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Facebook “routinely” ignored efforts to rig elections around the world: whistleblowers

Illustration for article titled Facebook Routinely Ignored Efforts to Manipulate Elections Around the World: Whistleblower

photo:: Dennis Charlet ((Getty Images)

Facebook screwed up its reaction to royal political misinformation, Conspiracy theories and organized tampering campaigns in the US – where they are based. Outside the west, the company has long been a kind absent landlord that ignores the spread of propagandastate supported Armies of trolls, and Incitement to violence whenever it is not politically impractical.

A memo from a recently fired Facebook data scientist, received and summarized by BuzzFeed News contains some new and exciting examples of the “Slapdash and arbitrary “efforts to get prevent it from becoming a vehicle for dystopia. Former employee Sophie Zhang, in detail in the memo Facebook usually ignored situations it did not believe pose a significant PR risk and effectively delegated decisions that could affect entire countries to medium-sized employees like you.

According to BuzzFeed’s report on the memo, Countries targeted by large networks of fake accounts fell on or completely off Facebook’s priority list included Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Spain and Ukraine. Zhang who was a The data scientist on Facebook Site Integrity’s fake engagement team wrote over 6,000 words that she had uncovered obvious evidence of coordinated bogus political campaigns in these and other countries. Despite these “multiple apparent attempts by foreign governments to abuse our platform on a large scale,” wrote Zhang, Facebook’s focus was often elsewhere. This effectively enabled them to influence global politics with little control.

In one case, BuzzFeed reported, Zhang wrote that she discovered a campaign that “used thousands of inauthentic assets to massively empower President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras and mislead the Honduran people.” Facebook deleted affected assets in July, but the attackers did just keep creating new accounts. In Azerbaijan, there was evidence that pro-government trolls “used thousands of inauthentic assets … to harass the opposition on a massive scale,” including bombing News sites with comments targeting dissidents and journalists. According to BuzzFeed, Facebook is still investigating.

In Ukraine, Zhang wrote, she found “spurious scripting activities” sponsoring former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, with only current President Volodymyr Zelensky and his allies being “unaffected”. Zhang also noted misinformation about the novel coronavirus that flooded the site of the Spanish Ministry of Health, which eventually led to the dismantling of a network of 672,000 fake users who “operate on similar targets around the world”Including the USA According to BuzzFeed, Facebook has not publicly announced that this network exists or has been removed.

Zhang discovered and destroyed a “politically sophisticated network of more than a thousand actors” attempting to rig elections in Delhi, India. (L.In a month the Wall Street Journal reports The Facebook ‘Ankhi Das, the chief public order officer in India, had urged to prevent hate speech rules from being applied to memberss the ultra-nationalist BJP politically Party.) Zhang wrote that she had found “Phony activities” in support of the overthrow of soon-to-be former President Evo Morales; and similar activities in Ecuador in support of the ruling government that are later carried out failed catastrophically contain the pandemic. Zhang wrote in the letter that she did not prioritize these situations because her workload was already too heavy, BuzzFeed wrote.

“We focus on damage and priority regions like the US and Western Europe,” Zhang wrote in the memo, according to BuzzFeed. “… It became impossible to read the news and watch world events without feeling the weight of my own responsibility.”

“I’ve made countless decisions along these lines – from Iraq to Indonesia, from Italy to El Salvador,” she added. “Individually, the impact was probably small in any case, but the world is a huge place. Although I made the best decision I could make based on the knowledge available at the time, in the end I was the one who made the decision not to push any more or to continue prioritizing in any case, and I know that I mean blood got my hands. ”

Zhang also wrote in the memo that Facebook reduced or responded slowly to citizen intervention because it was “fixated” on issues like spam with its owndisproportionate impact ignored. ” Zhang wrote that she was fired after asking the company to devote more resources to ending spurious political activities. Facebook declined, telling them to focus on citizen work. The former data scientist declined to speak to BuzzFeed, despite the fact that she wrote in the memo that she declined a $ 64,000 settlement so that she could freely discuss her experience on Facebook.

“We have built specialized teams that work with leading experts to prevent bad actors from abusing our systems. This results in the removal of more than 100 networks of coordinated spurious behavior,” said a Facebook spokeswoman, Liz Bourgeois, to BuzzFeed in a statement. “It is very dedicated work that these teams do full-time. Combating coordinated spurious behavior is our priority, but we also address the problems of spam and false engagement. We carefully investigate any issue, including those raised by Ms. Zhang, before taking action or publicly making claims as a company. “

[[[[BuzzFeed News]]

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