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Monday, February 26, 2018

Facebook, a dark Agent of the American Democracy?

Por dbloggers

More than a person in the United States of America wonders who may be involved in the apparent scandal of the Russian interference in the American elections. Right now, one of the strongest and biggest companies in the United States of America, Facebook, is questioned for its possible relation to the interference of 2016 US presidential election. That rumor run from coast to coast from the begging but the suggestion that Facebook may have played a part in a foreign influence campaign was dismissed. However, the recent 37-page indictment released by Robert Mueller reveals that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted he knew about the interference and tried to stop it.

Since his arriving at the presidential seat the US president, Donald Trump, has made declarations about the digital warfare and the necessity to increase the national budget of Cyber Command. Well, it seems that the mad man is not so far from the truth. 

Mueller´s fresh report shows how the social media companies, especially Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. are on the center of the information warfare, precisely because of its services. Every day, after the Russiagate, more and more pressure is on their shoulders. Actually, Facebook board and several politicians have agreed that the investment on Facebook’s security to prevent futures attacks must be higher.

US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, digging on several records from Facebook and Instagram, showed up the first results. On Mueller's report, 13 Russian citizens were indicted due to their implications in the case. In addition, US spy agencies have said Russia may interfere in the 2018 midterm elections using social media to spread propaganda. But it isn’t clear who is responsible for the Russians’ interference inside the White House. The ball is rolling between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Accusations have appointed it comes from both sides.

Facebook could be indicted for attempts against US democracy, several senators and members of the Congress claimed. However, Facebook’s ads vice president, Rob Goldman, faced Trump writing on Twitter: “Most of the Russian ads happened AFTER the election, we agree on that, but very few outlets did cover it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Trump and the election. Indeed, according to the ads VP, after a deep research, it seems that elections weren´t the main goal.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said in a recent interview with the US Today that the company even tried to stop the election interference, they didn´t know what would happen on November midterm elections. He accepted, in front the serious media that his company has pretty good track records but they couldn’t stop it.

The truth is that people, as general counsel Colin Stretch, who testified in the Senate last October, was exposed to Russian accounts and posts. Depending on several reports, it is possible that Russian post reaches over 126 million users — roughly one-third of the U.S. population. Mueller’s conclusions detailed how Russia uses Facebook more than any other social network to reach to US voters. Initially, Facebook revealed that more than 10 million users saw the Russian-linked advertisement, 44% of it viewed before the election.

Even Moscow said they are not involved or related to the 13 citizens indicted by Robert Mueller, isn’t impossible that Russian spy agencies didn´t know anything about them. It´s very funny the fact that the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg has a budget of millions of dollars. That means they have employed hundreds of experts that dedicate to specific projects, like search-engine.

Those 13 people are accused of stealing social security numbers of Americans to open fraudulent accounts to post and become viral propaganda. US National Security Agencies believe that with those with social security and fake bank accounts they purchased space on US servers to use them as virtual private networks to mask their identities. Ann Ravel, a former member of the US Federal Election Commission, said that they won´t stop because it´s very hard to trace them. The expert explained that to know the identities of ad buyers, internet companies might need to follow the practices of banks and regularly share information of every citizen with the authorities.

In the end, the truth is that Internet and social networks are becoming a battlefield with more and strongest regulations. 1984 George Orwell´s novel is unquestionable becoming real nowadays. With the future measures of US Government, the vigilance will be higher. On the other hand, Facebook’s profits, just to mention, are obtained from ads buyers. It is possible that in the future we will witness a collapse of these companies’ actions on Wall Street.