Fake accounts and likes were being used to sway elections globally
August 3, 2021 9:24 AM   Subscribe

When she wasn’t working to scrub away vanity likes, [Sophie Zhang] diligently combed through streams of data, searching for the use of fake pages, fake accounts, and other forms of coordinated fake activity on politicians’ pages .... Was it more important to push for a case in Bolivia, with a population of 11.6 million, or in Rajasthan, India, with a population close to 70 million?
posted by If only I had a penguin... (13 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Propaganda-as-a-service.

If we live in an information society, then Facebook is an arms dealer.
posted by mhoye at 9:41 AM on August 3 [29 favorites]


paywall free version here
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:02 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Oops....sorry. I didn't see a paywall.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:17 AM on August 3


That's a really powerful -

gah. Words are failing me.

She is an extraordinary person who has made extraordinary efforts to fight corruption.

I wish she wouldn't blame herself.

I'm going to try to amplify her message a bit by sending it to all my representatives, both federal and state.

Thank you for what you're doing, Ms. Zhang.

And thank you, If only I had a penguin... , for bringing her courage and tenacity to our attention.
posted by kristi at 11:49 AM on August 3 [6 favorites]


Facebook is an arms dealer

At least arms dealers have to work around pesky laws. When regulations inevitably have to be put in place to deal with all the damage that Facebook causes to democracies and public health measures, I suspect the trick will be how to keep them and their lobbyists out of the room. They are already leaching their suckers onto the process.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:10 PM on August 3 [11 favorites]


When regulations inevitably have to be put in place to deal with all the damage that Facebook causes to democracies and public health measures, I suspect the trick will be how to keep them and their lobbyists out of the room. They are already leaching their suckers onto the process.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:10 PM on August 3 [1 favorite +] [!]


Not funny at all, but still eponysterical.
posted by Gelatin at 12:26 PM on August 3 [6 favorites]


The Netflix doc The Great Hack goes into this a bit, too. In one instance, Cambridge Analytica used social media to make voting seem "uncool" to the demographics most likely to oppose their candidate. Fewer people came to the polls and the candidate CA was supporting won.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:32 PM on August 3 [8 favorites]


Wow, imagining if all the jiras assigned to me right now had body counts associated with them, and I had to choose which to prioritize. And then clippy pops up and says “It looks like you’re trying to solve the trolley problem…”
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:47 PM on August 3 [5 favorites]


Via Laura Edelson of the NYU Cybersecurity for Democracy research project:

This evening, Facebook suspended my Facebook account and the accounts of several people associated with Cybersecurity for Democracy, our team at NYU. This has the effect of cutting off our access to Facebook's Ad Library data, as well as Crowdtangle.

Over the last several years, we’ve used this access to uncover systemic flaws in the Facebook Ad Library, identify misinformation in political ads including many sowing distrust in our election system, and to study Facebook’s apparent amplification of partisan misinformation.

By suspending our accounts, Facebook has effectively ended all this work. Facebook has also effectively cut off access to more than two dozen other researchers and journalists who get access to Facebook data through our project... including our work measuring vaccine misinformation with the Virality Project and many other partners who rely on our data.

The work our team does to make data about disinformation on Facebook transparent is vital to a healthy internet and a healthy democracy.

posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:30 AM on August 4 [6 favorites]


The details in this article abt what facebook did to hide the embarrassing information are pretty chilly. First tried to pay her off, then removed the letter from internal servers, then asked her to remove it from her website, and when she didn't do that not just her website but her entire domain was terminated by her IP company. Like what the fuck.
posted by subdee at 7:37 AM on August 4 [5 favorites]


Previously
posted by Stark at 2:43 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]




We Research Misinformation on Facebook. It Just Disabled Our Accounts.

We believe that Facebook is using privacy as a pretext to squelch research that it considers inconvenient. Notably, the acting director of the F.T.C.’s consumer protection bureau told Facebook last week that the “insinuation” that the agency’s order required the disabling of our accounts was “inaccurate.”

“The F.T.C. is committed to protecting the privacy of people, and efforts to shield targeted advertising practices from scrutiny run counter to that mission,” the acting director, Samuel Levine, wrote to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive.

posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:41 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


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