Call to review Facebook's dominance; how tech companies directly helped the Trump campaign; and more.

  • Action Blitz has put out a social media toolkit to raise awareness about the enrollment period for the ACA, which began yesterday and only goes until December 15.

  • Cyber-insecurity: David Corn and AJ Vicens report for Mother Jones that hackers with possible ties to Russia infiltrated the Trump Organization’s domain registration account, and it doesn’t appear as if the Trump Organization knew about it.

  • Donald Trump’s campaign had an infusion of tech expertise, receiving help from eight staffers from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, Noah Kulwin reports for Vice. “While it’s not unusual for tech companies to provide de-facto consulting for big advertisers, the number and the extent to which employees from those companies acted as surrogate staff for political campaigns in 2016 was unprecedented in national politics, according to a study from that professors from the University of Utah and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published in the journal Political Communications,” Kulwin writes.

  • Although Facebook has been on the receiving end of months of public scrutiny and outrage, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg spent Wednesday on an earnings call with investors and analysts in which they “reported blockbuster quarterly earnings,” Cecilia Kang, Nicholas Fandos, and Mike Isaac reported for The New York Times.

  • Ben Thompson reflected on the tech companies testimony to Congress on his website, Stratechery, writing, “it is hard to escape the conclusion that tech companies have been unable to resist the ring of power: the end game of aggregation is unprecedented control over what people see; the only way to handle that power without risking the abuse of it is a commitment to true neutrality. That Facebook, Twitter, and Google—which, by the way, holds just as much if not more power than Facebook, but without the attendant media scrutiny—have committed to fixing the Russian problem is itself more problematic than those urging they do just that may realize.”

  • “Today, what we know about how disinformation spreads through social networks is due to the hard work of outside experts—researchers, journalists and think tanks—and no thanks to the tech companies themselves,” Renee Diresta and Tristan Harris write for Politico. “In 2015, researchers were writing about ISIS bots spreading jihadi propaganda on Twitter, and posting recruiting videos on YouTube. Technology companies took the most egregious content seriously, but initially did little to disrupt the terrorist network. This year, once again, outsiders have taken the lead in exposing how the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company that conducts information operations on behalf of the Kremlin, purchased and disseminated propaganda meant to exploit American societal divisions during the election. But the official responses from the platforms have come from the same playbook: They deny, they diminish and they attempt to discredit the research.” This, Harris and Diresta argue, is why the companies can’t be trusted to police themselves.

  • ICYMI, here is the early October report by BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel on how Twitter has attacked studies of the platform by third-party researchers.

  • The Open Markets Institute has written a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that they prevent any new acquisitions by Facebook until the government body conducts a “review of Facebook’s dominance in social networking and online advertising; assess the hazards that this dominance poses to commerce and competition, basic democratic institutions, and national security; and issue recommendations on how to address these threats.”

  • John Herrman writes for The New York Times Magazine on the gulf between the bots that are paraded proudly on tech stages to those that have infiltrated our political discourse, masking their origins and their creators.

  • Silicon Valley actor Kumail Nanjiani wrote on Twitter that the techies he encounters during show-related visits to different companies are surprised and unprepared when cast members ask questions about the ethical implications of one tool or another. “Tech has the capacity to destroy us. We see the negative effect of social media. & no ethical considerations are going into dev of tech.”

  • Solve that will you?” —Barack Obama at the Obama Foundation Summit.