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All posts tagged "Russia"

  • 150k Russian Twitter accounts targeted Brexit referendum

    More than 150 000 Twitter accounts -- previously only tweeting about the conflict in Ukraine -- turned their focus to Brexit in the days leading up to the June 2016 vote, data scientists from Swansea University and the University of California, Berkeley have revealed. The researchers looked at accounts that tweeted in English, but had their language set to Russian. These accounts, which posted 1000 tweets a day before the vote, amped their activity up to 45 000 in the last two days, and 39 000 on the day of the election. It is unclear whether these accounts were pushing for...

  • Russia to ban Facebook if it doesn’t comply with data storage laws

    Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor will check to see if Facebook is abiding by a Russian data storage law -- and the result may lead to the company blocked from the country altogether. "In the near future Roskomnadzor will plan a series of supervisory activities aimed at analyzing the activities of the administration of Facebook in terms of the processing of Russian users’ personal information, the terms of services for users, and the content of existing legislation," it said in a statement Wednesday carried by the Interfax news agency, according to Reuters. The law, which came into effect last year, requires websites that store citizens' personal data to do...

  • Facebook execs to get ‘candid’ about ‘hard questions’ in live interviews

    Facebook executives are gearing up to "push  toward even greater transparency" in a series of live interviews with digital news site Axios. As part of the company's Hard Questions series -- heretofore existing only in the form of blog posts -- the company is opening up to reporters and editors from multiple news outlets and independent groups. At least in the case of Axios, Facebook says that the reporters will "fully control the questions and resulting coverage". The company says that it looks to take on the "most crucial topics in social media" -- including terrorism, hate speech, and Russian propaganda. The first interview will see...

  • Russian propaganda ads reached 10m US Facebook users

    Facebook has revealed that 10-million US users were shown Russian propaganda ads that may have interfered with the 2016 US election -- and that may not be the final number. In a blog post connected to the company's Hard Questions series, Vice President of Policy and Communications Elliot Schrage provided more clarity on an issue that has been intentionally left murky. Schrage said that the total reach of dubious Russian ads was 10-million people, but only 44% of ad impressions (the number of times ads were displayed) were before the election. The company has not clarified user reach prior to the election. In 2016, the...

  • Twitter addresses Russian bots as Zuck faces the web’s wrath

    Twitter has finally broken its silence on the role its platform played in enabling Russian interference in the 2016 US election, but it's staying tight-lipped on the nitty-gritty. In a blog post that mostly addresses bots in general, the company announced that yesterday its VP for public policy Colin Crowell had met up with staff from Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss the way Russian-owned accounts advertised on its platform. Twitter revealed that of the roughly 450 accounts Facebook removed earlier this year in relation to the debacle, 22 had related Twitter accounts -- all of which had "already been or immediately were...

  • The Weekly Roundup Podcast #122: Russian Facebook, killing Bixby & more

    Welcome to The Weekly Roundup, our podcast discussing the latest tech trends, innovation and news from the last few days. This week, Andy Walker hosts Julia Breakey and Stephen Timm in studio. We kick off the episode by laying out what we know about the cryptocurrency mining issue that saw our site temporarily disabled this week. We then move on to a Ventureburn story about ICOs and the emerging popularity of the cryptocurrency scene in South Africa. Over on Memeburn, Julia talks how Facebook enabled the Russian tampering of the 2016 US election. Receiving over US$100 000 in ad sales from the propaganda, the...

  • Russian Facebook pages may have organised pro-Trump rallies

    Suspected Russian Facebook page Being Patriotic organised pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rallies in the build-up to the 2016 US election, The Daily Beast has found. On 20 August 2016 -- less than three months before the election in November -- the page created a number of events collectively titled "Florida Goes Trump!" It called for supporters to rally together in 17 different cities and towns. The position in Florida is crucial, as it is a swing state that could have reasonably been won by either party. US President Donald Trump won 49.1% of the vote in Florida, as opposed to Hillary Clinton's 47.8%. The Daily Beast found proof...

  • Facebook removes ads targeting ‘Jew haters’

    Facebook profiles can be obnoxious. With no vetting procedures on the information provided for education or employment, friends can say they attended Hogwarts or that they work at NASA despite failing high school maths. But while some have been using these self-reporting fields to make harmless jokes, others have been using them to spew hatred -- and it's been revealed that advertisers could have specifically targeted these individuals. On Thursday, a report by Propublica revealed that advertisers, who have the ability to select which demographic they'd like to target, have been able to select the likes of "Jew hater", "how to burn Jews", and "history of...

