October 12, 2017

"A CNN investigation of a Russian-linked account shows its tentacles extended to YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go."

CNN reports.
The campaign, titled "Don't Shoot Us," offers new insights into how Russian agents created a broad online ecosystem where divisive political messages were reinforced across multiple platforms...

The Don't Shoot Us campaign... used these platforms to highlight incidents of alleged police brutality, with what may have been the dual goal of galvanizing African Americans to protest and encouraging other Americans to view black activism as a rising threat....

Specifically, the Don't Shoot Us contest directed readers to go to find and train Pokémon near locations where alleged incidents of police brutality had taken place. Users were instructed to give their Pokémon names corresponding with those of the victims.... It's unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish....
Okay. Well, tentacles sound really scary...

40 comments:

Sebastian said...

Who needs collusion when the Russians can just exploit prog hatred of America?

Now I Know! said...

Obviously, Trump is still employing the strategy encouraging white Americans to view black activism as a rising threat.

Nonapod said...

used these platforms to highlight incidents of alleged police brutality, with what may have been the dual goal of galvanizing African Americans to protest and encouraging other Americans to view black activism as a rising threat

I still question how effective this stuff actually was. I tend to think that us Americans were getting plenty worked up on our own without any outside encouragement. The problems is, knowing quantitatively how much of an effect this actually had is truly recondite. It all comes down to what you want to believe. Do you believe this had an effect? If so, how much of one?

Ann Althouse said...

So what is the concern here? Is it that this had an effect on the 2016 election or is the question more about whether Russians are generally behind racial discord and all sorts of protests here in the U.S.?

Now I Know! said...

As, long as Trump and his campaign were not cooperating or coordinating with Russian front groups, then this really does not legally jeopardize Trump.

If the Trump campaign were in communication with these foreign groups and lie about it to investigators, then they will and should be in criminal legal trouble.

Now I Know! said...

We all know that if Obama was suspected of running his campaign in concert with China then all of Althouse's conservative commenters would have been apoplectic.

If there was some collusion on the part of Trump or his campaign team then they need to come clean. The biggest mistake they could make is to lie about it to those charged by his Justice Department to investigate.

Matthew Sablan said...

So far, all we've learned from this is that Russia was, at best, agnostic about who won. That the meeting Trump had with a Russian agent was a Russian agent that the Obama administration trusted enough to bring in front of Congress... so...

I'm still confused what proof we had that, recall nearly a year ago, we were being told was ironclad.

buwaya said...

"We all know that if Obama was suspected of running his campaign in concert with China"

The Clintons certainly were. And this goes way back.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_United_States_campaign_finance_controversy

And that was an extremely crude arrangement.

Not sufficient apoplexy apparently, because it was continuous since then. Better concealed though, not that this has been investigated much.

Mike Sylwester said...

Robert "The FBI White-Washer" Mueller is disgracing himself and our Intelligence Community by conducting a political witch-hunt that he is justifying with absurd nonsense about clickbait websites with IP addresses in Russia.

The blog Moon of Alabama recently published an article titled "The "Russian Ads" On Facebook Are Just Another Click-Bait Scheme". Excerpts follow:

-----

.... The for-profit scheme runs as follows:

One builds pages with "hot" stuff that hopefully attracts lots of viewers. One creates ad-space on these pages and fills it with Google ads. One attracts viewers and promotes the spiked pages by buying $3 Facebook mini-ads for them. The mini-ads are targeted at the most susceptible groups.

A few thousand users will come and look at such pages. Some will 'like' the puppy pictures or the rant for or against LGBT and further spread them. Some will click the Google ads. Money then flows into the pockets of the page creator. One can rinse and repeat this scheme forever. Each such page is a small effort for a small revenue. But the scheme is highly scaleable and parts of it can be automatized.

This is, in essence, the same business model traditional media publishers use. They create "news" and controversies to attract readers. The attention of the readers is then sold to advertisers. The business is no longer limited to a few rich oligarchs. One no longer needs reporters or a printing press to join it. Anyone can now run a similar business.

