Breaking: Facebook ‘Clamps Down On Biafra’, Shuts Down Nnamdi Kanu’s Page

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Social Media Network, , has shut down the page of, the (IPOB) in what appears to be a clampdown on Biafra agitation championed by the IPOB leader.

reports that Kanu’s group, the IPOB made this claim in a statement issued on Thursday, January 23 by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful.

In the statement, the IPOB alleged that the action was taken by Facebook Nigeria who, it said viewed the page as a platform to exposing the ills in government.

The IPOB warned that Biafra had suffered greatly as a result of the denial of media space in the late 60s, saying it could not afford to allow same to continue in the 21st century.

According to IPOB: “We can confirm that Facebook Nigeria has shut down the page of our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“This is not unconnected with the fact that our leader’s page has become a rich resource for those determined to expose the evil regime in Nigeria and enthrone a better life for the masses.

“We mince no words when we say that Facebook Nigeria is more corrupt that the corrupt government they are seeking to protect.

“Biafra suffered immeasurably as a result of denial of media space in the late 60s a situation we are not prepared to allow in this 21st century,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, Naija News reports that the development is coming whose name is Jubril Al-Sudani from Sudan.

In December 2019, of colluding with President Buhari’s government to remove his followers and reduce reactions to his posts on the popular social media platform.

Kanu had said that said it was so bad that the social media giant was also diverting some of his followers to fake accounts opened under his name, just to sabotage his effort to attain freedom for Biafra.

The IPOB leader had bemoaned that despite reporting the fake accounts severally to the Nigerian office of Facebook, the fake accounts had been allowed to flourish and garner more followers who mistook them for his own.

“I wish to apologise to my followers on Facebook for the Nigerian government sponsored attack on my page with the help of corrupt Facebook local staff based in Lagos.

“Facebook Nigeria in collusion with the Nigerian government is removing my followers and reducing the reactions to my post in an effort to demoralise our activist base and give the misleading impression that not many people are interested in exposing the ills of the totalitarian Fulani APC regime and Biafra restoration,” Kanu had said in December.

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COCA Spotlight: Young pianist knows score on film soundtracks | COCA

500Music is a calling for film composer and pianist Matthew Cravener. The 25-year-old virtuoso has created scores for 17 short films, one documentary, two audio books and an epic Christmas poem. He was selected as the Florida Young Soloist of the Year by Arts4All Florida and has released his own albums. 

When he isn’t in front of the piano, he’s out in the yard keeping his hands busy. He’s often at the keys though, whether he’s playing the Blue Tavern at happy hour or performing for Canterfield Assisted Living every Sunday. Composing inside his home studio, Cravener finds peace at his keyboard.

“Music makes me feel very calm,” says Cravener. “I have autism and Tourette’s. For a very long time and in my adolescent years and it was hard for me to function. Playing piano used to calm the tics down. It relieves a lot of tension and makes my mind go to better places.”

After experimenting with guitar and drums, Cravener was given a miniature piano at age 4. He often requested to hear Andy Griffith’s music and would play along with gospel albums. His father walked by his room one day and was shocked to find Cravener playing “Amazing Grace,” all from memory. 

Cravener still plays by ear. His first piano teacher had him turn around while she played three keys on the piano and he recognized them without any trouble. His next teacher worked with him on scales, arpeggios, phrasing and dynamics, which Cravener says he still uses within his repertoire.

By age 9 he was regularly playing at Black Dog Cafe though his feet barely reached the pedals. He once held a conversation with someone while he continued to play the psalm “We Gather at the River,” quite a feat given the coordination the piece requires. 

Cravener was moved to make his first Christmas CD when a young church friend contracted cancer and was struggling to pay medical bills. In a big-hearted gesture for a young musician, Cravener produced “Matthew’s Christmas for AJ,” which sold 500 copies on its first day. All proceeds went towards his friend’s family and  “Angels We Have Heard on High” became his favorite song to play and record.  

“It was a hard piece to play, but it was really rewarding when I learned it,” says Cravener. “The tempo is uplifting and fast and I enjoy the complexity.”  

At age 14 he produced a gospel album, though shortly after, his Tourette syndrome worsened and inhibited his ability to perform live. During this time, he would watch television shows and movies on YouTube and became interested in the musical scores that would play behind the action. 

Though he believed his performance days might be over, he was captivated by the promise of creating music behind the scenes for films. He attended TCC and was connected with aspiring film director JT Timmons, and began scoring films for Red Eye Productions.

Cravener ambitiously submitted his work to award-winning Los Angeles film composer, Christopher Young. Young called Cravener and sponsored him for an emerging artist residency at Tilden House in Culver City, California.

Read the rest of the story by visiting the Tallahassee Democrat

or read more by downloading the article here

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Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu Makes ‘Strong’ Allegation Against Buhari Govt, Facebook

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The leader of the (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, , has accused Facebook staff in Nigeria of colluding with President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to remove his followers and reduce reactions to his posts on the popular social media platform.

reports that the IPOB leader who made this claim in a recent statement personally signed by him, said it was so bad that the social media giant was also diverting some of his followers to fake accounts opened under his name, just to sabotage his effort to attain freedom for Biafra.

Kanu bemoaned that despite reporting the fake accounts severally to the Nigerian office of Facebook, the fake accounts had been allowed to flourish and garner more followers who mistook them for his own.

His words: “I wish to apologise to my followers on Facebook for the Nigerian government sponsored attack on my page with the help of corrupt Facebook local staff based in Lagos.

“Facebook Nigeria in collusion with the Nigerian government is removing my followers and reducing the reactions to my post in an effort to demoralise our activist base and give the misleading impression that not many people are interested in exposing the ills of the totalitarian Fulani APC regime and Biafra restoration.

“Facebook is actively preventing the general public from accessing the truthful messages that I publish.

“Tactfully, they are directing my followers to numerous fake “Mazi Nnamdi Kanu” Facebook page cloned by Nigeria’s secret police, DSS with the help of Facebook Nigeria in an effort to defraud the public and control the narrative.”

“IPOB had on many occasions reported these fake Mazi Nnamdi Kanu Facebook accounts to their highly corrupt Nigeria office but it continued to be an active participant in this massive effort to deceive the public.

The IPOB leader added that “Also Radio Biafra Facebook page and many frontline IPOB activists have also been experiencing this pattern of attack for many months now.

“This shameful practice by Facebook Nigeria to allow the suppression of truth and free speech is indirectly supporting state-sponsored terrorism in Nigeria.

“IPOB made an official complaint to Facebook headquarters in California USA, and we expect the management to clear its reputation, and desist from this shameful act.

“I will continue to expose evil in Nigeria, fight for the enthronement of justice for all and restoration of Biafra regardless of the corrupt tendencies of Facebook Nigeria,” Kanu opined

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Facebook, FG Diverting My Followers to Fake Accounts, IPOB Leader, Kanu Alleges

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• Accuses Facebook of Supporting State-sponsored Terrorism

David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has accused Facebook staff in the Nigeria office of colluding with the federal government to hinder his followers from viewing his posts on the popular social media sites.

Kanu, in a press statement he personally signed, said it was so bad that the social media giant was also diverting some of his followers to fake accounts opened under his name, just to sabotage his effort to attain freedom for Biafra.

He added that the fake accounts had been allowed to flourish and garner more followers who mistook them for his own, despite severally reporting the fake accounts to the Nigerian office of Facebook.

Kanu said, “I wish to apologise to my followers on Facebook for the Nigerian government sponsored attack on my page with the help of corrupt Facebook local staff based in Lagos.

“Facebook Nigeria in collusion with the Nigerian government is removing my followers and reducing the reactions to my post in an effort to demoralise our activist base and give the misleading impression that not many people are interested in exposing the ills of the totalitarian Fulani APC regime and Biafra restoration.

“Facebook is actively preventing the general public from accessing the truthful messages that I publish.

“Tactfully, they are directing my followers to numerous fake “Mazi Nnamdi Kanu” Facebook page cloned by Nigeria’s secret police, DSS with the help of Facebook Nigeria in an effort to defraud the public and control the narrative.”

IPOB had on many occasions reported these fake Mazi Nnamdi Kanu Facebook accounts to their highly corrupt Nigeria office but it continued to be an active participant in this massive effort to deceive the public.

He added that, “Also Radio Biafra Facebook page and many frontline IPOB activists have also been experiencing this pattern of attack for many months now.

“This shameful practice by Facebook Nigeria to allow the suppression of truth and free speech is indirectly supporting state-sponsored terrorism in Nigeria.

“IPOB made an official complaint to Facebook headquarters in California USA, and we expect the management to clear its reputation, and desist from this shameful act.

“I will continue to expose evil in Nigeria, fight for the enthronement of justice for all and restoration of Biafra regardless of the corrupt tendencies of Facebook Nigeria.”

