Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1039 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Peter Thiel

Intro­duc­tion: With the stu­dio tele­phones tem­porar­i­ly out of func­tion due to infra­struc­ture repair on the stu­dio, we inter­rupt the Jim DiEu­ge­nio inter­view series to bring a num­ber of paths of inquiry up to date.

Many of the arti­cles deal with the firestorm of domes­tic Amer­i­can pol­i­tics sur­round­ing immi­gra­tion. Many also deal with the advent of tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism.

We begin with two sto­ries that deal with both sub­jects:

In FTR #718, we warned [back in 2010] that Face­book was not the cud­dly lit­tle enti­ty it was per­ceived to be but a poten­tial engine of fas­cism enabling. Momen­tum for the remark­ably timed immi­grant car­a­van that became a focal point for Trump/GOP/Fox News pro­pa­gan­da dur­ing the recent­ly-con­clud­ed midterm elec­tions was gen­er­at­ed by a fake Face­book account, which mim­ic­ked a Hon­duran politician/human rights activist, Bar­to­lo Fuentes. Sig­nif­i­cant aspects of the event:

  1. ” . . . . Face­book has admit­ted the account was an imposter account imper­son­at­ing a promi­nent Hon­duran politi­cian. But it is refus­ing to release infor­ma­tion about the account, who may have set it up or what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . In response to a query from Buz­zFeed News, a Face­book spokesper­son said the pho­ny account ‘was removed for vio­lat­ing [the company’s] mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion pol­i­cy,’ but declined to share any fur­ther infor­ma­tion, such as what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from, what email address was used to open it, or any oth­er details that might reveal who was behind it. Face­book added that, bar­ring a sub­poe­na or request from law enforce­ment, it does not share such infor­ma­tion out of respect for the pri­va­cy of its users. Fuentes said he believes it’s impor­tant to find out who was behind the rogue account — but hasn’t got­ten any answers from Face­book. ‘Who knows how many mes­sages could have been sent and who received them?’ . . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Fuentes has been unable to get any infor­ma­tion from Face­book about the account, but one small detail stood out. Who­ev­er cre­at­ed it list­ed the Hon­duran cap­i­tal of Tegu­ci­gal­pa as Fuentes’s home­town, rather than the San Pedro Sula sub­urb of El Pro­gre­so. That might seem like a minor error, but it’s the sort of mis­take a for­eign­er — not a Hon­duran — would make about the well-known for­mer law­mak­er, whose left-wing par­ty stands in oppo­si­tion to the cur­rent president’s admin­is­tra­tion. . . . ”
  4. ” . . . . It oper­at­ed entire­ly in Span­ish and pre­cise­ly tar­get­ed influ­encers with­in the migrant rights com­mu­ni­ty. And rather than crit­i­cize or under­mine the car­a­van — as oth­er online cam­paigns would lat­er attempt to do — it was used to legit­imize the event, mak­ing a loose­ly struc­tured grass­roots event appear to be a well-orga­nized effort by an estab­lished migrant group with a proven track record of suc­cess­ful­ly bring­ing Cen­tral Amer­i­can peo­ple to the US bor­der. . . .”
  5. ” . . . . before the account got start­ed not many peo­ple seemed to be join­ing. Only after the account kicked into gear did enthu­si­asm and par­tic­i­pa­tion spike. The account also claimed false­ly that the car­a­van was being led by a migrant rights orga­ni­za­tion called Pueblo Sin Fron­teras. Lat­er, once the car­a­van swelled to a mas­sive scale, the Pueblo Sin Fron­teras did get involved, though in a sup­port rather than lead­er­ship role. . . .”
  6. ” . . . . It appears that this account helped the car­a­van gain key momen­tum to the point where its size became a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy, spurring even more to join and groups which hadn’t been sup­port­ive to get involved. . . .”
  7. ” . . . . It’s hard to believe one Face­book account could play that deci­sive a role. But the account seems to have been sophis­ti­cat­ed. And it is equal­ly dif­fi­cult to believe that a sophis­ti­ca­tor oper­a­tor or orga­ni­za­tion would have gone to such trou­ble and lim­it­ed their efforts to a sin­gle imposter account. . . .”

Christo­pher Wylie–the for­mer head of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca who became one of the key insid­er whis­tle-blow­ers about how Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca oper­at­ed and the extent of Facebook’s knowl­edge about it–gave an inter­view last month to Cam­paign Mag­a­zine. (We dealt with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca in FTR #‘s 946, 1021.)

Wylie recounts how, as direc­tor of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, his orig­i­nal role was to deter­mine how the com­pa­ny could use the infor­ma­tion war­fare tech­niques used by SCL Group – Cam­bridge Analytica’s par­ent com­pa­ny and a defense con­trac­tor pro­vid­ing psy op ser­vices for the British mil­i­tary. Wylie’s job was to adapt the psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare strate­gies that SCL had been using on the bat­tle­field to the online space. As Wylie put it:

“ . . . . When you are work­ing in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions projects, where your tar­get is a com­bat­ant, the auton­o­my or agency of your tar­gets is not your pri­ma­ry con­sid­er­a­tion. It is fair game to deny and manip­u­late infor­ma­tion, coerce and exploit any men­tal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties a per­son has, and to bring out the very worst char­ac­ter­is­tics in that per­son because they are an ene­my…But if you port that over to a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem, if you run cam­paigns designed to under­mine people’s abil­i­ty to make free choic­es and to under­stand what is real and not real, you are under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and treat­ing vot­ers in the same way as you are treat­ing ter­ror­ists. . . . .”

Wylie also draws par­al­lels between the psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions used on demo­c­ra­t­ic audi­ences and the bat­tle­field tech­niques used to be build an insur­gency. It starts with tar­get­ing peo­ple more prone to hav­ing errat­ic traits, para­noia or con­spir­a­to­r­i­al think­ing, and get them to “like” a group on social media. The infor­ma­tion you’re feed­ing this tar­get audi­ence may or may not be real. The impor­tant thing is that it’s con­tent that they already agree with so that “it feels good to see that infor­ma­tion.” Keep in mind that one of the goals of the ‘psy­cho­graph­ic pro­fil­ing’ that Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was to iden­ti­fy traits like neu­roti­cism.

