New claims emerged in late March that federal investigators are looking into whether Russia used an advanced social media campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, according to Forbes. According to reports, Russians may have used bots and an army of human internet trolls to post millions of negative posts about Hillary Clinton and millions of favorable posts directed toward Donald Trump. If the allegations are true, it will bring to light the power of social media and its ability to influence just about anything, including a U.S. presidential election. Another intriguing concept is Russia’s ability to skillfully use such platforms as Facebook and Twitter, which were designed and launched in the United States.
Although many of the questions surrounding Russia and the election involve hacking, a far more appealing discussion could be Russia’s ability to manipulate social media to influence a presidential election. If Russia did manipulate the election via social media, what does it say about an entire paradigm shift toward social media and modern life?
The concern is how such a small group of people could turn an entire election to one candidate when campaigns normally have tens of thousands of workers and millions of supporters. Using relatively small numbers of people to take advantage of trending algorithms on social media platforms created in the U.S. has many wondering what may happen if enemies of the U.S. unlock the full capabilities of social media.