Facebook reportedly prepping for possible post-election unrest – CNET

facebook-logo-phone-flag-9752

Facebook reportedly has a plan in place to help calm any unrest that may arise after the US election.

Image by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

Facebook has internal tools in place to help calm any unrest in the US that may break out following the election, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The tools, has previously used in so-called "at-risk" countries, will help slow the spread of viral content and suppress potentially inflammatory posts, the Journal reported.

Facebook said it's spent years working toward safer and more secure elections.

"We've applied lessons from previous elections, hired experts and built new teams with experience across different areas to prepare for various scenarios," a Facebook spokesperson said. "We've created new products, partnerships and policies -- such as pausing post-election ads -- to ensure we're more prepared than ever for the unique challenges of an election during a global pandemic."

Facebook has struggled to deal with moderating content across all aspects of its massive platform, which reaches more than 2 billion people. Problems include failing to prevent reuploads of video of the New Zealand mass shooting, helping fuel the 2017 genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, issues with stopping disinformation on WhatsApp, and anti-vaccination conspiracy theories spreading on Instagram. The world's largest social network has faced an uphill battle when it comes to stopping abuse.

Read more: How to vote in the 2020 election

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in September that the US presidential election "is not going to be business as usual," adding that he was "worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country."

A few days later, he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced the would commit $300 million to support voting and election infrastructure in the US ahead of the November election

Facebook said in early October it would take down content that seeks to intimidate voters, including posts that encourage people to engage in unauthorized poll watching. The company will also direct users to accurate election results through notifications and labels after the polls close in November.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

US has authority to ban TikTok, Trump administration says – CNET

Tik Tok America

TikTok poses a threat to US national security, government lawyers say.

James Martin/CNET

The Trump administration said Friday it has the authority to ban Americans' use of the TikTok, saying in a court filing that the popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app poses a national security threat because of its relationship with the Chinese government.

Trump administration lawyers said in a filing Friday with the US District Court in Washington DC that the US government should be allowed to impose restrictions on the app that will make it unusable in the US next month. The proposed restrictions are in line with the president's authority to protect US national security and limiting those powers run contrary to the law and past rulings, US government lawyers said.

"The President should not be prevented from regulating national-security threats simply because a foreign adversary cloaks its activities within a media company," government lawyers said in a 46-page filing.

An executive order President Donald Trump signed in August bars any US transactions with TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, saying that the data TikTok collects "threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information" and could allow China to track the location of federal employees and contractors. In September, a federal judged granted TikTok's request for a preliminary injunction against the order.

A separate executive order, issued Aug. 14, ordered ByteDance to sell its US operations by Nov. 12, leading to a potential deal with Oracle, which is currently up in the air

TikTok didn't immediately respond to a request for comment but has said it has never turned over US user data to the Chinese government and wouldn't do so even if it were asked.

TikTok is challenging the executive order, arguing that Trump didn't follow due process or provide evidence that TikTok was an actual threat.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

US has authority to ban TikTok, Trump administration says – CNET

Tik Tok America

TikTok poses a threat to US national security, government lawyers say.

James Martin/CNET

The Trump administration said Friday it has the authority to ban Americans' use of the TikTok, saying in a court filing that the popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app poses a national security threat because of its relationship with the Chinese government.

Trump administration lawyers said in a filing Friday with the US District Court in Washington DC that the US government should be allowed to impose restrictions on the app that will make it unusable in the US next month. The proposed restrictions are in line with the president's authority to protect US national security and limiting those powers run contrary to the law and past rulings, US government lawyers said.

"The President should not be prevented from regulating national-security threats simply because a foreign adversary cloaks its activities within a media company," government lawyers said in a 46-page filing.

An executive order President Donald Trump signed in August bars any US transactions with TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, saying that the data TikTok collects "threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information" and could allow China to track the location of federal employees and contractors. In September, a federal judged granted TikTok's request for a preliminary injunction against the order.

A separate executive order, issued Aug. 14, ordered ByteDance to sell its US operations by Nov. 12, leading to a potential deal with Oracle, which is currently up in the air

TikTok didn't immediately respond to a request for comment but has said it has never turned over US user data to the Chinese government and wouldn't do so even if it were asked.

TikTok is challenging the executive order, arguing that Trump didn't follow due process or provide evidence that TikTok was an actual threat.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

FBI: Iran, Russia obtained voter data to interfere with US elections – CNET

election-2020-voting-votes-mail-usps-trump-pence-biden-harris-1102

Russia and Iran have obtained voter registration data in an effort to interfere with the 2020 US elections., the FBI says.

James Martin/CNET

The FBI said late Wednesday that Russia and Iran have taken action to undermine US confidence in the upcoming elections.

The director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said both countries have obtained some voter registration data which Iran used to send spoof emails designed to intimidate voters.

"This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy," Ratcliffe said in a hastily called news conference Wednesday evening.

