Tristan GreeneEditor, Neural by TNW
Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him
Congress is set to meet next month to discuss the proliferation of social media accounts created by Russian agents. What at first appeared to be an attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign in favor of seeing Donald J. Trump elected, now appears to be a continuing orchestrated attempt to divide American citizens and undermine the country’s global clout.
Last weekend, while Puerto Rico suffered utter destruction in the wake of a hurricane, social media was ablaze with debate over whether NFL players should stand or kneel during the national anthem. Those who took to Twitter to discuss the issue – myself included – were confronted by an influx of resistance in the form of inflammatory posts and Tweets.
It turns out many of those Tweets were from Russian agents, whose sole purpose is to continue to push the divide between American people. It didn’t matter what side you were on; there were Russian bots trying to influence your opinions.
The New York Times reports there’s evidence suggesting Russian interference during the 2016 election was worse on Twitter than Facebook, and information from internet watchdog Alliance for Securing Democracy shows the trend continues today. The group tracks 600 known Russian bots to determine how the agents are trying to influence American politics.
There’s no longer any question that Russian interference plays a major-role in American politics. As investigations into social media accounts continue the number of bad actors has reached into the hundreds of thousands.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg according to US Representative Adam Schiff, who told the New York Times:
I think right now the public is aware of only a subset of a subset of Russian activity online
Congress intends to confront the issue with the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee preparing to meet next month for discussions preceding a November 2nd meeting that executives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter have been invited to attend.
We’ve reached out to Twitter, Facebook, and Google for official comment and will update as necessary.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.