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Old 09-07-2017, 06:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Facebook Reportedly Turns Over Election Ad Data To Special Counsel Mueller

Facebook Reportedly Turns Over Election Ad Data To Special Counsel Mueller

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Facebook, the dominant social media network, said 3,000 ads and 470 “inauthentic” accounts and pages spread polarizing views on topics including immigration, race and gay rights.

Another $50,000 was spent on 2,200 “potentially politically related” ads, likely by Russians, Facebook said.
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Facebook didn't look at this and decide maybe they should put a stop to it???
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Russian money is just as digitally green as anyone's. Plus the amount really was just a drop in the bucket compared to most media ad buys. I think the Russians were testing the waters, but that avenue might not be there next time. They need to do more about fake accounts first.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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lol "inauthentic", "potentially" and "likely"... Quick, spin it some more and try and distance your datamining and targeted ad and page recommendation algorithms from this.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My guess is there might be 'cooperate or else' at issue here.
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Old 09-07-2017, 04:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The problem is that buying ads to sell fake news is not illegal. Now someone may be able to make a more sophisticated argument that it was, but at first glance it is not illegal. If it was, then we would never see The Enquirer in the shelves at supermarkets.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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maybe at the next election the russia spy in charge will go: oh! man our bots have been kicked off Facebook, what we gunna do ??

and some other spy will go: I know. We can go on Second Life. They love bots on there. And like we could all have multiples accounts for ourselves as well. And they have heaps of sexxors on there as well

and the spy in charge will go: really! i can has the sex ??? and the other guy will go: yusss !! and then all the russia secret spies will go: woohoo!! and the online now status will go way over 100,000 like the next day

and the whole russia spy thingy will totally collapse, and Mr Putin will go wtf !!! and they will all go: sexxors boss !! And he will go: Really !!! I can has the sex ???

and yusss! and the whole Putin empire will collapse as well, because sl sexxors. And all of us be able to go: We did that
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Old 09-07-2017, 06:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The problem is that buying ads to sell fake news is not illegal.
If they are foreigners, and the the purpose is to influence US elections, it *is* in fact illegal. But good luck trying to prosecute Russian nationals.
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Facebook undermines its own effort to fight fake news

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The fact-checkers enlisted by Facebook to help clear the site of “fake news” say the social media giant’s refusal to share information is hurting their efforts.

In December, Facebook promised to address the spread of misinformation on its platform, in part by working with outside fact-checking groups. But because the company has declined to share any internal data from the project, the fact-checkers say they have no way of determining whether the “disputed” tags they’re affixing to “fake news” articles slow — or perhaps even accelerate — the stories’ spread. They also say they’re lacking information that would allow them to prioritize the most important stories out of the hundreds possible to fact-check at any given moment.

Some days I just miss this guy:

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Old 09-08-2017, 08:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cristalle View Post
The problem is that buying ads to sell fake news is not illegal. Now someone may be able to make a more sophisticated argument that it was, but at first glance it is not illegal. If it was, then we would never see The Enquirer in the shelves at supermarkets.
It doesn't have ot be illegal for Facebook to take a moral stand against it.
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I find this especially troubling when coupled with the social engineering experiment Facebook conducted about a year before the campaigns geared up. Facebook treated it like an aw shucks we wasn't doin anything, really, moment, and the broader implications were largely ignored. Using a 'sophisticated algorthym ' they tried to influence their user's state of mind by directing specific types of posts to their news feeds. It worked. Facebook purposely manipulated users and it worked. So how do you monetize that info? maybe Russia, maybe political gain, maybe both and more? I'm guessing $100,000 is just the tip of the iceberg.

On top of that, seeing the fake hurricane Harvey posts (for instance BLM blocking hurricane victims from getting help got almost a million shares) Facebook has a lot to answer for. In my opinion it should be killed with fire.
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:20 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well, rumour has it that Zuckerburg wants to run in the future...
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Old 09-08-2017, 11:15 AM   #14 (permalink)
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If they are foreigners, and the the purpose is to influence US elections, it *is* in fact illegal. But good luck trying to prosecute Russian nationals.
Though I tend to agree, I would want to see an actual law that covers that with some precision. Also, there is clearly a lot of money in playing the rubes here, it is a damned cottage industry in and of itself. Limbaugh, Levin, Beck, Breitbart, InfoWars, Redstate, etc. ... who is to say that they weren't just in it for the profit? You'll have a hard time proving that they actually intended to influence US elections.
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Though I tend to agree, I would want to see an actual law that covers that with some precision.
52 US Code Section 30121 (a)(1)(C) with respect to "electioneering communication".

