From today’s New York Times, two solid comments to the story covering the Congressional hearing with the heads of our intelligence agencies, who mentioned that Russia is now plotting to disrupt the 2018 election by trolling and botting and who knows what else. Since they were so successful the last time.
I’ve bolded some stuff:
Since we cannot count on (and certainly cannot wait for) President Trump and news outlets that are in lockstep with him on this subject- to take action against a hostile foreign power that would seek to undermine our democracy it is up to us, the American people – to ensure that WE are not susceptible to the brainwashing power of Russian trolls and bots. For if the general public is well-informed and takes the necessary precautions to push back against the Russian offensive the meddling will not gain traction. This requires great determination, awareness, discernment and most of all, it requires that all of us care enough. The preservation of our democracy really depends on us, the electorate, especially since we cannot necessarily depend on our government to protect us.
At what point do we begin to turn the attention from the providers of fake information (Russia, Trump administration) towards those that so willingly consume it without any attempt to justify it other than it being in front of them? Once again, we turn to Pogo for guidance and, yet again, he is correct: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” It’s like the “war” on drugs. The problem cannot be addressed solely by focusing on the supply side.
I am not giving the platform providers a free walk, I do believe Facebook and Twitter should live up to the lofty standards they communicate, but truly have no interest in pursuing, and try as best they can to ensure fake information does not get disseminated, but at some point we begin to move towards censorship. Ultimately it has to be incumbent on those reading information to care enough to try to corroborate what they read.