DOJ report finds foreign meddling had no impact on midterm elections

DOJ report finds foreign meddling had no impact on midterm elections


AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

If attempts at election meddling had any tangible effect on the US midterms, you won’t hear about it from some officials. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have submitted a joint report to President Trump saying there was no evidence a foreign government or agency had a “material impact” on the infrastructures of the 2018 vote, including campaigns and political bodies. The actual conclusions are classified, but they’re consistent with what the government said after the elections, the Justice Department said.

The report came in response to an Executive Order from September that would institute sanctions in the event of foreign interference in an election.

The DOJ maintained that the results would “help drive future efforts” to protect against outside meddling. Just who will address the issue is another story. President Trump hasn’t always acknowledged Russian cyberattacks, for instance. The report could help coordinate intelligence agencies and law enforcement, but it may not lead to major policy changes.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Advertisements

Twitter banned 2,600 Iran-linked accounts for election meddling

Twitter banned 2,600 Iran-linked accounts for election meddling


SOPA Images via Getty Images

Since September, Twitter has suspended 2,617 accounts linked to Iran, it said in a report on its US midterm election efforts. Some of the accounts claimed they were American news outlets and discussed US political and social issues. Twitter claims it proactively suspended most of the accounts prior to Election Day.

Overall, though, Twitter says it saw far less foreign “platform manipulation” than around the 2016 election. It suspended 418 accounts that seemed to have ties to Russia’s notorious Internet Research Agency — in the fall, Twitter said it previously kiboshed 3,843 accounts it suspected were linked to the agency. Before Election Day, it also culled “764 accounts engaged in malicious automation located in Venezuela, some of which tweeted about the 2018 US midterm election.”

Notably, Twitter and Facebook worked together to snuff out organized disinformation efforts. Facebook revealed Thursday it had taken down 783 accounts, pages and groups across Facebook and Instagram that exhibited “coordinated inauthentic behavior […] directed from Iran.”

“We’re actually able to move more quickly and remove these larger networks,” Facebook’s cybersecurity policy chief Nathaniel Gleicher told the Financial Times. “It’s an encouraging example of the type of collaboration we’re hoping to build across industry.” He also noted the companies are sharing notes on fake news campaigns earlier than they used to.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Canada doesn’t trust social networks to warn of election interference

Canada doesn’t trust social networks to warn of election interference


Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have set up war rooms and disclosure systems to warn of potential election meddling, but the Canadian government doesn’t believe that’s good enough. The country’s Democratic Institutions Minister has established a panel of five politicians that will warn the public when there’s evidence of attempted interference during election periods, including the upcoming October federal election. If they believe there’s a threat, they’ll not only alert the Prime Minister, party officials and Elections Canada, they’ll hold a press conference to reveal the details to everyone.

The panel will include the Clerk of the Privy Council, the national security and intelligence advisor, and the Deputy Ministers of Global Affairs Canada, Justice and Public Safety. And while other politicians would receive briefings on details, they wouldn’t have the power to stop public disclosures.

This would be limited to serious incidents that are clearly meant to skew the election, such as a fake news video or the email hack that tried to disrupt the campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. Simply put, it would make disclosure a non-issue — the public would learn about interference campaigns on a timely basis, whether or not leaders or social networks are willing to talk.

There’s more in the works as well. Canadian intelligence groups are banding together to form a Security and Intelligence Threats to Elections task force (SITE for short) that would identify foreign threats to elections and help with the government response, regardless of whether or not there’s a formal election period. The country has seen the headaches caused by interference in the US and the UK, and it’s not keen to see a repeat.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Facebook expands election integrity efforts ahead of EU vote

Facebook expands election integrity efforts ahead of EU vote


FABRICE COFFRINI via Getty Images

European Parliament elections are set to take place in May, which of course means there are bad actors who will try to use nefarious means to disrupt the process. Facebook is trying to clamp down on interference on its platforms, with measures including new rules for electoral ads and those related to key election issues. Advertisers need to confirm their identities before they can post ads, while Facebook plans to increase transparency around such ads (an effort with which it has faced some difficulties).

