November 1, 2017, the Senate Intelligence Committee held open hearings on Social Media Influence in the 2016 U.S. Elections. It was 17th open hearings this year, and 12 of them were about Russia and it’s interference in the elections.
According to a survey from Pew Research Center on news use across social media platforms in 2017 two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media.
The renewed rise of anti-American state press coverage in Russia pushed me to recall the history of relations between our countries. Relations between Russia and the United States have been building for more than 200 years. And the two countries began to build images of each other long before the emergence of the USSR and the beginning of the Cold War. These images have evolved and still exist.
June 14th was my semi-anniversary with the AtlasCorps Fellowship. It’s hard to imagine that half a year has flown away so quickly!
The global community, concerned by spreading of public opinion manipulation and disinformation, had launched DisinfoWeek – is a week-long set of strategic dialogues on how to collectively address the global challenge of disinformation. The DisinfoWeek has just ended, it was held on June 19-30, 2017.
I find the topic extremely interesting and important, so I want to share webcasts from the panels.
Nowadays it’s hard to imagine someone who doesn’t use social media in one way or another. They are far beyond from being just tools for entertainment. Social media give us a tool for political engagement: a revolution can start with one tweet as, for example, recent Ukranian political history shows us. Also, they are massively used for public opinion manipulation.
Oxford Internet Institute has published the first systematic collection and analysis of country-specific case studies geared towards exposing and analyzing digital misinformation and computational propaganda.
Recently someone’s asked me about people who significantly influenced my view of life. The first person who came up to my mind was Dr. Philip Zimbardo, the author of the world famous Stanford prison experiment.
According to Dr. Zimbardo – and this thought I happened to share – there are no “bad apples”, there are bad situations that make people villains. Changing those situations is what we all should do due to at least reduce its impact on us as individuals and as members of society.
Dragging attention to important or extraordinary occurrences now is easier than ever – all tools are just at hand. Literally. And one does not have to be a professional to report about what is happening – just use your smartphone for doing a live shot. It’s not hard.
For grass-roots NGO and people working in the field smartphone or mobile reporting may become an effective practice. We often become the first witnesses of special moments, and it is important for us to make information public as quickly and effectively as possible. And doing a live video shot really fits this purpose. For example, many of impartial election observers in Russia going live on social networks when they see violations of law.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) held a hearing on “Democracy and Human Rights Abuses in Russia: No End in Sight” on April 26. The hearing examined the ominous state of human rights and democracy in Russia.
Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., a vice-chair of “Open Russia”*, opposition politician, human rights activist and journalist spoke as one of the main witnesses. Kara-Murza survived two poisoning attempts during past two years, allegedly related to his political activity. Previously, at the end of March 2017, the U.S. Senate heard Kara-Murza’s testimony on the similar topic.
Continuing my country presentation – that is what every Atlas Corps fellow should do at the beginning of the fellowship – I have a couple of things to add.
As you remember, Russia is the biggest country in the World. There are roughly 150 millions of Russians – if we believe Wikipedia – live worldwide. The majority of these people share the same historical and cultural heritage, especially the heritage we have gotten from XX century.
Do you want to dig deeper into of topic of modern Russia? Here are several books – both fiction and non-fiction – I want to recommend. I think they sufficiently reflect our cultural identity and describe social and political turbulences.