Hillicon Valley: Facebook begins labeling posts from state-controlled media | Chinese and Iranian hackers target Biden, Trump campaigns | Twitter CEO gives $3M to Kaepernick group

Hillicon Valley: Facebook begins labeling posts from state-controlled media | Chinese and Iranian hackers target Biden, Trump campaigns | Twitter CEO gives $3M to Kaepernick group
© getty

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.

FACEBOOK FLAGGING: Facebook announced Thursday that it has started labelling posts from state-controlled media outlets.

ADVERTISEMENT

The labels will first appear on the outlets's page before being added to posts on the News Feed over the next week.

Advertisements from the outlets will also start being labeled later this summer.

The social media giant first announced plans for such labels in October 2019.

"We’re providing greater transparency into these publishers because they combine the influence of a media organization with the strategic backing of a state, and we believe people should know if the news they read is coming from a publication that may be under the influence of a government," Facebook's head of cybersecurity, Nathan Gleicher, wrote in a blog post Thursday.

Facebook's definition of state-controlled media was developed in collaboration with experts and organizations in the fields of media, governance, human rights and development. 

The company says it will make the determinations based on the funding and structure of media companies, as well as open-source reporting about them.

Outlets determined to be state-controlled will be able to appeal their status.

ADVERTISEMENT

Read more about the new policy here.

 

HACKERS TARGET CAMPAIGNS: Chinese and Iranian government-backed hackers recently unsuccessfully targeted campaign staff for both President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage The Memo: Trump grows weak as clock ticks down Nina Turner addresses Biden's search for a running mate MORE, a Google threat researcher announced Thursday.

Shane Huntley, a member of Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG), tweeted that TAG had seen advanced persistent threat (APT) groups sending malicious phishing emails to campaign staffers.

“Recently TAG saw China APT group targeting Biden campaign staff & Iran APT targeting Trump campaign staff with phishing,” Huntley tweeted. “No sign of compromise. We sent users our govt attack warning and we referred to fed law enforcement.”

Google’s government attack warning alerts users that hackers may be attempting to steal their password, and urges them to sign up for Google’s Advanced Protection Program. Huntley wrote in a blog post in 2018 that an “extremely small fraction of users” will get this alert, but that if a user does receive one, they should “take immediate action” to secure their account.

A spokesperson for the Biden campaign told The Hill that they were “aware” of the targeting.

"We are aware of reports from Google that a foreign actor has made unsuccessful attempts to access the personal email accounts of campaign staff,” the spokesperson said. “We have known from the beginning of our campaign that we would be subject to such attacks and we are prepared for them.”

The spokesperson emphasized that “Biden for President takes cybersecurity seriously, we will remain vigilant against these threats, and will ensure that the campaign's assets are secured."

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the attempted targeting.

Both Iran and China are considered, alongside Russia and North Korea, to be top threats to the U.S. in cyberspace. Tensions between the U.S. and China have spiked during the COVID-19 outbreak, while tensions with Iran reached a boiling point in January following the targeting and killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. 

The phishing emails are not the first efforts to target presidential campaigns this year. 

Read more about the attempted targeting here.

 

JACK GIVES BACK: Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey is donating $3 million to former NFL player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick’s group Know Your Rights Camp.

Dorsey announced his donation to the group Wednesday along with a series of donations to other organizations as part of his "start small grants" initiative launched in April

Dorsey said he would be donating $3 million to Kaepernick’s group to “advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization to elevate the next generation of change leaders.”

Kaepernick is a former NFL quarterback who played for the San Francisco 49ers. He led a peaceful demonstration starting in 2016 by taking a knee during the national anthem at games to protest police brutality. Following the season, Kaepernick became a free agent and has since gone unsigned. 

His protest grew, however, with some athletes across different sports following his lead and demonstrating during the national anthem at games.

Kaepernick announced Wednesday that his Know Your Rights Camp would be expanded to add a national legal defense initiative to “defend arrested Freedom Fighters” amid the protests emerging over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. 

Read more about the donation here.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

MONEY IN THE BANK: Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosJeff Bezos's wealth hits record high 1B How competition will make the new space race flourish Just because Democrats are paranoid about the election doesn't mean there aren't problems MORE, the CEO of Amazon, and Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse | Trump administration awards tech group contract to build 'virtual' wall | Advocacy groups urge Congress to ban facial recognition technologies Facebook to launch Fourth of July voter registration drive Hillicon Valley: Facebook claims it 'does not profit from hate' in open letter | Analysis finds most of Facebook's top advertisers have not joined boycott | Research finds Uighurs targeted by Chinese spyware as part of surveillance campaign MORE, the CEO and founder of Facebook, are among the U.S. billionaires that have publicly contributed less than .1 percent of their wealth to pandemic relief, according to a survey from The Washington Post.

The survey from The Post found that the 50 wealthiest people and families, who have a collective net worth of nearly $1.6 trillion, have contributed $1 billion in publicly announced donations. 

Of the billionaires the newspaper surveyed, Bezos and Zuckerberg are among those whose ventures have continued to flourish among the pandemic that has left more than 30 million people unemployed. 

Zuckerberg donated $58 million for medical research and aid for the Bay Area, which The Post found equated to $84 for the average American. Bezos has donated $100 million to Feeding America and up to $25 million for All in WA, a statewide relief effort in Washington, which is equivalent to donating $85.

Bill Gates and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are among those The Post found have donated more significant portions of their wealth. 

Read more here.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

An op-ed to chew on: The CDC’s wrong-way approach to contact tracing 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

Tech is writing checks to anti-racism groups. Here’s who’s giving, and how much (Protocol / Sofie Kodner) 

Black tech CEOs explain why the killing of George Floyd hits so close to home (CNBC / Ari Levy) 

Contact tracing with your phone: It’s easier but there are tradeoffs (The New York Times / Matt Richtel)