6:41 PM 9/28/2017 – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks: Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters | Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey – Akron Beacon Journal

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters
Today’s Headlines and Commentary
Our System Is Rigged – HuffPost
Wray installed as FBI director, replacing Comey – Fox News
Wray installed as FBI director; Trump absent at ceremony – San Francisco Chronicle
Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be found – USA TODAY
The Latest: Senate Dem Not Impressed With Twitter Briefing – U.S. News & World Report
28.09.2017 01:27
28.09.2017 16:00
28.09.2017 18:47
Paul Manafort just reached the end of his rope
Week In Review – The South Florida Times
Spies, lies and the oligarch: inside London’s booming secrets industry – Financial Times
Insider reveals the specific criminal charges Robert Mueller will bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators
Evidence mounts that Russia used Facebook to sow political chaos in the US – Business Insider
Fake NewsIncluding From Russian SourcesSaturated Swing States That Trump Barely Won – Mother Jones
Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? The Atlantic The World Web Times
distrust of mainstream media – Google Search
Rightwing populist AfD dominates German Twitter, new study shows
Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election Quartz
Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election, study says – The Washington Post
Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

 

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters

mikenova shared this story from US elections and russia – Google News.

Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election
Reuters
WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Twitter officials on Thursday briefed U.S. congressional investigators probing howRussian-backed internet trolls, bots and targeted ads may have been used on the microblogging site to influence last year’selection.

Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey – Akron Beacon Journal

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Wray installed as FBI director, replaces fired Comey
Akron Beacon Journal
He replaces James Comey, who was fired in May by President Donald Trump after fewer than four years on the job. The ceremony at FBI headquarters on Thursday was notable because neither Comey nor Robert Mueller, who preceded him as FBI director, …

Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election – Reuters

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RT
Twitter briefs US congressional investigators probing alleged Russia role in election
Reuters
N) officials on Thursday briefed U.S. congressional investigators probing how Russian-backed internet trolls, bots and targeted ads may have been used on the microblogging site to influence last year’s election. Colin Crowell, Twitter’s vice president 
Reddit may be probed over its role in alleged Russian meddling into 2016 US elections reportRT
Twitter: Russia spent $US274,100 on ads during 2016 US electionThe Sydney Morning Herald
Russian group spent $274000 on Twitter ads during US electionPhys.Org
CNNMoney –Business Insider –Firstpost –Washington Post
all 476 news articles »
Today’s Headlines and Commentary

mikenova shared this story from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

The Trump administration temporarily waived the Jones Act, which had inhibited access to needed hurricane relief supplies, for Puerto Rico, according to the New York Times. The century-old law says only American-built, -owned and -operated vessels can ship goods transported within the United States. On Monday, eight members of Congress submitted a letter to the Department of Homeland Security requesting the temporary waiver, asserting that temporarily lifting the act would facilitate the transportation of supplies to the devastated island.

On Thursday, Chung Eui-young, South Koreas national security adviser, stated that the country expects the United States could begin to more regularly send strategic military assets to the South by the end of the year, the Washington Post reports. The Pentagon has not yet confirmed the decision. While Chung did not specify what the strategic assets would be, the term likely refers to B-52 bombers, stealth warplanes, nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, as South Korean officials often suggest.

Yesterday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned of a response following the Trump administrations restriction of Russian military flights over U.S. territory, Reuters reports. Both the United States and Russia have questioned the others compliance with the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement allowing unarmed aerial observation flights over territories of the participating states. On Tuesday, the United States announced it was restricting Russian military flights over U.S. territory after Moscow prohibited U.S. observation flights over Kaliningrad.

President Vladimir Putin announced that he oversaw the destruction of Russias last chemical weapons yesterday, while also rebuking the United States for not acting similarly, according to the Times. The event was broadcast on state television and presented an opportunity for Putin to assert the United States was not fulfilling its deadline to destroy its chemical weapons pursuant to the Chemical Weapons Convention. A State Department official retorted Putins claim, saying the United States fully complies with the treaty and remains committed to completely destroying its chemical weapons by 2023. The treaty, signed in 1993, had an initial deadline of 2007 before it was extended to 2012.

Chuck Rosenberg, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will resign on October 1, the Post reports. Rosenberg reportedly declined Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenteins suggestion that he serve as the presidentially appointed head of the DEA or in another Justice Department position. In July, Rosenberg notably criticized Trumps comments concerning treatment of criminal suspects in an email to DEA employees. He has also been at odds with Justice Department officials over DEA requests to grow marijuana for research in an administration which supports stricter marijuana enforcement. Rosenbergs replacement will likely address similar issues over marijuana enforcement and research, in addition to handling the opioid crisis.

On Thursday, Twitter participated in a closed-door hearing with House and Senate intelligence committee staff concerning Russias used of the social media platform and the 2016 election, CNN reports. Facebook participated in a similar hearing this month that revealed the tech giant sold more than 3,000 election ads to a Russian agency. Yesterday, the House committee stated they plan on holding an open hearing with the tech companies in the next month. In a related event, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement last night dismissing Trumps accusation that Facebook was biased against the president, instead arguing the social media platform will continue to work to build a community for all people.

Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor accused of leaking classified material, admitted she smuggled a classified report in her pantyhose, according to Politico. A transcript of Winners interrogation, which federal prosecutors filed on Wednesday, revealed the admission and other details related to the case. The 25-year-old linguist sent the report, which concerned Russian spearfishing attacks against U.S. voter registration databases, to The Intercept. Winners trial is currently set for March 1. If convicted, prosecutors say Winner would face at least nine years in prison under sentencing guidelines.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bob Bauer argued that the presidents untruthful claims about the Russian investigation could have legal consequences.

Robert Chesney unveiled a joint blog post series surrounding the Fifth Annual Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict.

Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted the latest National Security Law Podcast.

Nora Ellingsen provided a roundup of this months international terrorism prosecutions.

Our System Is Rigged – HuffPost

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Baltimore Sun
Our System Is Rigged
HuffPost
For the first few months of his presidency, Donald Trump delighted in showing guests an electoral map of the country in which huge splotches from the South through the Midwest and into the far West were red, indicating Trump’s support. He was right, of …
Does Trump have a chance to be a two-term president? Bigly.Baltimore Sun
Trump’s re-election effort will be the most vicious campaign you’ve ever seenThe Week Magazine
Alabama tide portends another angry voter waveWashington Examiner

all 337 news articles »

Wray installed as FBI director, replacing Comey – Fox News

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Fox News
Wray installed as FBI director, replacing Comey
Fox News
Trump fired Comey in May, and Mueller was appointed as special counsel the following week to oversee an FBI investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Comey, Mueller skip ceremony for Wray’s installation as FBI directorPolitico
Chris Wray formally installed as FBI director, replaces fired ComeyCBS News

all 72 news articles »

Twitter finds hundreds of accounts tied to Russian operatives – Chicago Tribune

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Chicago Tribune
Twitter finds hundreds of accounts tied to Russian operatives
Chicago Tribune
“There’s plenty of evidence that Russian intelligence services have been on Twitter for years and have used Twitter to amplify messages and inserted lines of attack in ways that got amplified by mainstream and partisan media,” said Alex Howard, deputy …
Are Russia’s ‘Friends’ Hiding in Your Facebook Feed?The Nation.
Twitter just told Congress it found about 200 accounts linked to the same Russian agents found on FacebookRecode
Senator Berates Twitter Over ‘Inadequate’ Inquiry Into Russian MeddlingNew York Times
CNET –The Guardian –Washington Post –Twitter Blog
all 509 news articles »
Wray installed as FBI director; Trump absent at ceremony – San Francisco Chronicle

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San Francisco Chronicle
Wray installed as FBI director; Trump absent at ceremony
San Francisco Chronicle
Trump fired Comey in May, and Mueller was appointed as special counsel the following week to oversee an FBI investigationinto potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Grassley threatens to subpoena FBI officials for answers on Comey, Clinton, RussiaFox News
Senate Investigators Will Interview FBI Officials About Trump’s Firing of ComeyNewsweek
Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be foundUSA TODAY
Politico
all 16 news articles »
Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be found – USA TODAY

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Christopher Wray installed as FBI director but Trump, Comey, Mueller nowhere to be found
USA TODAY
Nominee Chris Wray under the spotlight … Wray, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1992, left the Justice Department in 2005 to join the law firm of King & Spalding, where he represented major corporations in state and federal investigations. He

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The Latest: Senate Dem Not Impressed With Twitter Briefing – U.S. News & World Report

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Inc.com
The Latest: Senate Dem Not Impressed With Twitter Briefing
U.S. News & World Report
Twitter shared those findings with the House and Senate intelligence committees Thursday. The committees have beeninvestigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and how Twitter and Facebook were used to spread of misinformation …
Twitter, With Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress Over Role in ElectionNew York Times
Twitter just told Congress it found about 200 accounts linked to the same Russian agents found on FacebookRecode
Twitter Faces Questions About Russia’s Interference in 2016 ElectionInc.com
Fortune –CBS News –Washington Post –Twitter Blog
all 498 news articles »
28.09.2017 01:27

mikenova shared this story from Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com.

