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Thursday, September 20, 2018

In Senate, Social Media Execs Testify About Election Security

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

This morning, the Senate intelligence committee questioned Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The hearing was the culmination of a two-year investigation into Russian election interference by the committee and Congress’ best opportunity to publicly hold Facebook and Twitter accountable for their role in allowing Russian operatives to game their platforms to target Americans with propaganda. As Angelo Carusone said earlier: “The tech industry’s failure to grapple with its roles in allowing — and sometimes even enabling — the fake news crisis and foreign interference in American elections is a national security crisis.” Today Americans had the opportunity to hear from Sandberg and Dorsey directly what Facebook and Twitter have done to protect them since 2016.…

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Facebook Still Profiting From Far-Right Extremism And Hate

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

Over the past month, Facebook has drawn international attention for its slow response to hate speech and fake news that helped fuel the genocide of the ethno-religious Rohingya minority in Myanmar; for the correlation found in Germany between Facebook usage and hate crimes against refugees; and for the fake news that has gone viral on the Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp and led to deadly attacks in India.

But, in the U.S., the criticisms of the social media giant that have dominated media coverage have dealt with baseless claims of censorship targeting conservatives. In a July study, Media Matters showed that the highest performing political content actually comes from right-leaning pages.…

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The Right-Wing Campaign To Control Social Media

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Next week, Congress will hold dueling hearings on social media’s ongoing tug-of-war with malevolent partisans, neither of which will likely shed any light on the elephant in the tech sector’s living room: how their platforms’ design empowers propaganda—and they’re not turning off the switch.

Seen narrowly, the relatively more mature Senate Intelligence Committee will hear from Facebook, Twitter and possibly Google executives on “social media companies’ responses to foreign influence campaigns.” You can expect Facebook to recount how it’s taken down nearly 700 pages, personas, events, etc.—put up by Russian- and Iranian-connected government intelligence services intended to push people’s prejudicial buttons domestically and abroad, to turn their activism into real conflict.…

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