Police in Maine are looking for a woman who they say put dog poop in mailboxes of houses with Trump re-election signs, the Bangor Daily News reports.
Washington Post: “The messages have been emanating in recent months from the accounts of young people in Arizona seemingly expressing their own views — standing up for President Trump in a battleground state and echoing talking points from his reelection campaign.”
“Far from representing a genuine social media groundswell, however, the posts are the product of a sprawling yet secretive campaign that experts say evades the guardrails put in place by social media companies to limit online disinformation of the sort used by Russia during the 2016 campaign.”
“Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages at the direction of Turning Point Action… The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out, at least in part, by humans paid to use their own accounts.”
Popular Information: “Facebook has permitted a large network of Facebook pages and groups — with names like Trump’s Deplorable Army, To The Death Media, and One Angry Conservative — to spread disinformation about voting in the 2020 election to millions of people.”
“The network operates by funneling traffic to Conservative Brief, an obscure right-wing website. Conservative Brief does not engage in any original reporting. Instead, it distorts reports from mainstream sources to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the upcoming election.”
“Over the last 90 days, the network of pages that promote Conservative Brief has generated 30.65 million engagements… That’s more engagement than the main New York Times Facebook page generated over the same period of time (26.48 million).”
“A series of deceptively edited and misleading videos shared by prominent Republicans have run up millions of views across Facebook and Twitter in just the past few days,” CNN reports.
“And while both companies have pledged to combat misinformation, their responses to these videos followed a familiar pattern: often they act too late, do too little, or don’t do anything at all.”
“Democratic Party security officials sent a warning to campaign staffers across the country that political opposition groups may be using dating apps to try to get dirt on them and their campaigns,” CNN reports.
Said the warning: “We’re received reports that opposition groups may be trying to ‘sting’ or infiltrate Democratic campaigns or organizations through dating sites… Swipe carefully.”
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) is warning Detroit voters of a “racially charged” and false robocall that appears to be discouraging mail-in voting ahead of the November election, the Detroit News reports.
The recording tells voters that their personal information will be part of a public database that will then be used by police to track down people with warrants or debt.
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The Intercept: “The leadership of the University of Massachusetts Amherst College Democrats began discussing an operation they believed could sink the campaign of Alex Morse for Congress as far back as last October, a plan they then helped engineer and which came to fruition on Friday, after the College Democrats sent a letter regarding Morse to the Daily Collegian, the school’s student newspaper.”
“The letter, sent three weeks before his primary challenge to Rep. Richard Neal, informed Morse that he was no longer welcome at College Democratic events, alleging he used such opportunities to socialize with students and later connect with them on social media in ways that made them feel uncomfortable.”
“Leaders of the College Democrats group went beyond merely plans to leak. They also explicitly discussed how they could find Morse’s dating profiles and then lead him into saying something incriminating that would then damage his campaign.”
“Facebook took down a network of more than 100 pages and accounts on Wednesday it said was affiliated with convicted felon and former Republican operative Roger Stone for ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior’ dating back to around the 2016 election and its aftermath,” the Washington Post reports.
“Facebook officials said Stone, a longtime friend of President Trump and adviser to his first presidential campaign, used fake accounts and other deceptive measures to manipulate public debate. He also, in at least a small number of occasions, drew attention to posts made by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.”
“For weeks, a mysterious figure on social media talked up plans for antifa protesters to converge on this historical site on Independence Day to burn American flags, an event that seemed at times to border on the farcical,” the Washington Post reports.
“As word spread, self-proclaimed militias, bikers, skinheads and far-right groups from outside the state issued a call to action, pledging in online videos and posts to come to Gettysburg to protect the Civil War monuments and the nation’s flag from desecration. Some said they would bring firearms and use force if necessary.”
“On Saturday afternoon, in the hours before the flag burning was to start, they flooded in by the hundreds — heavily armed and unaware, it seemed, that the mysterious Internet poster was not who the person claimed to be.”
“The Montana Republican Party and two minor party qualification committees violated state campaign finance laws in a successful effort to qualify the Green Party of Montana for the primary ballot without the Green Party’s knowledge,” the AP reports.
“The Montana GOP has acknowledged paying Advanced Micro Targeting $100,000 to gather signatures to certify the Green Party for the ballot. The money was also listed as an in-kind contribution to a group called Montanans for Conservation, which didn’t register as a minor party qualifying committee until after the Green Party was certified for the ballot on March 6.”
Page Six: “The ransom demand for the secret files of a cyber-attacked lawyer to A-list stars has doubled to $42 million — as the hackers now threaten to reveal ‘dirty laundry’ on President Trump in just a week if they are not paid in full.”
“Hacking group REvil got into his firm’s server and stole 756 gigabytes of confidential documents, including contracts and personal emails from a host of Hollywood and music stars. They also deleted or encrypted the firm’s backups. The only way they can be decrypted is to pay the criminals for a key.”
The Republican National Committee is sending documents labeled “2020 Congressional District Census” to people in California and across the country just weeks before the start of the official nationwide count of the country’s population, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Critics say the misleading mailers — in envelopes labeled “Do Not Destroy. Official Document” and including a lengthy questionnaire on blue-tinted paper similar to the type used by the real census — are designed to confuse people and possibly lower the response rate when the count begins in mid-March.
A deepfake video shows Prime Minister Boris Johnson appearing to endorse Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister, and vice versa.
The RNC paid to generate thousands of calls to the congressional offices of nearly three dozen House Democrats in recent weeks, an effort that was aimed at both shaping opinion around the impeachment inquiry and tying up the phone lines of the elected officials, the New York Times reports.
The Los Angeles Times got the back story on how the nude photos of Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) wound up online — and it includes GOP operatives who had previously worked for Steve Knight (R), her opponent for Congress.
“Conservative websites soon revealed that they had obtained some of Hill’s private texts and nude photos of her, including one with a campaign aide. The main authors of the articles, it turns out, were former campaign advisors to Steve Knight, the Republican congressman ousted by Hill a year ago.”
First Read: “If this is what this looks like — and again, we don’t know the actual substance of the July 25 call — then it’s arguably worse than Watergate, when the dirty tricks were being conducted by Americans against Americans.”
“But this time, is the dirty trick a sitting president dangling aid to a foreign country to get it to investigate a rival campaign?”
“We learned from 2016 that the Trump campaign will do whatever it takes to win. Do national Democrats — who believe defeating Trump in 2020, not impeaching him, is the best way to remove him from office — understand what else we might see over the next 14 months?”