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The War Room

During a large incident response, bringing everyone together to a "war room" can be the difference in a speedy recovery, but there are downsides as well. The biggest? Fatigue & burnout. How do you monitor and handle that?

The War Room

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Reasonably Accurate 馃馃 Transcript

Morning everybody. How are you doing today? I want to talk about social media from the perspective of you the user, how do you make sense of anything that's on social media these days we've seen for the last 2.5, maybe three years. Report after report, after report that foreign influencers are trying to affect us elections.

And then of course, when you kind of scratch below the surface, you see that there's a lot of disinformation campaigns. There was a report last week where domestic interests in the US were then trying to push out very specific and or and biased news against various elections.

And of course, you know, a lot of people are saying, well, duh, these are influence platforms built to influence people. It should be no surprise when people use them, do influence others. Um The question comes down to motivation of what, what type of influence do we want on these platforms?

Well, the only defense against this is either that the platforms take action and that's probably not gonna happen. It's gonna happen for the most egregious cases. So we saw that in the case of uh foreign influence in us domestic elections because there's a law against that.

Um, but us interests pushing and interfering, big quotes around, interfering or influencing. Um, us, there's no law strictly against that. There's a lot of gray. Um, and why I say we're not gonna see the providers of the platforms doing anything is because this is what they built the platforms to do is to influence people and it's not in their interest to take a side.

If they are gonna take a side, they're gonna take their own side or they're gonna take the side of the advertisers who pay for all this stuff. So there's a lot of complexities there, but there are some nice um upside, maybe, let's say upside. We saw today, there's three reports that I wanted to call up.

Facebook announced that they've completed another stage of the investigation into the breach that affected 30 million users and their login tokens through that multiple vulnerability exploit. And they said that it doesn't appear that national or nation state interests were involved. It appears very much that it was like spam marketers who wanted to manipulate the system.

I'm not super surprised given the type of attack it wasn't very useful for nation states. Um They could do some social harvesting and things like that, but on platforms, they're far more likely to um influence through fake news and having it snowball into organic at that point.

Um So not a surprise there but good that Facebook is being transparent about that and lens know what they found as they continue along in their investigation. The other two pieces of news that popped up on my radar this morning are related to Twitter. Now, Twitter released um uh data and um uh uh cache of tweets from about 3800 accounts that they had previously taken down that were associated with Russian related interests and Iranian uh related interests that they say were involved in activities around the election and things like that.

So it's great that they've released those tweets so that people can see what they look like, especially from the researcher side, both academic and industry to help people to say, hey, this is the patterns we're seeing, but more importantly, and this is absolutely probably the most important thing I've seen from Twitter in a long time is that they are now going to be changing what appears in the timeline.

If a tweet was taken down for violating Twitter's rules, you're going to see a placeholder for that tweet. So no longer will you get that tweet not found? You'll get a generic tweet from Twitter at that ID that says this tweet was removed for a violation of our rules or policy and a link to that policy.

And if you report a tweet and you'll see a placeholder again that says you reported this tweet, so you still see it in your timeline, but you don't see the contents of the tweet, you don't see it was who is from, you just see that placeholder and that will make the user experience much better from a user perspective is that you're getting more information.

This is really what I wanted to come back to as far as these three separate news articles today was that as users of social media, we need to educate ourselves and it's extremely difficult to do that when there's no data or information to base that education on.

So we know that the platform providers have a very biased view of this. They own the platforms, they want to make money off the platforms. The way they do that is by creating very accurate profiles of user behavior in order to target ads, right? That's the difference between user data.

That's the data that I put into the platform and data about the user, which is information about my habits, my interests that it creates that profile that they can target ads to. So we know that their interests are aligned with the advertisers, not with us the user, but there's a balance there.

If they tick off all the users and we leave, then they have anyone to advertise to. So they're going to basically pay lip service when they are required to, to meet this balance. But the more steps they can do to offer some transparency to show us the extreme edges of this thing.

So Twitter releasing the cache of tweets that they had already pulled down, having placeholder tweets to let us know things have been pulled down and Facebook, you know, continuing to update us on this investigation. These are all great steps. We need more, but these are great steps because we as users can then look at that and say, well, wait a minute, there was something here.

So if you're looking at somebody's profile on Twitter and you see a bunch of removals, but the account is still active. Well, you know, you should trust that account less because they've been significantly penalized under Twitter's rules. And we know that takes a heck of a lot to get Twitter to get out of bed and to block an account or to start taking action against account.

So that's information that we can use. Same with Facebook telling us that, you know, this was a spammer operation. We need more data there. But the more they tell us, the more we can educate ourselves so that when we're consuming information on these networks and don't get me wrong, there's a huge amount of upside to social networks.

I'm talking to you over social media right now. But we need an ability and we need more tools as users to make informed decisions about what we're reading. What we're viewing, what we're listening to. Is it from a legitimate source? Is it from a source that you should trust, trust, completely, trust somewhat, never trust anyone completely.

But you know, um what level of authenticity, what level of credibility should we assign to the content that we're consuming instead of just consuming it blindly? And the way we do that is by educating ourselves, the more information we get, the better we can educate ourselves and we can help raise the bar, raise the quality of conversation on these platforms.

So interesting one for you today, I will send out links to all these articles and put them in the comments below. Um As always, let me know what you think uh talk online at Mark NC on all social networks for those of you on the vlogs in the comments down below.

And as always by email me at Mark N dot ca, how do you verify information on social networks? How do you assign credibility? Is it just instinctual? Are there indicators you look for, share your tips and tricks? Because I think this is a great topic. I think this is going to be a continuing topic and I hope absolutely hope and honestly earnestly hope that we see a lot more from social media platforms on giving us the tools to make these evaluations ourselves.

Right now. They're trying to add a whole bunch of content moderators and stuff to make the decisions themselves. Why not just give us tools and indicators so that we can evaluate the content. Um And then they can uh you know, leave it to be more neutral.

I know that doesn't align with their business model, but still one can hope. I hope you have a fantastic day. I will talk to you online and I'll see you on the show tomorrow.

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