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FaceBook, social media and propaganda

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Posting material on FaceBook targeted at receptive readers was one of the main methods used in the 2016 campaign season to disrupt the political conversation. In many cases the posts had to do with actual real world events such as rallies and protests. While the posts were put up by fake users or bots, the events were real and people actually showed up.

This is important no matter what your opinion of FB. I am not a fan, however, this has significant implications. We know advertising works, people buy products. We also know propaganda works, 2016 election. Outside forces who want to destroy democracy (the Russians) are using our own social media to manipulate voters.

Back in the day, the teacher would say, "Just because it is in a book doesn't make it true." Today it is a lot trickier.




By Nicholas Fandos and Kevin Roose
July 31, 2018

1032
WASHINGTON — Facebook said on Tuesday that it had identified a political influence campaign that was potentially built to disrupt the midterm elections, with the company detecting and removing 32 pages and fake accounts that had engaged in activity around divisive social issues.

The company did not definitively link the campaign to Russia. But Facebook officials said some of the tools and techniques used by the accounts were similar to those used by the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked group that was at the center of an indictment this year alleging interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook said it had discovered coordinated activity around issues like a sequel to last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Activity was also detected around #AbolishICE, a left-wing campaign on social media that seeks to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

........

Facebook said the recently purged accounts — eight Facebook pages, 17 Facebook profiles and seven Instagram accounts — were created between March 2017 and May 2018 and were first discovered two weeks ago. More than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of the suspect pages, which had names like Aztlan Warriors, Black Elevation, Mindful Being and Resisters, the company said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/31/us/politics/facebook-political-campaign-midterms.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

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We have friends who are Trump supporters who do not watch tv and get all their news from facebook. They say the most incredible things and after five minutes of explaining that something is facially false, they concede, but give me the next false story. This network is in full effect for the midterms.

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I use Facebook daily ... but don't have hundreds of "friends" on there like some people do.  Just family and a few friends I actually know in real life. And I don't do politics or controversy on there at all as a rule.

I only use FB to keep up with people I actually know well in real life ... and for the entertainment factor of a few funny pages I follow mostly for the funny memes.  Oh, and we have a neighborhood page I follow that is useful to me.

Been seeing a lot of FB posts in my feed lately shared by some of my some Trumpkin in-laws put out by no less than "The Trump Make America Great Again Committee"    A lot of them want you to click and take some kind of political survey.  For those who don't know ... you might want to think about never clicking on any of those surveys/games/etc on FB.   They're just building a marketing/targeting profile of you to sell you something, to sell you to others, and to drive content to your feed.  Personally, I get a bit annoyed sometimes at seeing content in my feed I didn't ask for ... but then I have to step back & realize, well ... it's FB and that's what they do.   If you don't like it, don't use it.

Personally, I'd be happy if the forbade all news & politics from FB ... but I know they're never gonna do that.

Also, in case anyone doesn't know, when you use FB messenger to chat with your family or friends (which I do sometimes) ... FB is reading keywords and phrases in your messaging to drive content to your page and to build on your personal profile (which is supposed to be anonymous ... but who knows about that? .....  really?)

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