When you click on or tap an ad’s “paid for by” disclaimer, you’ll see an Ad Archive page that details its performance, along with demographic information on the people who have viewed it. You don’t need a Facebook account to access the archive, and anyone can search it for information on political ads that have appeared on Facebook or Instagram.

Facebook is making the Ad Archive more widely available, starting in India in February (votes take place there in April and May), then Ukraine and Israel before their elections. It plans to open up the archive globally by the end of June, and says information about the ads will be searchable for up to seven years.

Meanwhile, Facebook is setting up “regional operations centers” in Singapore and Dublin that will focus on election integrity. The latter so-called war room will seek to combat fake news in the lead up to the European elections. Facebook orchestrated similar efforts ahead of the US midterm vote and the Brazil general election.

Employees from the “threat intelligence, data science, engineering, research, community operations and legal teams” will work together on the Dublin project. Nick Clegg, the new head of communications, told European officials those groups will collaborate with “lawmakers, election commissions, other tech companies, academics and civil society groups to continue the fight against fake news, prevent the spread of voter suppression efforts and further integrate the large number of teams working on these important issues across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.”

In his speech, Clegg also touched on Facebook’s efforts to remove networks of pages that propagate false information. Earlier this month, it said it took down 500 pages and accounts linked to a Russian disinformation effort.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Bangladesh shuts off mobile internet ahead of election

Bangladesh shuts off mobile internet ahead of election


AP Photo

The Bangladeshi government isn’t just counting on Facebook and Twitter crackdowns to protect its December 30th parliamentary election. The country’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has shut down 3G and 4G mobile data to “prevent rumors and propaganda” from skewing the vote. The measure took effect immediately and was poised to last through the end of election day.

Whether or not that’s the main reason isn’t clear — the government doesn’t exactly have a clean track record. Bangladesh temporarily shut off mobile internet access in August in an ostensible bid to curb violence at protests over road safety, but there’s evidence suggesting that it wanted to stop the dissemination of media showing pro-government activists and police attacking protesters. In 2015, it also clamped down on individual messaging apps in an attempt to thwart protests.

This latest move might help prevent violence and misinformation, but it could also hinder the opposition’s ability to rally support. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s administration has been accused of intimidating and imprisoning critics to help maintain power, and this could be another extension of that strategy.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Facebook suspends accounts for pushing false info in Alabama election

Facebook suspends accounts for pushing false info in Alabama election


AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Facebook’s attempt to thwart disinformation campaigns has typically focused on Russia and other hostile countries, but it’s now grappling with that problem on its home soil. The site has confirmed to the Washington Post that it suspended five accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” during the 2017 Alabama special election for the Senate, including the CEO of social media research company New Knowledge.

The suspensions came after Morgan acknowledged that he’d created a deceptive Facebook page aimed at conservatives, and had bought retweets on Twitter. Morgan argued that this was part of a research effort to see how online misinformation spread rather than a conscious effort to skew the election, but Facebook clearly didn’t see it that way. It came alongside a larger internet-based effort to attack Republican controversial candidate Roy Moore by backing a write-in candidate and falsely claiming that Twitter bots were fueling Moore’s support.

The suspensions are concerning for more than a few reasons. New Knowledge played an important role in the Senate report that showed how Russia meddled with the 2016 presidential election. None of the company’s accounts or pages violated policies, according to Facebook, but Morgan’s suspension doesn’t the firm’s credibility.

More broadly, it raises the question of whether or not internet giants are paying enough attention to domestic attempts at skewing elections. Senator Doug Jones, the winner of the Alabama election, called for the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department to investigate the incident with a warning that disinformation could happen at home. “People in this country could take the same playbook [as Russia] and do the same damn thing,” Jones said. The suspensions are a start, but they also come just over a year after the vote, or well after they were immediately relevant.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Twitter and Facebook target fake accounts ahead of Bangladesh election

Twitter and Facebook target fake accounts ahead of Bangladesh election


Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Both Facebook and Twitter have removed a handful of accounts ahead of Bangladesh’s general election, citing coordinated manipulation and inauthentic behavior as their reasons. Facebook took down nine Pages and six accounts while Twitter suspended 15 accounts. Twitter said most of the accounts it removed had fewer than 50 followers and Facebook reported that around 11,900 people followed at least one of the Pages it took down.

