Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Here is a digest of 31 Oct and 1 Nov proceedings appearing to corroborate witness' testimony. McClatchy's editorial management is center-right of euractiv.
How a Russian troll sowed conflict using fake photos and news coverage
McClatchy has identified eight stories that included tweets from accounts that have now been identified as Russian trolls. An entire story was written based on this particular account, misstating that it was the unofficial account of the Tennessee GOP, while the other stories embedded a troll tweet as part of reaction within a larger story. Those tweets have now been removed.

McClatchy was one of several news organizations, including the Washington Post, AP and BuzzFeed, that wrote about false tweets by Russian troll accounts such as TEN_GOP, and experts say it perfectly illustrates what the Russian trolls hope to accomplish - division.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 04:23:32 PM EST
@ 00:49:24
SEN. DIANE FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Stretch, we know that Russian operatives built misleading pages like Black Matters US and United Muslims of America to attract Facebook users. They then exploited a powerful Facebook tool called Custom Audiences to track down those users and send them targeted messages. Can you explain who was targeted using Facebook's Custom Audiences tool?
STRETCH: Thank you for the, for the question, Senator. As a threshold matter you're correct that much of the content that we've seen is essentially imitative of social causes very meaningful ones to many members of the community in the Facebook community and it's what makes this content so vile, so upsetting, so cynical, its attempt to exploit divisions in our society. In terms of the advertising tools that we use to promote these pages that were masquerading essentially the advertising targeting that was used in the main was a combination of very broad geographic targeting. Most of the ads about seventy-five percent of the corpus we've given you was targeted to the United States as a whole. And about a quarter of the ads were targeting at a more granular level to states. Um and they were targeted to interest groups. So we have various, what we call Like-based or Interest-based targeting that was apparently intended to attract people who following the causes you've identified to subscribe to those pages.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you. And what have you done with the tool since?
STRETCH:: Thank you for the question. It's an important one for us because we do believe these tools are powerful and yet we have a responsibility to make sure they're not used to inflame divisions. So what we're doing in making a number of changes to our ad targeting policies. We're tightening the restrictions on hate speech in ads generally. We're adding additional layers of review where people use people use potentially sensitive categories for targeting. And we're also limiting the ad  content permissions so that where are that, where ads are targeting at potentially divisive issues, we're trying to tighten our standards to make sure that they're not targeting individuals or communities.
@ 00:53:32
FEINSTEIN: A quick one for Twitter. Twitter produced images from tweets that contain false voting information, example, telling voters they could vote by sending a text message, all targeting likely Clinton voters just before the election. Twitter initially responded to complaints saying Twitter had, quote, determined that it was not in violation of our rules . Twitter has said that there was no obvious Russian origin. The posts were removed only after Twitter's CEO was directly notified by a Twitter user That's the facts as I understand them. Why was this false content allowed to remain in place?
EDGETT: My understanding is, once we had user reports of the content we began to remove it as a illegal voter suppression And the interesting thing about the text-to-vote tweets that we shared  with your staff was uh there was a small amount of tweets relative to the size of the platform. But impressions of tweets calling out those things as fake were eight time as large. We had ten times the number of re-tweets calling out those things as fake.
FEINSTEIN: Could you say that again? Impressions? I don't quite understand.
EDGETT: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for your question so we're all on the same page. Impressions is a metric we use to determine whether a tweet has been in view on our product so potentially seen by a user. But the interesting thing about the text-to-vote tweets were that we saw the complete counter-narrative around them. The Twitter community coming together and seizing on them to let everyone know that they were, that they were fake. But Twitter did action those tweets and remove them from the platform.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 04:31:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks to both of the senators for leading this discussion and thanks to the companies for their cooperation. The press has reported that the Russian government placed ads in facebook that were largely aimed at influencing the election. So I want to highlight what I consider and inaccuracy in that reporting. The committee is reviewing the ads that Facebook has produced. Although all the ads do not support a specific candidate either republican or democrat and about half of the ads my staff have reviewed were placed after the election the large majority exploits controversial issues  in our country and an effort to further divide us as a country. For example, some ads target users in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Cleveland. These ads spread stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement. These ads are clearly intended to worsen racial tensions and possibly violence in those cities. It might true that those ads were intended to influence elections, but it's important to be clear that the nature of the ads Russia does not have loyalty to a political party in the United States. Their goal is divide us and discredit our democracy. So question for you Mr. Stretch. The ads that Facebook has produced are all about, all from Internet Research Agency, What is Facebook doing to identify ads and contents placed by other bad actors?
STRETCH: Thank you question. Thank you, Senator, for the question. We are focused on broadly on addressing questions of authenticity in the content that's placed on our platform. And the investments we're making around security and around transparency sweep across the entire platform. So for example the learning that we gain from the twenty sixteen election and from our expansive investigation into it now informs the automated tools that we use to detect and remove fake accounts from anywhere.
@ 01:02:33
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN: Last night, Mr. Stretch, nineteen major civil rights organizations sent a letter [1],[2],[3]  to Facebook which explain their, quote, deep concerning ads, pages,and hateful content on your platform used to divide our country and in particular to promote anti-muslim, anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ animus. The organizations referenced (sic) a number of examples that have previously been reported by the media inclusing a Russian Facebook account that, quote, not only promoted anti-immigrant messaging (sic) online but also managed to organize an in-person anti-refugee rally in Twin Falls, Idaho, August of 2016. The letter also detailed a reported situation that Facebook offers its expertise to a bigoted advocacy group by creating a case study  testing different video formats and advising on how to enhance the reach of the group's anti-refugee campaign in swing states during the final weeks of the 2016 election. What is your response to this letter? Is it true that Facebook assisted an anti-muslim effort?

gratuitous invocation of "black children"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 04:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Race, Repression and Russiagate: Defending Radical Black Self-Determination
... Today, the new McCarthyism is being led by centrist and liberal democrats utilizing the almost comical notion that capitalist Russia possesses the power and influence to not only impact elections but also create racial tensions. And once again, Black opposition is being casted as somehow foreign influenced and, therefore, a security threat that justifies special targeted repression...

archived: Black Struggle, Red Scare: Segregation and Anti-Communism in the South, 1948-1968

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 02:18:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series