more on social media in this IMS blog
more on social media in this IMS blog
NICHOLAS THOMPSON AND Issy Lapowsky 12.17.18
THERE’S A MEME on Instagram, circulated by a group called “Born Liberal.” “Born Liberal” was a creation of the Internet Research Agency, the Russian propaganda wing
Conversations around the IRA’s operations traditionally have focused on Facebook and Twitter, but like any hip millennial, the IRA was actually most obsessive about Instagram.
the IRA deployed 3,841 accounts, including several personas that “regularly played hashtag games.” That approach paid off; 1.4 million people engaged with the tweets, leading to nearly 73 million engagements. Most of this work was focused on news, while on Facebook and Instagram, the Russians prioritized “deeper relationships,” according to the researchers. On Facebook, the IRA notched a total of 3.3 million page followers, who engaged with their politically divisive content 76.5 million times. Russia’s most popular pages targeted the right wing and the black community. The trolls also knew their audiences; they deployed Pepe memes at pages intended for right-leaning millennials, but kept them away from posts directed at older conservative Facebook users. Not every attempt was a hit; while 33 of the 81 IRA Facebook pages had over 1,000 followers, dozens had none at all.
The report also points out new links between the IRA’s pages and Wikileaks, which helped disseminate hacked emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta
Russian presence unrelated to the relatively small ad spend that Facebook executives pointed to as the story first unfolded, in what the report authors describe as an attempt to downplay the problem.
“While many people think of memes as “cat pictures with words,” the Defense Department and DARPA have studied them for years as a powerful tool of cultural influence, capable of reinforcing or even changing values and behavior.
“over the past five years, disinformation has evolved from a nuisance into high-stakes information war.” And yet, rather than fighting back effectively, Americans are battling each other over what to do about it.
A year after the Meme Warfare Center proposal was published, DARPA, the Pentagon agency that develops new military technology, commissioned a four-year study of memetics. The research was led by Dr. Robert Finkelstein, founder of the Robotic Technology Institute, and an academic with a background in physics and cybernetics.
Finkelstein’s study of “Military Memetics” centered on a basic problem in the field, determining “whether memetics can be established as a science with the ability to explain and predict phenomena.” It still had to be proved, in other words, that memes were actual components of reality and not just a nifty concept with great marketing.
more on social media in this IMS blog
more on #FakeNews in this IMS blog
keynote: equitable access to information
the type of data: wikipedia. the dangers of learning from wikipedia. how individuals can organize mitigate some of these dangers. wikidata, algorithms.
IBM Watson is using wikipedia by algorythms making sense, AI system
youtube videos debunked of conspiracy theories by using wikipedia.
semantic relatedness, Word2Vec
how does algorithms work: large body of unstructured text. picks specific words
lots of AI learns about the world from wikipedia. the neutral point of view policy. WIkipedia asks editors present as proportionally as possible. Wikipedia biases: 1. gender bias (only 20-30 % are women).
conceptnet. debias along different demographic dimensions.
citations analysis gives also an idea about biases. localness of sources cited in spatial articles. structural biases.
geolocation on Twitter by County. predicting the people living in urban areas. FB wants to push more local news.
danger (biases) #3. wikipedia search results vs wkipedia knowledge panel.
collective action against tech: Reddit, boycott for FB and Instagram.
Mechanical Turk https://www.mturk.com/ algorithmic / human intersection
data labor: what the primary resources this companies have. posts, images, reviews etc.
boycott, data strike (data not being available for algorithms in the future). GDPR in EU – all historical data is like the CA Consumer Privacy Act. One can do data strike without data boycott. general vs homogeneous (group with shared identity) boycott.
the wikipedia SPAM policy is obstructing new editors and that hit communities such as women.
Twitter and Other Social Media: Supporting New Types of Research Materials
how to access at different levels. methods and methodological concerns. ethical concerns, legal concerns,
tweetdeck for advanced Twitter searches. quoting, likes is relevant, but not enough, sometimes screenshot
social listening platforms: crimson hexagon, parsely, sysomos – not yet academic platforms, tools to setup queries and visualization, but difficult to algorythm, the data samples etc. open sources tools (Urbana, Social Media microscope: SMILE (social media intelligence and learning environment) to collect data from twitter, reddit and within the platform they can query Twitter. create trend analysis, sentiment analysis, Voxgov (subscription service: analyzing political social media)
graduate level and faculty research: accessing SM large scale data web scraping & APIs Twitter APIs. Jason script, Python etc. Gnip Firehose API ($) ; Web SCraper Chrome plugin (easy tool, Pyhon and R created); Twint (Twitter scraper)
Facepager (open source) if not Python or R coder. structure and download the data sets.
