Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Facebook says U.S. is the top target of disinformation campaigns

Data: Facebook; Chart: Axios Visuals

Of the 150 disinformation campaigns that Facebook has caught and removed in the past four years, the U.S. has been the most frequent target by far, according to a new threat intelligence report from Facebook.

Why it matters: While most of the campaigns targeting the U.S. have originated abroad, Facebook found that a significant number of campaigns targeting people in the U.S. have originated from inside the U.S.

  • "I think it's significant that while we saw a lot of foreign targeting of the U.S. ahead of 2020 election, there was also a lot of domestic targeting," says Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy.
  • One campaign the company points to was the network operated by a U.S. based marketing firm, working on behalf of its clients, including a pro-Trump organization.

By the numbers: In total, the company said there were 16 takedowns of coordinated inauthentic behavior networks, or disinformation campaigns, ahead of the 2020 elections.

  • Of those 16 networks, five originated in Russia, five originated in Iran, and five originated in the the U.S. One originated in China.

Be smart: Not all networks caught were attributed to individuals or organizations tied to governments, but a few targeting the U.S. ahead of the 2020 election were attributed to Russia and Iran.

  • Facebook said it saw its first-ever "perception hack" stem from Iran last year, in which Iran-based actors use social media to create the false perception that they’ve pulled off major hacks of electoral systems.

Between the lines: Gleicher said the U.S. is uncovering more of these attempts thanks to a robust civic infrastructure, including cyber firms and academics in place to find and stop these types of interferences.

  • He notes that other countries that are often targeted with disinformation campaigns also tend to have strong communities trying to police this type of activity, including Ukraine and UK.
  • Countries that are experiencing high levels of civil unrest, like Myanmar, have also seen numerous examples of networks that originate in the same country of the people they are targeting.

The big picture: The findings from its most recent threat report show that online information warfare has become a common and pervasive tactic for political actors, and sometimes governments, to target both foreign adversaries and their own people.

  • Overall, Gleicher says Facebook has gotten better at uncovering and stopping more campaigns over the past few years. "The sophistication tends to get smaller," he said. "We're catching more, smaller operations."

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories