This excerpt from TimeNext100 is maddening for those of us who knew that digital disinformation was domestic problem back in 2015.

The reason why Congress paid attention to Russia was because FB failed to disclose all of the problems with the security of their product.
The best book about 2016 US election disinformation, Networked Propaganda, found that disinformation was rampant on cable news and was exacerbated through right wing sites & social media.

A simple fact that researchers keep rediscovering, but to call it new is to displace blame
In fact, if FB has been opened up and audited by the govt then for all of the different ways misinformation was circulating, the clusterfu*k of 2020 may have been different. Instead, congress was stuck analyzing what FB gave them, along with the critical datasets of @d1gi.
Since then, FB has continued to shape the field of disinformation research by focusing on foreign ops and fact-checking even as hate, harassment, incitement, along with medical misinformation, conspiracies, and political disinformation continues to spoil democracies.
Researchers and journalists such as @gabriellelim, @jonathan_c_ong, @dalitdiva, @RMAjayi @mariaressa @daveyalba analyzed how these dynamics play out across the globe, where authoritarians move their fringe ideas into the mainstream through Facebook groups and YouTube vids.
These two design features alone account for so much of how disinformation is distributed. Without access to these features, misinformers struggle to reach mainstream audiences- unless they are employed by a partisan cable network. Bottom line- infrastructure is key.
If not for the incredible reporting of @CraigSilverman and @JaneLytv keeping a light on FB’s “fake news” problem in 2017, revealing that what we were led to believe was foreign was really a domestic influence op: buzzfeednews.com/article/craigs…
Echoing recent news about FB’s favoritism of conservatives, fake news site operators in 2018 told Buzzfeed: “We found that the names of the groups where we could stay longer, where our profiles were not removed, were related to conservatives, to Republicans, to Trump.”
Insights, like these from those doing the hoaxing, are non-trivial. Yet, it takes so much energy and resources to fight against the PR narrative shaping of this field of disinformation research. We study the far right because they often describe how they manipulate platforms.
Net advocacy groups that lay outside the Silicon circle of influence, like @ColorOfChange @mediajustice @freepress @UltraViolet @MuslimAdvocates @EqualityLabs @ReFrameProject @UNITEDWEDREAM, and especially @NewGAProject, took up disinfo defense in 2020 because they had no choice.
#Techwash is heightened when popular media like Time ignores what researchers & advocates have been saying for years about disinformation: it’s a known pattern, where political & financial elites bend the rules of social media companies to their advantage. buzzfeednews.com/article/ryanma…
For years, society has paid the #truecostsofmisinformation. We are doomed to keep repeating this horrible cycle if we lay the blame outside of the products and companies that are designing their technology and policies to benefit the already rich and powerful.
Watch closely as blame shifts away from the tech companies’ profiting from large scale disinformation campaigns and is placed squarely at the feet of those who will shrug their shoulders and say “I didn’t do anything illegal.”

But, we knew this.

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More from @BostonJoan

21 Feb
This is exactly the kind of evidence we must focus on. There’s a history of Black organizing around medical care and community safety that journalists should take care to read and understand. The real story is one of state neglect and underserved groups meeting local needs.
This book by Steven Epstein is great too: press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book…
Read 5 tweets
9 Feb
What should we do about medical misinformation?

It goes without saying that everyone who calls themselves an expert on “misinformation” is NOT a topical expert in scientific communication, nor does applying misinfo monitoring tools increase trust with those in need of help.
Methods devised over the last few years to spot disinformation are now expanding to track online health conversations. Tech companies, university centers, to nonprofits and cybersecurity firms are selling surveillance as a service. Medical misinfo is just the current branding.
It’s one thing to claim something is misinfo, it’s another to claim that what you’re seeing online is a national security threat that requires govt or public health intervention.

Some selling misinfo monitoring are overhyping medical misinformation to create market demand.
Read 21 tweets
7 Feb
There is an ethnographic component to @katestarbird's insights about why GWP was a successful disinformation machine. GWP was quick to provide key frames for interpreting "evidence," but could also reframe an emerging conversation in real-time.
Back in 2017, when lots of researchers were looking at bots as amplifiers, I turned to analyzing the culture of sharing among right wing audiences, who were excited to share news as political activism. This same dynamic we see with GWP was best exemplified by Breitbart in 2016.
Often blogs, tweets, youtube videos, and livestreams from right wing pundits would contain a plea to viewers, saying that their post was both secret and illicit. Therefore, the audience had a ROLE TO PLAY in making sure "the news" got out FAST.
Read 6 tweets
7 Feb
A personal note. Usually the #SuperBowl is my favorite day of the year, where I get to spend a whole evening with friends and family yelling at the TV. It usually marks the darkest part of winter (even back when I was in Cali), where I treat the next day as one of renewal.
Usually from #SuperBowl Sunday to opening day for the Red Sox, I try to relax my commitments, get some academic writing wrapped up, and turn to my mentors for conversations about the future. This year is different.
Some people do those rituals around birthdays or other holidays, but for me and my family, football and baseball have always been the glue that holds conversations together, even as we live thousands of miles away. Now we are closer, but not going to risk it.
Read 7 tweets
6 Feb
While this piece is deeply troubling for different reasons, one thing stands out: it is not polite to take credit for an entire field of research mostly developed by women researching journalism and disinformation.
In fact, a significant finding from our recent preliminary research shows that civil society orgs should not be quiet, but rather should be strategic and tactical when responding to falsehoods. Simply claiming your strategy worked because your team won doesn’t make it true.
Applying the findings from one field of research in another setting requires doing new research. We can ask “should civil society handle disinfo like journalists do?” But that’s not the same as helping civil society develop better practices that come from experience.
Read 18 tweets
28 Jan
What fresh hell... after Occupy, several disillusioned activists got into penny stocks and realized that by coordinating in a a Facebook group they could make a decent amount of money if they worked in collaboration and quickly. This tactic is called swarming
I thought it was *ironic* that they learned enough about Wall St from the movement to make it work for them, the Facebook group was a hive of excited discussion.

Anyhow, since then I’ve followed the work of @lanalana because she understands money in ways I never could grasp.
Market manipulation is not new, however, it does seem that using a message board to coordinate the takedown of short sellers, is a kind of media manipulation as activist practice, especially as coordinated action produces real-time instant feedback on your successes.
Read 4 tweets

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