Today: 23.02.2018
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Russian interference won’t doom our democracy — that’s on us.

A week before Hillary Clinton published her campaign memoir, Facebook seemed to validate her complaint that Vladimir Putin helped Donald Trump defeat her. But the social-media platform’s announcement about suspicious online political ads also highlighted common misconceptions about the nature of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election. We often hear Russia “hacked the election,”...
Time: 19:06     Date: 12.09.2017
Last US News - Opinion: Russian interference won’t doom our democracy — that’s on us. NY Post 24 - US News

We often hear Russia “hacked the election,” “attacked our democracy” or “undermined the integrity of our electoral process.” Yet so far all the anti-Clinton efforts blamed on Russia amount to attempts at persuasion, as opposed to interference in the casting and counting of votes.

Facebook said it had identified about 3,000 political ads purchased by 470 or so “inauthentic accounts” that “likely operated out of Russia” between June 2015 and May 2017. The $100,000 spent on those ads wasn’t even a drop in the bucket of Facebook’s ad revenue, which totaled $27 billion last year.

Russian propaganda did not represent a significant share of political discussion on Facebook, either.

Facebook has not released examples of the fishy ads, but it said that “the vast majority . . . didn’t specifically reference the US presidential election, voting or a particular candidate.” Rather, “the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”

Fake accounts — opened by Russians pretending to be Americans, say — violate Facebook’s terms of service. But foreign-sponsored online issue ads are permitted by US campaign-finance laws, provided they do not explicitly advocate a candidate’s election or defeat.

Not that Russian operatives are necessarily careful to obey US law. Last year’s hacking of embarrassing e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, for instance, was clearly illegal (and rightly so).

In the end, voters had to decide for themselves whether it mattered that officials at the DNC plotted to undermine Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination. They had to assess the significance of excerpts from Clinton’s secret Wall Street speeches and a CNN contributor’s tips to her campaign about debate questions.

Facebook users likewise were free to accept or reject the “divisive social and political messages” sent by online ads, regardless of who sponsored them.

That remains true when what he has to say is verifiably false. In a presidential race where both major-party candidates had trouble with the truth, the fact that their supporters also trafficked in lies didn’t create a novel challenge for voters, even when those supporters weren’t Americans.

Facebook describes the ads as “Russian interference in the electoral process.” It promises to remain alert in order to protect “the integrity of civic discourse.”

The integrity of civic discourse does not depend on verifying the citizenship of people who participate in it. It depends on the ability to weigh what they say, checking it against our own values and information from other sources.

If voters cannot do that, maybe democracy is doomed. But if so, it’s not the Russians’ fault.

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: Automatic weapons don’t belong in the hands of everyone. NY Post 24 - US News
Automatic weapons don’t belong in the hands of everyone.
Guns and I go back a long way. My father was a champion skeet shooter. A picture of him aiming his favorite pump skyward...
Last US News - Opinion: Yet another way Obama’s spies apparently exploited the Trump ‘dossier’. NY Post 24 - US News
Yet another way Obama’s spies apparently exploited the Trump ‘dossier’.
The much-hyped Obama intelligence report that determined “Vladimir Putin ordered” Hillary Clinton’s campaign e-mails...
Last US News - Opinion: Gun control activists need to learn a little sympathy. NY Post 24 - US News
Gun control activists need to learn a little sympathy.
Some facts. There are 126 million households in the United States. In 35 percent of those households — some 44 million...
Last US News - Opinion: On guns, focus on what’s practical. NY Post 24 - US News
On guns, focus on what’s practical.
President Trump’s coming off as a bit obsessed with the idea of armed teachers as a key answer to school shootings. He’d...

Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: Automatic weapons don’t belong in the hands of everyone. NY Post 24 - US News
Automatic weapons don’t belong in the hands of everyone.
Guns and I go back a long way. My father was a champion skeet shooter. A picture of him aiming his favorite pump skyward...
Last US News - Opinion: Yet another way Obama’s spies apparently exploited the Trump ‘dossier’. NY Post 24 - US News
Yet another way Obama’s spies apparently exploited the Trump ‘dossier’.
The much-hyped Obama intelligence report that determined “Vladimir Putin ordered” Hillary Clinton’s campaign e-mails...
Last US News - Opinion: Gun control activists need to learn a little sympathy. NY Post 24 - US News
Gun control activists need to learn a little sympathy.
Some facts. There are 126 million households in the United States. In 35 percent of those households — some 44 million...
Last US News - Opinion: On guns, focus on what’s practical. NY Post 24 - US News
On guns, focus on what’s practical.
President Trump’s coming off as a bit obsessed with the idea of armed teachers as a key answer to school shootings. He’d...
Last US News - Opinion: ‘Gun Violence Restraining Orders’ are a common-sense gun solution. NY Post 24 - US News
‘Gun Violence Restraining Orders’ are a common-sense gun solution.
The right to “bear arms” is guaranteed in the Constitution as clearly as the freedom of speech. But, as with speech,...

Living

US Living News: Hurrah, a beer for athletes. NY Post 24 - US News
Hurrah, a beer for athletes.
It contains electrolytes from “aloe salt.”...
US Living News: Archaeologists may have found biblical prophet’s ‘signature’. NY Post 24 - US News
Archaeologists may have found biblical prophet’s ‘signature’.
Archaeologists in Israel say that they have found a clay seal mark that may bear the signature of the Biblical Prophet Isaiah....
US Living News: KFC issues full-page apology for its chicken ‘crisis’. NY Post 24 - US News
KFC issues full-page apology for its chicken ‘crisis’.
KFC has won back fast food fans threatening to cross the road to other chicken shops – with a plucky apology. The Colonel...
US Living News: ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’ is making more people want plastic surgery. NY Post 24 - US News
‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’ is making more people want plastic surgery.
Snapchat and Instagram filters are changing the way young people look at themselves. A new phenomenon of using filtered selfies...
US Living News: Scientists finally adjudicate the war between carbs and fat. NY Post 24 - US News
Scientists finally adjudicate the war between carbs and fat.
What’s better? Low-fat diets? Or low-carb diets? Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine put it to the test....
US Living News: Neanderthals may have been Europe’s first great artists. NY Post 24 - US News
Neanderthals may have been Europe’s first great artists.
LONDON – The world’s oldest known cave paintings were made by Neanderthals, not modern humans, suggesting our extinct...
US Living News: Domino’s isn’t happy with pizza-ordering sex toy. NY Post 24 - US News
Domino’s isn’t happy with pizza-ordering sex toy.
Domino’s Pizza says it is in no way affiliated with an adult entertainment website after news of the site’s Domino’s-ordering...
US Living News: Americans are making more money for a depressing reason. NY Post 24 - US News
Americans are making more money for a depressing reason.
Many Americans have gone a long time without getting a raise — even as their cost of living has gone up. That’s left...

Business

Last US Business News: Brands ending discounts and benefits for NRA members. NY Post 24 - US News
Brands ending discounts and benefits for NRA members.
Three car rental brands owned by Enterprise Holdings Inc will end discount programs with members of the National Rifle Association...
Last US Business News: China seizes control of Waldorf Astoria’s owner for economic crimes. NY Post 24 - US News
China seizes control of Waldorf Astoria’s owner for economic crimes.
The Chinese government on Friday seized control of insurance giant Anbang – the free-spending owner of New York’s...
Last US Business News: General Mills to buy natural pet food company for $8 billion. NY Post 24 - US News
General Mills to buy natural pet food company for $8 billion.
Cheerios cereal maker General Mills will buy Blue Buffalo Pet Products for nearly $8 billion, seeking to tap burgeoning demand...
Last US Business News: Chinese goverment seizes Anbang, owner of NYC’s Waldorf. NY Post 24 - US News
Chinese goverment seizes Anbang, owner of NYC’s Waldorf.
The Chinese government on Friday seized control of Anbang Insurance Group, one of China’s biggest insurance conglomerates,...
Last US Business News: Redbox wins round against Disney in copyright battle. NY Post 24 - US News
Redbox wins round against Disney in copyright battle.
Redbox can continue to unbundle Disney’s combo packs and rent or sell the movie discs separately, a federal judge has ruled....
Last US Business News: Outback Steakhouse earnings tantalizes Wall Street. NY Post 24 - US News
Outback Steakhouse earnings tantalizes Wall Street.
As activist investors nip at its heals, Outback Steakhouse parent Bloomin’ Brands managed to wow investors Thursday with...
Last US Business News: Barclays pays female investment bankers half as much as men. NY Post 24 - US News
Barclays pays female investment bankers half as much as men.
One of the biggest banks on Wall Street on Thursday has unveiled an eye-popping pay gap. Barclays, run by Chief Executive...
Last US Business News: Retailers are trying to profit off Toys ‘R’ Us’ struggles. NY Post 24 - US News
Retailers are trying to profit off Toys ‘R’ Us’ struggles.
As Toys ‘R’ Us continues to shrink, shoppers will find bigger toy selections at some unlikely stores, The Post has learned....

