Thursday, September 28, 2017

F!^%*&ing Russians

Just when I thought it was out ...they pull it back in.  Last week it was Facebook.

-- Russian-bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and Ferguson (also here)

-- Russians posed as American Muslims on Facebook

-- Obama tried to warn Zuckerberg about the MASSIVE Threat of Election HACKING on Facebook (also here; both link to original account at WaPo)

Caps mine.  I'm ashamed for the FORTUNE editors for that headline.  Tangentially ...

-- Facebook's Russian ads may be the tip of the iceberg (click-baitey, assumes "suspicious" facts not in evidence)

Think Progress commits a rare fumble here.

-- Was Facebook fooled by the Russians?

More thoughtful and thought-provoking. And the most interesting of all:

-- Facebook anonymously admits it ID'd Guccifer 2.0 in real time (and told the FBI about it)

Again, I’m sympathetic to the urge to blame Facebook for this election. But this article describes Facebook’s heavy-handed efforts to serve as a wing of the government to police terrorist content, without revealing that sometimes Facebook has erred in censoring content that shouldn’t have been. Then it reveals Facebook reported Guccifer 2.0 and DC Leaks to FBI, twice, with no further description of what FBI did with those leads.

Let's wrap up this part with a few more links.

-- 'Their aim was to sow chaos': Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions during U.S. election

-- "Russia Targeted Swing States With Trump-Friendly Fake News" (Kevin Drum, MJ) directs to "Fake News on Twitter Flooded Swing States That Helped Trump Win".

While it’s unclear what effect such content ultimately had on voters, the new study only deepens concerns about how the 2016 election may have been tweaked by nefarious forces on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. “Many people use these platforms to find news and information that shapes their political identities and voting behavior,” says Samantha Bradshaw, a lead researcher for Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project, which has been tracking disinformation strategies around the world since 2014. “If bad actors can lower the quality of information, they are diminishing the quality of democracy.”

Well that's it, then.  Oxford.  Research.  Since 2014.

I can see all of those tens of thousands of former Democrats transformed into Trump Trained deplorables, logging in to Facebook, their adblockers inoperative, their tinfoil hats still in the roll, scrolling down their timeline past the prayer requests and "nobody reads my" posts, grinding their teeth at every Russian bot/troll farm meme.  And then they went out and voted for Jill Stein, of course.  Speaking of, the most face-palmey of all:

-- Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Stein, Sanders, and Trump

At least one touted Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, who Clinton says "may well have thrown the election to Trump."

Jill Stein and I are ROFLOAO at you.  How about some actual, factual, non-partisan, not-hyperventilating news on this topic?

-- What we know, and don't know, about Facebook, Trump, and Russia

If you only click on one link in this entire post, make it this one.  Twitter's time in the barrel is coming up, perhaps as this posts.

-- Twitter takes its turn in the Russian probe spotlight

-- Twitter, With Accounts Linked to Russia, to Face Congress Over Role in Election

-- What to expect in Twitter's Russia probe briefing (today)

--  Facebook, Google and Twitter have been asked to testify before Congress on Russia and the 2016 election

-- Russia Election Investigation: Facebook Now, Is Reddit Next?

Yeah, what about Instagram and Pinterest?  Weren't there some Russian bots hiding amongst the recipes and vacation photos?  How about 4chan?  Drudge?  Breitbart?  TMZ?  ESPN?

This is all so ridiculous.  I'm left with repeating myself from yesterday.  This time I'll use more links, because it just does not seem as if people get it if it's only me saying it.

-- Democrats Might Be Unable To Capitalize On Disgust For Republicans Due To Growing Disgust For Democrats Too

We very likely will see a wave election in 2018 which gives the Democrats the opportunity to pick up seats in protest against Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The Democrats have achieved victories this week in New Hampshire and Florida. However, there are also signs of danger for the Democrats, including lack of support among millennial voters and strong interest in a third party among all voters.


Antipathy towards both parties was also seen in a Gallup poll which shows that about sixty percent of Americans see a need for a third party ...

