Disinformation, Made in the U.S.A.
Before the 2016 election, Russian operatives exploited Facebook and Twitter to try to sway U.S. voters. Now, weeks before the midterm elections, such influence campaigns are increasingly being created by Americans, for Americans.
Facebook said on Thursday that it would remove around 800 pages and accounts run by Americans, many of which amplified false and misleading content in a coordinated fashion. And Twitter took down 50 accounts this month thought to be run by Americans posing as Republican lawmakers.
Separately, advocacy groups in Georgia have filed a lawsuit after reports that Brian Kemp, the secretary of state and the Republican nominee for governor, stalled more than 53,000 voter registrations, including a disproportionately high number of black voters.
• From the soul: Kanye West delivered a 10-minute monologue to President Trump at the White House on Thursday.
What next for the markets?
The performance of Asian markets suggested that investor fears may be calming today, after a spate of bad news on Wall Street and beyond this week. Futures markets that track U.S. stocks are rising this morning, while those tracking Europe are mixed.
Stocks on Wall Street fell for a sixth day on Thursday, setting the stage for another bad October.
President Trump responded to the news by lashing out at the Federal Reserve, calling it “crazy,” “loco,” “going wild” and “out of control” for slowly raising interest rates. The intensity and frequency of Mr. Trump’s attacks on the Fed have some experts worrying about its independence.
Ripple effects of Saudi journalist’s disappearance
The suspected murder of Jamal Khashoggi has raised tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, pitting two of the region’s powers against each other.
Both President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia have a lot to lose in the dispute. On Thursday, they agreed to form a joint “working group” to examine Mr. Khashoggi’s case, suggesting that they were looking for ways to de-escalate the situation.
Internationally, the dispute has forced lobbyists, financiers, tech executives and media figures to confront the risks of doing business with Saudi Arabia.
• “The Argument”: new from our Opinion section. Three columnists from across the political spectrum — Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt — make sense of the news, without pretending that they agree about it. This week: the future of the Supreme Court and the future of #MeToo.
• No news quiz this week
It will return on Friday, Oct. 19.
• Ready for the weekend
At the movies, we review “Watergate,” Charles Ferguson’s comprehensive documentary; and Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong. You can find all of this week’s film reviews here.
At the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, our art critic reviews an exhibition that gives a full-scale look at Charles White’s politically vigilant art.
Also in Manhattan, we toured a multimedia exhibition dedicated to the influential ’60s rock band the Velvet Underground with one of the group’s founders, John Cale.
Finally, we recommend 10 new books.
• Talking to my fiancé about my new girlfriend
After enjoying an open relationship, a couple decides to marry. But why must marriage require sexual fidelity?
• Best of late-night TV
Trevor Noah summed up his view of Kanye West’s visit to the White House: “I really enjoyed seeing Kanye make Trump feel the way Trump makes us feel everyday.”
• Quotation of the day
“These were all block and stucco houses — gone. The mother of all bombs doesn’t do any more damage than this.”
— Tom Bailey, the former mayor of Mexico Beach, Fla., on the damage from Hurricane Michael.
• The Times, in other words
• What we’re reading
Our Interpreter columnists Max Fisher and Amy Taub recommend this Twitter thread: “Erin Ruberry, a writer, posted a series of images showing how zoo professionals weigh various baby animals — baby panda, baby penguin, baby giraffe, you name it.”
Quite a few readers wrote to us last week to take issue with this sentence at the end of a briefing: “His whereabouts is unknown.”
Surely, they wrote, it should be “whereabouts are.”
Well, yes and no.
Times editors consult an in-house style guide for grammar and spelling questions like this. And the entry for “whereabouts” tells us to “construe it as a singular.”
While “whereabouts” is commonly used as a noun, it began as an adverb (“Whereabouts are you from?”). That means the “s” at the end is an adverbial suffix — think of “always” or “besides” — and not an indicator of a plural noun.
Historically, “whereabouts” has been considered both singular and plural when used as a noun, though in recent years the plural has been winning out.
Philip Corbett, our top editor for standards, said that in cases of two acceptable usages, the Times stylebook often specifies one, and sometimes the more traditional one.
“At some point,” he said, “we may have to consider whether to change our stylebook guidance, if only to avoid distracting readers who may believe that the singular usage is wrong.”
Interested in grammar and usage questions? Check out our copy editing quizzes.
Jennifer Jett wrote today’s Back Story.
Check out our full range of free newsletters here.
What would you like to see here? Contact us at email@example.com.