“Digital Threats on 2020 Elections”

NPR interview with Siva Vaidhyanathan. An excerpt:

MARTIN: So moving forward in 2020, as where we sit right now – obviously, it’s an election year in the United States. And I assume most Americans are very interested and concerned in that. Are there some things that people should be looking out for?

VAIDHYANATHAN: Yeah. We’re likely to see in 2020 much of what we saw in 2016, which means the development of Facebook groups that are large are going to be outside of the arm – the regulatory arm of Facebook itself. Facebook groups devoted to dividing Americans, you know, fostering, you know, Texas independence movements or anti-Semitic movements or any of those efforts that, like, hit viscerally at our identity as Americans. And those are likely to be supported by Russian influence or maybe even domestic extreme influence.

And look. The goal is not necessarily to reelect Trump. It wasn’t really the goal to elect Trump in 2016. The goal was to mess with us, so that no matter who becomes president, the United States is harder to govern, and that over the long run, democracy becomes harder to sustain.

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