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Category: News

Government manipulation of social media around the world

Guardian, Nov. 2017:

“The report describes the varied forms this manipulation takes. In the Philippines, it is manifested as a “keyboard army” paid $10 a day to operate fake social media accounts, which supported Rodrigo Duterte in the run-up to his election last year, and backed his crackdown on the drug trade this year. Turkey’s ruling party enlisted 6,000 people to manipulate discussions, drive agendas and counter opponents. The government of Sudan’s approach is more direct: a unit within the country’s intelligence service created fake accounts to fabricate support for government policies and denounce critical journalists.”

Wikipedia entry: state-sponsored internet propaganda.

Buzzfeed, Nov. 2017: Citibank transfers to Russian embassies to finance election campaigns

Many marked with memo: “to finance election campaign of 2016.”

“The transactions, which moved through Citibank accounts and totaled more than $380,000, each came from the Russian foreign ministry and most contained a memo line referencing the financing of the 2016 election.

The money wound up at Russian embassies in almost 60 countries from Afghanistan to Nigeria between Aug. 3 and Sept. 20, 2016. It is not clear how the funds were used.”

 

Malicious actors infiltrating social movements in US

Buzzfeed, October 2017, Native Americans, Instagram, Standing Rock, #noDAPL:

“But for Russian trolls, the protests were another opportunity to sow discord in America — one of a series of social movements, from Black Lives Matter activism to pro-Trump populism, on which trolls appear to have seized.”

CNN, September 2017, suspension of Blacktivist accounts.

“A social media campaign calling itself “Blacktivist” and linked to the Russian government used both Facebook and Twitter in an apparent attempt to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election, two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN.”

Gizmodo, October 2017, Black Matters & Black Fist:

“The RBC investigation uncovered that the two sites, BlackMatters US and Black Fist, were linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian state-affiliated troll farm at the center of the disinformation campaign that pushed fake news sites and troll posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Google News and Gmail. Both sites are still online, though their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts have been suspended.”

… “At least three activists were paid for activities that ended up on the BlackMatter US and Black Fist sites. Conrad James, a rally organizer, was contacted via a Facebook message from BlackMatters US last September and paid to organize two rallies in North Carolina.”

NPR, October 2017.

“In New York and elsewhere, agents paid personal trainers to lead self-defense classes aimed at black activists with the message that they might need to “protect your rights,” as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. In Florida, they used Facebook and fraudulent websites to organize black rights protest rallies.

In Texas, scamsters organized at least one armed, anti-Muslim protest in Houston. And in Idaho, they helped organize anti-immigrant rallies.”

NY Times, September 2017 article about Twin Falls, Idaho Fawnbrook incident.

The Twin Falls story aligned perfectly with the ideology that Stephen Bannon, then the head of Breitbart News, had been developing for years, about the havoc brought on by unchecked immigration and Islamism, all of it backed by big-business interests and establishment politicians. Bannon latched onto the Fawnbrook case and used his influence to expand its reach.”

… “For months, the reporters covered protests around town, which were widely hyped on social media but, for the most part, sparsely attended. At least once the Police Department deployed plainclothes officers into the crowds, with instructions to look after the journalists. Later, it turned out that fake Facebook accounts linked to the Russian government helped to spread stories about Twin Falls and even organized one of the rallies there. The event was also poorly attended but is the first known Russian attempt to spark a demonstration on American soil.”

… “Stranahan now works out of a trendy shared workspace in Washington, across the street from the White House. He quit his job at Breitbart, which he said was being mismanaged in Bannon’s absence, to host a drive-time FM radio show with Sputnik, a state-run Russian news outlet. He told me that he jumped at the chance to transition to a Kremlin-funded outfit and, knowing that it would be controversial, spoke to every media outlet that inquired about it, in order to draw even more people to his work.”

October 2017, CNN article about Heart of Texas false Russian-run secessionist group.

“Generating anti-Muslim sentiment in the US was one of the goals of the Russian campaign. CNN reported Tuesday that some ads bought on Facebook were aimed at reaching voters who might be susceptible to anti-Muslim messages, even suggesting that Muslims were a threat to the American way of life.

A source familiar with the matter tells CNN that Heart of Texas was among the 470 accounts and pages that Facebook turned over to Congress, following its investigation into ads generated by the Internet Research Agency.”

See also: micro-targeting. (Conjecture: Cambridge Analytica? OCEAN model?)

NY Times, September 2017: “Fake Russian Facebook Accounts Bought $100,000 in Political Ads”

“Providing new evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election, Facebook disclosed on Wednesday that it had identified more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by a shadowy Russian company linked to the Kremlin.

Most of the 3,000 ads did not refer to particular candidates but instead focused on divisive social issues such as race, gay rights, gun control and immigration, according to a post on Facebook by Alex Stamos, the company’s chief security officer. The ads, which ran between June 2015 and May 2017, were linked to some 470 fake accounts and pages the company said it had shut down.

