9:57 AM 10/21/2017 – Trump reveals his thinking behind firing off all those tweets

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Trump reveals his thinking behind firing off all those tweets
Sat, 21 Oct 2017 13:48:39 +0200

Trump reveals his thinking behind firing off all those tweets
1. News in Photos from mikenova (4 sites)
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Cambridge Analytica Darren Bolding says Donald Trump Facebook – CNBC
 


CNBC
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The man who ran Trump’s Facebook ad campaign tells SF internet gathering says software can find ‘the worst’ in humanity.
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Use an iPhone? Here’s what this Trump-linked data firm knows about you – The Daily Dot
 


The Daily Dot
Use an iPhone? Here’s what this Trump-linked data firm knows about you
The Daily Dot
Do you like to read? Consider yourself a political buff? Shopped at H&M recently? Then you’re probably an iPhone user, according to Cambridge Analytica, the international data analytics group with deep ties to President Donald Trump’s election victory. 

Cambridge Analytica Announces Launch of New TV Targeting … – PR Newswire (press release)
 


PR Newswire (press release)
Cambridge Analytica Announces Launch of New TV Targeting …
PR Newswire (press release)
NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Cambridge Analytica’s brand-focused division, CA Commercial, today announced the launch of its new TV …and more »

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Daily Beast
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Congress in touch with Cambridge Analytica who helped Trump win – ETtech.com
 

Congress in touch with Cambridge Analytica who helped Trump win
ETtech.com
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Washington Post
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Daily Beast
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Raw Story
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Washington Post
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Washington Post
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Fox Business
“We believe that other organizations that worked on the campaign have been asked to do the same,” Cambridge Analyticasaid in a statement, adding that there was no “suggestion of wrongdoing.” ___. Associated Press writer Chad Day contributed to this …
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Newsmax
Cambridge Analytica: Russia Probe Panel Turns to Trump Data Firm
Newsmax
The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., center, and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, right, speak with reporters as they emerge from a closed-door meeting at the Capitol with Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of
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Washington Post

Newsmax
Cambridge Analytica: Russia Probe Panel Turns to Trump Data Firm
Newsmax
After meeting with a Facebook executive on Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee investigating possible Russia interference turned its attention to Cambridge Analytica, the data mining company that worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign.
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SC Magazine
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Newsday
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CBC.ca
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CBC.ca
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Vox
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snopes.com
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“Bing, bing, bing: Trump reveals his thinking behind firing off all those tweets
 

'Bing, bing, bing': Trump reveals his thinking behind firing off all those tweets

President Trump has a ready weapon in hand to return fire when he feels under attack. When somebody says something about me, I am able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it, the president said. Trump, of course, was talking about Twitter, which has become a staple of his presidency. In […]

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CTV News
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Trump has put his immaturity on display once again with this statement. Those familiar with the history of the ongoing conflicts in Syria are … I hope that this dishonest political strategy will not work. A re-election of DonaldTrump in the next and more »

 

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
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Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
Russia Probe Panel Turns to Trump Data Firm
 

mikenova shared this story .

After meeting with a Facebook executive on Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee investigating possible Russia interference turned its attention to Cambridge Analytica, the data mining company that worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign.

A top executive from Facebook on Wednesday met with House members conducting investigations into Russia-linked ads ahead of a Nov. 1 House Intelligence Committee hearing at which Facebook, Twitter and Google will testify, Fox News noted.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, said Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg was serious about the issue despite members of Congress harbouring concerns that the company was not willingly sharing information.

Sandberg said Facebook was “determined to take whatever steps are necessary to ferret out foreign actors creating fake identities and using their platform,” Schiff noted, according to Fox News.

More than 3,000 ads Facebook traced to a Russian internet agency were turned over to congressional committees, Fox News reported, adding that. Schiff and Rep. Mike Conaway said they expect those ads will eventually be released.

According to The Daily Beast, part of the House’s investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 race will now include the work that Cambridge Analytica did for Trump’s campaign.

A source familiar with the committee’s work revealed that the company was handing over documents to the House, while another source close to investigations said the probe on Cambridge Analytica was proving to be “fruitful,” The Daily Beast reported.

A Cambridge Analytica spokesman took issue with the report, saying it had “significant inaccuracies,”The Hill reported.

“As one of the companies that played a prominent role in the election campaign, Cambridge Analytica has been asked by the House Intelligence Committee to provide it with information that might help its investigation,” the spokesman said, according to The Hill.

