Friday, September 29, 2017

A Primer On The Use Of Social Media BOTS To Influence US Politics BY NDN ... by gimleteye

Democracy in the US is marked by allegorical catastrophe. Hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes equally apply.
The illigitimate election of Donald Trump in 2016 was organized to a great extent by Russia operatives who exceeded by leaps and bounds the capacity of US law and intelligence services to protect against intrusions by hostile foreign powers.

In the run-up to the November presidential election, there were plenty of warning signs and alerts -- President Obama was torn by his own responses, acutely sensitive how putting his foot on the gas would be seized by his Republican opponents as interference. His warnings and media reports were largely overwhelmed by successful attacks against Hillary Clinton and her emails; attacks we now understand wove Trump campaign messaging into Russia sourced social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. Intentional or not, coordinated or not, are questions being investigated by the Mueller team.

As a political matter, there is enough in the public record to justify House impeachment hearings, now. Screeching calls by the right-wing media machinery would have happened long ago had this been a Democratic president.

Irrespective of political persuasion, Americans should learn how social media BOTS influence what is emerging as the great world war of our time: the Information War.

The NDN offers a well-written, easily digestible explanation how the Information War works. Anyone who uses social media -- whether Facebook, Twitter, Google or other platforms -- is already enlisted as a foot soldier.

It is a crying shame that the United States was literally asleep at the switch, as a hostile foreign power -- Russia -- dug its nails into a highly vulnerable political process (and one in which elected officials responsible for fair and democratic elections were themselves complicit, aiding and abetting the invaders).

Although Congressional hearings are taking up these questions now, based on media reports it is already evident that the complexity and internal clock-spring of vast networks like Facebook and Twitter elude the capacity of Congress to unravel, in order to fix what is clearly damaged.

Congress should proceed on two tracks now: 1) to determine if there is provable collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, including Trump and his associates, and 2) to recruit a top-level independent commission to review and recommend changes to both social media networks and US elections, in order to stop hostile foreign nations like Russia from meddling in domestic elections.

No comments: