Monday, November 4, 2019

Russia and Africa - How Facebook Controls the Narrative

Once again, we can thank Facebook for protecting us from those nasty Russians and their constant peddling of propaganda.  Here's the announcement:

Here is the key sentence:

"We're constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people."

This is a rather hilarious statement given that Facebook's Earnings Release for the second quarter of 2019 looks like this:

You will notice that $16.624 billion or 98.4 percent of Facebook's second quarter revenue comes from advertising, up 28 percent on a year-over-year basis.  If advertising isn't something that is used to manipulate people, then I don't know what its true purpose is.

Let's go back to the announcement.  The offenders apparently used fake accounts to post about global and local news in Africa regarding Russia's policies in Africa, elections in both Madagascar and Mozambique as well as criticism of French and U.S. policies in Africa.  Imagine, imbalance in reportage.  It's a good thing that the American media can never be accused of biased coverage of Russia, isn't it?

Here's what passes for pro-Russia Facebook-based African propaganda:

Fortunately for those of us that are easily duped by the pro-Russian narrative, Facebook also removed 17 Facebook accounts, 18 Pages, 3 Groups and 6 Instagram accounts that originated in Russia and focused on the Sudan.  Approximately 457,000 accounts followed one or more of these pages and 1,300 Facebook accounts jointed at least one of these groups.  Fortunately, the people behind these accounts paid around $160 for ads on Facebook using Russian Rubles, a dead giveaway to their real identity because no one uses Russian Rubles except Russians.

In addition, Facebook removed a network of 14 Facebook accounts, 12 Pages, one Group and one Instagram account that also originated in Russia and focused on Libya.  About 212,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages, one account joined the Group and 29,300 people followed the Instagram account.   Here are three examples of the content posted by these pages:

According to Human Rights Watch, in October 2018, around 200,000 Libyans remained internally displaced and the United States continues its program of "precision bombings against purported ISIS and Al-Qaeda targets.  I'm certain that everyone is still very happy in Libya despite eight years of American-inspired civil strife, particularly Muammar Gaddafi who suffered this ignominious end:

On the upside, it did give the loser of the 2016 American presidential election something to chuckle about:

America's technology tyrants are still smarting over their preferred presidential candidate's loss in 2016 and they aren't about to let us forget that voters were stupid enough to swallow Russia's anti-Hillary propaganda.  Facebook's ongoing program of censorship ensures one thing; their narrative and that of their masters in Washington remains intact.  All other narratives are to be destroyed.

Apparently, we are all supposed to be thankful that the American technology giants are willing to do our thinking for us.

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