“We believe that other organizations that worked on the campaign have been asked to do the same. [Cambridge Analytica] is not under investigation, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the company,” he said.

When profiling voters for targeting political ads, Cambridge Analytica claims to look at the whole picture, including Facebook likes, to compile its data.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Cambridge Analytica – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story .

Story image for Cambridge Analytica from Daily Beast

Russia Probe Now Investigating Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s …

Daily BeastOct 11, 2017
They were once Steve Bannon’s favorite analytics shop. Now investigators want to know if the Kremlin had a thing for Cambridge Analytica, too.
“Bing, bing, bing: Trump reveals his thinking behind firing off all those tweets
 

mikenova shared this story from Post Politics.

'Bing, bing, bing': Trump reveals his thinking behind firing off all those tweets

President Trump has a ready weapon in hand to return fire when he feels under attack. When somebody says something about me, I am able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it, the president said. Trump, of course, was talking about Twitter, which has become a staple of his presidency. In […]

The Iran Business Ties Trump Didn’t Disclose – The New Yorker
 

mikenova shared this story from trump money laundering – Google News.


The New Yorker
The Iran Business Ties Trump Didn’t Disclose
The New Yorker
Azarpassillo has another interesting connection; one of its apparent partners in money laundering, the Mammadov family of Azerbaijan, was also, until quite recently, in business with the Trump Organization. In fact, for the entire Presidential campaignand more »

6:58 AM 10/21/2017 Fakes, fakes, fakes Shared NewsLinks: Before Fake News, Trump Gloated About His Fake Renoir The World Wide Times wwtimes.com
 

mikenova shared this story from The World Wide Times wwtimes.com.

Trump’s fake Renoir – GS

Before ‘Fake News,’ Trump Gloated About His Fake Renoir – Huff Post
He refuses to see phony staring him in the face, says biographer.

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Trump fake Renoir – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story .

Image result for Trump fake Renoir

Trump fake Renoir – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story .

Image result for Trump fake Renoir

Promoting Accountability and Transparency of Congressional Investigations into Russian Interference in 2016 Elections – People For the American Way (press release) (blog)
 

mikenova shared this story from Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News.


People For the American Way (press release) (blog)
Promoting Accountability and Transparency of Congressional Investigations into Russian Interference in 2016 Elections
People For the American Way (press release) (blog)
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CIA corrects director’s Russian election meddling claim – CNN
 

mikenova shared this story from Elections 2016 Investigation – Google News.


CNN
CIA corrects director’s Russian election meddling claim
CNN
But Trump has never wavered in his skepticism that Russia actively meddled in the 2016 election, calling the investigationsinto such activities “one of the great hoaxes” as recently as last month during a campaign speech in Alabama. “No, Russia did
CIA’s Pompeo asserts Russian meddling did not sway US election resultReutersall 82 news articles »

Before ‘Fake News,’ Trump Gloated About His Fake Renoir
 

mikenova shared this story from Donald Trump.

He refuses to see phony staring him in the face, says biographer.

Senator Warner: Tech Needs to ‘Come Clean’ about 2016
 

mikenova shared this story from The Atlantic.

If Congress regulates social networks in new ways following the 2016 election, no single person will have been more responsible than Senator Mark Warner of Virginia. In the aftermath of the election, it was Warner who pushed Silicon Valley executives to delve more deeply into their data, looking for signs of Russian electoral interference.

As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner has hauled tech-company executives to Washington for questioning. The pressure he applied appears to have been a motivating factor in the companies eventually coming forth with evidence of Russian meddling.

How much the social networks have cooperated is still on Warner’s mind, however. He believes that there are far more ad purchases and more Russian-linked accounts than the companies have disclosed, and he’s pushing them to search more deeply.

“I said, ‘This doesn’t pass the smell test. You gotta go back and dig in. If this were a new market opportunity, I know the resources you could put into it,’” Warner told me.

The next step of Warner’s investigation will be in two weeks, when executives from Google, Twitter, and Facebook will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The following Q&A details what Warner’s thinking about in the weeks leading up to the hearing.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


Alexis Madrigal: So, as of today, what do we know about the Russian disinformation campaign on Facebook and other social-media platforms?

