Selected Washington Post Articles – Week Ending May 28th, 2019

Facebook and Twitter disable new disinformation campaign with ties to Iran
Tony Romm, May 28th 2019, Washington Post
Facebook and Twitter each said on Tuesday they had disabled a sprawling disinformation campaign that appeared to originate in Iran, including two accounts on Twitter that mimicked Republican congressional candidates and may have sought to push pro-Iranian political messages.

The Smithsonian is digitizing political and military posters — 18,000 of them
Michael Ruane, May 27 2019, Washington Post
The cavernous room was dark, except for the soft flood lights, and the glow from a nearby computer screen. A digital camera peered down from above. And Kelly Manno and Amelia Brookins carefully arranged the old Bella Abzug campaign poster to be photographed.

China’s Alarming AI Surveillance of Muslims Should Wake Us Up
Tim Weinhold, May 23rd 2019, Washington Post
Tight control of civilian populations is the cardinal rule of authoritarian regimes, yet the sheer scale and complexity of those populations makes control difficult. Now, artificial intelligence has made civilian surveillance far easier, and far more invasive. AI is rapidly becoming the new best friend of dictators everywhere.

U.S.-funded broadcaster failing to spread fair and balanced news, independent review says
Aaron Davis, May 21st 2019, Washington Post
A U.S. agency that is supposed to broadcast objective Spanish-language news programs into Cuba fails to meet basic standards of journalistic fairness and last month let an anchor describe Trump administration officials as the “dream team” for Cuba policy, according to an independent review.

Facebook, Twitter and the Digital Disinformation Mess
Shelly Banjo, Bloomberg QuickTake in the Washington Post, May 23rd 2019 The kind of disinformation now known as fake news has tainted public discourse for centuries, even millennia. But it’s been amplified in our digital age as a weapon of fearmongers, mob-baiters and election-meddlers that can widen social fissures, undermine democracies and bolster authoritarian regimes. As voters in some of the world’s most-populous countries headed to the polls in 2019, governments began to respond. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have come under increasing pressure to take action.

Facebook defends decision to leave up fake Pelosi video and says users should make up their own minds
Alex Horton, May 25th 2019, Washington Post
There is no dispute that the Facebook video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) viewed by millions is a fake, deliberately altered to make her appear drunk. YouTube acted fast and removed duplicates. Other social media outlets have not made the same call.

Rep. Hurd says US isn’t prepared to combat altered videos
Associated Press, May 26th 2019, Washington Post
A Republican congressman and former CIA officer says America isn’t prepared for disinformation campaigns that use altered video to spread false information across social media.

Facebook acknowledges Pelosi video is faked but declines to delete it
Drew Harwell, May 24th 2019, Washington Post
When an edited video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) began spreading across the Web this week, researchers quickly identified it as a distortion, with sound and playback speed that had been manipulated to make her speech appear stilted and slurred.

Facebook: Fake account removal doubles in 6 months to 3B
Barbara Ortutay, May 23rd 2019, Washington Post
Facebook removed more than 3 billion fake accounts from October to March, twice as many as the previous six months, the company said Thursday.

Fake news changes shape as EU heads into elections
Kelvin Chan, Lorne Cook and Aritz Parra, May 22nd 2019, AP in the WaPo Fake news has evolved beyond the playbook used by Russian trolls in the U.S. election. As the European Union gears up for a crucial election, it is mostly homegrown groups rather than foreign powers that are taking to social media to push false information and extremist messages, experts say.