In a notable report, Facebook confesses to being abused by state actors for deception, manipulation, and moodmaking.
Facebooks hidden fake on Russia
Alex Stamos is not a diplomat. When he was still Chief Information Security Officer of Yahoo, he was on the open stage with NSA Director Michael Rogers, and he is also considered as someone who does not take a mouth to mouth. Just two years ago, however, Stamos changed from Yahoo to Facebook, since then he has become at least in his official statements more cautious. You must now read between the lines. This is shown in particular by a sentence from the Whitepaper published on Thursday by two other security experts of the company via Information Operations and Facebook.“Our data does not contradict the attribution of the Director of the US Secret Services of January 6, 2001.” Our data does not contradict the attribution provided by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence in the report dated January 6, 2017. This report is about “Russian activities and intentions in the recent US elections”.
Stamos and his colleagues are thus throwing up Russia to have misused Facebook on a large scale for manipulation and opinion-making in the US election campaign. For silicone-valley ratios, the formulation in the whitepaper is noteworthy. In several respects.
Technology companies prefer to stay out of geopolitics
Firstly, it is still unusual for a US company to express itself on geopolitical issues such as the issue of electoral influence and name it, even if only indirectly. Contrary to a government, which can hope for a collapse of the population in one’s country, Facebook has nothing to gain.
Secondly, both the sentence and the whole document are accompanied by an admission: Facebook is regarded as a suitable platform for the information war by state or state-supported actors.
Thirdly, Facebook concedes that it has not been able to prevent the attempts to influence the election. Such weaknesses are extremely rare for US-listed companies, especially since last year, Facebook has often been criticized for the choice or moderation of content.
Just no second case Facebook Social Media
“We had to expand our security focus,” said the paper, “from traditional abusive behavior such as hacking access data, spam, and fraud to more subtle and insidious forms of abuse, including attempts to manipulate public discourse and mislead people respectively”.
Information operations calls Facebook such attempts by state (but also non-state) actors to “distort political moods at home or abroad, mostly to achieve a strategic and / or geopolitical result”.
The overstrained term fake news is not suitable for describing these operations. Facebook prefer to speak of false notifications, which should appear serious, but deliberately misleading.
Facebook and Russia Market
These contents, however, are only part of the problem. Another is hacks against Facebook users, but also outside the platform. Even if the name of Google does not fall into the document, the phishing attack is meant to be the Gmail account of Hillary Clinton’s election leader, John Podesta. Ultimately, she was also a problem for Facebook. The perpetrators spread Podesta’s e-mails through WikiLeaks, from where they found their way into the coverage of many media, which distributed their articles among others to Facebook.
There they are then picked up by specially set up accounts, which Facebook calls “false amplifiers”: coordinated working fake accounts, which are created to short-term political discussions on Facebook and strengthen certain topics or to trivialize them. In the long term, they are sometimes used to look for mistrust in political institutions and to create confusion.