“In Response to Oversight Board, Trump Suspended for Two Years; Will Only Be Reinstated if Conditions Permit”

…at the Capitol on January 6. But in doing so, the board criticized the open-ended nature of the suspension, stating that “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.” The board instructed us to review the decision and respond in a way that is clear and proportionate, and made a number of recommendations on how to improve our policies and processes. We are today announcing new e…

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“Democracy Is Weakening Right in Front of Us; Is technopessimism our new future?”

…as shifted to anxiety that online behemoths like Twitter, Google, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook have created a crisis of knowledge — confounding what is true and what is untrue — eroding the foundations of democracy. These worries have intensified in response to the violence of Jan. 6, and the widespread acceptance among Republican voters of the conspicuously false claim that Democrats stole the election. Nathaniel Persily, a law professor at St…

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Letter to Facebook’s Oversight Board Supporting Trump Deplatforming As a Necessary Last Resort

…rofessor of Law, UC Irvine; Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel, NAACP-LDF; Cailin O’Connor, Associate Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science, UC Irvine; Norm Ornstein, Emeritus Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Bertrall Ross, Chancellor’s Professor of Law, UC Berkeley; Alex Stamos, Director, Stanford Internet Observatory; James Owen Weatherall, Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science, UC Irvine, and me, as scooped by Politic…

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“Referring Former President Trump’s Suspension From Facebook to the Oversight Board”

…spensions when the user is a political leader. Our decision to suspend then-President Trump’s access was taken in extraordinary circumstances: a US president actively fomenting a violent insurrection designed to thwart the peaceful transition of power; five people killed; legislators fleeing the seat of democracy. This has never happened before — and we hope it will never happen again. It was an unprecedented set of events which called for unprece…

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“Misinformation Amplifiers Target Georgia Senate Races; The conservative social media personalities who spread baseless rumors of election fraud are starting to focus on the races that will decide control of the Senate.”

…election count in Georgia droned on. Lara Trump, President Trump’s daughter-in-law, and the Hodgetwins, a bodybuilding duo who have turned to pro-Trump political comedy, shared several false stories on their Instagram and Facebook pages that claimed suitcases filled with ballots were pulled out from under tables during the November vote count. Tens of thousands of people shared their posts. As Georgia prepares to hold special elections that will d…

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“Report: Social media manipulation affects even US senators”

…munications Centre of Excellence found. Researchers from the center, a NATO-accredited research group based in Riga, Latvia, paid three Russian companies 300 euros ($368) to buy 337,768 fake likes, views and shares of posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, including content from verified accounts of Sens. Chuck Grassley and Chris Murphy. Grassley’s office confirmed that the Republican from Iowa participated in the experiment. M…

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Must-read: “For Trump’s ‘rigged’ election claims, an online megaphone awaits; sizable online network built around the president is poised to amplify claims about a rigged election, adding reach and enthusiasm to otherwise evidence-free allegations.”

…n interference and ballot harvesting, with an average of 22 percent of vote-by-mail mentions across all media including misinformation, according to Zignal Labs’ analysis. On Facebook, Trump’s posts attacking the integrity of the election have racked up millions of views, comments and shares. In his most popular “rigged” post, he said, “We voted during World War One & World War Two with no problem, but now they are using Covid in order to cheat by…

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“Facebook bans marketing firm running ‘troll farm’ for pro-Trump youth group”

…, the prominent conservative youth organization based in Phoenix, or its 26-year-old president, Charlie Kirk, saying it could not determine the extent to which the group’s leaders were aware of the specific violations carried out on their behalf, such as the use of fake accounts. Twitter also acted against the operation on Thursday, suspending 262 accounts involved in “platform manipulation and spam” — in addition to the several hundred accounts a…

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“Facebook tightens political ad bans as US election nears”

…director of product management, tweeted. The changes apply to Facebook and Instagram and are effective immediately, he said. The ban includes ads that call an election into question because the result isn’t determined on the final day of voting. There is a good chance U.S. election results will require additional time this year because of expanded mail-in ballots due to the pandemic. Also banned are advertisements portraying voting or census parti…

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“Pro-Trump youth group enlists teens in secretive campaign likened to a ‘troll farm,’ prompting rebuke by Facebook and Twitter”

…with Turning Point Action or the digital firm brought in to oversee the day-to-day activity. One user included a link to Turning Point USA’s website in his Twitter profile until The Washington Post began asking questions about the activity. In response to questions from The Post, Twitter on Tuesday suspended at least 20 accounts involved in the activity for “platform manipulation and spam.” Facebook also removed a number of accounts as part of wha…

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“Facebook removes troll farm posing as African-American support for Donald Trump”