28.09.2017 16:00

mikenova shared this story from Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com.

28.09.2017 18:47

mikenova shared this story from Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com.

Paul Manafort just reached the end of his rope

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller raided Paul Manafort’s house in July, a sign that he was willing to take any aggressive measures necessary to convince Manafort to flip on Donald Trump in exchange for leniency. Mueller further warned Manafort that he was going to be indicted if he didn’t cooperate yet that still hasn’t happened. Mueller’s only reason for waiting is a strategic one, giving Manafort additional rope. Now he’s run out of that rope.

After Manafort learned that he was going to be indicted if he failed to cooperate, he responded by taking a paying gig with yet another foreign government. The whole thing came off as one last attempted cash grab by Manafort before the gig was up; perhaps he was hoping to keep the money as part of his deal with the Feds, or perhaps he just couldn’t help himself. Whatever the reason, Mueller decided to sit back and let it play out, even while letting word slip out that Manafort had been wiretapped before and during the campaign just to make sure he knew he was going down in the end.

Manafort took a gig working for the Kurdistan independence movement, which is more than a bit sketchy, both because the United States has taken a position against the movement, and because those are the kinds of gigs that got him into such legal trouble to begin with. The vote on the independence referendum took place on Monday. No one among the media or the public seems to know whether Manafort ended up traveling to Kurdistan for the vote, as he had reportedly been contemplating. But it’s a given that Mueller wouldn’t have let Manafort leave the country if he didn’t want it to happen.

We still don’t know why Robert Mueller strategically decided to wait until Paul Manafort’s Kurdistan gig was over before making a move on him. But we’ve periodically been reminded that Mueller is quietly three steps ahead of all of us. Now that the gig is over, the jig is up and we’ll soon see Mueller’s next move against Manafort play out.

The post Paul Manafort just reached the end of his rope appeared first on Palmer Report.

Week In Review – The South Florida Times

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The South Florida Times
Week In Review
The South Florida Times
Michael Cohen was appearing privately before the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of multiple congressional panels investigating Russian interference in the presidential race and potential ties to the Trump campaign. Special counsel … In a prepared 

Spies, lies and the oligarch: inside London’s booming secrets industry – Financial Times

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Financial Times
Spies, lies and the oligarch: inside London’s booming secrets industry
Financial Times
In 2009, a fugitive Kazakh oligarch arranged a meeting in London with the head of an international private intelligence agency. Mukhtar Ablyazov, a slim man in his …. Born in 1963 to a family of modest means in a Kazakh village near theRussian 

Insider reveals the specific criminal charges Robert Mueller will bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators

mikenova shared this story from Palmer Report.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still quietly working his way through the various aspects of the most complex criminal investigation in United States history. His actions, such as subpoenas and FBI raids and specific hires and impending indictments, have tipped off bits and pieces of where he’s headed. But now a Department of Justice insider has revealed the specific criminal charges that Mueller can be expected to bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators.

Jimmy Gurulé was an Assistant Attorney General in the George W. Bush administration, giving him specific expertise when it comes to putting together the pieces and figuring out specifically what a prosecutor like Mueller is aiming toward. Gurulé appeared on the Brian Williams show on MSNBC on Wednesday night, and he laid out the various criminal charges that he expects Mueller to bring in the Trump-Russia probe.

According to Gurulé the list includes obstruction of justice, violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (a law which centers around campaign fundraising), violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, IRS tax laws, and possibly money laundering. He didn’t spell out which charges will be brought against which individuals, but based on prior reporting, some of it can be put together rather easily.

For instance, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn are accused of being in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, while the inclusion of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act suggests that someone on Trump’s team may have committed criminal hacking, or conspired with the Russians to commit criminal hacking. The larger question, of course, is which of these charges apply to Donald Trump himself.

Robert Mueller cannot put Donald Trump on trial; only Congress can try the President for alleged crimes. But Mueller can ask a grand jury to name Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator, as was the case during Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. There are legal scholars such as Professor Laurence Tribe who believe Mueller can indict Trump for crimes, even if he can’t try him for those crimes. The point of that would be to demonstrate such obvious guilt that Congress would have no choice but to finish Trump off. Once Trump is ousted from office, he can then be prosecuted in a regular court of law.

The post Insider reveals the specific criminal charges Robert Mueller will bring against Donald Trump and his co-conspirators appeared first on Palmer Report.

Evidence mounts that Russia used Facebook to sow political chaos in the US – Business Insider

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Business Insider
Evidence mounts that Russia used Facebook to sow political chaos in the US
Business Insider
Indeed, though Russia backed Trump’s candidacy during the election, the report noted that the fake Facebook group’s biggest swell in activity came after the president ordered a missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat airfield in April. Trump made the 

Fake NewsIncluding From Russian SourcesSaturated Swing States That Trump Barely Won – Mother Jones

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Mother Jones
Fake NewsIncluding From Russian SourcesSaturated Swing States That Trump Barely Won
Mother Jones
Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be 

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Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? The Atlantic The World Web Times

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Source: Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? – The Atlantic

distrust of mainstream media – Google Search

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The media’s credibility crisis

Duke ChronicleSep 26, 2017
While distrust of the mainstream media often emerges from the right, the survey’s results suggest it would be inaccurate to define this skepticism …

Media unrelenting vs. Trump

The Tand <a href=”http://D.com” rel=”nofollow”>D.com</a>Sep 25, 2017
From Charlottesville to Hurricane Irma, the liberal media are … Is it any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?
Story image for distrust of mainstream media from Orlando Sentinel

Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump

Orlando SentinelSep 26, 2017
Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump … any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?
Rightwing populist AfD dominates German Twitter, new study shows

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Research published today by a group at Oxford university shows that the rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) drives more Twitter traffic than any major German party, and more even than non-partisan discussion of the upcoming general election itself.

The study by the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found that, of almost 1m tweets collected between September 1 and 10, hashtags associated specifically with the AfD appeared in more than 30 per cent.

The AfD, which hopes to win its first seats in the German parliament on Sunday, is “highly salient in the German Twitter sphere”, the study concludes. Lead researcher Lisa-Maria Neudert told the FT that the AfD “absolutely dominates” German political Twitter traffic.

Ms Neudert said: “AfD is very vocal on social media. They have a big following and a good communications strategy, a social media-first strategy.” The study does not distinguish between Twitter traffic supporting the AfD and that opposing it.

The study also found that the overall proportion of traffic generated by highly automated accounts, known as bots, was “not substantial”, although the level of automation was highest for traffic using AfD-related hashtags.

The AfD is the most successful rightwing populist party in Germany since the second world war. Its stated aim is “the self-preservation not the self-destruction of our state and our people” and its policies include the “closure of all German borders”. The party is expected to win 50 or more seats in Sunday’s election.

The study’s publication comes after a week in which dominant social media companies faced renewed scrutiny over their — largely opaque — role in shaping political discourse. Facebook handed over information to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election after revealing that Russian-linked users had purchased at least $100,000 worth of advertising on the site.

Original FT analyses of Twitter and Facebook data show how the AfD’s social media position has the potential to provide the fulcrum for a shift in German political discourse towards the far right, and that such a shift may already be in progress.

Mapping the Twitter relationships between more than 700 Bundestag candidates identified as users of the social media platform by transparency campaign group Abgeordnetenwatch.de shows the extent to which the AfD is distinct from the political mainstream. Candidates for the major parties are more likely to follow each other, whereas few AfD candidates follow those of other parties and vice versa.

Ms Neudert, the Oxford researcher, put the number of Twitter users in Germany at 1m — a fraction of the more than 30m German Facebook users. However, she noted, Twitter is considered important by “opinion leaders and influencers” and serves as a channel for open communication between politicians and journalists.

With over 350,000 likes — more than two of the largest parties, CDU and SPD, put together — the AfD has a similarly formidable Facebook presence. While user engagement with the party on Facebook grew steadily throughout the refugee crisis of summer 2015, its biggest ever boost came after an outcry over a spate of sexual assaults in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve 2015, when the number of reactions to AfD posts tripled to more than 380,000 within a month. Many of the perpetrators of the assaults were asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, and the episode helped to push the AfD’s level of Facebook engagement to new heights.

