In the News

Here is a summary of disinformation-related articles that have been in the news. News on the topic moves at a fast pace, and we do our best to stay up-to-date to give you the latest.​

Dec 18, 2019 - The Biggest Social Media Operation You’ve Never Heard of Is Run Out of Cyprus by Russians by Lisa Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Alethea Group.
Covered by Maddow on 12/20/2019, this is the story of TheSoul, a Russia-created social media content creating and audience-building force that has one of the largest audiences on YouTube. TheSoul content is branded under channels such as 5-Minute-Crafts, and much is click-bait. Some content is political, pro-Russia. And some is also pro-Trump. In 2018, TheSoul purchased ads targeting US citizens on political issues in rubles. There is a lot in this article, and Kaplan presents it in readable format. What concerns me most is TheSoul's audience-building. Having massive numbers of followers provides an instant audience to whom various forms of content can be targeted - including content that is political in nature while not being for a specific candidate.

Dec 11, 2019 - A new way 2020 candidates want to win your vote: tracking your phone’s location by Theodore Schleifer, Recode. 

Our cell phone "exhaust" (e.g. location data, purchase data, search data) is a goldmine of data. Trump campaign is utilizing location-based data to target people -- this is not illegal. This is using tools that are available. We are at a disadvantage with a long primary, and I am personally hoping some of the billionaires who are working on swing state efforts are also thinking - how can we use available data to our advantage? Also known as "digital surveillance", this is one more reason why it's important that our elected leaders have some inkling of technology. Regulation is desperately needed.

Nov 21, 2019 - The Digital Wars, Campaign HQ Podcast with David Plouffe 
David Plouffe interviews Tara McGowan, the founder of ACRONYM and an early Barack Obama digital media strategist. Tara discusses the nuances of today's digital landscape for candidate marketing. Why is it not such a good idea to ban all political ads from Facebook? What does it mean that Trump has never stopped campaigning?

Oct 25, 2019 - Trump is using impeachment to collect new supporters with Facebook ads by Jeremy B. Merrill, Quartz
Impeachment is just another opportunity for a campaign for Trump and his social media machinery. Anything that will incite his base of supporters becomes another means of getting donation dollars and building his reach. Trump's campaign director, Brad Parscale, was his 2016 social media directory. Parscale uses the social media audience targeting and building tools that are native to Facebook. This is where voters are. Team Trump did not stop building audience in 2016 - they increased it because it was so successful. It's been an endless campaign. Now impeachment is a campaign. Note that his biggest spends are on data and prospecting.