Facebook's Observations on Information Operations and the 2016 US Election

May 10, 2017 by Gabe | [mmd] | ℳ↫

Linked from Schneier.com. The PDF is well worth downloading and reading.

There is some public discussion of false amplifiers being solely driven by “social bots,” which suggests automation. In the case of Facebook, we have observed that most false amplification in the context of information operations is not driven by automated processes, but by coordinated people who are dedicated to operating inauthentic accounts. We have observed many actions by fake account operators that could only be performed by people with language skills and a basic knowledge of the political situation in the target countries, suggesting a higher level of coordination and forethought. Some of the lower-skilled actors may even provide content guidance and outlines to their false amplifiers, which can give the impression of automation.

The case study at the end specifically focused on the 2016 election. I think their statements seem week and ambiguous and rather than being a scientific study is a more of a party anecdote.

I do find it interesting that this is released as a PDF. Probably because it's a portable and universally accessible format that is not controlled by a single authority. Unlike Facebook.