It was not only the level of engagement with the party that rose following the New Year’s Eve attacks. The tone of the AfD Facebook page changed: words and phrases which, in Germany, are most closely associated with the Nazi era began to appear more frequently in the comments users were posting on the page.

Based on academic research and interviews with two leading German political language researchers, the FT compiled a list of 25 terms associated with the Nazi era and/or other German nationalistic ideologies. We then used original software to determine how often these terms appear in user comments on the AfD Facebook page.

In May 2015, an average of 2.6 of the terms were used across all comments per AfD post. A year later, this figure had risen to 29.6 — an increase of 1,100 per cent. Among the most frequently used terms were “Volksverräter” (traitor to the people) and “Altparteien” (establishment parties), both of which have strong Nazi connotations.

Terms such as “national” and “patriot” have also seen rises in frequency. While ostensibly uncontroversial, these are among the terms with a more problematic history in Germany.

The number of distinct Facebook users to use such terms in comments also increased, and though the use of this language has fallen since its peak in early 2016, it remains significantly higher than for much of the page’s existence.

Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election Quartz

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Twitter executives will be grilled tomorrow morning (Sept. 28) on Capitol Hill by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

The main focus of the questioning will be automated Twitter accounts, a.k.a. bots, and whether Twitter is doing enough to curb the ones that are spreading propaganda and misinformation, one person briefed on the committee’s preparations told Quartz.

Twitter’s bot army is so widespread that as many as 15% of its monthly active users—49 million, based on Twitter’s latest figure for its total user base—may be bots, estimated a study (pdf, p. 9) of English-speaking accounts earlier this year. Groups like Securing Democracy are attempting to track Russian propaganda on the network, by tracking “hashtags, topics and URLs promoted by Russia-linked influence networks” there.

“We’ve heard they [Twitter] don’t do a good job of removing ‘sock puppet IDs’ [Twitter users pretending to be someone else] or Russian bots,” the person briefed said. Senators are worried that bots spewing political spam or hijacking conversations result in real information getting buried, this person said. They’re also interested in what effect bots retweeting articles and information may have on Google search results. Facebook may be doing a better job of monitoring its users and customers, and removing harmful fake ones, the committee believes.

“There a universal appreciation that bots are becoming problematic on Twitter,” Robert Gorwa, a researcher with the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet Institute, told Quartz. “What isn’t appreciated is how much Twitter has enabled this by encouraging automation.” Twitter’s developer policies tell users how to use automation and the company provide guides on how to use bots to spread messages, he noted.

In the early days of Twitter, bots were easy to spot by their “egg” avatars, unusual ratios of following to followers, or obviously machine-written tweets. Now, as many have fleshed-out Twitter profiles or even entire online personalities (pdf, p. 16) and technology has improved, “they’ve gotten so sophisticated, we can’t recognize them,” Gorwa said.

A Twitter spokesman told Quartz the company was cooperating with the committee and confirmed it would brief it this week. “Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our terms of service,” the spokesman said.

Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election, study says – The Washington Post

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Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

After massive Kremlin-led disinformation campaigns against German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the height of the 2015-2016 migration wave, many expected such tactics to be a major element of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s effort to influence the German parliamentary elections. While disinformation remains one of Russia’s primary tools to subvert the West, the Kremlin has a larger strategy.

There are two games Russia plays.

First, Russia has a long-term strategy to disrupt Western democracies by exploiting their internal problems and supporting local extremists and pro-Kremlin forces. A principled response to Putin’s occupation of Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova—such as Merkel’s— is harder to pull through. As Russia sees it, if you cannot defeat the other team, tear down the playing field.

Secondly, Moscow employs short-term campaigns on a tactical level. This includes supporting Kremlin-preferred politicians and policies and attacking their opponents with hostile means. Such support was awarded to Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, the “leave” vote in the Brexit referendum, and the “no” vote in the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. If such tactics are successful, Putin celebrates because he perceives the opponent as more dangerous.

The Russian authorities and their proxies use a wide variety of tools to achieve soft regime change, meaning getting Putin-friendly politicians into office. With politicians who are soft on Russia, Putin gets effective allies who are less willing to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity or stand up to Russia’s subversive efforts in the West.

Knowing this, Moscow’s view of German politics becomes more clear.

Due to Merkel’s principled position, Germany is the key architect of Europe’s sanctions against Russia. That’s why she is the prime target of Putin’s hostile actions and is demonized by Russian puppet media.

Outside of the Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), every major party wants to soften Germany’s position on Russia. Conservative CSU, Merkel’s close partner, focuses its rhetoric on a “business-first” approach, no matter Russia’s violations of international law. The leader of center-right liberal FDPA, a probable coalition member, has publicly flirted with removing Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea from Germany’s foreign policy focus. The Greens, another probable coalition partner, have strong anti-Putin messaging, but its rhetoric verges on anti-American as well, helping Moscow massively.

On the far left is Moscow’s reliable ally Die Linke. Their agenda is clear: Bash the West and the U.S. for everything and always relativize Russia’s atrocities. On the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose funding remains unclear, openly advocates for Russia; one of its foreign policy priorities is appeasement. It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. Both vocalize Russia’s foreign policy objectives and have real political presence, though they have limited influence on German and EU policy as a whole. They drive conversation about policies the Kremlin cares about, but they cannot directly influence their implementation.

Putin’s goals in Germany are obvious: Break Berlin’s policy on sanctions and support for Ukraine, put Germany at odds with Washington, and push through Nord Stream 2 to side line Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe and increase Berlin’s dependency on Russian energy supply.

Who in the German political establishment shares these goals? The Social Democrats (SPD). There are various possible roots for the SPD’s submissive policy towards Putin. It might be the phantom pain of Ostpolitik, a feeling that SPD has nothing to contribute on foreign policy other than differing with CDU on Russia. It might be the schroederization effect, where some leaders see the former chancellor’s lucrative Russian business deals as a potential path for themselves. It’s astounding that Schröder’s work for Putin doesn’t matter to SPD—he even got a hero’s welcome at its last party convention. It took Putin’s self-proclaimed friend accepting another position within Russia’s state-linked companies for German press to begin criticizing him. Schröder isn’t the only Putin-friendly former SPD boss. Matthias Platzeck also serves in the broader Kremlin-linked network, presiding over Deutsch-Russisches-Forum,” frequently talking to Russian propaganda mouthpiece Sputnik, and befriendingformer KGB officer and Putin inner circle oligarch Vladimir Jakunin, who now runs his pro-Putin influence network directly from Berlin.

It’s not only former leaders; current leaders are adopting similar policies. SPD senior figures are the established advocates for Nord Stream 2—basically teaming up with Putin against Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe. SPD leadership has called for the U.S. nuclear umbrella to be withdrawn from Germany, advocated for “phasing-out” sanctions against Russia (which CSU does all the time), opposes any additional sanctions on Russia, and called NATO reassurance exercises in Poland “warmongering.”

The ultimate reason that the Social Democrats support Putin’s foreign policy objectives may never be known, but the party is Putin’s most important advocate in the German political establishment. In contrast with Die Linke or AfD, SPD can shape policies.

Best-case scenario for Moscow is a CDU/CSU-SPD coalition, which would force Angela Merkel to be softer on Russia. Under this coalition, countries concerned with Russian aggression would have a principled backer in her, but Berlin wouldn’t be the leading force pushing back against Russia’s subversion of European democracies. Moreover, the Kremlin’s short-term project in Germany is Nord Stream 2, of which SPD is a key proponent. Because SPD has invested enormous political capital in it, Merkel wouldn’t block it—to do so would be too politically expensive. With this option off the table, Moscow will have its friends run the German opposition.

With SPD likely being out of the next coalition, Moscow lost big-time.

Jakub Janda is the head of the Kremlin Watch Program at the Prague-based European Values Think-Tank. He consults for governments on how to counter hostile foreign influence operations.

The Real Loser of Germanys Election: Vladimir Putin

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M.N.: Putin’s Rightwing TwitterCracy as a New World Order: Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight – Politico | Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones | Social media giants called to testify by US Congress | Social media Trojan Horse in U.S. elections 2016 – Google Search | Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? – The Atlantic | Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election Quartz | Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election, study says – The Washington Post | Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

Putin’s Rightwing Twittercracy as a New World Order

The unusual by the recent standards, “minimal Twitter political bots activity in Germany”, so much in contrast with the situation in the U.S., may be viewed and interpreted as the fact lending support to the “German Hypothesis”: Russian and German Intelligence Services concluded the “nonaggression pact” with each other, namely the agreement on noninterference in each others’ elections, while directing their joint efforts against the U.S.. The Occam razor principle applies here, in the interpretation of this comparison, too. 