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(a) Prohibition - It shall be unlawful for— (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make— (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); ...
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
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52 US Code Section 30121 (a)(1)(C) with respect to "electioneering communication".
Yes, but the definition of "electioneering communication" in this context is in reference to tv ads, generally speaking, and not crazy news articles on the Internet. See the definition from the linked statute:

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(A) In general
(i) The term “electioneering communication” means any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication which—
(I)
refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office;
(II) is made within—
(aa)
60 days before a general, special, or runoff election for the office sought by the candidate; or
(bb)
30 days before a primary or preference election, or a convention or caucus of a political party that has authority to nominate a candidate, for the office sought by the candidate; and
(III)
in the case of a communication which refers to a candidate for an office other than President or Vice President, is targeted to the relevant electorate.
(ii)
If clause (i) is held to be constitutionally insufficient by final judicial decision to support the regulation provided herein, then the term “electioneering communication” means any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication which promotes or supports a candidate for that office, or attacks or opposes a candidate for that office (regardless of whether the communication expressly advocates a vote for or against a candidate) and which also is suggestive of no plausible meaning other than an exhortation to vote for or against a specific candidate. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed to affect the interpretation or application of section 100.22(b) of title 11, Code of Federal Regulations.
(B) ExceptionsThe term “electioneering communication” does not include—
(i)
a communication appearing in a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate;

(ii)
a communication which constitutes an expenditure or an independent expenditure under this Act;
(iii)
a communication which constitutes a candidate debate or forum conducted pursuant to regulations adopted by the Commission, or which solely promotes such a debate or forum and is made by or on behalf of the person sponsoring the debate or forum; or
(iv)
any other communication exempted under such regulations as the Commission may promulgate (consistent with the requirements of this paragraph) to ensure the appropriate implementation of this paragraph, except that under any such regulation a communication may not be exempted if it meets the requirements of this paragraph and is described in section 30101(20)(A)(iii) of this title.

...
And an independent expenditure is an ad that expressly advocates for the election or defeat of some candidate. Money in Politics: Independent Expenditures | League Management Site

So no, this is not precise enough to cover this activity. Making web articles scaring White Evangelicals about gay marriage or open borders does not constitute an independent expenditure or "electioneering communication."
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:34 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Yes, but the definition of "electioneering communication" in this context is in reference to tv ads, generally speaking, and not crazy news articles on the Internet. See the definition from the linked statute:
Given that more people get their news from Facebook these days than broadcast TV, courts might well interpret it as falling under the statute. That would depend on legislative history and intent. If the statute predates widespread use of the Internet, they may have intended it to cover any mass medium. I'm sure a prosecutor could *try* to apply the law.

Even if the activity is not strictly illegal under current law, Russia, the Trump administration, and Facebook can all lose out in the court of public opinion for election meddling, and face some kind of repercussions.
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Old 09-08-2017, 08:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
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No, they can't do that. The statute is very specific. Congress has to amend the law to change the definition or add the Internet as a mode of communication.
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:23 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:02 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Though I tend to agree, I would want to see an actual law that covers that with some precision. Also, there is clearly a lot of money in playing the rubes here, it is a damned cottage industry in and of itself. Limbaugh, Levin, Beck, Breitbart, InfoWars, Redstate, etc. ... who is to say that they weren't just in it for the profit? You'll have a hard time proving that they actually intended to influence US elections.
The big difference is Limbaught, Levin, Beck, et all are American Citizens. They might be conniving assholes, but its their country so its okay for them to try and influence our elections.

Note the big, important part - its not influencing elections that's illegal, its being from a foreign government and trying to influence our elections.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:13 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Here are some examples of what Facebook let the Russians pass off as news:

30 Batsh*t Crazy, Mostly Racist Facebook Memes the Russians Used to Corrupt Your Mind







All perfectly legal. All completely inaccurate.

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Old 09-10-2017, 12:49 AM   #22 (permalink)
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The big difference is Limbaught, Levin, Beck, et all are American Citizens. They might be conniving assholes, but its their country so its okay for them to try and influence our elections.

Note the big, important part - its not influencing elections that's illegal, its being from a foreign government and trying to influence our elections.
Yes but proving that is not going to be a cakewalk. They could pretty easily say that it was about money. Those guys are Exhibit A.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:52 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Yes but proving that is not going to be a cakewalk. They could pretty easily say that it was about money. Those guys are Exhibit A.
Why would they bother saying that? IT IS NOT ILLEGAL to influence elections IF YOU ARE A CITIZEN.

And why else would Russian companies be buying US political ads aimed at Americans, if not to illegally influence elections?
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:01 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Two questions.

First, who is said to be committing the criminal offence here?

If it's the Russian citizens or companies, resident in Russia, who buy the advertising space, then I don't see that US law is any more relevant to their activities than is Russian law relevant to the activities of US citizens in the USA. They might be at risk if they ever decided to visit the USA or do business there, but not otherwise.

Or is it Facebook, for not doing sufficient due diligence before accepting the money and running the adverts?

Second, what exactly are the rules? I understand that if I, as a foreigner, want to contribute to a particular candidate or party in a US election, the candidate/party isn't allowed to accept my money.

However, what if I want to buy advertising space on SLU that does not urge US readers to vote for or against a particular candidate or party but simply -- for example -- to consider the importance of global warming as a political issue and to be mindful of the candidates' views on the subject when casting their votes?

Presumably there's no question of any crime being committed if Cristiano decides to run my avert for free, whether because he agree with me, or because he's feeling generous. However, if he accepts my advert and lets me pay for it, is either of us breaking the law?
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:02 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I believe TV and Radio are required to give equal air time for both candidates in advertising. I have no idea how that extends to online ads, especially when anyone can buy these ads.
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