Good Wednesday. Here’s what we’re watching:
• Spotify files to go public.
• Dick’s Sporting Goods will stop selling assault-style rifles.
• The end of an era for Ackman; the start for another one?
• What to make of Wall Street’s response to Mr. Powell?
• The Federal Reserve is walking a monetary tightrope.
• And is Jared Kushner’s weakness his family business?
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Spotify is certainly getting paid to be the music industry’s savior.
Perhaps more than any other streaming service, Spotify has revived the fortunes of recording artists. It is funneling billions of dollars from its subscribers to music companies, which, for the most part, faced a bleak future. But a charity Spotify is not. The company appears to be taking a bigger and bigger cut of the revenue it receives from listeners, according to numbers first made public on Wednesday.
Before reading the article:
Watch the video “How Do Russian Bots Work?” below. Then, answer the questions:
— What is a “bot”?
— What are some of the tactics bots use?
— What is one way these tactics have affected individuals or society?
They hide behind Twitter hashtags, Facebook ads and fake news stories. They’re the work of bots and trolls, and one of the most skilled countries at deploying them is Russia. So how do these entities actually work to spread disinformation? We asked two experts. This is St. Petersburg-based activist Ludmila Savchuk. She has tracked disinformation campaigns and even gone undercover to learn how they work. And this is Ben Nimmo, a London-based analyst who focuses on information warfare. Let’s define what’s what. A bot is short for robot. It’s an automated social media account that operates without human intervention. During the 2016 presidential election, suspected Russian operators created bots on Twitter to promote hashtags like #WarAgainstDemocrats. A troll is an actual human being, motivated by passion or a paycheck to write social media posts that push an agenda. In 2015, Savchuk worked undercover for over two months at a troll factory in Russia that has gone by many names, including Glavset and the Internet Research Agency. Troll accounts are usually anonymous or pretend to be someone else, like hipsters or car repairmen. But it can even get stranger. Trolls can also set up bots to amplify a message. Facebook is one common platform for Russian trolls and bots, which, in 2016, used fake accounts to influence U.S. elections. Here’s how some experts think that played out. American officials suspect Russian intelligence agents of using phishing attacks to obtain emails damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign. They then, allegedly, created a site called DCLeaks.com to publish them. A troll on Facebook, using the name Melvin Redick, was one of the first to hype the site, saying it contained the “hidden truth about Hillary Clinton.” An army of bots on Twitter then promoted the DC Leaks, and in one case, even drove a #HillaryDown hashtag into a trending topic. Facebook believes that ads on divisive issues created by Russian trolls were shown to Americans over four million times before the elections. Russian-linked trolls and bots also tried to exploit divisive issues and undermine faith in public institutions. Federal investigators and experts believed Russian trolls created Facebook groups like Blacktivist, which reposted videos of police beatings, or another, Secured Borders, which organized anti-immigrant rallies in real life. “Today, Russia hopes to win the second Cold War through the force of politics as opposed to the politics of force.” How can you stop them? You can’t. Even Vladimir Putin seems to agree. But ID’ing their tactics helps contain their influence. If a suspicious account is active during the workday in St. Petersburg or posting dozens of items a day, those are red flags. Decode the anonymity. Look for alphanumeric scrambles in a user’s name, and try Googling its profile picture. Look at the language. If an account makes grammar mistakes typical for Russian speakers, or changes behavior during times of strained Russian-U.S. relations, then congratulations. You might have caught a bot or pro-Kremlin troll.
How do bots and trolls work to infiltrate social media platforms and influence U.S. elections? We take a closer look at these insidious online pests to explain how they work.
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LONDON — The show that effectively started London Fashion Week almost didn’t.
Backstage — with his first collection independent of the Fashion East emerging-designer platform, which has supported him the last three seasons — Matty Bovan was jubilant but woozy.
Matty Bovan, fall 2018.Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times
Afghan officials have pleaded with three American presidents to reconsider their support for Pakistan, which was both receiving billions of dollars in American aid and harboring the leaders of a Taliban insurgency that the United States has struggled to defeat.
But when President Trump suspended nearly all American security aid to Pakistan on Thursday for what he called the country’s “lies and deceit,” any jubilation in the halls of power in Afghanistan — and there was some — was leavened with worry over how the move might affect a complex war that has pushed the Afghan government to the brink.
If there is one consensus among Afghan leaders and their American counterparts, it is that dealing with Pakistan is both vital and difficult.
American and Afghan officials accuse Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence service of maintaining influence with the Taliban and the group’s most ascendant faction, the Haqqani network, which is behind many of the large-scale attacks on Afghan cities. Through those links, Pakistan has the ability to control at least some of the tempo of the fighting in Afghanistan — and it has done little to constrain it over the past two years, the officials say.
Credit rapide en ligne
The percentage of young adult women who filled prescriptions for drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder has increased more than fivefold since 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.
The new report raises questions about the increasing use of a diagnosis that once was reserved for children and adolescents.
Government researchers tracked prescriptions for drugs to treat A.D.H.D., like Adderall and Vyvanse, among women aged 15 to 44 between 2003 and 2015. The sample included more than 4 million women per year, on average, all of whom had private insurance with drug coverage.
A.D.H.D. prescription rates increased sharply in all age groups during that period, but most steeply among young adult women: by 700 percent among women aged 25 to 29, and by 560 percent among women aged 30 to 34.
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