Tagged With elections

Twitter is never, ever going to ban or otherwise take direct action against the president, who besides being the site’s number one power user has in the past skirted uncomfortably close to using it as ground zero for nuclear war.

The logic goes that as the president, Trump’s tweets are inherently newsworthy — a sensible argument in principle, though the outcome of that has been that Trump’s account enjoys de facto immunity from the rules governing every other Twitter user.

Facebook, whose handling of the nation’s last major election has become a sprawling, headache-inducing public relations nightmare, has been eagerly touting how much better it plans to do in the future. (Have you heard of its very important and definitely super effective electoral War Room?) Late on Monday, the eve of the 2018 midterm elections, it posted a news dump showing its latest effort: 115 bans of accounts suspected of “coordinated inauthentic behaviour.”

Facebook, the scandal-mired social media giant that has faced enormous criticism for its role in the spread of online propaganda and fake news across the globe, has a War Room it wants everyone to know is tackling that issue head-on. Earlier this month, it touted the War Room’s efforts to clean up a torrent of hoaxes and misinformation spreading across Brazil on Facebook subsidiary and encrypted chat service WhatsApp before the country’s October 28 runoff election. Its head of civic engagement, Samidh Chakrabarti, told reporters the company was “delighted to see how efficient we were able to be, from point of detection to point of action.”

The government of Ecuador, whose embassy in London has served as a refuge from UK authorities for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange since 2012, has been growing weary of their guest for quite some time. According to a Friday report from Reuters, it even went so far as to try and name him to a diplomatic position in Russia but backed down after Britain refused to grant Assange diplomatic immunity.

The Republican Party, and conservatives more generally, are upping their attacks on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google over unfounded claims of bias. To date, that’s included cooking up doctored evidence Google blacklisted Donald Trump’s speeches, a string of Trump tweets about fictitious censorship and non-existent “shadow bans,” xenophobic paranoia about Latino voter turnout efforts, and numerous threats of federal investigations.

Cambridge Analytica, the shady UK-based election firm that shut down after it allegedly partnered with an app to scrape data on at least 87 million Facebook users without their consent and months of ensuing controversy, is rapidly seeing its problems grow worse. Already embroiled in trouble with authorities in the UK, it now has to contend with investigations in the US launched by the Department of Justice and FBI, according to a report in the New York Times.