We learned after the election that some youths in Macedonia created whole "news"-websites filled with highly attractive but fake partisan stories. They were not interested in the veracity or political direction of their content. Their only interest was to attract viewers. They made thousands of dollars by selling advertisements on their sites. ....

The 3,000 Facebook ads Congress is investigating are part of a similar scheme. The mini-ads promoted pages with hot button issues and click-bait puppy pictures. These pages were themselves created to generate ad-clicks and revenue. Facebook claims that "Russia" is behind them. We will likely find some Russian teens who simply repeated the scheme their Macedonian friends were running on.

With its "Russian influence" scare the NYT follows the same business model. It produces fake news which attracts viewers and readers who's attention is then sold to advertisers. Facebook is also profiting from this. Its current piecemeal release of vague information keeps its name in the news. ...

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/3000-facebook-ads-the-russian-influence-campaign-is-a-profitable-click-bait-scheme.html

Mike Sylwester said...

On Monday Consortium News published an article written by Robert Parry and titled "Russia-gate Jumps the Shark". Excerpts follow:

-----

A key distinction between propaganda and journalism is that manipulative propaganda relies on exaggeration and deceit while honest journalism provides context and perspective. But what happens when the major news outlets of the world’s superpower become simply conveyor belts for warmongering propaganda?

That is a question that the American people now face as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and virtually the entire mainstream media hype ridiculously minor allegations about Russia’s “meddling” in American politics into front-page hysteria.

For instance, on Tuesday, the major news outlets were filled with ... how Google ... had detected suspected “Russia-linked” accounts that bought several thousand dollars worth of ads.

The Washington Post ran this item as front-page news ... declaring: “Russian operatives bought ads across several of Google’s services without the company’s knowledge, the latest evidence that their campaign to influence U.S. voters was as sprawling as it was sophisticated in deploying the technology industry’s most powerful tools.” ...

However, if you read deeply enough into the story, you discover that the facts are a wee bit less dramatic. The Post tells us:

“Google’s internal investigation found $4,700 of search ads and display ads that the company believes are Russian-connected, and found $53,000 of ads with political content that were purchased from Russian Internet providers, building addresses or with Russian currency, people familiar with the investigation said. …

“One Russian-linked account spent $7,000 on ads to promote a documentary called ‘You’ve Been Trumped,’ a film about Donald Trump’s efforts to build a golf course in Scotland along an environmentally sensitive coastline, these people said. Another spent $30,000 on ads questioning whether President Obama needed to resign. Another bought ads to promote political merchandise for Obama.”

A journalist – rather than a propagandist – would immediately follow these figures with some context, i.e., that Google’s net digital ad sales revenue is about $70 billion annually. In other words, these tiny ad buys – with some alleged connection to Russia, a nation of 144 million people and not all Vladimir Putin’s “operatives” – are infinitesimal when put into any rational perspective.

But rationality is not what the Post and other U.S. mainstream news outlets are engaged in here. They are acting as propagandists determined to whip up a dangerous hysteria ... to delegitimize Trump’s election last year. ...

It doesn’t seem to matter that the facts don’t fit the desired narrative. First of all, none of this content, detected by Google, is “disinformation” as the Post claims, unless you consider a critical documentary about Trump’s Scottish golf course to be “disinformation,” or for that matter criticism and/or support for President Obama. ...

The same journalistic failures have appeared in similar articles about Facebook and Twitter ...

Rather than include the comparative numbers which would show how nutty Russia-gate has become, the U.S. mainstream media systematically avoids any reference to how tiny the “Russia-linked” pebbles are when compared to the size of the very large lake into which they were allegedly tossed. ...

The New York Times discovered that one of the “Russia-linked” Facebook groups was devoted to photos of “adorable puppies.” That left the “newspaper of record” musing about how nefarious the Russians must be to cloak their sinister operations behind puppies. ...

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/10/10/russia-gate-jumps-the-shark/

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
So what is the concern here? Is it that this had an effect on the 2016 election or is the question more about whether Russians are generally behind racial discord and all sorts of protests here in the U.S.?

The concern is the DNC got caught rigging their primary and they needed a scapegoat for losing the presidential election after foisting the soulless corrupt witch Hillary on the country as their nominee.

