An alleged Russian influence campaign to undermine this week’s British elections shows how tough it will be to keep foreign influence out of the 2020 U.S. contest.
Russian-backed accounts on Reddit actively worked to boost the trove of documents appearing to detail key U.S.-U.K. trade negotiations that have been gaining traction over the internet for months, the social sharing site revealed Saturday. It’s not clear whether the documents were leaked or hacked, but Britain’s opposition Labour Party, has been using the seemingly genuine documents to slam the ruling conservative party for considering giving U.S. companies far more influence over Britain’s popular state-run National Health Service as part of a post-Brexit trade deal.
It’s yet another example of Russia’s powerful digital army allegedly seeking to influence the outcome of a Western election — and it offers a stark reminder of how influence operations can be highly effective even before they’re identified. This dramatically undermines government and industry efforts to blunt their power or hold off their spread.