Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Nov 2017 23:33 UTC
Internet & Networking

This week, representatives from Google, Facebook, and Twitter are appearing before House and Senate subcommittees to answer for their role in Russian manipulation during the 2016 election, and so far, the questioning has been brutal. Facebook has taken the bulk of the heat, being publicly called out by members of Congress for missing a wave of Russian activity until months after the election.

But one of the most interesting parts of yesterday's proceedings actually came after the big companies had left the room, and a national security researcher named Clint Watts took the floor. Watts is one of the most respected figures in the nascent field of social media manipulation - and when it came time to diagnose root of Russia's platform meddling, he put much of the blame on the decision to allow anonymous accounts. As long as Russian operatives can get on Twitter and Facebook without identifying themselves, Watts diagnosed, foreign actors will be able to quietly influence our politics.

I decided to keep this particular part of the hearings currently underway out of the previous item I posted because I feel it's too important not to be discussed on its own merit. The concept of anonymity online is a complex issue, and instinctively, I want to say it's one of the greatest things about the internet. What part of it are we willing to give up - assuming we still have it or parts of it to begin with - to prevent dictators like Putin from meddling with our elections?

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RE[2]: Comment from Joe
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment from Joe"
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it is more likely to imply a disconnect between electors; an aggressive polarisation which makes 58% of them assume they will be judged harshly for having a different opinion, by peers with no interest in understanding their reasoning.

This is a real problem on both sides. Contrary to popular opinion, most Americans aren't either extreme left or extreme right - the vast majority are regular folk down in the middle who have no interest int he extremist nonsense from the extreme sides - however, since you have no idea who is extreme and who isn't, people feel it's safer to just... Not say anything at all. It effectively silences the reasonable middle, to which the vast majority of us belong (note that what is left, middle, and right differs greatly per country; e.g. Bernie Sanders would be right-wing by Dutch standards).

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