This operation may also have the strategic goals of demonstrating the advantages of cyber-security and information-security agreements, which are the Russian long desired objectives, in the face of potential threats to the nature and the structure of the current regime (e.g. elections) in the age of the Internet and Social Media. 

The recent offerings of Danayan gifts in this area might serve as a confirmation of this thesis. “Beware of Russians (or anyone for that matter) bearing gifts”. Apparently, the (psychological, political, military, etc., etc.) concepts and precepts of the Trojan Wars, the wars of deception, as opposed to the predominance of the brutal force, (or their modern variety, the “hybrid”or “intelligence” wars, with the prominent cyber component), survived for millennia. This is a subject for a nice study in and by itself. 

Michael Novakhov

9.28.17

How Germany fought off the Fake News scourge

“In the days before the Sept. 24 parliamentary election, the Oxford researchers found that political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany.

The most tweets tracked were in support of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which won 13 percent of the vote and became the first far-right party to earn a presence in Parliament in 60-plus years. The research also found that Germans were much less likely to share fake news stories than their American counterparts, sharing links from professional news organizations four times as often as links from sites pushing fake news. Researchers theorize that voters in Germany and other parts of Europe may have been inoculated to the effects of bot-driven fake news, thanks to the ongoing fallout from 2016. “I would speculate the Russians overplayed their hand in the US elections,” Bradshaw says. “Voters in the US weren’t really prepared, but that was part of the discourse in other countries like Germany.”

Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win
A new study reveals how junk content—including from Russia—hit Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and beyond.
DENISE CLIFTONSEP. 28, 2017 1:00 AM

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 200,000 Americans working for broadcast television and cable programming, 197,000 employed in digital publishing and broadcasting, 183,000 working for newspapers, 99,000 working for magazines, 86,000 in radio, and 64,000 employed in the editing and production of books. Asking survey respondents to briefly summarize their feelings about the daily work of one million strangers is asking for an impossible…

Twitter’s bot army is so widespread that as many as 15% of its monthly active users—49 million, based on Twitter’s latest figure for its total user base—may be bots, estimated a study (pdf, p. 9) of English-speaking accounts earlier this year. Groups like Securing Democracy are attempting to track Russian propaganda on the network, by tracking “hashtags, topics and URLs promoted by Russia-linked influence networks” there.

The use of bots and trolls in the 2016 presidential election has become a point of national concern, especially since Facebook revealed that 470 accounts and pages managed by a notorious Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, bought more than 3,000 ads during the election season. Many independent researchers have mapped how information increasingly flows back and forth among such platforms as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, with each amplifying and sometimes manipulating information appearing on other platforms.

Lawmakers and Capitol Hill investigators have pushed major technology companies to disclose what they know about deployment of propaganda and disinformation on their platforms during the campaign.

Howard said junk news originates from three main sources that the Oxford group has been tracking: Russian operatives, Trump supporters and activists part of the alt-right, a group that includes white nationalists, anti-Semites and others who rail against “political correctness.” 

“Those three kinds of organizations shared a lot of content and push a lot of each other’s content,” Howard said. “They worked in concert. They worked to the same ends, the goal being getting polarizing stuff into the swing states… 

The report identified 16 ­battleground states. Of those, the researchers said, 12 received higher-than-normal flows of propaganda and other low-quality information near the election: Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, North Carolina, Nevada, Michigan, Missouri and Arizona, along with Virginia, New Hampshire and Florida. Four battleground states — Iowa, Minnesota, Maine and Wisconsin — got less low-quality information on Twitter than the nation as a whole.”

The Russian authorities and their proxies use a wide variety of tools to achieve soft regime change, meaning getting Putin-friendly politicians into office. With politicians who are soft on Russia, Putin gets effective allies who are less willing to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity or stand up to Russia’s subversive efforts in the West.

Knowing this, Moscow’s view of German politics becomes more clear…

On the far left is Moscow’s reliable ally Die Linke. Their agenda is clear: Bash the West and the U.S. for everything and always relativize Russia’s atrocities. On the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose funding remains unclear, openly advocates for Russia; one of its foreign policy priorities is appeasement. It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. Both vocalize Russia’s foreign policy objectives and have real political presence, though they have limited influence on German and EU policy as a whole. They drive conversation about policies the Kremlin cares about, but they cannot directly influence their implementation.

Putin’s goals in Germany are obvious: Break Berlin’s policy on sanctions and support for Ukraine, put Germany at odds with Washington, and push through Nord Stream 2 to side line Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe and increase Berlin’s dependency on Russian energy supply.

How Germany fought off the Fake News scourge

In the days before the Sept. 24 parliamentary election, the Oxford researchers found that political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany. The most tweets tracked were in support of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which won 13 percent of the vote and became the first far-right party to earn a presence in Parliament in 60-plus years. The research also found that Germans were much less likely to share fake news stories than their American counterparts, sharing links from professional news organizations four times as often as links from sites pushing fake news. Researchers theorize that voters in Germany and other parts of Europe may have been inoculated to the effects of bot-driven fake news, thanks to the ongoing fallout from 2016. “I would speculate the Russians overplayed their hand in the US elections,” Bradshaw says. “Voters in the US weren’t really prepared, but that was part of the discourse in other countries like Germany.”

Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win
A new study reveals how junk content—including from Russia—hit Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and beyond.
DENISE CLIFTONSEP. 28, 2017 1:00 AM

Poll: Donald Trump Has Embarrassed America And Really Needs To Stop Tweeting Now
Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics – The Independent
The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – Washington Post
27.09.2017 22:22

Why Do Americans Distrust the Media? – The Atlantic – The World Web Times

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The media’s credibility crisis

Duke ChronicleSep 26, 2017
While distrust of the mainstream media often emerges from the right, the survey’s results suggest it would be inaccurate to define this skepticism …

Media unrelenting vs. Trump

The Tand <a href=”http://D.com” rel=”nofollow”>D.com</a>Sep 25, 2017
From Charlottesville to Hurricane Irma, the liberal media are … Is it any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?

Story image for distrust of mainstream media from Orlando Sentinel

Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump

Orlando SentinelSep 26, 2017
Liberal media unrelenting in their bias against President Trump … any wonder Americans have record-high distrust for the mainstream media?
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Research published today by a group at Oxford university shows that the rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) drives more Twitter traffic than any major German party, and more even than non-partisan discussion of the upcoming general election itself.

The study by the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found that, of almost 1m tweets collected between September 1 and 10, hashtags associated specifically with the AfD appeared in more than 30 per cent.

The AfD, which hopes to win its first seats in the German parliament on Sunday, is “highly salient in the German Twitter sphere”, the study concludes. Lead researcher Lisa-Maria Neudert told the FT that the AfD “absolutely dominates” German political Twitter traffic.

Ms Neudert said: “AfD is very vocal on social media. They have a big following and a good communications strategy, a social media-first strategy.” The study does not distinguish between Twitter traffic supporting the AfD and that opposing it.

The study also found that the overall proportion of traffic generated by highly automated accounts, known as bots, was “not substantial”, although the level of automation was highest for traffic using AfD-related hashtags.

The AfD is the most successful rightwing populist party in Germany since the second world war. Its stated aim is “the self-preservation not the self-destruction of our state and our people” and its policies include the “closure of all German borders”. The party is expected to win 50 or more seats in Sunday’s election.

The study’s publication comes after a week in which dominant social media companies faced renewed scrutiny over their — largely opaque — role in shaping political discourse. Facebook handed over information to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election after revealing that Russian-linked users had purchased at least $100,000 worth of advertising on the site.

Original FT analyses of Twitter and Facebook data show how the AfD’s social media position has the potential to provide the fulcrum for a shift in German political discourse towards the far right, and that such a shift may already be in progress.

Mapping the Twitter relationships between more than 700 Bundestag candidates identified as users of the social media platform by transparency campaign group Abgeordnetenwatch.de shows the extent to which the AfD is distinct from the political mainstream. Candidates for the major parties are more likely to follow each other, whereas few AfD candidates follow those of other parties and vice versa.

Ms Neudert, the Oxford researcher, put the number of Twitter users in Germany at 1m — a fraction of the more than 30m German Facebook users. However, she noted, Twitter is considered important by “opinion leaders and influencers” and serves as a channel for open communication between politicians and journalists.

With over 350,000 likes — more than two of the largest parties, CDU and SPD, put together — the AfD has a similarly formidable Facebook presence. While user engagement with the party on Facebook grew steadily throughout the refugee crisis of summer 2015, its biggest ever boost came after an outcry over a spate of sexual assaults in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve 2015, when the number of reactions to AfD posts tripled to more than 380,000 within a month. Many of the perpetrators of the assaults were asylum seekers or illegal immigrants, and the episode helped to push the AfD’s level of Facebook engagement to new heights.

