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IRA Report Notes

IRA Report – December 17, 2018

Download the full Computational Propaganda Research Project report here:

Organic posting is under the magnifying lens, and some of my latest posts have been mired by the allegation of me being a “fake account” or being somehow maligned with a foreign interest.  I have been shadow banned in many digital arenas, and some of what gets said on the internet about me has brought damage.

The comments I have made on posts of Representatives (Facebook Town Hall) have brought myself into the spotlight (which I am okay with) and although it is my intention to be transparent online (which schools I attended, what my career is), I have noticed that these simply act as bait for those who will use what I share as the basis of their own conclusions about my educational and career goals, etc.

Accounts like @blackmatterus have been removed during the “clean-up” of manipulative accounts.  The Computational Propaganda Research Project report seeks to clarify what was done to rid the networks of “Russian Influence” but does not reach viable conclusions as much as seeking to rationalize the continued actions of the Ad Network [Facebook].  Consider the following:

  • This is a two-tiered world, where post-level censorship happens in a way that is monumentally out of control.  At the same time, different (oppositional) accounts seem to have carte blanche to state whenever they want, statements like “Chris Hanrahan hates America” and then rapidly block me.
  • How can I be labeled de facto as inauthentic in the face of real “inauthentic” manipulation content?
  • The common denominator in the subject matter is at times obvious – my posts suggest that the audience think for themselves.

Europe has created a new direction for the internet through GDPR. They focus on the symptom – which is the potential for widespread privacy violations to continue.  They in effect propose to alter the ways that we communicate and form new connections on the internet.  For convenience purposes, there have always been implementations of technology which have fallen short of the mark when it comes to security and almost every other category.  In short, the technologies behind Social Networking are immature and have been co-opted by forces who should never have attained this level of power and influence.

  • What we have now is the reactionary “privacy banner” and GDPR-inspired changes.
  • This has become an enforcement issue.
  • Companies can use GDPR Readiness ratings to further flatten the adoption curve for new technologies – as well as propping up their existing platforms, many of which seem to have gone into a “safe mode”

In the case of “disinformation”, they can even build and use mechanisms such as these to act as blocking factors (confirm your account through email/add new details in order to “post”)

Have You:

  • Been asked to re-enter your password lately?
    • Been hit with a new Terms of Service agreement to click [OK] on?
  • Many of the companies “sell ads” and then ues the money to hire in this important area of emerging technology. Artificial Intelligence is involved today, to a lesser extent than it should be.  While this is (perhaps) true and valid as a business model today, there won’t be any long-term business model in the area of “selling ads”.
  • The way that companies have bolstered technology to get to where they are today, has varied.
    • What results is an asymmetry in visibility of the system.
  • How can I be labeled de facto as inauthentic, and others who do nothing but retweet, like, and share the messages of those who have achieved the status of digitally untouchable.
  • I like to question those who appear to be in power, or on the favored side of any debate.  On platforms like Facebook, the algorithms are not favorable based on their designs (or made to be biased by their designs) but the observed experience seems to be innately biased and flawed.
    • This will be the chief focus of The Potato Network
  • We speak, as a human race, about the need to advance AI and ML technology.

It is beyond curious that we have at this time settled for a patchwork of liability in our laws regarding the pieces of information which loosely identify ourselves. We should strive to be better than that.

  • What assertion of identity is useful, in today’s language?
  • What is the barrier to entry to devoid and co-opt the identities we as individual Americans claim to have?
  • What policy changes will lead to better solutions for this important area of technology?
  • Several “data sharing” mechanisms are thought to have efficacy, but what do they actually empower?
  • The nature of the conversations which have helped to build and prop up this way of thinking has been ill-conceived.

What element of timeliness of technological advancement is seen as convenient/anticipated by the industry?

  • The way that the IRA allegedly sought to segment audiences (using Facebook Ads Manager) was mostly used to seed organic content.
  • The IRA also purchased ads on Google – seeking to redirect traffic to 38 different websites and URLs.
  • Google related data lacks context and was not useful to analyze what was done.

The nature of the IRA Facebook Pages as described on page 35 of the 47-page report:

The conclusion speaks for itself in its aim/goal/rationale:

Download the full report from the Computational Propaganda Research Project here: