As if we aren’t all tired of watching Russia continue to influence American politics, this weekend appears to have been yet another instance where Russian troll farms have tried to sow division in the United States via social media.
Unless you were hiding under a rock this weekend, you likely are aware that dozens of players, coaches and owners within the National Football League knelt during the national anthem. While, these individuals were expressing their First Amendment rights, the President of the United States saw it as an attack on the flag and on the country as a whole.
Now it appears as if Russian bots and troll farms had taken the controversy a step further on social media to sow division and create chaos within the the United States. When America is embroiled in chaos, Russia benefits, and that appears to be the main reason for actions.
U.S. Senator James Lankford confirmed to the Senate Homeland Security Committee this morning that all indications point to a Russian hand in much of the division seen this weekend on social media.
“We watched, even this weekend, the Russians and their troll farms and their internet folks start hashtagging out #TakeAKnee and also hashtagging out #BoycottNFL. They were taking both sides of the argument this weekend and pushing them out from their troll farms as much as they could to try to just raise the noise level in America and to make a big issue seem like even a bigger issue because they’re trying to push the divisiveness in the country,” Lankford told committee members today.
Lankford as well as members of the committee worry that the continued influence of these Russian trolls on social media could carry over to the 2018 mid-term elections or even the 2020 presidential election. With a President who seems to be in denial over Russia’s influence via social media, there is more than enough reason to worry.
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