Mark Warner: First of all, let’s step back and put the Russian involvement in 2016 in the overall context. It was approved at the highest level. It was coordinated in ways that were unprecedented. It included the things that have been much reported on, like hacking into both political parties and releasing information harmful to one candidate, Clinton, and helpful to Trump.

We know that Russians and even Trump’s Department of Homeland Security have acknowledged that 21 states had their electoral systems probed, if not fully hacked into. We know that this is part of a pattern that has been going on and continues after the election. And it included interventions in the French election, where Facebook was much more active.

I think our government and the platform companies were more than a little bit caught off guard. I don’t think anyone had seen anything of this scale before.

Madrigal: When did you start investigating what happened?

Warner: Right around the time of the election a guy who works for me said, if you Google “election hacking,” you don’t get Fox or MSNBC or CNN. Four of the first five stories were from Russia Today and Sputnik. This was Google, not even Facebook and Twitter. And there were lots of reports of trolls on social media pushing stories. So, it was clear they were using these tools.

I’ve been a supporter of these tech companies from a policy standpoint. But when I started saying that it appears that there were these trolls trying to use these platform companies to interfere in the election, the companies’ initial reaction was that they blew it off. That disappointed me. There was the famous Zuckerberg comment. And into February and March, they were dismissive.

Yet at the same time, coincident with this, there were the Dutch elections and the Dutch ended up hand counting their ballots because they were concerned about potential foreign intervention.

Some of the senior Facebook and social-media companies’ executives came out in the spring and I really pressed them. They started to say they were acknowledging something. Facebook talked about the 30,000 to 50,000 accounts in France that they banned. They said, “We’ve woken up to this.” But it was still many months later, this summer, before any of the companies started to produce some of the content and acknowledge paid advertising and fake accounts. That was just Facebook.

We had experts come in who said, this could very well be targeted on a geographic basis, targeted on demographics. Having been in politics and in the tech business, you look at a 750 percent increase in digital advertising in politics between 2012 and 2016, and you say, if you’re going to try to disrupt an election, you would use digital tools. Because it is a lot easier to target it and it’s the Wild West, there’re no election-advertising rules.

And if you do it right the way, you leave few fingerprints.

Madrigal: In your mind, what are the key outstanding questions?

Warner: All these companies need to come fully clean about what happened in 2016. Don’t tell me they found 450 accounts linked to the American election when they found 50,000 in France. And don’t tell me they found all the ads.

The first pass from Twitter was worse. They took only things that were derivative of what Facebook found. And they found some stuff. But I said, you have to go back and dig in. So, we need to figure out, number one, what happened in 2016.

While I’m trying to not get into the whole editorial-content argument, this notion that we can’t curate at all just doesn’t hold water. They’ve had to do it every time there has been something that has created consequences. Child pornography for example, or terrorist activity, or information on how to create bombs.

A lot of that was forced by the European governments. Areas reach a tipping point, the [platform companies] step in and act. They have to, if you don’t want over-the-top regulation, or worse yet, we allow this to continue and we have some massive upheaval or loss of faith in the democratic process. Because people see how bad this was with relatively small amounts of dollars spent.

Madrigal: How might this translate into legislation?

Warner: Where we’re headed with legislation is the lightest touch possible. Keep some residual location where someone can go look at the [political-advertising] content. Basically apply some of the most basic rules that apply to print and broadcasting to digital media. It doesn’t get at the whole problem, but it gets at the question of tagging political advertising.

There is not a legislative proposal here, but I think there is going to be a growing interest in this topic. What I want to make sure is clear to the American people, this is not as simple as following the money on Russian ads. We need to look at the bots on Twitter and the pages on Facebook. Has this been done in collaboration with hate groups in the United States? Is it reinforcing the hate groups? How much responsibility do the companies have to sort through all that?

Madrigal: Facebook executives, publicly and privately, as well as pundits like Mark Penn, have argued that any Russian interference had a negligible effect because it was too small-time within the scale of Facebook. Are they right?

Warner: If this tiny tip of the iceberg is the extent of the activity, that might hold some water. But if there is, which I suspect, a much bigger piece of the iceberg below, then they are wrong. The numbers are much, much larger. The public press, so far, is really looking at what is still a limited universe.

You can target very discrete demographic locales. There still remains a question: How did they know where to target? I don’t have an answer yet. I don’t know if we’ve got the full evidence. Some people suspect this was very targeted in Wisconsin and Michigan where the Democrats were asleep at the switch. How were they smarter than the Democrats? That may not be a high hurdle to get over.

Madrigal: You represent a lot of non–Silicon Valley tech companies in Virginia. How have they reacted to the pressure you’ve been putting on Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others?

Warner: I’ve been surprised that they have been so generally supportive of me driving the whole investigation to its conclusion. The fact that we’ve kept it bipartisan is extraordinarily important. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t get more worried about our vulnerabilities, in my work on this or the banking committee or looking at Equifax.

Since we’re a high-defense state, it’s not always the best thing to say, but if you take all the Russians spent in messing with our election, the French elections, Dutch elections, and all double it, you’re still less than the cost of one F-35.

As someone who comes from a pro-defense state, we have to ask: Do we have the best military money can buy, when we’re seeing the first attacks made in 21st-century digital conflict? I would not narrow it to just the Russian electoral interference. I would talk about the Chinese OPM breach, Chinese intellectual-property stealing around stealth. This is such an asymmetrical area. Our technology advantages end up being a disadvantage.

We have been reluctant as a nation to respond too much. You start a cyber conflict when we are so technology-dependent, who knows where it ends?

The one thing that is absolutely clear: We don’t have a whole-government approach to cyber. Yahoo has a 500 million user breach. How’s that not material enough to report it in your [Securities and Exchange Commission] filings? We have 49 different cyber-breach laws in 49 states. They didn’t need to disclose it.

Madrigal: You mentioned driving this investigation “to its conclusion.” What might that look like?

Warner: Let’s make sure we know entirely what happened. Let’s try to figure out specifically: Was there collaboration or collusion? And in terms of the social-media companies and platform companies, let’s get all the facts of how extensive this interference was. What happened in 2016 happened. We need to know the extent of it to protect our elections. And I don’t think there is any indication that what was happening during the election stopped on November 8.

Going forward, let’s have at least regulations on transparency on spending and the ability to look at the content of political advertisements. And in a way that’s not too heavy-handed and maintains the freedom of the internet, let’s at least start the discussion about information integrity, so that Americans know that if they see somewhere that Mark Warner is saying something bad about Donald Trump, you have some faith that it actually is real.

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Poland Pushes Back Against Putin’s Special War

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In recent years, as Russian espionage against Warsaw has ticked upward … the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISI in Russian) which, …

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Russian suspected of hostile activities expelled from Poland: official … of the Moscow-based Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS)” used …

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The man who wanted more

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Usovsky tried to get money from the state-funded Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. He messaged Kremlin officials: Vladislav Surkov and …
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Russia’s troll factory also paid for 100 activists in the US

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He was working for the “Internet Research Agency,” a company in St Petersburg, which is believed to have done work spreading political …
Did Russias Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election?
 

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With pressure on Facebook mounting in anticipation of general counsel Colin Stretch’s testimony in front of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee, it can be helpful to step back and take stock of what we the public know, and what we don’t. We know, for example, that some institution linked to the Russian government — likely the infamous Internet Research Agency — bought ads on Facebook between 2015 and 2017, with the assumed intent of stoking anger and partisanship. We know that the ads concerned wedge issues like immigration, the Second Amendment, and police brutality; we even know what some of the Russian pages and accounts were. And we know that around 3,000 ads were purchased at a cost of around $100,000. Other platforms like Google and Outbrain are investigating Russian ad buys on their networks as well.

Here’s what we don’t know: whether or not, and to what extent, those ads were effective at swinging votes.

Digital advertising is a complicated business, and it can be a bit of a black box. Even with the absurd amount of data collected by Facebook and its various third-party partners, it can be hard to pin down the actual effects of a given campaign — and everyone is incentivized to play up or play down results. A fantastical theory recently floated by a marketing agency claimed that with just $42,800, a dedicated campaign could have swayed the 10,704 Michigan voters that won Trump the state. It’s a fun theory — but it’s a theory that represents an absolute edge-case scenario, in which Facebook ads are supernaturally effective and persuasive. People who’ve worked in digital advertising are more dismissive: Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook product manager and author of Chaos Monkeys, called theories like this “utter bullshit.”

Part of the problem with assessing the effect of Russian ads is that Facebook itself sends mixed messages. According to the company, 10 million people are estimated to have seen at least one of the ads (25 percent of them were never shown to any users). Facebook rarely makes raw data public, and its public metrics can be misleading. For instance, a video view is registered if someone watches the first 3 seconds with the sound off. So, 10 million people “saw” the ads — but the number that actually absorbed what they saw is totally unclear. (And that’s setting aside that on several occasions now, Facebook has admitted to accidentally misreporting its own metrics.)

