Shining More Light Every Day on Russia's Political Interference
One year after the 2016 presidential election, more facts about Russia’s efforts to undermine American democracy are finally beginning to emerge. The recent congressional hearings on the Russian government’s use of tech platforms to interfere in U.S. politics leave no doubt that these tools have been weaponized and pointed at Americans. From fake personas to fake organizations, to political advertisements, to recruitment of real people to film YouTube videos for Russian entities, to organizing real-life protests using social media platforms, the Kremlin has sought to weaken the fabric of American society and undermine the pillars of its democracy.
As the hearings revealed, the U.S. government and tech companies are still trying to understand the full scope of activity that took place on social media. As Sen. Mark Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat, said of Russian purchased content, “These ads are just the tip of a very large iceberg.” There is every reason to believe that estimates of the number of Americans who came into contact with this material will continue to grow as the companies gather more information on other troll farms and networks that were likely part of this effort.