Ministry of Truth Goes After Facebook, Twitter, Google

Facebook, Twitter and Google meet with Congress on Tuesday about Russia’s use of fake accounts and paid advertising to meddle in the 2016 election.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google are under close scrutiny as Congress is set to crack down on alleged election-ad abuses. The three tech giants meet Congress today.

Senators want to know how the companies failed to keep Russians from exploiting their networks -- buying 3,000 Facebook ads mostly with rubles -- and using fake accounts to spread chaos and disinformation to millions of Americans.

The three companies’ general counsels will appear before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday and the House and Senate Intelligence panels Wednesday.

“The foreign interference we saw is reprehensible and outrageous and opened a new battleground for our company, our industry and our society,” Colin Stretch, Facebook Inc. general counsel, said in prepared remarks. “We’re determined to prevent it from happening again.”

Facebook plans to tell lawmakers that 80,000 posts by 470 fake Russian accounts reached an estimated 126 million people, and that it closed 5.8 million fake accounts from all sources in October 2016 alone.

Fake Russian accounts on Facebook’s Instagram posted another 120,000 pieces of content, the company will tell lawmakers. At the same hearing, Twitter Inc. will say it has suspended 2,752 Russian-linked accounts, far more than it previously disclosed, according to testimony obtained by Bloomberg.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google plans to say the impact on its sites was much smaller, with $4,700 worth of Russian-linked ads, compared to the $100,000 Facebook disclose.

Facebook head of security Alex Stamos has said using algorithms to try to cut fake news or political comments would result in the company acting as the “Ministry of Truth” -- something it doesn’t want to be. But its current effort to stop misinformation, by letting neutral third parties fact-check posts flagged by users, is falling short, according to people familiar with the process.

Meanwhile ...

MIke "Mish" Shedlock

Meddling in our election. Goldman Sachs said JEB or Hillary were acceptable to them. Those were the two who were to be the Republican and Democrat Party candidates. Hillary and the MSM colluded to get a Pied Piper nominee as the republican candidate, so Hillary could skate all over him, on into the White House. Hillary colluded with the DNC to prevent primary voters from choosing Sanders as the Democratic Party candidate. Hillary and the MSM colluded again in the fall campaign. After Trump won, meddling continued on to the electoral college and the Trump Presidency, by those who lost the election.

As many advertising companies have already pointed out (and Proctor and Gamble PROVED), most of the eyeballs supposedly looking at online ads are either (1) not really looking; or (2) not even human (robot click farms and the like). Last month, Facebook was caught lying about how many 18-26 year olds in the USA supposedly look at Facebook -- out of the 31 million such persons that exist according to US census figures, Facebook estimates that they reach 44 million of them!!! The whole online adversing business is a giant scam, which is why Meuller did not and never will find any Russian influence in online ads. FB and Google went to Washington this week to try to convince somebody -- anybody! -- that their ads are relevant. Maybe Congress is that gullible, but the top advertiser in the world (based on $$ spend) is P&G who already discovered that online ads generally don't work

i liked the russian ad for the urainum powered night lite with 500 year life,,only $50000 dontion to the clinton fund

@Carl_R

Caveat Emptor. And if you're so stupid you believe something that hurts you or kills you... Well then we won't have to worry about you using up your share of the available carbon (yes, that's a joke - I know that carbon is basically limitless.)

@2banana

Ridiculous. Do you even know the definition of "monopoly"? And no, it's not a board game.

@Sechel

It isn't the job of content providers to vet either the content of the ads someone chooses to place on their site - or the content of the information to which it leads. It is the job of the reader to be smarter than the screen they're staring at.

@Medex_Man

Exactly. Anyone who hears this stuff and honestly believes it - and because of that believes that Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram...etc need to be "regulated" or "governed" by someone in DC...well, see my reply to Carl above.

There is probably no way people should see only the news they want to see. That is the essence of propaganda.

All news is fake news, or at a minimum indistinguishable from fake news, unless first person verified from first principles. Over and over again, enough times to be reliable.

The extent to which any given actor engage in fake news dissemination, increases with what he stands to gain from it. Domestic actors, especially so interests powerful enough to be closely interwoven with domestic politicians, have much more to gain and/or lose, than foreigners further away. Execs, and council, at Facebook, Google et al, in particular. Hence, even if they manage to “police” “fake Russian accounts,” the reliability of the news that results, will only decrease. Russians, ISIS, Nazis, genocidal Rwandans and what have you, serve Americans well as news sources; by providing an alternative viewpoint from that of the official propaganda. Something no one beholden to entrenched US politicians ever will.

Every time a consumer wanders into an open market (anything from a tag sale to a flea market to a "sophisticated" stock market)... there are people trying to sell cr@p, telling potential buyers how wonderful and flawless the product they are selling is. There are always stupid people who will buy snake oil and magic elixirs and "free" solutions to serious problems... but on average, the mud covered masses do a pretty good job ferreting out the scammers. Notable exception: when politicians create artificial monopolies that make scammers the only option (cable TV, public education, obamacare, mandatory public service like the draft or "mandatory volunteering")

all advertisements, not just political ads, should include information about who sponsored and paid for them.

@Medex_Man

Re: Your exception. Yes! And please note who created these "monopolies"... Politicians. Why? Because a monopoly is impossible to maintain without force. And politicians exclusively wield the force of government.

@Sechel

Why? Do you think that will make a difference? John Ossoff lied his Ossoff in pretty much every ad that bore his name and the stupid line "I approve this message!" He can approve all he wants, it was still bullshit. And if the ad is paid for by "The Committee to Promote Better American Values" but you don't know that's a front for another front that fronts for a company funded by the Chinese government... What then? You won't know that without getting off your ass and doing the research. If you won't research the content, why would you research that? And the same thing applies for non-political ads...

Plus - You probably don't see this but what you're really saying is that everyone is too stupid to think for themselves and they need government to help them sort things out. Perhaps you fit that description and need your news and advertisements spoon fed to you, but most of us out here do not. And I - for one - would prefer to keep it that way.

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