We Have to Talk About Facebook Again. Sigh.
By Melissa Ryan
This week’s New York Times article on Facebook was a doozy. More than 50 sources, many of whom are surely under an NDA, spilled lots of tea, airing Facebook’s dirty laundry.
It turns out Facebook isn’t just a radicalization engine where conspiracy theories about George Soros and the left spread. They’re practitioners! The company actively tapped into Soros conspiracies for their own PR purposes when they “employed a Republican opposition-research firm [Definers] to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic.” Fun fact: said firm runs its own “in-house fake news shop!” The Times followed up with even more details of strategies Definers deployed on Facebook’s behalf, including hyperpartisan news aggregation.
The timing on this particular piece of news couldn’t be worse, just a few weeks after Soros had a pipe bomb sent to his home — one of many pipe bombs sent to progressive public figures — by a man who had almost certainly been radicalized online. It’s maddening that Facebook would allow encouraging these conspiracies as an actual comms plan but I guess if anyone would know what an effective strategy Soros conspiracies can be, it would be Facebook!
Facebook has spent the rest of this week bending over backward to defend itself and as part of that process has thrown Definers under the bus. Basically, deploying the same aggressive PR strategy described in the Times piece. Personally, I don’t care about Facebook doing opposition research on Senators they were lobbying. But Soros conspiracy mongering and hyperpartisan news aggregation are unacceptable. As Ben Collins put it in his excellent Twitter thread “Hiring someone to claim your protesters are paid by Soros is just… beyond the pale disgraceful corruption.”
HOPE not hate research: Bots, Fake News and the Anti-Muslim Message on Social Media
By Patrik Hermansson
HOPE not hate scrutinized Islamophobic movements and anti-Muslim hatred on social media in November 2017, however in the time since then a series of developments regarding disinformation and hate speech on social media platforms means the topic of online Islamophobia calls for a revisit. Read Patrik Hermanson’s report here.
HOPE not Tommy: How we helped stop UK anti-Muslim activist’s US trip
British anti-Muslim activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon AKA Tommy Robinson has been receiving a lot of attention outside the UK recently. So much so his right wing friends in the United States invited him to speak twice this month (a trip which we estimated could see Lennon ultimately gain in the region of £1,000,000).
After HOPE not hate ran a campaign to stop his entry to the US, however, Lennon was blocked. Moreover, he told his supporters that the campaign had led to a slump in his donations, telling them: “I don’t know how we’re gonna continue”. Read more about how we helped stop Lennon here.
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- Amazon’s Algorithm Has an Anti-Semitism Problem (Tablet)
- Facebook will create an independent oversight group to review content moderation appeals (The Verge)
- The Data Scientist Tracking America’s White Supremacists (Vice)
- Here’s What Happens When You Bring Steve Bannon Onstage And Try To “Scrutinize” His Ideas (Buzzfeed)
- Far-Right Groups Just Doxxed Elections Supervisors Brenda Snipes and Susan Bucher (Miami New Times)
- D.C. neo-Nazi with deep ties for the far-right arrested on weapons charges (ThinkProgress)
- Trump Is Tweeting Bogus Claims Of Voter Fraud. Here’s How His False Claims Echo Online Conspiracies (Buzzfeed)
- Nationalism a driving force behind fake news in India, research shows (BBC)
- Gavin McInnes Whines His Fellow Rich Neighbors Don’t Like Him (The Daily Beast)
- Azov, Ukraine’s Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
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