Italy has a genius plan to fight fake news

By Thursday, October 19, 2017 0 Permalink 0

If you’re like me, you’ve seen Facebook friends post links to questionable blogs, people have texted you links to fake stories, and you see fake news articles all over Twitter. ;

Deciphering what’s fake in the digital diaspora is an obvious problem to which immediate solutions haven’t exactly been forthcoming, so schools in Italy have trained their focus on fixing the future. ;

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump claims he came up with the term ‘fake news’

The Italian government is partnering with Facebook and Google to teach students across 8,000 high schools how to pick out conspiracies and fake information, according to The New York Times. The program will start at the end of October. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Google, Education, Italy, and Students

How to use Facebook like a Russian political troll

By Sunday, October 15, 2017 0 Permalink 0

It only takes about five minutes to buy a Facebook ad with a link to a fake anti-Muslim story and aim it at residents of a Michigan electoral battleground county whom the social network’s algorithms perceive to be “very conservative.”

This capability is at the heart of an ongoing controversy around revelations that a Russian troll farm gamed Facebook’s ad targeting apparatus with exactly these sorts of purchases. Facebook has admitted that it sold 3,000 ads to entities aligned with the Russian government’s campaign to influence the presidential election. The Kremlin-linked actors reportedly used Facebook’s tools to target ads around electoral geography, feelings toward Muslims, and racial divisions, among other political pressure points. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Advertising, Donald Trump, 2016 Election, and Russia Investigation

Here’s how easy it is for anyone to use Facebook like Russian actors did

By Sunday, October 15, 2017 0 Permalink 0

It only takes about five minutes to buy a Facebook ad with a link to a fake anti-Muslim story and aim it at residents of a Michigan electoral battleground county whom the social network’s algorithms perceive to be “very conservative.”

This capability is at the heart of an ongoing controversy around revelations that a Russian troll farm gamed Facebook’s ad targeting apparatus with exactly these sorts of purchases. Facebook has admitted that it sold 3,000 ads to entities aligned with the Russian government’s campaign to influence the presidential election. The Kremlin-linked actors reportedly used Facebook’s tools to target ads around electoral geography, feelings toward Muslims, and racial divisions, among other political pressure points. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Advertising, Donald Trump, 2016 Election, and Russia Investigation

Election-meddling Russian troll farms tried to use Pokémon Go to stir racial tensions

By Thursday, October 12, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Even Russian troll farms couldn’t help but get in on the Pokémon Go fad that swept the country last year. ;

In one of the most absurd twists yet in the investigation into Russia-aligned election meddling, CNN reports that Kremlin-linked actors may have tried to use the hype around the augmented-reality app to inflame racial divisions.

If you’re having trouble imagining how whimsical Japanese fantasy creatures might connect to deep-seated societal tensions, you’re in good company. The answer isn’t exactly intuitive. Apparently, the Internet Research Agency — ;the same notorious troll farm behind the election ads Facebook recently disclosed — ;ran a contest on Tumblr directing players to find Pokémon near sites of alleged police brutality against African Americans, and name them after the victims. Users were then supposed to email the organization proof of having done so for the chance to win Amazon gift cards. Read more…

More about Facebook, Tumblr, Election 2016, Pokemon Go, and Russia Investigation

Sheryl Sandberg to U.S. government: Release the Russian ads

By Thursday, October 12, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Facebook wants U.S. lawmakers to let the public see ads linked to Russian accounts and promoted during the 2016 election — ;and they’re willing to explain the ad targeting too.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, shared her company’s willingness for transparency in an interview with Axios‘s Mike Allen on Thursday. It was the first public interview of a Facebook executive since the company revealed it had sold 3,000 ads linked to Russian accounts in September. ;

SEE ALSO: Zuckerberg fires back at Trump over Facebook’s role in the U.S. election

The House Intelligence Committee leaders said Wednesday they would release the ads shortly after they met with Sandberg, Politico reported. But it won’t just be the ad creative that’s revealed, some of which has already been released via reports from The Daily Beast. Facebook also wants the public to understand who these ads were shown to. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Ads, Russia Investigation, and Russia Hacks

Facebook’s targeted ads on Google want to talk about Russia’s targeted ads on Facebook

By Wednesday, October 11, 2017 0 Permalink 0

Search anything related to Facebook and Russia on Google, and the top result will be an ad from the social network.

Facebook seems to have taken out search ads on Google targeted at those terms in an bid to shape the narrative around the ongoing controversy over its platform’s role in Russian political subversion campaigns.

SEE ALSO: Facebook execs (somewhat) embrace transparency, via Twitter

“We take trust seriously,” the headline text of the ads reads, followed by the sub-head: “We will work to help protect the integrity of elections on Facebook globally.”

The ads lead to a page in Facebook’s Help Center with a numbered breakdown of the ways the company claims to be combatting nefarious advertising and participating in the congressional investigation into Russia’s effort to undermine the 2016 presidential election. Read more…

More about Facebook, Google, Advertising, Russia, and Mark Zuckerberg

Why everyone is so convinced Facebook is spying on their conversations

Bipul Lama believes Facebook is spying on him. ;

And he’s got proof, sort of. Lama performed a test. For two days, all he talked about was Kit-Kats. ;

“The next day, all I saw on my Instagram and Facebook were Kit-Kat ads,” Lama said. ;

After his Kit-Kat experiment, he successfully repeated it with chatter about Lysol. The 23-year-old musician is now more convinced than ever that Facebook is listening to his conversations through his phone’s microphone. ;

“It listens to key words. If you say a word enough times, the algorithm catches those words and it sets off targeted ads,” Lama theorized. ;

Lama is far from alone. The belief that Facebook is actively listening to people through their phones has become a full-on phenomenon. Facebook has, of course, denied it does this. That has done little to dampen the ongoing paranoia around the theory. Read more…

More about Facebook, Spying, Facebook Privacy Settings, Business, and Social Media Companies

Russia co-opted ‘black lives matter’ messaging on social media

Popular ‘Blacktivist’ social media accounts were reportedly run by a Russia-linked group – not American activists – according to CNN. They used these accounts to spread pro-racial diversity messaging like topics on #BlackLivesMatter and and to promote anti-police brutality eventsCNN reported on Friday that they also used the accounts to manufacture and sell merchandise such as t-shirts with black pride slogans. Apparently, the aim of their activities was to “stoke outrage” and “amplify racial tensions” in order to influence the 2016 U.S. election. ;

SEE ALSO: Facebook says 10 million people saw Russia’s ‘divisive’ political ads Read more…

More about Facebook, Russia, Black Lives Matter, Blacktivist, and Russia Election Meddling

Facebook reportedly omitted Russia references from a public report on the election

Facebook omitted references to Russia from a public report about the 2016 election after recommendations from its lawyers, according to a new report. ;

Quoting “people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal said Facebook decided not to mention Russia in a report published in April 2017.

Earlier this month, Facebook disclosed that 10 million people saw ‘divisive’ political ads purchased by Russia. It was also reported that Russia-linked Facebook ads targeted battleground states narrowly won by President Donald Trump with anti-Muslim propaganda and support for candidates other than Hillary Clinton. ; Read more…

More about Facebook, Russia, Ads, Mark Zuckerberg, and Facebook Ads