Tipped off by threat intelligence company Graphika, Facebook determined that the accounts in question were designed to resemble those of legitimate news outlets, such as BBC’s Bangla news service and Bangladesh’s bdnews24.com, but were focused on posting anti-opposition content. “This kind of behavior is not allowed on Facebook under our misrepresentation policy because we don’t want people or organizations creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they’re doing,” Facebook’s cybersecurity policy head Nathaniel Gleicher wrote in a blog post.

Twitter said that its investigations are ongoing and further action could be taken. Both companies noted that some of the accounts appeared to be linked to the Bangladesh government.

Since it was revealed that foreign groups had used platforms like Facebook and Twitter to try to stoke political tensions ahead of the 2016 US election, social networks have had to monitor their platforms for that sort of behavior going forward. Over the past two years, Facebook has removed fake accounts head of elections in France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and the US. Twitter also recently detailed the efforts it has made to secure elections around the world.

“We are continuously working to uncover this kind of abuse,” wrote Gleicher. “We will continue to invest heavily in safety and security in order to keep bad actors off of our platform and provide a place for people to connect meaningfully about the things that matter to them.”

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

US Treasury sanctions Russians for hacking and election meddling

US Treasury sanctions Russians for hacking and election meddling


AdrianHancu via Getty Images

The US government isn’t done taking action against Russians accused of hacking and interference campaigns. The Treasury Department has leveled sanctions against 16 current and former GRU intelligence officers (some of whom were targeted in earlier indictments) for their involvement in multiple campaigns against the US, including the Democratic National Committee hacks, World Anti-Doping Agency hacks and election meddling efforts.

The targets include Elena Khusyaynova, the primary accountant for the Project Lakhta influence campaign that included the Internet Research Agency. The sanctions also target associated entities like the Federal News Agency.

As with the indictments, the sanctions will only have a limited effect. The measure blocks all property and interests from these people that might be in US jurisdictions, and Americans are “generally prohibited” from conducting transactions with them. The targets live in Russia, though, and it’s doubtful that they’ll travel to countries where the sanctions will hit them. This is more a symbolic gesture than one intended to curb Russian hacks and manipulation atttemps.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Senate report details Russia’s online meddling in 2016 election

Senate report details Russia’s online meddling in 2016 election


Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The US Senate is about to receive a report detailing Russia’s online manipulation attempts during and after the 2016 Presidential election, and it promises to shed new light on the subject… including a lack of evidence from the internet giants themselves. The research, conducted by both Oxford University and network analysis company Graphika, outlines some familiar strategies. The Russians “clearly sought to benefit” the Republicans, rallying support for Trump on social networks while trying to “confuse, distract and ultimately discourage” Trump’s opponents. It also notes that Russia’s digital influence plans started with Twitter, but quickly expanded to Instagram and YouTube — Facebook actually came last. They also tried smaller social networks like Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr (owned by Engadget parent company Verizon) as well as email.

The report unsurprisingly notes that internet companies had a “belated and uncoordinated” response to Russia’s meddling campaign, in some cases pulling accounts, offering tools and launching war rooms well after the election was over. However, the investigators also blasted firms for providing incomplete or difficult-to-study data. Facebook gave the Senate info on some Russia-linked accounts and posts but not others, according to the report Twitter and YouTube, meanwhile, made it difficult to scrutinize their info — for YouTube, the researchers had to hunt down links to videos on other sites to gauge the scope of the service’s role.

The Russians also made rookie mistakes that could have been used to spot their activities earlier, such as buying ads with rubles and leaving signatures in logs that pointed to a Russian base of operations.

The Senate report should be public within the next several days. While the findings aren’t completely shocking, they could be influential as politicians consider how to study the 2018 midterms and prepare for 2020. They also suggest that attitudes toward social networks need to change if they haven’t already. Where these sites were previously seen as forces for good, they’re increasingly being exploited as a “computational tool for social control” both in democracies and autocracies.

