They called it the Great Stink. In the summer of 1858, London was hit with a heat wave of noxious consequence. The city filled with a stench emanating from opaque pale-brown fluid flowing along what was once poetically known as the "Silver Thames." Politicians whose offices overlooked the river doused their curtains with chloride of lime to mask the smell, the first time they'd been incentivized to really take action. At the time, close-quarters living arrangements and poor hygiene were contributing to a rise in illnesses and epidemics.
Misinformation techniques first deployed by Russian agents are now more commonly used in Britain by the far right, as well as by politicians to convince their own voters, an audience in Oxford has been told. At an event hosted by Oxford University's Internet Institute, which has been studying the effects of "computational propaganda" in elections around the world, speakers said the evidence of foreign interference in Britain's election was slim, but that strategies first deployed by foreign actors were still going strong. The event was held under the Chatham House rule, meaning speakers can be quoted but not named. "The communications strategies pioneered by the Russians have migrated to become strategies that the far right, [and] white supremacists, use in this country, and strategies that politicians use in this country on their own voters," said one attender. Researchers from the institute identified other changing trends in how misinformation spreads online.
Google is allowing ads that show misleading information regarding voting by mail, The Washington Post reported. The tech giant reportedly took five days to review the ads in question before approving them. Now, some are questioning the ad policies and whether Google is prepared to respond to election-related misinformation. The ads, created by a group known as Protect My Vote, appeared after people in certain states -- including Florida, Michigan, Iowa, Arizona, Texas and Georgia -- searched for "mail-in voting." One of them has text that reads, in part, "think mail-in voting and absentee voting are the same. There are different safeguards for each."