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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Election, Mueller Report,   

    Mueller Report states craigslist used by Russians during election 

    Mueller Report states craigslist used by Russians during election

    It’s been no secret that Russians tried to influence the 2016 Presidential Election. Their attempts to use social media to try to sow discord among Americans has been well documented. Facebook, Twitter, and many other platforms had to deal with the army of bots used by foreign actors leading up to the election. With the release of the redacted Mueller report, we can see for ourselves the lengths Russians went to in trying to interfere with the election. But would you believe that one of the tools they used was craigslist?

    TechCrunch is reporting that in the Mueller Report it states that Russia used craigslist in the US in order to recruit people for their misinformation campaigns.

    The Russian influence operations included things like recruiting individuals to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask” (the relevant section is on page 32 of the Mueller report). Craigslist may have also been used in other schemes — like hiring a self-defense instructor to offer classes sponsored by a Russian operative working under the persona “Black Fist” to teach African-Americans how to protect themselves in encounters with law enforcement.

    This should come as no surprise as craigslist has long been a haven for hate speech and political agitation. Material that craigslist does little to discourage. As we have seen, many platforms allow this kind of behavior from users since it’s believed to increase engagement. Facebook has been accused of using similar tactics to keep users engaged as their userbase is reportedly plateauing.

    Was craigslist a willing tool for the Russians. No, not at all. However, craigslist has a history of turning a blind eye to foreign placed ads.

  • Geebo 10:10 am on November 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election,   

    Facebook deletes foreign accounts ahead of election 

    Facebook deletes accounts ahead of election

    I know you don’t need another nagging voice telling you to get out and vote if you haven’t done so already but I’m going to say it anyway. Today is probably the most important midterm election in recent history. Whether or not you want things to change or stay the same, it’s imperative that we all get to the polls to make our voices heard.

    Now having said that, guess who is having trouble keeping foreign entities from trying to stir up trouble ahead of the election. I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. That’s right, it’s Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook announced they’ve suspended over 100 Instagram and Facebook accounts that were acting in a coordinated effort of inauthentic behavior. The suspended accounts were in English, French, and Russian.

    I’ve been using the internet for over 20 years now and in those 2+ decades, I can’t ever remember a time where a platform was used to such great extent in order to influence US voter activity on such a grand scale by international groups. Meanwhile, Facebook is acting like they’re trying to hold back the ocean with a broom as they suspend handfuls of accounts when the number of interfering accounts probably numbers much higher.

    To be quite honest, you probably shouldn’t allow your political views to be influenced by what’s on Facebook anyway. Facebook is the world’s megaphone letting anyone shout their opinion from the rooftops no matter how misinformed or misguided it might be, and all we have is people shouting at each other with no one listening. And when no one is listening no one can be truly informed.

  • Geebo 9:11 am on October 31, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , , VICE News   

    Has Facebook made any progress in stopping election meddling? 

    Has Facebook made any progress in stopping election meddling?

    Ever since the 2016 Presidential campaign, Facebook has been under fire for allegedly allowing foreign influencers to post deceptive ads designed to agitate the political scene in America. Since then Facebook has made claims that they’ve made strides in verifying who has paid for political ads and have removed several accounts thought to belong to Russian and Iranian groups looking to further interfere in the democratic process. So with the midterm elections less than a week away, Facebook must be all good right? Well, as you can probably expect, not so much.

    VICE News recently published an expose on just how well Facebook is screening their political ads. VICE paid for 100 political ads on Facebook posing as all sitting US Senators. All 100 ads were approved by Facebook showing that just about anybody with the time and money can allegedly pay for any ad they want posing as whoever they want. Building off of VICE’s idea, Business Insider took another tact by buying an ad posing as Cambridge Analytica, the embattled firm that allegedly exposed millions of Facebook users’ information. Again, the ad was approved by Facebook with no problem.

    This is just further proof that no one should have their political views influenced by what they see or read on Facebook. Between your hyper-partisan friends who post meme after meme that reinforces their position no matter how wrong they might be, and the fact that just about anyone can buy an ad on Facebook posing as anyone and saying anything, Facebook has lost the fight to be considered a useful tool in political discourse. Anymore, Facebook just exhibits that it’s become the public restroom wall of the nation covered in the graffiti of misinformation.

