Some experts are sounding the alarm bells when it comes to how social media has been weaponized. This sentence probably would have sounded absurd just ten or so years ago when social media was just starting to catch on with the general public. It was seen as a place where people could chat with one another, share stories about their life, and keep in touch with friends and family. How could something wholesome like this be turned into something grim?
The Financial Times is reporting that Facebook has stated that at least 150 million Americans viewed at least one fake news story that generated from a Russian campaign of disinformation surrounding the last Presidential election. That is important, because it means that at least that many Americans may have been influenced on how to vote based on things that they saw from a foreign power.
We know that most people did not make a voting decision based on posts that they saw on Facebook, but there are surely some percentage who did. Even if they personally did not, they may have mentioned a story that they saw when speaking with others. If that is the case, then they might have helped to spread the propaganda that outside sources wanted them to spread. Regardless, there was influence one way or the other. Considering this, we can now see how social media websites have been weaponized against groups of people in a large-scale way. This matters and is something that all people should be made aware of.