AP: Cyborgs, Trolls and bots: A guide to online misinformation

Justin-case

Well-Known Member
Now Trump and his right wing media propaganda allies are running an attack and harassment campaign against Dr. Fauci. He is also ordering the CDC to lower the death rates by screwing with how they are reported. I imagine some red states will try to under report fatalities to keep him happy, this is getting pathetic.
By November, Trump's people will have stopped washing their hands, wearing masks, and ignoring personal hygiene in general to expose the hoax. To further own the libs, rather than social distancing they will practice social orgies, spreading the virus in a literal cross fire of bodily fluids. Outbreaks will be treated with a very powerful suppository of hydroxy, and a new assault rifle, all while mocking others for living in fear. Similar to jonesville, this isn't going to end well.
 

DIY-HP-LED

Well-Known Member
Chris Hayes: Trump Will Try To Lie To You About The Death Toll | All In | MSNBC

Chris Hayes: “Having utterly failed at containing the virus and protecting Americans, President Trump is now going to try to lie to you about the death toll.” Aired on 05/13/2020.
 

DIY-HP-LED

Well-Known Member
By November, Trump's people will have stopped washing their hands, wearing masks, and ignoring personal hygiene in general to expose the hoax. To further own the libs, rather than social distancing they will practice social orgies, spreading the virus in a literal cross fire of bodily fluids. Outbreaks will be treated with a very powerful suppository of hydroxy, and a new assault rifle, all while mocking others for living in fear. Similar to jonesville, this isn't going to end well.
Wisconsin is leading the way in stupid, I wonder how they are gonna feel about it in a month or two? The taverns are open tonight there, party time! The republicans win in court will be one they might regret, along with a lot of other innocent folks. I wonder if any pissed off meat packing workers will attend the festivities to drown their sorrows, they are working and have money...
 

hanimmal

Well-Known Member
MSNBC had some good information and conversations today about the attack on our society being conducted online against each and every one of us on whatever forum people happen to use. They are still slow on how many forums are out there, and how pervasive the attack is, but still are getting very important information out still.

 

schuylaar

Well-Known Member
MSNBC had some good information and conversations today about the attack on our society being conducted online against each and every one of us on whatever forum people happen to use. They are still slow on how many forums are out there, and how pervasive the attack is, but still are getting very important information out still.

you know if you don't turn it on you know just as much.
 

hanimmal

Well-Known Member
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/10/deepfakes-are-coming-american-democracy-heres-how-we-can-prepare/
Screen Shot 2020-09-11 at 5.47.04 PM.png

Manipulated videos are rapidly becoming a fixture of the 2020 election. On Aug. 30, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) used Twitter to share a video that was misleadingly edited to distort Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s views on defunding the police. That same day, Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, tweeted a manipulated video to make it appear as though Biden had fallen asleep during a televised interview.

So far, full-fledged deepfakes — audio and video manipulated with the help of cutting-edge artificial intelligence techniques — aren’t playing a major role in online discourse. The hoax videos shared by Scalise and Scavino use relatively crude, widely available methods to create what experts refer to as “cheapfakes.” These videos require no specialized expertise and are relatively inexpensive to produce. Because these fakes are often so obvious, those who distribute them can disingenuously dismiss them as simply satire or jokes.

There are a number of plausible reasons why cheapfakes have outpaced deepfakes in the political domain. One is that, despite their crudeness, cheapfakes spread widely and can capture public debate and discourse. On pure cost-benefit grounds, fakers may opt to get more bang for their buck by using existing, proven techniques for editing and manipulating media. There are also technical reasons: a recent paper by one of us points out that sophisticated machine learning systems still require plenty of time for “training,” which can slow the production of a faked video to the point where it is no longer relevant to the rapidly moving social media conversation.

The unusual circumstances of the 2020 election mean, however, that the battle against online disinformation will not end on the night of Nov. 3. Instead, it will continue, if not intensify, into November and December as poll workers count mail-in ballots and determine the ultimate winner. During this delicate period, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the election will be particularly dangerous.