Wylie goes on to describe the next step in this insur­gency-build­ing tech­nique: keep build­ing up the inter­est in the social media group that you’re direct­ing this tar­get audi­ence towards until it hits around 1,000–2,000 peo­ple. Then set up a real life event ded­i­cat­ed to the cho­sen dis­in­for­ma­tion top­ic in some local area and try to get as many of your tar­get audi­ence to show up. Even if only 5 per­cent of them show up, that’s still 50–100 peo­ple con­verg­ing on some local cof­fee shop or what­ev­er. The peo­ple meet each oth­er in real life and start talk­ing about about “all these things that you’ve been see­ing online in the depths of your den and get­ting angry about”. This tar­get audi­ence starts believ­ing that no one else is talk­ing about this stuff because “they don’t want you to know what the truth is”. As Wylie puts it, “What start­ed out as a fan­ta­sy online gets port­ed into the tem­po­ral world and becomes real to you because you see all these peo­ple around you.”

In FTR #1028, we high­light­ed the killing of Mol­lie Tib­betts not­ing that:

  1. The killing may have been a provo­ca­tion, direct­ed at focus­ing the elec­torate’s ire toward ille­gal immi­grants and away from Don­ald Trump.
  2. The announce­ment about the loca­tion and arrest of the sus­pect­ed perpetrator–Christhian Rivera–came on the same day that Michael Cohen copped a plea and Paul Man­afort was found guilty. Was River­a’s arrest timed as a dis­trac­tion?
  3. There are super­fi­cial indi­ca­tions that Christhi­an Rivera may have been sub­ject­ed to mind con­trol, a la Sirhan Sirhan.
  4. Rivera worked at a dairy facil­i­ty con­trolled by the Lang fam­i­ly, promi­nent Iowa Repub­li­cans.

Now, we learn that Eric Lang, Craig Lang’s brother–is mar­ried to Nicole Schlinger, a promi­nent GOP fundrais­er with strong oper­a­tional and his­tor­i­cal links to the Koch broth­ers’ net­works and oth­er GOP post-Cit­i­zens Unit­ed dark mon­ey net­works.

High-tech may be the future of Trump’s much-bal­ly­hooed wall with Mex­i­co, with a tech­nol­o­gy dubbed AVATAR seen by some as the future of bor­der secu­ri­ty: “A vir­tu­al bor­der agent kiosk was devel­oped to inter­view trav­el­ers at air­ports and bor­der cross­ings and it can detect decep­tion to flag human secu­ri­ty agents. The U.S., Cana­da and Euro­pean Union have test­ed the tech­nol­o­gy, and one researcher says it has a decep­tion detec­tion suc­cess rate of up to 80 per­cent — bet­ter than human agents.  The tech­nol­o­gy relies on sen­sors and bio­met­rics, and its lie-detec­tion capa­bil­i­ties are based on eye move­ments or changes in voice, pos­ture and facial ges­tures. . . .”

Futur­ist philoso­pher and author Yuval Noah Harari  appears to be a dystopi­an futur­ist, envi­sion­ing a future where democ­ra­cy is seen as obso­lete and a tech­no-elite rul­ing class run com­pa­nies with the capac­i­ty to essen­tial­ly con­trol the minds of mass­es. Those mass­es that will increas­ing­ly be seen obso­lete and use­less. Harari even gave a recent TED Talk called Why fas­cism is so tempt­ing — and how your data could pow­er it. So how do Sil­i­con Valley’s CEO view Mr. Harari’s views? They appar­ent­ly can’t get enough of him:

We con­clude with a look at how the SCL/Cambridge Ana­lyt­i­ca dynam­ic has man­i­fest­ed in the Rus­sia-gate Psy-Op.

Adding fur­ther per­spec­tive to the utter­ly fan­tas­tic nature of the Rus­sia-Gate “psy-op” is analy­sis of a recent New York Times pro­pa­gan­da piece hyp­ing Rus­si­a’s manip­u­la­tion of Face­book to influ­ence the U.S. elec­tion. “. . . . The fur­ther research into an ear­li­er Con­sor­tium News arti­cle shows that a rel­a­tive­ly pal­try 80,000 posts from the pri­vate Russ­ian com­pa­ny Inter­net Research Agency (IRA) were engulfed in lit­er­al­ly tril­lions of posts on Face­book over a two-year peri­od before and after the 2016 vote. [Just HOW a post gen­er­at­ed after the elec­tion was sup­posed to influ­ence the elec­tion was not explained by The Gray Lady–D.E.]. . . . The news­pa­per [The New York Times] failed to tell their read­ers that Face­book account hold­ers in the Unit­ed States had been “served” 33 tril­lion Face­book posts dur­ing that same peri­od — 413 mil­lion times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russ­ian com­pa­ny. . . .”

1a. Momen­tum for the remark­ably timed immi­grant car­a­van that became a focal point for Trump/GOP/Fox News pro­pa­gan­da dur­ing the recent­ly-con­clud­ed midterm elec­tions was gen­er­at­ed by a fake Face­book account, which mim­ic­ked a Hon­duran politician/human rights activist, Bar­to­lo Fuentes. Sig­nif­i­cant aspects of the event:

  1. ” . . . . Face­book has admit­ted the account was an imposter account imper­son­at­ing a promi­nent Hon­duran politi­cian. But it is refus­ing to release infor­ma­tion about the account, who may have set it up or what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . before the account got start­ed not many peo­ple seemed to be join­ing. Only after the account kicked into gear did enthu­si­asm and par­tic­i­pa­tion spike. The account also claimed false­ly that the car­a­van was being led by a migrant rights orga­ni­za­tion called Pueblo Sin Fron­teras. Lat­er, once the car­a­van swelled to a mas­sive scale, the Pueblo Sin Fron­teras did get involved, though in a sup­port rather than lead­er­ship role. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . It appears that this account helped the car­a­van gain key momen­tum to the point where its size became a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy, spurring even more to join and groups which hadn’t been sup­port­ive to get involved. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . It’s hard to believe one Face­book account could play that deci­sive a role. But the account seems to have been sophis­ti­cat­ed. And it is equal­ly dif­fi­cult to believe that a sophis­ti­ca­tor oper­a­tor or orga­ni­za­tion would have gone to such trou­ble and lim­it­ed their efforts to a sin­gle imposter account. . . .”

“Fake Face­book Account Had Role Build­ing Immi­grant Car­a­van” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo; 12/06/2018.

Here’s a very, very inter­est­ing Buz­zfeed arti­cle which reports that a fake Face­book account appears to have had an impor­tant role stir­ring up the Hon­duran immi­grant car­a­van which coin­cid­ed almost pre­cise­ly with the 2018 midterm elec­tion. Face­book has admit­ted the account was an imposter account imper­son­at­ing a promi­nent Hon­duran politi­cian. But it is refus­ing to release infor­ma­tion about the account, who may have set it up or what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from.

For starters, it’s impor­tant to note that what­ev­er the role of this account or oth­ers that may come to light, it didn’t cre­ate the Hon­duras’ emi­gra­tion cri­sis that goes back to the lat­er years of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. There have been oth­er ‘car­a­vans’, the main point of which is to give migrants safe­ty in num­bers and not be prey to crim­i­nals and gangs on the jour­ney north. But the tim­ing of the October/November 2018 event has always been sus­pect.

Dur­ing the height of the news fever back in Octo­ber I reached out to a promi­nent US pro-immi­gra­tion activist and asked this per­son, ‘Am I crazy to be sus­pi­cious that you’ve got the biggest car­a­van yet head­ing north timed almost per­fect­ly for the final weeks of the US elec­tion?’ The answer was very inter­est­ing. It was basi­cal­ly, ‘Yeah, we’re all very sus­pi­cious but there’s no clear evi­dence that it hasn’t grown up organ­i­cal­ly.’

One of the things that seemed so odd to me was that if you’re an immi­grant look­ing to escape the run­away mur­der rate and gang and para­mil­i­tary vio­lence in Hon­duras, the worst pos­si­ble time to make the attempt would be in the final days of a US elec­tion cam­paign in which the gov­ern­ment has every incen­tive to make an exam­ple of you to show its anti-immi­grant bona-fides. Like you may or may not make at anoth­er, less elec­tion focused time. But you’re def­i­nite­ly not get­ting into the coun­try when Don­ald Trump is try­ing to use you as a scare cud­gel to sal­vage con­trol of Con­gress.

What this per­son told me was that that wasn’t that hard to under­stand. From years work­ing with peo­ple in the region this per­son told me, you’d just be sur­prised. They’re not as versed on the inter­nal dynam­ics of our pol­i­tics as you might think. This was a valu­able cor­rec­tive to my myopia and lack of per­spec­tive. I don’t know much about the inter­nal dynam­ics of their pol­i­tics and they don’t know ours.

Still the per­son I was speak­ing to remained pret­ty sus­pi­cious. There just wasn’t any evi­dence that it wasn’t grow­ing up in the way oth­er immi­grant car­a­vans have over recent years.

Now we get to this Buz­zfeed arti­cle. The account was cre­at­ed about a week before the car­a­van depart­ed and imper­son­at­ed a man named Bar­to­lo Fuentes who Buz­zfeed iden­ti­fies as “a Hon­duran activist, jour­nal­ist, and for­mer law­mak­er.” The sub­tleties to the sto­ry are impor­tant. Fuentes was ini­tial­ly skep­ti­cal about this par­tic­u­lar car­a­van. It wasn’t get­ting much atten­tion. But it caught on so dra­mat­i­cal­ly that he even­tu­al­ly joined it for a peri­od of time, not as a prospec­tive immi­grant but as a sup­port­er.

The account main­ly used Face­book mes­sen­ger to com­mu­ni­cate with oth­er influ­en­tial fig­ures in Hon­duras and con­firm Fuentes’ sup­port of the effort. In Buzzfeed’s recon­struc­tion, this bogus account didn’t start the effort and actu­al­ly kicked off just after the efforts to orga­nize it got under­way. But before the account got start­ed not many peo­ple seemed to be join­ing. Only after the account kicked into gear did enthu­si­asm and par­tic­i­pa­tion spike. The account also claimed false­ly that the car­a­van was being led by a migrant rights orga­ni­za­tion called Pueblo Sin Fron­teras. Lat­er, once the car­a­van swelled to a mas­sive scale, the Pueblo Sin Fron­teras did get involved, though in a sup­port rather than lead­er­ship role.

The rel­e­vant point though is that it wasn’t true when the imposter account false­ly spread the word.

It appears that this account helped the car­a­van gain key momen­tum to the point where its size became a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy, spurring even more to join and groups which hadn’t been sup­port­ive to get involved.

So far, it seems like we only know about this sin­gle account. It’s hard to believe one Face­book account could play that deci­sive a role. But the account seems to have been sophis­ti­cat­ed. And it is equal­ly dif­fi­cult to believe that a sophis­ti­ca­tor oper­a­tor or orga­ni­za­tion would have gone to such trou­ble and lim­it­ed their efforts to a sin­gle imposter account. . . .

1b. More about the pho­ny Face­book account:

  1. ” . . . . In response to a query from Buz­zFeed News, a Face­book spokesper­son said the pho­ny account ‘was removed for vio­lat­ing [the company’s] mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion pol­i­cy,’ but declined to share any fur­ther infor­ma­tion, such as what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from, what email address was used to open it, or any oth­er details that might reveal who was behind it. Face­book added that, bar­ring a sub­poe­na or request from law enforce­ment, it does not share such infor­ma­tion out of respect for the pri­va­cy of its users. Fuentes said he believes it’s impor­tant to find out who was behind the rogue account — but hasn’t got­ten any answers from Face­book. ‘Who knows how many mes­sages could have been sent and who received them?’ . . . .”
  2. ” . . . . It oper­at­ed entire­ly in Span­ish and pre­cise­ly tar­get­ed influ­encers with­in the migrant rights com­mu­ni­ty. And rather than crit­i­cize or under­mine the car­a­van — as oth­er online cam­paigns would lat­er attempt to do — it was used to legit­imize the event, mak­ing a loose­ly struc­tured grass­roots event appear to be a well-orga­nized effort by an estab­lished migrant group with a proven track record of suc­cess­ful­ly bring­ing Cen­tral Amer­i­can peo­ple to the US bor­der. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . Fuentes has been unable to get any infor­ma­tion from Face­book about the account, but one small detail stood out. Who­ev­er cre­at­ed it list­ed the Hon­duran cap­i­tal of Tegu­ci­gal­pa as Fuentes’s home­town, rather than the San Pedro Sula sub­urb of El Pro­gre­so. That might seem like a minor error, but it’s the sort of mis­take a for­eign­er — not a Hon­duran — would make about the well-known for­mer law­mak­er, whose left-wing par­ty stands in oppo­si­tion to the cur­rent president’s admin­is­tra­tion. . . . ”

