In the ground and off the page: why we’re banning ads from fossil fuels extractors | Membership | The Guardian

dog

In a bid to reduce our carbon footprint, confront greenwashing and increase our focus on the climate crisis, the Guardian this week announced it will no longer run ads from fossil fuel extractors alongside any of its content in print or online. The move will come into immediate effect, and follows the announcement in October last year that we intend to reduce our net emissions to zero by 2030.

Once upon a time, a newspaper was a rather straightforward business. You generated enough material of interest to attract a significant number of readers. You then ‘sold’ those readers to advertisers happy to pay to get their ideas, products or brands in front of consumers with cash to spend.

Of course, digital disruption over the past 20 years has upended that model, but advertising remains an important part of the media business ecosystem. At the Guardian, it is still responsible for about two-fifths of our income.

But what happens when the readers don’t like the adverts? What do you do when the message that advertisers want to spread jars awkwardly with the work your journalists are doing?

What if your journalists are some of the best in the world at revealing and investigating the deepening climate catastrophe and the disaster that is fossil fuel growth, while some of your advertisers are the very people digging the stuff out of the ground?

This contradiction has bothered us – and some of you – for some time. We came up with a rather bold answer this week: turn away the money and double down on the journalism.

“It’s something we thought about for a long time,” says Anna Bateson, the interim chief executive officer of Guardian Media Group, the Guardian’s parent company. “We always felt it was in line with our editorial values but were cautious for commercial reasons.”

She said it was the logical next step after the Guardian committed last year to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and was certified as a B Corp – a company that puts purpose before profit. But she added that the move had to be weighed carefully, given the fact that the Guardian only recently returned to breakeven after years in the red.

“You have to be careful you are not making cavalier decisions,” she said. “ We are still having to fight for our financial future. But because of the support we get from our readers, it is less of a risk.”

On the advertising side of our business, Adam Foley said there were no complaints at all that potential customers were suddenly off-limits, adding that staff felt that “being part of a company that shares their values” was the biggest motivation for his teams.

“A statement like this reaffirms to all of us that we’re contributing to a business that really lives those values – to the extent where it is prepared to sacrifice profit for purpose.”

The response from the wider world has been a pleasant surprise. Hundreds of you have written in, pledging your support, and in some cases, one-off contributions to start making up the shortfall. (EDS: See below – I’m going to append the best responses below. In print you can use as the panel)

The environmental movement was instantly appreciative, with activists quickly urging our peers to follow suit. “The Guardian will no longer accept advertising from oil and gas companies,” Greta Thunberg tweeted. “A good start, who will take this further?” Greenpeace called it “a huge moment in the battle against oil and gas for all of us.”

Some readers have been calling for the Guardian to go the whole hog and forsake advertising from any company with a substantial carbon footprint. Bateson said that was not realistic, adding that such a move would result in less money for journalism. She said the fossil fuel extractors were specifically targeted because of their efforts to skew the climate change debate through their lobbying effort.

“We are committed to advertising,” she said. “It will continue to be part of our future. We want advertisers who want to be appear alongside our high quality journalism.”

And how will we know if this has worked?
“We will listen to our readers, we will listen to our advertisers. The response so far has been gratifying. If we continue to hear positive noises from our readers and supporters, then it will have been a success.”




Pinterest

Responses from our supporters

That is such a brilliant decision and it will be tough, but it is the correct one and I am very proud of The Guardian. Barbara Syer

Following the Guardian’s decision to ban ads from fossil fuel companies I’m making a monthly contribution to support its fearless journalism: reader support is essential for independent scrutiny of the powerful in business, finance and politics. Titus Alexander, Hertfordshire, England

I live at present in Canada, home to the Alberta Tar Sands: another name for ecological devastation resulting from fossil fuel extraction. I fully support The Guardian’s action in ceasing to be a vehicle for advertising by fossil fuel extractive companies, and I’m proud to be a supporter. My monthly donation is small, but when I can I will make it much greater. Rosemary Delnavine, Canada

Congratulations. At this time it may be a bold step, indeed, within this industry, but true leaders have to take bold steps for the betterment of the quality of life, and more importantly for the life of future generations. I applaud this decision, and will spread the word. Raphael Sulkovitz, Boston MA

What a bravery! This is what the life on earth needs, thank you. Karri Kuikka, Finland (EDS: please leave her wonderful Finglish intact!)

