Thursday, October 11, 2018

Facebook removes domestic spam disinformation pages; some of the deletions appear questionable and Twitter may have coordinate some of them

Sheera Frenkel has another story about disinformation campaigns, now run from within the US, which makes it much harder for Facebook to verify “identity”.  The link is here

There is an example of “Right Wing News” and stories about Chrstine Blasey Ford. (Let me share a good article on Ford's testimony on Arc Digital by Cathy Young, here.)
There were “left wing” pages too, like “The Resistance”, which got removed.  There is some discussion of “Reverb Press” which doesn’t look that fake, just silly.

The pages were set up to generate quick clickbait.

Earlier, on Aug. 14, the NYT had run a story on rallies and protests that actually were inspired by “Black Elevation”.
The AP and Washington Post report that Facebook removed over 800 “spam” pages today. 
The desire to use advertising agencies to verify identity for post promotions or boosts becomes more understandable.  It is much less likely (ironically) that a commercial account regularly selling real products or services and funded by actual business income could be fake. 
Ford Fischer of News2Share tweeted that the Anti-Media's Page was removed by both Facebook and Twitter within a short time. The Daily Haze has a more detailed story on Facebook's "The Purge II" today (like Universal's movies) as an attack on "independent media" and considers in the detail The Free Thought Project.  The content looks reasonable to me, typical of free speech sites (especially "conservative" or libertarian).  There is graphic information on years of work wiped out.  I cannot personally assess Facebook's claims of TOS violations from the facts I see. SputnikNews interviewed many of those deleted (story).   The Twitter blacklistings (for example Carey Wedler) without no explanation seem very disturbing. 

 The last part of the Twitter Rules do name some behaviors that are often engaged in (for example, many tweets with only links) but that (may contrary to intuition) result in suspension. The link tweets are troubling because many sites encourage them with Twitter icons. Twitter, last December, suspended some people merely for evidence of membership in white supremacist or possibly other violent groups. 

 Later in the evening, I found some more level-headed explanations of Facebook's intentions with US accounts, as on Gizmodo.  One concept is similar to link farming among blogs or sites belonging to the same entity. 

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