The post Facebook, FG Diverting My Followers to Fake Accounts, IPOB Leader, Kanu Alleges appeared first on THISDAYLIVE.

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BUK Emerges Top in Global Digital Challenge, Gets Facebook Honorable Mention – PRNigeria News

BUK Emerges Top in Global Digital Challenge, Gets Facebook Honorable Mention

Bayero University Kano (BUK) has emerged top four among world Universities in the just concluded Fall 2019 Peer-to-Peer: Facebook Global Digital Challenge.

The University emerged runner up after Masaryk University — (Czech Republic) – FakeScape, Middle East Technical University — (Turkey) – Kiz Basina, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (Philippines) – I AM MINDANAO, thereby defeating Haigazian University Lebenon, Lithuania Christian College International University, ABTI American University of Nigeria (AUN) and Lagos State University Nigeria, most of whom were defending champions.

This season, the top three teams will be presenting their campaigns at the end of March 2020 in Brussels, Belgium to a panel of senior leaders, policymakers and guests.

In an email to participating teams, the Programs Project Manager, Paige M. Blair stated that, “The variety, insight, and creativity of the campaigns this term were beyond impressive and made judging quite difficult. All schools are commended for the innovative ways they positively impacted their local communities.”

BUK’s campaign was themed “HeartUmight,” and it focused on ethnic based hate speeches as a bane on our collective unity and source of other divisive tendencies with a view to inspiring at risk youths and the silent majority into countering such narratives online.

As runner up to the finalists, BUK’s HeartUmight got a honorable mention from Facebook and a $500 Facebook Ad Credit to continue scaling their work online.

Speaking, the Faculty Coordinator of the program, Dr. Nura Ibrahim, who is also the Head of the Department of Information and Media Studies said, “We are glad we made impact and got recognized for the impact we made. Our long term aims were clearly mapped out from the outset and our vision is to create an online inclusive society where culture and diversity is unified.”

Also speaking, Dr. Muhammad Danja the Staff Adviser for the campaign and also a lecturer with the Department expressed enthusiasm about future of the campaign. “As a build up on our previous effort, we were able to look inwards and design ba campaign that will make impact, stand firm and scale up in line with the overall goal of the challenge, that was why we were able to defeat Haigazian and ABTI American University who were actually defending champions this term so I am optimistic we shall emerge finalist in our next outing.”

On his part, the team lead, Muhammad Dahiru Lawal a 300Level Student of the Department of Information and Media Studies explains that, “In planning our strategy for the Campaign, we discovered that apart from religious based hate speeches, ethnic based hate speech are basically the most dominant in our online trails as indicated by our research, hence we decided to design a campaign that is unifying.”

He further said that, “we had hoped to make the finalist but at least we made a difference by winning in our own way. This is not the end of the road.”
Facebook Global Digital Challenge, is geared towards making a social impact on internet behaviour especially as it involves posts and comments considered violent, debasing and inflammatory by the receiving party.

The P2P Challenge is sponsored by Facebook and managed by EdVenture Partners (EVP).

As at the end of the Fall 2018 term, the P2P Challenge has been implemented over 695 times at over 400 universities in 75 countries and 40 U.S. states. P2P has generated over 200 million combined online and offline impressions since its inception in spring 2015.

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Facebook colludes with Nigerian govt to demoralise IPOB, suppress truth — Nnamdi Kanu

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Kanu, IPOB, Jonathan
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra

Chimaobi Nwaiwu

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday alleged that Nigerian Government is faking his Facebook page and using it to sponsor attacks, while also colluding with Facebook Nigeria in removing his followers and reducing the reactions to his post.

He alleged that the action of the Nigerian Government and Facebook Nigeria is in an effort to demoralise the IPOB activist base and give the misleading impression that not many people are interested in exposing the ills of the alleged totalitarian All Progressives Congresses, APC, the government in Nigeria.

Also read: Biafra: Lawyer files criminal complaint against Kanu at ICC, seeks arrest warrant

Mazi Kanu in a statement he personally signed, titled, “Facebook Nigeria has become another corrupt entity of the terror-sponsoring Fulani Government” said he and IPOB as a group have made an official complaint to Facebook headquarters in California USA and expects the management to clear its reputation, and desist from the shameful act.

The IPOB leader further alleged that Nigerian government in connivance with Facebook Nigeria is directing his followers to numerous fake “Mazi Nnamdi Kanu” Facebook page, allegedly cloned by Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services, DSS in an effort to defraud the public and control the narrative.

