ScienceBlog: Research Reveals Strategies For Combating Science Misinformation. “Just as the scientific community was reaching a consensus on the dangerous reality of climate change, the partisan divide on climate change began to widen, a new study finds. That might seem like a paradox, but it’s also no coincidence, according to Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). It was around this time that an organized network, funded by organizations with a lot to lose in a transition to a low-carbon economy, started to coalesce around the goal of undercutting the legitimacy of climate science, Farrell said.”
Quartz: Memes are modern-day propaganda. “In places like China, Uganda, Mexico, and the United States, memes can fuse new narratives in society and influence international media discourse in powerful ways. Activists utilize their power to draw attention and build communities around issues that might otherwise be ignored or censored. But memes also play a key role in the spread of both misinformation and disinformation. And many of those narratives can themselves be highly destructive and manipulative.”
Facebook: Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior from Russia. “Today we removed multiple Pages, groups and accounts that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook and Instagram. The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine. We didn’t find any links between these operations, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”
The Jerusalem Post: Foreign Ministry Launches App To Stop Fake News On Social Media. “The Foreign Ministry and tech company Commun.it launched a program to share information about social media accounts spreading disinformation, the ministry announced on Wednesday. The initiative comes after months of efforts by the ministry to combat the phenomenon, which has spiked since early elections were announced. Journalists were targeted in five attempts by foreign Twitter accounts to spread fake news stories in the Israeli media. “
Science 2.0: A Baltic Lesson For The US In How To Counter Russian Disinformation Tactics. “There are already indications that Cyber Command conducted operations against Russian disinformation on social media, including warning specific Russians not to interfere with the 2018 elections. However, low-level cyberwarfare is not necessarily the best way. European countries, especially the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have confronted Russian disinformation campaigns for decades. Their experience may offer useful lessons as the U.S. joins the battle.” I really like the idea of a “data embassy” that Estonia pioneered in 2017.
TechCrunch: Hackers are spreading Islamic State propaganda by hijacking dormant Twitter accounts. “Hackers are using a decade-old flaw to target and hijack dormant Twitter accounts to spread terrorist propaganda, TechCrunch has learned. Many of the affected Twitter accounts appeared to be hijacked in recent days or weeks — some longer — after years of inactivity. A sudden shift in tone or the language used in tweets often gives away the hijack — usually a single tweet in Arabic, sometimes praising Allah or retweeting propaganda from another account.”
New York Times: Social Media’s Forever War. “One takeaway from these reports might be that the Russian influence campaign of 2016 was a freak occurrence enabled by a perfect storm of vulnerabilities: growth-obsessed social media companies, unsuspecting intelligence agencies and an election featuring two hyper-polarizing candidates, one of which had a Russian blind spot and an army of supporters willing to believe convenient lies and half-truths. The other way to look at these reports, and probably a more accurate one, is that the 2016 election was the Pearl Harbor of the social media age: a singular act of aggression that ushered in an era of extended conflict.”