Sensitive to claims of bias, Facebook relaxed misinformation rules for conservative pages

More insights into the way Facebook removed 'strikes' from its internal system against conservative pages labelled as propagating disinformation. "Facebook employees in the misinformation escalations team... deleted strikes ... issued to some conservative partners for posting misinformation ... discussions ... showed [they] were wo…

US election campaign technology from 2008 to 2018, and beyond | MIT Technology Review
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Tours election technology from 2008 to 2018 "and beyond".2008: Obama integrated e-mail, cell phones and websites to both convey the candidate’s message and enable his supporters to connect and self-organize - supporting grassroots community. MyBarackObama allowed users to form groups, raise money, organise events, get info on local vote…

Trump Jump-Starts Misinformation on Ginsburg’s ‘Dying Wish’ - The New York Times
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A case study of top down domestic disinformation: "Questions about the legitimacy of Justice Ginsburg’s “dying wish” were not circulating online [until] his Fox News appearance, [then] social media has filled with false claims echoing it... and taking it even further

How Donald Trump's Attacks on Mail-In Voting Hurt Democracy | Time
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"the greatest threat to a credible vote is homegrown... Trump has falsely claimed that mail-in ballots “lead to massive corruption and fraud,” that foreign powers will “forge ballots” and that the “only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” ...Bullshit, of course: he said this in 2016, but now with the weight o…

From foreign meddling to pink slime (US2020 Disinformation news, ed. 2)
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This edition’s 9 articles span the real meaning of “foreign meddling” and domestic flashpoints, social media platform preparations for Election Night and beyond, and how media has to go beyond factchecking as it tackles “pink slime” (yes, it’s a thing).

As election looms, a network of mysterious ‘pink slime’ local news outlets nearly triples in size - Columbia Journalism Review
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pink slime: shadowy, politically backed “local news websites” designed to promote partisan talking points and collect user data... a network of 450 intricately linked sites ID's in Dec 2019 is now 1200 ...largest 2 networks: 90+% are algorithmically generated stories from publicly available data sets or by repurposing legitimate sources - the…

Facebook Braces Itself for Trump to Cast Doubt on Election Results
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The world’s biggest social network is working out what steps to take should President Trump use its platform to dispute the vote.

Facebook Employees Frustrated With Zuckerberg After Kenosha
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"the platform promoted violent conspiracy theories and gave safe harbor to militia groups" like the “Kenosha Guard”, which issued a “call to arms” on Facebook which, despite two people reporting it, remained online. It was only removed by the group themselves after 2 people were killed by a 17 yr old.The level of employee pushback at Fac…

Fact-checking needs to make way for reality-testing and gaslighting-fighting | Press Watch
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Donald Trump literally laughs factchecking off - it's good to have, but insufficient. To establish non-partisan status, factcheckers need to be equally tough on all sides, but all sides don't lie the same. They use euphemisms for 'lie', and check narrow, easy-to-debunk statements while ignoring the larger pattern of "the a…

Facebook’s belated, vague, unhelpful election idea - Columbia Journalism Review
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Facebook's steps to verify election-related content and prevent disinformation or attempts at meddling have largely underwhelmed. Political ads may be banned for the week before the election, but not those created beforehand. In any case, that's after months of damage. And it doesn't stop people posting disinformation which are not …

Twitter bots are impersonating Black Americans to sow disinformation
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fake Twitter accounts removed: impersonated black men who left the Dems because of BLM to support Trump ... some had tweets with over 10,000 RTs...bots risk drowning out an authentic black political dialogue... shutting them down risks collateral damage (ie shutting down actual people, not fake accounts)...Great metaphor: "we would have a lot…

How Donald Trump Is Killing Politics - The Atlantic
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if his supporters truly come to believe that the game is rigged, that persuasion is impossible, then his argument acquires a dark and inevitable logic. When politics ceases to function, when the rules governing its practice have been dismissed as a hoax, all that remains is the barrel of the gun.

Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation, Facebook and Twitter Say

The Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election is at it again...

