Brainy Quote of the Day

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hobbits, Bots and Vaxxers...

Russian agents exploit anti-vax messaging to stir up discord.
Topics: Civics, Civil Rights, Computer Science, Computing, Human Rights, Internet, Politics

From Friday's post: “Putin’s thesis is that the American constitution is an experiment that will fail if it is challenged in the right way from within,” Mitchell continued. “Putin wants to break apart the American republic not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the fault lines within our society. Accepting this fact is absolutely essential for developing a long-term response to the problem.”

Russian online users known as trolls are taking to social media to sow public conflict about vaccination, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

In what sounds like a hybrid story joining Star Trek and The Hobbit, US researchers from George Washington University, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University found that bots, trolls, cyborgs, content polluters and other actors stimulate distrust in the efficacy of vaccination to prevent diseases.

Many of these actors spread false or misleading information, but sources identified as Russian in origin produce messages that argue on both sides of the discussion, with the aim, the researchers suggest, of “promoting discord”.

“Accounts masquerading as legitimate users create false equivalency, eroding public consensus on vaccination,” the report finds.

“These trolls seem to be using vaccination as a wedge issue, promoting discord in American society,” says Mark Dredze, one of the authors of the study.

If you are among the few that don't think our elections were compromised in a directed assault, this is more personal. Vaccinations impact what the CDC refers to as herd immunity. That has helped to eliminate diseases - mostly to children - that used to prove fatal to them.

This is Russia literally kill us.

Research finds Russian trolls, bots, stoke US vaxxer conflict, Jeff Glorfeld, Cosmos Magazine

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