Midterm Elections - Is Social Media Ready?

What Mark Zuckerberg once thought was a "pretty crazy idea" has now been universally accepted.  Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians is a fascinating read on how Social Media (among other techniques) was used to influence the 2016 election.   Since we are just over eight months away from the midterm elections, now is a good time to see whether Social Media platforms have done anything about it.     Looking at Facebook, they have announced a low-tech solution to validating where ads are being purchased.    At the same time Rob Goldman, Facebook VP of advertising at Facebook, is taking a more defiant tone, saying that most of the Russian ads came after the election.    Stay tuned, but if you spend any time on Facebook, remain skeptical of political ads that come across your stream.

Facebook Now Says It Will Verify Election Ad Buyers' Identities With Postcards

Tom McKay

Facebook, which landed itself in the crosshairs after becoming one of the primary venues by which federal prosecutors allege a Kremlin-linked, pro-Donald Trump Russian operation called the Internet Research Agency tried to flood the US with disinformation and propaganda before the 2016 elections, now says it will verify the identities of people who buy election-related ads by mailing postcards.

Per Reuters, Facebook says the process will involve any advertising that mentions a specific candidate, but not general issue-based ads:

The process of using postcards containing a specific code will be required for advertising that mentions a specific candidate running for a federal office, Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global director of policy programs, said. The requirement will not apply to issue-based political ads, she said. <more>

Facebook Vice President of Ads Slams 'Main Media Narrative' of Russian Interference

Timothy Meads

Facebook’s Vice President of Ads, Rob Goldman, tweeted last night his excitement in the charges brought forth by the FBI against Russian actors who attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election. Goldman also trashed the media's coverage of Russian interference, asserting that many are intentionally ignoring key facts in order to fit the “main media narrative of Trump and the election.”

Yesterday, Special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals for “interfering in the U.S. election process. In a detailed 37-page report, the FBI explains how the defendants used false identities to stage political protests, rallies, and recruit Americans in their conspiracy,” as noted by Cortney. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein emphasized that no American knew they were “communicating with Russians.”The write to be shown on the right side <more>

1 comment:

  1. My advice to Facebook, etc... :

    I remember when you opened your door. Your original crowd-control, civility guarantor was an .edu email address. While I was glad to qualify .. @alum.mit.edu, i was in no rush to sign up.

    Now, to preserve civility, comity, other higher social values, you're faced with a challenge. Let me help.
    You can undoubtedly identify the 132 (or so) addresses of the bogus, St Pete IRA (Internet Research Agency), or what ever hacker-haven is called. How about if you had the "circle of friends" idea, and measured the hop-count of every linked post to one of these sites. Then each user would be scored on the number and hop-count of any of their posts to the ring of fraud. Each user would then be scored from 0 to 100% on their proximity to the ring. They _could_ inquire, but not be compelled to publish their fraud-a-meter number.

    But, imagine the self-censoring that could take place. And the censoring of friends: "I'll not follow your posts until you tall me what your fraud score is"

    Come on FACEBOOK, you know you could do this.