Verizon owns Engadget’s parent company, Oath (formerly AOL). Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

How Brian Kemp hacked Georgia’s election

How Brian Kemp hacked Georgia’s election

“[Brian] Kemp on Thursday said he had resigned as Georgia’s secretary of state,” reported Reuters yesterday. No one watching Kemp’s malfeasant, multi-year election security trash fire could understand why that sentence didn’t stop at “resigned.”

But, as they say these days while weeping openly and stockpiling water for America’s full transition into Fury Road (next week; mark your calendars) — we are in the darkest timeline. Previously, Kemp refused all public demands to step down while running for Governor of Georgia, even though he was in charge of elections. This included a formal request from former President Jimmy Carter, citing his experience as an official election observer.

But no. Silly democracy people, with their “ethics.” Brian Kemp has probably had recurring erotic dreams about this moment for many years. Brian Kemp is a magic man, and would not relinquish control. He was committed to this abusive relationship.

Kemp’s pointless gesture of quitting only now, after the election, after years of showing the world he can’t even competently burn the state’s election systems to the ground, Reuters explained, was his way to “ensure ‘public confidence’ in the final results.”

USA-ELECTION/GEORGIA

In the next breath, Brian Kemp declared himself the winner of a governor’s race that remains unresolved.

Kemp became Secretary of State in 2010, which placed him in charge of Georgia’s election-everything; including appointing clerks, guiding election officials, enforcing qualifying rules, and overseeing security. In that time he has perfected doing nothing about security and kicking 1.5 million people off the voter rolls. People who, coincidentally, are prone to vote against the Brian Kemps of the world.

Under Kemp, Georgia’s election system was incompetently run by Kennesaw State University, whose internal emails from 2016 revealed its awareness of “critical vulnerabilities” thanks to an outside researcher. These included ongoing “access to a colossal, 15-gigabyte store of confidential material, including voter data and passwords to the system.” Access allowed records to be changed, according to a federal lawsuit that seeks to move Georgia to paper ballots.

The state’s election officials were notified in August 2016 and Brian Kemp said he didn’t know anything about it, but that the system was like, totally secure. Kemp then proceeded to reject federal help to shore up Georgia’s election systems before the presidential election. This is fine, said Brian Kemp.

That December, lawmakers floated the idea of DHS overseeing state election security. Kemp responded by accusing the DHS of unsuccessfully hacking Georgia Secretary of State’s network, including its voter registration database. His accusations were investigated and found to be baseless.

Election 2018 Georgia Voting Problems

You will be surprised to learn that while Kemp was doing everything imaginable to discourage authorities from getting a good look at Georgia’s election security, the jaw-dropping security holes reported in 2016 hummed right along in the background. Yep, Kemp left that cake out in the rain. Based on his experience, being the subject of a voting exercise in the state of Georgia looks extremely attractive to him. In March 2017, Kemp announced he would be running for Georgia governor in the 2018 election. He does not cite his ticket as R-Moscow, but we have doubts.

Three months later, a Georgia judge rushed and then shot down a citizen lawsuit to swap the state’s insecure voting machines for paper ballots. Brian Kemp is pleased. “During my time as Secretary of State, I have worked tirelessly to ensure security at the ballot box,” Kemp said.

Indeed. But first, Brian Kemp, define “security.” We can’t both be right.

On July 2, Kemp wrote an op-ed in USA Today saying that any questions about Georgia’s now-legendarily broken digital election security were “fake news.” While the rest of the country has decided that this is the wrong timeline to have stopped sniffing glue, Brian Kemp wants you to know that only disgusting, malfunctioning people think something might be wrong with a system researchers literally called “Drupalmageddon.”

On July 3, Kennesaw was served with the aforementioned lawsuit about Georgia’s nonexistent election security.

On July 7, Kemp’s officials at Kennesaw wiped the election system server (and a backup) clean of all that troublesome critical evidence. Kennesaw and Kemp then did their best impression of a Three Stooges skit where each stooge makes “whoop whoop” noises while blaming each other for utterly laying waste to the integrity of Georgia’s voting system.

