Russia’s manipulation of Twitter much larger than believed previously

Gillian Cleary, Senior Software Engineer, Symantec: Twitterbots: Anatomy of a Propaganda Campaign. “Internet Research Agency archive reveals a vast, coordinated campaign that was incredibly successful at pushing out and amplifying its messages.”

“While this propaganda campaign has often been referred to as the work of trolls, the release of the dataset makes it obvious that it was far more than that. It was planned months in advance and the operators had the resources to create and manage a vast disinformation network.

It was a highly professional campaign. Aside from the sheer volume of tweets generated over a period of years, its orchestrators developed a streamlined operation that automated the publication of new content and leveraged a network of auxiliary accounts to amplify its impact.

The sheer scale and impact of this propaganda campaign is obviously of deep concern to voters in all countries, who may fear a repeat of what happened in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election in 2016.

A growing awareness of the disinformation campaigns may help blunt their impact in future.”

Link via MetaFilter.

‘Jaw dropped’

BBC News: Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family’s drawer. “A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.”

“They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen – which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family’s grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby’s auction house in London.”

Previously.

“[E]ngagement is growing, but it’s vapid, devoid of the deeper reflection that being in nature is meant to inspire”

The Walrus: How Selfie Culture Ruins the Great Outdoors for Everyone Else. “Social media has made natural spaces more popular. It could also destroy them.”

“For years, natural reserves have been seen as havens from the modern world, places where quotidian life gives way to quiet reflection and contemplation, often in relative isolation. But social media has disrupted the way we interact with the environment. With the right hashtag, anyone can view thousands of potential destinations—and choose which to visit based on aesthetics alone. A single social-media post can expose lesser-known or isolated places to the world. And that means good places can no longer hide. “They used to be local parks,” says Mairi Welman, head of communications for the District of North Vancouver, which manages two popular parks near the city. “But now we’re starting to see international visitors coming—and those parks were never designed to handle those kinds of numbers.” The influx has resulted in a host of problems, from woefully unprepared hikers getting hurt to people “using the environment as a bathroom.” And then there’s the parking: “There have literally been screaming matches and fist fights over parking spots,” she says. “It can be like a shopping mall at Christmas.””

Link via MetaFilter.

Religionsfreiheit in Deuschland

Deutsche Welle: Gastkommentar: Ist nur ein unsichtbarer Jude ein sicherer Jude in Deutschland? “Dass ausgerechnet der Antisemitismus-Beauftragte der Bundesregierung Juden rät, auf die Kippa zu verzichten, ist ein Skandal. Wenn Felix Klein recht hat, hat die deutsche Gesellschaft ein Problem, meint Michel Friedman.”

“Wehret den Anfängen” ist ein Standardsatz, den deutsche Politiker und Politikerinnen mit Blick auf den Antisemitismus seit Jahrzehnten vor sich hertragen. Dabei sind sind wir längst mittendrin. Viel zu lange haben viel zu viele die Anfänge übersehen. Viel zu lange haben viel zu viele nicht auf die Anfänge reagiert und die gesellschaftspolitische Debatte nicht geführt. Jeder Einzelne muss sich da an die Nase fassen – in Vereinen, in der Familie, im Beruf. Wie oft hat man Judenwitze, die der Chef, der Vater, der Vereinsvorsitzende en passant fallen ließen, einfach überhört und nicht reagiert. Wer aber auf die Anfänge nicht reagiert, macht sich mitschuldig. Verändert auch sein eigenes Koordinatensystem.
[…]
Wenn es tatsächlich stimmt, dass Juden in Deutschland, sobald sie sichtbar sind, nicht ohne Bedrohung ihren Alltag leben können, dann steckt diese Republik in einer Demokratie-Krise.”