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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 ClapperMay 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.
“The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is capable of reflection.”
— Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)
Paine’s line should resonate with former White House attorney Fred Fielding. As deputy and associate counsel to President Richard Nixon during Watergate, he witnessed the truly alarming spectacle of a president undermining the office’s integrity. Donald Trump must be giving Fred Fielding unpleasant flashbacks. All of Trump’s scandals – from Russia to his business conflicts – are on track to coalesce in the definitive crisis for American democracy.