The Verge: The Mueller indictment exposes the danger of Facebook’s focus on Groups. “A year ago this past Friday, Mark Zuckerberg published a lengthy post titled ‘Building a Global Community.’ It offered a comprehensive statement from the Facebook CEO on how he planned to move the company away from its longtime mission of making the world “more open and connected” to instead create “the social infrastructure … to build a global community.” He identified a number of challenges to realizing his mission, and ranking high among them was the political polarization of his user base.”
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. “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. “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. “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.”
WPTV: Social Media Is Important For Politicians, But How Well Does It Work?. “Politicians are spending more and more money on social media — but is it worth it? Last year, research firm Borrell Associates estimated political campaigns spent more than $1.4 billion on digital advertising in 2016. That includes ads for video, mobile, email, social media and online searches. And Hamid Bendaas, press secretary for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, offered some insight on how effective social media is.” Video and written story.
Search Engine Land: Federal Election Commission proposal toughens political ads disclosure rules. “The nature of political advertising is manipulation and deception. This was taken to extremes in 2016 as fake news and ads from outside actors and extremist groups sought to manipulate public opinion and influence the presidential election. Now, with Russia expected to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is considering additional rules and disclosure requirements for online political ads.” We can only hope.