Keep it up. Here in Canada, we’re still trying to have it both ways — sell the product internationally but discourage buying domestically. As I recall, it was the same with tobacco. Eventually, it took a change in public opinion to solve the problem. As a news source, your efforts are part of this solution. Robert Shotton, Ottawa

I applaud your decision to”walk the talk.” I will therefore continue to contribute to The Guardian. Bob Wagenseil

Bravo yr decision to eschew $ from the FFI. Please do continue to hold to the fire(s) the feet of the deniers and the willfully ignorant. Sydney Alonso, Vermont, US

I am very happy to hear that good news. It’s quite courageous on your part, and I’m happy to support you! Have a great year ahead, you’ll have my continuous support! Julien Psomas

I completely support your plan to refuse ads from fossils, despite the
financial hit to the Guardian. I have made a donation to help out. David Thompson

A very commendable decision, very much in keeping with the Guardian’s position as leader of green issues to leave a better planet for following generations. Richard Vernon, Oxford

Yay! I’m so proud of the Guardian! We can no longer support or fund in any manner the fossil fuel industry if we have any chance of survival as a civilization on this planet. You’ve taken a courageous and moral step that will hopefully embolden others to join you. Good on you! Best, Carol Ross, Missouri, US

Good decision. I’ll support you as much as I can, which unfortunately is not much as I live on age pension only. Keep up the good work, we need it desperately! Ursula Brandt, South Australia

I am absolutely delighted by this decision. So many people pledge to do something about Climate Change, but few actually are willing to get uncomfortable and DO it. I am very proud of you as my favourite source of Information and this only makes a case for me to donate next time to you again. Christiane Gross

It was great reading what The Guardian is doing re the climate. As a Guardian on-line reader from The Netherlands I’m going to contribute monthly now instead of ‘now and again’. The amount will be relatively small as I do not have a great income. I really hope more of your supporters will do so, because it is really great what you are doing.
With kind regards, Aleida Oostendorp, Netherlands

I congratulate you and your team on taking this step regarding fossil fuel companies. The Guardian’s stance on the environment and its excellent coverage of related stories and events is the major reason for my support. Well done, and good luck in the future. Deirdre Moore

Love your new policy about accepting money from fossil fuels. Will contribute more to help make up for the shortfall. Todd Misk

I live on a fixed income with a strict budget so my continuing support of your excellent news organisation represents my commitment to the fight to address climate change. Every step counts. Barbara Hirsch, Texas, US

Only when we speak truth to power can change take place. thank yo for your courageous and expensive decision. Nancy Shepherd, Vermont, US

Love your journalism, especially your investigative work and the climate change topic. And with the bold statement about not receiving any more sponsorship from the fossil extracting companies? Well, the already great newspapers became even more impressive now. Keep up the good work. Miroslav Řezníček, Czech Republic

Thank you for taking the bold step of refusing advertising from fossil fuel extractive companies. I think it is the right thing to do & hope many more companies do the same. We must all work together if we want to save our planet. It is one of the most important issues of our times. Ginger Comstock, New York, US

Related posts

Facebook to Unveil New Privacy Updates, it’s First Since Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Popular social media platform, Facebook has announced plans to unveil a new update to its Privacy Checkup Tool. The updates which would be revealed at the CES 2020, would be Facebook’s first significant update since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook Updates Privacy Checkup Tool, it's First Since Cambridge Analytica
Facebook set to reveal an update to privacy tool at CES 2020

Facebook’s Privacy Checkup tool was created in 2014 to allows users control access to personal information like email address and phone number.

However, in early 2018, Facebook faced a major privacy scandal when Cambridge Analytica illicitly harvested personal data from up to 87 million users without their consent.

Also, in July last year, Facebook was fined a record $5 billion for using phone numbers intended for two-factor authentication in its advertising. It also accidentally stored passwords in plaintext, thus exposing users to hackers and scammers.

The Facebook privacy updates will be introduced based on issues that users were most concerned about. They will provide more privacy control over personal data to avoid the recurrence of another major scandal.

Facebook Updates Privacy Checkup Tool, it's First Since Cambridge Analytica
The Update to the privacy tool allows users to choose who to see what they share

The privacy update increases the categories of the Privacy Checkup tool from three to eight. It would also come under four different topics: Who can see what you share; How to keep your account secure; How people can find you on Facebook; and Your data settings.

The new tools will give users one central tab where they can change settings to choose who can view their profile. They could also control who can send them friend requests as well as enable two-factor authentication and permissions settings for third-party apps.

For users who log into other apps and websites with their Facebook accounts, there would be a Data Settings section. This section provides a convenient location where users can revoke access permissions to those apps and websites.