The Democrats had the opportunity to lock up much of the millennial vote in 2016 by nominating Bernie Sanders. Instead they used party rules in place since McGovern’s loss, along with further intervention in the process, to hand Hillary Clinton the nomination in a manner which was no different from choosing a candidate in the proverbial smoke filled rooms. This gave us a general election in which neither major party had an acceptable candidate, demonstrating the need for a third party. Unfortunately most of those who express the need for a third party did not actually vote for one.

This all leaves the question open as to whether Democrats will be able to take advantage of opposition to the Republicans, especially if they repeat the mistake they have made in recent elections and run as a Republican-lite party.

Bold emphasis is mine.  I'm on record as blogging that 2018 won't be the wave it could be if only Democrats weren't so fucking stupid as to believe that Russians hacked the election, Russian bots bought Facebook ads that pushed Trump to victory, and so on ad nauseum.  The clues -- why they lost, what mistakes they need to stop making -- are also in the news.  Some of the same sources as have been linked above, in fact.

-- A New Study Shows Just How Many Americans Were Blocked From Voting in Wisconsin Last Year

-- Careful New Study Finds at Least Thousands in Two Wisconsin Counties Didn’t Vote Because of Voter ID Requirements, Confusion Over Them

Okay then.  I will stop blaming Hillary Clinton for not having campaigned in the Cheesehead State as one of the primary causes for her loss.  No amount of whistlestops and barnstorms could have overcome this much voter suppression.  And speaking of ineffective campaigning ...

All the outreach activity by political campaigns, including door to door canvassing, phone banking, direct mail, and even advertising, has basically no effect on voters’ choice of candidate in general elections, according to a striking new academic study.

The new analysis covers 49 field experiments conducted in real US election campaigns, typically run with cooperation from the campaigns themselves.

Campaigns spend millions of dollars during general elections on canvassing; phone banking; advertising on TV, radio, and the internet; and other efforts designed to win over undecided voters and supporters of the opposing candidate. The new study’s authors, UC Berkeley political scientist Joshua Kalla and Stanford professor David Broockman, conclude that essentially no one targeted is persuaded.

So then... broadcast media spots, door-to-door blockwalking, direct mail, etc. don't work?!?  But Facebook and Twitter ads are guilty of throwing the 2016 election to Trump.  Let's include the qualifier, to be fair.

This doesn’t mean that political campaigns never matter. Kalla and Broockman find that these activities can persuade voters in primary elections and during ballot-initiative campaigns. Campaigns can still effectively turn out voters whose minds are already made up about a candidate, and voters can and do change their opinions when prompted by politicians they already support (something a previous study of Broockman’s confirmed).

That aside, this study is going to be severely problematic for the industry of political consultants who make their living on such things.  Not to mention the teevee and radio stations who earn their meat, potatoes, bread, and butter during political season.  I suppose you also might consider disregarding what I said just yesterday about working to persuade the low/no info non-voters.

I don't know, perhaps we should just ask our representatives to pass a law limiting political campaign contributions to a very low amount?  A similar law requiring broadcast media to provide a certain amount of airtime to politicos to discuss the issues during election season?  Make voting compulsory*, like they do in some countries?

All pretty outlandish notions, wouldn't you say?

*Compulsory does not actually mean 'compulsory' in some countries, for the record.

There is this thing called voting for NOTA, and there's also the ability to resolve the lingering angry-jackass problem of so-called "spoiler" candidates by using instant runoff voting, but the first time I ever heard of these was at a Green Party meeting, so they'll probably never come to pass nationally.

They make too much sense.

Update: You won't find a more ignorant collection of donkeys than at the beauty shop in Fort Bend County.  It's telling that a trans-bigot joke makes the headlines there.


Gadfly said...

I've got that Gallup poll graphic in my piece today about the Trump Tax Scam vs. Obama twice renewing the Bush tax cuts. Is it any reason that millennials don't trust either half of the duopoly?

PDiddie said...

Just a guess, but there's a lot of evidence that they reject almost all brands associated with the boomers. A general view of the world that is encapsulized as 'everything is broken and the old ways won't fix it".