NiemanLab: First Draft launches a text message course to help inoculate users against U.S. election misinformation

NiemanLab: First Draft launches a text message course to help inoculate users against U.S. election misinformation. “Sensing (correctly) that people are fatigued with online trainings, First Draft has rolled out ‘Protection from deception,’ a free two-week text message course to help people prepare for election misinformation ahead of November.”

AP: Facebook groups pivot to attacks on Black Lives Matter

AP: Facebook groups pivot to attacks on Black Lives Matter. “A loose network of Facebook groups that took root across the country in April to organize protests over coronavirus stay-at-home orders has become a hub of misinformation and conspiracy theories that have pivoted to a variety of new targets. Their latest: Black Lives Matter and the nationwide protests of racial injustice.”

Cuentas falsas y coordinación con Venezuela: cómo Cuba disemina propaganda en Twitter (El Nuevo Herald)

El Nuevo Herald, and the article is in Spanish, but I’ll provide a machine translation of the salient paragraphs: Cuentas falsas y coordinación con Venezuela: cómo Cuba disemina propaganda en Twitter. “On his Twitter profile, user Kaleb Guevara reproduces a phrase attributed to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara: ‘the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.’ The profile photo also reminds of the controversial Argentine figure, a young brunette with a beard, with a cigarette on his lips. But it does not belong to a person called “Kaleb Guevara” but to the Canadian model Nick Bateman. These are just two examples of more than a hundred of what appear to be false profiles that appear on … a new site that identifies Twitter accounts that spread propaganda and disinformation from Cuba.”

BuzzFeed: As Facebook Reveals Dark Posts, Twitter Keeps Them Hidden

BuzzFeed: As Facebook Reveals Dark Posts, Twitter Keeps Them Hidden. “Facebook pledged last week to reveal all ads being shown to its users, even those not appearing on advertiser profiles, after it was revealed that the company ran Russian-linked ads meant to influence the election. Twitter, however, will not commit to the same, and appears to have no plans to expose its so-called dark posts to public scrutiny.”

Reuters: German election campaign largely unaffected by fake news or bots

Reuters: German election campaign largely unaffected by fake news or bots. “Germany is on guard against any last-minute meddling in Sunday’s election but experts have seen only isolated attempts to swing votes during the campaign. There are also no signs that fake news will affect the outcome of the election, which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are expected to win.”

Ars Technica: Facebook revamps political-ad rules after discovering Russian ad buys

Ars Technica: Facebook revamps political-ad rules after discovering Russian ad buys. “Two weeks ago, Facebook admitted that a ‘shadowy Russian company’ spent $100,000 on political ads targeting US Facebook users during the 2016 election campaign. At the time, Facebook turned in information about these ad buys to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the election. Today, Facebook announced that it would also be turning the information over to Congressional investigators. And Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be stepping up its efforts to prevent foreign election interference in the future.”

Wired: To Fix Its Toxic Ad Problem, Facebook Must Break Itself

Wired: To Fix Its Toxic Ad Problem, Facebook Must Break Itself . “Two incidents in recent weeks have highlighted how Facebook’s advertising network—the cornerstone of its half-trillion-dollar valuation—is as susceptible to manipulation and bigotry as its news feed. Facebook addresses each problem as it arises, in isolation. But maybe it’s time for Facebook to acknowledge that it can’t solve these problems alone and to ask for help—before governments offer their own ‘help.'”

Texas secession movement: Russia-linked Facebook group asked us to participate in anti-Clinton rallies (Business Insider)

Business Insider: Texas secession movement: Russia-linked Facebook group asked us to participate in anti-Clinton rallies. “A Russia-linked Facebook group asked a Texas secessionist movement if it would participate in a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary Clinton rallies it was planning to hold across the state last November, the group’s president told Business Insider on Thursday.”

Exclusive: Facebook Won’t Reveal if Russia Targeted You During the Election (The Daily Beast)

The Daily Beast: Exclusive: Facebook Won’t Reveal if Russia Targeted You During the Election. “The social media giant … declined to commit to releasing information about Russian government-backed Facebook posts, groups, and paid advertisements to the users who encountered them. That means Facebook users may never know if they were targeted by foreign propaganda campaigns during the 2016 election, or if those campaigns are still filling up their newsfeeds today.”

The Daily Beast: I Bought a Russian Bot Army for Under $100

The Daily Beast: I Bought a Russian Bot Army for Under $100. “A Daily Beast investigation reveals manipulating Twitter is cheap. Really cheap. A review of dodgy marketing companies, botnet owners, and underground forums shows plenty of people are willing to sell the various components needed to run your own political Twitter army for just a few hundred dollars, or sometimes less. And once your botnet is caught, due to holes in Twitter’s security and sign-up features, it takes only a few minutes to do it all over again.”

Talking Points Memo: Russian Trolls Promoted Trump While Trashing Black Lives Matter On Twitter

Talking Points Memo: Russian Trolls Promoted Trump While Trashing Black Lives Matter On Twitter. “When a Russian troll farm was fishing for Trump supporters on Twitter, it baited the hook by targeting minority activists and public figures. TPM has reviewed tweets and images from a pro-Trump Twitter account run by the Russian troll farm that likely purchased $100,000 worth of political ads on Facebook. Among the account’s favorite targets during the 2016 campaign season were Michelle Obama, undocumented immigrants and antiracist activist movement Black Lives Matter.”

Science Magazine: Social media ‘bots’ tried to influence the U.S. election. Germany may be next

Science Magazine: Social media ‘bots’ tried to influence the U.S. election. Germany may be next. “On 3 September, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her main opponent Martin Schulz faced off in an election debate that many viewers panned as more of a duet than a duel, a far livelier effort was underway on social media. People on Twitter started using the hashtag #verräterduell, which translates as ‘duel of traitors’ and mirrors the claim by the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland party that both Merkel’s mainstream Christian Democrats and Schulz’s Social Democrats have ‘betrayed’ the country. Yet much of the venom may not have been fueled by angry voters, researchers say. Instead it looks like the work of bots, or fake social media profiles that appear to be connected to human users, but are really driven by algorithms.”

Sunlight Foundation: Technology companies should publish political advertising files online

Sunlight Foundation: Technology companies should publish political advertising files online. “The United States of America has now fallen off the online disclosure cliff that Sunlight has warned of for years: the lack of transparency for political ad spending and related activity online created a significant vulnerability in our public accountability laws. While more transparency was rendered to TV stations, ‘dark ads’ have flourished online. Last week’s reporting confirms that Facebook was used by Russians used to influence the 2016 election. The full extent of that interference is still not understood publicly, even now.”

The Intercept: Make Mark Zuckerberg Testify

The Intercept: Make Mark Zuckerberg Testify. “LAST WEEK, after what must have been a series of extremely grim meetings in Menlo Park, Facebook admitted publicly that part of its revenue includes what appears to be politically motivated fraud undertaken by a shady Russian company. The social network, perhaps motivated by a Washington Post scoop on the matter, released a statement outlining the issues at hand, but leaving the most important questions unanswered. Only Facebook knows these answers, and we should assume they won’t be eager to volunteer them.”

Exclusive: Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on U.S. Soil (Daily Beast)

Daily Beast: Exclusive: Russia Used Facebook Events to Organize Anti-Immigrant Rallies on U.S. Soil. “Russian operatives hiding behind false identities used Facebook’s event management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests in the U.S., including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho, The Daily Beast has learned. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Beast that the social-media giant ‘shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week.'”