On Monday, in a series of announcements by Facebook, the company revealed it had shut down four new foreign interference operations originating from Russia and Iran. According to their announcement, one appears to be linked to the Russian troll agency, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), and was targeting the U.S. 2020 presidential election.
The company removed 50 Instagram accounts and one account on Facebook that originated in Russia and focused primarily on the United States.
“A small portion of these accounts also repurposed and modified old memes originally posted by the IRA,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, wrote in a blog post. “The people behind this operation often posted on both sides of political issues including topics like US elections, environmental issues, racial tensions, LGBTQ issues, political candidates, confederate ideas, conservatism and liberalism.”
An estimated 246,000 Facebook accounts, about 60 percent of which were in the United States, followed one or more of these foreign interference Instagram accounts. Campaigns by the IRA reached tens of millions of users in the U.S. between 2013 and 2018 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
In the most recent round of takedowns, memes also aimed to create political divisiveness. One ad that is reportedly linked to the IRA was from an account called “Progressives for Future.”
Experts say Facebook and Instagram will be yet another playground for misinformation.
“We are seeing again that the aim of the Russians is not exclusively to favor one candidate over another but to create divisiveness within the electorate over all,” Paul M. Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, told the Washington Post. “The reason that networks of phony accounts are drawn to Instagram is because disinformation is increasingly visual in nature, and that’s what Instagram specializes in.”
On Monday, Facebook also announced a series of policy updates to fight misinformation like labeling state media. Yet the company is still standing by its stance to allow politicians to blatantly lie in ads.
News also surfaced that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan sent Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign staff recommendations earlier this year, according to Bloomberg News.
Trump attacks: Only reason ‘they’ don’t want to let schools re-open is to hurt my re-election chances
President Donald Trump appears to be attacking Democrats, or the large number of parents across the country who are afraid to send their children back to school in the fall over concerns students could contract the coronavirus and get sick or die, or spread it to their families, friends, and teachers.
"Politics," according to the President, is the only reason "they" don't want to allow their children to go back to school.
In a rambling address at the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, the President talked about "allowing those at lower risk such as young, and healthy – children in many cases the immune system is so powerful, so strong – but the young and the healthy to safely return to work and to school."
Trump is cracking as his distraction superpowers falter amid the coronavirus pandemic
Donald Trump is dumb — so dumb he literally suggested on live television that scientists should explore injecting household cleaners into people's lungs to cure the coronavirus. But due to what appears to be a serious and undiagnosed personality disorder — his niece Mary Trump, who is a clinical psychologist, suggests it's likely narcissism or sociopathy — Trump managed to stumble backwards into a strategy that works well with the 24-hour cable news ecosystem of national politics. Actually, "strategy" may be too strong a word, but it's inarguable that Trump's short attention span, impulsive nature and all-consuming corruption have meant a constant deluge of scandals and outrages, with each one knocking the last one out of the headlines.
‘Absolute immunity:’ Kayleigh McEnany claims Trump has monarch-like powers despite Supreme Court ruling
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday said that President Donald Trump continues to believe that he has "absolute immunity" from prosecution despite a Supreme Court ruling that said otherwise.
At a White House briefing, McEnany argued that a high court ruling which gives prosecutors the right to subpoena Trump's financial records is actually a "win for the president."
"The president was making general point about deference and on the principal of absolute immunity," she explained. "He believes there should have been more deference [to him by the court]."