Selected Washington Post Articles – Week Ending December 25th, 2018

Weekly round-up of cognitive security-related articles from the Washington Post.

Congress demands answers on AP’s relationship with Chinese state media
Josh Rogin, Columnist, Washington Post, December 24th, 2018
China’s state-run media companies are rapidly expanding their integration with Western news outlets, as part of Beijing’s worldwide foreign influence operations campaign. In Washington, lawmakers in both parties are calling out such arrangements and demanding U.S. media companies make sure they don’t become tools of Chinese government propaganda.

Facebook suspends five accounts, including that of a social media researcher, for misleading tactics in Alabama election
Tony Romm and Craig Timberg, Washington Post, December 22nd, 2018
Facebook has suspended the account of Jonathon Morgan, the chief executive of a top social media research firm, after reports that he and others engaged in an operation to spread disinformation during the special election in Alabama last year.

Sen. Jones calls for probe into alleged disinformation plot in Alabama Senate race
Craig Timberg, Tony Romm, Aaron C. Davis and Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post, December 20th, 2018
Sen. Doug Jones on Thursday called for a federal probe into allegations that online disinformation tactics were used against his opponent during last year’s Alabama special election, which Jones narrowly won over Republican Roy Moore.

Researcher whose firm wrote report on Russian interference used questionable online tactics during Ala. Senate race
Craig Timberg, Tony Romm, and Aaron C. Davis, Washington Post, December 18th, 2018
A leading social media researcher whose firm wrote a major report on Russian disinformation for the Senate acknowledged Tuesday night that he engaged in misleading online tactics of his own during Alabama’s hotly contested special election last year.

Facebook purges more Myanmar accounts for misrepresentation
Associated Press, Washington Post, December 19th, 2018
Facebook has announced its third and biggest purge of military-linked accounts in Myanmar, where critics have charged that the social network did too little to block inflammatory material that fueled communal hatred and violence, particularly against the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

AP Exclusive: Facebook removes fake Bangladesh news sites
Julhas Alam, Associated Press in the Washington Post, December 21th, 2018
Facebook is shutting down a series of fake news sites spreading false information about the Bangladesh opposition days before national elections, an official from the social media platform told The Associated Press.

How Russia used the Internet to perfect its dark arts
David Ignatius, Washington Post, December 18th, 2018
Imagine American politics for a moment as a laboratory experiment. A foreign adversary (let’s call it “Russia”) begins to play with the subjects, using carrots and sticks to condition their behavior. The adversary develops tools to dial up anger and resentment inside the lab bubble, and even recruits unwitting accomplices to perform specific tasks.

Social media and misinformation: It’s a game of whack-a-mole
Barbara Ortutay, Washington Post, December 18th, 2018
Social media companies are fighting an expensive and increasingly complex battle against Russian trolls who are using catchy memes, bots and fake accounts to influence elections and sow discord in the U.S. and beyond.

We’re giving Russia’s trolling team too much credit
Philip Bump, Washington Post, December 18th, 2018
Russia does seem to have altered the trajectory of the 2016 election. But this appears to have happened not by leveraging social media in clever and focused ways but by leveraging the traditional media to cover the WikiLeaks dumps.

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