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United States Politics and Government

The Shift: Russian Trolls Came for Instagram, Too

In the wake of the 2016 election, Instagram — known as the home of preening influencers, artfully arranged grain bowls and Icelandic vacation photos — somehow escaped much of the scrutiny of other social networks. But two new reports suggest that may have been a mistake. The reports, conducted by …

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Some of the Popular Images and Themes the Russians Posted on Social Media

When Russia targets Americans on social media, it has political goals: in 2016, to damage Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald J. Trump; since then, to press Russian views on issues like the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine; and in the future — who knows? To wield influence, Russian online …

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The Shift: Social Media’s Forever War

Social networks, after all, are not extensions of the United States government. They are owned by corporations seeking to maximize their growth and profitability, and many of them operate mostly outside the United States. (It’s useful to periodically recall that fewer than 10 percent of Facebook’s users are American.) The …

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Voter Suppression and Racial Targeting: In Facebook’s and Twitter’s Words

Twitter In statements submitted in September to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of a hearing with Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter, the company said that it “unequivocally condemns the use of our platform for any election interference activity.” Referring to Tailored Audiences, an advertising feature that can …

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gender letter: Sisterhood in the Halls of Congress, and You’re Invited

“Speak truth, sis!” — Rashida Tlaib to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both newly elected congresswomen, in a message on Instagram It was not terribly surprising this week when yet another one of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets went viral, this time in response to an article about House Speaker Paul Ryan. Every word Ms. …

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The Shift: Is Tech Too Easy to Use?

“The internet’s lack of friction made it great, but now our devotion to minimizing friction is perhaps the internet’s weakest link for security,” Justin Kosslyn, a product manager at Jigsaw, wrote last month in an essay for the technology site Motherboard. Over the past several weeks, I’ve spoken to more …

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Google’s Pichai Faces Privacy and Bias Questions in Congress

WASHINGTON — Google’s chief executive, in perhaps the most public display of lawmakers’ unease with his company’s influence, was grilled on Tuesday about everything from search result bias and the data Google collects about its users to plans for a censored service in China. Sundar Pichai, an engineer who rose …

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Live Briefing: Sundar Pichai of Google Heads to Capitol Hill

Mr. Pichai, in his prepared remarks for the hearing, pushed back against those Republican arguments by putting on a show of patriotism. He said the search giant was first and foremost an American company grounded in values like free speech and political neutrality. “I lead this company without political bias …

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Google Hearing to Preview Democrats’ Strategy on Big Tech

WASHINGTON — Democrats and Google executives worked arm in arm for years, particularly during the Obama administration. But when Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, testifies before Congress on Tuesday, some of the toughest questioning is likely to come from Democrats. The hearing will provide an early glimpse of how Democrats …

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Iranians Accused in Cyberattacks, Including One That Hobbled Atlanta

Two Iranians were behind the ransomware attack that crippled Atlanta’s government for days this year, the Justice Department said in an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, detailing a sophisticated scheme of attacks on hospitals, government agencies and other organizations. The men, Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, chose targets …

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