“A Mys­te­ri­ous Imposter Account Was Used On Face­book To Drum Up Sup­port For The Migrant Car­a­van” by Ken Bensinger and Kar­la Zablu­dovsky; Buz­zFeed News; 12/06/2018

Just days before the migrant car­a­van set out from Hon­duras, an imposter stole the iden­ti­ty of a promi­nent ear­ly sup­port­er on Face­book, using a fake account to try to boost the caravan’s num­bers.

Bar­to­lo Fuentes, a Hon­duran activist, jour­nal­ist, and for­mer law­mak­er told Buz­zFeed News that some­one used the pho­ny account to send Face­book mes­sages false­ly claim­ing that estab­lished migrant groups were orga­niz­ing the effort. News like that — com­ing from a well-known pub­lic fig­ure in Hon­duras, such as Fuentes — could go a long way to con­vinc­ing peo­ple to join the group of migrants trav­el­ing to the US.

The car­a­van, which thread­ed north through Guatemala and Mex­i­co, even­tu­al­ly bal­looned in size to more than 7,000 peo­ple. It also became a polit­i­cal flash­point in the lead-up to last month’s US midterm elec­tions.

In response to a query from Buz­zFeed News, a Face­book spokesper­son said the pho­ny account “was removed for vio­lat­ing [the company’s] mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion pol­i­cy,” but declined to share any fur­ther infor­ma­tion, such as what coun­try it orig­i­nat­ed from, what email address was used to open it, or any oth­er details that might reveal who was behind it. Face­book added that, bar­ring a sub­poe­na or request from law enforce­ment, it does not share such infor­ma­tion out of respect for the pri­va­cy of its users.

Fuentes said he believes it’s impor­tant to find out who was behind the rogue account — but hasn’t got­ten any answers from Face­book. “Who knows how many mes­sages could have been sent and who received them?” . . . .

. . . . As far as Fuentes can tell, the fake account, which pri­mar­i­ly used Face­book Mes­sen­ger to spread dis­in­for­ma­tion, was cre­at­ed less than a week before the car­a­van was sched­uled to depart.

On his real account, Fuentes did post a few times about the car­a­van, which he said he’d heard about in mid-Sep­tem­ber after being invit­ed to join a small pri­vate What­sApp group of would-be migrants. One of his posts, from Oct. 4, showed a styl­ized image of a bedrag­gled migrant and indi­cat­ed the car­a­van “spon­ta­neous­ly con­vened” with­out any for­mal orga­niz­er.

But the mes­sages being sent by the imposter, which also had Fuentes’s pho­to, had a very dif­fer­ent fla­vor, the for­mer law­mak­er learned. They claimed that the promi­nent and influ­en­tial migrant rights orga­ni­za­tion Pueblo Sin Fron­teras was orga­niz­ing the car­a­van and would be lead­ing it on the ardu­ous jour­ney.

But the news was fake. Although Pueblo Sin Fron­teras had orga­nized sev­er­al pre­vi­ous car­a­vans, includ­ing a big one in the spring that attract­ed 1,500 peo­ple, it staunch­ly opposed the lat­est effort based on well-found­ed fears it would stoke anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment ahead of the elec­tions.

The bogus Fuentes account stands out for its sophis­ti­ca­tion and tim­ing. It was cre­at­ed before the car­a­van depart­ed, when the event had not yet attract­ed news cov­er­age. It oper­at­ed entire­ly in Span­ish and pre­cise­ly tar­get­ed influ­encers with­in the migrant rights com­mu­ni­ty. And rather than crit­i­cize or under­mine the car­a­van — as oth­er online cam­paigns would lat­er attempt to do — it was used to legit­imize the event, mak­ing a loose­ly struc­tured grass­roots event appear to be a well-orga­nized effort by an estab­lished migrant group with a proven track record of suc­cess­ful­ly bring­ing Cen­tral Amer­i­can peo­ple to the US bor­der.

Fuentes has been unable to get any infor­ma­tion from Face­book about the account, but one small detail stood out. Who­ev­er cre­at­ed it list­ed the Hon­duran cap­i­tal of Tegu­ci­gal­pa as Fuentes’s home­town, rather than the San Pedro Sula sub­urb of El Pro­gre­so. That might seem like a minor error, but it’s the sort of mis­take a for­eign­er — not a Hon­duran — would make about the well-known for­mer law­mak­er, whose left-wing par­ty stands in oppo­si­tion to the cur­rent president’s admin­is­tra­tion.

When the imposter account began sow­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion, the car­a­van was not expect­ed to be huge — in fact, very few peo­ple even knew about it. Only around 160 men, women, and chil­dren showed up at the bus sta­tion in San Pedro Sula at the appoint­ed time ear­ly Oct. 12.

Fuentes has no idea how many mes­sages were sent by the imposter account, or who might have received them. He said the What­sApp group where he learned about the car­a­van had only a few dozen peo­ple in it, and he sub­se­quent­ly found out about a few oth­er such groups that were equal­ly small. He was sur­prised to see peo­ple con­tin­u­ing to arrive at the bus sta­tion through­out the morn­ing, even­tu­al­ly attract­ing media cov­er­age. . . .

2. In FTR #1028, we high­light­ed the killing of Mol­lie Tib­betts not­ing that:

  1. The killing may have been a provo­ca­tion, direct­ed at focus­ing the elec­torate’s ire toward ille­gal immi­grants and away from Don­ald Trump.
  2. The announce­ment about the loca­tion and arrest of the sus­pect­ed perpetrator–Christhian Rivera–came on the same day that Michael Cohen copped a plea and Paul Man­afort was found guilty. Was River­a’s arrest timed as a dis­trac­tion?
  3. There are super­fi­cial indi­ca­tions that Christhi­an Rivera may have been sub­ject­ed to mind con­trol, a la Sirhan Sirhan.
  4. Rivera worked at a dairy facil­i­ty con­trolled by the Lang fam­i­ly, promi­nent Iowa Repub­li­cans.

Now, we learn that Eric Lang, Craig Lang’s brother–is mar­ried to Nicole Schlinger, a promi­nent GOP fundrais­er with strong oper­a­tional and his­tor­i­cal links to the Koch broth­ers’ net­works and oth­er GOP post-Cit­i­zens Unit­ed dark mon­ey net­works.

“The Man Accused of Killing Mol­lie Tib­betts Lived on Land Owned by GOP Fundrais­er” by RYAN J. FOLEY; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 08/24/2018.

A top Repub­li­can fundrais­er whose firm works for sev­er­al promi­nent immi­gra­tion hard­lin­ers is the par­tial own­er of the land where the Mex­i­can man accused of killing Iowa col­lege stu­dent Mol­lie Tib­betts lived rent-free, a farm spokes­woman said Fri­day.

Nicole Schlinger has long been a key fundrais­er and cam­paign con­trac­tor for GOP politi­cians in Iowa and beyond, includ­ing this cycle for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Vir­ginia Sen­ate can­di­date Corey Stew­art.

Schlinger is the pres­i­dent of Cam­paign Head­quar­ters, a call cen­ter that makes fundrais­ing calls, iden­ti­fies sup­port­ers and helps turn out vot­ers for con­ser­v­a­tive can­di­dates and groups. Her busi­ness is one of the largest in Brook­lyn, the cen­tral Iowa town where Tib­betts dis­ap­peared while out for a run on July 18.

Schlinger is mar­ried to Eric Lang, the pres­i­dent of the fam­i­ly-owned dairy that has acknowl­edged pro­vid­ing employ­ment and hous­ing for the last four years to Cristhi­an Bahena Rivera, the man charged with mur­der in Tib­betts’ death.

The cou­ple — along with her husband’s broth­er Craig Lang and his wife — own farm­land out­side Brook­lyn that includes trail­ers where some of the dairy’s employ­ees live for free as a ben­e­fit of their employ­ment, farm spokes­woman Eileen Wixted con­firmed.

She said Rivera lived there for the dura­tion of his employ­ment, and about half of the farm’s oth­er 10 work­ers do so as well. Under the arrange­ment, the farm­ing com­pa­ny pays the cou­ples to rent the land but work­ers do not have to pay, she said.

In an email Fri­day, Schlinger said that she was “shocked and deeply sad­dened” by Tib­betts’ death and had nev­er met Rivera. “The per­pe­tra­tor should be pun­ished to the fullest extent of the law, and when he meets his mak­er, suf­fer the con­se­quences he deserves,” she wrote.

She said that she was gift­ed an own­er­ship inter­est in the land many years ago from her husband’s fam­i­ly and that she has no role in the farm­ing oper­a­tion.

Still, the fact that one of its own oper­a­tives has indi­rect ties to the case could com­pli­cate GOP efforts to high­light the grue­some slay­ing in its polit­i­cal mes­sag­ing ahead of the Novem­ber midterm elec­tion. Dairy co-own­er Craig Lang also was a Repub­li­can can­di­date for Iowa agri­cul­ture sec­re­tary, fin­ish­ing third in a five-way race in the June pri­ma­ry. . . .

3. High-tech may be the future of Trump’s much-bal­ly­hooed wall with Mex­i­co, with a tech­nol­o­gy dubbed AVATAR seen by some as the future of bor­der secu­ri­ty: “A vir­tu­al bor­der agent kiosk was devel­oped to inter­view trav­el­ers at air­ports and bor­der cross­ings and it can detect decep­tion to flag human secu­ri­ty agents.The U.S., Cana­da and Euro­pean Union have test­ed the tech­nol­o­gy, and one researcher says it has a decep­tion detec­tion suc­cess rate of up to 80 per­cent — bet­ter than human agents.  The tech­nol­o­gy relies on sen­sors and bio­met­rics, and its lie-detec­tion capa­bil­i­ties are based on eye move­ments or changes in voice, pos­ture and facial ges­tures. . . .”

“Lie-detect­ing com­put­er kiosks equipped with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence look like the future of bor­der secu­ri­ty” by Jeff Daniels; CNBC; 05/15/2018

A vir­tu­al bor­der agent kiosk was devel­oped to inter­view trav­el­ers at air­ports and bor­der cross­ings and it can detect decep­tion to flag human secu­ri­ty agents.
The U.S., Cana­da and Euro­pean Union have test­ed the tech­nol­o­gy, and one researcher says it has a decep­tion detec­tion suc­cess rate of up to 80 per­cent — bet­ter than human agents.
The tech­nol­o­gy relies on sen­sors and bio­met­rics, and its lie-detec­tion capa­bil­i­ties are based on eye move­ments or changes in voice, pos­ture and facial ges­tures.

Inter­na­tion­al trav­el­ers could find them­selves in the near future talk­ing to a lie-detect­ing kiosk when they’re going through cus­toms at an air­port or bor­der cross­ing.

The same tech­nol­o­gy could be used to pro­vide ini­tial screen­ing of refugees and asy­lum seek­ers at busy bor­der cross­ings.

The U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty fund­ed research of the vir­tu­al bor­der agent tech­nol­o­gy known as the Auto­mat­ed Vir­tu­al Agent for Truth Assess­ments in Real-Time, or AVATAR, about six years ago and allowed it to be test­ed it at the U.S.-Mexico bor­der on trav­el­ers who vol­un­teered to par­tic­i­pate. Since then, Cana­da and the Euro­pean Union test­ed the robot-like kiosk that uses a vir­tu­al agent to ask trav­el­ers a series of ques­tions.

Last month, a car­a­van of migrants from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca made it to the U.S.-Mexico bor­der, where they sought asy­lum but were delayed sev­er­al days because the port of entry near San Diego had reached full capac­i­ty. It’s pos­si­ble that a sys­tem such as AVATAR could pro­vide ini­tial screen­ing of asy­lum seek­ers and oth­ers to help U.S. agents at busy bor­der cross­ings such as San Diego’s San Ysidro.

