Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Can Facebook Posts Destabilize the Nation?

From Return to Order:
It is unlikely that Russia’s Facebook offensive had a major impact on the elections for three reasons. The first reason involves the scope of the operation. In this particular case, even thousands of social media accounts are a tiny drop in a vast cyber-ocean of hundreds of millions of accounts. It is unreasonable to think that this drop might have had any significant or quantifiable effect upon the elections.

Secondly, claims of destabilization seem to insinuate that social media posts are the elections. Exposure to posts does not mean actually reading them. Social media is merely a small part of any election campaign. Such posts do not determine the results. Moreover, anything the Russians may have employed during the elections is dwarfed in comparison to the social media assets brought to the table by both the Democratic and Republican Party establishments. The Russian effort is a non-issue.

Finally, the claims assign an almost fatalistic quality to Russian posts. Some people seem to believe that a carefully crafted post can change the convictions and beliefs of a person in an instant especially in a highly polarized election. It attributes an almost zombie-like lack of personality to voters, as if incapable of resisting the message posted by Russian agents. (Read more.)

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