Ratcliffe said Iran's spoof emails were "designed to intimidate voters, incite unrest and damage President Donald Trump." Iran has also been linked to a video that suggests individuals can cast fraudulent ballots overseas, he said.

"Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters' belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will," Ratcliffe said.

"As we enter the last weeks before the election, we urge every American -- including members of the media – to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting," he said.

It's unclear how Iran and Russia obtained the voter registration information, though much of it is publicly available in multiple states, and others have been exposed in data breaches in the past. FBI Director Chris Wray said during the conference that access to voter registration data doesn't mean that your votes can or will be altered.

"We've been working for years as a community to build resilience in our election infrastructure and today that infrastructure remains resilient," Wray said. "You should be confident that your vote counts."

It's unclear how many people received these voter intimidation emails from Iran, though researchers from the cybersecurity company FireEye said it targeted Democratic voters in four states. 

"In recent years, Iranian information operations have continued to push boundaries using bold and innovative approaches. However, this incident marks a fundamental shift in our understanding of Iran's willingness to interfere in the democratic process," FireEye's senior director of analysis John Hultquist said. "While many of their operations have been focused on promoting propaganda in pursuit of Iran's interests, this incident is clearly aimed at undermining voter confidence." 

Hultquist added that the campaign was designed to stoke existing tensions and prey on fears of election security being vulnerable. 

An email campaign targeted Democratic Florida voters on Tuesday and Wednesday, claiming to have "access into the entire voting infrastructure" and looked to intimidate people into voting for Donald Trump. The email addresses were spoofed to come from the extremist right-wing group Proud Boys, and included a video claiming to fill out voter registration and cast absentee ballots for voters in Florida, Alaska and Arizona. 

Unlike other disinformation campaigns, which have used social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to spread foreign influence on elections as widely as possible, this campaign directly targeted voters through emails. While the fake Proud Boys voter intimidation campaign parallels the Justice Department's warning about Iran and Russia on Wednesday, the agencies didn't confirm if they were the same efforts. 

Lawmakers and election officials note that these emails are voter intimidation and don't reflect the actual state of election security. On Wednesday, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and vice chairman Mark Warner (D-Virginia) released a joint statement ensuring the security of voter infrastructure. 

"Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters' belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will," Rubio and Warner said. "They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them."

Tensions between Iran and the US escalated earlier this year following US military strikes in response to a rocket attack that killed an American civilian contractor at an Iraqi military base. Iran's government vowed to strike back, and cybersecurity experts warned that Iran could choose a cyberattack to retaliate against the US.

US officials have already warned about a rampant disinformation campaign from China, Russia and Iran to influence the 2020 presidential election. Officials have warned that these efforts could include creating fake websites to show unofficial "winners" of the election, hacking existing poll-tracking websites to alter the results or spreading disinformation on social media to challenge the outcome.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

FBI says Iran and Russia trying to undermine US election security – CNET

election-2020-voting-votes-mail-usps-trump-pence-biden-harris-1102
James Martin/CNET

The FBI said late Wednesday that Russia and Iran have taken action to undermine US confidence in the upcoming elections.

The director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said both countries have obtained some voter registration data and that Iran has sent spoof emails designed to intimidate voters.

"This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, so chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy," Ratcliffe said in a hastily called news conference Wednesday evening.

Ratcliffe said Iran's spoof emails were "designed to intimidate voters, incite unrest and damage President" Donald Trump. Iran has also been linked to a video that suggests individuals can cast fraudulent ballots overseas, he said.

"Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters' belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will," Ratcliffe said.

"As we enter the last weeks before the election, we urge every American -- including members of the media – to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting," he said.

Developing story

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Twitter revises policy on posting of hacked materials after Hunter Biden story – CNET

twitter-logo-american-flag-9764

Twitter has revised its policy on posting of hacked materials.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter late Thursday announced a revamped policy on the posting of content acquired through a hack, a day after the social network came under fire for limiting the reach of a New York Post article on Joe Biden's son because it was based on hacked materials.

The Post's story was based on emails purportedly obtained from a laptop Hunter Biden left in a Delaware repair shop in 2019, but Twitter limited the article's reach, citing a policy against distributing hacked materials. The move led to accusations of censorship by Twitter.

Twitter said it will no longer removed posts with hacked materials unless it's being shared by the hackers or others working with them. It said it will also label the tweets to provide context instead of preventing them from being shared on the platform.

The changes are intended "to address the concerns that there could be many unintended consequences to journalists, whistleblowers and others in ways that are contrary to Twitter's purpose of serving the public conversation," Twitter Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde said in a series of tweets Thursday evening.

The new policy is a bit of an about-face for Twitter, which on Wednesday cited its policies against the distribution of hacked materials when it opted to block any links or images of the New York Post story alleging a connection between Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian energy executive.

Twitter also said the New York Post article contained images that included personal and private information such as email addresses and phone numbers, which is against the social network's rules.