The 2020 Election, a Race in Which Everything Happens and Nothing Matters | The New Yorker
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Unless Biden stumbles, he'll win, but the amazing thing is that ~40% of Americans will support Trump no matter what. Trump is talking and acting crazy while over 1000 Americans die of covid19 on many days - compared to around half that in the worst week of the Vietnam war. Yet there seems to be no electoral consequence: the Trump-Biden gap ha…

Facebook has been terrible about removing vaccine misinformation. Will it do better with election misinformation? » Nieman Journalism Lab
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Less than 5% of the 912 posts flagged for misinformation were dealt with by Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Many concerned covid19 and over 10% mentioned Gates.Their election-related disinformation policies are unclear, particularly concerning content to de-legitimise the election, "which is likely to make enforcement difficult and…

Is Russian Meddling as Dangerous as We Think?  | The New Yorker
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Literature note: “How to Lose the Information War,” ... on disinformation as a geopolitical strategy... Mueller report: I.R.A.-created groups and accounts reached tens of millions... the troll factory found “authentic, local voices,” to foment large-scale distrust in government and democracy... and managed to get into the heads of powerful politi…

America mainstreaming disinformation against itself (US2020 Disinformation newsletter, ed 1)

I'm (re)launching my newsletter to focus on disinformation during the 2020 US election. It's also part of a wider experiment in integrating Zettelkasten idea and knowledge management into my personal content strategy, hosted on

Silicon Valley is losing the battle against election misinformation - POLITICO
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Social media companies are struggling with an onslaught of deceptive and divisive messaging from political parties, foreign governments and hate groups... echo the Russian ... efforts ... U.S. 2016 presidential election... far more insidious and sophisticated ... And ... amplified by mainstream news outlets and major U.S. political figures ...Nat…

A ‘war room’ that arms Black and Latino voters against disinformation
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As the internet lit up ... Accounts identified as belonging to Latino social media users voiced outrage about politically correct “mob” bullying ... activists immediately grew suspicious... thousands of posts were coming from ... bots... activists cooked up a counteroffensive... exposed “recipes” for disinformation and distorting facts... educatio…

How the Media Could Get the Election Story Wrong - The New York Times
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time to rethink “election night.”... Pennsylvania may be counting mail-in ballots for weeks, while President Trump tweets false allegations about fraud ... already ... called mail-in voting into question with false claims about fraud ...[in the US] the media actually assembles the results from 50 states... declares a victor... establishes the narr…

Facebook Fired An Employee Who Collected Evidence Of Right-Wing Pages Getting Preferential Treatment
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Facebook employees collected evidence company giving right-wing pages preferential treatment when it comes to misinformation... worried how the company will handle the president’s falsehoods in an election year... Facebook is going to be used to aggressively undermine the legitimacy of the US elections... senior engineer collected internal evidenc…

The 2020 Election Will Be a War of Disinformation - The Atlantic
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The president’s reelection campaign ... multimillion-dollar ad blitz ... shaping Americans’ understanding of ... impeachment ... micro-targeted ads ... portraying Trump as a heroic reformer ... while Democrats plotted a coup... An alternate information ecosystem was taking shape ... I wanted to see it from the inside...I was surprised by the effec…

Twitter Labels Trump's Tweets for First Time - The New York Times

Twitter added information to refute the inaccuracies in President Trump’s tweets for the first time... urged people to “get the facts”... a CNN story ... and ... bullet points that Twitter had compiled rebutting the inaccuracies... Twitter determined that those unsubstantiated assertions could lead to voter confusion and that they merited a correc…

What lessons haven’t we learned since 2016? Lesson 1: RAGE - Stand Up Republic
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The rage-engage cycle is a key part of how malign narratives gain traction on social media... into traditional media... disinformation content is designed to be polarizing... exploits the business models of social media... pointing out that something is false and dangerous ... giving more oxygen to the fire... [Trump] tests and revises purposefull…

Tech Giants Prepared for 2016-Style Meddling. But the Threat Has Changed. - The New York Times
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big tech companies have spent the past three years working to avoid a repeat of 2016... struggling to handle the new challenges of 2020...foreign governments ... are now using ... bots that are nearly impossible to distinguish from hyperpartisan Americans... partisan groups in the United States have borrowed Russia’s 2016 playbook ... tough calls …

Disinformation For Hire: How A New Breed Of PR Firms Is Selling Lies Online
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for manipulating public opinion... automation and artificial intelligence “can quickly generate traffic and publicity much faster than people.”...If disinformation in 2016 was characterized by Macedonian spammers... Russian trolls... 2020 is shaping up to be the year communications pros for hire provide sophisticated online propaganda operations .…

5 Big Tech Trends That Will Make This Election Look Tame

If you think this election is insane, wait until 2020... technologies like AI, machine learning, sensors and networks will accelerate. Political campaigns get ... so personalized that they are scary in their accuracy and timeliness. The single most important factor influencing your voting decision is your social network… so you can bet that politi…

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