  • Facebook may have earned $150k from US election-hacking ads

    Facebook has divulged that it could have earned up to US$150 000 from Russian ads that targeted the 2016 United States election. The company studied ads bought between June 2015 and May 2017 and found 3000 that were connected to 470 accounts promoting content that violated its policies. These ads were all "likely operated out of Russia", and brought in US$100 000. Another study looked at a broader range of ads that could have Russian origin, including those with US IP addresses and the language set to Russian. This search found around 2200 politically-related ads. They accounted for another US$50 000. Many of the...

  • Donald Trump Jr posts emails of Russian collusion to Twitter

    Donald Trump Jr took to Twitter Tuesday to post a series of emails proving he had met with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign. The emails show correspondence with British-born entertainment publicist Rob Goldstone, who wrote on behalf of mutual friend and Russian popstar Emin Agalarov. Here's my statement and the full email chain pic.twitter.com/x050r5n5LQ — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017 "Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and the Russian government attorney ," Goldstone wrote. He stated that the meeting was to "provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her...

  • Russian govt hacked US voting infrastructure days before election

    Classified documents recently acquired by the US National Security Agency (NSA) show that the Russian government attempted to hack US voting infrastructure and software just days before the November election, a report by The Intercept reveals. The documents, allegedly leaked by federal contractor Reality Winner, detail how Russian military intelligence embarked on a spear-phishing campaign to acquire information from an unnamed voting software company. In one instance, the hackers disguised themselves as Google and attempted to get login credentials. In another, they posed as e-voting vendors and sent MS Word documents that hid malicious code. Just days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the government's engagement...

  • Ukraine, Russia fight on Twitter using Benedict Cumberbatch, Simpsons GIFs

    Before the internet, countries took to the battlefield to settle differences. While Russia and Ukraine are actively sparring over details of their territories, both countries have this week extended that conflict to Twitter. The two countries' verified accounts had a standoff regarding one particular detail of history: the origins of French monarch Anna Yaroslavna of Kiev who was born in the area considered to be modern day Kiev -- the capital of Ukraine. The argument was the result of a remark made by Russian president Vladimir Putin in a press conference with French president Emmanuel Macron earlier this week, calling Anna...

  • The world’s most-wanted cyber criminal is Gru from Despicable Me

    Mr Bogachev, tear down that firewall! The New York Times reported Sunday that the world's most wanted cyber criminal -- worth a US$3-million bounty -- not only has ties to Russian spies, but also bears a stark resemblance to Despicable Me supervillian Gru. Well, they may not have reported that exactly but it's hard not to make the correlation. Evgeniy M. Bogachev, like Gru, is a bald white man who in all likelihood has a Russian accent. The FBI has offered a $3 million bounty for Evgeniy M. Bogachev's capture, the most ever for a cybercriminal https://t.co/xuWvrtVNFf pic.twitter.com/XDgyo0oNrr — The New York Times (@nytimes) March 13, 2017 According to...

  • Thought #SONA2017 was bad? Watch these international political brawls

    Viewers across South Africa endured what is quickly becoming an annual (yet dramatic) farce in the form of last night's #SONA2017 State of the Nation Address. From a heavy security presence by the ruling party to the EFF's hectoring of President Jacob Zuma, things only went downhill from there. The low point of the night was marked by the EFF's removal from the chamber, making for shocking scenes on television. But, believe it or not, this sort of violence takes place around the world as well -- we look at a few notable videos. Also, be sure to find the bulk...

  • Facebook blocks Russia’s RT prior to Trump inauguration

    Both Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg aren't having the best of weeks. While Zuck is out in Hawaii settling land disputes, Facebook has looked due East, blocking an influential Russian media network. Kremlin-funded RT revealed yesterday that it was briefly blocked from posting multimedia and articles to Facebook. "RT has been blocked from posting content to its Facebook page," the network announced on its website. "The ban, according to the Facebook bot, will last until Saturday 10:55pm Moscow time (2:55pm EST) and will extend across US president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration." According to the company, a live stream rights issue caused the ban...