To My Friends and Family on Facebook, I’m closing my Facebook Accounts

Update 10/05/2917: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Facebook legal team decided to delete all references to Russia from an April report about election meddling.

Screen shot of an October 5th Wall Street Journal report that Facebook cut references to Russia from an April report
The Wall Street Journal, October 5th.

A 13-page report, published on April 27 and titled “Information Operations and Facebook,” was shortened by several pages by Facebook’s legal and policy teams from an earlier draft, and didn’t mention Russia at all, the people said.

Rather, it concluded that “malicious actors” engaged in influence campaigns during the U.S. presidential election but said it couldn’t determine who was responsible. The extent of Facebook’s understanding at the time of Russian influence is unclear.

It wasn’t until a Sept. 6 Facebook newsroom blog post that the company publicly identified Russia as a source of such efforts.


Update: 09/27/2017 
This is the latest update from ABC News on Russia’s weaponized use of Facebook to subvert the 2016 U.S. Election

 

A screenshot of a September 27, 2017 report from ABC News regarding Putin's use of Facebook to steal the 2016 US Election
Russia pushed Trump as the only viable option

 


Posts that circulated to a targeted, swing-state audience on the social media site railed against illegal immigrants and claimed “the only viable option is to elect Trump.” They were shared by what looked like a grassroots American group called Secured Borders, but Congressional investigators say the group is actually a Russian fabrication designed to influence American voters during and after the presidential election.

“Their goal was to spread dissension, was to split our country apart, and they did a pretty good job,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Facebook told Congressional investigators about a series of posts from a group calling itself “Secured Borders,” which had the look of a grassroots American, anti-immigrant organization. Many of the group’s posts, retrieved from online archives by ABC News, include pointed, pro-Trump messages.

“How dare they accuse Donald Trump of racism and sexism just because he’s concerned about the well-being of Americans??” read one using an image of actor Jack Nicholson, dated Oct. 19. “If wanting to remove criminal alien scum from our streets is raciest and deplorable, then by all means count me in that basket!”

 

Update: 09/25/2017 This is the latest update from the Washington Post on Russia’s weaponized use of Facebook to subvert the 2016 U.S. Election.

Screenshot of a September 25, 2017 headline from the Washington Post that Reads: Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions. Mark Zuckerburg is in the image.
September 25, 2017 Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions

The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

These targeted messages, along with others that have surfaced in recent days, highlight the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another.


An online info graphic that falsely claims American Intelligence Officials stated there was no collusion with Russia or Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Election
A Facebook meme falsely claiming that American Intelligence officials claimed there was no Russian Collusion or interference in the 2016 U.S. Election

I’ve used the meme in the header to illustrate the use of half-truth as propaganda.

Comey, Clapper and Brennon did not say there is no Russian collusion.

What they said, to be precise is this:

“There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever; the Russians interfered in our election.” James Comey June 08, 2017

The Russians used cyber operations against both political parties, including hacking into servers used by the Democratic National Committee and releasing stolen data to WikiLeaks and other media outlets. Russia also collected on certain Republican Party- affiliated targets, but did not release any Republican-related data. The Intelligence Community Assessment concluded first that President Putin directed an influence campaign to erode the faith and confidence of the American people in our presidential election process. Second, that he did so to demean Secretary Clinton, and third, that he sought to advantage Mr. Trump. These conclusions were reached based on the richness of the information gathered and analyzed and were thoroughly vetted and then approved by the directors of the three agencies and me.  James Clapper May 08, 2017

“Well, for the last 241 years, the nation and the citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty upon which this country was founded upon. Many brave Americans have lost their lives to protect that freedom and liberty and lost their lives to protect the freedom and liberties of other peoples around the world. Our ability to choose our elected leaders, as we see fit, is, I believe, an inalienable right that we must protect with all of the resources and authority and power.

“And the fact that the Russians tried to influence resources and authority and power, and the fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country, resist and try to act to prevent further instances of that. And so, therefore, I believe, this is something that’s critically important to every American. Certainly, it’s very important for me, for my children and grandchildren to make sure that never again will a foreign country try to influence and interfere in the foundation stone of this country, which is electing our democratic leaders.” John Brennon NPR

The term ‘Russian collusion’ is a classic gaslight.

