Hijacking WhatsApp to Drive BJP Propaganda

Technology developed and deployed by political operatives working to further the interests of India’s ruling party appears to have given them the ability to add script to the URLs of published news stories at mainstream platforms in order to redirect unsuspecting readers to fake news and also hack into and take over WhatsApp accounts, potentially exposing millions of Indians to the risk of identity theft.

Since the aim of the exercise is to use inactive hacked accounts to seed disinformation and fake news, vulnerable WhatsApp users also face potential legal liability in the event that criminal cases are filed relating to objectionable content simulated as emanating from their phone numbers.

Last week, The Wire published the first part of its 20-month-long investigation into the secret ‘Tek Fog’ app being used by cyber operatives to manipulate social media trends in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and target critics of the Narendra Modi government.

— source thewire.in | Ayushman Kaul, Devesh Kumar | 10 Jan 2022

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Facebook Hosted Surge of Misinformation in Months Leading Up to US Capitol Attack

January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol, with many calling for executions or other political violence, an investigation by ProPublica and the Washington Post has found.

The barrage – averaging at least 10,000 posts a day, a scale not reported previously – turned the groups into incubators for the baseless claims supporters of then-President Donald Trump voiced as they stormed the Capitol, demanding he get a second term. Many posts portrayed Biden’s election as the result of widespread fraud that required extraordinary action – including the use of force – to prevent the nation from falling into the hands of traitors.


Another post, made 10 days after the election, bore the avatar of a smiling woman with her arms raised in apparent triumph and read, “WE ARE AMERICANS!!! WE FOUGHT AND DIED TO START OUR COUNTRY! WE ARE GOING TO FIGHT…FIGHT LIKE HELL. WE WILL SAVE HER❤ THEN WERE GOING TO SHOOT THE TRAITORS!!!!!!!!!!!”

One post showed a Civil War-era picture of a gallows with more than two dozen nooses and hooded figures waiting to be hanged. Other posts called for arrests and executions of

— source thewire.in | Craig Silverman, Craig Timberg, Jeff Kao, Jeremy B. Merrill | 06/Jan/2022

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Fake Social Media Accounts Against Farmer’s Protests

Even after the Narendra Modi-led government announced that the three controversial agri-marketing Bills will be withdrawn in the next session of the parliament, the farmers’ protests continue.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the governing body of the movement, says that the withdrawal of the three laws is only an acceptance of half of their charter of demands. Therefore, protests shall continue, they said in an open letter to the prime minister earlier this week.

Furthermore, supporters of the movement say that a year-long vilification of the movement by ministers in the government, and the ‘murders’ of over 700 farmers, are hard to forgive and forget.

In this backdrop, a report has been released by a UK-based organisation – Centre For Information Resilience (CIR) – which has revealed that fake social media accounts were being run on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to run a divisive propaganda against Sikhs and discredit the struggle of a majority of farmers in the ongoing stir.

“We will continue to monitor accounts associated with the patterns”

The CIR report is authored by Benjamin Strick, who is a digital investigator. He specialises in open source intelligence, geospatial intelligence and data analysis, and has a background in the military and law.

— source thewire.in | Pawanjot Kaur | 28/Nov/2021

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10 fringe publishers fuel 69% of digital climate change denial

The science is undeniable – human activity is warming our planet at an ever-accelerating rate and leading to catastrophic climate change.

Yet, ten publishers – The Toxic Ten – are spreading baseless, unscientific climate denial on their own websites and across social media. They are responsible for 69% of all interactions with climate denial content on Facebook.

It’s a climate denial propaganda machine funded in part by Google via ad revenue, and spread across the world via social media, in particular Facebook, who allow them to pay to promote their denial.

We are calling on Facebook and Google to stop promoting and funding climate denial, start labelling it as misinformation, and stop giving the advantages of their enormous platforms to lies and misinformation.

Click to access f4d9b9_277d4dc5f1f84858a6a2dc149f00b759.pdf

— source counterhate.com | Nov 3, 2021

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Facebook’s Hate-Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics

In Facebook posts and public appearances, Indian politician T. Raja Singh has said Rohingya Muslim immigrants should be shot, called Muslims traitors and threatened to raze mosques.

Facebook Inc. employees charged with policing the platform were watching. By March of this year, they concluded Mr. Singh not only had violated the company’s hate-speech rules but qualified as dangerous, a designation that takes into account a person’s off-platform activities, according to current and former Facebook employees familiar with the matter.

