Trump Supporters Cry Foul As Twitter Purges Russian Bots


Conservative Twitter users are figuratively up in arms today after Twitter engaged in another round of Russian bot purges over the last 24 hours. Arguing the social media giant is violating their First Amendment rights (they aren’t), many believe they’re being targeted because their followers – primarily composed of bots and otherwise fake Russian propaganda accounts – are being systematically […]

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Computational Propaganda: Lessons From #ReleaseTheMemo

The Technology of Propaganda, Fake News & Information Warfare

I am now officially befuddled. Out of my depth. And very worried. Politico has published the results of an investigation that the magazine conducted into the popularity (in social-media jargon, the “viral-ness”) of the hashtag “release the memo.” It found that the committee vote marked the culmination of a targeted, 11-day information operation that was amplified by computational propaganda techniques and aimed to […]

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Weaponizing Speech

Weaponizing Free Speech - social media has become a censorship weapon

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a provocative article by Tim Wu, a media historian who teaches at Columbia University, titled “Did Twitter Kill the First Amendment?” He began with the question: You need not be a media historian to notice that we live in a golden age of press harassment, domestic propaganda and coercive efforts to control political debate. […]

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About That Echo Chamber: Combatting Bots, Propaganda & Fake News

One of the thorniest problems bedeviling our unraveling democracy is the distortion of reality–intentional and unintentional– provided via the Internet. That distortion is immensely aided by our tendency to live in echo chambers populated by friends who think like we do. Most of us trust links from friends – a vulnerability exploited by phishing sites and other forms of online […]

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Cambridge Analytica: It’s Much More Than Just Fake News

This is the time of year when my students–graduate and undergraduate–present the results of their research projects to their classmates (and, of course, me). One of my better undergraduate students focused upon the legal implications of the increasing use of household “personal assistants”–those sort of “Siri for home use” voice-activated electronic devices like Amazon’s “Echo.” In addition to detailing the […]

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Far-Right Media Part of FBI Russia Investigation

Breitbart & Infowars - far-right media

As a part of their investigation into the potential links between America and Russia in Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential elections, the FBI is reportedly also looking at far-right media’s role in assisting Russian bots and trolls in disseminating propaganda promoted and often produced by Russian sources. Two prominent conservative outlets – Breitbart and Infowars – are named as possible co-conspirators. At the heart […]

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