Sunday, September 17, 2017

Socialized Weaponized Media

Apparently Facebook wasn’t making enough million dollars or rubles.

They posted “fake” news, helping Donald Trump win the election. Their agents worked with American cohorts.

They have tried similar things in other things, though failed in France.

“We are in the midst of a worldwide, internet-based assault on democracy. Scholars at the Oxford Internet Institute have tracked armies of volunteers and bots as they move propaganda across Facebook and Twitter in efforts to undermine trust in democracy or to elect their preferred candidates in the Philippines, India, France, the Netherlands, Britain and elsewhere.
“We now know that agents in Russia are exploiting the powerful Facebook advertising system directly.
In the 21st-century social media information war, faith in democracy is the first casualty.”

Sadly for the Russians their currency has declined dramatically. Many lack solid shoes or enough to eat. This often happens under dictators.

Many do not have shoes or enough to eat. Their money has declined in value, as often happens under dictators.

It is hard to imagine how Mark Zuckerburg  could have been convinced to betray his country. Of course more money is always an issue.

His pages full of dog pictures and family were a perfect con.

U.S. laws are so complicated he could end up in federal prison.

As Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including whether Moscow was assisted by any members of Donald Trump’s campaign, Facebook has come under increased scrutiny for the role it played in amplifying Kremlin disinformation. Last week, Facebook confirmed that it unknowingly sold about $100,000 worth of ads to a shady Russian propaganda company seeking to target U.S. voters—a relatively small ad buy that nonetheless could have reached 70 million Facebook users. But Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election also went beyond ad impressions, with evidence that Russians sought to organize conservative protests in the U.S. via Facebook. The Daily Beast reported Monday night on the campaign to sow political discord by turning ordinary Americans into weapons in its information war.
Using false identities, Russians used the Facebook event 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 reports, and promoted the events with paid ads. “Due to the town of Twin Falls, Idaho, becoming a center of refugee resettlement, which led to the huge upsurge of violence towards American citizens, it is crucial to draw society’s attention to this problem,” the event description for the Idaho rally, sponsored by a group called SecureBorders, read. “We must stop taking in Muslim refugees! We demand open and thorough investigation of all the cases regarding Muslim refugees! All government officials, who are covering up for these criminals, should be fired!” Though 48 people said they were “interested” in attending, only four said they went to City Council Chambers, according to the page, though that doesn’t actually mean anyone showed up. (The rally was held on a Saturday, when the City Council Chamber would have been closed.) The anti-immigrant SecuredBorders group was also responsible for a Trump meme that the president himself actually retweeted last month.
“Facebook confirmed to the Daily Beast that the events were promoted with paid advertisements, and that it “shut down several promoted events as part of the takedown we described last week.” Revelations about Russian actors and their potential to have influenced the U.S. political process are leading regulators and officials to reconsider their approach to state-sponsored media organizations like the Kremlin-backed Sputnik. According to a Yahoo report this week, the F.B.I. is now investigating whether Sputnik violated the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act by operating as the Kremlin’s undisclosed propaganda arm. Democratic Senator Mark Warner told reporters last week that the laws surrounding digital ads should be more transparent. He also hopes “Facebook, Twitter, and social-media firms” can be brought in to testify at a public hearing.
The latest revelations underscore how Russia was able to take advantage of extremist political rhetoric including anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment, to whip up discontent in the run-up to the 2016 election, priming Americans for the wave of fake-news stories that inundated social media during the presidential race. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, the U.S. has become more deeply polarized than ever before over social issues like immigration, religion, race, and gun control. “More than three-quarters of Democrats, but less than one-third of Republicans, said they felt comfortable with societal changes that have made the U.S. more diverse,” the Journal reported. Russian operatives didn’t create those divisions; they just exploited them.”

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