A former employee of the Russian “troll factory” that bought thousands of Facebook ads during the US presidential election has revealed how he wrote comments on Western news sites to ridicule Hillary Clinton and inflame political divisions. A young man quoted under the pseudonym “Maksim” told independent channel TV Rain about the trolls' mission to meddle in US politics and wage an “information war” against the country. “Our goal wasn't to turn Americans toward Russia. Our goal was to set Americans against their own government,” he said. “To provoke unrest, provoke dissatisfaction, lower (Barack) Obama's rating.” Maksim's records listed his employer as Internet Research Agency, the “troll factory” in St Petersburg that Facebook said had purchased 3,000 ads around the time of the election, reaching 10 million people with politically charged content. Leaked emails have linked the agency to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a … [Read more...] about Employee reveals how Russian trolls targeted Hillary Clinton before election – after studying House of Cards
Image copyright Getty Images Facebook has said it will fund existing training for one young person in every UK secondary school so they can support children who experience cyber-bullying.There are 4,500 secondary schools in the UK, of which around half have a digital ambassador trained by anti-bullying campaigns The Diana Award and Childnet International.The "digital safety ambassador" scheme is part of Facebook's commitment to online safety, the firm said. Facebook will provide £1m ($1.3m).The funding provides an extension of existing projects offered by the two organisations to schools who choose to opt in. New research suggests that young people are more likely to discuss online bullying with each other than with parents or teachers."This partnership is the next step in our ongoing effort to help young people build safe and supportive communities," said Antigone Davis, Facebook's head of global … [Read more...] about Facebook funds anti-bullying training in schools
FACEBOOK has agreed to plough £1m into a scheme that helps schoolkids to identify and deal with online abuse - in a victory for The Sun's Block the Bullying campaign. The announcement comes just five days after our crusade helped force the social media giant to sign up to a code of conduct and reveal how seriously it takes millions of abuse complaints. The social network plans to train pupils in all of the UK's 4,500 secondary schools to counter cyber bullying in partnership with Childnet International and The Diana Award charities. Lax regulations allow anyone aged 13 or over to have a Facebook or Instagram account, as a new report reveals up to one in four children have experienced online bullying. Experts at the UK Council for Child Internet Safety will reveal today that over half of all schoolkids prefer to deal with bullying online instead of turning to an adult. Facebook head of safety Antigone Davis said: "Over the last decade, we have developed a wealth of innovative … [Read more...] about Facebook to teach thousands of schoolkids about dangers of cyber bullying
The awkward exchange between the two BBC hosts followed an embarrassing TV interview between Tory MP Karen Bradley and Head of Global Safety at Facebook Antigone David.During the interview, Ms David seemed to be unaware of the Government’s latest internet safety green paper, a proposed levy on social media businesses. Cyberbullying, online abuse and child exposure to pornography on the internet are just some of the Internet safety issues that are expected to be in the green paper. BBC’s Dan Walker told the Tory MP: “Karen, this is part of the issue. Last week you were talking about the voluntary code. “I don’t mean to drop Antigone in it but she doesn’t seem to know what the voluntary code of practice actually is.” Ms Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport laughed off the comments and suggested the levy will be imposed by Facebook. Walker concluded the uncomfortable exchange by suggesting … [Read more...] about BBC News: ‘We WILL talk about it!’ AWKWARD interview leaves Naga and Dan smirking
If this was the week that Facebook would take virtual reality into the mainstream, it got off to the worst possible start. On Monday Mark Zuckerberg broadcast a video over his social network showing the company’s founder “touring” the flood-hit disaster zones of Puerto Rico in virtual reality (VR). Against a backdrop of locals attempting to repair their damaged communities, Zuckerberg’s avatar promoted the power of his new technology, shared a cringeworthy virtual high-five with a colleague and then effortlessly teleported to the moon. The sight of a tech billionaire dropping in on the plight of millions from the comfort of his California office was criticised as tasteless. A day later, Zuckerberg apologised. The episode did nothing to banish the notion that VR – one of Facebook’s biggest bets for the future of its 2bn users – is more of a rich techie’s plaything than a technological leap.... … [Read more...] about Can Facebook banish virtual reality’s loner factor?
