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Russia, Facebook, and Trump: Facebook still eased fact-checking rules for conservative pages

5 min read

So much for having things both ways. Disinformation flooding continues.


Facebook employees gave conservative pages a pass for sharing misinformation, flouting its own rules.


— M.M.C. (@metmgmt22) August 8, 2020

A new report from NBC News shows that Facebook employees gave conservative pages a pass for sharing misinformation, flouting its own rules. The news comes months after reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was hosting off-the-record dinners with conservative journalists in attempts to ameliorate concerns that his platform is biased against them.
Citing leaked documents, NBC’s Olivia Solon reports how misinformation on Facebook’s platform is first flagged by partners and at times escalated to senior leadership. When an outlet posts misinformation that has been verified as such by fact-checkers, it counts as a strike against them. When an outlet repeatedly posts misinformation that violates the platform’s rules, the page’s reach on the platform is limited, and it can lose the ability to advertise.

Solon writes that since February, there have been more than 30 instances where posts featuring misinformation were raised to senior leadership. Over that period, Facebook employees who received those escalations deleted potential strikes against conservative pages. There were concerns that limiting these accounts would make the platform look as if it were showing preference for liberal media.…


Remember Brad Parscale’s trip to a conference in Romania?


Some things get deleted perhaps only because they are egregious.


While the Russians were caught making ad buys in Facebook, they are coordinating their 2020 attacks in a wider range with some useful idiots.


— Chris Sampson (@TAPSTRIMEDIA) August 8, 2020

Two weeks ago, William Evanina, director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center, published a somewhat vague warning about various forms of foreign interference in the upcoming election. Today he followed up with a more direct and incriminating one, specifically warning that Russia is working to help reelect Donald Trump. Even more important is what this warning unmistakably implies: that Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are actively cooperating with Russia’s campaign.

Trump obviously tends to respond with rage at the suggestion that Russia wants him to win, let alone that he is accepting the assistance. So Evanina’s summary delicately surrounds the revelations about Trump and Moscow with superficially balancing material. The report highlights three countries that want to influence the election: Russia, China, and Iran. The report notes that the latter two want Trump to lose, while Russia wants him to win.

This seems intended to let Republicans claim that there is foreign interference on both sides. And it’s true, as far as it goes.


Senate Republicans tried to be cagey about their activities. After pro-Russian Ukrainians said they’d passed materials on to Republican officials, a Johnson staffer told NBC News in July that it was “‘false’ the committee has received any ‘oppo,’ or opposition research, without responding directly to whether that covers any materials from foreign sources.”

The Washington Post reported that Homeland Security Committee chairman Ron Johnson received secret documents from Ukrainians. And former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has confessed to putting Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and perhaps Trump’s most energetic defender on all things Russia, in touch with one of the Ukrainians releasing documents in the United States.

There is hardly any secret to what they’re up to. Johnson says he plans to release his report on Biden in September. It hardly matters if the information Russia gives him actually substantiates his allegations, or even whether it is authentic. The obvious plan is to splash some headlines into news screens in the heat of the campaign that seem to connect Biden to some kind of wrongdoing.

In reality, it is not a scandal about Biden at all. It’s a scandal about Republican cooperation with a Russian propaganda campaign.…



— Nandini Jammi (@nandoodles) July 22, 2020


— Wen (@Wen0179) July 31, 2020


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