Technology Facebook and "super propagator" accounts of disinformation in the United States

19:05  25 november  2020
19:05  25 november  2020 Source:   pressfrom.com

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The Covid-19 “infodemic” has laid bare how vulnerable the United States is to disinformation . Groups continue to be used for political disinformation . Related memes and links to fringe right-wing websites have been shared millions of times on Facebook in the past few months.

Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced by the United States Congress on 10 May 2016. The bill was initially called the Countering Information Warfare Act.

Les élections américaines sont un terrain miné pour Facebook © Alastair Pike The American elections are a minefield for Facebook

The American election is over, the transition with the elected president timidly underway, but on Facebook the problem of disinformation remains unresolved, in particular because of the "super propagators", these accounts which disseminate on a large scale unfounded rumors about electoral fraud organized by the Democrats.

The NGO Avaaz has identified 25, including the pages of Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump (the president's sons), Kayleigh McEnany (the White House press secretary), ultra-conservative political hosts and commentators Dan Bongino, Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, as well as pro-Trump organizations like Turning Point USA.

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Facebook has repeatedly deplatformed pro-Trump anti-voter-fraud group Stop the Steal, citing an “exceptional” Doug Collins, as well as the president’s own sons have lent their support to the effort on social media, with both Eric and Donald Jr. tweeting out the hashtag in the days following the election.

In its local market in the United States , Facebook accounts for over 45 percent of monthly social media visits. Facebook ’s appeal is not only based on its social platform but also on its strong mobile integration and mobile messaging capabilities. Facebook Messenger, which was released as a

So many personalities supporting in his spectacular questioning of the results the current tenant of the White House, who has not stopped tweeting messages accusing his opponents of having "stolen" the victory.

Since the November 3 election, misleading content on so-called electoral fraud from these 25 accounts has been "liked", commented on and shared more than 77 million times, according to the preliminary findings of a study by 'Avaaz.

Not to mention the chief "super propagator", Donald Trump himself, or the pages linked to his former adviser Steve Bannon, recently deleted by Facebook.

The social media giant has yet increased preventive measures to fight against attempts to discredit the democratic process.

The distribution of political advertisements has been restricted and even discontinued. The sources of information deemed reliable were highlighted. Manipulation campaigns orchestrated from abroad have been foiled.

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Learn more about Facebook 's Privacy Policy and practices, including what types of info Facebook receives and how info is used and shared. Device operations: information about operations and behaviours performed on the device, such as whether a window is in the foreground or background

If someone created a Facebook account that's pretending to be you or someone you know, please use this form to file a report. Which of the following best describes your situation?

- Virality -

Facebook thus avoided the repetition of the scandals of 2016, when the presidential election, which brought the Republican billionaire to power, was marked by disinformation operations.

But these tactics were not enough to stem the scourge of false rumors spread without even resorting to foreign troll farms.

"Misinformation doesn't go viral just like that. The super propagators on this list, with a helping hand from the Facebook algorithm, are at the heart of this flood of lies that now define the political debate for millions of people in the country, ”said Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz.

"Facebook knows the solution to the problem - to clean up its algorithm - but refuses to apply it and therefore puts democracy in danger", he judges.

Twitter and Facebook have backed warnings against scores of the president's posts, signaling that his comments were disputed.

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We disable Facebook accounts that don't follow the Facebook Terms. Some examples include: Posting content that doesn't follow the Facebook Terms. Using a fake name. Impersonating someone. Continuing behavior that's not allowed on Facebook by violating our Community Standards.

In vain, believes Avaaz. Even when platforms slow down or prevent the flow of deceptive content, there are still screenshots.

The association quotes, for example, a post from the head of state assuring that the Dominion electoral software had "suppressed 2.7 million Trump votes". Images from this post have been shared more than 67,000 times, across some 1,800 pages and groups, and thus received nearly 244,000 additional interactions, according to calculations made with CrowdTangle, a network analysis tool.

- White list -

Groups also participate in this "distributed virality", explains Avaaz.

In the aftermath of the election, private fan groups of Trump and his fraud theories have mushroomed. Non-public, they are difficult to analyze, but Avaaz believes they play a key role in the spread of various false content.

Facebook has been widely criticized for its perceived reluctance to intervene more severely, including by some of its employees, according to US media The Information.

According to an article published on Tuesday, voices were raised internally in the summer of 2019 to demand that politicians no longer be exempted from the "fact-checking" program.

Employees relied on an internal study showing that users were more likely to believe false information if it came from a politician.

But according to the social network, the study in question has on the contrary made it possible to refine its approach, which consists in pointing out the publications of politicians if they contain information invalidated by journalists of the program.

"We do not believe it is appropriate for us to prevent the speech of politicians from being subjected to public scrutiny," recalled Joe Osborne, a spokesperson for Facebook.

He did not confirm or deny the existence of a list of approximately 112,000 accounts belonging to government officials and candidates whose publications should not be verified.

The Information ensures that the platform created such a list in 2018, but does not know if it is still relevant.

juj / lo / sdu

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