Representatives from around a dozen US tech titans are holding a private Friday meeting at Twitter headquarters to coordinate their efforts ahead of the 2018 US midterm elections, reports BuzzFeed News.
Last week, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, invited employees from a dozen companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Snapchat, to gather at Twitter’s headquarters in downtown San Francisco... -BuzzFeed News
“As I’ve mentioned to several of you over the last few weeks, we have been looking to schedule a follow-on discussion to our industry conversation about information operations, election protection, and the work we are all doing to tackle these challenges,” Gleicher wrote.
The meeting has a three-part agenda; each company will present their latest efforts to counter "information operations," then there will be a discussion about problems each company faces; and finally, participants will discuss whether such coordination conclaves should become an annual affair.
Nine of the companies meeting Friday also met in May at Facebook to discuss similar issues along with two US government representatives; Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Chris Krebs and Mike Burham from the FBI's Foreign Influence Task Force created last November. The attendees say they were discouraged after the meeting after receiving little input from the G-men.
Social media giants - particularly Facebook and Twitter - faced harsh scrutiny from Democratic legislators following the 2016 US election for allowing "fake news" and Russia to rob Hillary Clinton of her turn to be president, or for somehow forcing her to ignore several key states while campaigning.
On the other hand, Facebook VP of advertising, Rob Goldman, admitted in February that "the majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election," and "I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal."
Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal.— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election. https://t.co/2dL8Kh0hof— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
Goldman was of course burned at the stake and forced to issue a Galilean recant of his opinions.
The emergence of populism, also blamed on Russia, has introduced a new conversation into the American dialogue about borders, language and culture - concepts championed by conservatives, which are now labeled "hateful" by the very tech titans whose platforms we all use to communicate with each other.
If the coordinated takedown of Alex Jones, Infowars and those in his orbit is a taste of what's to come, along with the aggressive "shadow bans" and "strikes" which are automatically triggered when activist groups swarm targeted accounts with complaints, it's clear that regardless of what Jack Dorsey claims - there is a clear mechanism for mass censorship of political opinions which is disproportionately punishing conservatives.
This should concern everyone. These are not the actions of benevolent companies looking to stop a threat. These are the actions of a tech ruling class that want to control what voices you are allowed to hear. Now they’re colluding together for the midterms.https://t.co/d5BLDxaeVp— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) August 24, 2018
And if the establishment narrative is that Russia or China or Iran are always meddling, then the outcome of every election unfavorable to Silicon Valley interests will be marked with an asterisk of uncertainty.
Meanwhile, tech platforms have announced ongoing battles with Russia and Iranian intelligence operations.
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it had, for the 12th time since 2016, legally acquired control of a handful of web domains registered by Russian military intelligence for phishing operations, then shut them down. The next day, after receiving a tip from the threat intelligence company FireEye, Facebook and Twitter announced they had taken down a network of fake news sites and spoofed users meant to create sympathy for the Iranian government’s worldview. Google made a similar announcement about YouTube on Thursday.. -BuzzFeed News
Better censor everyone with "
harmful" divergent opinions just to be safe...
"We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology," @Jack told me. But he knows some people do not believe him. "I think we need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is left, is more left-leaning," he says... pic.twitter.com/1i8jJunhfz— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 18, 2018