Russia’s disinformation campaign is an ongoing effort is the conclusion of a report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and obtained by the WaPo:
“A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office.
“The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), its ranking Democrat. The bipartisan panel hasn’t said whether it endorses the findings. It plans to release it publicly along with another study later this week.
“The research — by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm — offers new details of how Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged with criminal offenses for interfering in the 2016 campaign, sliced Americans into key interest groups for targeted messaging. These efforts shifted over time, peaking at key political moments, such as presidential debates or party conventions, the report found.”
The report found that the Russians used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect Trump — and then worked even harder to support him once he was in office.
Axios morning email thingie (idiosyncratic embolding theirs):
- Multiple high-stakes, aggressive federal investigations were spawned by an initial FBI probe of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
- Fallout from Russian meddling, including Democratic talk of impeaching President Trump, is likely to remain a dominant political issue as Democrats take over the House 17 days from now.
- American politics have been further radicalized.
- The FBI’s image, once unassailable, has been tarnished with Trump’s base.
- Facebook and other tech giants were thrown on the defensive.
- The misinformation campaigns are essentially what created “fake news,” driven home by Trump on the campaign trail.
- Trump’s closeness with Putin has helped drive a wedge between the U.S. and Europe.
- And Russia now is an easy scapegoat for officials to point at when things go wrong: vulnerabilities in technology, election surprises, etc.
We should be thinking about this in the present tense, not in the past tense.
You can draw your own conclusions, but it seems to me that Social Media has been flipped and is now a tool used by our adversaries against us. Again, it’s pretty clear that like radio and television, these platforms must be regulated.