OUR PICKSRussian Influence Operations Targeting U.S. Election Have Begun | The Jews Aren’t Taking Away TikTok | Why Biden Should Not Debate Trump, and more

Published 17 April 2024

·  Why Biden Should Not Debate Trump
The networks want their show, but to give the challenger equal status on a TV stage would be a dire normalization of his attempted coup

·  The Jews Aren’t Taking Away TikTok
But conspiracy theories that say otherwise are coming for democracy itself

·  Microsoft Finds Russian Influence Operations Targeting U.S. Election Have Begun
Russia-linked accounts are disseminating divisive content aimed at U.S. audiences, including criticizing American support of Ukraine in its war with Russia

·  Hackers Linked to Russia’s Military Claim Credit for Sabotaging US Water Utilities
Cyber Army of Russia Reborn, a group with ties to the Kremlin’s Sandworm unit, is crossing lines even that notorious cyberwarfare unit wouldn’t dare to

·  Big Tech Says Spy Bill Turns Its Workers into Informants
One of Silicon Valley’s most influential lobbying arms joins privacy reformers in a fight against the Biden administration–backed expansion of a major US surveillance program

Why Biden Should Not Debate Trump  (David Frum, The Atlantic)
A consortium of television networks yesterday released a joint statement inviting President Joe Biden and his presumptive opponent, Donald Trump, to debate on their platforms: “There is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation.”
President Biden’s spokesperson should answer like this: “The Constitution is not debatable. The president does not participate in forums with a person under criminal indictment for his attempt to overthrow the Constitution.”
In their letter of invitation, the networks refer to presidential debates as a “competition of ideas.” But one of the two men they’re inviting turned the last election into a competition of violence: Trump tried to seize the presidency by force in 2021.

The Jews Aren’t Taking Away TikTok  (Yair Rosenberg, The Atlantic)
Like many conspiracy theories, the notion that Jews are out to ban TikTok contains a grain of truth. Jewish and pro-Israel groups have raised concerns about TikTok’s failure to moderate anti-Semitic content for years, including when it pertains to Israel, but they have never called for the app to be shut down. After the TikTok sale legislation was proposed, the Jewish Federations of North America said it “appropriately balances free speech and individual rights with regulatory action” while asserting that “our community understands that social media is a major driver of the rise in antisemitism, and that TikTok is the worst offender by far.” (Presumably, the organization arrived at this conclusion by spending 10 minutes on the app.) Researchers have found that pro-Palestinian content dwarfs pro-Israel content on TikTok, likely reflecting the platform’s young and international demographic.
But no conspiracy theories or appeals to recent geopolitical developments are necessary to understand why U.S. politicians wouldn’t want one of the most-trafficked social-media networks in America to be run by Communist China via a black-box algorithm. Just this past December, researchers at Rutgers found that anti-China posts on topics like the Hong Kong protests or the regime’s brutal repression of Uyghur Muslims were dramatically underrepresented on TikTok compared with Instagram. (Cont.)