Rather than be honest with democrat voters about the inherent corruption in the party they made up the Russian collusion story out of whole cloth.

Most democrat voters, being necessarily devoid of a soul, accepted the obvious lie and are running with it. It took a complete lack of moral character to vote for Hillary in the first place. Might as well continue the self deception.

Fernandinande said...

Them Rooskies are nothing if not mysterious!

They influenced me to accompany Smugglypuff, my Pokémon action figure, to a location where alleged incidents of police brutality had taken place and Smugglypuff got arrested for obstruction of justice and assault and I had to go home alone. Again.

YoungHegelian said...

@NIK,

If the Trump campaign were in communication with these foreign groups and lie about it to investigators, then they will and should be in criminal legal trouble.

Probably not. No doubt these Russian fronts were corporations registered as such in some state. As such, they are on American soil & have all the 1st A rights as American citizens. They are free to speak out on the election or any other matter that crosses their minds.

It is against the law (a law breached all the damn time) for a political campaign to collude with a PAC. It is against the law for most kinds of corporation to donate to a candidate. That the corporation is foreign or American owned is immaterial (e.g. if an executive from Sony donates his own personal money to a candidate, is that "Japanese" money in American politics?).

We are not at war with Russia. As such, they are perfectly welcome to express their views to & hear the spiels of our politicians just like anyone else.

Fernandinande said...

POKEMON - THREAT OR MENACE?

Quaestor said...

Obviously, Trump is still employing the strategy encouraging white Americans to view black activism as a rising threat.

Obviously, you didn't read the linked material.

Do you enjoy debasing yourself? Or is it just a living?

Quaestor said...

POKEMON - THREAT OR MENACE?

Or?

Achilles said...

Now I Know! said...
We all know that if Obama was suspected of running his campaign in concert with China then all of Althouse's conservative commenters would have been apoplectic.

If there was some collusion on the part of Trump or his campaign team then they need to come clean. The biggest mistake they could make is to lie about it to those charged by his Justice Department to investigate.


There is zero evidence of collusion. Anyone who is honest and informed has decided that the DNC created the story out of nothing and the Mueller investigation is a coup dressed up as a Stalinist witch hunt in search of a crime.

In the end the DNC/leftist are outed as corrupt soulless shitheads. A strong majority of Americans think the Obama administration unmaskers/leakers and their media co-conspirators are traitors. If you keep pushing your coup we are going to wipe the Stalinists out. There really aren't very may of you at this point.

Mary Beth said...

Users were instructed to give their Pokémon names corresponding with those of the victims....

Other players can't see the names of your pokemon, even the ones you put in gyms.

tim in vermont said...

Obama removed the checks on his web site to screen out foreign and other illegal donations. That's an actual fact, not an unsupported conspiracy theory, were you up in arms, Now I Know, because the media didn't care at all.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Our Intelligence Community says that when the Russians buy advertising that support BLM they are really trying to help Trump.

In that case the dirty Russians must be behind the NFL's anthem protest. Time to arrest and charge Kapaernick as a Russian spy.

Amadeus 48 said...

Tentacles. Tentacles everywhere!

As my friend the Russian literature professor says, "After a lifetime of studying the Russians under the Tsars and the Soviets, I have concluded that they can't help themselves. Everything they attempt, they screw up. In Russia the future is on the way--it's just stopped for a drink."

tim in vermont said...

If there was some collusion on the part of Trump or his campaign team then they need to come clean.

He said IF! Now the Great Pumpkin will never come!

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

You would think that after the third trimester, even the twilight fringe would have the human decency and intellectual integrity to acknowledge viability.

n.n said...

The Soviets are advocating for the single-payer government monopoly.

The Soviets... nay, the neo-National Socialists are advocating for diversity that denies individual dignity and affixes "yellow stars" to classes of people.

The Soviets and the neo-National Socialists are advocating for elective abortion of American lives deemed unworthy, inconvenient, or profitable.

An unprecedented progressive (i.e. monotonic) conspiracy.

D said...

Next up: Rocket Robin Hood had hidden soviet agit-prop messaging. The rot is deep.

n.n said...

