How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine - The New York Times
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"Falun Gong-backed newspaper used aggressive Facebook tactics and misinformation to create an anti-China, pro-Trump media empire" - from a "low-budget newspaper ... handed out free on New York street corners" to "one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers... a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation"…

Facebook Seeks Shutdown of NYU Research Project Into Political Ad Targeting - WSJ

Facebook threatens with legal action NY academics seeking to study Facebook's political ad targeting because their Ad Observer is a "scraping tool". The project collects data unavailable on Facebook's political ad archive: targeting data, geography, political contest, etc.., which they say now violates their rules established i…

Opinion | Facebook and Twitter Are Still Tinkering With Democracy - The New York Times
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Another analysis - with a lot of useful links - of the way social platforms managed the NYPost story, and what it tells us "about the status of social media companies’ reform efforts, and [how]... they are still failing to safeguard the democratic process?"First some facts:The NYPost article's "sourcing was so dubious that at l…

Social Media and the Hunter Biden Report - The New York Times
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The platforms started doing what people concerned about disinformation have been asking for, and immediately came under fire from people concerned about censorship.When The New York Post published a story supposedly incriminating Hunter Biden "YouTube largely did nothing, Facebook deprioritized the Post story (slowing spread until 3rd party f…

Domestic v. foreign disinformation: A question of timing (US2020 Disinformation news, ed. 4) | by Mathew Lowry | Oct, 2020 | Medium
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There are two possible reasons why we are not talking as much about foreign interference. Both could be true. Only one is good news.

YouTube Toughens its Rules Around Dangerous Conspiracy Theories, with a Focus on QAnon Content | Social Media Today
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A few days after Facebook, Youtube bans "content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence... such as QAnon or Pizzagate", although they may except "news coverage on these issues or content discussing them without targeting individuals or protected groups".&q;…

Unofficial ballot drop boxes popping up throughout the state worry elections officials – Orange County Register

"church officials don’t have a key to the box and that GOP officials picks up the ballots". Meanwhile, none of the ballot collection locations listed on the local Republican Party's website are official - instead they list their HQ, gun shops and other local businesses.They win either way: they can pass on Republican votes and suppr…

Twitter Will Turn Off Some Features to Fight Election Misinformation - The New York Times
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Most of the changes will start on Oct. 20, incl.:extra friction on retweeting, encouraging quote RTs adding the users' own thoughtspre-sharing warnings about flagged contentlabelling early election result claims disabling the algorithmic timelineAlso increasing factchecking and additional context on trending tweets.

A new study shows how Trump and the RNC duped traditional media into covering mail-in voter fraud » Nieman Journalism Lab
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Berkman Klein Center analyzed 55,000 news stories, five million tweets, and 75,000 public Facebook posts to discover that it's "Trump, the Republican National Committee, and Fox News — not Facebook spammers and Russian trolls — who are the primary drivers of misinformation around mail-in voting fraud", taking advantage of three stan…

Deepfake democracy: Here's how modern elections could be decided by fake news | World Economic Forum
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WEF examines the impact deepfakes could have on US2020. Not a lot of the analysis is new, except perhaps:how deepfakes could be used subtly: making small changes to "how a candidate delivers an otherwise authentic speech ... [to call] character, fitness and mental health into question"some examples from Gabon, Malaysia & Belgium(?)Ca…

Twitter is testing how its misinformation labels can be more obvious, direct | Reuters

"it would be useful to see if an account is a repeat offender or has been repeatedly labeled".Research undermining the backfire effect is now leading Twitter to a "more obvious" label design, and are exploring virality prediction to help speed up labelling. Difficult to assess effectiveness - insufficient public data.

The Biggest Risk to This Election Is Not Russia. It’s Us. - The New York Times
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"Americans must recognize that the United States is ripe for manipulation. With a month to go before Election Day, we are ripping ourselves apart."Covers ground covered earlier, but with an inside perspective from someone on the National Security Council 2017-2019: "Russian operatives wanted to weaken [Clinton] ... delighted when s…

Six Disinformation Threats in the Post-Election Period
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"perhaps it’s not the runup to the election we should be chiefly concerned about"Someone trying to mess with America probably realises they can't get Trump re-elected, so they are better off focusing on the post-election period, which offers a "better chance to push more Americans to extremes than ever before". Identifies …

Recommendations for Media Covering the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election | Election Coverage and Democracy Network
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The fact that this is actually necessary is saddening: "practical, nonpartisan, evidence-based recommendations to journalists covering the 2020 U.S. presidential election", including how to cover an election amid attempts to undermine it; what to do in the case of a contested result or Trump doesn't concede; and "what to do if …

QAnon shows that the age of alternative facts will not end with Trump - Columbia Journalism Review
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With more than a dozen congressional candidates appearing on ballots in November, Qanon is mainstream. While it looks like a lot of other conspiracy theories, this research provides a fascinating look at how the conspiracy's "Bakers" co-create their knowledgescape."QAnon doesn’t simply offer readers insider insight into current…