However, the Facebook Privacy Checkup updates appear to mainly address privacy concerns on the social platform itself, not away from it. As such there are strong concerns that data brokers, miners and advertisers can still target entire groups of people using the social network.

The post Facebook to Unveil New Privacy Updates, it’s First Since Cambridge Analytica Scandal appeared first on Technext.

Related posts

Facebook keeps policy protecting political ads | ABS-CBN News

ad
Facebook logos are seen on a screen in this picture illustration taken Dec. 2, 2019. Johanna Geron, Reuters/file

SAN FRANCISCO — Defying pressure from Congress, Facebook said on Thursday that it would continue to allow political campaigns to use the site to target advertisements to particular slices of the electorate and that it would not police the truthfulness of the messages sent out.

The stance put Facebook, the most important digital platform for political ads, at odds with some of the other large tech companies, which have begun to put new limits on political ads.

Facebook’s decision, telegraphed in recent months by executives, is likely to harden criticism of the company heading into this year’s presidential election.

Political advertising cuts to the heart of Facebook’s outsize role in society, and the company has found itself squeezed between liberal critics, who want it to do a better job of policing its various social media platforms, and conservatives, who say their views are being unfairly muzzled.

The issue has raised important questions regarding how heavy a hand technology companies like Facebook — which also owns Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp — and Google should exert when deciding what types of political content they will and will not permit.

By maintaining a status quo, Facebook executives are essentially saying they are doing the best they can without government guidance and see little benefit to the company or the public in changing.

In a blog post, a company official echoed Facebook’s earlier calls for lawmakers to set firm rules.

“In the absence of regulation, Facebook and other companies are left to design their own policies,” Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management overseeing the advertising integrity division, said in the post. “We have based ours on the principle that people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public.”

Other social media companies have decided otherwise, and some had hoped Facebook would quietly follow their lead. In late October, Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, banned all political advertising from his network, citing the challenges that novel digital systems present to civic discourse. Google quickly followed suit with limits on political ads across some of its properties, though narrower in scope.

Reaction to Facebook’s policy broke down largely along party lines.

The Trump campaign, which has been highly critical of any attempts by technology companies to regulate political advertising and has already spent more than $27 million on the platform, largely supported Facebook’s decision not to interfere in targeting ads or to set fact-checking standards.

“Our ads are always accurate so it’s good that Facebook won’t limit political messages because it encourages more Americans to be involved in the process,” said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign. “This is much better than the approaches from Twitter and Google, which will lead to voter suppression.”

Democratic presidential candidates and outside groups decried the decision.

“Facebook is paying for its own glowing fake news coverage, so it’s not surprising they’re standing their ground on letting political figures lie to you,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

Warren, who has been among the most critical of Facebook and regularly calls for major tech companies to be broken up, reiterated her stance that the social media company should face tougher policies.

The Biden campaign was similarly critical. The campaign has confronted Facebook over an ad run by President Donald Trump’s campaign that attacked Joe Biden’s record on Ukraine.

“Donald Trump’s campaign can (and will) still lie in political ads,” Bill Russo, the deputy communications director for Biden, said in a statement. “Facebook can (and will) still profit off it. Today’s announcement is more window dressing around their decision to allow paid misinformation.”

But many Democratic groups willing to criticize Facebook had to walk a fine line; they have pushed for more regulation when it comes to fact-checking political ads, but they have been adamantly opposed to any changes to the ad-targeting features.

On Thursday, some Democratic outside groups welcomed Facebook’s decision not to limit micro-targeting, but still thought the policy fell short.

“These changes read to us mostly as a cover for not making the change that is most vital: ensuring politicians are not allowed to use Facebook as a tool to lie to and manipulate voters,” said Madeline Kriger, who oversees digital ad buying at Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC.

Other groups, however, said Facebook had been more thoughtful about political ads than its industry peers.

“Facebook opted against limiting ad targeting, because doing so would have unnecessarily restricted a valuable tool that campaigns of all sizes rely on for fundraising, registering voters, building crowds and organizing volunteers,” said Tara McGowan, chief executive of Acronym, a non-profit group that works on voter organization and progressive causes.

Facebook has played down the business opportunity in political ads, saying the vast majority of its revenue came from commercial, not political, ads. But lawmakers have noted that Facebook ads could be a focal point of Trump’s campaign as well as those of top Democrats.

Facebook’s hands-off ad policy has already allowed for misleading advertisements. In October, a Facebook ad from the Trump campaign made false accusations about Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The ad quickly went viral and was viewed by millions. After the Biden campaign asked Facebook to take down the ad, the company refused.

“Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is,” Facebook’s head of global elections policy, Katie Harbath, wrote in the letter to the Biden campaign.