To that end, we believe that the true danger of digital hoaxes will not come from their impact before Election Day, but during the period extending from then until the inauguration. The dreaded “October surprise,” this year, is more likely to give way to a November or even a December surprise.
Actors who are both sophisticated and malicious are likely to hold their fire until after the election to begin deploying their most potent tools. Operationally, cutting-edge methods such as deepfakes are best suited to these kinds of situations: a predictable moment of public uncertainty.

Preserving trust will be critical in this environment. The collapse of public confidence in the outcome of the election — particularly in hotly contested battleground statesrisks a broader constitutional crisis. We are a long way off from the quaint politics of Florida during the 2000 Bush-Gore recount. Social media and the broader foreground of the covid-19pandemic make this a much more dangerous context for a contested electoral outcome.

We believe that there are three important initiatives that could play a key role in helping to contain the damage as we enter the final months of 2020.

First, the public needs an early warning system that can operate as a kind of air-raid siren for signaling coordinated online disinformation efforts. Universities, online platforms and civil society organizations should be coordinating to create a unified structure for signaling to the broader public when significant media manipulation campaigns are underway. This is more than just another fact-checking initiative: the aim would be to provide up-to-date information about evolving threats and the techniques being used to spread them.

Second, we should recognize that disinformation is, at its core, a human problem, not a technological one. “Fake news” detection algorithms and institutions that are already distrusted by the public will not be able to save the day. Instead, we need to urge citizens to participate in a nationwide corps of “disinformation field medics” who will be able to monitor social media chatter in their regions and provide fast responses to counter the spread of hoaxes. Libraries, community organizations and local journalists are all groups that can play a big role in the post-election period.

Third, social media companies, recognizing that recent fakes have been widely distributed by social media influencers with large followings, could preemptively issue warnings, which they can then follow up with temporary bans or even permanent de-platforming during this delicate period. In a similar vein, Congress should take measures to discipline elected officials who spread manipulated media.

The United States has largely failed to confront the pathologies of the information ecosystem that characterized the 2016 election cycle. There are growing signs that this year’s Election Day will mark the start of a prolonged period of election insecurity. How we prepare for this challenge in the weeks remaining before the election will be crucial to shaping the fate of our nation and its democracy.
 

schuylaar

Well-Known Member
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/10/deepfakes-are-coming-american-democracy-heres-how-we-can-prepare/
View attachment 4680905

Manipulated videos are rapidly becoming a fixture of the 2020 election. On Aug. 30, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) used Twitter to share a video that was misleadingly edited to distort Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s views on defunding the police. That same day, Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, tweeted a manipulated video to make it appear as though Biden had fallen asleep during a televised interview.

So far, full-fledged deepfakes — audio and video manipulated with the help of cutting-edge artificial intelligence techniques — aren’t playing a major role in online discourse. The hoax videos shared by Scalise and Scavino use relatively crude, widely available methods to create what experts refer to as “cheapfakes.” These videos require no specialized expertise and are relatively inexpensive to produce. Because these fakes are often so obvious, those who distribute them can disingenuously dismiss them as simply satire or jokes.

There are a number of plausible reasons why cheapfakes have outpaced deepfakes in the political domain. One is that, despite their crudeness, cheapfakes spread widely and can capture public debate and discourse. On pure cost-benefit grounds, fakers may opt to get more bang for their buck by using existing, proven techniques for editing and manipulating media. There are also technical reasons: a recent paper by one of us points out that sophisticated machine learning systems still require plenty of time for “training,” which can slow the production of a faked video to the point where it is no longer relevant to the rapidly moving social media conversation.

The unusual circumstances of the 2020 election mean, however, that the battle against online disinformation will not end on the night of Nov. 3. Instead, it will continue, if not intensify, into November and December as poll workers count mail-in ballots and determine the ultimate winner. During this delicate period, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the election will be particularly dangerous.