At the same time, Facebook brags about its ability to influence voters. Its business section is full of case studies about political campaigns. According to Facebook, Republican governor Rick Scott, running for reelection in 2014, used Facebook to create a “22% increase in Hispanic support,” which the case study calls “a deciding factor” in his win.

Obviously, the ad platform’s effectiveness in political campaigns lies somewhere between all-powerful and house of cards. But so long as Facebook holds back its own data, the rest of us won’t be able to tell which side it falls on. “Facebook probably has the data that would help us understand whether or not there was an impact,” Yochai Benkler of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society said in a recent interview with Select All. If Facebook released, for example, precise data about which geographical and demographic groups were targeted by Russian ads, third-party researchers could compare that information to actual and expected turnout in last year’s election. “They have the data that will help us understand,” Benkler says. “They’re not releasing it in any significant way.”

Absent that data, the best we can do is make educated assessments based on past experience. And to anyone who’s worked in online advertising or social-media management, the $100,000 spent by the Russian government is laughably small, no matter how precisely targeted. In contrast, the official Trump campaign spent $90 million on digital ads — and, unlike the Russians, had assistance from Facebook employees to target and deploy them effectively. “There’s no way $100,000 in ad budget impacted the election. It’s ridiculous,” García Martínez said.

None of this means that Facebook doesn’t need regulation. The Russian government secretly paying for political advertisements aimed at influencing a domestic election is a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty — a real problem that Facebook, and the government, must investigate and address. To their credit, both legislators and Facebook executives appear to understand the need to confront the issue. Days after Facebook disclosed its findings, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would now require full public disclosure of an ad’s sponsor and target audience. This week, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mark Warren introduced the Honest Ads Act, a law that would bring digital political ads in line with the more stringent regulations that govern political ads on radio and television.

At the same time, the focus on Russian ads, no matter how well-intended, ignores the many other troubling aspects of Facebook’s influence on the election. For one — buying ads isn’t really what the Internet Research Agency does. Loosely referred to as a “troll operation,” the employees specialize in creating and performing as “sock puppets,” seemingly normal commenters and posters who are actually acting under ulterior motives.

Sock puppets, not nefariously developed and purchased political advertisements, are the IRA’s bread and butter, as recent reports out of Russia corroborate. According to former employees, “the Internet Research Agency targeted U.S. audiences in part by posting provocative ‘comments’ pretending to be from Americans on newspaper articles that appeared on the websites of the New York Times and Washington Post.”

Those comments and other reported elements of the IRA’s intelligence operation — Trump rallies organized by Russian sock puppets, for example — portray a secretive attempt to harness not the ad-buying tools of these companies, but their completely free-to-use network effects. In form and function, many of the things that the IRA is described as doing on social media and in comment sections is not all that different from what anyone else does. Russian trolls (and their profit-minded cousins in “fake news”) “didn’t make up stuff that wasn’t already part of the folklore of the right,” Benkler said. They just “circulated and cut and paste and created all sorts of remixes of all the same sets of stories that were already circulating widely, on the right anyway.” And that’s far more concerning.

At the peak of its influence campaign, the IRA had about 90 people focused on the United States, though that number has apparently now dropped to 50. When social-media companies cracked down on their sock-puppet accounts over the last two months, they suspended 118 communities that could reach an estimated 6 million users. Among the accounts was a Twitter account masquerading as the Tennessee GOP, @TEN_GOP, which had 136,000 followers — ten times as many as the actual Twitter account for the state’s Republican Party. The organization reported the fake account to Twitter three times since September 2016, and yet the company was unresponsive.

According to BuzzFeed:

All told, the account was quoted dozens of times across conservative news outlets. Fox News quoted an @TEN_GOP tweet in at least three stories, including one syndicated by the Daily Caller. The Daily Caller itself quoted it in six stories. Breitbart mentioned it in seven; Infowars in four; RedState in eight.

The Gateway Pundit, another conservative outlet, cited the Russian account in 19 different stories, ranging from one about a motorcyclist who drove through an anti-Trump protest, for which he was arrested, to a story about how it was unfair that banks had stopped lending money to French nationalist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

The account’s tweets often derided African-Americans, Muslims, and immigrants.

