By Jason Taylor
Anyone who uses Facebook for the “news” is not really interested in factual news. They are simply rationalizing or solidifying a position they already hold from sterling sources like The National Inquirer, Fox News, Alex Jones, etc. In the spirit of balanced commentary, there are probably a whole bunch on the left as well that I am not aware of. I use Facebook to stay current with my friends that are spread across the country. The concept that it is a credible source for news and facts is farcical.
Part of the story here is American’s lack of discernment. First, who would trust Facebook or Twitter ever as legitimate or reliable sources of news about anything? Secondly, all that click bait that annoyingly appeared to the side of your Facebook page was such obvious nonsense. Even the one about Clinton running a child prostitution ring out of a pizza shop gained traction. I have never known anyone who would give credence to such patent claptrap. Who are the people who would believe it for even a second? Maybe this is what astrophysicists mean by parallel universes.
I witnessed my own mother’s trust in the media gradually collapse as a result of this Russian propaganda machine, and I am unsure it will ever recover if this conspicuously divisive environment continues indefinitely. I see her as a typical case study: she is an American baby boomer who fell for these fake profiles via Facebook and whose worst fears were triggered by anti-Hillary hashtags and such. Information is powerful.
Russia has been resourceful and above all cunning in its use of cyber weapons, and it’s embarrassing that both the U.S. government and U.S.-based social media companies have been unable to make any discernible progress against them. The U.S. looks upon itself as this extraordinary and all-powerful entity, but it fails to express its might by properly fighting back against those who are actively undermining our nation’s democratic values. The longer it takes for us to do something about this, the weaker we look.
In cyber war, America lost and Russia won. Our Intel. institution failed us again. We are the only superpower in the world but Russia invaded our country without any push back. I strongly believe that Russia successfully recruited a lot of opportunist Americans as their collaborator ( the lot of them may not know it). Our FBI has not found out the Russian moles. Facebook and Twitter should be accountable for spreading fake news and for helping enemies. Russia knows that most of the Americans are gullible and politically naïve and ignorant. Our democracy under Russian assault. Who will protect us?
I think all United States citizens should marvel at our own stupidity to allow ourselves to be influenced by bots. Of course, Trump voters share a greater share of the blame, but it is overall astounding to have such a gullible electorate.
Russia’s efforts on behalf of Trump’s candidacy are unmistakable.
Trump’s bromance with Putin is unmistakable. The Republican Party’s cynical complicity in electing an incompetent, immoral, low-life is unmistakable. Trump supporters’ un-American hope to destroy our government is unmistakable. If America is going to survive we need to find a way to defend against Russian interference, get rid of the Republican Party, and educate and provide counseling for Trump supporters. The Russians, the Republican Party, and the low-information, no-information, angry, hate-filled white Trumpists put Trump in the White House. They deserve him. America doesn’t.
This may be just the tip of the iceberg. We cannot even trust the ballot box now because there are few ballot boxes, only primitive electronic voting machines, which apparently are easily hacked. I cannot imagine why this hasn’t been pursued by the media. I do not doubt that Russians, and Americans, and others have insinuated themselves into the voting process itself, beyond simply hijacking social media. Who owns these machines? Who has access to them? Who maintains them? How are they insulated from tampering? Do the individual states have the ability to police the bona fides of elections? Have they made the slightest effort? Is anybody investigating the voting process itself?
There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that November 8, 2016, election was tainted beyond all recognition. Our democratic process, with all its faults and quirks, was hacked, manipulated, rendered invalid. You may be a savvy user of Facebook, but many are not, especially people who did not grow up in the digital age. I have many older friends over 60 who would routinely click and comment on these ‘fake news’ stories in their FB news feeds. One friend, an educated woman over 60, told me that Bill & Hillary has actually killed 12 people. I was floored. These fake news stories did have an impact. These people don’t realize how easy it is to manipulate FB and that it is not vetted and credible reporting. Much education needs to happen. We need to legislate strong user data protection rules like they have in the EU.
At the most, this will show that the Russians did indeed affect our elections, and at the least, that a hostile foreign power supported Trump. Either way, it’s a bad day for America.