Voter manipulation on social media now a global problem, report finds

New research by the Oxford Internet Institute has found that social media manipulation is getting worse, with rising numbers of governments and political parties making cynical use of social media algorithms, automation and big data to manipulate public opinion at scale — with hugely worrying implications for democracy. The report found that computational propaganda and […]

FEC says political campaigns can now get discounted cybersecurity help

In a long-awaited decision, the Federal Elections Commission will now allow political campaigns to appoint cybersecurity helpers to protect political campaigns from cyberthreats and malicious attackers. The FEC, which regulates political campaigns and contributions, was initially poised to block the effort under existing rules that disallow campaigns to receive discounted services for federal candidates because […]

Facebook finds and kills another 512 Kremlin-linked fake accounts

Two years on from the U.S. presidential election, Facebook continues to have a major problem with Russian disinformation being megaphoned via its social tools. In a blog post today the company reveals another tranche of Kremlin-linked fake activity — saying it’s removed a total of 471 Facebook pages and accounts, as well as 41 Instagram accounts, which […]

Facebook and Twitter remove accounts spreading fake news ahead of Bangladesh’s elections

Twitter and Facebook announced this morning they’ve removed a combined total of 30 accounts that were working to spread misinformation in Bangladesh, 10 days before the country’s general elections. According to Facebook, the company removed nine Facebook Pages and six Facebook accounts that were engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Twitter said it removed 15 accounts that […]

Europe dials up pressure on tech giants over election security

The European Union has announced a package of measures intended to step up efforts and pressure on tech giants to combat democracy-denting disinformation ahead of the EU parliament elections next May. The European Commission Action Plan, which was presented at a press briefing earlier today, has four areas of focus: 1) Improving detection of disinformation; 2) […]

Tool up for the midterms with this Facebook junk news aggregator

With the US midterms fast approaching purveyors of online disinformation are very busy indeed spreading their hyper-partisan junk on Facebook . Their goal: Skewing democratic outcomes by putting out misleading, deceptive or incorrect information that’s packaged as real news about politics, economics or culture — yet presented in a way that panders to prejudices and is […]

Tech and ad giants sign up to Europe’s first weak bite at ‘fake news’

The European Union’s executive body has signed up tech platforms and ad industry players to a voluntary  Code of Practice aimed at trying to do something about the spread of disinformation online. Something, just not anything too specifically quantifiable. According to the Commission, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Mozilla, some additional members of the EDIMA trade association, […]

Fake news is an existential crisis for social media 

The funny thing about fake news is how mind-numbingly boring it can be. Not the fakes themselves — they’re constructed to be catnip clickbait to stoke the fires of rage of their intended targets. Be they gun owners. People of color. Racists. Republican voters. And so on. The really tedious stuff is all the also […]

UK to set up security unit to combat state disinformation campaigns

The UK government has announced plans to set up a dedicated national security unit to combat state-led disinformation campaigns — raising questions about how broad its ‘fake news’ bullseye will be. Last November UK prime minister Theresa May publicly accused Russia of seeking to meddle in elections by weaponizing information and spreading fake news online. “The […]

Facebook agrees to take a deeper look into Russian Brexit meddling

Facebook has said it will conduct a wider investigation into whether there was Russian meddling on its platform relating to the 2016 Brexit referendum vote in the UK. Yesterday its UK policy director Simon Milner wrote to a parliamentary committee that’s been conducting a wide-ranging enquiry into fake news — and whose chair has been […]