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  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Election, ,   

    Presidential candidate puts fake census ads on social media 

    Presidential candidate puts fake census ads on Facebook

    Since the US census only takes place only once a decade, it gives scammers the opportunity to find a new generation of victims. Previously we’ve discussed how census scammers may try to either steal your personal information or get you to give them money. Then it may or may not come as a surprise to you that a member of the government may be using the census to try to get you to give them money, specifically to make donations to their presidential campaign. And what if we told you that not only was this person allegedly using phony census ads to solicit campaign donations but that they have held one of the highest offices in the land.

    Facebook recently removed a series of misleading ads that claimed to be from the Official 2020 Congressional District Census. One of the main purposes of the actual US Census is to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. So by claiming to be an official Congressional district census, you can see how it could lead to confusion. not only that but the 2020 census, which starts March 12th, will be the first US Census that you can complete online which could lead to more confusion from the deceptive ads.

    If you were to click on one of these ads you would be asked a series of questions before being taken to the candidate’s campaign website where you’d be asked to make a campaign donation. Here’s a handy picture of what one of the ads looked like. We’ve edited the picture in order to remain impartial.

    While some may decry this ad as FAKE NEWS since anyone can buy a Facebook ad, a BBC investigation found that the ads were backed by the candidate’s official campaign and the candidate’s own political party.

    Those who oppose this candidate may be well within their right to say actions like this not only undermine an official government function in the census, but it also appears to severely undermine the Democratic process in America.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on February 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Election, ,   

    Robocallers are posing as campaigns to trick you 

    Robocallers are posing as campaigns to trick you

    With the primary elections in full gear, you might receive phone calls from various candidates running for office. Whether it’s a local, state, or national election many politicians will be looking for your vote or possibly a donation to their campaign. Many of these calls may be automated and may even have the candidate themselves delivering a recorded message. As you can probably guess, not all of these calls are legitimate. Scammers are said to be posing as various political campaigns in order to take your money or your personal information.

    The scammers are using robocalls while posing as various campaigns or causes. They’ll have automated messages that may even use recordings of the actual candidates. They’ll then try soliciting you for money in the guise of supporting a candidate. Instead, the money is going to scammers and they may ask not only for your financial information but your personal information for possible identity theft. They’ll also try to use high-pressure tactics to get you to ‘donate’.

    The Better Business Bureau suggests signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry to cut down on the number of robocalls you receive. However, not only are political campaign calls exempt from the Do Not Call List, but scammers don’t abide by the list as it is. The best ways to handle these calls are to either let the call go to voicemail if you don’t recognize the number or hang up immediately if it’s a robocall. If you feel passionate about a certain candidate or cause, the best way to support them is directly through their websites. A quick web search should be able to get you to the official website of the candidate you’d like to support.

     
  • 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.

     
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