…o inflate the reach of content or products on social media. The foreign pro-Trump troll farm was based in Romania and pushed content on Instagram under names like “BlackPeopleVoteForTrump” and on Facebook under “We Love Our President.” Troll farms — groups of people that work together to manipulate internet discourse with fake accounts — are often outsourced and purchased by foreign governments or businesses to push specific political talking poin…

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“Instagram Displayed Negative Related Hashtags For Biden, But Hid Them For Trump”

…he specific hashtags, like #MAGA or #Trump — which means searches for Biden-related hashtags also return counter-messaging, while those for Trump do not. Earlier this week, a search on Instagram for #JoeBiden would have surfaced nearly 390,000 posts tagged with the former vice president’s name along with related hashtags selected by the platform’s algorithm. Users searching Instagram for #JoeBiden might also see results for #joebiden2020, as well…

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“Silicon Valley is losing the battle against election misinformation”

…cks this time around are far more insidious and sophisticated — with harder-to-detect fakes, more countries pushing covert agendas and a flood American groups copying their methods…. At the same time, social media companies are being squeezed by partisan scrutiny in Washington that makes their judgment calls about what to leave up or remove even more politically fraught: Trump and other Republicans accuse the companies of systematically censoring…

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“Facebook ignored racial bias research, employees say”

…and other infractions. What they found was alarming. Users on the Facebook-owned Instagram in the United States whose activity on the app suggested they were Black were about 50 percent more likely under the new rules to have their accounts automatically disabled by the moderation system than those whose activity indicated they were white, according to two current employees and one former employee, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity beca…

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“Now You Can Opt Out of Seeing Political Ads on Facebook”

…al ads from candidates or political action committees in their Facebook or Instagram feeds. The ability to hide those ads will begin with a small group of users, before rolling out in the coming weeks to the rest of the United States and later to several other countries. “Everyone wants to see politicians held accountable for what they say — and I know many people want us to moderate and remove more of their content,” Mark Zuckerberg, chief execut…

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“Want to Find a Misinformed Public? Facebook’s Already Done It; While vowing to police COVID-19 misinformation on its platform, Facebook let advertisers target users interested in ‘pseudoscience'”

…The Markup boosted a post targeting people interested in pseudoscience on Instagram, the Facebook-owned platform that is incredibly popular with Americans under 30. The ad was approved in minutes. We reached out to Facebook asking about the targeting category on Monday morning. After asking for multiple extensions to formulate a response, company spokesperson Devon Kearns emailed The Markup on Wednesday evening to say that Facebook had eliminated…

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“China’s Been Flooding Facebook With Shady Ads Blaming Trump for the Coronavirus Crisis”

Vice: Chinese state media has been flooding Facebook and Instagram with shady political ads praising Beijing and bashing “racist” President Trump as part of a wider campaign to rewrite its part in the global coronavirus pandemic. The undisclosed political ads, from Global Times, Xinhua News Agency, Global China Television Network (GCTN), and China Central Television (CCTV), all ran on the two platforms in recent months, targeting users around th…

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“Facebook Says Political Candidates Can Use Sponsored Memes”

…olitical campaigns and candidates to pay creators for sponsored content on Instagram and Facebook, so long as the posts follow the company’s disclosure guidelines. Each piece of sponsored political content must use Facebook’s branded content tool, which states at the top of the post that the creator was paid for it and by whom. The announcement followed the news that Michael Bloomberg’s campaign had contracted a group of meme creators to post adve…

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“As Russia makes 2020 play, Democratic campaigns say they are in the dark, and experts fear U.S. elections are vulnerable”

…ntial campaigns targeted by a Russia-based operation on Facebook’s popular Instagram app said they had been unaware of the new foreign disinformation efforts until the tech giant announced them publicly last week, raising alarms that American democracy remains vulnerable to foreign interference even after three years of investigations into the Kremlin’s attack on the 2016 election.The lack of advance notice to the apparent victims of the first-kno…

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“Massive ‘I Love America’ Facebook page, pushing pro-Trump propaganda, is run by Ukrainians”

…it has used its extraordinary reach to push pro-Trump propaganda. These pro-Trump memes are cross-posted from several explicitly pro-Trump pages, with names like “God bless Donald and Melania Trump and God bless America.” All of these pages, which were created in the last few months, are managed exclusively by people based out of Ukraine. But the “I Love America” page is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a complex network of Facebook pages, al…

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“This Deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg Tests Facebook’s Fake Video Policies”

…ok founder Mark Zuckerberg saying things he never said, and uploaded it to Instagram. The video, created by artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe in partnership with advertising company Canny, shows Mark Zuckerberg sitting at a desk, seemingly giving a sinister speech about Facebook’s power. The video is framed with broadcast chyrons that say “We’re increasing transparency on ads,” to make it look like it’s part of a news segment.“Imagine this for…

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“Facebook Bans Israeli Firm Over Fake Political Activity”