It was not only the level of engagement with the party that rose following the New Year’s Eve attacks. The tone of the AfD Facebook page changed: words and phrases which, in Germany, are most closely associated with the Nazi era began to appear more frequently in the comments users were posting on the page.

Based on academic research and interviews with two leading German political language researchers, the FT compiled a list of 25 terms associated with the Nazi era and/or other German nationalistic ideologies. We then used original software to determine how often these terms appear in user comments on the AfD Facebook page.

In May 2015, an average of 2.6 of the terms were used across all comments per AfD post. A year later, this figure had risen to 29.6 — an increase of 1,100 per cent. Among the most frequently used terms were “Volksverräter” (traitor to the people) and “Altparteien” (establishment parties), both of which have strong Nazi connotations.

Terms such as “national” and “patriot” have also seen rises in frequency. While ostensibly uncontroversial, these are among the terms with a more problematic history in Germany.

The number of distinct Facebook users to use such terms in comments also increased, and though the use of this language has fallen since its peak in early 2016, it remains significantly higher than for much of the page’s existence.

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Congress is investigating how Twitter (TWTR) bots may have impacted the US election — Quartz

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Twitter executives will be grilled tomorrow morning (Sept. 28) on Capitol Hill by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

The main focus of the questioning will be automated Twitter accounts, a.k.a. bots, and whether Twitter is doing enough to curb the ones that are spreading propaganda and misinformation, one person briefed on the committee’s preparations told Quartz.

Twitter’s bot army is so widespread that as many as 15% of its monthly active users—49 million, based on Twitter’s latest figure for its total user base—may be bots, estimated a study (pdf, p. 9) of English-speaking accounts earlier this year. Groups like Securing Democracy are attempting to track Russian propaganda on the network, by tracking “hashtags, topics and URLs promoted by Russia-linked influence networks” there.

“We’ve heard they [Twitter] don’t do a good job of removing ‘sock puppet IDs’ [Twitter users pretending to be someone else] or Russian bots,” the person briefed said. Senators are worried that bots spewing political spam or hijacking conversations result in real information getting buried, this person said. They’re also interested in what effect bots retweeting articles and information may have on Google search results. Facebook may be doing a better job of monitoring its users and customers, and removing harmful fake ones, the committee believes.

“There a universal appreciation that bots are becoming problematic on Twitter,” Robert Gorwa, a researcher with the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet Institute, told Quartz. “What isn’t appreciated is how much Twitter has enabled this by encouraging automation.” Twitter’s developer policies tell users how to use automation and the company provide guides on how to use bots to spread messages, he noted.

In the early days of Twitter, bots were easy to spot by their “egg” avatars, unusual ratios of following to followers, or obviously machine-written tweets. Now, as many have fleshed-out Twitter profiles or even entire online personalities (pdf, p. 16) and technology has improved, “they’ve gotten so sophisticated, we can’t recognize them,” Gorwa said.

A Twitter spokesman told Quartz the company was cooperating with the committee and confirmed it would brief it this week. “Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process, a cornerstone of all democracies, and will continue to strengthen our platform against bots and other forms of manipulation that violate our terms of service,” the spokesman said.

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Russia Influence Diminished in Results of German Election

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia President Vladimir Putin. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

After massive Kremlin-led disinformation campaigns against German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the height of the 2015-2016 migration wave, many expected such tactics to be a major element of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s effort to influence the German parliamentary elections. While disinformation remains one of Russia’s primary tools to subvert the West, the Kremlin has a larger strategy.

There are two games Russia plays.

First, Russia has a long-term strategy to disrupt Western democracies by exploiting their internal problems and supporting local extremists and pro-Kremlin forces. A principled response to Putin’s occupation of Ukraine, Georgia or Moldova—such as Merkel’s— is harder to pull through. As Russia sees it, if you cannot defeat the other team, tear down the playing field.

Secondly, Moscow employs short-term campaigns on a tactical level. This includes supporting Kremlin-preferred politicians and policies and attacking their opponents with hostile means. Such support was awarded to Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, the “leave” vote in the Brexit referendum, and the “no” vote in the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. If such tactics are successful, Putin celebrates because he perceives the opponent as more dangerous.

The Russian authorities and their proxies use a wide variety of tools to achieve soft regime change, meaning getting Putin-friendly politicians into office. With politicians who are soft on Russia, Putin gets effective allies who are less willing to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity or stand up to Russia’s subversive efforts in the West.

Knowing this, Moscow’s view of German politics becomes more clear.

Due to Merkel’s principled position, Germany is the key architect of Europe’s sanctions against Russia. That’s why she is the prime target of Putin’s hostile actions and is demonized by Russian puppet media.

Outside of the Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), every major party wants to soften Germany’s position on Russia. Conservative CSU, Merkel’s close partner, focuses its rhetoric on a “business-first” approach, no matter Russia’s violations of international law. The leader of center-right liberal FDPA, a probable coalition member, has publicly flirted with removing Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea from Germany’s foreign policy focus. The Greens, another probable coalition partner, have strong anti-Putin messaging, but its rhetoric verges on anti-American as well, helping Moscow massively.

On the far left is Moscow’s reliable ally Die Linke. Their agenda is clear: Bash the West and the U.S. for everything and always relativize Russia’s atrocities. On the far right, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose funding remains unclear, openly advocates for Russia; one of its foreign policy priorities is appeasement. It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. Both vocalize Russia’s foreign policy objectives and have real political presence, though they have limited influence on German and EU policy as a whole. They drive conversation about policies the Kremlin cares about, but they cannot directly influence their implementation.

Putin’s goals in Germany are obvious: Break Berlin’s policy on sanctions and support for Ukraine, put Germany at odds with Washington, and push through Nord Stream 2 to side line Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe and increase Berlin’s dependency on Russian energy supply.

Who in the German political establishment shares these goals? The Social Democrats (SPD). There are various possible roots for the SPD’s submissive policy towards Putin. It might be the phantom pain of Ostpolitik, a feeling that SPD has nothing to contribute on foreign policy other than differing with CDU on Russia. It might be the schroederization effect, where some leaders see the former chancellor’s lucrative Russian business deals as a potential path for themselves. It’s astounding that Schröder’s work for Putin doesn’t matter to SPD—he even got a hero’s welcome at its last party convention. It took Putin’s self-proclaimed friend accepting another position within Russia’s state-linked companies for German press to begin criticizing him. Schröder isn’t the only Putin-friendly former SPD boss. Matthias Platzeck also serves in the broader Kremlin-linked network, presiding over Deutsch-Russisches-Forum,” frequently talking to Russian propaganda mouthpiece Sputnik, and befriendingformer KGB officer and Putin inner circle oligarch Vladimir Jakunin, who now runs his pro-Putin influence network directly from Berlin.

It’s not only former leaders; current leaders are adopting similar policies. SPD senior figures are the established advocates for Nord Stream 2—basically teaming up with Putin against Germany’s allies in Eastern Europe. SPD leadership has called for the U.S. nuclear umbrella to be withdrawn from Germany, advocated for “phasing-out” sanctions against Russia (which CSU does all the time), opposes any additional sanctions on Russia, and called NATO reassurance exercises in Poland “warmongering.”

The ultimate reason that the Social Democrats support Putin’s foreign policy objectives may never be known, but the party is Putin’s most important advocate in the German political establishment. In contrast with Die Linke or AfD, SPD can shape policies.

Best-case scenario for Moscow is a CDU/CSU-SPD coalition, which would force Angela Merkel to be softer on Russia. Under this coalition, countries concerned with Russian aggression would have a principled backer in her, but Berlin wouldn’t be the leading force pushing back against Russia’s subversion of European democracies. Moreover, the Kremlin’s short-term project in Germany is Nord Stream 2, of which SPD is a key proponent. Because SPD has invested enormous political capital in it, Merkel wouldn’t block it—to do so would be too politically expensive. With this option off the table, Moscow will have its friends run the German opposition.

With SPD likely being out of the next coalition, Moscow lost big-time.

Jakub Janda is the head of the Kremlin Watch Program at the Prague-based European Values Think-Tank. He consults for governments on how to counter hostile foreign influence operations.

The Real Loser of Germany’s Election: Vladimir Putin

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Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 – Google Search

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Story image for Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 from CNN

Clinton opens door to questioning legitimacy of 2016 election

CNNSep 18, 2017
Clinton is in the midst of a media blitz to promote her new memoir, “What … they had been working toward, and the perfect Trojan Horse for Putin,” Clinton writes. … overturned their recent presidential election and ordered a new vote. … they were supposed to win,” Trump posted on social media in March.