In an attempt to provoke Facebook, Warren’s presidential campaign ran an ad falsely claiming that the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, was backing the reelection of Trump. Facebook did not take the ad down.

Criticism seemed to stiffen Zuckerberg’s resolve. Company officials said he and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s president, had ultimately made the decision to stand firm.

In a strongly worded speech at Georgetown University in October, Zuckerberg said he believed in the power of unfettered speech, including in paid advertising, and did not want to be in the position to police what politicians could and could not say to constituents. Facebook’s users, he said, should be allowed to make those decisions for themselves.

“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” he said.

Facebook officials have repeatedly said significant changes to its rules for political or issue ads could harm the ability of smaller, less well-funded organizations to raise money and organize across the network.

Instead of overhauling its policies, Facebook has made small tweaks. Leathern said Facebook would add greater transparency features to its library of political advertising in the coming months, a resource for journalists and outside researchers to scrutinize the types of ads run by the campaigns.

Facebook also will add a feature that allows users to see fewer campaign and political issue ads in their news feeds, something the company has said many users have requested.

There was considerable debate inside Facebook about whether it should change. Late last year, hundreds of employees supported an internal memo that called on Zuckerberg to limit the abilities of Facebook’s political advertising products.

On Dec. 30, Andrew Bosworth, the head of Facebook’s virtual and augmented reality division, wrote on his internal Facebook page that, as a liberal, he found himself wanting to use the social network’s powerful platform against Trump.

But Bosworth said that even though keeping the current policies in place “very well may lead to” Trump’s reelection, it was the right decision. Dozens of Facebook employees pushed back on Bosworth’s conclusions, arguing in the comments section below his post that politicians should be held to the same standard that applies to other Facebook users.

For now, Facebook appears willing to risk disinformation in support of unfettered speech.

“Ultimately, we don’t think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies,” Leathern said. “Frankly, we believe the sooner Facebook and other companies are subject to democratically accountable rules on this, the better.”

2020 The New York Times Company

Related posts

Easy way to set Facebook to Private 2020 – Facebook.com

Hey guys we are on again to show you an easy way to set Facebook to private 2020. Basically, it’s no doubt that security is one major form of our lives right now. However, most people on social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and so on like to keep their accounts private. This is not just because they love to but because they want to keep some standard of their information secret.

Easy way to set Facebook to Private 2020 – Facebook.com

Particularly, it is never a doubt as well that Facebook is one of the most used social media platforms today. Therefore, Facebook is a unique place to connect with old friends and as well make new ones. More so you can as well sell and buy with the Facebook marketplace feature and promote your business also with the Facebook advertising feature.

Basically, this is to say there is so much activity you can do using the Facebook platform. However, sometimes keeping your Facebook account private is a way of keeping your Facebook account safe from unwanted people. Furthermore, this also helps you to regulate the kind of persons you want on your Facebook friend list. So without wasting more of your time let me show you how to go about getting the easy way to set Facebook to private 2020.

Steps on How to Make Your Facebook Private 2020

  1. Locate the privacy shortcut at the top right corner of your screen. Therefore, you will see a three-stripe horizontal like icon click on it or you will see an arrow-like icon click it and a menu will dropdown.
  2. Scroll down to the settings icon at the bottom and click on it.
  3. Furthermore, it will then take you to the Privacy and tools page. Therefore, on this page, you can then edit your Activities on Facebook and set how people can find and contact you. Also, make your Facebook account public or private.

Basically, with this easy way you can edit your Facebook account to suit your profile. Also, you can set your privacy status in any way you prefer it to be. This is the easy way to go about setting your Facebook account private.

The post Easy way to set Facebook to Private 2020 – Facebook.com appeared first on Bingdroid.

Related posts

Twitter makes global changes to comply with privacy laws

Twitter Inc is updating its global privacy policy to give users more information about what data advertisers might receive and is launching a site to provide clarity on its data protection efforts, the company said on Monday.

The changes, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The California law requires large businesses to give consumers more transparency and control over their personal information, such as allowing them to request that their data be deleted and to opt-out of having their data sold to third parties.

ALSO READ: FG to galvanise mining sector with downstream mineral value chain initiative

Social media companies including Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google have come under scrutiny on data privacy issues, fueled by Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which personal data were harvested from millions of users without their consent.

Twitter also announced on Monday that it is moving the accounts of users outside of the United States and European Union which were previously contracted by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland, to the San Francisco-based Twitter Inc.

The company said this move would allow it the flexibility to test different settings and controls with these users, such as additional opt-in or opt-out privacy preferences, that would likely be restricted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe’s landmark digital privacy law.

