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Russia Put Ads on Facebook That Divided Americans on the Basis of Race, says Report

At least 25 per cent of the ads focused on issues involving crime and policing, often with a racial connotation.

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Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), charged with meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, focused on dividing the Americans over race via its 3,517 ads on Facebook.
Democrats from the US House Intelligence Committee last week released 3,517 advertisements that were run on Facebook by the IRA during the 2014-2016 period. Pixabay

Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), charged with meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, focused on dividing the Americans over race via its 3,517 ads on Facebook.

Democrats from the US House Intelligence Committee last week released 3,517 advertisements that were run on Facebook by the IRA during the 2014-2016 period.

USA Today went through each and every ad and found that out of the 3,517 ads published, about 1,950 referred to race and were seen about 25 million times.

“Some dealt with race directly; others dealt with issues fraught with racial and religious baggage such as ads focused on protests over policing, the debate over a wall on the US border with Mexico and relationships with the Muslim community,” said the report on Sunday.

At least 25 per cent of the ads focused on issues involving crime and policing, often with a racial connotation.

“Separate ads, launched simultaneously, would stoke suspicion about how police treat black people in one ad, while another encouraged support for pro-police groups,” said the report.

Between September and November 2016, the number of race-related spots rose to 400. An additional 900 were posted after the November election through May 2017.

Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), charged with meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, focused on dividing the Americans over race via its 3,517 ads on Facebook.
Russian ads divided Americans on the basis of race. Pixabay

Several ads mixed race and policing, with many mimicking “Black Lives Matter” activists that melded real news events with accusations of abuse by white officers.

“More than 11.4 million American users were exposed to those advertisements. The data made available today does not include the 80,000 pieces of organic content shared on Facebook by the IRA. We expect to make this content public in the future,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement last week.

Exposure of organic content may have reached more than 126 million Americans, it added.

“Russia sought to weaponise social media to drive a wedge between Americans, and in an attempt to sway the 2016 election,” tweeted Adam Schiff, Democrats’ ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.

Reacting to Schiff, Facebook said that it gave more than 3,000 ads to Congress so they could better understand the extent of Russian interference in the last US Presidential election.

“In the run-up to the 2016 elections, we were focused on the kinds of cybersecurity attacks typically used by nation states, for example, phishing and malware attacks.

Russian linked Facebook Ads: Democrats to Release Russian-Linked Facebook Ads That Influenced 2016 US Presidential Elections

“And we were too slow to spot this type of information operations interference. Since then, we have made important changes to prevent bad actors from using misinformation to undermine the democratic process,” Facebook said in a blog post.

On February 16, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three Russian organisations for engaging in operations to interfere with US political and electoral processes, including the 2016 presidential election.

Throughout the indictment, Mueller lays out important facts about the activities of the IRA, the notorious Russian “troll” farm, and its operatives. (IANS)

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Salesforce CEO Calls Facebook as ‘New Cigarettes’ for Kids

Zuckerberg, however, has promised his employees to "fight and win" if Democratic presidential hopeful Warren wins the 2020 election and moves forward with her stated plan to break up the big US tech firms

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facebook, instant games
FILE - Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc's F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

Pitching for breaking up Facebook, US-based software giant Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has called the social networking platform “new cigarettes” which are making kids addictive.

Responding to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he will make a speech about his views on free expression, Benioff said the company must be held accountable now.

“Facebook is a publisher. They need to be held accountable for propaganda on their platform. We must have standards & practices decided by law. FB is the new cigarette – it’s addictive, bad for us, & our kids are being drawn in. We need to abolish section 230 Indemnifying them,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act of 1996 gives automatic liability protection to social media firm for any content posted by their users.

In an interview with CNN later, the Salesforce chief pushed for the breakup of Facebook.

“They’re also acquiring other companies and co-mingling (data)… they probably should be broken up because they’re having an undue influence as the largest social media platform on the planet,” he was quoted as saying.

Fake, News, WhatsApp, Facebook, India
The Facebook mobile app on an Android smartphone. Wikimedia Commons

Zuckerberg was scheduled to make a speech on free expression on Thursday.

“Why I believe voice is important, how giving people voice and bringing people together go hand in hand, how we might address the challenges that more voice and the internet introduce, and the major threats to free expression around the world,” Zuckerberg posted.

Several US lawmakers like Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have been pitching to break up Facebook.

Also Read: NASA Making a ‘Rigorous’ Search for Vikram with Fresh Lunar Pictures

Warren in fact successfully run a fake ad on the social media platform that claimed “Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election”.

Zuckerberg, however, has promised his employees to “fight and win” if Democratic presidential hopeful Warren wins the 2020 election and moves forward with her stated plan to break up the big US tech firms. (IANS)