Trump Covid post deleted by Facebook and hidden by Twitter - BBC News
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Facebook deleted post where Trump claimed Covid-19 was "less lethal" than the flu, while Twitter hid it behind a warning about "spreading misleading and potentially harmful information". Covid-19 thought to be up to 10 times more lethal than most flu strains. Trump's reaction: "REPEAL SECTION 230!!!" His propo…

Facebook completely bans QAnon and labels it a ‘militarized social movement’ - The Verge
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All forms of content related to QAnon are banned, excepting posts from individual profiles, "even if they contain no violent content" - a significant update of Facebook's anti-Q August sweep - effectively treating it as an “identified Militarized Social Movement... no different than an extremist militia group, but not quite on the l…

A crease in Biden's shirt spawns a debate conspiracy theory - CNN
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Short video, filmed at a Trump rally, on two major disinfo trends: the Joe Biden earpiece, and Q.The "smoking gun" video - flagged false by factcheckers - "shared more than 22,000 times and viewed 800,000 times by Thursday night... one of the most widespread false narratives his team had handled this year"... another video &quo;…

Study Finds ‘Single Largest Driver’ of Coronavirus Misinformation: Trump - The New York Times
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Cornell analyzed 38 million English-language articles about the pandemic found that President Trump was the largest driver of the “infodemic.”...Of 11 different narratives ID'd, "miracle cures" - including Trump's anti-malarial drugs, UV and disinfectants - accounted for more than the other 10 combined.Keep it in perspective: a…

Revealed: Trump campaign strategy to deter millions of Black Americans from voting in 2016 – Channel 4 News
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"3.5 million Black Americans were categorised by Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘Deterrence’ – voters they wanted to stay home on election day."Part 1 of a Channel4 series on #DetteringDemocracy, analysing "data used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign... almost 200 million American voters... 5 terabytes of data... separated by…

Trump and the Limits of Content Moderation | WIRED
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Criticisms of social media platforms for allowing disinfo and hate speech to flourish are accurate, but sometimes also wishful thinking: "if only Mark Zuckerberg got his act together, American politics would get back to normal"A disinfo video gone viral may get half a million views - the first Trump-Biden "debate was probably seen b…

Facebook pledged to remove misinformation about voting posted by Trump. It's not following through.  - Popular Information
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The new label makes clear that Facebook understands Trump is posting misinformation about whether votes are counted. But it is not fulfilling its stated policy to remove the post. 

Breaking democracy to hold power (US2020 Disinformation news, ed. 3)
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How a decades-long election delegitimisation campaign, amplified by social media disinformation, intersects with the death of a Chief Justice in a GoT-worthy season finale of “US democracy: Endgame”.

A history of FLICC: the 5 techniques of science denial - Cranky Uncle
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A history of the FLICC ( Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking, and Conspiracy theories) framework for characterising science denial.

The Breakout Scale: Measuring the impact of influence operations
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A simple comparative model for measuring disinformation and influence operations

‘“Holy s---” is what we’re thinking’: Inside Facebook's reckoning with 2020 - POLITICO
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A tour of the year from Zuckerberg's original position - that private companies should not be censoring politicians or the news in a democracy - to the most recent U-turn, after a year of exploring options: from continuing to do nothing through to Twitter's position - banning all political ads."field testing revealed that none of th…

Recipe for chaos: 2020 election threatens to snap a US already pushed to the limit | US elections 2020 | The Guardian
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It's 2020 in the US: "a pandemic, economic collapse and a society-wide reckoning over racism [and] an election in which voter suppression, foreign interference, online disinformation and a bitterly contested supreme court vacancy ... an incumbent president who has spent months spreading disinformation and discrediting what he calls “the …

While Facebook works to create an oversight board, industry experts formed their own
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a group to analyze and critique Facebook's content moderation decisions, policies and other platform issues in the run-up to the presidential election... Facebook's own won't be ready for the election...The name - "Real Facebook Oversight Board" - is misleading: it won't hear users' claims or appeals; more of an …

Big Lies and Rotten Herrings: 17 Kremlin Disinformation Techniques You Need to Know Now – Byline Times
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During the Cold War, the Soviets conducted over 10,000 disinformation operations, with up to 15000 KGB officers. Europe a target since 2015. Goal: weaken western democracy from within. This article sets out their most pertinent tactics:1) Narratives: post-Western world (the West no longer dominates); anti-(elite, EU, NATO) narratives; danger narra…

Facebook will reject ads that falsely claim election victory

Facebook reacted quickly, but it was reaction, not proaction, and therein lies the problem.When I saw and Queued this article, they'd confirmed to FastCompany that "political campaigns would be able to place new ads on Facebook starting November 4" which meant Trump could advertise an election victory before it was confirmed. By the…

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