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 Facebook Sees ‘Steady Growth’ In Disinfo-For-Hire Services

May 20th, 2021 13:19

US media is report­ing that Face­book is observ­ing ‘steady growth’ in dis­in­for­ma­tion-for-hire ser­vices. Accord­ing to a Cyber Scoop arti­cle:

May 11, 2021 Gov­ern­ment-spon­sored dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign oper­a­tors have long sought to hide their true iden­ti­ties by recruit­ing writ­ers to pub­lish arti­cles for seem­ing­ly legit­i­mate news orga­ni­za­tions, or using manip­u­lat­ed pho­tos to lend an air of authen­tic­i­ty to their fake accounts.  The Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and Cyber Com­mand con­firmed that the Inter­net Research Agency, a Russ­ian gov­ern­ment-backed troll farm that’s spent years try­ing to influ­ence U.S. pub­lic opin­ion, out­sourced the pro­duc­tion of police bru­tal­i­ty-themed con­tent, for instance, to a non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion in Ghana in 2020. An Israeli lob­by­ing firm was sim­i­lar­ly ped­dling nar­ra­tives via fake and mis­lead­ing accounts in 2019 in Africa, South­east Asia, and Latin Amer­i­ca.  In recent months, though, Facbeook says it has seen an uptick in cam­paigns out­sourc­ing oper­a­tions to pub­lic rela­tions firms and com­mer­cial enti­ties to fur­ther dis­tance oper­a­tors from their influ­ence campaigns. […]

Less vis­i­ble actors increas­ing­ly are ampli­fy­ing polar­iz­ing con­tent about local polit­i­cal issues, while often work­ing for a bene­fac­tor, Nathaniel Gle­ich­er, Facebook’s head of secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy, told reporters on May 6.  “We’ve seen a steady growth in PR cam­paigns and decep­tive com­pa­nies that are essen­tial­ly try­ing to sell decep­tion for hire, both domes­ti­cal­ly and around the world,” Gle­ich­er said, adding that influ­ence oper­a­tions for hire is noth­ing new. “We have seen a growth in these types of oper­a­tions, and one of the things we’ve seen more recent­ly is if you think about domes­tic pol­i­tics we’re see­ing more and more efforts to hire or bring these PR firms in even for small­er races.”

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has exten­sive­ly cov­ered dis­in­for­ma­tion by var­i­ous influ­ence actors, includ­ing major state and transna­tion­al, as well as pri­vate actors.