  • Geebo 9:08 am on August 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election,   

    Facebook deletes pages of suspected agitators 

    Facebook deletes pages of suspected agitators

    With the mid-term election cycle in full swing, you’d think that Facebook would be on top of possible foreign entities who might try to meddle in the election process like they did in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election. Well, you’d be half right. Yesterday, Facebook announced it had removed 32 pages and accounts that are suspected to have belonged to a campaign to cause political strife in the US.

    Now, when I first read the new articles on the matter I was dismissive of Facebook’s actions considering they only removed 32 accounts. Then I read that some of the pages that were removed had close to 300,000 followers. The allegedly phony pages posed as left-leaning causes. One such page promoted an event called “No Unite the Right 2” which was designed to clash with an alt-right protest on the anniversary of last year’s tragic event in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter-protester was killed when a member of the alt-right protesters struck the victim with his car.

    As TIME Magazine points out, this is just the beginning. Even with the billions of dollars at its disposal, Facebook still can’t prevent the flood of misinformation that is probably headed its way for the 2018 elections. If you want to be a truly informed voter this election the best thing to do is to ditch Facebook since they neither have the tools nor the resources to try to stop other entities from interfering in our democratic process.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on March 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Election, , Steve Bannon   

    50 million Facebook accounts exposed in political data breach 

    50 million Facebook accounts exposed in political data breach

    In a story that seems like it was taken straight from the 1988 sci-fi movie ‘They Live’, a large data firm is accused of allegedly breaching the Facebook accounts of 50 million US voters in order to ‘change audience behavior’. It was supposedly done, once again, to try to influence the 2016 Presidential election.

    Cambridge Analytica is accused of allegedly using a paid survey app that was disguised as a personality test. The app required users to log in through Facebook. After a user logged into Facebook, the app would not only harvest the information of the user, but also data from everyone in the user’s friends list. Trump advisor Steve Bannon was a board member of Cambridge Analytica and, according to the New York Times, “was intrigued by the possibility of using personality profiling to shift America’s culture and rewire its politics.”

    To make matters worse, Facebook allegedly knew of the misuse of the data and did little about it except to ask Cambridge Analytica to delete the information they had. Again, the New York Times claims that the data was not deleted and was discoverable online. So this seems like it is another instance where Facebook supposedly knew of alleged election interference and chose to do next to nothing about it. Many lawmakers are even calling for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress. It’s about high time that he did since it’s obvious he really has little to no control over what’s really happening throughout Facebook and the detrimental effect it has on our society.

  • Geebo 9:59 am on February 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , postcards   

    Facebook’s solution to stop foreign meddling is postcards 

    Facebook's solution to stop foreign meddling is postcards

    With the alleged Russian meddling that took place on Facebook leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, the beleaguered social network has been struggling to find a way to stop foreign actors from interfering in American politics while using their platform. With some of the brightest minds working for it in such fields as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, Facebook has decided to use the best technology at their disposal to verify the identity of political ad purchasers, postcards.

    Yes, those postcards that generations ago people would send back home to their friends and family through the postal service while they were on vacation. Facebook will be sending postcards to political ad purchasers with a verification code on it to help try to ensue the buyers are from the United States. However, these cards will only be sent to people buying ads for a certain candidate. Ads dealing with political issues will still be a free for all. Facebook also admits that their postcard solution won’t fix everything. You don’t say.

    This is not even taking into account that mail fraud is one of the oldest type of crimes in the country. There are a plethora of ways for bad actors to get around Facebook’s attempt at tighter security. It wouldn’t take much for foreign entities to get people working for them in the US to respond to these postcards. Foreign scam artists who have people wire them money often have someone in the US working for them as a go-between. They could also simply just buy a drop box at many shipping supply stores that offer such a service.

    The reason this is still important is that the midterm elections are coming up this November and unless Facebook wants a repeat of 2016 they’re going to need a much better solution than the one they’re currently touting.

  • Geebo 10:29 am on February 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, ,   

    Has Facebook been caught in the ballot box again? 

    Has Facebook been caught in the ballot box again?

    Facebook’s shady political ad practices have been in the news ever since the 2016 Presidential election when it was discovered the platform accepted foreign money for ads that were disguised as American political ads. They’ve been called before Congress multiple times without ever giving a satisfactory answer as to whether or not they will or can stop this practice. Now, Facebook has run afoul of an election law and has yet to give those seeking answers any pertinent information.