Read more: Facebook, Twitter are fighting fake news. Why you still need to be careful

Twitter's move earlier this week to reduce the spread of a story critical of the Democratic presidential nominee's son raised questions about how social networks fact-check political content and drew criticism from Republicans and the Trump campaign, which accused the social networks of interfering in the coming election. Conservatives have long alleged that their speech is censored by Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, a charge the companies have repeatedly denied.

Earlier Thursday, Senate Republicans said they plan to subpoena Jack Dorsey, requiring the Twitter CEO to testify on Oct. 23 about the platform's decision to block the New York Post article.

"Never before have we seen active censorship of a major press publication with serious allegations of corruption of one of the two candidates for president," Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday during a press briefing on Thursday.

Twitter declined to comment on that accusation.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Twitter users report performance issues with the service – CNET

twitter-logo-phone-6000

Twitter is having some issues.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter appears to be returning to normal Thursday afternoon after an outage on the social network prevented users from being able to tweet, resulting in feeds not being updated with fresh posts. Twitter said earlier it was working to resolve the issue but that it had no evidence hackers were involved.

"We know people are having trouble tweeting and using Twitter," a Twitter spokesperson said. "We're working to fix this issue as quickly as possible. We have no evidence of a security breach or hack, and we're currently investigating internal causes."

However, while Twitter feeds began to repopulate with current posts, many users complained about still not being able to tweet.

The issue appears to have begun around 2:30 p.m. PT, affecting users in major cities across the US for about 90 minutes. Downdetector.com, which tracks whether a website is working properly, showed a spike in performance complaints related to Twitter.

twitter-down-10-15-2020
Screenshot by CNET

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Twitter users report performance issues with the service – CNET

twitter-logo-phone-6000

Twitter is having some issues.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter appears to be returning to normal Thursday afternoon after an outage on the social network prevented users from being able to tweet, resulting in feeds not being updated with fresh posts. Twitter said earlier it was working to resolve the issue but that it had no evidence hackers were involved.

"We know people are having trouble tweeting and using Twitter," a Twitter spokesperson said. "We're working to fix this issue as quickly as possible. We have no evidence of a security breach or hack, and we're currently investigating internal causes."

However, while Twitter feeds began to repopulate with current posts, many users complained about still not being able to tweet.

The issue appears to have begun around 2:30 p.m. PT, affecting users in major cities across the US for about 90 minutes. Downdetector.com, which tracks whether a website is working properly, showed a spike in performance complaints related to Twitter.

twitter-down-10-15-2020
Screenshot by CNET

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Twitter obscures Trump tweet claiming he’s immune to coronavirus – CNET

gettyimages-1228998338

President Donald Trump removes his mask off before speaking from the South Portico of the White House during a rally Saturday.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

A tweet sent by President Donald Trump claiming he's immune to coronavirus was obscured by Twitter on Sunday, the third time the social network has taken action against the president's tweets in less than a week. Twitter hid the post behind a warning message that says it violated the site's rules "about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19."

Twitter has rules against coronavirus misinformation that could lead to harm, such as claiming a certain group is immune or promoting drinking bleach as a cure, which can be deadly. Twitter said the tweet was in the public's interest, so it'll remain accessible but engagements will be limited. 

"As is standard with this public interest notice, engagements with the Tweet will be significantly limited," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.

The action comes just days after Facebook and Twitter both took action against a Trump post that falsely suggested the seasonal flu is more deadly than COVID-19. Twitter also required Trump to pull down a tweet that contained the email address of a columnist for violating its rules against posting private information.

The social media posts about the coronavirus come after the president was diagnosed with COVID-19. The president returned to the White House on Monday from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after his doctors said his health is improving as he responds to treatment for COVID-19. 

More than 1 million people around the world have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 214,000 deaths in the US as of Sunday.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Twitter obscures Trump tweet claiming he’s immune to coronavirus – CNET

gettyimages-1228998338

President Donald Trump removes his mask off before speaking from the South Portico of the White House during a rally Saturday.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

A tweet sent by President Donald Trump claiming he's immune to coronavirus was obscured by Twitter on Sunday, the third time the social network has taken action against the president's tweets in less than a week. Twitter hid the post behind a warning message that says it violated the site's rules "about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19."

Twitter has rules against coronavirus misinformation that could lead to harm, such as claiming a certain group is immune or promoting drinking bleach as a cure, which can be deadly. Twitter said the tweet was in the public's interest, so it'll remain accessible but engagements will be limited. 

"As is standard with this public interest notice, engagements with the Tweet will be significantly limited," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.

The action comes just days after Facebook and Twitter both took action against a Trump post that falsely suggested the seasonal flu is more deadly than COVID-19. Twitter also required Trump to pull down a tweet that contained the email address of a columnist for violating its rules against posting private information.

The social media posts about the coronavirus come after the president was diagnosed with COVID-19. The president returned to the White House on Monday from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after his doctors said his health is improving as he responds to treatment for COVID-19. 

More than 1 million people around the world have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 214,000 deaths in the US as of Sunday.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More
Page 1 of 1312345»10...Last »