Story image for Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 from The Guardian

Trojan horse: the real story behind the fake ‘Islamic plot’ to take over …

The GuardianAug 31, 2017
In the media, the term “Trojan horse” quickly became shorthand for a …. but educationalists in the UShave studied similar approaches with …. Ofsted singled out its excellent provision for social, moral and religious care. … Birmingham city council had £650m cut from its budget between 2010 and 2016.

Story image for Social media trojan horse in us elections 2016 from Observer

The Real Loser of Germany’s Election: Vladimir Putin

ObserverSep 25, 2017
The Real Loser of Germany’s Election: Vladimir Putin … Angela Merkel during the height of the 2015-2016 migration wave, … of Putin’s hostile actions and is demonized by Russian puppet media. … It’s no wonder these two parties are called the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses. … The Social Democrats (SPD).
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Clinton opens door to questioning legitimacy of 2016 election

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The comment, a remarkable step for the former Democratic nominee, exemplifies Clinton’s belief that President Donald Trump and his campaign could have knowingly received help from Russian operatives in the 2016 election.

Clinton has said previously that she conceded to Trump quickly and attended his inauguration because the nation’s peaceful transfer of power is critical. But her comments to NPR signal that as the depths of Russia’s interference are revealed she could envision a time when she questions Trump’s legitimacy as president.

NPR’s Terry Gross asked Clinton directly during the interview whether she would “completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?”

“No. I would not,” Clinton said.

close dialog

Gross asked: “You’re not going to rule it out?”

“No,” Clinton said. “I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Clinton is in the midst of a media blitz to promote her new memoir, “What Happened,”

a reflection on her stunning loss in the 2016 election

 and diagnostic for the Democratic Party going forward. The subsequent book tour has thrust Clinton back into the public eye after months largely out of the news.

In the book, Clinton casts Trump as a toxic but hapless leader who won the White House by preying on the nation’s fears. Nowhere in the book, however, does she directly question his legitimacy, although she certainly comes close in the 500-page memoir.

Glen Caplin, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, reiterated in a statement after the interview aired that the former secretary of state “has said repeatedly the results of the election are over but we have to learn what happened.”

“I would hope anyone in America concerned about the integrity of our democracy would feel the same way if we got there. But we’re not,” Caplin said. “Right now Bob Mueller and several congressional committees are investigating to what extent the Russians impacted our election and who exactly helped them do so.”

Clinton devotes an entire chapter to Russia, saying that the nation’s intervention in the 2016 election — which is currently being investigating by a host of congressional panels and a special counsel — led to Trump’s win.

“In many ways, Trump is the embodiment of everything they had been working toward, and the perfect Trojan Horse for Putin,” Clinton writes.

She adds, “No foreign power in modern history has attacked us with so few consequences, and that puts us all at risk.”

Clinton, in her interview with Gross, adds that there are likely no avenues, however, for her to challenge the 2016 results if she feels she needs to.

“Basically I don’t believe there are. There are scholars, academics, who have arguments that it would be, but I don’t think they’re on strong ground,” she told Gross. “But people are making those arguments. I just don’t think we have a mechanism.”

“What happened in Kenya, which I’m only beginning to delve into, is that the Supreme Court there said there are so many really unanswered and problematic questions, we’re going to throw the election out and redo it,” Clinton said. “We have no such provision in our country. And usually we don’t need it.”

Clinton’s comments are sure to further Trump’s deeply held belief that investigations into Russia — and Democrats’ calls for further pressure on the White House — are nothing more than the left’s attempts to rewrite the 2016 election and make up for Clinton’s loss.

“This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win,” Trump posted on social media in March. “The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality.”

In her book, Clinton also wrote that once the election was over, she felt she needed to help the transition to Trump’s presidency go smoothly.

“Still, I felt a responsibility to be there,” she wrote about attending Trump’s inauguration, no matter how painful. “The peaceful transfer of power is one of our country’s most important traditions.”

And she made the same case hours after her crushing loss, as she stood before the nation and her supporters to publicly concede the election.

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power,” she said. “We don’t just respect that. We cherish it.”

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Social media giants called to testify by US Congress

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Three of the biggest social media giants on the planet, Facebook, Google and Twitter, have been called to testify in front of the Congressional investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump has made Twitter into a powerful alt-advertising media of his own, but says Facebook is lined up alongside the ‘lamestream’ media.

The trio is expected to give public testimony from November 1 but as yet none have confirmed they will attend.

The three companies have already been summoned to testify in front of the US Senate.

statistical studies of 2016 elections – Google Search

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Story image for statistical studies of 2016 elections from ThinkProgress

5 false statistics Trump’s voter fraud panel will use to restrict voting

ThinkProgressSep 11, 2017
President Trump’s “election integrity” commission is scheduled to hold its … voting swung New Hampshire’s Senate election in 2016, and voting groups … who will present a series of sham statisticsand questionable studies to …

Oxford Computational Propaganda Project – Google Search

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Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Mother Jones

Mother Jones

Propaganda flowed heavily into battleground states around election …

Washington Post6 hours ago
Propaganda and other forms of “junk news” on Twitter flowed more … said the researchers at Oxford’s Project on Computational Propaganda.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Quartz

Congress is investigating how Twitter bots may have influenced the …

Quartz13 hours ago
… to curb the ones that are spreading propaganda and misinformation, one … the Project on Computational Propaganda at the Oxford Internet …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from CNN

The fake Tea Party Twitter account linked to Russia and followed by …

CNNSep 21, 2017
Part of the Russian propaganda campaign during the election involved … the director of the Computational Propaganda project at the Oxford …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Financial Times

Rightwing populist AfD dominates German Twitter, new study shows

Financial TimesSep 19, 2017
The study by the Oxford Computational Propaganda project found that, of almost 1m tweets collected between September 1 and 10, hashtags …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Council on Foreign Relations (blog)

Bashing Facebook Is Not the Answer to Curbing Russian Influence …

Council on Foreign Relations (blog)Sep 20, 2017
Monica Kaminska is a DPhil candidate and previously worked on the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from TechCrunch

Tech companies automate autocratic media in China around the world

TechCrunchSep 6, 2017
Samuel Woolley is the Director of Research of the Computational Propaganda Project at the OxfordInternet Institute, University of Oxford.

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Toronto Star

Toronto Star

Social media ‘bots’ tried to influence the US election. Germany may …

Science MagazineSep 13, 2017
Lisa-Maria Neudert of the Computational Propaganda Project at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom is comparing current bot activity …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Computerworld

Disinformation as a service? DaaS not good!

ComputerworldSep 9, 2017
The phrase “computational propaganda” is closely associated with the Computational Propaganda Project at Oxford University, which coined …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Evolve Politics

The Tories are wasting YOUR tax money on Army ‘PsyOps’ to create …

Evolve PoliticsSep 15, 2017
A recent report from leading academics at the University of Oxford … The report authored by The Computational Propaganda Project at the …

Story image for Oxford Computational Propaganda Project from Voice of America

When Fake News Is Official News

Voice of AmericaSep 19, 2017
… a study for the Oxford Internet Institute on “Computational Propaganda … but on closer inspection seems to be the personal project of a Polish …
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Social Media, News and Political Information during the US Election: Was Polarizing Content Concentrated in Swing States?

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US voters shared large volumes of polarizing political news and information in the form of links to content from Russian, WikiLeaks and junk news sources. Was this low quality political information distributed evenly around the country, or concentrated in swing states and particular parts of the country? In this data memo we apply a tested dictionary of sources about political news and information being shared over Twitter in over a ten day period around the 2016 Presidential Election. Using self-reported location information, we place a third of users by state and create a simple index for the distribution of polarizing content around the country. We find that (1) nationally, Twitter users got more misinformation, polarizing and conspiratorial content than professionally produced news. (2) Users in some states, however, shared more polarizing political news and information than users in other states. (3) Average levels of misinformation were higher in swing states than in uncontested states, even when weighted for the relative size of the user population in each state. We conclude with some observations about the impact of strategically disseminated polarizing information on public life.

Download here.

Philip N. Howard, Bence Kollanyi, Samantha Bradshaw, Lisa-Maria Neudert. “Social Media, News and Political Information during the US Election: Was Polarizing Content Concentrated in Swing States?” Data Memo 2017.8. Oxford, UK: Project on Computational Propaganda. comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk.

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Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win – Mother Jones

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leirbagarc/123RF; FrankRamspott/Getty

Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.

Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins.

While it’s unclear what effect such content ultimately had on voters, the new study only deepens concerns about how the 2016 election may have been tweaked by nefarious forces on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. “Many people use these platforms to find news and information that shapes their political identities and voting behavior,” says Samantha Bradshaw, a lead researcher for Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project, which has been tracking disinformation strategies around the world since 2014. “If bad actors can lower the quality of information, they are diminishing the quality of democracy.”

