Obama Spoke to Mark Zuckerberg in Late November About Russian Fake News
Obama famously told Putin to know it off. Turns out he also warned Mark Zuckerberg who clearly was in denial. Heck, only recently has Facebook admitted there were any Russian accounts. And the initial level-$150,000 is likely a drop in the bucket.
Those were accounts from Russia. But most of the activity likely came from accounts outside of Russia-Eastern European countries as well as some in the US itself.
Last week it emerged that Russian FB accounts setup Trump rallies in 17 cities.
Just for starters this is totally illegal-foreign political donations and mobilization in a US election.
These rallies were organized by Russians and then local Trump campaign officials actually executed them. Each of these Trump officials are: engaging in Russian collusion.
Now it emerges that Obama not only warned Putin-and Congress though Mitch McConnell shamefully refused to cooperate to inform the public-he also warned Zuckerberg:
“Nine days after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg dismissed as “crazy” the idea that fake news on his company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. election, President Barack Obama pulled the youthful tech billionaire aside and delivered what he hoped would be a wake-up call.”
“For months leading up to the vote, Obama and his top aides quietly agonized over how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump campaign without making matters worse. Weeks after Trump’s surprise victory, some of Obama’s aides looked back with regret and wished they had done more.”
“Now huddled in a private room on the sidelines of a meeting of world leaders in Lima, Peru, two months before Trump’s inauguration, Obama made a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously. Unless Facebook and the government did more to address the threat, Obama warned, it would only get worse in the next presidential race.”
“Zuckerberg acknowledged the problem posed by fake news. But he told Obama that those messages weren’t widespread on Facebook and that there was no easy remedy, according to people briefed on the exchange, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of a private conversation.”
“The conversation on Nov. 19 was a flashpoint in a tumultuous year in which Zuckerberg came to recognize the magnitude of a new threat — a coordinated assault on a U.S. election by a shadowy foreign force that exploited the social network he created.”
Now FB is coming forward:
“One outcome of those efforts was Zuckerberg’s admission on Thursday that Facebook had indeed been manipulated and that the company would now turn over to Congress more than 3,000 politically themed advertisements that were bought by suspected Russian operatives.”
But many are critical of them:
“There’s been a systematic failure of responsibility” on Facebook’s part, said Zeynep Tufekci, as associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who studies social media companies’ impact on society and governments. “It’s rooted in their overconfidence that they know best, their naivete about how the world works, their extensive effort to avoid oversight, and their business model of having very few employees so that no one is minding the store.”
Let me say this, however. I do love Facebook. I’ve only recently discovered how powerful their tools are. They absolutely do allow for some of us to participate in the political process who otherwise wouldn’t have much of a voice.
To be sure, the question is how to they allow those without a voice to speak in the political process while keeping out those who should not have a voice at least in an American election-like agents of Russian military intelligence?
And FB in fairness. has been trying. They’ve done some good as well. That must be factored in on the other side of the ledger.
They alerted officials back in June 2016 about what they were discovering:
“Among the revelations is how Facebook detected elements of the Russian information operation in June 2016 and then notified the FBI. Yet in the months that followed, the government and the private sector struggled to work together to diagnose and fix the problem.”
“It turned out that Facebook, without realizing it, had stumbled into the Russian operation as it was getting underway in June 2016.”
“At the time, cybersecurity experts at the company were tracking a Russian hacker group known as APT28, or Fancy Bear, which U.S. intelligence officials considered an arm of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, according to people familiar with Facebook’s activities.”
“Members of the Russian hacker group were best known for stealing military plans and data from political targets, so the security experts assumed that they were planning some sort of espionage operation — not a far-reaching disinformation campaign designed to shape the outcome of the U.S. presidential race.”
“Facebook executives shared with the FBI their suspicions that a Russian espionage operation was in the works, a person familiar with the matter said. An FBI spokesperson had no comment.”
“Soon thereafter, Facebook’s cyber experts found evidence that members of APT28 were setting up a series of shadowy accounts — including a persona known as Guccifer 2.0 and a Facebook page called DCLeaks — to promote stolen emails and other documents during the presidential race. Facebook officials once again contacted the FBI to share what they had seen.”
So they were onto Fancy Bear and Guccifer 2.0 from the onset. This information has been very helpful to the US intelligence effort against Russian interference.
FB therefore, can be a part of the solution-as it was against the Islamic State. However, there are different challenges with Russia as opposed to ISIS.
ISIS was blatant and so much easier to track.
P.S. Hello! I’m Mike Sax Democratic candidate for NY2. If you want to ride the Impeachment Train all the way to Washington DC in 2019 then please vote for me, Mike Sax NY2.
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