it Russian, that was amplified by its own algorithms. And ahead of 2020, some people wondered if Mr. Zuckerberg — who is, by his own admission, uncomfortable with Facebook’s power — would do everything he could to step out of the political crossfire. Instead, Mr. Zuckerberg has embraced Facebook’s central role in elections — not only by giving politicians a pass on truth, but by preserving the elements of its advertising platforms that proved to be a decisive force in 2016.”

BuzzMachine: In defense of targeting

BuzzMachine: In defense of targeting. “In defending targeting, I am not defending Facebook, I am attacking mass media and what its business model has done to democracy — including on Facebook. With targeting, a small business, a new candidate, a nascent movement can efficiently and inexpensively reach people who would be interested in their messages so they may transact or assemble and act.”

CNN: Facebook says it’s ‘not deaf’ to criticism. But it will still let politicians lie in ads

CNN: Facebook says it’s ‘not deaf’ to criticism. But it will still let politicians lie in ads. “In a blog post, Rob Leathern, who oversees Facebook’s political ad library, said the company was not making any major revisions to its policies on political ads. Leathern did however ask political leaders to establish new rules that would govern digital political advertising.” Taking responsibility for your company’s actions is soooo… hang on, need to go find an era where giant corporations took responsibility for their actions…

Lawfare: The Biggest Social Media Operation You’ve Never Heard of Is Run Out of Cyprus by Russians

Lawfare: The Biggest Social Media Operation You’ve Never Heard of Is Run Out of Cyprus by Russians. “What the heck is TheSoul Publishing? I’m still honestly not sure. Here’s what I do know: Measured in terms of views and subscribers, it had the third-largest reach of any group of entertainment channels on YouTube in November—outranked only by Disney and WarnerMedia. It is run by Russian nationals and based in and managed from Cyprus, with U.S. operations housed in a shared work space in New York. It funds itself with ad revenues from YouTube and Google worth tens of millions of dollars. And in 2018, it purchased a small suite of Facebook advertisements targeting U.S. citizens on political issues—and it made those purchases in rubles.”

News@Northeastern: Facebook has already decided how you’re going to vote

News@Northeastern: Facebook has already decided how you’re going to vote . “Facebook is wielding significant power over political discourse in the United States, thanks to an ad delivery system that reinforces political polarization among users, according to new research from a team of computer scientists.”

ProPublica: Facebook Ads Can Still Discriminate Against Women and Older Workers, Despite a Civil Rights Settlement

ProPublica: Facebook Ads Can Still Discriminate Against Women and Older Workers, Despite a Civil Rights Settlement. “For Dolese Bros. Co. construction and supply company, which has a fleet of 300 trucks, recruiting enough qualified drivers in rural Oklahoma has been a challenge….The company used Facebook’s new special ads portal, which doesn’t allow targeting by gender, age, race or ethnicity. That was fine with Dolese. While its drivers tend to be men, the company has no gender preference. ‘The gals we have in our group are fabulous,’ [Kermit] Frank said. ‘We’d take any and all of them we could ever get.’ By the time the ad stopped running ten days later, more than 20,000 people had seen it. Eighty-seven percent of them were men.”