Former House Democratic Leader and Democratic nominee for Governor Stacey Abrams

In the meantime, Kemp worked tirelessly to implement voter restrictions in a way such that we should expect to find “Brian Kemp” when we look up the dictionary definition for “voter suppression.” Washington Post described he had “stalled more than 50,000 voter registrations by disproportionately black voters under the state’s exact-match requirements” in their report last week, Judge rules against Brian Kemp over Georgia voting restrictions days before gubernatorial election.

Yet that was then and this is now. Five days ago, researchers found new security holes in Georgia’s election systems, then notified US intelligence officials, the Coalition for Good Government (and Kemp’s own attorneys). Kemp performed an interpretive dance without his pants to distract everyone — sorry, I mean, he accused the Democratic Party of Georgia of hacking. No one believed it. Especially not anyone in the fields of hacking and infosec, who have seen him as a walking, talking underwear stain and a threat to democracy for several years running.

But that’s okay. Brian Kemp is smarter than all of you.

Now Brian Kemp has declared himself King of Georgia. The words of his idiot god are ascribed on his breastplate. It reads, “fake news.”

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Facebook confirms accounts banned ahead of election had Russian ties

Facebook confirms accounts banned ahead of election had Russian ties


PA Wire/PA Images

Facebook has confirmed that the 115 accounts it blocked yesterday due to “inauthentic behavior” are likely linked to Russia. In a new statement, the company says that a site claiming association with the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) posted a list of fake Instagram accounts it had made ahead of the midterm elections, many of which included those removed by Facebook yesterday. The IRA has been linked to previous interference with US politics and the 2016 Presidential election.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook’s head of cyber security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said: “Last night, following a tip off from law enforcement, we blocked over 100 Facebook and Instagram accounts due to concerns that they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) and engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior, which is banned from our services. This evening a website claiming to be associated with the IRA published a list of Instagram accounts they claim to have created. We had already blocked most of these accounts yesterday, and have now blocked the rest. This is a timely reminder that these bad actors won’t give up — and why it’s so important we work with the US government and other technology companies to stay ahead.”

In its previous statement, Facebook noted that “Typically, we would be further along with our analysis before announcing anything publicly.” Of course, the company would be foolish to chance any accusations of opacity during this important political period. Whether or not these fake accounts will have had any impact on the outcome of the midterms, however, remains to be seen.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Google can tell you how and where to vote on election day

Google can tell you how and where to vote on election day


Google

You can add Google to the list of tech companies nudging you to get out to the polls today. The big G’s search engine is the go-to source for our most pressing, and prosaic, questions. And once again, it can act as your Election Day info hub, built around your search queries.

Entering “how do I register to vote” or “how do I vote” will produce bitesize, state-specific instructions about the deadlines, requirements, eligibility, and logistics of casting a ballot where you live. And if your follow-up is “where do i vote?,” Search will harness Google Maps to point you in the right direction. On top of that, Google is also adding digestible information on candidates — including statements by those running for office on their legislative priorities — and ballot measures.

When the dust settles on the Midterms, Google is hoping you’ll head back to Search to watch the results roll in. A search for “Senate results” or “House results” today will provide a real-time summary of each chamber, while searching for any congressional or gubernatorial contest will offer results for those specific races.

Vote_Search.png

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Facebook blocks 115 fake accounts ahead of midterm elections

Facebook blocks 115 fake accounts ahead of midterm elections

A man works at his desk in front of monitors during a demonstration in the war room, where Facebook monitors election related content on the platform, in Menlo Park, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

In (possibly) the last update from a long string of reports leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, Facebook sent out an alert that it has disabled 115 accounts (30 on Facebook and 85 on Instagram) that “may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior.” The social network said its investigation is “very early-stage” and that it acted on the accounts based on a tip from US law enforcement, which believes the accounts may be linked to foreign entities.