This kind of free movement of misinformation between disingenuous and malevolent outside actors, passionate true believers, and the reading and voting public should be the real concern of anyone trying to assess the effects of social media on the political process — not a relatively small number of easy-to-identify (and easy-to-regulate) advertisements. A few weeks ago in a press conference, Senator Mark Warner, who is helping lead the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia inquiry, said that he was more concerned about sock puppets than ad buys. “It’s the organic posts masquerading as reality that nobody has to pay for, that, to me, is the bigger concern,” said García Martínez.

Put another way, what we should worry about isn’t what Facebook was paid to do, but what it did for free. Clinton outraised and outspent Trump substantially over the course of the campaign, but his earned media — the chatter he generated — was upwards of a billion dollars, according to García Martínez. “The ability for Facebook to amplify that sort of message? That’s the scary, high-value thing.”

And what’s dangerous isn’t just that false stories and conspiracy theories can travel up what Benkler calls the “attention backbone” of social media. In disclosing the Russian ads, Facebook stated plainly that it viewed the ability to communicate across borders as a strength of the system, not a liability. It’s the corrosive effect of these “inauthentic” accounts — which Facebook has no easy way of dealing with — and the attention economy that gives Trump a freebie campaign. There is a growing tendency for people to label anyone they don’t agree with online as a bot. A few months ago, an enterprising college student retweeted by Trump was accused of not existing simply because her profile picture was of a stock photo (raise your hand if you’ve ever used an avatar that wasn’t actually your own face). During the campaign, American trolls tried to suppress the vote by creating fake promotional images telling Clinton supporters that they could vote by text. They didn’t need to set up a Facebook campaign. They were able to spread them around the internet at no cost.

Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election? – New York Magazine
 

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Did Russia’s Facebook Ads Actually Swing the Election?
New York Magazine
They have the data that will help us understand, Benkler says. They’re … In contrast, the official Trump campaign spent $90 million on digital ads and, unlike the Russians, had assistance from Facebook employees to target and deploy them 
How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social MediaNew York Timesall 22 news articles »

Trump Puts America At Risk And Disrespects Those Who Serve
 

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Can You Believe? Can you believe our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico having to get their drinking water from toxic sites? Can

White House: It’s ‘Highly Inappropriate’ For Journalists To Criticize A General
 

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“If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that is something highly inappropriate.”

Sessions, experts say U.S. still unprepared for Russian interference in future elections
 

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WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) —Reports that members of President Donald Trump’s campaign shared content from a Twitter account linked to the Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 election have left experts disturbed by Russia’s apparent success in embedding itself in U.S. political discourse at the highest levels and concerned about what that means for future elections.

According to the Daily Beast, several senior Trump campaign officials and allies retweeted posts from @Ten_GOP, which claimed to be the “unofficial” account of the Tennessee Republican Party.

Instead, the account reportedly originated from the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked “troll farm” believed to be responsible for much of Russia’s election propaganda campaign.

Then-Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway retweeted the account two days before the election, suggesting opponent Hillary Clinton should be in prison.

“Mother of jailed sailor: ‘Hold Hillary to same standards as my son on Classified info’ #hillarysemail #WeinerGate” it said.

The account had extraordinary reach, particularly when compared with the actual Tennessee Republican Party, which spent months fruitlessly urging Twitter to suspend it. By the time it was shut down, it had 136,000 followers, about ten times as many as the real @TNGOP account.

President Trump’s son retweeted the account three times, including once on Election Day. He also shared a dubious allegation of voter fraud in Florida a week before the election.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn retweeted @Ten_GOP once, and his son retweeted it 34 times, according to the Daily Beast.

“The fact that Russian trolls were able not just to mimic but to spoon-feed the Trump campaign their fake messages testifies to their deep understanding of the campaign’s messaging strategy,” said Michael Carpenter, a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.

In August 2017, the account tweeted a photo of the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 victory parade and claimed it was the crowd outside Trump’s rally in Phoenix.

According to John Cohen, former acting undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, the revelations about @Ten_GOP suggest the Russian influence operation is more sophisticated than initially believed. Their account operators figured out what to post and how to get presidential campaign officials to amplify their message.

“What this really illustrated is to protect this country we have to better understand how criminals, terrorists, foreign intelligence services are turning to social media and internet-based communication platforms to engage in illicit activities, and we can no longer think about these problems in the traditional way,” said Cohen, now a professor at Rutgers University.