“We want to be able to experiment without immediately running afoul of the GDPR provisions,” Twitter’s data protection officer Damien Kieran told Reuters in a phone interview.

“The goal is to learn from those experiments and then to provide those same experiences to people all around the world,” he said.

The company, which said it has upped its communications about data and security-related disclosures over the last two years, emphasized in a Monday blog post that it was working to upgrade systems and build privacy into new products.

In October, Twitter announced it had found that phone numbers and email addresses used for two-factor authentication may inadvertently have been used for advertising purposes.

Twitter’s new privacy site, dubbed the ‘Twitter Privacy Center’ is part of the company’s efforts to showcase its work on data protection and will also give users another route to access and download their data.

Twitter joins other internet companies who have recently staked out their positions ahead of CCPA coming into effect. Last month, Microsoft Corp said it would honor the law throughout the United States and Google told clients that it would let sites and apps using its advertising tools block personalized ads as part of its efforts to comply with CCPA.

Source: Reuters

Related posts

Facebook Groups for Business – How to See Facebook Groups List for Business | Join Best Facebook Business Group

tv person

Facebook so far cannot be denied as a powerful and significant social media. Therefore, the Facebook groups for business platforms can be used for many purposes and business is one of such purposes. There are different segments or sections to this huge social media platform.

One of such segments of which we will be looking at is Facebook Groups. Facebook groups can no doubt be used for business and in this article, we will be discussing fully how you can use various Facebook Groups for Business. Using Facebook Groups for Business is quite simple but you must first sign up for an account on the platform.

It is important you know that signing up for an account on this platform is free and simple. It can be done within a few minutes. However, the question you should ask yourself first before you read further on this article is how you can and why you need FB Groups for your business.

Well, Facebook Groups can for sure help you advertise your business thereby giving you more customers as well as awareness. Awareness and customers we all know is part of the beginning of every successful business. Come to think of it, who will be interested or even have the idea to buy something they don’t know about.

Find and Join Facebook Groups

If you have made up your mind or decided you really want to use Facebook Groups for your business, then you should, first of all, know how you can find and join Facebook Groups. That is of course after you have sign up for an account with the platform.

  • Go to the Facebook official website using the URL or web address www.facebook.com.
  • On the welcome page, sign in your already existing account if you haven’t done so already.
  • Hit the search bar at the top of any page immediately after you sign in your account.
  • From your search results, locate and tap on the group’s link. This will help you filter your search results.
  • Tap on the group and then the join icon to become a member of the group.

That is all you need to do to successfully find and join Facebook Groups you can use for your business.

How to use Facebook Groups for Business

The best way to use Facebook groups for your business is by advertising your business on them. Follow the steps below to do so.

  • Find the groups you want to advertise your business on open it. You can open or access the content of a group by tapping on the group link.
  • Hit the box at the top of the page that indicates you can add your post through it.
  • Add the details of the business you are advertising and some pictures.
  • Add relevant tags and tap on the “post” button.

The steps above if followed accordingly will help you advertise your business on FB groups.

How to See Facebook Group List 

Basically, for any user to see their Facebook group they need to follow these simple steps to achieve this goal.

  • Login in straight into your Facebook account.
  • From the Facebook, newsfeed section click on Groups in the dropdown menu.
  • View the menu at the left-hand side to manage your groups.

The post Facebook Groups for Business – How to See Facebook Groups List for Business | Join Best Facebook Business Group appeared first on Bingdroid.

Related posts

Why the fight against disinformation, sham accounts and trolls won’t be any easier in 2020

2020 Election

The big tech companies have announced aggressive steps to keep trolls, bots and online fakery from marring another presidential election — from Facebook’s removal of billions of fake accounts to Twitter’s spurning of all political ads.

But it’s a never-ending game of whack-a-mole that’s only getting harder as we barrel toward the 2020 election. Disinformation peddlers are deploying new, more subversive techniques and American operatives have adopted some of the deceptive tactics Russians tapped in 2016. Now, tech companies face thorny and sometimes subjective choices about how to combat them — at times drawing flak from both Democrats and Republicans as a result.

This is our roundup of some of the evolving challenges Silicon Valley faces as it tries to counter online lies and bad actors heading into the 2020 election cycle:

1) American trolls may be a greater threat than Russians

Russia-backed trolls notoriously flooded social media with disinformation around the presidential election in 2016, in what Robert Mueller’s investigators described as a multimillion-dollar plot involving years of planning, hundreds of people and a wave of fake accounts posting news and ads on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube.

This time around — as experts have warned — a growing share of the threat is likely to originate in America.

“It’s likely that there will be a high volume of misinformation and disinformation pegged to the 2020 election, with the majority of it being generated right here in the United States, as opposed to coming from overseas,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

Barrett, the author of a recent report on 2020 disinformation, noted that lies and misleading claims about 2020 candidates originating in the U.S. have already spread across social media. Those include manufactured sex scandals involving South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a smear campaign calling Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) “not an American black” because of her multiracial heritage. (The latter claim got a boost on Twitter from Donald Trump Jr.)

Before last year’s midterm elections, Americans similarly amplified fake messages such as a “#nomenmidterms” hashtag that urged liberal men to stay home from the polls to make “a Woman’s Vote Worth more.” Twitter suspended at least one person — actor James Woods — for retweeting that message.

“A lot of the disinformation that we can identify tends to be domestic,” said Nahema Marchal, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute’s Computational Propaganda Project. “Just regular private citizens leveraging the Russian playbook, if you will, to create … a divisive narrative, or just mixing factual reality with made-up facts.”

Tech companies say they’ve broadened their fight against disinformation as a result. Facebook, for instance, announced in October that it had expanded its policies against “coordinated inauthentic behavior” to reflect a rise in disinformation campaigns run by non-state actors, domestic groups and companies. But people tracking the spread of fakery say it remains a problem, especially inside closed groups like those popular on Facebook.

2) And policing domestic content is tricky

U.S. law forbids foreigners from taking part in American political campaigns — a fact that made it easy for members of Congress to criticize Facebook for accepting rubles as payment for political ads in 2016.

But Americans are allowed, even encouraged, to partake in their own democracy — which makes things a lot more complicated when they use social media tools to try to skew the electoral process. For one thing, the companies face a technical challenge: Domestic meddling doesn’t leave obvious markers such as ads written in broken English and traced back to Russian internet addresses.

More fundamentally, there’s often no clear line between bad-faith meddling and dirty politics. It’s not illegal to run a mud-slinging campaign or engage in unscrupulous electioneering. And the tech companies are wary of being seen as infringing on American’s right to engage in political speech — all the more so as conservatives such as President Donald Trump accuse them of silencing their voices.

Plus, the line between foreign and domestic can be blurry. Even in 2016, the Kremlin-backed troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency relied on Americans to boost their disinformation. Now, claims with hazy origins are being picked up without need for a coordinated 2016-style foreign campaign. Simon Rosenberg, a longtime Democratic strategist who has spent recent years focused on online disinformation, points to Trump’s promotion of the theory that Ukraine significantly meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, a charge that some experts trace back to Russian security forces.

“It’s hard to know if something is foreign or domestic,” said Rosenberg, once it “gets swept up in this vast ‘Wizard of Oz’-like noise machine.”

3) Bad actors are learning

Experts agree on one thing: The election interference tactics that social media platforms encounter in 2020 will look different from those they’ve trying to fend off since 2016.

“What we’re going to see is the continued evolution and development of new approaches, new experimentation trying to see what will work and what won’t,” said Lee Foster, who leads the information operations intelligence analysis team at the cybersecurity firm FireEye.

Foster said the “underlying motivations” of undermining democratic institutions and casting doubt on election results will remain constant, but the trolls have already evolved their tactics.

For instance, they’ve gotten better at obscuring their online activity to avoid automatic detection, even as social media platforms ramp up their use of artificial intelligence software to dismantle bot networks and eradicate inauthentic accounts.

“One of the challenges for the platforms is that, on the one hand, the public understandably demands more transparency from them about how they take down or identify state-sponsored attacks or how they take down these big networks of authentic accounts, but at the same time they can’t reveal too much at the risk of playing into bad actors’ hands,” said Oxford’s Marchal.

Researchers have already observed extensive efforts to distribute disinformation through user-generated posts — known as “organic” content — rather than the ads or paid messages that were prominent in the 2016 disinformation campaigns.

Foster, for example, cited trolls impersonating journalists or other more reliable figures to give disinformation greater legitimacy. And Marchal noted a rise in the use of memes and doctored videos, whose origins can be difficult to track down. Jesse Littlewood, vice president at advocacy group Common Cause, said social media posts aimed at voter suppression frequently appear no different from ordinary people sharing election updates in good faith — messages such as “you can text your vote” or “the election’s a different day” that can be “quite harmful.”

Tech companies insist they are learning, too. Since the 2016 election, Google, Facebook and Twitter have devoted security experts and engineers to tackling disinformation in national elections across the globe, including the 2018 midterms in the United States. The companies say they have gotten better at detecting and removing fake accounts, particularly those engaged in coordinated campaigns.

