FEC says political campaigns can now get discounted cybersecurity help


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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 it’s treated as an “in kind donation.”

For now the ruling allows just one firm, Area 1 Security, which brought the case to the FEC, to assist federal campaigns to fight disinformation campaigns and hacking efforts, both of which were prevalent during the 2016 presidential election.

Campaigns had fought in favor of the proposal, fearing a re-run of 2016 in the upcoming presidential and lawmaker elections in 2020.

FBI director Christopher Wray said last in April that the recent disinformation efforts were “a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.”

In

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A government propaganda app is going viral in China


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Besides binge-watching TikTok videos and battling enemies in the magical land of mobile games, many Chinese people may also pass time during the upcoming Lunar New Year on Xuexi Qiangguo, a news and chat app developed by the country’s top ideology officials.

The app managed to top the Chinese App Store between January 22 and 25 before two ByteDance apps pushed it down to the third place this week, download statistics from App Annie shows. At a glance, the news section is almost exclusively about the Communist Party and president Xi Jinping.

xuexi qiangguo

The app is almost exclusively about the Communist Party and president Xi Jinping.

It doubles as an instant messenger, with development support provided by Alibaba’s Dingtalk enterprise communications tool. That means users can log in via their Dingtalk account and chat with their Dingtalk contacts directly over Xuexi Qiangguo. Alibaba explains this is a “regular business collaboration” between Dingtalk’s

xuexi qiangguo
xuexi qiangguo

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Facebook finds and kills another 512 Kremlin-linked fake accounts


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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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 were being used to spread propaganda in regions where Putin’s regime has sharp geopolitical interests.

In its latest reveal of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” — aka the euphemism Facebook uses for disinformation campaigns that rely on its tools to generate a veneer of authenticity and plausibility in order to pump out masses of sharable political propaganda — the company says it identified two operations, both originating in Russia, and both using similar tactics without any apparent direct links between the two networks.

One operation was targeting Ukraine specifically, while the other was

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


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Twitter and Facebook announced this morning they’ve removed a combined total of 30 accounts that were working to spread misinformation in Bangladesh, ten 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 were doing the same. Both companies said the accounts had government ties.

“Working with our industry peers we identified and suspended a very small number of accounts originating from Bangladesh for engaging in coordinated platform manipulation,” Twitter explained in a tweet. “Based on our initial analysis, it appears that some of these accounts may have ties to state-sponsored actors,” it said.

Facebook, in a blog post, said it was first alerted to the fake news posts, in part, based on a tip from Graphika, a threat intelligence company it works with. The Facebook

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Tool up for the midterms with this Facebook junk news aggregator


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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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 more likely to get virally spread on mainstream social media platforms where it has the chance to influence people’s views.

This has happened before; is still happening; and will keep on happening unless or until social media platforms get properly regulated.

In the meanwhile, what’s to be done? Arming yourselves and your friends with smart digital and news literacy tools to help shine a light on the kind of ridiculously over-inflated political nonsense that’s being passed around on all sides (albeit, not necessarily equally) seems like

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


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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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, plus unnamed advertising groups are among those that have signed up to the self-regulatory code, which will apply in a month’s time.

Signatories have committed to taking not exactly prescribed actions in the following five areas:

  • Disrupting advertising revenues of certain accounts and websites that spread disinformation;
  • Making political advertising and issue based advertising more transparent;
  • Addressing the issue of fake accounts and online bots;
  • Empowering consumers to report disinformation and access different news sources, while improving the visibility and findability of authoritative content;
  • Empowering the research community to monitor online disinformation through privacy-compliant access

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Study: Russia-linked fake Twitter accounts sought to spread terrorist-related social division in the UK


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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 A study by UK academics looking at how fake social media accounts were used to spread socially divisive messages in the wake of a spate of domestic terrorists attacks this year has warned that the problem of hostile interference in public debate is greater than previously thought. Read More

Fighting fake news online wins these three projects accolades


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 There are few greater threats to democracy in the world today than the proliferation of fake news and propaganda.
So it was no surprise that this year’s National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) prestigious Democracy Award focused on websites and research organizations that are countering the distribution of fake news. Read More

In major policy change YouTube is now taking down more videos of known extremists


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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 A spokeswoman told us YouTube has broadened its policy for taking down extremist content: Not just removing videos that directly preach hate or seek to incite violence but also removing other videos of named terrorists, unless the content is journalistic or educational in nature — such as news reports and documentaries.  Read More

Antisocial media?


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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 As Facebook finds itself publicly on the hook for enabling Russian agents to spread divisive propaganda via its platform, be it in the form of fake news, ‘dark ads’, issue pushing Facebook pages, and even political rallies organized using its Event tools, there’s another side to the story of how tech tools are impacting the democratic process currently playing out in… Read More

Google to ramp up AI efforts to ID extremism on YouTube


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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 Last week Facebook solicited help with what it dubbed “hard questions” — including how it should tackle the spread of terrorism propaganda on its platform. Yesterday Google followed suit with its own public pronouncement, via an op-ed in the FT newspaper, explaining how it’s ramping up measures to tackle extremist content. Read More

Google to ramp up AI efforts to ID extremism on YouTube


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




 Last week Facebook solicited help with what it dubbed “hard questions” — including how it should tackle the spread of terrorism propaganda on its platform. Yesterday Google followed suit with its own public pronouncement, via an op-ed in the FT newspaper, explaining how it’s ramping up measures to tackle extremist content. Read More