To that end, we believe that the true danger of digital hoaxes will not come from their impact before Election Day, but during the period extending from then until the inauguration. The dreaded “October surprise,” this year, is more likely to give way to a November or even a December surprise.
Actors who are both sophisticated and malicious are likely to hold their fire until after the election to begin deploying their most potent tools. Operationally, cutting-edge methods such as deepfakes are best suited to these kinds of situations: a predictable moment of public uncertainty.

Preserving trust will be critical in this environment. The collapse of public confidence in the outcome of the election — particularly in hotly contested battleground statesrisks a broader constitutional crisis. We are a long way off from the quaint politics of Florida during the 2000 Bush-Gore recount. Social media and the broader foreground of the covid-19pandemic make this a much more dangerous context for a contested electoral outcome.

We believe that there are three important initiatives that could play a key role in helping to contain the damage as we enter the final months of 2020.

First, the public needs an early warning system that can operate as a kind of air-raid siren for signaling coordinated online disinformation efforts. Universities, online platforms and civil society organizations should be coordinating to create a unified structure for signaling to the broader public when significant media manipulation campaigns are underway. This is more than just another fact-checking initiative: the aim would be to provide up-to-date information about evolving threats and the techniques being used to spread them.

Second, we should recognize that disinformation is, at its core, a human problem, not a technological one. “Fake news” detection algorithms and institutions that are already distrusted by the public will not be able to save the day. Instead, we need to urge citizens to participate in a nationwide corps of “disinformation field medics” who will be able to monitor social media chatter in their regions and provide fast responses to counter the spread of hoaxes. Libraries, community organizations and local journalists are all groups that can play a big role in the post-election period.

Third, social media companies, recognizing that recent fakes have been widely distributed by social media influencers with large followings, could preemptively issue warnings, which they can then follow up with temporary bans or even permanent de-platforming during this delicate period. In a similar vein, Congress should take measures to discipline elected officials who spread manipulated media.

The United States has largely failed to confront the pathologies of the information ecosystem that characterized the 2016 election cycle. There are growing signs that this year’s Election Day will mark the start of a prolonged period of election insecurity. How we prepare for this challenge in the weeks remaining before the election will be crucial to shaping the fate of our nation and its democracy.
there's a new sheriff in town who'll gladly throw donald out on his ass, if elected.
 

schuylaar

Well-Known Member
Wisconsin is leading the way in stupid, I wonder how they are gonna feel about it in a month or two? The taverns are open tonight there, party time! The republicans win in court will be one they might regret, along with a lot of other innocent folks. I wonder if any pissed off meat packing workers will attend the festivities to drown their sorrows, they are working and have money...
shhhhhhhh, friend..they WANT to offer themselves to meet Dear Leaders goal of open businesses and schools- if they want to die that bad?
 

hanimmal

Well-Known Member
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/turning-point-teens-disinformation-trump/2020/09/15/c84091ae-f20a-11ea-b796-2dd09962649c_story.html
Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 6.34.12 PM.png

One tweet claimed coronavirus numbers were intentionally inflated, adding, “It’s hard to know what to believe.” Another warned, “Don’t trust Dr. Fauci.”

A Facebook comment argued that mail-in ballots “will lead to fraud for this election,” while an Instagram comment amplified the erroneous claim that 28 million ballots went missing in the past four elections.

The messages have been emanating in recent months from the accounts of young people in Arizona seemingly expressing their own views — standing up for President Trump in a battleground state and echoing talking points from his reelection campaign.

Far from representing a genuine social media groundswell, however, the posts are the product of a sprawling yet secretive campaign that experts say evades the guardrails put in place by social media companies to limit online disinformation of the sort used by Russia during the 2016 campaign.

Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages at the direction of Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Turning Point USA, the prominent conservative youth organization based in Phoenix, according to four people with independent knowledge of the effort. Their descriptions were confirmed by detailed notes from relatives of one of the teenagers who recorded conversations with him about the efforts.

