This week, while perusing our reviewers’ favorite political betting sites for some lively markets, I stumbled upon a collection of proposition bets currently offered by BetOnline – all dealing with politics and social media in some way.
It’s the perfect time for such wagers, as this week brought several high-profile headlines concerning an array of social media, political issues.
The federal government is debating whether or not to ban the Chinese app TikTok; a massive hack allowed someone to take over many prominent Twitter accounts, and there’s an argument over Facebook’s responsibility to censor certain political beliefs still ongoing.
Most of the following political betting markets resolve on Election Day, but a few are available through the end of the year. With the Democratic primaries having been decided since April and Donald Trump falling severely behind Joe Biden in the polls, it’s time for political handicappers to get creative.
Will Facebook Ban Political Ads Before 11/2/2020?
- Matchup Odds
To start things off: this market feels like free cash to me. If you need a quick way to double your money, take “yes” on Facebook banning political ads before Election Day at +200 moneyline odds.
Mark Zuckerberg has been under intense pressure in recent months to play a more active role in censoring his platform.
While he seems determined to resist applying the same strict liberal standards to Facebook that other social media providers have adopted, agreeing to ban political ads may allow him to give some concessions to the “woke” crowd, without crossing the line that makes them a publisher rather than a platform.
Here’s what a recent article in the Miami Herald had to say about it:
Bloomberg’s Kurt Wagner reported Friday afternoon that officials at the social-networking giant were discussing a temporary ban on political advertising to reduce the spread of misleading, questionable or false material on the site in the run-up to the November election. The report came two days after Facebook released a damning audit of its “reactive and piecemeal” efforts to keep its network free of hate speech and voter suppression, among other objectionable practices.
Oh, and by the way, a small but growing number of major advertisers are boycotting Facebook over a similar set of issues.
A ban would answer those complaints only where advertising by pols and their campaigns is concerned. But it would relieve the company of the responsibility that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has famously resisted, which is to fact-check political ads the same way it does every other advertisement.
I suspect Congress and Democratic operatives and donors will continue to keep on the pressure until Zuckerberg folds. Seeing a likely Biden administration on the horizon, he’ll throw them a bone by banning political ads through November. That way, he’ll avoid more extensive measures like what’s being asked of other platforms.
Will Twitter Freeze Official Accounts Due to Hack?
- Matchup Odds
- Twitter must make official announcement.
- Official account designated by blue check mark.
- Must be two or more accounts with more than 1 million followers.
- Must occur between 7/16/20 and 12/31/20.
Last Wednesday, dozens of the most prominent Twitter accounts on the social media platform were hacked and used to spread a cryptocurrency scam. Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Uber, Kanye West, Apple, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk all had their accounts compromised. It is believed that the hackers gained access to an internal “admin” tool that allowed them to take control of high-profile accounts.
According to a Vice article on the matter, the hackers used a Twitter insider to access the internal tool.
“We used a rep that literally done all the work for us,” one of the sources told Motherboard. The second source added they paid the Twitter insider. Motherboard granted the sources anonymity to speak candidly about a security incident. A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard that the company is still investigating whether the employee hijacked the accounts themselves or gave hackers access to the tool.
The accounts were taken over using an internal tool at Twitter, according to the sources, as well as screenshots of the tool obtained by Motherboard. One of the screenshots shows the panel and the account of Binance; Binance is one of the accounts that hackers took over today. According to screenshots seen by Motherboard, at least some of the accounts appear to have been compromised by changing the email address associated with them using the tool.
In all, four sources close to or inside the underground hacking community provided Motherboard with screenshots of the user tool. Two sources said the Twitter panel was also used to change ownership of some so-called OG accounts—accounts that have a handle consisting of only one or two characters—as well as facilitating the tweeting of the cryptocurrency scams from the high profile accounts.
The compromised accounts were frozen for a time but then reinstated later Wednesday evening. This market is betting on whether or not this will happen again.
I think Twitter will learn from this ordeal and be on high-alert for the remainder of the election cycle. They can’t afford another public humiliation like this; users are already searching out new alternatives like Gab and Parler due to the platform’s increased censorship and liberal bent.
Will President Trump’s Twitter Account Be Hacked?
- Matchup Odds
If Donald Trump avoided being caught up in the first hack, I’d say he’s safe from here on out. Last week’s admin tool hack was a huge wake-up call for everyone working at Twitter and using their service. It was proof that someone with access to that tool could take over the accounts of world leaders and presumably start WW3 if they played their cards right.
There will now be much closer monitoring going on and far fewer Twitter employees with access to that tool. I think Donald Trump is safe from any Twitter hacks – especially since his days on the platform are numbered.
Will President Trump be Banned from Twitter Before 2021?
- Matchup Odds
I fully expect Donald Trump to be banned from Twitter the moment he’s no longer president. If I had to guess, he’ll lose in November and take to social media to complain about the election and question the legitimacy of the outcome.
With the president-elect, Joe Biden, highlighting the dangers of such rhetoric, Twitter will feel pressure to silence Trump. They’ll wait until December or so to ban him, when it’s too late for any serious retribution.
Will TikTok Be Banned in the US Before 2021?
- Matchup Odds
It better be!
No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, TikTok has been discovered to be little more than a spying app for China’s government.
A Reddit user reverse-engineered the software, finding the following:
TikTok is a data collection service that is thinly-veiled as a social network. If there is an API to get information on you, your contacts, or your device… well, they’re using it.
- Phone hardware (CPU type, number of course, hardware ids, screen dimensions, dpi, memory usage, disk space, etc)
- Other apps you have installed (I’ve even seen some I’ve deleted show up in their analytics payload – maybe using as cached value?)
- Everything network-related (ip, local ip, router mac, your mac, wifi access point name)
- Whether or not you’re rooted/jailbroken
- Some variants of the app had GPS pinging enabled at the time, roughly once every 30 seconds – this is enabled by default if you ever location-tag a post IIRC
- They set up a local proxy server on your device for “transcoding media,” but that can be abused very easily as it has zero authentication
The scariest part of all of this is that much of the logging they’re doing is remotely configurable, and unless you reverse every single one of their native libraries (have fun reading all of that assembly, assuming you can get past their customized fork of OLLVM!!!) and manually inspect every single obfuscated function. They have several different protections in place to prevent you from reversing or debugging the app as well. App behavior changes slightly if they know you’re trying to figure out what they’re doing.
The Redditor goes on to detail even more horrors. There’s no way our government can’t allow such a powerful data-collection tool – built by our main competitor on the global stage – to continue running amok throughout the country.
I’m betting heavily on “Yes” TikTok will be banned before 2021!