But other tactics may have escaped detection so far. NYU’s Barrett noted that disinformation-for-hire operations sometimes employed by corporations may be ripe for use in U.S. politics, if they’re not already.

He pointed to a recent experiment conducted by the cyber threat intelligence firm Recorded Future, which said it paid two shadowy Russian “threat actors” a total of just $6,050 to generate media campaigns promoting and trashing a fictitious company. Barrett said the project was intended “to lure out of the shadows firms that are willing to do this kind of work,” and demonstrated how easy it is to generate and sow disinformation.

Real-life examples include a hyper-partisan skewed news operation started by a former Fox News executive and Facebook’s accusations that an Israeli social media company profited from creating hundreds of fake accounts. That “shows that there are firms out there that are willing and eager to engage in this kind of underhanded activity,” Barrett said.

4) Not all lies are created equal

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are largely united in trying to take down certain kinds of false information, such as targeted attempts to drive down voter turnout. But their enforcement has been more varied when it comes to material that is arguably misleading.

In some cases, the companies label the material factually dubious or use their algorithms to limit its spread. But in the lead-up to 2020, the companies’ rules are being tested by political candidates and government leaders who sometimes play fast and loose with the truth.

“A lot of the mainstream campaigns and politicians themselves tend to rely on a mix of fact and fiction,” Marchal said. “It’s often a lot of … things that contain a kernel of truth but have been distorted.”

One example is the flap over a Trump campaign ad — which appeared on Facebook, YouTube and some television networks — suggesting that former Vice President Joe Biden had pressured Ukraine into firing a prosecutor to squelch an investigation into an energy company whose board included Biden’s son Hunter. In fact, the Obama administration and multiple U.S. allies had pushed for removing the prosecutor for slow-walking corruption investigations. The ad “relies on speculation and unsupported accusations to mislead viewers,” the nonpartisan site FactCheck.org concluded.

The debate has put tech companies at the center of a tug of war in Washington. Republicans have argued for more permissive rules to safeguard constitutionally protected political speech, while Democrats have called for greater limits on politicians’ lies.

Democrats have especially lambasted Facebook for refusing to fact-check political ads, and have criticized Twitter for letting politicians lie in their tweets and Google for limiting candidates’ ability to finely tune the reach of their advertising — all examples, the Democrats say, of Silicon Valley ducking the fight against deception.

Jesse Blumenthal, who leads the tech policy arm of the Koch-backed Stand Together coalition, said expecting Silicon Valley to play truth cop places an undue burden on tech companies to litigate messy disputes over what’s factual.

“Most of the time the calls are going to be subjective, so what they end up doing is putting the platforms at the center of this rather than politicians being at the center of this,” he said.

Further complicating matters, social media sites have generally granted politicians considerably more leeway to spread lies and half-truths through their individual accounts and in certain instances through political ads. “We don’t do this to help politicians, but because we think people should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an October speech at Georgetown University in which he defended his company’s policy.

But Democrats say tech companies shouldn’t profit off false political messaging.

“I am supportive of these social media companies taking a much harder line on what content they allow in terms of political ads and calling out lies that are in political ads, recognizing that that’s not always the easiest thing to draw those distinctions,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state told POLITICO.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

Related posts

‘The Only Superstar Is Jesus Christ,’ Kanye West Says At Joel Osteen’s Church

person

Kanye West’s new faith-centric album may have surprised some fans, but he said Sunday that God has been drawing him into Christian music for several years.

West spoke at a jam-packed Sunday morning service at Houston’s Lakewood Church, the megachurch where Joel Osteen serves as pastor. Tickets were free. That night, West performed a concert at the church.

“God’s been calling me for a long time, and the devil has been distracting me for a long time,” West said. “When I was in my lowest point, God was there with me and sending me visions and inspiring me.”

West referenced a time in 2016 when he was admitted to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for stress and exhaustion. It caused the remainder of his 2016 tour to be cancelled.

“I remember sitting in the hospital [in 2016] at UCLA after having a mental breakdown, and there’s documentations of me drawing a church and … writing, ‘start a church in the middle of Calabasas.’”

Earlier in 2016, West had released an album, Life of Pablo, that at the time he called a “gospel album.”

“And I didn’t know how to totally make a gospel album,” he said.

The Christians surrounding him in 2016 didn’t tell him what he needed to hear, he said. They were “beaten into submission by society to not speak up and profess the gospel to me because I was a superstar,” he said.