The Financial Times columnist Edward Luce had an interesting article in Thursday’s paper about the demonisation of Silicon Valley. “In the space of a few months,” Luce observes, “the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, the owner of Google, have gone from heroes to pariahs.” All of which is true. The only problem is that outside the Washington Beltway – DC’s version of the M25 – few people seem terribly excited about the supposed evils of Facebook, Google and co. (That’s not entirely true: lots of intellectuals and commentators not in the United States, including this columnist, are concerned about these companies, so for current purposes we can think of the “Beltway” as a metaphorical filter bubble.) But outside that bubble, life goes on. People log on to Facebook every day and use Google to find recipes or train timetables, regardless of whether these … [Read more...] about One man’s online politics is another man’s poison
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Facebook was stepping up efforts to find and remove fake accounts, said Ms Sandberg Facebook is "fully committed" to providing detailed information about ads bought in Russia during the US election, says Sheryl Sandberg.The ads, pages they linked to and who they were targeted at have been given to investigators, said Ms Sandberg.The ads and the fake accounts used to get them on Facebook had been found and removed, she said. However, she added, if the ads had been placed by real accounts, Facebook would not have removed them.Bad actors"Things happened on our platform in this election that shouldn't have happened," said Ms Sandberg, chief operating officer of the social network in an interview with news site Axios. "We have an enormous responsibility here," … [Read more...] about Facebook ‘fully committed’ to sharing Russian ad data
A SELF-STYLED “Soldier of Allah” has escaped terror charges because of a Facebook settings loophole. Leroy McCarthy, 22, using the name Abdullah Mahmood. online made sick jibes about bombing Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Furness General Hospital. Because of his privacy settings on his Facebook profile, the posts could only be seen by his 340 friends. To successfully pursue a terror charge, prosecutors must prove the posts are intended to be seen by the public. Instead he admitted and was convicted of the lesser charge under the Communications Act of publishing a “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” at Furness magistrates’ court. A litany of McCarthy’s twisted posts, published on Friday October 6, were revealed during the court hearing. In one, he also labelled hero soldier Lee Rigby a “white coward who invades countries and rapes people”. Another post said: “They wouldn’t be able to … [Read more...] about ‘Soldier of Allah’ to escape terror charges because his Facebook was set to PRIVATE
WE'VE all been there, immersed in mindless Facebook scrolling but also in dire need of a burger dropped off at home ASAP. But thankfully the two activities are being combined as Facebook rolls out a new food ordering service. The 'Order Food' feature has been in development since earlier this year, but it's finally being put in to action. Just like with existing food apps like Deliveroo or Uber Eats, Order Food brings the best of local cuisine to your home with minimum fuss. Facebook have teamed up with Five Guys, Papa John’s, TGI Friday's and Chipotle for their service, but restaurants are involved thanks to a partner app called Delivery.com. Users will be able to check out reviews from people in their friends list to help them make the right restaurant choice. TechCrunch claims that the idea behind Order Food is to keep people inside the Facebook app for longer - as if that was even possible. Sadly for Brits, it's being trialled in certain cities in the US, but hopefully it … [Read more...] about You can now order food on Facebook… but there’s a catch
If this was the week that Facebook would take virtual reality into the mainstream, it got off to the worst possible start. On Monday Mark Zuckerberg broadcast a video over his social network showing the company’s founder “touring” the flood-hit disaster zones of Puerto Rico in virtual reality (VR). Against a backdrop of locals attempting to repair their damaged communities, Zuckerberg’s avatar promoted the power of his new technology, shared a cringeworthy virtual high-five with a colleague and then effortlessly teleported to the moon. The sight of a tech billionaire dropping in on the plight of millions from the comfort of his California office was criticised as tasteless. A day later, Zuckerberg apologised. The episode did nothing to banish the notion that VR – one of Facebook’s biggest bets for the future of its 2bn users – is more of a rich techie’s plaything than a technological leap.... … [Read more...] about Can Facebook shake off virtual reality’s loner factor?
