Election 2016

Facebook Is Fined by British Agency Over Cambridge Analytica Data Leak

 Facebook was hit with the maximum possible fine in Britain for allowing the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the information of millions of people without their consent, in what amounts to the social network’s first financial penalty since the data leak was revealed. The fine of 500,000 pounds, or about $660,000, represents a tiny sum for Facebook, which brings in billions of dollars in revenue every year.

Inside Facebook and Twitter’s secret meetings with Trump aides and conservative leaders who say tech is biased

Twitter and Facebook are scrambling to assuage conservative leaders who have sounded alarms — and sought to rile voters — with accusations that the country’s tech giants are censoring right-leaning posts, tweets and news. From secret dinners with conservative media elite to private meetings with the Republican National Committee, the new outreach reflects tech giants’ delicate task: satisfying a party in power while defending online platforms against attacks that threaten to undermine the public’s trust in the Web.

Rep Nunes is demanding new information on Trump campaign and FBI informants

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) is showing no signs of de-escalating a conflict with the Justice Department over the Russia investigation, hitting the department with an expansive new request for "any contacts" between FBI intelligence sources and over a dozen Trump campaign associates.

Apparently, National Enquirer sent stories about Trump to his attorney Michael Cohen before publication

Apparently during the 2016 presidential campaign, National Enquirer executives sent digital copies of the tabloid’s articles and cover images related to Donald Trump and his political opponents to Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen in advance of publication — an unusual practice that speaks to the close relationship between Trump and David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company.

Obama cybersecurity czar: Russian hackers likely scanned election systems in all 50 states

Russian hackers likely scanned the election systems of all 50 states for vulnerabilities in 2016 — not just the 21 states confirmed as targets by homeland security officials in 2017, said Michael Daniel, the cybersecurity czar for former President Barack Obama, to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Daniel said that the federal government should invest more money in cybersecurity for state election systems.

The news that bots share on Twitter tends not to focus on politics

Since the 2016 US presidential election, much attention has been focused on the role of bots in promoting political news on Twitter. But bots can play a role in spreading many other types of news and information as well. This study finds that suspected bots are far more active in sharing links to news sites focusing on nonpolitical content than to sites with a political focus. Some findings:

Publisher of National Enquirer Subpoenaed in Michael Cohen Probe

Apparently, federal authorities have subpoenaed the publisher of the National Enquirer for records related to its $150,000 payment to a former Playboy model for the rights to her story alleging an affair with Donald Trump. The subpoena from Manhattan federal prosecutors requesting information from the publisher, American Media Inc., about its August 2016 payment to Karen McDougal is part of a broader criminal investigation of President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Cambridge Analytica-linked academic spurns idea Facebook swayed election

Aleksandr Kogan, the academic researcher who harvested personal data from Facebook for a political consultancy firm said that the idea the data was useful in swaying voters’ decisions was “science fiction.”

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie warns that Facebook targeting threatens free speech

Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower who outed Cambridge Analytica for improperly accessing millions of Facebook users’ personal information, warned that unchecked data collection and targeting on social media threaten Web users’ privacy — and the healthy functioning of democracy. Wylie, who worked at the consultancy before it assisted President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, pointed to Facebook’s tools that allow political candidates, advertisers and others to reach discrete categories of Americans online. 

The Man Who Saw the Dangers of Cambridge Analytics Years Ago

In December 2014, John Rust wrote to the head of the legal department at the University of Cambridge, where he is a professor, warning them that a storm was brewing. Rust informed the university that one of the school’s psychology professors, Aleksandr Kogan, was using an app he created to collect data on millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. Not only did the app collect data on people who opted into it, it also collected data on those users’ Facebook friends.