Brennon, Clapper and  Comey did not mention “Russian collusion” because
the Russians can’t collude with their own intelligence operations.

Russia committed an more serious crime and on this, they all agree:

President Putin directed an influence campaign to erode the faith and confidence of the American people in our presidential election process. Second, that he did so to demean Secretary Clinton, and third, that he sought to advantage Mr. Trump. James Clapper

Who benefits from spreading lies?

Today I learned the folks who run Facebook knew that Russia was working to subvert the 2016 U.S. election and allowed them to do it.

Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said. The Washington Post

It’s distressing to have friends and family I dearly love on the irrational side of a political debate based on weaponized lies.

All things are not equal. All systems are not equally corrupt.

Regardless of our mistakes in the United States the hope of a liberal democracy lies in the power of the people to criticize and shape their government.

Most of the ads, according to a blog post published late Wednesday by Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” The Washington Post

In short, Vladimir Putin’s government purchased $100,000 in ads to
promote racism, sexism, anti-immigrant bashing, and homophobia.

My fellow citizens are not my enemy.

My family is not my enemy.

Old friends are not my enemy.

My enemy is a Russian dictator who uses Internet Technology to poison the political debates of democratic nations.

Facebook reported in its blog post Wednesday that about one-quarter of the ads in question were “geographically targeted,” although company officials declined to provide specifics about what areas or demographic groups were the recipients. Of those targeted ads, the company said, more ran in 2015 than 2016. The Washington Post

Putin targeted specific ‘types’ of people for specific kinds of lies in a bid to control how they think and act.

Facebook helped to deliver the U.S.  government to one of America’s most
vicious enemies.

I am therefore closing my Facebook account.

I recommend anyone who values our democracy to do the same.

Giving a forum to people who advocate killing other Americans for being different is morally deranged.

Stop enabling the insanity and those who profit from it.

If you need to contact me you can find me at www.robertmgoldstein.com.

You can also reach me at robertmgoldstein@yahoo.com.

Please be advised that I automatically delete email that doesn’t have
a clear subject line.

I also report abuse.

Thanks,

Rob Goldstein

Update: As of 09/08/2017 I’ve closed my Facebook account.

Here are more recent reports about Facebook’s profiling of its users:

Facebook targeted specific Facebook users in specific locations:

The Putin/Trump team used the Data to target specific Facebook users with specific psychological strengths and weaknesses.

Below is an ad targeted to people least likely to verify it as factual.

A Facebook at of Hillary Clinton in a Burka Claiming she is pushing Sharia Law and calling her Killary
These are the Kinds of Ads Facebook Sold

Here’s another example:

an ad sold on Facebook that claims democrats are giving away citizenship to increase their base
These are the Kinds of Ads Facebook Sold

An operation like this needed an America that was already divided by decades of the GOP’s Southern Strategy.


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34 thoughts on “To My Friends and Family on Facebook, I’m closing my Facebook Accounts

  1. Carol Cadwalladr in the Guardian has done some sterling investigative work on Cambridge Analytica. It’s amazing how far we have gone in accepting the unacceptable – and not just because of Trump. I’m thinking Nigel Farage in my own country.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Rob,
    Thanks for the post. There can be no doubt that the Russians attacked the US and threatened its democratic institutions. And any American who assisted Russia in these efforts is a traitor.

    I don’t use and I have no intention of using Facebook except for the Democratic New Tampa club that I joined.
    This is going to back a dark chapter in the US history books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An abusive community is as damaging to a child as an abusive family.

      Thank you for the comment Gronda. Psychological abuse is a crime and the worst form of psychological abuse is gas lighting. As I write this the Russian Puppet, who disgraces our White House tells the people not to believe their eyes or the national media is working to bring this tragedy to our attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When I opened my blog, I read recommendations for connecting it to social media. A year later in 2013, I selected Twitter. I rejected the idea of Facebook because when talking to others, it sounded too complicated. Now, I do not regret making that decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I joined as part of a collaborative effort and hated it. I saw the ads Zuckerburg has only now released. These ads are still running on Facebook. Putin’s gaslighting campaign saturated Facebook with the most sordid smears I’ve yet to see. I’m glad I closed my account. Thank you for leaving a comment.