Recent media reports have revealed how extensive Russian efforts to meddle in U.S. society have become, including an apparent attempt to weaponize Pokémon Go.

Experts warn these efforts did not cease after Election Day. According to Facebook, less than half of the 10 million Americans believed to have seen Russian ads on the site viewed them before the election.

Attempts to stoke racial tensions have reportedly gone as far as paying trainers to hold self-defense classes for African-Americans earlier this year. Russia-linked fake accounts also promoted Black Lives Matter messaging, which CNN reported may have been intended to encourage black Americans to protest and to make others view their activism as a threat.

“One part of the Russian plot is that they look at social media behavior within the community they want to target,” Cohen said.

Operatives study legitimate posts, analyze the areas where they want to influence voters, and then they target their content to influencers in that community in the hope they will share it, as happened repeatedly with the @Ten_GOP account.

Russians may have used similar tactics to infiltrate online communities of military personnel and veterans. Cohen cited research showing “significant and persistent interactions” in April 2017 between military personnel Twitter accounts and a network of Russia-focused and conspiracy theory accounts.

“These interactions are often mediated by pro-Trump users and accounts that identify with far-right political movements in the U.S.,” wrote researchers from the Project on Computational Propaganda.

In all of these cases, Cohen said the goals were similar, “influencing our election, undermining confidence in government, and exacerbating tensions that were already existing in our country on important social issues.”

People who have worked at these “troll farms” recently told a Russian media outlet that their content often aligned with Donald Trump’s message, but it was more about linking Clinton to the “ruling party” and defeating her.

“The Kremlin’s overarching aims are to divide Western societies internally by stoking discord and sowing chaos, discredit NATO and the EU, and delegitimize the liberal international order,” Carpenter said.

Glenn Carle, a former CIA agent and author of “The Interrogator: An Education,” said the latest reports provide “red-handed evidence” that Russia is engaged in “a multi-layer, sophisticated, sustained effort” to alter the opinions of American citizens and policymakers.

“Even if Trump did not exist, they would be doing things like this and have been doing things like this because they can foster discord in the American system and distrust for the American system,” he said.

This type of disinformation and propaganda campaign has been “the bread and butter” of Russian and Soviet intelligence operations for decades, according to Cohen. What is new is utilizing pretty much every social media service available—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and more—to spread the message.

“Other intelligence services conduct intel and propaganda campaigns, and its very likely that they are leveraging social media and other internet-based platforms as well,” he said.

Carpenter also suggested other adversaries are closely watching Russia’s machinations play out and noting the relatively muted U.S. response.

“The Russian government has turned information warfare into an art unlike any other nation-state,” he said. “But China, Iran, North Korea and other states are watching and learning and will soon be replicating Russia’s tactics, particularly if they perceive these operations as having achieved their goals at little cost.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., raised alarm about the extent of Russia’s ambitions at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.

“Anybody who reads intelligence knows that we face a sophisticated long-term effort by a foreign adversary to undermine our foreign policy and our ability to lead in the world by trying to undermine confidence in American institutions,” he said.

Speaking to Attorney General Jeff Session, Sasse emphasized the danger these tactics pose.

“We live at a time when info ops and propaganda and misinformation are a far more cost-effective way for people to try to weaken the United States of America than by thinking they can outspend us at a military level,” he said.

Asked by Sasse whether the government is fully prepared to protect the 2018 and 2020 election from inevitable attempts to interfere again, Sessions responded bluntly, “Probably not. We’re not.”

That is Cohen’s fear, and he is not confident the Trump administration is taking that threat seriously enough.

“The sad thing is that the administration, for the most part, has seemed unwilling to acknowledge that this effort by the Russians has taken place and continues,” he said.

Despite the evidence of the scale and depth of the Russian operation, President Trump continues to publicly dismiss any discussion of it as a “hoax” intended to invalidate his victory. Other administration officials have also attempted to downplay it.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo claimed incorrectly Thursday that the intelligence community concluded Russia did not affect the outcome of the election. The CIA issued a statement afterward contradicting him and confirming that the intelligence community did not assess the political process or public opinion.

“The first thing we need to do is we need to get beyond the polarized nature of the public debate on this issue,” Cohen said.

The politicized rhetoric and reflexive responses on both sides obscure the goal of addressing what he views as America’s biggest national security priority.

“It’s imperative that we learn from what they were able to do and put in place the right measures to counteract it in the future,” he said.