He, however, stated that he will continue to expose evil in Nigeria, fight for the enthronement of justice for all and restoration of Biafra regardless of the corrupt tendencies of Facebook Nigeria, and the effort by the Nigerian government conceal the truth.

Mazi Kanu’s statement read, “I wish to apologise to my followers on Facebook for the Nigerian government-sponsored attack on my page with the help of corrupt Facebook local staff based in Lagos.”

“Facebook Nigeria in collusion with the Nigerian government is removing my followers and reducing the reactions to my post in an effort to demoralise our activist base and give the misleading impression that not many people are interested in exposing the ills of the totalitarian Fulani APC regime and Biafra restoration.

“Facebook is actively preventing the general public from accessing the truthful messages that I publish.

“Tactfully, they are directing my followers to numerous fake “Mazi Nnamdi Kanu” Facebook page cloned by Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of States Services, DSS, with the help of Facebook Nigeria in an effort to defraud the public and control the narrative.

“IPOB had on many occasions reported these fake Mazi Nnamdi Kanu Facebook accounts to their highly corrupt Nigeria office, but it continues to be an active participant in this massive effort to deceive the public.

“This present attack has come in the critical time when Nigeria, West Africa and Biafra land are experiencing the horrific slaughter of 11 Christians in Nigeria during this goodwill season of Christmas.

“Facebook by its actions as part of a wider government effort to clamp down on the truth is knowingly aiding and abating terrorism.

“Also Radio Biafra Facebook page and many front line IPOB activists have also been experiencing this pattern of attack for many months now.”

According to Mazi Kanu, “This shameful practice by Facebook Nigeria to allow the suppression of truth and free speech is indirectly supporting state-sponsored terrorism in Nigeria.”

“IPOB made an official complaint to Facebook headquarters in California USA, and we expect the management to clear its reputation, and desist from this shameful act.

The post Facebook colludes with Nigerian govt to demoralise IPOB, suppress truth — Nnamdi Kanu appeared first on Vanguard News.

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IBB’s Rumoured Death Enough To Regulate Social Media: Lawmaker

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Chairman of Senate Services Committee, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, All Progressives Congress, APC, Niger East says enacting Social Media regulation law in the country is a matter of urgency.

The lawmaker cited the rumoured death of former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida over the weekend, as a good reason to enact the proposed Social Media Bill which he sponsored.

Senator Musa said, “While I join the family and well-wishers of Baba to condemn the rumour, I call on the security agencies to investigate the matter and uncover its source. This nonsense must not be allowed to continue. Perpetrators of such unholy act must be arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to other fake news carriers out there.”

Read Also: It Is Fake News: Spokesperson Reacts To Rumoured Death Of IBB

He added that “Although death is inevitable for every human being, it is however not something to wish someone, not even one’s enemy. It is ridiculous, unthinkable and barbaric for anyone to wish another person death, especially someone of the caliber of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, one of Nigeria’s legends still living.”

He further explained that, “Many Nigerians I believe now see the reason for the enactment of a social media regulation law. Truly, social media have great advantages. They have ushered in a new way of communication and social interactions which have also transformed and simplified human relations and bridged the gap between nations, regions and even continents of the world. Unfortunately, in the last few years, we have witnessed how this great innovation has also given rise to a worrisome phenomenon called fake news – an intent to deceive.

“Such gross insanity that has taken over social media cannot be allowed to continue. If we do not regulate social media by way of legislation, we would wake up one day to realise that our peace and unity as people have vanished. The social media regulation law, therefore, will help in curtailing the merchandise of fake news.”

The post IBB’s Rumoured Death Enough To Regulate Social Media: Lawmaker appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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IBB’s rumoured death: Call to enact social media regulation ― Sen. Sani Musa – Vanguard News

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By Henry Umoru

Chairman Senate Services Committee, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, All Progressives Congress, APC, Niger East has reiterated his call for the urgent enactment of Social Media regulation law in the country.

According to him, with the rumoured death of former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida over the weekend, it has become very imperative for the proposed Social Media Bill which he sponsored to be passed by the Senate.

Senator  Musa who described the rumour about the death of General Babangida over as unfortunate, mischievous and unholy.

The Senator who urged security operatives in the country to investigate the source of the rumour and arrest the perpetrators, said, “While I join the family and well-wishers of Baba to condemn the rumour, I call on the security agencies to investigate the matter and uncover its source. This nonsense must not be allowed to continue. Perpetrators of such unholy act must be arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to other fake news carriers out there.”