For the past year, the world has reeled over escalating reports of how Russia “hacked” the 2016 US presidential election, by stealing emails from Democrats, attacking voter registration lists and voting machines and running a social media shell game. Such is the focus on Russian meddling that congressional investigators are increasingly aggressive in asking the big tech companies to account for how their platforms became the staging grounds for an attack on American democracy. Early next month that scrutiny will intensify, with executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter formally invited to appear before the House intelligence committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. What has now been made clear is that Russian trolls and automated bots not only promoted explicitly pro-Donald Trump messaging, but also used social media to sow social divisions in America by stoking disagreement and division around a plethora of controversial topics such as immigration and Islamophobia. … [Read more...] about How Russia used social media to divide Americans
THE Government may be in disarray — but David Davis’s handling of Brexit is not. Many people claim the Tories are bungling the negotiations. That’s certainly the message relentlessly pumped out by the Remainers dominating TV, social media and some papers. They’re wrong. Brexit must mean leaving the single market and customs union. Even sensible Remainers accept that “leaving” has no meaning if we stay in either one. The Tories followed that simple logic. They spelled out our position, offered a firm commitment on EU citizens here and gave considerable ground. They sensibly asked for a two-year transition followed by a free trade deal. Davis can’t offer vast sums as a “divorce bill” without knowing what we get for it. The obstinate EU won’t say. So we wait. How else could he have played it? Labour cannot answer that without spouting meaningless nonsense. EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker thinks it’s as easy as Britain paying … [Read more...] about The Government may be in disarray — but David Davis’s handling of Brexit isn’t
FACEBOOK has deleted thousands of posts shared by Russia-linked users amid fears interference in the US election was wider than first thought. It acted after a researcher used a data tool on the site to work out how many users read Russian-bought adverts spreading “fake news”. Facebook said last month it had found 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been bought by Russia at the time of last November’s poll. It estimated around ten million people had read them. But social media expert Jonathan Albright said the true total was 20 million when all free posts by users with Russian connections were counted. Facebook then deleted many of the posts and data. Dr Albright, of Columbia University, says this means no further research can take place. He added: “This is public interest data. “It allowed us to reconstruct pieces of the puzzle.” US intelligence claims Russia used the internet to aid Donald Trump’s bid to become President, claims … [Read more...] about Facebook has deleted thousands of posts shared by Russia-linked users
A self-styled “Soldier of Allah” who threatened to blow up a hospital escaped terror charges because of his Facebook settings. Leroy McCarthy, 22, a Muslim convert, described murdered soldier Lee Rigby as a "white coward who invades countries and rapes people" and said he planned to leave the UK to “join my people's cause". However, he could not be charged under the Terrorism Act because his profile was set to private, meaning he was jailed for just 18 weeks. Muslim convert Leroy McCarthy, who also uses the name Abdullah Mahmood, escaped being charged with terrorism offences Credit: Ben Lack The case led to calls for the law to be changed. David TC Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouthshire, a former serving police officer, said: "I think this worrying case highlights why the law needs to be changed to be further tightened up to prevent terrorist sympathisers and people encouraging violent acts from spreading their hate-filled messages whatever … [Read more...] about ‘Soldier of Allah’ avoids terror charge due to Facebook settings
Stream or download the latest Tech Tent podcast Listen to previous episodes on the BBC website Listen live every Friday at 15:00 BST on the BBC World Service What kind of reality do we want to live in - a virtual or augmented world? Two of the most powerful men in the technology world disagreed this week on whether VR or AR was the answer. On Tech Tent we discuss which technology is winning. We also hear from teenage tech award winners with an optimistic view of women's place in the technology industry, and we meet the founder of Evernote who tells us why the world has fallen out of love with Silicon Valley. Image copyright EPA Image caption High prices have meant VR headsets have not sold in huge quantities … [Read more...] about Tech Tent: Should reality be virtual or augmented?
