Let’s say Russia were to pay a group of people to create fake accounts on social media in an attempt to rile up voters in the United States. (Hypothetical situation, of course.) If policymakers decide that this sort of behavior should not occur, what can really be done about it?
People seem to want Facebook to crack down on fake accounts. But, how should Facebook verify accounts? Should all accounts be required to be tied to a personal identification card or something? What about people who don’t have that? And do we really want to do away with all anonymity online? That seems muddled and difficult to implement.
The Russian government could put a stop to it! But, that would require them admitting to what they did. Further, how would the United States actually enforce this? How far would the United States go to prevent this from happening?
I don’t mean to seem pessimistic about this issue, but I am not quite sure what can be done to stop it. I’m also not entirely sure to what degree it has influenced any election overall. Hillary Clinton was mired by (fake) scandals, ran a bad campaign, was deeply unpopular, and had to deal with James Comey’s last minute condemnation letter.
I’m not saying that it isn’t a problem, but it seems difficult to believe that the Russians played a huge role in the overall outcome of the election. Let’s have some nuance here.