Efforts by Vladimir Putin’s regime were among the polarizing content captured in the new Oxford study. “We know the Russians have literally invested in social media,” Bradshaw told Mother Jones, referring to reports of Russian-bought Facebook ads as well as sophisticated training of Russian disinformation workers detailed in another recent study by the team. “Swing states would be the ones you would want to target.”

The dubious Twitter content in the new study also contained polarizing YouTube videos–including some produced by the Kremlin-controlled RT network, which were uploaded without any information identifying them as Russian-produced. All the YouTube videos have since been taken down, according to Bradshaw; it’s unclear whether the accounts were deleted by the users, or if YouTube removed the content.

The Oxford researchers captured 22 million tweets from Nov. 1-11, 2016, and have been scrutinizing the dataset to better understand the impact of disinformation on the US election. The team also has analyzed propaganda operations in more than two dozen countries, using a combination of reports from trusted media sources and think tanks, and cross-checking that information with experts on the ground. Their recent research has additional revelations about how disinformation works in the social-media age, including from Moscow:

In studying Russia’s propaganda efforts targeting both domestic and international populations, the Oxford researchers found evidence of increasing military expenditures on social media operations since 2014. They also learned of a sophisticated training system for workers employed by Putin’s disinformation apparatus: “They have invested millions of dollars into training staff and setting targets for them,” Bradshaw says. She described a working environment where English training is provided to improve messaging for Western audiences: Supervisors hand out topical talking points to include in coordinated messaging, workers’ content is edited, and output is audited, with rewards given to more productive workers.

One telltale sign of bots stems from a group of accounts that tweet much more frequently than typical humans—or accounts that tweet on exact intervals, say, every five minutes. The bot-driven accounts may lack typical profile elements such as profile pictures (see also: the generic Twitter egg) and often don’t engage in replies with other social-media accounts. In addition to spreading fake news, “they can also amplify marginal voices and ideas by inflating the number of likes, shares and retweets they receive, creating an artificial sense of popularity, momentum or relevance,” the Oxford team reported recently.

While it’s difficult for researchers to untangle how many Twitter bots are Russian-controlled, they regularly see Russian accounts in the mix: For example, on Twitter, they found accounts following Donald Trump that tweeted most frequently during Russian business hours and switched regularly between English and Cyrillic.

On Facebook, it’s much more challenging to sort out which content is bot-driven, says Bradshaw. That’s in part because on Facebook, bots typically operate pages or groups, which can be even more opaque than individual accounts.

The Oxford researchers also found that bots infiltrated the core conversations among their Twitter data during the election period—and several of their analyses revealed that bots supported Trump much more than Hillary Clinton. A separate research effort by Emilio Ferrara at University of Southern California, cited in Oxford’s report, determined that about one fifth of campaign-related tweets during the month before the election likely was generated by bots. Ferrara’s team recorded 4 million tweets in that time period posted by about 400,000 bots.

In the days before the Sept. 24 parliamentary election, the Oxford researchers found that political bots were minimally active on Twitter in Germany. The most tweets tracked were in support of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which won 13 percent of the vote and became the first far-right party to earn a presence in Parliament in 60-plus years. The research also found that Germans were much less likely to share fake news stories than their American counterparts, sharing links from professional news organizations four times as often as links from sites pushing fake news. Researchers theorize that voters in Germany and other parts of Europe may have been inoculated to the effects of bot-driven fake news, thanks to the ongoing fallout from 2016. “I would speculate the Russians overplayed their hand in the US elections,” Bradshaw says. “Voters in the US weren’t really prepared, but that was part of the discourse in other countries like Germany.”

But the battle is only beginning. In the hands of bad operators “the bots get a bit smarter,” Bradshaw says. When those controlling them realize that the bots are being tracked, for example, they may adjust the frequency that they tweet in order to fly below researchers’ radar. Bradshaw also notes that voice-simulation technology combined with video-simulation technology is making it increasingly possible to create fake news—say, a video showing politicians making statements that they never actually said. “In innovations in technology,” she cautions, “the attackers always have the advantage.”

Read the whole story
· · · · ·

Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones

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If you were Russia and you wanted to influence the American election, where would you target your efforts? Swing states, of course. Even Vladimir Putin knows that.

And apparently that’s exactly what they did. Denise Clifton reports:

Millions of tweets were flying furiously in the final days leading up to the 2016 US presidential election. And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to new research published Thursday by Oxford University.

Nationwide during this period, one polarizing story was typically shared on average for every one story produced by a professional news organization. However, fake news from Twitter reached higher concentrations than the national average in 27 states, 12 of which were swing states—including Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, where Trump won by slim margins.

About a fifth of this traffic was generated by bots. As we used to say back in the day, read the whole thing.

Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News – Mother Jones

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Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News
Mother Jones
And in closely fought battleground states that would prove key to Donald Trump’s victory, they were more likely than elsewhere in America to be spreading links to fake news and hyper-politicized content from Russian sources and WikiLeaks, according to and more »

Poll: Donald Trump Has Embarrassed America And Really Needs To Stop Tweeting Now

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A majority say he’s not fit to serve as president.

The Trump Voter Paradox – New York Times

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New York Times
The Trump Voter Paradox
New York Times
And the clout of the authoritarian, white identity wing of the Republican Party is such that Trumpis governing to please this wing first and foremost. From his apocalyptic threats to Kim Jong-un to his call for the firing of protesting N.F.L. players 

Facebook Russian Ads That Influenced Election Released To Congress – news9.com KWTV

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news9.com KWTV
Facebook Russian Ads That Influenced Election Released To Congress
news9.com KWTV
Facebook has agreed to disclose ads to Congress that were purchased by Russians on the social media platform in that country’s effort to influence the 2016 election, the company announced Thursday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the brief announcement in …
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Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight – Politico

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Politico
Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight
Politico
Twitter’s power to influence the news cycle makes it a convenient tool, people who have studied the social network’s role in the election say. “The fastest way to move a story from outlying media to mainstream media is to promote it on Twitter,” said 
Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisionsWashington Post
Exclusive: Russian-bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and FergusonCNNMoney
Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Stein, Sanders and TrumpPoliticoall 315 news articles »

Twitter to talk to House, Senate in Russia probe – New York Daily News

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New York Daily News
Twitter to talk to House, Senate in Russia probe
New York Daily News
FILE- This April 26, 2017, file photo shows the Twitter app on a mobile phone in Philadelphia. Social media giant Twitter will visit Capitol Hill Sept. 28, as part of the House and Senateinvestigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics – The Independent

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The Independent
Donald Trump is ‘the most dangerous man in the world’, claim leading psychiatrists and academics
The Independent
Ms Sheehy wrote in her chapter: “Beneath the grandiose behaviour of every narcissist lies the pit of fragile self-esteem. What if, deep down, … Dr Lee has long complained that psychiatrists seeking to warn of what she has called Mr Trump’s 

The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – The Washington Post

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The department sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley on Sept. 22 after Grassley said he was preparing subpoenas for the two to appear. But the department said Jim Rybicki and Carl Ghattas could only speak to the committee if they avoided questions “directly relating to, or interfering with” the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Both Mueller and the Judiciary Committee are probing President Donald Trump’s firing of Comey in May and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In a letter Wednesday, Grassley asked the department for clarification, saying he would still subpoena the witnesses if they wouldn’t talk about certain topics.

The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials – Washington Post

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The Latest: Senate able to interview 2 FBI officials
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The Latest on congressional investigations into Russia’s interference in the2016 election (all times local):. 7:30 p.m.. The Justice Department has agreed to allow the Senate Judiciary Committee to interview two FBI officials close to and more »

27.09.2017 22:22

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What We Know About Russia’s Use Of Twitter In 2016 Propaganda Campaign – by Sam Thielman | 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales | The GOP’s Stockholm Syndrome | TRUMP-RUSSIA Investigations Update: Stone may be subpoenaed | Manafort’s Offer to Russian Oligarch Was Tied to Disputed Deal

The GOP’s Stockholm Syndrome

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Like many victims, the GOP establishment failed to perceive danger before their captor bound and gagged them.

 

TRUMP-RUSSIA

Trump’s longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone told lawmakers that he had been falsely accused of colluding with Russia during testimony to the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, when emerging from over three hours of closed-dorr questioning, Stone said that he had “correct[ed] a number of things that members of the committee had said” about him. Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

Stone refused to disclose the name of his intermediary with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, also stating after the session that he expected special counsel Robert Mueller to “manufacture” a charge against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in the near future. Julian Borger reports at the Guardian.

Stone may be subpoenaed, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said yesterday, making the comments after Stone refused to respond to a key line of questioning, Reuters reports.

