Automated propaganda

Facebook. Russia. Ad buys. Bot accounts. Business Insider:

Facebook on Wednesday said it has found evidence that fake accounts “likely operated out of Russia” bought thousands of ads during the US presidential election that were designed to amplify divisive political messages.

Facebook said the ads were part of elaborate “information operations” in which “organized actors,” including governments, use social media to deceive the public and distort political sentiment.

The social network discovered roughly $100,000 in ad buys between June 2015 and May 2017 “associated with roughly 3,000 ads” and connected to nearly 500 affiliated fake accounts.

“Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia,” Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos wrote in a post published on Facebook’s company blog, which also noted that the company has shared its findings with US authorities investigating Russia’s interference in the election.

The “vast majority” of ads related to the fake Russian accounts didn’t target a political candidate and instead focused on “amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum,” according to Stamos.

Meaning…what, Breitbart types on the one hand and Black bloc types on the other? Probably something like that.

Wednesday’s announcement by Facebook, titled “An update on Information Operations on Facebook,” represents a sharp turnaround from the company’s previous remarks on its role in the spread of fake news during the election.

For example, Facebook said in July that it had found “no evidence that Russian actors bought ads on Facebook in connection with the election.”

The social network was widely criticized in the wake of the election for its role in the proliferation of so-called fake news, which many believe helped Donald Trump win the election. CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially called that notion “pretty crazy,” but Facebook has since made significant strides to eradicate fake news stories from its platform.

In a research published earlier this year, Facebook detailed its attempts to thwart organized “information operations” that are increasingly used to sway political leanings through the spread of fake news and propaganda on its platform.

You know, when you think about it, Trump is kind of a bot. He doesn’t really give a shit about anything except himself; all his blathering is just for effect, just in aid of winning. He doesn’t care what or how he wins as long as he wins. Very bot.

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