“The tech­nol­o­gy has much broad­er appli­ca­tions poten­tial­ly,” despite most of the fund­ing for the orig­i­nal work com­ing pri­mar­i­ly from the Defense or Home­land Secu­ri­ty depart­ments a decade ago, accord­ing to Aaron Elkins, one of the devel­op­ers of the sys­tem and an assis­tant pro­fes­sor at the San Diego State Uni­ver­si­ty direc­tor of its Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Lab. He added that AVATAR is not a com­mer­cial prod­uct yet but could be also used in human resources for screen­ing. . . . 

4. Christo­pher Wylie–the for­mer head of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca who became one of the key insid­er whis­tle-blow­ers about how Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca oper­at­ed and the extent of Facebook’s knowl­edge about it–gave an inter­view last month to Cam­paign Mag­a­zine. (We dealt with Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca in FTR #‘s 946, 1021.)

Wylie recounts how, as direc­tor of research at Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca, his orig­i­nal role was to deter­mine how the com­pa­ny could use the infor­ma­tion war­fare tech­niques used by SCL Group – Cam­bridge Analytica’s par­ent com­pa­ny and a defense con­trac­tor pro­vid­ing psy op ser­vices for the British mil­i­tary. Wylie’s job was to adapt the psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare strate­gies that SCL had been using on the bat­tle­field to the online space. As Wylie put it:

“ . . . . When you are work­ing in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions projects, where your tar­get is a com­bat­ant, the auton­o­my or agency of your tar­gets is not your pri­ma­ry con­sid­er­a­tion. It is fair game to deny and manip­u­late infor­ma­tion, coerce and exploit any men­tal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties a per­son has, and to bring out the very worst char­ac­ter­is­tics in that per­son because they are an ene­my…But if you port that over to a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem, if you run cam­paigns designed to under­mine people’s abil­i­ty to make free choic­es and to under­stand what is real and not real, you are under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and treat­ing vot­ers in the same way as you are treat­ing ter­ror­ists. . . . .”

Wylie also draws par­al­lels between the psy­cho­log­i­cal oper­a­tions used on demo­c­ra­t­ic audi­ences and the bat­tle­field tech­niques used to be build an insur­gency. It starts with tar­get­ing peo­ple more prone to hav­ing errat­ic traits, para­noia or con­spir­a­to­r­i­al think­ing, and get them to “like” a group on social media. The infor­ma­tion you’re feed­ing this tar­get audi­ence may or may not be real. The impor­tant thing is that it’s con­tent that they already agree with so that “it feels good to see that infor­ma­tion.” Keep in mind that one of the goals of the ‘psy­cho­graph­ic pro­fil­ing’ that Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was to iden­ti­fy traits like neu­roti­cism.

Wylie goes on to describe the next step in this insur­gency-build­ing tech­nique: keep build­ing up the inter­est in the social media group that you’re direct­ing this tar­get audi­ence towards until it hits around 1,000–2,000 peo­ple. Then set up a real life event ded­i­cat­ed to the cho­sen dis­in­for­ma­tion top­ic in some local area and try to get as many of your tar­get audi­ence to show up. Even if only 5 per­cent of them show up, that’s still 50–100 peo­ple con­verg­ing on some local cof­fee shop or what­ev­er. The peo­ple meet each oth­er in real life and start talk­ing about about “all these things that you’ve been see­ing online in the depths of your den and get­ting angry about”. This tar­get audi­ence starts believ­ing that no one else is talk­ing about this stuff because “they don’t want you to know what the truth is”. As Wylie puts it, “What start­ed out as a fan­ta­sy online gets port­ed into the tem­po­ral world and becomes real to you because you see all these peo­ple around you.”

“Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca whistle­blow­er Christo­pher Wylie: It’s time to save cre­ativ­i­ty” by Kate Magee; Cam­paign; 11/05/2018.

In the ear­ly hours of 17 March 2018, the 28-year-old Christo­pher Wylie tweet­ed: “Here we go….”

Lat­er that day, The Observ­er and The New York Times pub­lished the sto­ry of Cam­bridge Analytica’s mis­use of Face­book data, which sent shock­waves around the world, caused mil­lions to #Delete­Face­book, and led the UK Infor­ma­tion Commissioner’s Office to fine the site the max­i­mum penal­ty for fail­ing to pro­tect users’ infor­ma­tion. Six weeks after the sto­ry broke, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca closed. . . .

. . . . He believes that poor use of data is killing good ideas. And that, unless effec­tive reg­u­la­tion is enact­ed, society’s wor­ship of algo­rithms, unchecked data cap­ture and use, and the like­ly spread of AI to all parts of our lives is caus­ing us to sleep­walk into a bleak future.

Not only are such cir­cum­stances a threat to adland – why do you need an ad to tell you about a prod­uct if an algo­rithm is choos­ing it for you? – it is a threat to human free will. “Cur­rent­ly, the only moral­i­ty of the algo­rithm is to opti­mise you as a con­sumer and, in many cas­es, you become the prod­uct. There are very few exam­ples in human his­to­ry of indus­tries where peo­ple them­selves become prod­ucts and those are scary indus­tries – slav­ery and the sex trade. And now, we have social media,” Wylie says.

“The prob­lem with that, and what makes it inher­ent­ly dif­fer­ent to sell­ing, say, tooth­paste, is that you’re sell­ing parts of peo­ple or access to peo­ple. Peo­ple have an innate moral worth. If we don’t respect that, we can cre­ate indus­tries that do ter­ri­ble things to peo­ple. We are [head­ing] blind­ly and quick­ly into an envi­ron­ment where this men­tal­i­ty is going to be ampli­fied through AI every­where. We’re humans, we should be think­ing about peo­ple first.”

His words car­ry weight, because he’s been on the dark side. He has seen what can hap­pen when data is used to spread mis­in­for­ma­tion, cre­ate insur­gen­cies and prey on the worst of people’s char­ac­ters.

The polit­i­cal bat­tle­field

A quick refresh­er on the scan­dal, in Wylie’s words: Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was a com­pa­ny spun out of SCL Group, a British mil­i­tary con­trac­tor that worked in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions for armed forces around the world. It was con­duct­ing research on how to scale and digi­tise infor­ma­tion war­fare – the use of infor­ma­tion to con­fuse or degrade the effi­ca­cy of an ene­my. . . .

