The Impact of Russian Interference on the US Presidential Election
A joint report by the CIA, FBI and NSA confirmed that there had been Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Russia’s objective, according to this document, was to undermine the confidence of Americans in their electoral system and to denigrate Hillary Clinton.
He stated that China does not want Trump to be re-elected because it considers him “unpredictable”, whereas Russia wants to see him elected. One way to try to influence the US electoral process is to interfere with the information circulating about the campaign, and its an art at which the Russians have become experts.
Why Would Russia Support Donald Trump?
One of the hypotheses is Vladimir Putin’s contempt for Hillary Clinton, which dates back to , when riots took place in Moscow following the announcement of Putin’s candidacy for the Russian presidency in March 2012.
The Kremlin accused the then Secretary of State of encouraging the protests and interfering in the Russian electoral process.
In light of this information, what is awaiting the United States in this new electoral cycle?
On September 10, Microsoft alerted Joe Biden’s campaign that Russian hackers tried to access the servers of the American communication agency , hired by many Democratic candidates. It was through a similar ploy that Hillary Clinton’s e-mails were made public during the 2016 campaign.
How Dangerous Are These Bots?
While we do not yet have sufficient data and hindsight to fully analyse this presidential campaign, the threat posed by the bots must be seriously considered.
According to Harvard sociologist , a fake news story travels six times faster on social media than a verified story. Fake news are being shared quickly and through a network of fake accounts programmed for this purpose.
Quantity is more important than the quality of the message conveyed, because one of the objectives is to drown the real news in a constant stream of fake news.
At the same time, if a fake account is deactivated, another one will be created to replace it. It is, therefore, an endemic movement that is regenerated even as the platforms try to eradicate them.
As explains, the Russian bots did not need to create the polemic surrounding the mail-in vote or the Black Lives Matter protests: they only had to massively share the news exacerbating tensions created by the Americans themselves.
In April 2018, banned nearly 1,000 Russian bots. Meanwhile, was set up to identify and list bots and fake accounts, and to teach citizens how to spot these fake accounts. The topics usually covered by Russian bots are listed on their website so that the general public can better understand how they work.
The Multiple Relays of Fake News
In 2018, Russia went even further in the presidential election in . Russian agents created a new newspaper there and hired students to write articles in favour of the outgoing president. They bought advertising inserts, paid people to go to demonstrations and paid journalists to cover the demonstrations.
Currently, there is no evidence that these more advanced methods are being used in the US. However, there is evidence that the Russians have become masters in the art of creating bots dedicated to spreading false information.
In this way, Russian interference continues to fuel tensions among Americans, adding uncertainty and undermining public confidence in the democratic electoral process.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.)
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