Metro

Metro News: Hungry mobster violates furlough for a Staten Island food tour. NY Post 24 - US News
Hungry mobster violates furlough for a Staten Island food tour.
Reputed Bonanno crime family captain John “Porky” Zancocchio let his appetite get the best of him. The 60-year-old goodfella...
Metro News: NYC agencies put on ‘watch list’ for escalating spending. NY Post 24 - US News
NYC agencies put on ‘watch list’ for escalating spending.
Comptroller Scott Stringer placed three city agencies on a new “watch list” Friday, saying he’s very concerned about...
Metro News: Drug dealer arrested in doctor’s fatal heroin overdose. NY Post 24 - US News
Drug dealer arrested in doctor’s fatal heroin overdose.
A drug dealer who allegedly sold a top Manhattan doctor the heroin that killed him has been busted — thanks to cops who...
Metro News: Girl injured by plank that fell from construction site. NY Post 24 - US News
Girl injured by plank that fell from construction site.
A 7-year-old girl was injured when a piece of wood that fell from a windowsill at a Queens construction site Friday, cops...
Metro News: NYPD Commissioner: Arming teachers isn’t a good idea. NY Post 24 - US News
NYPD Commissioner: Arming teachers isn’t a good idea.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill spoke out Friday against President Trump’s proposal to arm teachers with guns...
Metro News: De Blasio says planned school walkout is a ‘teachable moment’. NY Post 24 - US News
De Blasio says planned school walkout is a ‘teachable moment’.
Mayor de Blasio on Friday said that city schools would adopt relevant lesson plans in advance of the national school walkout...
Metro News: Woman fights back against masturbating pervert on subway. NY Post 24 - US News
Woman fights back against masturbating pervert on subway.
A plucky woman fought back against a subway perv who slashed and pepper-sprayed her aboard a Brooklyn train early Friday–...
Metro News: Archbishop sends creepy tweet to his ‘sister’. NY Post 24 - US News
Archbishop sends creepy tweet to his ‘sister’.
Well, that’s awkward. A New Jersey archbishop sent out a bizarre tweet this week, saying “Nighty-night, baby. I love...

Sport

Last US Sport News: Bullied NFL lineman posts shotgun photo, forces high school to close. NY Post 24 - US News
Bullied NFL lineman posts shotgun photo, forces high school to close.
Former Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin posted a chilling Instagram story that forced a high school to close. Martin...
Last US Sport News: A player who helped define the Devils gets his due. NY Post 24 - US News
A player who helped define the Devils gets his due.
The goalie and the three defensemen will be joined by the franchise forward Saturday night in New Jersey when Patrik Elias’...
Last US Sport News: Giancarlo Stanton gets his first Yankees at-bat. NY Post 24 - US News
Giancarlo Stanton gets his first Yankees at-bat.
Giancarlo Stanton’s first Yankees at-bat ended anti-climactically. The slugger worked a full-count walk against Tigers...
Last US Sport News: Dominic Smith’s bid to make Mets begins with a benching. NY Post 24 - US News
Dominic Smith’s bid to make Mets begins with a benching.
PORT ST. LUCIE — Dominic Smith’s spring training is off to a rough start. The second-year first baseman, who...
Last US Sport News: USTA’s Bouchard case: Early tennis downfall, recent Instagram rise. NY Post 24 - US News
USTA’s Bouchard case: Early tennis downfall, recent Instagram rise.
Tennis players aren’t supposed to get concussions, a lawyer for Canadian pro Eugenie Bouchard told jurors Friday in opening...