…network of 265 accounts, pages and groups, including 65 Facebook and four Instagram accounts, that posted content primarily pertaining to elections and other political activity in Africa, as well as Latin America and Southeast Asia.About 2.8 million accounts followed one or more of the inauthen tic pages, Facebook said in a blog post. Nine events—one dating back to October 2017 and one scheduled for May—were organized by the pages, though Faceboo…

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“‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates”

…red on a kitchen cabinet in the background of the senator’s New Year’s Eve Instagram livestream. Not all of the activity is organized. Much of it appears to be organic, a reflection of the politically polarizing nature of some of the candidates. But there are clear signs of a coordinated effort of undetermined size that shares similar characteristics with the computational propaganda attacks launched by online trolls atRussia’s Internet Research A…

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Federal Court Blocks Maryland Law Aimed at Foreign Spending in Elections Requiring Online News Organizations, Including Plaintiff Washington Post, to Post and Collect Information on Spenders on State Political Advertising

…ers, primarily (but not exclusively) arguing that the disclosure and record-keeping requirements codified at Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law S 13-405 violate their First Amendment rights of free speech and a free press. The issue before me at this stage of the proceedings is whether Plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction.] I conclude that Plaintiffs’ First Amendment claim is likely to succeed on the merits. This conclusion stems from my dete…

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Today’s Must-Read: “Russian Effort to Influence 2016 Election Targeted African-Americans”

…cial conflict in the United States, as well as recent Russian influence operations in other countries that sought to stir ethnic strife. Renee DiResta, one of the report’s authors and director of research at New Knowledge, said the Internet Research Agency “leveraged pre-existing, legitimate grievances wherever they could.” As the election effort geared up, the Black Lives Matter movement was at the center of national attention in the United State…

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Today’s Must-Read: “Russia’s Pro-Gun Influence Accounts Copied The NRA — And Sometimes, Vice Versa”

…ent for this story. What is clear is that, at times, the Russians followed so closely behind the American gun rights group that it duplicated its content word for word. The Internet Research Agency pushed pro-gun messages using an account called Defend.The.Second on Instagram. Facebook, which owns Instagram, confirmed to NPR that the account was connected to the troll farm. In one instance, the Internet Research Agency copied the description of De…

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Facebook’s Definition of Issue Ads is Broad Enough to Encompass Lots of Non-Election Related Advertising

…s Act(currently pending in committee where it may stay), but will also self-regulate “issue ads.” The self-regulation is important, because it may be that some government regulation in this area is unconstitutional. Still, the details will matter, and it remains to be seen if Facebook will have the interest and patience in coming up with full and effective self-regulation. I explain why in this post. Not all ads that the Russian government and oth…

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(How) Will Facebook Self-Regulate “Issue Ads” Intended to Affect U.S. Elections? The Details Matter a Lot

…ittee where it may stay), but will also self-regulate “issue ads.” The self-regulation is important, because it may be that some government regulation in this area is unconstitutional. Still, the details will matter, and it remains to be seen if Facebook will have the interest and patience in coming up with full and effective self-regulation. I explain why in this post. Not all ads that the Russian government and others ran in the 2016 elections i…

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“McCrory didn’t hand over social media keys to Cooper”

…WRAL: When former Gov. Pat McCrory turned over the keys to North Carolina’s Executive Mansion to Gov. Roy Cooper on Jan. 1, his staff didn’t include the keys to the social media accounts used by the Governor’s Office. The Republican’s picture still adorns what were his office’s official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and the last post on those platforms dates to a Dec. 31 goodbye message from McCrory….

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“Social Media’s Globe-Shaking Power”

…on of Donald J. Trump is perhaps the starkest illustration yet that across the planet, social networks are helping to fundamentally rewire human society. They have subsumed and gutted mainstream media. They have undone traditional political advantages like fund-raising and access to advertising. And they are destabilizing and replacing old-line institutions and established ways of doing things, including political parties, transnational organizati…

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“Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’ Commenters on Reddit and Facebook”

…d $1 million to “push back against” users on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram. Correct the Record’s “Barrier Breakers” project boasts in a press release that it has already “addressed more than 5,000 people that have personally attacked Hillary Clinton on Twitter.” The PAC released this on Thursday. The PAC was created in May of last year when it was spun off from the American Bridge SuperPAC, which is run by longtime Hillary and Bill Clint…

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“Killer Mike asks fans to vote him into Georgia’s legislature, then finds they can’t”

…LAT: “I would like as many people as possible to go to the polls and write in Michael Render,” he wrote on Instagram, using his real name. “If I win we win.” But later in the day, he walked back the call to the polls when he realized state election law blocked him from holding office even if he did get the necessary votes. State election law requires write-in candidates to register before elections….

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