Facebook officials said the fake accounts were created by a Russian company called the Internet Research Agency, which is known for using “troll” accounts to post on social media and comment on news websites.”

BBC, November 2017, Russian links to California secessionist groups.

#calexit

“Social media accounts with ties to Russia pushed a huge Twitter trend in favour of an independent California on US election night 2016, BBC Trending has learned. The campaign was one of at least two popular online independence drives with links to the Kremlin.”

This has been mainly a US-based information thread, but here is one out of Spain for good measure, Politico, September 2017. Including to prove a pattern:

“In recent weeks, Russian state-backed news organizations and automated social network accounts, known as bots, have aggressively promoted digital misinformation and outright fake news about the politically charged vote planned for Sunday, according to an analysis of recent online activity.

The efforts — aimed at discrediting Spanish political and legal authorities that are trying to clamp down on the Catalan government’s attempt to hold the outlawed referendum — follows similar digital misinformation campaigns during Europe’s season of elections in 2017.”

 

Timecalling

Timecalling started as a Early Methodian Ritual (EMR) wherein a participant would verbally disclaim aloud the date and time of the present moment.

The action was performed with the belief that an eventual omnipotent-in-relation-to-time-direction agency would evolve with the power to detect subtle signals retroactively and interlink them into a permalinked network accessible by timecraft and open to packet traffic, thereby essentially enabling practitioners to timeflash when the event horizon Singularity collapsed, and potentially “live forever.”

*

The Order of Chronos was a radical unaffiliated achronal Timecaller offshoot which developed and then implemented in ritual Prealist and Wobbler botnets both Chronist and Anti-Chronist propaganda #codechant Event Ladders during the Middle Period of the Shape Wars.

Senate Panel on Disinformation and Social Media

I watched all three hours of this today, live:

…and have to admit I found it utterly fascinating.

The main theme I took away from it is that “Washington” seems to want to move towards legislative oversight of social media

In the coming days…

They made the announcement last night, that Elon Musk’s ‘Neural Lace’ (named after Ada Lovelace), would be hardwired into Puerto Rico’s rebuilding efforts, and Northern California’s aussi. The charger packs and everything — they were planning to fire blue and violet hued images of his face over the island, followed by the Lady. And peace and paper towels would rain down on the people the next day, and their wallets would be charged appropriate microtransactional forward fees…

The drones were out that very second, assessing the damage, surveying their maps, marking and re-measuring. You’ve seen the footage.

Them with their lettuce cannons, raining part-time easy jobs down on retirees in rural areas in regional Amazonal transfer and growth sites. We would all be interlinked. The global granny state. We could all sit home and talk to each other on the internet.

But even that was fading away…

Fake news & troll factories in 2004

I had an old blog years ago that I’m happy in a lot of respects is no longer online. It was fun while it lasted, but some things make better memories.

One such memory I recently tracked down, and reading it thirteen years later, it sounds quite a lot like current events swirling around so-called ‘Russian meddling’, ‘troll factories’ and fake news.

I can really imagine having a team of like 5 people working for a PR company who spend like 40+ hours a week writing blog posts. Perhaps each person would distribute their entries over like 10 different fictional blogger identities. They could write on things like news stories, political agendas, different products, all kinds of crap. Each of their fictional blogger identities could talk about roughly the same set of topics, but from a slightly different perspective – but each retaining whatever essential core elements they are trying to describe. I imagine it would bre pretty effective too, that 50 reasonably well-written and frequently-updated blogs would have a fairly wide audience and impact on an audience, which would expand outward in a ripple effect, especially if they were aggressively cross-commenting on real people’s blogs as well.

[…] blogs are not constrained by facts, so the potential to unleash distorted information into the bloodstream of the America people is enormous. And I also forgot to mention that you could also rake in web-ad revenues while you’re doing all this.

— 3 Nov. 2004

And:

So if I was some kind of weird PR company or a government agency trying to influence public opinion, I would totally set up some kind of network of conspiracy theorists, complete with websites, lectures, email discussion lists, books, videos, you name it. I would then study the shit out of the people who were attracted to it. I would gather demographic data, and I would analyze their thought processes and emotional responses. I would then use this information to engineer better-designed news stories, press releases, publicity stunts, and the like. Ones which would be more hack-proof. Simultaneously to studying them, I would also flood the people I was studying with vast amounts of erroneous data to sift through in order to distract them from the more important and more straightforward cultural trends and events that are going on.

– 13 November 2004

What can I say…

Fake Weather

If we can have “fake news,” why not Fake Weather?

  • Fifteen Feet of Snow Fell Last Night in New Jersey
  • Scotland covered by blanket of candy-canes
  • This February has been the hottest ever recorded ON JUPITER!!!
  • Rain Fell Up in Wisconsin–You won’t believe why!
  • Sun quits. Refuses to shine on Snowman’s failures.

Snowman to crack down on crime

Uh-oh…

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