Hard to tell at this point for sure. I’m certain that there was plenty of coordination with domestic PR groups as well on all of this, but the 2016 online influence campaign was something completely new and different for the GOP, and we all know that Trump is way too fucking stupid to come up with anything new and different on his own.
That means that they were getting their playbook from someone with a lot more media manipulation experience than themselves, and the fingerprints (both in terms of style and where the money was flowing from into the GOP pockets) were distinctly Russian.
I’ve been following the Concord Management trial (one of the indicted “Russian entities”). It seems that there is no specific US law against a foreign company (whether Russian, Saudi or Israeli) doing this sort of thing, as long as they are not explicitly promoting a candidate. The charge is an elaborate theory based on conspiracy law which I could not explain in 100 words.
If the US wants this to be illegal, why don’t they pass a specific law?
They’ve dissolved it into a bunch of less visible and more scattered positions reporting to assorted business units; probably for reasons that their PR flacks would suggest stem from a pervasive focus on security; rather than the fact that nobody in charge of providing a bird’s eye view of what they do could stay on message.
And I suspect that the flack is spinning but not wholly lying: Facebook has nothing to gain from being insecure in the Yahoo sense of the term; so they probably do have a fair amount of locally focused effort ensuring that their numerous systems aren’t getting hacked horribly all the time; and that, while violations of norms and regulations may occur, what happens to Facebook’s data on Facebook’s systems is according to their design.
They just don’t want a C-level who has to deliver the “our engineers work tirelessly to ensure that all violations of your privacy, and boy that’s quite a list, are delivered to Facebook customers rather than kiddies with SQL to inject” summary.
I suspect too their decision had to do with what the C level was trying to deliver internally, as well as to the public.
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