. . . . As direc­tor of research, Wylie’s orig­i­nal role was to map out how the com­pa­ny would take tra­di­tion­al infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions tac­tics into the online space – in par­tic­u­lar, by pro­fil­ing peo­ple who would be sus­cep­ti­ble to cer­tain mes­sag­ing.

This mor­phed into the polit­i­cal are­na. After Wylie left, the com­pa­ny worked on Don­ald Trump’s US pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and – pos­si­bly – the UK’s Euro­pean Union ref­er­en­dum. In Feb­ru­ary 2016, Cam­bridge Analytica’s for­mer chief exec­u­tive, Alexan­der Nix, wrote in Cam­paign that his com­pa­ny had “already helped super­charge Leave.EU’s social-media cam­paign”. Nix has stren­u­ous­ly denied this since, includ­ing to MPs.

It was this shift from the bat­tle­field to pol­i­tics that made Wylie uncom­fort­able. “When you are work­ing in infor­ma­tion oper­a­tions projects, where your tar­get is a com­bat­ant, the auton­o­my or agency of your tar­gets is not your pri­ma­ry con­sid­er­a­tion. It is fair game to deny and manip­u­late infor­ma­tion, coerce and exploit any men­tal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties a per­son has, and to bring out the very worst char­ac­ter­is­tics in that per­son because they are an ene­my,” he says.

“But if you port that over to a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem, if you run cam­paigns designed to under­mine people’s abil­i­ty to make free choic­es and to under­stand what is real and not real, you are under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and treat­ing vot­ers in the same way as you are treat­ing ter­ror­ists.”

One of the rea­sons these tech­niques are so insid­i­ous is that being a tar­get of a dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign is “usu­al­ly a plea­sur­able expe­ri­ence”, because you are being fed con­tent with which you are like­ly to agree. “You are being guid­ed through some­thing that you want to be true,” Wylie says.

To build an insur­gency, he explains, you first tar­get peo­ple who are more prone to hav­ing errat­ic traits, para­noia or con­spir­a­to­r­i­al think­ing, and get them to “like” a group on social media. They start engag­ing with the con­tent, which may or may not be true; either way “it feels good to see that infor­ma­tion”.

When the group reach­es 1,000 or 2,000 mem­bers, an event is set up in the local area. Even if only 5% show up, “that’s 50 to 100 peo­ple flood­ing a local cof­fee shop”, Wylie says. This, he adds, val­i­dates their opin­ion because oth­er peo­ple there are also talk­ing about “all these things that you’ve been see­ing online in the depths of your den and get­ting angry about”.

Peo­ple then start to believe the rea­son it’s not shown on main­stream news chan­nels is because “they don’t want you to know what the truth is”. As Wylie sums it up: “What start­ed out as a fan­ta­sy online gets port­ed into the tem­po­ral world and becomes real to you because you see all these peo­ple around you.” . . . . 

. . . . Psy­cho­graph­ic poten­tial

One such appli­ca­tion was Cam­bridge Analytica’s use of psy­cho­graph­ic pro­fil­ing, a form of seg­men­ta­tion that will be famil­iar to mar­keters, although not in com­mon use.

The com­pa­ny used the OCEAN mod­el, which judges peo­ple on scales of the Big Five per­son­al­i­ty traits: open­ness to expe­ri­ences, con­sci­en­tious­ness, extra­ver­sion, agree­able­ness and neu­roti­cism.

Wylie believes the method could be use­ful in the com­mer­cial space. For exam­ple, a fash­ion brand that cre­ates bold, colour­ful, pat­terned clothes might want to seg­ment wealthy woman by extro­ver­sion because they will be more like­ly to buy bold items, he says.

Scep­tics say Cam­bridge Analytica’s approach may not be the dark mag­ic that Wylie claims. Indeed, when speak­ing to Cam­paign in June 2017, Nix unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly played down the method, claim­ing the com­pa­ny used “pret­ty bland data in a pret­ty enter­pris­ing way”.

But Wylie argues that peo­ple under­es­ti­mate what algo­rithms allow you to do in pro­fil­ing. “I can take pieces of infor­ma­tion about you that seem innocu­ous, but what I’m able to do with an algo­rithm is find pat­terns that cor­re­late to under­ly­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­files,” he explains.

“I can ask whether you lis­ten to Justin Bieber, and you won’t feel like I’m invad­ing your pri­va­cy. You aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly aware that when you tell me what music you lis­ten to or what TV shows you watch, you are telling me some of your deep­est and most per­son­al attrib­ut­es.”

This is where mat­ters stray into the ques­tion of ethics. Wylie believes that as long as the com­mu­ni­ca­tion you are send­ing out is clear, not coer­cive or manip­u­la­tive, it’s fine, but it all depends on con­text. “If you are a beau­ty com­pa­ny and you use facets of neu­roti­cism – which Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca did – and you find a seg­ment of young women or men who are more prone to body dys­mor­phia, and one of the proac­tive actions they take is to buy more skin cream, you are exploit­ing some­thing which is unhealthy for that per­son and doing dam­age,” he says. “The ethics of using psy­cho­me­t­ric data real­ly depend on whether it is pro­por­tion­al to the ben­e­fit and util­i­ty that the cus­tomer is get­ting.” . . .

Clash­es with Face­book

Wylie is opposed to self-reg­u­la­tion, because indus­tries won’t become con­sumer cham­pi­ons – they are, he says, too con­flict­ed.

“Face­book has known about what Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca was up to from the very begin­ning of those projects,” Wylie claims. “They were noti­fied, they autho­rised the appli­ca­tions, they were giv­en the terms and con­di­tions of the app that said explic­it­ly what it was doing. They hired peo­ple who worked on build­ing the app. I had legal cor­re­spon­dence with their lawyers where they acknowl­edged it hap­pened as far back as 2016.”

He wants to cre­ate a set of endur­ing prin­ci­ples that are hand­ed over to a tech­ni­cal­ly com­pe­tent reg­u­la­tor to enforce. “Cur­rent­ly, the indus­try is not respond­ing to some pret­ty fun­da­men­tal things that have hap­pened on their watch. So I think it is the right place for gov­ern­ment to step in,” he adds.

