Facebook says 126 million users saw posts from Russian-backed accounts during the 2016 election. Many of them were targeted to people prone to divisive social and political messages. Russian agents were uncovered posing as Muslims, Texans, LGBTQ groups and more, pushing divisive, angry and sometimes violent messages on issues like gun rights and immigration. Tech executives told Congress they probably haven’t uncovered all the activity by the Russian trolls.
Class discussion: Do you think American voters were manipulated by Russian agents during the 2016 election? Why or why not? Has the Russian campaign succeeded in dividing Americans? Did they help turn civil disagreements into angry or violent clashes? Have some politicians and some of the media helped fan the flames of divisiveness? Can you find any examples? Does social media make it worse? How can you be sure you’re not being misled by propaganda?