The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out, at least in part, by humans paid to use their own accounts, though nowhere disclosing their relationship with Turning Point Action or the digital firm brought in to oversee the day-to-day activity. One user included a link to Turning Point USA’s website in his Twitter profile until The Washington Post began asking questions about the activity.

In response to questions from The Post, Twitter on Tuesday suspended at least 20 accounts involved in the activity for “platform manipulation and spam.” Facebook also removed a number of accounts as part of what the company said is an ongoing investigation.

The effort generated thousands of posts this summer on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, according to an examination by The Post and an assessment by an independent specialist in data science. Nearly 4,500 tweets containing identical content that were identified in the analysis probably represent a fraction of the overall output.

The months-long effort by the tax-exempt nonprofit is among the most ambitious domestic influence campaigns uncovered this election cycle, said experts tracking the evolution of deceptive online tactics.

“In 2016, there were Macedonian teenagers interfering in the election by running a troll farm and writing salacious articles for money,” said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “In this election, the troll farm is in Phoenix.”

The effort, Brookie added, illustrates “that the scale and scope of domestic disinformation is far greater than anything a foreign adversary could do to us.”

Turning Point Action, whose 26-year-old leader, Charlie Kirk, delivered the opening speech at this year’s Republican National Convention, issued a statement from the group’s field director defending the social media campaign and saying any comparison to a troll farm was a “gross mischaracterization.”

“This is sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online, not an anonymous troll farm in Russia,” the field director, Austin Smith, said in the statement.

He said the operation reflected an attempt by Turning Point Action to maintain its advocacy despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, which has curtailed many traditional political events.

“Like everyone else, Turning Point Action’s plans for nationwide in-person events and activities were completely disrupted by the pandemic,” Smith said. “Many positions TPA had planned for in field work were going to be completely cut, but TPA managed to reimagine these roles and working with our marketing partners, transitioned some to a virtual and online activist model.”

The group declined to make Kirk available for an interview.

The online salvo targeted prominent Democratic politicians and news organizations on social media. It mainly took the form of replies to their posts, part of a bid to reorient political conversation.

The messages — some of them false and some simply partisan — were parceled out in precise increments as directed by the effort’s leaders, according to the people with knowledge of the highly coordinated activity, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the privacy of minors carrying out the work.

One parent of two teenagers involved in the effort, Robert Jason Noonan, said his 16- and 17-year-old daughters were being paid by Turning Point to push “conservative points of view and values” on social media. He said they have been working with the group since about June, adding in an interview, “The job is theirs until they want to quit or until the election.”

Four years ago, the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency amplified Turning Point’s right-wing memes as part of Moscow’s sweeping interference aimed at boosting Trump, according to expert assessments prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee. One report pointed specifically to the use of Turning Point content as evidence of Russia’s “deep knowledge of American culture, media, and influencers.”

Now, some technology industry experts contend that the effort this year by Turning Point shows how domestic groups are not just producing eye-catching online material, but also increasingly using social media to spread it in disruptive or misleading ways.

“It sounds like the Russians, but instead coming from Americans,” said Jacob Ratkiewicz, a software engineer at Google whose academic research, as a PhD student at Indiana University at Bloomington, addressed the political abuse of social media.

To some participants, the undertaking feels very different. Notes from the recorded conversation with a 16-year-old participant — the authenticity of which was confirmed by The Post — indicate, “He said it’s really fun and he works with his friends.” The participant, through family members, declined to comment.

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hanimmal

Well-Known Member
Story above continued"

The users active in the campaign, some of whom were using their real names, identified themselves only as Trump supporters and young Republicans. One simply described herself as a high school sophomore interested in softball and cheerleading.

Noonan, 46, said “some of the comments may go too far” but cast the activity as a response to similar exaggerations by Democrats. “Liberals say things that are way out there, and conservatives say things that are sometimes way out there, or don’t have enough evidence.”

