The Atlantic

Russia's Election Interference Is Digital Marketing 101

The new Mueller indictment doesn’t get at the root of the problem: the unchecked market power of social-media companies.
Source: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Last Friday, the Justice Department charged 13 Russians with attempting to subvert the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The case presented by Special Counsel Robert Mueller laid out an elaborate scheme of information operations, carried out primarily via the social media websites Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Through the Internet Research Agency, a so-called “troll factory” in St. Petersburg, the Russians created of fake accounts on these services, which then disseminated fake news and other misleading about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to hundreds of thousands of users. They focused their campaign on topics that divide America—race, immigration, and religion—and targeted battleground states. According to figures reported by Facebook and Twitter, the Russian campaign reached more than 125 million Americans on Facebook; over 675,000 people engaged with.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Americans Can Handle the Truth. Mueller Needs to Give It to Them.
If former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony will have any value tomorrow, it should be to guide Congress to satisfy its constitutionally distinct role. Mueller, a former FBI director, has always displayed a “just the facts approach.” He alre
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
Iran Is Acting Like the International Villain of Trump’s Prophecy
Any number of relatively mundane scenarios now have the potential to escalate U.S.-Iran tensions—from a fire at a militia base to the seizure of an oil tanker to the signal-jamming of a drone.
The Atlantic5 min read
Has College Gotten Too Easy?
An astonishing number of students start college in America without finishing it: Roughly 40 percent of college enrollees don’t go on to get a degree within six years of starting to work toward one. The good news is that in recent decades things have