Russia is known for brushing shoulders with super power countries and members of G8 such as the United States of America. According to reports produced by Twitter and Facebook, the Russian government had an activity during last year’s general elections. The report revealed the role of both social sites in spreading malice information during the campaign and voting process.
But Rusia is not the only country affecting politics through the digital space. The US citizen often uses these social platforms to pass on political views as well. No other country in particular at the moment has a more volatility between its political and social media spaces than Kenya. The police have actually put many individuals in jail for trying to influence politics using social media.
Fake social media accounts
Facebook on Thursday confirmed that fake accounts were used outside the borders of Russia to purchase numerous ads during the election. Information extracted From the DC leaks site shows that a group of Russian hackers were able to steal data from prominent Americans mostly influential politicians.
Russia was able to turn the two American social site companies into tools of spreading propaganda and deception.
Why and how was use of social media so effective?
Research conducted by the New York Times and cyber security companies in the US ascertained that these sites were used specifically for; spreading anti-Clinton messages to manipulate the presidential campaigns and election. On Facebook and Twitter, Russian presence was evident as they sent over a thousand automatic messages using fake accounts.
Russia was responsible for hacking of John Podesta’s, Hillary Clinton’s Campaign chief. Furthermore, the army of hackers tried to organize anti-Clinton and anti-immigrant rallies in Idaho and Texas. This action significantly affected her success in campaigns all over the United States.
Adam Schiff, the Democratic representative, was keen in the use of social media by Russia. He also wanted to understand how sophisticated the ads were regarding their targets and general content and if it was anyway connected to the Trump campaign team. Facebook confirmed that the ads were geographically targeted in the United Sates.
Is it that easy to influence politics?
“We understand that we should always be ahead of individuals who want to misuse services rendered by our site,” Facebook chief security officer, Alex Stamos commented on the fake Russian accounts. ”We are interested in protecting the integrity of our clients.”
Russia has openly admitted their role in the hacking process. For instance, In February last year, a cyber-intelligence officer close to President Vladimir V. Putin disclosed that the Russian government was on the edge of launching an information massacre on the United States at an only invite conference in Moscow. He, however, denied any involvements of his government in last year’s American general election and blamed hackers on this.
Mr. Vladimir emphasized that the Russian hackers may have helped to stop enemies of Russia from tarnishing their name. According to the FBI and CIA, the president influenced Clinton’s triumphant in campaigns and helped Trump to conquer America. Facebook recently deleted over 470 fake accounts that originated in Russia.
Russian role in the interference of the campaigns and voting in the United is evident.This is due to the existence of DC leaks, and a blog is known as Guccifer 2.0 that came into inception after the site. The site drew no social media attention, but after some time, some Facebook users discovered the site and quickly promoted it on 8th of June.
The Use of Twitter by Russia to Manipulate American Voters
On twitter, there were more activities, and hundreds of fake accounts were posting anti-Hillary messages such as; #Waragainstdemocrats. Apparently, these reports relied on messages within seconds of another in alphabetical order. Some of these accounts may have been genuine but had been hacked by the Russians.
The good news is that Facebook managed to delete over 1700 accounts that had Russian origin. Twitter on the hand is working hard to block attempts of creating fake accounts.