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Disinformation expert warns senators that Russia is still trying to suppress minority votes and divide the left

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At a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence Wednesday, a cybersecurity expert warned that the Kremlin continues to exploit social media to influence America’s elections.

Renee DiResta, Director of Research at the cybersecurity company New Knowledge, explained how social media has opened a new front in the global propaganda wars.

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“Over the past decade, disinformation, misinformation, and social media hoaxes have evolved from a nuisance into high-stakes information war,” she said.

“Our frameworks for dealing with them, however, remain the same — we discuss counter-messaging and counter-narratives, falling into the trap of treating this as a problem of false stories rather than as an attack on our information ecosystem.”

She pointed out that out of date regulatory systems leave too much power in the hands of private companies, which don’t have much incentive to protect the public discourse.

“We find ourselves in the midst of an arms race, in which responsibility for the integrity of public discourse is largely in the hands of private social platforms, and determined adversaries continually find new ways to manipulate evolving feature sets and circumvent new security measures.”

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After she finished her opening statement, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked DiResta about ongoing Russian efforts to influence American elections.

“Ms. DiResta, your testimony referenced the Russian Facebook pages in 2016 targeting both the right and the left. But you noted it was the pages targeting the left that includes not only content intended to appeal to its audience, but also content intended to suppress the vote and be critical of Secretary Clinton,” he said.

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“In your view, does the apparent Russian content released yesterday by Facebook resemble the content the Russians used last time to attract an audience on the left and among racial minorities which the Russians then used to suppress their vote?”

“Yes sir it does,” DiResta replied. “There’s a strong component of cultural posts that appear in communities and pages targeting minority voters. A lot of pride-related content. Less news, more memes. And that reflects what we saw yesterday.”

“Content-targeting is going to be a big part of the challenge and the public’s got to be aware of it because not all Russian propaganda is going to get caught,” Wyden continued.

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“And Americans are inevitably going to read something … particularly if it’s consistent with what they already believe.”

“The public has got to be alert to a repeat of the 2016 Russian playbook which was to attract an audience on the Left, discourage them from voting and that could mean attacking Democratic candidates … in effect the Russians are trying to make it possible that our votes don’t matter. Is that essentially your concern?” Wyden asked.

“Yes sir, there’s a lot of efforts to push intra-party divisions on the left.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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John Oliver cites Donald Trump’s final offer for Greenland: ‘$200 and I’ll throw in Don Jr.’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's favorite highlight of the week was, of course, President Donald Trump's decision that he wanted to buy Greenland.

In his opener Sunday, the HBO host said that he wasn't all that surprised given Trump's track record.

"Of course, he f*cking did. Of course, he did. Greenland is icy, distant and autonomous is exactly Trump's type," Oliver said, showing a photo of Trump with the first lady.

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Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.

“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”

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Angry Minnesota farmer bashes ‘insulting’ Trump comments that ‘we’re great patriots’ during his trade war

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President Donald Trump has insulted at least one Minnesota farmer by his claim that farmers are "great patriots" who want him to continue his trade fight against China.

"This wound is self-inflicted, by our president," said Gary Wertish, who is the Minnesota Farm Bureau president. "We definitely agreed with it in the beginning. But it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B. Some of the callous comments come, especially from the president, you know, that farmers are 'winning,' we’re 'great patriots,' that’s very insulting. That’s coming from someone who never has faced the challenges of a family farmer. I go into the bank and tell the lender I can’t make the payment because we lost our market? The banker is going to tell me you don’t have to make your payment because you’re a patriot."

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