Those recruited to participate in the campaign were lifting the language from a shared online document, according to Noonan and other people familiar with the setup. They posted the same lines a limited number of times to avoid automated detection by the technology companies, these people said. They also were instructed to edit the beginning and ending of each snippet to differentiate the posts slightly, according to the notes from the recorded conversation with a participant.

Noonan said his daughters sometimes work from an office in the Phoenix area and are classified as independent contractors, not earning “horrible money” but also not making minimum wage. Relatives of another person involved said the minor is paid an hourly rate and can score bonuses if his posts spur higher engagement.

Smith, as part of written responses to The Post, deferred specific questions about the financial setup to a “marketing partner” called Rally Forge, which he said was running the program for Turning Point.

Those recruited to participate in the campaign were lifting the language from a shared online document, according to Noonan and other people familiar with the setup. They posted the same lines a limited number of times to avoid automated detection by the technology companies, these people said. They also were instructed to edit the beginning and ending of each snippet to differentiate the posts slightly, according to the notes from the recorded conversation with a participant.

Noonan said his daughters sometimes work from an office in the Phoenix area and are classified as independent contractors, not earning “horrible money” but also not making minimum wage. Relatives of another person involved said the minor is paid an hourly rate and can score bonuses if his posts spur higher engagement.

Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 6.37.39 PM.png

Turning Point Action debuted as a 501(c)(4) organization last year, with more leeway in undertaking political advocacy than is afforded to the original group, which is barred from campaign activity as a 501(c)(3). Both nonprofits are required only to disclose the salaries of directors, officers and key employees, said Marc Owens, a tax attorney with Loeb & Loeb.

Turning Point dates to 2012, when Montgomery, retired from a career in marketing, heard Kirk, then 18, deliver a speech in the Chicago suburbs at Benedictine University’s “Youth Government Day.” He called the address “practically Reaganesque,” according to a 2015 profile in Crain’s Chicago Business newspaper, and urged Kirk, a former Eagle Scout, to put off college in favor of full-time political activism. Kirk became the face of Turning Point, while Montgomery was “the old guy who keeps it all legal,” he told the business weekly.

The organization amassed prominent and wealthy conservative allies, including Richard Grenell, the former ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence, and Foster Friess, who made a fortune in mutual funds and helps bankroll conservative and Christian causes. Both men sit on Turning Point’s honorary board.

Its standing rose significantly as Trump came to power. Turning Point USA brought in nearly $80,000 in contributions and other funds in the fiscal year ending June 2013, according to IRS filings, a fraction of the $8 million it reported for 2017 and $11 million for 2018.

The group, which describes itself as the “largest and fastest-growing youth organization in America,” claims to have a presence on more than 2,000 college and high school campuses. It hosts activist conferences and runs an alumni program. It also maintains a “Professor Watchlist” designed to expose instructors who “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

Kirk, the group’s president and co-founder, has been embraced and promoted by Trump and his family. Speaking at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit last year, Trump hailed Kirk for building a “movement unlike anything in the history of our nation.” A quote attributed to Donald Trump Jr., who has appeared at numerous Turning Point events, features prominently on the group’s website: “I’m convinced that the work by Turning Point USA and Charlie Kirk will win back the future of America.”

Kirk has returned the praise. In his speech at last month’s Republican nominating convention, he extolled Trump as the “bodyguard of Western civilization.”

Equally impassioned rhetoric marked the campaign on social media, with posts asserting that Black Lives Matter protesters were “fascist groups . . . terrorizing American citizens” and decrying the “BLM Marxist agenda,” among other incendiary language.

Noonan said his wife, a hairstylist, monitors the online activity of their daughters more closely than he does, and that their work is often a topic of conversation when the family convenes in the evening.

“We are Trump supporters, but one of the things my wife and I have been very consistent on is to always understand both sides and make decisions from there,” the father said.
 
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