Trolls on social media keep lurking around, putting up sour notes on belligerent issues every now and then. Deftly, and purposefully they sow in polarizing political content to bolster up disharmony. But how has Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) dealt with it?
Facebook announced earlier that it had identified a coordinated mudsling, in which several inauthentic pages and profiles were engaged to proliferate divisive political hatred issues around the socio-politics spectrum. The purpose was to polarize social issues ahead of the midterm elections in November.
Fight Against Facebook Fake Accounts
Facebook has taken down 652 fake accounts and pages. The social media giant announced this in a blog post late Tuesday that some of these accounts were originated in Iran, while some in Russia. The accounts originating in Iran and Russia were vouched for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” and hence, were taken down by the company. Although in the earlier case there was no explicit tie of accounts and pages with the above-mentioned countries, with this news, Facebook has dubbed these growths as a political weapon.
Additionally, this time around the activity didn’t target only Americans. These influence operations targeted Britain, Middle East, and Latin America as well. According to the company, the campaigns weren’t intended specifically for the Americans or the upcoming middle term elections in the US. FireEye, a cybersecurity firm helping Facebook confirmed that this time, these divisive agendas migrated beyond U.S boundaries.
A Span of Influential Operations:
The extent of investigation spans across multiple groups. Yes. The agitating of political discourse was such a showdown!
The first group dubbed as “Liberty Front Press” was alleged of running multiple accounts on Facebook and Instagram with a whopping follower list that subsumes some 155,000 other accounts. Upon investigation, it was found that Iranian state media has been linked to the group on accounts of various registrations, and administrator accounts. There were numerous troll images found by Facebook.
The second group which was found to be linked to “Liberty Front Press” also had various accounts with 15,000 followers. This group tried to hack into other’s accounts and proliferate malware. Upon further query, Facebook claimed to have ruptured these malicious attempts.
The third group operating from Iran had been active in sharing political content about the Middle East, the U.K and the U.S. With a follower span of 813,000 followers, these group has made attempts at disrupting the ongoing political campaigns.
The fourth group, however, was found to have links with the Russian Military Intelligence. This particular group has been trying to influence the political scope in Syria and Ukraine.
Facebook: Vessel in Spreading Misinformation
2016 United States Presidential Election ushered in a wave of revelations! Following the election, the company revealed that the site was used to jack up the spread of piquing messages to voters on sensitive issues like race, caste, killings etc.
Again, the influence operation that is circumventing around now, is said to cater up nearly that 140,000 people who were questing against racism in the U.S. Facebook revealed that many others were targeting the sensitive scope of political diversity and hiking up the rivalry among left-wing activists.
With a similar kind of approach being instilled, and the same social media influence tactics being used to amplify communal disharmony, Facebook, although in its full form to eradicate those issues, has been a vessel for them to sprout as well.
Divisive Issues, Social Echo Chamber, and Facebook!
Feeling the political bummer already? Twiddle your thumb for a while, because this ain’t ending any sooner!
The US Presidential campaign has been one of the most vexing and debated political competition. In a democratic society, with qualitative access to a plethora of information and insight, our thought processes should be evolving and so should be our broad-mindedness and flexibility to accept opposite opinions. However, with more information to hang on to, few groups are turning into deft manipulators in order to keep the stride in their favour!
The social media echo chamber effect gained a tempo recently. What exactly is the echo chamber effect? The narrow space wherein radical beliefs are propagated and amplified by repetitive communication; this narrow space happens to be few narrow minds as of now!
Facebook’s ‘Trending News’ controversy – is one fine example of the Social Media Echo Chamber Effect. Accused of sifting with their Trending News listings in a biased manner so that befitting news according to them could be emphasized or de-emphasized upon, has been one reason that Facebook landed in hot waters! If Facebook deems that a story should be trending, maybe something of a political movement, then that could obviously lead to a divisive debate or worse, a bigger political issue.
The dire straits, as of now, circulate around the possibility of such effect latching onto the users. Facebook has revamped its platform significantly when it acknowledged the fact that few Russian agents successfully ran political influence operations on Facebook. However, now with the whole jazz around ”coordinated inauthentic behaviour” originating in Iran and Russia, conflict around divisive social issues has been stirring like a typhoon yet again.
Whatever the scenario be, Facebook, with its recent act of taking down politically disturbing pages, has somehow hindered the flow of unregulated, unauthentic and conspiracy inducing, junk news!