“But the only superstar is Jesus,” West said to applause.

West’s latest album, Jesus Is King, was released in October. He said he won’t be silent about his faith.

“People tell you to quiet your voice and not talk about Jesus, you know, so loud. But everything else is so loud around us,” he said. “When I’m in California, when I’m in Vegas, they’ve got posters up advertising sex trafficking, because if there’s advertisement for a strip club, that is advertising sex trafficking, because at the end of the night, when they close up, the manager says, ‘How much traffic do we have?’ So, if it’s a man that’s going through things with his family or going through things at work and he feels he has to go there – we all end up participating.”

“… We get constant advertisement for strip clubs and other things like that. But then we bring up the name of Jesus we’re told to be quiet, quiet that down. So, even for someone who’s professing God and saying this is going to be a gospel album, the devil is going to come and do everything he can to distract people from knowing how to fully be in service to the Lord,” the singer said, reports Christian Headlines.

West joked about the “arrogance and confidence and cockiness” that has helped make him famous.

“The greatest artist that God has ever … created is now working for Him,” West said. “… Every time I stand up, I feel that I’m standing up and drawing a line in the sand and saying, ‘I’m here in service to God, and no weapon formed against me shall prosper.’”

He encouraged the Lakewood Church members and attendees to focus on Christ.

“Keep your eyes on purity and the love and the grace of God – the grace that allows us to be here today with all of our sins,” he said. “… We know that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be granted eternal life.”

The post ‘The Only Superstar Is Jesus Christ,’ Kanye West Says At Joel Osteen’s Church appeared first on Believers Portal.

Related posts

Create Facebook Ad Account – Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments – Facebook Advertising

laptop

Wow, there is good news for people in countries supported by Facebook who have not yet use the Facebook ad to advertise before. Basically, most people want to know how to create Facebook ad account. Particularly, set up for manual payments. Therefore the manual ad account is one that uses a manual payment method.

Create Facebook Ad Account - Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments - Facebook Advertising
Create Facebook Ad Account – Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments – Facebook Advertising

Furthermore, if you are Facebook users and you want to make use of Facebook Advertising then you need to know how the create a Facebook ad account set up for manual payments work. More so, this will help you not to make mistakes that you may not be able to change later in the future.

How the Facebook Ad Works – Create Facebook Ad Account 

Basically, when a user wants to advertise on Facebook, you must set up an Ad account. This account will propel the user to create the Facebook Ad and as well show all the features of Facebook Advertising. However, after setting up the account you can pay for the ads by your credit or debit card.

Furthermore, a user can set the Facebook Ad to run whichever way they choose. Also, they can adjust the time period they want the Ad to run on Facebook. Besides that, users can as well choose a referred location of people that the Ad will reach or that are more likely to see the Ad.

Therefore, this is a great feeling to know that you can create content for a particular location of people and as well the whole world. Not only that you can still set the about you want to use in showing ads or boost your post, website link on Facebook. Also, you still have the option to pause an ad that is running and resume it to run again.

About Creating Facebook Ads 

Particularly, when you create Facebook Ad account, you can set it up to manual payments option. However, the option of automatic payment is the default one. Therefore, you can as well it to the manual option.

Furthermore, this enables you to add money to your prepaid account balance using your Ad account. However, without this process of adding funds to your account, your Ad will fail to run. Basically, when the Ad starts to run, Facebook will then start to deduct money from your account balance. More so, this deduction is carried out the way you want as they will follow the funds’ range which you choose.

Things to Put into Consideration

There are certain things users need to consider before creating Facebook Ads. Therefore, below are most of the things users should put into consideration

  • However, if you are already running ads on Facebook using the automatic payment option you will not be able to switch it to manual payments. Therefore, this is just the direct opposite of the first instance.

How to Create New Ad Account with Manual Payments

The first thing you need to do is to enter your Ad Facebook account.

  1. Therefore, while entering your account info always ensures that the currency and account country u choose matches with the manual payment you’re using.
  2. After confirming your Ad purchase, you will need to pick a payment method. Furthermore, you can then select manual payments and hit on the Continue
  3. Always do reviews of the confirmation screen page before clicking the Continue
  4. Therefore, there are instructions to follow on the page, in order to add money to your account. Mind you these instructions chances depending on the payment method you choose.

After all this process your Ad will then be set for manual payments. Therefore, when adding money to your account, it will go through immediately. However, this depends on the payment method you choose as well.

The post Create Facebook Ad Account – Facebook Ad Set up for Manual Payments – Facebook Advertising appeared first on Bingdroid.

Related posts