(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- For at least the second national election in a row, internet trolls--likely funded by Russia--tried to inflame racial and social conflict within our country.
Yesterday Facebook disclosed details about phony Russian-linked Instagram accounts that promoted divisive garbage in hopes of turning us against one another and cementing the power of demagogues and bigots.
According to USA Today, “more than 1 million people--600,000 in the U.S.--followed at least one of the 99 Instagram accounts [in question] right up until the day before the U.S. midterm elections when the social media giant, acting on a tip from the FBI, took them down.”
In other words, after the damage was done.
Nice work, Mark Zuckerberg!
In fairness to Zuck and the other social-media greedheads who never paused to reflect on how their brilliant new platforms could be used for evil, they may never be able to completely snuff out this kind of trolling.
Maybe it’s up to us as well to reflect on exactly how it is they’re trying to manipulate us.
These bogus accounts tended to focus on issues of gender and race, highlighting hate crimes and denigrating religion. Quoting USA Today: “Taking both sides on divisive issues such as feminism, gun control, abortion or Nike's campaign with Colin Kaepernick was another common tactic deployed by the accounts to deepen political differences.”
Hmm. These are also staples of irresponsible talk-show hosts, extremist blogs and others who profit off discord and fear.
Maybe the ultimate answer to foreign and domestic trolling doesn’t lie in Zuckerberg’s sweaty hands, but in our own ability to turn our backs on the creeps who want to pit us against one another.
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