Russian trolls have taken over a big part of Facebook. Many political pages, accounts and ads that were designed to influence the 2016 US elections were later discovered to have been a part of an information war fare by Russian groups.
Vladmir Putin during an interview with Megyn Kelly denied that the Russian Government had anything to do with hacking and misinformation during the 2016 elections. He however explained that it’s possible that the Russians who hacked and influenced the 2016 US elections were patriotic Russians working independently.
At Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, it’s known as the Russian problem. Facebook is finally waking up and admitting that they have the Russian problem.
And this problem has led to much criticism of Facebook and eventually led to Mark Zuckerberg personally testifying and facing Congressmen and Congresswomen to explain the several violations of privacy and political misinformation campaigns on his platform.
While the members of Congress grilled Zuckerberg mostly on privacy issues and the alleged censorship of conservative voices on his platform, one major concern which the members of Congress demanded an answer was the issue of foreign intervention in the US democratic process.
Members of Congress have asked Facebook to provide assurances that what happened in 2016 cannot happen again, to provide a guarantee that Russian trolls will not again use Facebook in 2020 to try to manipulate the voters and tilt the election.
It is a tough call for Facebook. A software engineer who is well versed with large scale social networks said that the best shot that Facebook has and the only guarantee that Russian trolls will be silenced during the 2020 election is to turn off and block Facebook for all users in Russia for the duration of the 2020 Presidential campaigns and elections.
“After the elections, they can switch Facebook back on for the Russians. I can make a wild guess and assume that Mark Zuckerberg has already thought of this plan if he’s really as smart as we all think” the engineer said.
While such a move can lead to a loss of revenue for Facebook, it seems Facebook may actually act upon it given the legal problems they are likely to face should the 2020 elections be hacked and compromised via the social network.