There’s very little detail about the accounts, other than that the Facebook pages were mostly in French and Russian, while the Instagram account were in English, focusing on celebrities or politics. After the 2016 campaign, and revelations around Cambridge Analytica, there’s been intense focus on the role of social media in possibly altering the outcomes of elections through the use of targeted messaging and/or propaganda from fake accounts. With accounts still being uncovered at this late date, and ads getting pulled after thousands of views” it’s impossible to know right now how much, or even if, inauthentic messaging will impact tomorrow’s results.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Apple News app will provide real-time results on Election Day

Apple News app will provide real-time results on Election Day


Apple

Come November 6th, Apple will turn its News app into election central. According to TechCrunch, the company is planning to launch a new Election Night section that will display live results, highlight updates to key races and share major stories from major news outlets. The Election Night tab will appear in place of the Midterm Elections section in the app starting at 8 PM ET on election day.

The Associated Press is one of several media companies Apple is partnering with; it’ll provide real-time election results in the News app. The vote tallies from every federal election in the country will update automatically every minute, but you’ll also be able to refresh manually if you can’t wait for the votes to trickle in. ABC and NBC will provide live video coverage that you can watch in-app, while CBS News, CNN, and Fox News will all provide video clips that will appear in the Election Night section.

Apple News will have a Key Races section that will focus in on the closest and most interesting races around the country, as well as the races that may serve as bellwethers for how the night might go. With control of both the House and Senate set to be determined Tuesday, the app will issue a special alert if and when the balance of power changes in either chamber.

Even with all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, one-third of all the seats in the Senate, and 36 governorships being decided in a single night, Apple is choosing not to curate news and information by algorithms. Instead, it will stick with its team of human editors to handle the task of sourcing news stories and combatting disinformation. It’s a big task given the importance of the evening and the massive readership Apple News draws, but it’s not like they can do worse than algorithm-driven systems did in 2016.

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true

Twitter’s new midterm election page already includes fake news

Twitter’s new midterm election page already includes fake news


ASSOCIATED PRESS

Today, Twitter rolled out a new page focused on the US midterm elections, and on it, users can view supposedly relevant tweets through two tabs — “Latest” and “Top Commentary.” On mobile, there’s also a “News” tab that includes separate sections for each state. However, while this page is clearly meant to be a place for users to find more information about the upcoming election, it’s surfacing tweets from conspiracy theorists, people pushing disinformation and what appear to be bot accounts, BuzzFeed News reports.

BuzzFeed News found that the page included a tweet from pundit Bill Mitchell that claimed Democrats paid for the Honduran caravan in order to “create another ‘separating families’ crisis” ahead of the election. Another tweet falsely claimed that Marc Molinaro, a Republican candidate for New York governor, had dropped out of the race, while another said Kid Rock was about to become a Michigan senator. A few others pushed unproven claims about illegal voting and some tweets included on the page came from partisan accounts without followers or profile pictures, suggesting that they’re automated. And in the California section of the page, BuzzFeed News spotted a tweet from Tomi Lahren that referred to the lieutenant governor of California and current candidate for governor as “Greasy Gavin Newsom.”

A spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that an algorithm collects tweets for the page based on keywords, though they didn’t share what those words are.

Twitter Midterms Page

Like Facebook, Twitter has been working to avoid a repeat of what happened ahead of the 2016 presidential election, when foreign groups used its platform to push content and disinformation aimed at stoking political tensions in the US. The site has also made a big deal about its more recent effort to promote conversational health among its users. But by surfacing fake news, promoting automated accounts and including conspiracy theories, the midterms page doesn’t appear to fit with either of those efforts.

Along with playing host to political disinformation campaigns, Twitter has also had a problem with users spreading hoaxes and fake news, particularly during breaking news situations. But while Twitter has introduced new policies aimed at boosting the transparency around political and issue ads, when it comes to fake news, the company has been less willing to take a stance. CEO Jack Dorsey told CNN earlier this year that his company was hesitant to remove false information and that its staff shouldn’t be “the arbiters of truth.”

The company told BuzzFeed News that the midterms page was more for newer users seeking news about the election rather than more seasoned Twitter users.

Image: Twitter via BuzzFeed News

View the Original Article . . .

{authorlink}
https://www.engadget.com/rss.xml Engadget RSS Feed

Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

https://www.blogsmithmedia.com/www.engadget.com/media/feedlogo.gif?cachebust=true