A PUZZLE claims to show why 2017 is a “unique” year… but can you work out the problem with it? The mathematical trick, which has gone viral since being shared on Facebook, has had many people marvelling over how clever it is. Having been made into an old-fashioned meme, the puzzle instructs people to add their age to the year they were born. It states that the answer will always be 2017. Tried it yet? Did you get 2017? Of course you did. As we’re sure - nay, we hope - many of you will have worked out, the rule is actually applicable to every single year. Seeing as your age is the number of years that have passed since you came into the world, adding it to your birth year will inevitably give the current year as the answer. Despite the simplicity of the sum, it’s clearly blown a lot of peoples’ minds. The comments section of the post was littered with people posting their own calculations, with multiple expressions of “wtffffff” and … [Read more...] about Puzzle claims to show why 2017 is ‘truly unique’ – but what’s wrong with it?
Social media scammers are exploiting the release of the new Apple iPhone in an attempt to steal users' personal information and spread malware, a security firm has found.Alpha Team, a division of ZeroFox, said this week that it had observed a spike in malicious content involving the iPhone X and iPhone 8 models actively spreading across websites including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It identified 532 accounts circulating scams.The majority of the scams were spotted posing as "giveaway" offers for one of the new Apple handsets – set up in order to help boost "likes", steal the personal information of unwitting victims or to spread booby-trapped links to computer viruses and malware.The concept is known as "newsjacking" – when a fraudster uses trends as a basis for their illicit schemes. It's not new, but continues to plague social media."Attackers [tailor] their attacks to whatever is trending online and in the media, be it a holiday, the latest gaming fad, a new … [Read more...] about iPhone 8/X scams are spreading on Facebook and Instagram – here’s how to stay safe
The Victorian Women’s Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that supports women and girls through research and advocacy, has been banned by Facebook from advertising a tote bag for sale as part of a fundraising drive. The bag features a picture of two nude women dancing and was created by the Melbourne artist Frances Cannon, who uses her work to promote self-esteem, positive body image and self-love. Facebook's ban on Charles Blackman nude artwork attacked as 'living in the 1950s' Read more The trust is selling the bag to raise funds to carry out its work but fears it will now lose money after it was banned from promoting the ad on Facebook and Instagram. The trust’s manager of strategic communications, Allyson Oliver-Perham, said the trust depended on public donations to do its work. “This bag was in no way meant to be controversial,” she told Guardian Australia. “Our work is centred around research and advocacy and in order to do that … [Read more...] about Facebook ad ban over nude artwork shocks women’s not-for-profit
POLICE are investigating an indecent image of a child sweeping its way through schools in Newcastle on social media. Northumbria Police said the picture is being circulated over Whatsapp, Facebook and Snapchat. Officers are now speaking with teachers and students at schools in the west end of the city to make sure the image isn’t shared. The force said on Twitter: “Police are currently investigating an indecent image that is being circulated among students at schools in the west end of Newcastle. “Students need to be aware that it is illegal to distribute any indecent images of anyone under the age of 18, whether that be by text, WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat or any other social media site. “Officers will be speaking to the students involved and are currently working with teachers and staff at a number of schools in the area. “Anyone with concerns should take a look at online safety advice on the Northumbria Police website or call us on the 101 … [Read more...] about Police probe indecent image of a child circulating in schools on social media
Facebook owes the American people an apology for the way it handled Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election, its chief operating officer said on Thursday. “It’s not just that we apologize. We’re angry, we’re upset. But what we really owe the American people is determination” to do a better job of preventing foreign meddling, Sheryl Sandberg told the Axios news website during an interview in Washington. Facebook says up to 10m people saw ads bought by Russian agency Read more She also told the website that her social network was not a media company. “At our heart we’re a tech company,” she said. “We don’t hire journalists.” The live interview was the first by a senior Facebook executive since the company disclosed last month it had found some 3,000 politically divisive ads believed to have been bought by Russia in the months before and after the presidential campaign. US … [Read more...] about Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook owes US an apology over Russian meddling