Cohen warned that social media companies cannot be counted on to police this content themselves, as the 2016 campaign clearly demonstrated. Instead, the public needs to be educated about how to identify and combat it.

“We can’t just sit here passively and hope it will go away,” he said.

Carle said some kind of regulation of social media is needed, much like limits are placed on particularly incendiary speech in the real world.

“You and I cannot shout fire in a crowded room. You cannot own a piece of artillery and fire it at your neighbors,” he said.

Carpenter suggested looking to Finland and the Baltic states, societies that have largely inoculated themselves from Kremlin disinformation.

“This is because the media in these countries are very proficient at quickly exposing Russian propaganda for what it is, and societies have become accustomed to questioning sources and looking for possible Russian spin,” he said. “In short, the more Russian propaganda is exposed, the less effective it becomes.”

To similarly vaccinate the American electorate against Russian meddling, people must learn to ensure that information they rely on to make decisions and form opinions is accurate and comes from a trustworthy source.

“At the end of the day, the best way you can counteract this campaign is for people to be skeptical about what they see on social media,” Cohen said.

Sessions, experts say US still unprepared for Russian interference in future elections – WJLA
 

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Sessions, experts say US still unprepared for Russian interference in future elections
WJLA
This type of disinformation and propaganda campaign has been the bread and butter of Russian and Soviet intelligenceoperations for decades, according to Cohen. What is new is utilizing pretty much every social media serviceavailableFacebook, … 

Putin Trump – Google News: Putin says Americans don’t show Trump enough respect – CBS News
 

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Putin says Americans don’t show Trump enough respect
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“Mr. Trump was elected by the American people. And at least for this reason it is necessary to show respect for him, even if you do not agree with some of his positions,” Putin said at the Valdai International Discussion Club when asked what advice he  

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrongly blames terror for UK crime jump – SFGate
 

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SFGate
AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrongly blames terror for UK crime jump
SFGate
LONDON (AP) President Donald Trump has misinterpreted British crime statistics and wrongly blamed terrorism as the driving factor behind higher numbers. Terror attacks in Manchester and London that killed 35 people only account for 1/100th of a …and more »

California billionaire launches ads urging Trump impeachment – Washington Times
 

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California billionaire launches ads urging Trump impeachment
Washington Times
FILE – In this Oct. 7, 2015, file photo, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer discusses climate change at a symposium in Sacramento, Calif. Steyer is dumping at least $10 million into a national advertising campaign calling for President Donald and more »

12:51 PM 10/20/2017 CIA Director Mike Pompeo distorted the intelligence communitys finding | A British lawmaker called for parliament to look into Russian interference in the Brexit campaign.
 

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Selected and Saved News Stories Trump  Saved Stories – 1. Trump Today’s Headlines and Commentary Putin: Americans don’t give Trump enough respect – New York Post 11:53 AM 10/20/2017 Dont Forget to Adjust for Russian Trolls The Atlantic: According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other, Bush said. This … Continue reading“12:51 PM 10/20/2017 – CIA Director Mike Pompeo distorted the intelligence communitys finding… | A British lawmaker called for parliament to look into Russian interference in the Brexit campaign.”

Lawyer Looks to Disbar Former FBI Chief Comey For Lying Under Oath – The Epoch Times
 

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The Epoch Times
Lawyer Looks to Disbar Former FBI Chief Comey For Lying Under Oath
The Epoch Times
The grievance states that Comey gave materially false testimony to Congress, and violated several of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct, according to an Oct. 18 report from The Washington Times. It also requests renewed grievances against …
Comey Could Be Disbarred for Lying to Congress, Potential Evidence DestructionSputnik International
Eric Holder: No problem with Comey’s early conclusions on Hillary’s server he’s an ‘honest guy’BizPac Reviewall 3 news articles »

Senate intelligence panel postpones hearing with Trump personal lawyer – Politico
 

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Senate intelligence panel postpones hearing with Trump personal lawyer
Politico
In his public statement, Cohen denied he had any involvement in Russia’s efforts to medde in the presidential election, an effort the intelligence community has concluded was meant to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and boost Trump’s. When he first 
Does the House Intel Committee Have Enough Staff to Investigate the Trump-Russia Scandal?Mother Jones
How Russia and Trump Collusion Would Have Worked, From First Contact to Election DayNewsweekall 68 news articles »


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