Monday, July 03, 2017

Yep, we've been used — Facebook

Facebook, for the first time, acknowledges election manipulation

REUTERS

Without saying the words "Russia," "Hillary Clinton," or "Donald Trump," Facebook acknowledged Thursday for the first time what others have been saying for months.

In a paper released by its security division, the company said "malicious actors" used the platform during the 2016 presidential election as part of a campaign "with the intent of harming the reputation of specific political targets."

"Facebook is not in a position to make definitive attribution to the actors sponsoring this activity....however our data does not contradict the attribution provided by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence in the report dated January 6, 2017," the report's authors wrote, referring to the U.S. Intelligence Community's assessment that Russia waged an information campaign with the goal of harming Clinton and helping Trump.

The paper, by two members of Facebook's threat intelligence team and its chief security officer, noted that "fake news" has been incorrectly applied as a catch-all for a variety of techniques used to influence users of the platform. The company now divides these techniques into four specific groups:
  • "Information (or Influence) Operations - Actions taken by governments or organized non-state actors to distort domestic or foreign political sentiment."
  • "False News - News articles that purport to be factual, but which contain intentional misstatements of fact with the intention to arouse passions, attract viewership, or deceive."
  • "False Amplifiers - Coordinated activity by inauthentic accounts with the intent of manipulating political discussion (e.g., by discouraging specific parties from participating in discussion, or amplifying sensationalistic voices over others)."
  • "Disinformation - Inaccurate or manipulated information/content that is spread intentionally. This can include false news, or it can involve more subtle methods, such as false flag operations, feeding inaccurate quotes or stories to innocent intermediaries, or knowingly amplifying biased or misleading information."
(More here.)

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