Craig Silverman

Reporter

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Craig Silverman is a national reporter for ProPublica covering voting, platforms, disinformation, and online manipulation. Silverman previously served as the media editor of BuzzFeed News, where he pioneered coverage of digital disinformation. He received a George Polk Award in 2021 for a series of articles that revealed how Facebook exposes the public to disinformation, fraud and violence. Silverman is also the recipient of the Carey McWilliams Award from the American Political Science Association, which honors “a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics.” His 2019 series exposing a global Facebook advertising scam was named investigation of the year by the Canadian Association of Journalists. Silverman is the author of two books and the editor of the European Journalism Centre’s Verification Handbook series.

How Walmart’s Financial Services Became a Fraud Magnet

Scammers have duped consumers out of more than $1 billion by exploiting Walmart’s lax security. The company has resisted taking responsibility while breaking promises to regulators and skimping on training.

Right-Wing Websites Connected to Former Trump Lawyer Are Scamming Loyal Followers With Phony Celebrity Pitches

A mysterious network called AdStyle is placing ads with fake endorsements from celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk on conservative sites based in the U.S. and abroad.

A Scammer Who Tricks Instagram Into Banning Influencers Has Never Been Identified. We May Have Found Him.

OBN, a mysterious fraudster, says he made hundreds of thousands of dollars by exploiting Instagram’s security gaps. He’s eluded Meta and law enforcement, but we followed his trail to Las Vegas.

Porn, Piracy, Fraud: What Lurks Inside Google’s Black Box Ad Empire

Google’s ad business hides nearly all publishers it works with and where billions of ad dollars flow. We uncovered a network containing manga piracy, porn, fraud and disinformation.

How Google’s Ad Business Funds Disinformation Around the World

The largest-ever analysis of Google’s ad practices on non-English-language websites reveals how the tech giant makes disinformation profitable.

How We Determined Which Disinformation Publishers Profit From Google’s Ad Systems

We identified websites that collected Google ad revenue despite publishing false claims about COVID-19, climate change and other issues in apparent violation of Google policies.

Real Money, Fake Musicians: Inside a Million-Dollar Instagram Verification Scheme

A jeweler. A plastic surgeon. An OnlyFans Model. They and others received a blue check in likely the biggest Instagram verification scheme revealed to date. After ProPublica started asking questions, Meta removed badges from over 300 accounts.

Google Allowed a Sanctioned Russian Ad Company to Harvest User Data for Months

The internet giant may have provided Sberbank-owned RuTarget with unique mobile phone IDs, IP addresses, location information and details about users’ interests and online activity.

Google Says It Bans Gun Ads. It Actually Makes Money From Them.

The tech giant has long boasted that it doesn’t accept ads for firearms, but a ProPublica analysis shows that Google’s ad systems served up more than 100 million ads from gun makers.

Infamous Russian Troll Farm Appears to Be Source of Anti-Ukraine Propaganda

Experts say a recent wave of pro-Putin disinformation is consistent with the work of Russia’s Internet Research Agency, a network of paid trolls who attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election.

In the Ukraine Conflict, Fake Fact-Checks Are Being Used to Spread Disinformation

Social media posts debunking purported Ukrainian disinformation are themselves fake. That doesn’t stop them from being featured on Russian state TV.

Facebook Hosted Surge of Misinformation and Insurrection Threats in Months Leading Up to Jan. 6 Attack, Records Show

A ProPublica/Washington Post analysis of Facebook posts, internal company documents and interviews, provides the clearest evidence yet that the social media giant played a critical role in spreading lies that fomented the violence of Jan. 6.

How Steve Bannon Has Exploited Google Ads to Monetize Extremism

Google kicked Bannon off YouTube because of his violent rhetoric but still sent ad dollars to his website that promotes misinformation about the election and the pandemic.

How to Avoid Being Scammed on Facebook Marketplace

From suspiciously low prices to sellers who demand payment in gift cards, there are multiple warning signs a Marketplace listing might be fraudulent.

Facebook Grew Marketplace to 1 Billion Users. Now Scammers Are Using It to Target People Around the World.

ProPublica identified thousands of Marketplace listings and profiles that broke the company’s rules, revealing how Facebook failed to safeguard users.

How Facebook Undermines Privacy Protections for Its 2 Billion WhatsApp Users

WhatsApp assures users that no one can see their messages — but the company has an extensive monitoring operation and regularly shares personal information with prosecutors.

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