The Socials Are Getting Serious About Political Meddling
Here’s the bad news first. It looks like the use of social platforms by nefarious third parties to influence our elections is still happening, and is even on the rise. This time it’s not just shadowy Russians trying to get Republicans elected. Now we’re seeing bad actors from all over the globe trying to influence whatever issue they support on both ends of the political spectrum.
Now for the good news – awareness is up about this threat and the major social platforms are being more proactive to take down fake social pages. In particular, Facebook and Twitter have been busy scrubbing and removing propaganda pages being run by these meddlers. This week both pubs announced that they had flagged and removed hundreds of pages from their platforms for what’s being called “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. Facebook has even gone so far as to hire a third party company called FireEye to spot would be perpetrators.
Does this mean Facebook and Twitter are now meddler-free? Of course not. This will probably be an endless game of cat and mouse where the bad actors keep evolving in order to outrun the cyber police. But at least this problem is front and center on the socials’ radar screens for 2018, which is a huge improvement over the naiveté 2016.