Alabama

Progressives used fake social media pages to fight Roy Moore

Roy Moore campaigning for senate
Then-candidate Roy Moore in 2017. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fake social media accounts that advocated for a statewide alcohol ban in Alabama in 2017 were actually a progressive ploy to dissuade moderate Republicans away from voting for Roy Moore in the state's Senate race that year, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Politicians from both the left and right have always used media manipulation tactics in order to boost their election efforts. However, technology and social media have increasingly blurred the lines on what's real and what isn't. It's the second such small-scale effort used by Democratic operatives in the race, per NYT, which uncovered a ploy last month to imitate Russian tactics in an attempt to divide potential Moore voters.

Go deeper: Fake News 2.0: The propaganda war gets sophisticated

Reid Hoffman apologizes for funding disinformation in Alabama special election

Reid Hoffman sitting on a stage for an event.
Reid Hoffman. Photo: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for LinkedIn

Billionaire venture capitalist and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman apologized on Wednesday for funding a group responsible for spreading disinformation during the Alabama Senate special election last year, according to the Washington Post.

Between the lines: This is the first time Hoffman has acknowledged that he invested $750,000 in American Engagement Technologies, a group that used misleading Facebook pages and other disinformation tactics to target Republican Roy Moore and boost support for Democrat Doug Jones, who ultimately won the close race. Hoffman said in a statement that he was not aware his money was being used for these purposes and that he supports a federal investigation into the matter.

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