Russian operation masqueraded as right-wing news site

The Russian group accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election has posed as an independent news outlet to target right-wing social media users ahead of this year’s vote, two people familiar with an FBI probe into the activity told Reuters.

The latest operation centered around a pseudo media organization called the Newsroom for American and European Based Citizens (NAEBC), which was run by people associated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, the sources said.

U.S. prosecutors say the agency played a key role in Russian efforts to sway the 2016 election in favor of President Donald Trump, and Facebook and Twitter exposed a fake left-wing media outlet in September which they said was run by people connected to the organization.

NAEBC and its activity, which have not been previously reported, now show that Russian attempts to influence U.S. voters ahead of the 2020 election have targeted both sides

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An anonymous Facebook exec says ‘right-wing populism is always more engaging’ and that’s why conservative posts thrive on the platform



a close up of a sign: FILE PHOTO: Facebook logos Reuters


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FILE PHOTO: Facebook logos Reuters

  • An anonymous Facebook executive said conservatives’ success on the platform is due to having content that is “always more engaging,” according to a Politico report.
  • Politico reported that the executive, who identifies as a “center-left progressive” said the right’s focus on “nation, protection, the other, anger, fear” has always been an effective tactic, pointing to the 1930s.
  • The comments come as Facebook has been criticized by the right and left for having a political bias, with social media platforms drawing attention from both President Trump and Joe Biden.
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An anonymous Facebook executive told Politico that right-wing pages see more engagement because of their emotional pull, instead of the platform’s algorithm, according to a report published Friday.

The publication reported that the executive said that “right-wing populism is always more engaging,” because of

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Right-wing content has an advantage on Facebook, exec says

Illustration for article titled Right-Wing Content Flourishes on Facebook Because Fearmongering Has Always Worked, Exec Says

Photo: Olivier Doulier (Getty Images)

Even though right-wing elites repeatedly tout claims of conservative bias on Facebook and other online platforms, in reality, the bulk of data shows the opposite to be true. Per a weekend Politico report, as we near the 2020 presidential election, some of the most engaging posts on Facebook come from conservative voices outside the mainstream media, including Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, and David Harris, according to the Facebook-owned traffic analysis tool Crowdtangle. Engagement on Facebook is defined as likes, comments, shares, and reactions.

The company has maintained time and time again that its platform is free of political bias. Facebook says that its algorithm doesn’t favor conservatives, but it also doesn’t have to because the right has one primal advantage:

“Right-wing populism is always more engaging,” a Facebook executive told Politico. They added that conservative content caters to “an incredibly strong,

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Why the right-wing has a massive advantage on Facebook

Throughout 2020, Democrats have denounced Facebook with growing ferocity as a “right-wing echo chamber” with a “conservative bias” that’s giving an edge to Donald Trump in November.

But Facebook says there’s a reason why right-wing figures are driving more engagement. It’s not that its algorithm favors conservatives — the company has long maintained that its platform is neutral. Instead, the right is better at connecting with people on a visceral level, it says.

“Right-wing populism is always more engaging,” a Facebook executive said in a recent interview with POLITICO reporters, when pressed why the pages of conservatives drive such high interactions. The person said the content speaks to “an incredibly strong, primitive emotion” by touching on such topics as “nation, protection, the other, anger, fear.”

“That’s not invented by social media — you just see those reflexes mirrored in social media, they’re not created by social media,” the executive added.

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