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Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

Facebook Vice President of Ad Product Rob Goldman tweeted Friday that he can "very definitively" say that swaying the election was not the main objective of the Russian actors that meddled in the 2016 elections using social media, but rather sowing discord was their goal.

Why it matters: Facebook executives have been saying for months that the majority of Russian ad spend occurred after the election, meaning the objective of the Russians was to cause disruption and division among Americans, not tip ballots.

Goldman says few outlets are reporting their intent this way because "it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election."

Our thought bubble: The biggest story out of the Mueller indictment should be what was learned about the sophistication of the tools and operations used to weaponize social media. Bad actors will always have different reasons for abusing technology. Staying ahead of their ability to misinform users is what matters.

Goldman says the main goal of the Russian misinformation effort is to divide America "by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us."

  • According to Gallup, trust in American institutions is at an all-time low, particularly amongst new on the internet.
  • Goldman says their efforts have stoked fear and hatred amongst Americans. "It is working incredibly well. We are quite divided as a nation."

He argues the best demonstration of Russia's true motives is the Houston anti-islamic protest that occurred in May 2016. Russians using fake identities to pose as real Americans were able to lure people from both sides of a societal issues to spark a real street protest.

Goldman says fighting misinformation wars can be done using education. He points to examples of Nordic countries with digital literacy teachings as an example of ways to combat misinformation.

Go deeper

8 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

8 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 9 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

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