      Like

      1. I had watched enough reality court TV to know that Facebook is used an a venue for people to use to attack, harass, and defame others. To now learn about Facebook advertising is another good reason for not having a Facebook account.

        Thanks for the valuable information.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. By implication, those who don’t see and act on that which is self-evident are morally defective and
        unfit to lead.

        Putin used gaslighting to subvert the reality of specific targets based on specific vulnerabilities by
        floodeding their Facebook news feeds with lies.

        None of this works without Fox News injecting Putin’s lies with ‘mainstream’ credibility by
        reporting them as news.

        And that’s how you bring the greatest military power on Earth to its knees without firing a shot.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:

    This is amazingly incredible information! … in recent weeks it’s come to the forefront! We know about the ads brought by Russian trolls!! Twitter is also involved! WAKE UP, AMERICA!!

    Like

  5. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:

    My blogger-friend Rob Goldstein has closed his Facebook accounts, and I must admit that I am considering doing the same. To understand the reasons, please check out his very informative post about Facebook’s role in helping Russia to interfere in our sham of an election last year, thus leaving us in the mess we are in today. Thank you, Rob, for compiling this very helpful information, and for giving me permission to share your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was was alarmed in 2015 when people on Facebook started to share cute ‘psychological quizzes’ that seemed harmless.

      I didn’t take or share them but I know plenty of people who did.

      If one took the entire battery of questions in these little ‘tests’ it would be the equivalent of taking the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

      These little tests stopped popping up on my timeline shortly after the election; just like the questions about Hillary’s email.

      Like

      1. I think I have information specific to this. Please share the handbook because it’s almost impossible to understand how damaging this attack is and is designed to be.

        Putin’s vision of Information warfare is the enemy is defeated before he even knows he’s under attack; the enemy is so confused he welcomes conquest.

        Like

      2. You guys are on Putin’s hit list.

        Marrying a hundred years of expertise in influence operations to the new world of social media, Russia may finally have gained the ability it long sought but never fully achieved in the Cold War: to alter the course of events in the U.S. by manipulating public opinion. The vast openness and anonymity of social media has cleared a dangerous new route for antidemocratic forces. “Using these technologies, it is possible to undermine democratic government, and it’s becoming easier every day,” says Rand Waltzman of the Rand Corp., who ran a major Pentagon research program to understand the propaganda threats posed by social media technology.

        http://time.com/4783932/inside-russia-social-media-war-america/

        Like

      3. Facebook newsfeeds are filled with BuzzFeed quizzes and other oddball questionnaires that tell you which city you should actually live in, which ousted Arab Spring ruler you are, and which Hogwarts house you belong in. But these new online quizzes have a dark edge that their analog predecessors didn’t. In the wake of the U.S. election, a secretive data firm hired by Donald Trump’s campaign boasted that it has been using quizzes for years to gather personal information about millions of voters. Its goal: the creation of digital profiles that can predict—and possibly exploit—Americans’ values, anxieties, and political leanings.

        Whether this firm, Cambridge Analytica, has actually used predictive profiles to influence people isn’t certain; reports suggest it hasn’t, at least not directly. But the company’s methods nonetheless expose the growing scale of personality analysis online—and the dangers that come with it. On the internet, anything you do is like taking a personality quiz: Everywhere you click reveals something about you. And you’re not the only one who sees the results.

        https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/07/the-internet-is-one-big-personality-test/531861/

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Who knows.

      If Zuckerburg works to make this right I’ll come back.

      Zuckerburg doesn’t owe me anything.

      He owes it to the democracy that allows a young Jewish man to use his talents to get rich.

      He owes it to the generation of people who fought and died to liberate the world from the Fascism that normalized the murder of Jews

      Liked by 4 people

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