TAGS archiving google sheets, uses twitter API. anything older 7 days not avaialble, so harvest every week.
social feed manager (GWUniversity) – Justin Litman with Stanford. Install on server but allows much more.
legal concerns: copyright (public info, but not beyond copyrighted). fair use argument is strong, but cannot publish the data. can analyize under fair use. contracts supercede copyright (terms of service/use) licensed data through library.
methods: sampling concerns tufekci, 2014 questions for sm. SM data is a good set for SM, but other fields? not according to her. hashtag studies: self selection bias. twitter as a model organism: over-represnted data in academic studies.
methodological concerns: scope of access – lack of historical data. mechanics of platform and contenxt: retweets are not necessarily endorsements.
ethical concerns. public info – IRB no informed consent. the right to be forgotten. anonymized data is often still traceable.
table discussion: digital humanities, journalism interested, but too narrow. tools are still difficult to find an operate. context of the visuals. how to spread around variety of majors and classes. controversial events more likely to be deleted.
takedowns, lies and corrosion: what is a librarian to do: trolls, takedown,
the pilot process. 2017. 3D printing, approaching and assessing success or failure. https://collegepilot.wiscweb.wisc.edu/
development kit circulation. familiarity with the Oculus Rift resulted in lesser reservation. Downturn also.
An experience station. clean up free apps.
question: spherical video, video 360.
safety issues: policies? instructional perspective: curating,WI people: user testing. touch controllers more intuitive then xbox controller. Retail Oculus Rift
app Scatchfab. 3modelviewer. obj or sdl file. Medium, Tiltbrush.
College of Liberal Arts at the U has their VR, 3D print set up.
Penn State (Paul, librarian, kiniseology, anatomy programs), Information Science and Technology. immersive experiences lab for video 360.
CALIPHA part of it is xrlibraries. libraries equal education. content provider LifeLiqe STEM library of AR and VR objects. https://www.lifeliqe.com/
Access for All:
bloat code (e.g. cleaning up MS Word code)
ILLiad Doctype and Language declaration helps people with disabilities.
A Seat at the Table: Embedding the Library in Curriculum Development
embed library resources.
libraians, IT staff, IDs. help faculty with course design, primarily online, master courses. Concordia is GROWING, mostly because of online students.
solve issues (putting down fires, such as “gradebook” on BB). Librarians : research and resources experts. Librarians helping with LMS. Broadening definition of Library as support hub.
ANYA SCHIFFRIN JANUARY 21, 2019
more on the issues of digital world and democracy in this IMS blog
All materials on #FakeNews in the IMS blog: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=fake+news
this topic is developed in conjunction with digital literacy discussions.
from psychological perspective: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/03/29/psychology-fake-news/
from legal/ethical perspective: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/03/26/prison-time-for-fake-news/
exercises in detecting fake news:
(why should we) :
News literacy education (see digital literacy): https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims/2018/06/23/digital-forensics-and-news-literacy-education/
Additional ideas and readings:
Reddit Social Propaganda
more on hybrid war in this IMS blog
trolls and fake news
ZEYNEP TUFEKCI Jan 16, 2018
My note: the author uses the 1960 military junta in Turkey as an example. Here it is the 2014 “modern” ideological fight of increasingly becoming dictatorial Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan against his citizens by shutting off Twitter: http://time.com/33393/turkey-recep-tayyip-erdogan-twitter/
Here is more on civil disobedience and social media: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=civil+disobedience
until recently, broadcasting and publishing were difficult and expensive affairs, their infrastructures riddled with bottlenecks and concentrated in a few hands.
When protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, a single livestreamer named Mustafa Hussein reportedly garnered an audience comparable in size to CNN’s for a short while. If a Bosnian Croat war criminal drinks poison in a courtroom, all of Twitter knows about it in minutes.
In today’s networked environment, when anyone can broadcast live or post their thoughts to a social network, it would seem that censorship ought to be impossible. This should be the golden age of free speech.
And sure, it is a golden age of free speech—if you can believe your lying eyes. Is that footage you’re watching real? Was it really filmed where and when it says it was? Is it being shared by alt-right trolls or a swarm of Russian bots?
My note: see the ability to create fake audio and video footage:
HERE’S HOW THIS golden age of speech actually works: In the 21st century, the capacity to spread ideas and reach an audience is no longer limited by access to expensive, centralized broadcasting infrastructure. It’s limited instead by one’s ability to garner and distribute attention. And right now, the flow of the world’s attention is structured, to a vast and overwhelming degree, by just a few digital platforms: Facebook, Google (which owns YouTube), and, to a lesser extent, Twitter.
at their core, their business is mundane: They’re ad brokers
They use massive surveillance of our behavior, online and off, to generate increasingly accurate, automated predictions of what advertisements we are most susceptible to and what content will keep us clicking, tapping, and scrolling down a bottomless feed.
in reality, posts are targeted and delivered privately, screen by screen by screen. Today’s phantom public sphere has been fragmented and submerged into billions of individual capillaries. Yes, mass discourse has become far easier for everyone to participate in—but it has simultaneously become a set of private conversations happening behind your back. Behind everyone’s backs.
It’s important to realize that, in using these dark posts, the Trump campaign wasn’t deviantly weaponizing an innocent tool. It was simply using Facebook exactly as it was designed to be used. The campaign did it cheaply, with Facebook staffers assisting right there in the office, as the tech company does for most large advertisers and political campaigns.
more on privacy in this IMS blog
more on free speech in this IMS blog
The digital attack that brought Estonia to a standstill 10 years ago was the first shot in a cyberwar that has been raging between Moscow and the west ever since
It began at exactly 10pm on 26 April, 2007, when a Russian-speaking mob began rioting in the streets of Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, killing one person and wounding dozens of others. That incident resonates powerfully in some of the recent conflicts in the US. In 2007, the Estonian government had announced that a bronze statue of a heroic second world war Soviet soldier was to be removed from a central city square. For ethnic Estonians, the statue had less to do with the war than with the Soviet occupation that followed it, which lasted until independence in 1991. For the country’s Russian-speaking minority – 25% of Estonia’s 1.3 million people – the removal of the memorial was another sign of ethnic discrimination.
That evening, Jaan Priisalu – a former risk manager for Estonia’s largest bank, Hansabank, who was working closely with the government on its cybersecurity infrastructure – was at home in Tallinn with his girlfriend when his phone rang. On the line was Hillar Aarelaid, the chief of Estonia’s cybercrime police.
“It’s going down,” Aarelaid declared. Alongside the street fighting, reports of digital attacks were beginning to filter in. The websites of the parliament, major universities, and national newspapers were crashing. Priisalu and Aarelaid had suspected something like this could happen one day. A digital attack on Estoniahad begun.
“The Russian theory of war allows you to defeat the enemy without ever having to touch him,” says Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing is True and Everything is Possible. “Estonia was an early experiment in that theory.”
Since then, Russia has only developed, and codified, these strategies. The techniques pioneered in Estonia are known as the “Gerasimov doctrine,” named after Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff of the Russian military. In 2013, Gerasimov published an article in the Russian journal Military-Industrial Courier, articulating the strategy of what is now called “hybrid” or “nonlinear” warfare. “The lines between war and peace are blurred,” he wrote. New forms of antagonism, as seen in 2010’s Arab spring and the “colour revolutions” of the early 2000s, could transform a “perfectly thriving state, in a matter of months, and even days, into an arena of fierce armed conflict”.
Russia has deployed these strategies around the globe. Its 2008 war with Georgia, another former Soviet republic, relied on a mix of both conventional and cyber-attacks, as did the 2014 invasion of Crimea. Both began with civil unrest sparked via digital and social media – followed by tanks. Finland and Sweden have experienced near-constant Russian information operations. Russian hacks and social media operations have also occurred during recent elections in Holland, Germany, and France. Most recently, Spain’s leading daily, El País, reported on Russian meddling in the Catalonian independence referendum. Russian-supported hackers had allegedly worked with separatist groups, presumably with a mind to further undermining the EU in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The Kremlin has used the same strategies against its own people. Domestically, history books, school lessons, and media are manipulated, while laws are passed blocking foreign access to the Russian population’s online data from foreign companies – an essential resource in today’s global information-sharing culture. According to British military researcher Keir Giles, author of Nato’s Handbook of Russian Information Warfare, the Russian government, or actors that it supports, has even captured the social media accounts of celebrities in order to spread provocative messages under their names but without their knowledge. The goal, both at home and abroad, is to sever outside lines of communication so that people get their information only through controlled channels.
Tim Dowling Wednesday 29 November 2017 12.39 EST
According to its detractors, RT is Vladimir Putin’s global disinformation service, countering one version of the truth with another in a bid to undermine the whole notion of empirical truth. And yet influential people from all walks of public life appear on it, or take its money. You can’t criticise RT’s standards, they say, if you don’t watch it. So I watched it. For a week.
Suchet, the son of former ITV newsreader John Suchet and the nephew of actor David Suchet, has been working for RT since 2009. The offspring of well-known people feature often on RT. Sophie Shevardnadze, who presents Sophie & Co, is the granddaughter of former Georgian president and Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Tyrel Ventura, who presents Watching the Hawks on RT America, is the son of wrestler-turned-politician Jesse Ventura. His co-host is Oliver Stone’s son Sean.
My note; so this is why Oliver Stone in his “documentary” went gentle on Putin, so his son can have a job. #Nepotism #FakeNews
RT’s stated mission is to offer an “alternative perspective on major global events”, but the world according to RT is often downright surreal.
Peter Pomerantsev, author of Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible, about Putin’s Russia, and now a senior visiting fellow in global affairs at the London School of Economics, was in Moscow working in television when Russia Today first started hiring graduates from Britain and the US. “The people were really bright, they were being paid well,” he says. But they soon found they were being ordered to change their copy, or instructed how to cover certain stories to reflect well on the Kremlin. “Everyone had their own moment when they first twigged that this wasn’t like the BBC,” he says. “That, actually, this is being dictated from above.” The coverage of Russia’s war with Georgia in 2008 was a lightbulb moment for many, he says. They quit.
more on Russian bots, trolls:
more on state propaganda in this IMS blog
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