"Further Evidence the Kremlin Continues to Exploit Platforms Like Facebook to Sow Division and Spread Disinformation."

Facebook has discovered "bad actors" on its platform, including Instagram, which have been engaged in what they euphemistically term "coordinated inauthentic behavior." The company disclosed having removed 32 pages and accounts as a result of the discovery two weeks ago. The accounts were created between March 2017 and May 2018, and had already amassed large followings and spent a significant sum on Facebook advertising.

Nicholas Fandos and Kevin Roose at the New York Times report:
In a series of briefings on Capitol Hill this week and a public post on Tuesday, the company told lawmakers that it had...been unable to tie the accounts to Russia, whose Internet Research Agency was at the center of an indictment earlier this year for interfering in the 2016 election, but company officials told Capitol Hill that Russia was possibly involved, according to two officials briefed on the matter.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said that the activity bore some similarities to that of the Internet Research Agency, but that the actors had better disguised their efforts, using VPNs, internet phone services, and third parties to purchase ads for them.

...Like the Russian interference campaign in 2016, the recently detected campaign dealt with divisive social issues.

Facebook discovered coordinated activity around issues like a sequel to last year's deadly "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Specifically, a page called "Resisters," which interacted with one Internet Research Agency account in 2017, created an event called "No Unite the Right 2 — DC" to serve as a counterprotest to the white nationalist gathering, scheduled to take place in Washington in August. Mr. Gleicher said "inauthentic" administrators for the "Resisters" page went as far as to coordinate with administrators for five other apparently real pages to co-host the event, publicizing details about transportation and other logistics.

...Coordinated activity was also detected around #AbolishICE, a left-wing campaign on social media that seeks to end the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, according to two people briefed on the findings. That echoed efforts in 2016 to fan division around the Black Lives Matter movement.

..."Today's disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation," [Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee] said.
A couple of things: Facebook is owed no thanks for ferreting out 32 accounts across the entirety of Facebook and Instagram while under pressure from the FBI, especially when some of those accounts operated undetected for more than a year, even as they were purchasing ads as part of their disinformation campaign.

This is clearly the bare minimum of what is needed, and I have zero faith that Facebook is up to the task — or, frankly, willing to fully engage with the task in its demanding scope — of closing the cavernous exploitations in its platform.

Secondly, the fact that Russia is seemingly doubling down on fucking with leftists ahead of the midterms strongly reeks to me of more intent to try to "both sides" election interference out of existence. And big parts of the left are not paying enough attention to how they've been already been played once before to avoid being taken in again.

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