CNN’s Brianna Keilar Grills Sen. Hirono: Were You Told to Go Easy on Facebook By Chuck Schumer?

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) defended Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) after a New York Times investigation reported that he attempted to interfere in an Intelligence Committee probe into Facebook’s handling of Russian misinformation. Speaking to CNN on Thursday, roughly 24 hours after the article was published, Hirono was grilled by anchor Brianna Keilar — who wanted to know whether Schumer encouraged her to take it easy on the social media giant. “Not at all,” Hirono said. “What these new revelations point out is that we, the Congress, should think about regulations of some sort because it’s disturbing to know that Facebook had information ahead of time.” In the Times investigation, Facebook is said to have been aware of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election at least months before voting had even occurred, despite C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg‘s claim that any idea his company helped Continue reading "CNN’s Brianna Keilar Grills Sen. Hirono: Were You Told to Go Easy on Facebook By Chuck Schumer?"

Facebook Reportedly Hired Republican Oppo Research Firm to Discredit Protestors By Linking Them to Soros

Facebook, amidst a battle to survive an onslaught of scandals in the past two years, hired a Republican opposition research firm to discredit protestors of the platform in part by tying them to George Soros, according to a New York Times report. The massive Times report — a 6,000 word beast, boasting five bylines — catalogues how CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg sought to contain the fallout from a series of disinformation and privacy scandals. “In just over a decade, Facebook has connected more than 2.2 billion people, a global nation unto itself that reshaped political campaigns, the advertising business and daily life around the world,” the Times reported. “But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled.” Those stumbles include their Continue reading "Facebook Reportedly Hired Republican Oppo Research Firm to Discredit Protestors By Linking Them to Soros"

Twitter Flips Out After Facebook Crashes for Many Users

Facebook went down for many users, leading many Twitter users to mock both users of the Facebook and the site itself. “Sorry something went wrong,” read a message that some users were greeted with when trying to log onto Facebook at around 1 p.m. today. “We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.” After the site went offline for some, “#FacebookDown” began trending on Twitter and users unleashed a flurry their best jokes about boomers and those weird family who still use the site becoming lost without it.

Facebook Groups are “the greatest short-term threat to election news and information integrity”

Facebook has not “fixed it.” While nothing totally horrible, fake news-wise, appears to have happened on the United States’ Election Day this week, extensive research published this week by Jonathan Albright (whom I interviewed last year) shows what was still happening on Facebook three days before the midterms, in a three-part Medium series. “It’s the scale of the problems, not the sum of the problems, that represents the greatest threat,” Albright writes. “The issues I’ve found on Facebook the past few months — through large-scale analytics, content analysis, extensive political ad archive querying, and upon the close inspection of thousands of posts and information-sharing activities — involve patterns that have been on the radar of the company’s leadership and American politicians since the last election. They’ve been revisited in scores of hearings, broadcast on television, and recited around the country in ‘how we’re fixing it’ slide decks. Continue reading "Facebook Groups are “the greatest short-term threat to election news and information integrity”"

Newsonomics: Newspapers are shells of their former selves. So who’s going to build what comes next in local?

Neil Chase knows the painful realities of managing and motivating a daily newsroom in 2018. “You can’t ask dedicated, veteran career journalists to completely change the way they work without explaining why,” the Mercury News executive editor said at a panel discussion I moderated at Stanford two weeks ago. (The panel’s fitting title? “The Last Stand for Local News.”) “So I shared some very simple charts with the newsroom, showing the decline in our circulation and staffing over the past decade, and how that trajectory would put us out of business in the mid-2020s if we don’t make some drastic changes. We then started talking about reorienting the newsroom to serve a digital subscription audience, and we’ve made major progress since.” Chase knows that his staff can still churn out great work, as do many of the 23,000 or so remaining journalists in U.S. daily newsrooms. But Continue reading "Newsonomics: Newspapers are shells of their former selves. So who’s going to build what comes next in local?"

Trump Campaign Manager Responds to Facebook, NBC Banning Racist Ad: They Stand With Illegal Immigrants

Facebook announced today that they are removing President Donald Trump’s most recent controversial campaign ad, which has been described as racist propaganda, leading Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale to condemn the move. “This ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it. While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution,” said Facebook in a statement released after NBC, CNN, and even Fox News dropped the ad. The social media site’s stance against sensational material includes content that is “shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content.” “This includes dehumanizing or denigrating entire groups of people and using frightening and exaggerated rumors of danger,” Facebook notes. The ad in question begins by showing the trial of an immigrant who murdered cops after entering the country illegally; it then suggests other undocumented immigrants, which the Trump campaign claims Democrats want Continue reading "Trump Campaign Manager Responds to Facebook, NBC Banning Racist Ad: They Stand With Illegal Immigrants"

Unlike in 2016, there was no spike in misinformation this election cycle

A newsy photo of a public figure shows up on your social media feed, with a clickbait-y headline and a provocative comment, all linking to a site with juicy political content. Did you share it? Somebody did. It wasn’t a paid ad, or even recommended-for-you content — it was shared by someone you know. The link didn’t take you to InfoWars or Occupy Democrats — you would’ve noticed that. Maybe it went to Western Journal or another unfamiliar domain whose name sounds legit. Did you comment on it or retweet it? A lot of somebodies did. Often without even reading it. State-sponsored cyberwarriors and deep-pocketed influence campaigns spread plausible misinformation — what I like to call “iffy” content — as a cost-effective way to advance their social or political cause. Others spread misinformation just to earn ad revenue. Meanwhile, the big social media platforms struggle to implement fair editorial practices
The Conversation
Continue reading "Unlike in 2016, there was no spike in misinformation this election cycle"