An analysis of Stone’s statement to the Committee is provided by Just Security Editor Renato Mariotti at Just Security.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Manafort are “99 percent” likely to be indicted as part of Mueller’s investigation, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said yesterday (D-Conn.) said yesterday. Darren Samuelsohn reports at POLITICO.

“Why is the F.B.I. so focused on keeping Congress in the dark?” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked yesterday, castigating the Department of Justice and the F.B.I. for not complying with requests for two F.B.I. agents to testify before the committee. Joe Uchill reports at the Hill.

The I.R.S. is providing documents to Mueller’s team about key Trump campaign officials after the agency and the team clashed during the summer – mostly due to concerns about the scope of Mueller’s investigation. Manu Raju, Pamela Brown and Evan Perez report at CNN.

“I think there was an effort to bring some chaos to the groups on the right and the left,” the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said yesterday in reference to the Russian use of ads on Facebook during the presidential campaign, but stating that “there’s nothing that could learn towards one candidate versus the other.” Ali Breland reports at the Hill.

Russian-bought Facebook ads benefited Trump, Bernie Sanders and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, according to a source familiar with the ads. Josh Dawsey reports at POLITICO.

Manafort’s Offer to Russian Oligarch Was Tied to Disputed Deal – Bloomberg

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Bloomberg
Manafort’s Offer to Russian Oligarch Was Tied to Disputed Deal
Bloomberg
When Donald Trump’s campaign chairman offered private briefings to a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin last year, he wasn’t only appealing to a superpower, he was pursuing a personal mission: the end to a costly dispute over a failed …and more »

What We Know About Russia’s Use Of Twitter In 2016 Propaganda Campaign – TPM

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TPM
What We Know About Russia’s Use Of Twitter In 2016 Propaganda Campaign
TPM
In this case, it appears to have given useful platforms to what the U.S. intelligence community says were fronts for a Russian intelligence service. The Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks accounts haven’t tweeted since January 2017 and December 2016, respectively.and more »

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Thielman is an investigative reporter for Talking Points Memo based in Manhattan. He has worked as a reporter and critic for the Guardian, Variety, Adweek and Newsday, where he covered stories from the hacking attacks on US and international targets by Russian GRU and FSB security services to the struggle to bring broadband internet to the Navajo nation. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son and too many comic books.

What We Know About Russia’s Use Of Twitter In 2016 Propaganda Campaign – Talking Points Memo

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Subscribe to TPM Prime for a better reading experience, exclusive features and to support our reporters’ award-winning journalism.

In recent weeks, Facebook has received the lion’s share of attention when it comes to the social media component of Russia’s interference in the U.S. election. But the service the President so frequently and famously uses hasn’t received quite the same level of scrutiny yet—perhaps because it’s much harder to nail down exactly what happened on Twitter during the 2016 campaign.

Much of the activity on Twitter is a morass of bot traffic, spam accounts mobbing hashtags and plain old harassment, so teasing out the Twitter component of a coordinated influence campaign that spanned multiple platforms is a seriously tall order. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have proposed some of the first regulations that would specifically affect Twitter and Facebook; a Twitter spokesman told TPM that, regarding regulation, “we are open to discussing this with the FEC and Congress.”

There are a few facts about Russian-linked activity on Twitter during the 2016 campaign we already know thanks to published reports, but there’s much more that remains unclear. Answers to some of those unanswered questions could emerge from Twitter’s closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks spread propaganda on Twitter

The primary arms of the Russian disinformation campaign operated on Twitter—in fact, you still can visit the Twitter pages for DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, two of the outlets for emails stolen from Democratic organizations and operatives.

Twitter has a laissez-faire attitude toward who can and can’t use its network; short of distributing something illegal or advocating violence—and sometimes even then—users can do pretty much whatever they want with impunity. In this case, it appears to have given useful platforms to what the U.S. intelligence community says were fronts for a Russian intelligence service.

The Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks accounts haven’t tweeted since January 2017 and December 2016, respectively.

Groups of synchronized, automated accounts promoted Trump in the interest of Russians

Russian intelligence also used networks of automated accounts, or social botnets, on Twitter, although it’s hard to tell which were actually harnessed by the GRU and which were simply a function of Russia’s burgeoning cybercrime industry. Much of the work that has been done tracking bot accounts is inductive, which has made the task of labeling bot accounts a perilous one. Plenty of amateur Trump-Russia sleuths have managed to look foolish for accusing run-of-the-mill conservative Twitter users of being Russian bots.

But some of the reasoning is convincing and comes from reliable sources. Cybersecurity researcher Brian Krebs, formerly a reporter for the Washington Post, noted that any time he criticized Putin, it mysteriously generated defensive tweets about Trump. He also observed that the service’s like and retweet buttons were being used as part of a strategic offense.

Russian-linked accounts promoted fake news stories

Russian social botnets appear to have been used to promote a lot of far-right news hashtags, according to Hamilton 68, a program that tracks probable bots of Russian origin. This is in itself not especially unusual. Twitter charges to promote tweets and tags on its service, so an underhanded advertiser may feel the need to promote its work through a network of linked accounts that will get it the requisite number of likes and retweets.

But a January report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in noted that Russian state-affiliated bloggers had prepared such a campaign for Clinton’s victory. “Before he election, Russian diplomats had publicly denounced the US electoral process and were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results,” the report’s authors wrote. “Pro- Kremlin bloggers had prepared a Twitter campaign, #DemocracyRIP, on election night in anticipation of Secretary Clinton’s victory, judging from their social media activity.”

At other moments, Russian Twitter users glommed onto the far-right news of the day, including the conspiracy theory that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich had something to do with the stolen emails.

Russians ran at least one pro-Trump news account

The @tpartynews account had some 22,000 followers and regularly insulted Black Lives Matter activists. The account was followed by former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka, who himself has been linked to far-right racist and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary.

How much bot traffic was actually directed by Russian intelligence?

Bot traffic on Twitter is vast. While it accounted for 33 percent of pro-Trump tweets during the run-up to the 2016 election, it also accounted for 22 percent of pro-Clinton tweets. It’s very difficult to tell which tweets are of Russian origin and which Russian tweets are part of a Kremlin influence campaign. Much of this simply speaks to a vulnerability on the platform that activists have been complaining about for years: Twitter’s sign-up process is very simple and open to abuse by anyone who, for whatever reason, wants to promote a malicious agenda or harass other users.

To what extent did Russia use Twitter’s ad technology?

We now know Russian operators used Facebook to run ad campaigns around divisive social issues. They made use of the company’s microtargeting capabilities, which are especially effective at locating people who may be sympathetic to the deluge of anti-Clinton, pro-Trump news that the GRU had already seeded through WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. Twitter hasn’t yet answered the question of whether Russian intelligence was able to operate to its satisfaction merely using botnets and sock-puppet accounts like @tpartynews, or whether it needed to buy promoted tweets or hashtags; so far there’s no evidence that it did.

Why are some Russian accounts dormant while others are still active?

One group tracking Russian bots notes that many of them haven’t stopped tweeting. In fact, they tweeted in support of alt-right groups in the aftermath of the slaying of Heather Heyer at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Again, some of this is inductive reasoning: ProPublica identified one account as a bot by noting it used a stolen photo, sent five tweets in a single minute that all used a URL shortener, and that the account’s tweets “were reported to use similar language from Russian government–backed outlets Sputnik and RT.” Of course, all this could be true of a human account, too.

What does Twitter plan to do about any of this?

Twitter is due on Capitol Hill Wednesday and Thursday. The company has thus far been tight-lipped about its strategy for dealing with malicious foreign governments trying to tamper in each others’ elections—similar influence campaigns in France and Germany have taken place since the American election. The company may come up with some kind of internal proposal for enhancing its ability to detect and root out activity like the GRU influence campaign in much the same way it, along with Facebook, has agreed to help the U.S. deal with social media accounts run by the Islamic State.

Government contractor arrested by counter-terror police over Official Secrets Act – The Independent

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The Independent
Government contractor arrested by counter-terror police over Official Secrets Act
The Independent
… was arrested at an address in north London by officers “acting upon intelligence received.” She was arrested on suspicion of an offence contrary to section 1 of the Official Secret Act 1911, and was detained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.and more »

National Action: 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales – The Independent

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The Independent
National Action: 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales
The Independent
Police have arrested 11 suspected members of a neo-Nazi group on suspicion of terror offences across England and Wales. Six men were arrested in north west England, including one suspect who was already in prison, two in Wales, two in West Yorkshire …
UK counter-terror police arrest 11 amid far-right probeHouston Chronicle
Anti-terror police arrest 11 men in national sting on neo-Nazi terror groupManchester Evening Newsall 24 news articles »

 

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