The Soviets are advocating for progressive liberalism that literally and figuratively affixes pussy hats to women, uncritically paints "R-R"s on the male of the species, and unceremoniously carries out the final solution... I mean, rites, for those without a voice (head, etc.) and who are literally and figuratively disarmed for the sake of progress.

h said...

So the Democratic excitement and insistence that Russian activities be thoroughly investigated is now creating evidence that will lead any future progressive grass roots movement to be suspected of being a Russian backed plot. Not just BLM, but others like Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, Occupy Wall Street, even memes like "lean forward" or "resist", all of these have had their respectability retroactively called into question by the Russian investigation. And anything in the future that arises as a progressive movement will be attacked by the right as being a Russian backed plot. Of course we already have accusations of Soros backed plots, and I believe that this same Russian investigation (or associated leaks) are providing some evidence of those as well. But the right wing accusations no longer look quite so ridiculous, and this weakens the left.

Unknown said...

"It's unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish" I've been saying this for a while--when you see the facebook ads you will not be able to figure out what they are trying to accomplish because the Russian view of the US is so off-kilter that they have incoherent goals. Watch an editorial on RT (Russia Today) on cable and please explain what the point is. You won't be able to.

D said...

Unknown at 6.11 makes one wonder how a quarterly meeting of russian agents looks like...

Chief: Reports, gentlemen.

Agent 4: our YouTube account continues to make baseball blooper videos, subconsciously creating disrespect in Americans for their beloved national pastime. We had 4,000 hits in the first six months.
Chief: I love the one where he falls down and then the other Yankee person falls over him. Excellent demoralization propaganda!

Agent 21: our deeply embedded comrades in the comics industry have suggested storylines of vigilantism in future Green Lantern episodes.
Chief: Yes, excellent! We need Americans to think they can rely on local justice, and not have Washington there to save them!

Agent 44: our fake Facebook page keeps running gushing tributes to "This is Us". American manufacturing will be driven to even lower levels of productivity as men sit up all night sharing their favorite moments with their coworkers.
Chief: I didnt see last night!! Dont tell me!!

Earnest Prole said...

Of course tentacles sound really scary -- it's How Communism Works.

tim in vermont said...

It's well known that the Russians are behind a lot of the anti-fracking and pipeline opposition, oops.

cubanbob said...

Hillary's billion dollar campaign was derailed by a couple of hundred grand spent by the Ruskies.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Now I Know! said...

The biggest mistake they could make is to lie about it to those charged by his Justice Department to investigate.

I suspect the Trump campaign will have its Scooter Libby. Someone will say something under oath that will turn out to be false, though immaterial to any Russian activity. Lefties will treat this as Watergate 2.0

David said...

That's it? This is the Russian effort to scuttle Clinton and elect Trump? Somehow I am not impressed.

Darrell said...

The Russians were behind The Summer of Love--specifically getting the Leftist political groups they had been financing together with the Hippies. The KGB and other groups in the Soviet Union thought their American operatives had been useless and wasted their precious money over the years. There were rumors that they would be recalled from the US and Great Britain and get the full traitor treatment. The Be-In in NYC (and clones elsewhere) bolstered numbers and saved the lives of Russian operatives. The BBC had a very good multi-part documentary about this earlier this year. I was surprised at the balance and openness of the series.

Mike Sylwester said...

How come the Russians didn't use MySpace to meddle in our election?

Matthew Sablan said...

"I suspect the Trump campaign will have its Scooter Libby."

-- I had initial agreed with Bush just commuting Libby's sentence, but the more I see the blatant politicization of the justice department and investigations by the left (Palin, Walker, McDonnell, Ted Stevens, etc., etc.), I more and more think I might be wrong and a complete pardon may have been in order since it becomes clearer and clearer that the *only* reason Libby was found was because the investigators weren't happy learning that Armitage was the leaker early in the investigation because they had a witch to hunt.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Earnest Prole said...
Of course tentacles sound really scary -- it's How Communism Works.

10/12/17, 6:52 PM


Damn, son, it's a pity you weren't around for the Cold War. We could have obliterated their entire belief system by saturation bombing with your hipster irony. Though it might have violated WMD treaties. (Weapon of Mass Dickishness)