Investigate and remove troll farm connections from FB contractors network

Investigate and remove troll farm connections from FB contractors network

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Anton Dedinsky started this petition to Council of the European Union and

Facebook needs to do more to safeguard public from corrupt, state sponsored propaganda efforts and troll farms

The regime in Kremlin continues to deploy chemical weapons among the arsenal of threats, violence and bribery against those it deems uncompliant with their ever increasing demands and falling standards.

Poisoning of Alexey Navalny has gotten some traction in Western media and it is possible that those responsible will be subject to some sanctions. Or it is possible that they will get away with little consequence, like they have done in the past.

It is important to remember that behind every murderer and his superiors, there is also an army of digital orcs - both paid and volunteers - that amplify the totalitarian message of lies, omissions and misdirections. The campaign to discredit doctors that treated Navalny and to throw out the most ridiculous and offensive theories started almost immediately he got off the plane, already nearly comatose. 

At the same time, and for past several weeks, another client dictator of Kremlin, Alexander Lukashenko, is working his thugs overtime to suppress people of Belarus who dared to ask for a fair election. The conspiracy between punitive arms of both regimes goes deep and they are known to collaborate on projects - illegal surveillance, assault, battery and other modes of violence against those deemed to be opposition.

As such it is not surprising that the very same channels that are used to amplify Kremlins active measures and disinformation in regards to Western elections, poisoning of Navalny and incessant clandestine interference by Kremlin in the neighboring states affairs, are also working to publish and amplify the "message" by Lukashenko regime. 

Facebook has been and remains one of the main frontlines in this struggle. Make no mistake - while posts about cats and travelogues of varying consequence may have little impact, overall targeted reach of Facebook campaigns are incredibly efficient tools in the arsenal of cyber saboteurs. 

The arms race is never over and they have very much learned their lessons from the 2016 elections and all that has been done since. They know that activists, platform owners and western governments are well aware of their work to undermine democracy wherever possible and have deployed countermeasures. 

It is only natural that while Facebook and the intelligence services have been working - not too hard - to identify and suppress some bad actors, those bad actors have been working on infiltrating social media platforms. At the time being, all evidence points that they have, at least partially, succeeded. 

The weak point has been the vendor supply chain - the most cost sensitive aspect of social media operations. Companies like Cognizant in the US are used to outsource all sorts of sensitive operations such as reviewing content for compliance with "community standards" and other wholesale censorship. A lot of those English-language operations are located in South East Asia and are notoriously deleterious to the workers' mental health.

But this petition concerns its not only with the content that's in English. The nature and location of the independent contractors providing services in other major language such as Arabic, Russian or Mandarin are a lot less transparent. It is clear that at least for the Russian based , most if not all are located in Russia and other FSU jurisdictions that are friendly to Kremlin and their troll operations. The entire supply chain for the services is subservient to the state oppression apparatus. Similar picture is observed in Mandarin posts.

As a result, regular Facebook customers are victimized by the well organized, paid and trained army of professional propagandists from both ends. On one side, you have the trolls and provocateurs that have been reported on numerously and who have improved their technique - including stealth - by magnitudes since 2014.

On other hand, you have the tainted network of "independent contractors" who can offer their services at a deep discount because they are serving same nefarious interests. Posts that are pro democracy or from a activist who is perceived as pro democratic and not aligned with covert agenda or discussing sensitive issues such as state sponsored poisonings and voter suppression are 7 times more likely to be successfully reported when in Russian language as opposed to identical posts in English. Moreover, posts that are seen as supportive of the state agenda and posts made by very likely inauthentic, troll accounts that go in violation of content guidelines and contain open threats of violence and profanities are 4 times less like to be reported then posts that are either supportive of the democracy activists, questioning state policies or simply belong to accounts with history of such. 

This underlines the urgent need to ensure that powerful platforms such as Facebook aren't used to amplify and justify state sponsored violence, corruption and election interference. While there is a current effort to investigate some of the actors on the "demand" side, the investigation and enforcement action must extend to the independent contractors used by Facebook to moderate its content. Otherwise, the platform with be further corrupted and used to justify crimes such as poisoning of Litvinenko, Skripal, now Navalny and many others; genocide such as whats currently being done to the Uighur and other efforts to undermine democracy and US and abroad, in vast difference to long standing policies and public interest. 

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