Given India’s history of communal violence [which started after British rule] and recent religious tensions, they argued, his rhetoric could lead to real-world violence, and he should be permanently banned from the company’s platforms world-wide, according to the current and former employees, a punishment that in the U.S. has been doled out to radio host Alex Jones, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and numerous white supremacist organizations.

— source wsj.com | Newley Purnell, Jeff Horwitz | Aug 14, 2020

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Huge Scale of Facebook Climate Lies

A new study published Thursday by a pair of watchdog groups shows Facebook is allowing climate misinformation to proliferate widely—and profiting from it—even as its newly rebranded parent company vows to curb such lies on the massive social media platform.

Conducted by the Real Facebook Oversight Board (RFOB) and Stop Funding Heat, the analysis found “an average range of between 818,000 and 1.36 million views of climate misinformation every day” on nearly 200 Facebook accounts, including pages and groups with such names as “Climate Change is Crap” and “Man Made Climate Change is a HOAX!”

“Facebook is the Big Tobacco of our generation, greenwashing to avoid responsibility and sowing confusion and doubt about climate change in the global conversation,” RFOB said in a statement. “Facebook cannot and will not police themselves. We need real, independent, transparent outside oversight and regulation and an investigation into all of Facebook’s

— source commondreams.org | Jake Johnson | Nov 4, 2021

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Climate misinformation on Facebook viewed 1.4 million times daily

Facebook may be changing its corporate name, but it’s still peddling climate misinformation. According to a new report from the advocacy organization Stop Funding Heat and the ad hoc group of activists called the Real Facebook Oversight Board, the platform’s existing mechanisms don’t go nearly far enough to rein in false or misleading content about climate change.

The groups analyzed 48,700 posts published between January and August 2021, covering 196 Facebook groups and pages that are known to publish false climate claims. They identified 38,925 instances of climate misinformation — only 3.6 percent of which had been evaluated by Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers. Eighty-five percent of the content bore no link to the platform’s Climate Science Center, a tool the company launched ostensibly to provide Facebook users with “factual resources from the world’s leading climate organizations.”

“The extent of climate misinformation on Facebook’s platform is a lot more than they are giving away,” said Sean Buchan, Stop Funding Heat’s research and partnerships manager and a lead author of the report.

According to the report, this mostly unfiltered climate misinformation was viewed up to 1.36 million times daily over the past eight months — nearly 14 times the alleged daily user traffic to Facebook’s climate science information hub.

— source grist.org | Joseph Winters | Nov 04, 2021

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Facebook knew it was being used to incite violence in Ethiopia

Facebook employees repeatedly sounded the alarm on the company’s failure to curb the spread of posts inciting violence in “at risk” countries like Ethiopia, where a civil war has raged for the past year, internal documents seen by CNN show.

The social media giant ranks Ethiopia in its highest priority tier for countries at risk of conflict, but the documents reveal that Facebook’s moderation efforts were no match for the flood of inflammatory content on its platform.

The documents are among dozens of disclosures made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and provided to Congress in redacted form by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel. A consortium of 17 US news organizations, including CNN, has reviewed the redacted versions received by Congress.

They show employees warning managers about how Facebook was being used by “problematic actors,” including states and foreign organizations, to spread hate speech and content

— source cnn.com | Eliza Mackintosh | Oct 25, 2021

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mέta – Centre for Postcapitalist Civilisation

Yanis Varoufakis on Friday called out Facebook for stealing the moniker of a global anti-capitalist think tank.

[nothing special, fascists always steel other’s identity.]

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Facebook Wavered in Checking Misinformation, Hate Speech in India

Internal documents at Facebook show “a struggle with misinformation, hate speech and celebrations of violence” in India, the company’s biggest market, with researchers at the social media giant pointing out that there are groups and pages “replete with inflammatory and misleading anti-Muslim content” on its platform, US media reports have said.

In a report published on Saturday, The New York Times said in February 2019, a Facebook researcher created a new user account to look into what the social media website will look like for a person living in Kerala.

“For the next three weeks, the account operated by a simple rule: Follow all the recommendations generated by Facebook’s algorithms to join groups, watch videos and explore new pages on the site. The result was an inundation of hate speech, misinformation and celebrations of violence, which were documented in an internal Facebook report published later that month,” the NYT report said.

— source newsclick.in | 25 Oct 2021

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