What a powerful and fitting comparison. I have been gearing up my coding to channel the feeling of sheer terror into something constructive.
From the billion-dollar disinformation campaign to reelect the president in 2020:
From June to November , Trump’s campaign ran 5.9 million ads on Facebook, while Clinton’s ran just 66,000. A Facebook executive would later write in a leaked memo that Trump “got elected because he ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser.”
The campaign doesn’t run just one ad at a time on a given theme. It runs hundreds of iterations—adjusting the language, the music, even the colors of the “Donate” buttons. In the 10 weeks after the House of Representatives began its impeachment inquiry, the Trump campaign ran roughly 14,000 different ads containing the word impeachment. Sifting through all of them is virtually impossible.
I have been hosting weekly hackathons over at r/MassMove to monitor their current activities… week 4 started yesterday: https://www.reddit.com/r/MassMove/comments/ffv4ql/attack_vectors_hackathon_4_cloudy_with_a_chance/
Our current focus is on “local journalism”, from the same article linked above:
Parscale has indicated that he plans to open up a new front in this war: local news. Last year, he said the campaign intends to train “swarms of surrogates” to undermine negative coverage from local TV stations and newspapers. Polls have long found that Americans across the political spectrum trust local news more than national media. If the campaign has its way, that trust will be eroded by November.
Running parallel to this effort, some conservatives have been experimenting with a scheme to exploit the credibility of local journalism. Over the past few years, hundreds of websites with innocuous-sounding names like the Arizona Monitor and The Kalamazoo Times have begun popping up. At first glance, they look like regular publications, complete with community notices and coverage of schools. But look closer and you’ll find that there are often no mastheads, few if any bylines, and no addresses for local offices.
Their shit looks really real: https://kalamazootimes.com until you start looking at all the articles at once: https://kalamazootimes.com/stories/tag/126-politics
We have found 700+ domains posing as “local” journals with hundreds of Facebook pages, thousands of Facebook accounts and tens of thousands of Twitter followers. And have them pinned to an interactive heat-map now: https://arcg.is/0KmXKK.
Yesterday at 3:24 p.m. CST, 152 new domains went live, and you can still see some of them hatching if you CTRL+F for 204 here (the delta between 404 and 200): https://github.com/MassMove/AttackVectors/commit/4a51f13c72eaf21309b4f96c7b4d0fd51bd796d2
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