Russia’s propaganda machine amplifies alt-right

Russia’s propaganda machine amplifies alt-right

Russia’s army of media influencers, social media bots and trolls has increasingly amplified alt-right and far-right narratives in the United States since the 2016 presidential election.

Russia’s efforts to push propaganda and disinformation, experts say, are nothing new and extend beyond the U.S. to nations in Europe. But they have seemed to evolve in recent months, increasingly infiltrating and engaging with alt-right and far-right Americans online.

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President Obama signs nationwide ticket-bot ban into law

The bill aims to ensure equal access to popular events for the general public.

New York already passed legislation banning the use of ticket buying bots, but President Obama has just made the ban a nationwide law. Today, the president signed the “Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016” which makes it illegal to use software to purchase tickets to popular events. Of course, the end goal of doing so is to resell them at a higher price. As you might expect, the law aims to give the general public a fair shot at concerts, sporting events and more that sell out quickly.

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Facebook opens up Messenger to ad bots

Users must initiate interactions and can block them at any time, though.

Right now, Facebook lets Messenger bots from brands like Expedia and HP help you make a purchase, but they can’t try to sell you a new product. However, a policy change means those automated assistants will soon be able to send subscription messages, ads and promotions for services like makeup consultations. If you’re worried about spam, Facebook emphasized that the user is in control. “All conversations between businesses and people must be initiated by the person receiving the messages, who can then mute or block the business at any time,” wrote Product Manager Seth Rosenberg.

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Skype gets new bots for travel, tickets and entertainment, but they’re far from perfect

Following yesterday’s launch of a new version of the Skype Windows 10 application, Microsoft today announced an expanded collection of its “Skype bots,” the automated chat assistants that it introduced earlier this year in a limited preview. The new bots include those that can help you find travel, locate event tickets, pull in information from other applications and services; and even keep you entertained.

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