Face­book in par­tic­u­lar, he argues is “the most obsti­nate and bel­liger­ent in recog­nis­ing the harm that has been done and actu­al­ly doing some­thing about it”. . . .

6. Futur­ist philoso­pher and author Yuval Noah Harari  appears to be a dystopi­an futur­ist, envi­sion­ing a future where democ­ra­cy is seen as obso­lete and a tech­no-elite rul­ing class run com­pa­nies with the capac­i­ty to essen­tial­ly con­trol the minds of mass­es. Those mass­es that will increas­ing­ly be seen obso­lete and use­less. Harari even gave a recent TED Talk called Why fas­cism is so tempt­ing — and how your data could pow­er it. So how do Sil­i­con Valley’s CEO view Mr. Harari’s views? They appar­ent­ly can’t get enough of him:

“Tech C.E.O.s Are in Love With Their Prin­ci­pal Doom­say­er” by Nel­lie Bowles; The New York Times; 11/09/2018

The futur­ist philoso­pher Yuval Noah Harari wor­ries about a lot.

He wor­ries that Sil­i­con Val­ley is under­min­ing democ­ra­cy and ush­er­ing in a dystopi­an hellscape in which vot­ing is obso­lete.

He wor­ries that by cre­at­ing pow­er­ful influ­ence machines to con­trol bil­lions of minds, the big tech com­pa­nies are destroy­ing the idea of a sov­er­eign indi­vid­ual with free will.

He wor­ries that because the tech­no­log­i­cal revolution’s work requires so few labor­ers, Sil­i­con Val­ley is cre­at­ing a tiny rul­ing class and a teem­ing, furi­ous “use­less class.”

But late­ly, Mr. Harari is anx­ious about some­thing much more per­son­al. If this is his har­row­ing warn­ing, then why do Sil­i­con Val­ley C.E.O.s love him so? . . . .

. . . . Part of the rea­son might be that Sil­i­con Val­ley, at a cer­tain lev­el, is not opti­mistic on the future of democ­ra­cy. The more of a mess Wash­ing­ton becomes, the more inter­est­ed the tech world is in cre­at­ing some­thing else, and it might not look like elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Rank-and-file coders have long been wary of reg­u­la­tion and curi­ous about alter­na­tive forms of gov­ern­ment. A sep­a­ratist streak runs through the place: Ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists peri­od­i­cal­ly call for Cal­i­for­nia to secede or shat­ter, or for the cre­ation of cor­po­rate nation-states. . . .

Mr. Harari, think­ing about all this, puts it this way: “Utopia and dystopia depends on your val­ues.” . . . . 

. . . . Now, he has writ­ten a book about the present and how it could lead to that future: “21 Lessons for the 21st Cen­tu­ry.” It is meant to be read as a series of warn­ings. His recent TED Talk was called “Why fas­cism is so tempt­ing — and how your data could pow­er it.

His prophe­cies might have made him a Cas­san­dra in Sil­i­con Val­ley, or at the very least an unwel­come pres­ence. Instead, he has had to rec­on­cile him­self to the locals’ strange delight. “If you make peo­ple start think­ing far more deeply and seri­ous­ly about these issues,” he told me, sound­ing weary, “some of the things they will think about might not be what you want them to think about.” . . .

. . . . It made him sad, he told me, to see peo­ple build things that destroy their own soci­eties, but he works every day to main­tain an aca­d­e­m­ic dis­tance and remind him­self that humans are just ani­mals. “Part of it is real­ly com­ing from see­ing humans as apes, that this is how they behave,” he said, adding, “They’re chim­panzees. They’re sapi­ens. This is what they do.”

He was slouch­ing a lit­tle. Social­iz­ing exhausts him.

As we board­ed the black gull-wing Tes­la Mr. Harari had rent­ed for his vis­it, he brought up Aldous Hux­ley. Gen­er­a­tions have been hor­ri­fied by his nov­el “Brave New World,” which depicts a regime of emo­tion con­trol and pain­less con­sump­tion. Read­ers who encounter the book today, Mr. Harari said, often think it sounds great. “Every­thing is so nice, and in that way it is an intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­turb­ing book because you’re real­ly hard-pressed to explain what’s wrong with it,” he said. “And you do get today a vision com­ing out of some peo­ple in Sil­i­con Val­ley which goes in that direc­tion.” . . . .

7. Adding fur­ther per­spec­tive to the utter­ly fan­tas­tic nature of the Rus­sia-Gate “psy-op” is analy­sis of a recent New York Times pro­pa­gan­da piece hyp­ing Rus­si­a’s manip­u­la­tion of Face­book to influ­ence the U.S. elec­tion. “. . . . The fur­ther research into an ear­li­er Con­sor­tium News arti­cle shows that a rel­a­tive­ly pal­try 80,000 posts from the pri­vate Russ­ian com­pa­ny Inter­net Research Agency (IRA) were engulfed in lit­er­al­ly tril­lions of posts on Face­book over a two-year peri­od before and after the 2016 vote. [Just HOW a post gen­er­at­ed after the elec­tion was sup­posed to influ­ence the elec­tion was not explained by The Gray Lady–D.E.]. . . . The news­pa­per [The New York Times] failed to tell their read­ers that Face­book account hold­ers in the Unit­ed States had been “served” 33 tril­lion Face­book posts dur­ing that same peri­od — 413 mil­lion times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russ­ian com­pa­ny. . . .”

“33 Tril­lion More Rea­sons Why the New York Times Gets It Wrong on Rus­sia-Gate” by Gareth Porter; Con­sor­tium News; 11/2/2918.

. . . . The fur­ther research into an ear­li­er Con­sor­tium News arti­cle shows that a rel­a­tive­ly pal­try 80,000 posts from the pri­vate Russ­ian com­pa­ny Inter­net Research Agency (IRA) were engulfed in lit­er­al­ly tril­lions of posts on Face­book over a two-year peri­od before and after the 2016 vote. . . . .

. . . . The news­pa­per [The New York Times] failed to tell their read­ers that Face­book account hold­ers in the Unit­ed States had been “served” 33 tril­lion Face­book posts dur­ing that same peri­od — 413 mil­lion times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russ­ian com­pa­ny. . . .

 


 

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