The Senator who was reacting to the rumour of IBB’s death with shock, in a statement he issued on Monday said that it was ridiculous for anyone to wish another human being death.

Senator Musa said, “Although death is inevitable for every human being, it is however not something to wish someone, not even one’s enemy. It is ridiculous, unthinkable and barbaric for anyone to wish another person death, especially someone of the caliber of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, one of Nigeria’s legends still living.”

The Senator who recalled that in 2019 alone rumours about the ‘death’ of IBB has made the rounds more than four times, and wondered why anyone would engage in such act,  said, “In 2019 alone, rumour about the “death” of Baba has made the rounds more than four times. But, the question most people ask is, who is behind the rumour? Why would he or she engage in such act? What does he or she stand to gain? It is indeed baffling.”

According to Senator Musa, the rumour of IBB’s death has also given credence to the need for the enactment of a social media regulation law. He said although the social media has positive impact on the society, the lack of regulation has rather made it injurious to society.

He said, “Many Nigerians I believe now see the reason for the enactment of a social media regulation law. Truly, social media have great advantages. They have ushered in a new way of communication and social interactions which have also transformed and simplified human relations and bridged the gap between nations, regions and even continents of the world. Unfortunately, in the last few years, we have witnessed how this great innovation has also given rise to a worrisome phenomenon called fake news – an intent to deceive.

“Such gross insanity that has taken over social media cannot be allowed to continue. If we do not regulate social media by way of legislation, we would wake up one day to realise that our peace and unity as people have vanished. The social media regulation law, therefore, will help in curtailing the merchandise of fake news.”

Meanwhile, Senator Sani Musa has prayed for sound health for General Ibrahim Babangida, wishing him long life.

He said, “We the people of Niger East are proud to be associated with General Babangida and we pray the Almighty Allah continue to grant him good health and strength. We pray he lives to celebrate many more years.”

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Lawyers’ association condemns persecution of Seinye Lulu Briggs on husband’s death

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The Rivers State Chapter of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) has condemned in its totality the persecution of Dr Mrs Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs, the wife of late High Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs.

The organisation, through its Rivers State Secretary, Hilda Desmond Ihekaire (MCArb), while speaking on a live radio programme discussing proposed amendments to the Dehumanizing and Harmful Traditional Practices Law of Rivers State No. 2 of 2003 said, as can be seen in society, highly placed women just like other female members of society are not spared the dehumanization attributed to harmful traditional practices necessitating the need for all hands to be on deck to end the societal scourge.

According to her, the proposed amendment to the bill being sponsored by Hon. Sam Ogeh of Emohua Constituency is a welcome development and will go a long way to strengthen compliance with this law.

ALSO READ: Forced to marry as teenagers, raped in their matrimonial homes

The Rivers State House of Assembly in 2003 passed the Dehumanizing and Harmful Traditional Practices Abolition law No. 2 to proscribe harmful traditional practices against persons in Rivers State.

She said the law proscribes the maltreated of women after the death of their husbands such as causing them to cry at guided intervals, drinking water from the corpse of their husbands, shaving of their hairs, ostracizing them, being forced to abstain from personal hygiene, sitting on broken coconut, swearing before a shrine of their innocence, prevention from inheriting husbands property amongst others.

“In Africa generally, Rivers State is not an exception, once a man dies they just feel that it is the woman that has killed the man. So they make her go through all sorts of dehumanizing practices. It doesn’t even matter whether you’re a village woman or the high and mighty.

“As we can see with the death of O. B. Lulu-Briggs, they are trying to impute that his wife killed him. It is not acceptable. These mistreatments as we can see affect all women irrespective of their status in life. This is why AWLA is supporting the amendment of the bill to protect the rights of women.”

“The law was initially passed with a penalty of imprisonment or the option of a fine of N10,000 in some cases. However, that failed to stem the trend and thus she calls for the proposed amendment with stiffer penalties and without an option of fine,” she said.

AWLA further called for the inclusion of women into the cabinet of traditional rulers across Africa in order to help women have a say in making laws and taking decisions that affect them as it is with some African countries already.

According to a statement released by Cordelia Eke, the Rivers State Chapter Coordinator of AWLA, the Organisation is joining women groups and NGOs around the world to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

The organization promises to do more in addressing the issue of gender-based violence and other sundry problems bedevilling women. AWLA will use the period to garner support for women in order to give them their pride of place in the society through the instrumentality of the law.

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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

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