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Russian 2016 Influence Operation Targeted African-Americans on Social Media

The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee.The report adds new details to the portrait that has emerged over the last two years of the energy and imagination of the Russian effort to sway American opinion and divide the country, which the authors said continues to this day.“Active and ongoing interference operations remain on several platforms,” says the…

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

A report submitted to a Senate committee about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election says that social media companies made misleading or evasive claims about whether the efforts tried to discourage voting or targeted African-Americans on their platforms.The report, which is based largely on data provided to Congress by companies such as Facebook and Twitter, was produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company, along with researchers at Columbia University and Canfield Research. It found the Russian campaign focused on influencing African-Americans and also tried to suppress voting.Researchers wrote that the platforms “may have misrepresented or evaded in some of their statements…

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Menial Tasks, Slurs and Swastikas: Many Black Workers at Tesla Say They Faced Racism

FREMONT, Calif. — Owen Diaz had seen swastikas in the bathrooms at Tesla’s electric-car plant, and he had tried to ignore racist taunts around the factory.“You hear, ‘Hey, boy, come here,’ ‘N-i-g-g-e-r,’ you know, all this,” said Mr. Diaz, who is African-American. Then, a few hours into his shift running the elevators, he noticed a drawing on a bale of cardboard. It had an oversize mouth, big eyes and a bone stuck in the patch of hair scribbled over a long face, with “Booo” written underneath.On that winter night in the factory, when, he said, a supervisor admitted drawing the figure as a joke, Mr. Diaz had…

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Tavares Strachan Teams With SpaceX to Launch Satellite-Sculpture Into Orbit

Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. never made it on a space mission. The first African-American to train as an astronaut with NASA, he died in a supersonic jet crash in 1967, at the age of 32. But the artist Tavares Strachan is getting ready to send the astronaut into space in a manner, to honor his legacy.Mr. Strachan has made an unusual satellite in the form of a 24-karat gold urn featuring a bust of the astronaut, in a high-tech black frame, to be launched from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket currently scheduled to go up on Monday. Mr. Strachan calls his satellite “Enoch” after the biblical figure…

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Barry Rand, Barrier-Breaking Chief Executive, Is Dead at 74

Barry Rand, who in 1999 became one of the few African-American chief executives of a Fortune 500 company when he took control of Avis, the rental car company, after being passed over for the top job at Xerox, died on Nov. 7 in an assisted living facility in Norwalk, Conn. He was 74.His wife, Donna Rand, said the cause was Alzheimer’s disease.Running a major corporation was a critical goal for Mr. Rand. He had spent 30 years at Xerox, rising to executive vice president of operations while developing a reputation as a strong salesman and motivator who helped build a highly diverse workplace.But despite Mr. Rand’s determination…

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State of the Art: Here’s the Conversation We Really Need to Have About Bias at Google

A lot of people made fun this week of the paucity of evidence that Mr. Trump put forward to support his claim. But researchers point out that if Google somehow went rogue and decided to throw an election to a favored candidate, it would only have to alter a small fraction of search results to do so. If the public did spot evidence of such an event, it would look thin and inconclusive, too.“We really have to have a much more sophisticated sense of how to investigate and identify these claims,” said Frank Pasquale, a professor at the University of Maryland’s law school who has studied the…

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How a Fake Group on Facebook Created Real Protests

SAN FRANCISCO — Black Elevation appeared to be an organization dedicated to fighting racism to the tens of thousands of people who visited its page on Facebook.The group promoted events and coordinated activities in several cities. It messaged activists and asked them to spread the word. It posted videos and photographs that encouraged people to show up at protest rallies. It even advertised a job opening.And it was all a lie. Black Elevation was actually part of an orchestrated political influence campaign, aimed at sowing divisions among Americans ahead of the midterm elections in November, according to Facebook.The Black Elevation page, one of the most popular of…

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At Uber, New Questions Arise About Executive Behavior

SAN FRANCISCO — Barney Harford was hired late last year to help fix problems at Uber, the ride-hailing company. Instead, he has created new ones.On a conference call this spring with colleagues, Mr. Harford, the company’s chief operating officer, critiqued a new ad that showed a mixed-race couple, said five people familiar with the conversation. He debated aloud how common the pairing was among the audiences that would see it. He also said he found parts of the ad’s early cut confusing, mixing up two black women in the video because they had similar hairstyles, said the people, who declined to be identified because they have signed…

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When White People Call the Police on Black People

A Yale spokeswoman said the officers followed procedures, but Kimberly M. Goff-Crews, the university’s vice president for student life, said in an email to students she was “deeply troubled” by the episode. On Thursday, Yale made a point to emphasize that officers had told the caller that this was not a police matter.Three teenagers looking for last-minute deals before a prom were trailed by Nordstrom Rack employees in suburban St. Louis on May 3. When they left the store carrying the items they bought, they were met by the police outside. The officers let them go after looking at their receipts and inside their bags and car.Nordstrom…

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