If Facebook can remove Covid-19 disinformation, why can’t it remove fake political disinformation?

If Facebook can remove Covid-19 disinformation, why can’t it remove fake political disinformation?

These software engineers from Oxford are asking why Facebook has been less capable of removing fake political news.

Apparently:

U.S. officials agree. “The Russians are targeting their propaganda the same way Amazon and others target advertising,” says a third U.S. intelligence official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity. “They’re looking at zip codes, congressional districts, demographics, ethnicity, and other indicators and moving quickly to pounce on anything in the news they can use to amplify grievances.”

Time

That means that the Russian election meddlers (whoever these mysterious people are) are buying our data to find out what kind of propaganda is likely to hit a nerve, and then they serve it up to us.

Worried about maintaining your Second Amendment rights? I bet you have been served some good memes that confirm your fears. Like this one:

Hitler Stalin Mao - Imgflip
Don’t worry, Hitler, Mao and Stalin are not coming for your guns.

Worried about Alt-Right radicals using their guns on you and turning us into a totalitarian state that Hitler would be proud of? Well, this meme’s for you:

Political Humor - 30 Must-See Anti-Gun Memes:... | Facebook
Don’t worry. They probably WON’T start arming math teachers. We hope.

Well, OK, they have armed a few math teachers. At least they are not bringing back the strap. Anyway, the point is that someone out there is trying to manipulate us into believing that Hillary runs a pedo ring out of a pizza shop, and that Melania is a KGB superspy. We think only one of those stories could be true. Still! There is this Internet Research Agency that is hiring slick trolls to influence the way we vote and how we treat the people that we disagree with. Importantly, Facebook and Twitter let them pay to make sure their posts and tweets reach a large and targeted audience.

Disinformation operations aren’t typically fake news or outright lies. Disinformation is most often simply spin. Spin is hard to spot and easy to believe, especially if you are already inclined to do so. While the rest of the world learned how to conduct a modern disinformation campaign from the Russians, it is from the world of public relations and advertising that the IRA learned their craft. To appreciate the influence and potential of Russian disinformation, we need to view them less as Boris and Natasha and more like Don Draper.

Rolling Stone
This is a real Russian Troll meme. The goal was to get you to be disgusted by how stupid conservative Christians are. Did it work?

The Left loves their memes, Russian or not, but of some concern is how much conservatives love the Russian memes. It turns out that conservatives were 30 times more likely to share the Russian troll memes than liberals. In fairness, the conservatives were going the extra mile to make America great again, while the liberals were relaxing under the impression that nothing was required beyond phoning it in.

Donald Trump and the Russia memes you need to see
Is this a liberal or a conservative meme? We can’t tell. It is definitely a Russian meme.
Meme War! — K2Forums.com
Yet another ambiguous meme. Isn’t it good that Hilary hasn’t raped anyone? Russians don’t care.

While some of the memes are ambiguous, the point is that Russia has targeted both sides simply to cause division. When people say that America is more divided than ever before, these Russian memes have gone a long way toward making that happen. For an indepth report about Russian Trolls on social media, check out:

Hopefully, one day, memes will just be funny again

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