Federal probe finds coordinated social media trolls in Alberta election

first_imgA federal agency investigating the recent Alberta election has found evidence the campaign featured tactics including co-ordinated, false social media postings.In a report released late Friday, the Rapid Response Mechanism — created by the G-7 to monitor foreign influence on democratic elections — identified social media accounts that demonstrated “co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour.”The agency was created by the G7 at the 2018 conference in Charleboix, Que. It is intended to strengthen co-ordination between members in identifying, preventing and responding to threats to G7 democracies from foreign actors using social media to meddle in elections.The agency is based in Canada.On its website, it says it investigated the Alberta vote to see if foreign players were involved.“The Alberta election was identified as being at risk of interference because of the extent to which environmental issues were debated,” it says.No organized influence was exerted from outside the province’s borders, it found. However, Albertans seemed keen to use those tactics themselves.“(We) identified communities that demonstrated a suspicious account creation pattern that is indicative of troll or bot activity,” the report says. “It was mainly comprised of supporters of the United Conservative Party.“The pattern was not identified within communities of supporters of the Alberta Liberal Party or Alberta New Democratic Party.”The report bases this conclusion on a large number of social media accounts created by UCP supporters in the first months of 2019. That analysis was combined with an evaluation of the behaviour of those accounts and the network they were part of.“These are indications of likely inauthentic behaviour.”The report adds that third-party lobby groups were also “spreading disinformation online” before the balloting.The United Conservative Party, led by Jason Kenney, won the April vote.Bots are social media programs designed to artificially generate social media posts that appear as if written by an actual person. Trolls are social media users who intentionally initiate online conflict so as to provoke emotional responses and derail discussions.Bots and trolls can be used together to amplify their effect.The report suggests that although false postings were being systematically disseminated on social media, they weren’t central to the debate taking place among voters. It discounts previous estimates that as many as one-third of postings during the campaign were from bots.“The presence of automated inauthentic activities does not appear central or crucial to the overall conversation,” it says.It did say, supporters of the People’s Party of Canada, led by Maxime Bernier, also showed “suspicious patterns” of social media account creation.It also found a small number of accounts pushing Alberta independence.“Creating false separatist movements or amplifying domestic ones is a known tactic in foreign interference. At this time, (the agency) cannot tie this small group of accounts to any foreign entity.”The report suggests that Canadian political actors are picking up some nasty habits — with unsettling consequences for the approaching national vote.“Domestic actors are also emulating the tactics used by foreign actors within the context of provincial elections,” its says. “This behaviour will make it increasingly difficult to distinguish national from foreign interference efforts in the upcoming federal election.”last_img read more

Tamangs widow to go on indefinite fast

first_imgBharati Tamang, widow of slain All-India Gorkha League (AIGL) leader Madan Tamang, has threatened to go on an indefinite fast to press for immediate arrest of the 23 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders against whom a court in Kolkata issued a warrant of arrest.Bharati made the threat on Tuesday, but till this date no action has been initiated after the issuing of arrest warrant, AIGL General Secretary Pratap Khati said today. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJI”No stay order has been issued as yet against the warrant of arrest. So why is the CBI delaying?” he wondered and gave the apex probe agency a 24-hr deadline to initiate the arrest.”The court has directed the execution of the warrant of arrest. We do not know why the CBI is delaying in making the arrest. Since there are no other options with us, I have decided to go on fast onto death,” Khatin quoted Bharati Tamang as saying.  The AIGL has also written to the CBI director and joint director to apprise them about the delay and gave the agency 24-hour time failing which the fast will begin.last_img read more

Teen beaten up by shop owner on theft charges

first_imgKolkata: A teenager was beaten up by a local fruit seller after he suspected him to be a thief.The incident took place near Chada Bazar area Bongaon on late Monday evening. The victim has been identified as Alam Mondal. He has received serious injuries in the incident and is fighting for his life at a nearby hospital. The victim is a class VII student from a local school in Bongaon. It triggered tension among locals. Some have, however, raised questions on why the boy was badly beaten up by a local shop owner instead of handing him over to the police. The accused during police interrogation claimed that he managed to catch the boy while stealing money from the shop. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe family members of the victim came to know that one Nani Sarkar, a fruit seller by profession, was badly beating up the victim and rushed to the spot. They found their child lying on the ground and bleeding from various parts of his body. When the family members wanted to know from Nani as to why he had beaten him up that badly, the accused threatened the family members with dire consequences. The accused alleged that the boy was trying to steal money from his shop. He also told police he was away from his shop in the evening when the accused attempted to steal money from the cash box. He caught hold of the boy and beat him up badly. The victim had received injuries on various parts of his body. None of the locals came to his rescue till the matter was reported to his family members. Some police personnel rushed to the spot and freed him from the clutches of the businessmen. The victim was later taken to a hospital by police personnel. Police have started a probe in this regard and are interrogating the locals. The patient is stated to be in a serious condition.last_img read more

Congress set to have 2 members in Lower House of Parliament from

first_imgKolkata: It is for the first to since Independence that the Congress party will have two members in the Lower House of Parliament from Bengal.Congress candidates Adhir Chowdhury from Berhampore Lok Sabha seat and A H Khan Choudhury from Malda South are leading. In two other seats— Murshidabad and Jangipur — Congress candidates are trailing. Trinamool Congress had fielded Apurba Sarkar, an aide of Adhir Chowdhury and Congress MLA from Kandi, who left the Congress and joined the party against Chowdhury. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThough the lead of Chowdhury, who had won the seat by 3.56 lakh votes, has come down substantially but he is still able to maintain his lead. Over the past two decades Chowdhury came out as the most powerful leader of Murshidabad. He was the president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress. Trinamool Congress appointed Suvendu Adhikari, the state Transport minister, to look after Murshidabad and Adhikari very successfully brought the district under the party’s control. In the Panchayat election in 2018, the Trinamool got control over the Zilla Parishad. The municipalities in the district are also under the TMC. In the past one year, Chowdhury has been cornered politically. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateAll India Congress Committee (AICC) replaced Chowdhury by Somen Mitra as PCC chief. Chowdhury is known to be political rival of Mitra and had pleaded strongly for alliance with the CPIM, which was turned down by AICC. But despite being cornered, Chowdhury continue to nurture his Lok Sabha seat and this has paid him dividend. Trinamool Congress alleged that Chowdhury had secretly struck a deal with RSS who helped him to consolidate his vote. However, he failed to have his control over Jangipur and Murshidabad. In Jangipur, Abhijit Mukherjee ranked third while Khalilur Rahaman of Trinamool Congress is leading. Mafuza Khatun, who joined the BJP from CPIM is holding the second position. In Murshidabad, Abu Taher Khan of Trinamool Congress is leading. The Lok Sabha poll of 2019 has clearly shown that Chowdhury’s control over Murshidabad is over.last_img read more