    The city of Seattle has asked Facebook to provide information about campaign ads on the social network that were displayed during last year’s city elections. Seattle has a law in place that states those who pay for political campaign ads in the city must be revealed or face a potential $5,000 per ad penalty. Facebook claims they’ve sent Seattle the necessary information, however, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission say that Facebook has not “come close to meeting their public obligation.”

    What makes matters worse is that Facebook could easily pay these penalties with the change found in Mark Zuckerberg’s couch cushions. Facebook is far from lacking in the funding department which in turn could have undue influence on just about any election that an ad buyer wishes to undermine while Facebook allegedly hides their identity. This is the true threat to Democracy in our country.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , , ,   

    Facebook turns to old media to fight fake news prior to UK election 

    Facebook turns to old media to fight fake news prior to UK election

    In the run up to Election Day in the UK, Facebook has turned to an unlikely ally in their continuing struggle against ‘fake news’. The social network behemoth has taken out several print ads in UK newspapers on how to recognize fake news.

    While the ads do contain helpful information on how to be a more discerning news consumer, it does indicate something Facebook probably won’t admit to itself. Facebook may feel some responsibility for the fake news that many think unduly affected the 2016 US Presidential Election. Thousands of dummy Facebook accounts have also been purged in anticipation of the election.

    However, the problem with the fake news argument is certain individuals have such a confirmation bias that they can’t be turned into more responsible content consumers. Take vaccinations for example. It was once claimed vaccinations caused autism, which caused many parents to forgo immunizations for their children. Even though that claim has been discredited many times over, there are still many people who cling to that fallacy.

    For many people, politics are their vaccinations. They blindly follow whatever dogma their chosen political party subscribes to no matter who the candidate may be. With those political leanings, many of these people will only read news from sources biased towards their own affiliation. It’s too late for Facebook users like that, they are lost to us.

    The only way to combat this kind of ignorance is for those of us who can discern fake news from fact to become more active in political matters and to get out and actually vote.

  • Geebo 9:01 am on May 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, , , propaganda   

    Facebook claims that foreign agents used propaganda to influence 2016 election 

    Facebook claims that foreign agents used propaganda to influence 2016 election

    Facebook recently released a report claiming that there were agents they believe were backed by foreign governments who tried using the social network to influence the 2016 presidential election. While not outright saying that it was the Russians, Facebook did say in its report that their findings did not contradict the US Director of National Intelligence’s claim that Russia was allegedly interfering.

    The propaganda was supposedly spread through the following ways. First, bad actors would create legitimate looking websites that would post false information, or as we commonly call it now, ‘fake news’. They would then set up fake Facebook accounts by the thousands and repost the false information. Then, actual people, who don’t know it’s false information, would repost these false stories. Surprisingly, this wasn’t done by using bots, or automated scripts, but were done by multitudes of human users.

    The social network has said that it’s taking steps to prevent these kinds of events from happening again, but don’t Facebook’s users bear some responsibility in this matter? It’s so much easier to just click share rather than researching a story. This is especially true for people who prefer to remain in their own echo chambers with their personal biases.

    While Facebook can take steps to try to prevent this spread of misinformation, it’s ultimately up to us to be more discerning with what content we post to our virtual walls.

  • Geebo 11:24 am on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election,   

    In the wake of the election comes the opportunity to reconcile 

    In the wake of the election comes the opportunity to reconcile

    As the saying goes, it’s all over but the shouting, and boy is there shouting. Today, half of us are acting like this is the Apocalypse, while the other half of us are gloating like Emperor Palpatine when he revealed that the second Death Star was full operational. While this has been a very divisive election it’s not the worst thing to happen to our country.

    If you think this election is bad, consider the election of Abraham Lincoln. You may ask, what was so bad about the election of one of our greatest presidents of all time. Well, Lincoln’s election was the impetus for the South to secede and ignite the country into civil war. It is highly doubtful that this election will result in the hundreds of thousands American citizens killing each other over political belief.

    Instead of digging in further to our comfortable echo chambers either, commiserating or celebrating with like-minded people, we should get to know our friends who think differently than we do. Not everyone on the other side from the political spectrum from you is a stereotype of whatever political ideology they subscribe to. As a country we need the more rational of us to come together and work together to keep the country from being even more divisive. We need to set an example to show those who need more convincing that the American people can be united and work together.

    If we keep practicing ignorance and intolerance, and yes all parties on the political spectrum can be accused of both, it will always be politics as usual, and even more people will become disenfranchised.

    Now is the greatest opportunity for civility to become the order of the day in so we can really make our country greater than it ever has been.

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