In response to an Alternet and OpEdNews article by Steven Rosenfeld entitled, Sorry, Russia Is Not the Biggest Threat to Our Elections -- Facebook and YouTube Are
I generally agree with this author, most of his journalistic premises, and the refreshing alternative stances from which he writes. However, I have to take a vehement exception to this one, based on my own extensive personal experience.
To start, I don't comprehend how YouTube could even begin to be a problem, except for the fact that if someone did put up patently mendacious BS, there appears to be no mechanism at YouTube to self-correct or to deny further presence for the video in question. I think we are all on the same planet when it comes to YouTube.
Regarding Facebook, I am integrally involved politically with this social medium. I am a member of 1200 groups. I am the administrator of 7 of them and creator of one important one, Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Win in 2020. We take this very seriously and probably devote too much time to such concerns. I do see an enormous and fundamental flaw with most of the people who explore Facebook, and that is simply their naïve adolescent modus opoerandi that clicking "Like" is somehow equivalent to voting for a candidate.
Facebook is and has always been a welcome tool for those who have something to say and who want lots of people to read it. Yes, unfortunately, in the 2016 elections, there was a lot of awful Russian-originated pure journalistic junk, most of which was screamingly obvious.
One day, weary of deleting two or three per day phony news items on my Facebook group pages, I felt that I should step up to the plate, so I got rid of about 150 Serbians, Macedonians, Ukrainians, and Russians who were posting very low level and obvious phony news stories; I always wondered why are these people wanting to get involved in an American political campaign in the first place?
These stooges always prefaced their post with something like "Breaking News," but it was always terribly obvious that this was a form of political "click-bait" which clearly originated in some boiler room (or outlier?) from the basement at KGB/GRU headquarters and distributed with hope that there were a few stupid enough Americans to fall for this BS and to vote accordingly.
However, even after they were removed from my main group, that left lots of Americans, including the Hillary Trolls who continually did all sorts of mean and nasty things, but the almost Buddhist tolerance of most of the Bernie supporters remained very congenial.
There is still very strong evidence that Clinton supporters caused the New York State primary election purges of 1/3 of a million voters, all of which has been almost totally ignored by the relevant authorities. Clearly, this was the most egregious of the election frauds for 2016. You will read much more of the evidence here at OpEdNews than in all of the New York City dailies put together. I almost believe that they were ORDERED to stay "asleep at the wheel" on this entire issue.
In his referenced article, Mr. Rosenfeld refers to "conspiracy theories pedaled by sloppy American journalists." There might be a few of those floating around, largely unpaid and not really very influential at all, but there are a million times as many American paranoiacs that create and then pump up bizarre conspiracy theories, which anyone with the most rudimentary personal experience in Facebook groups has seen over and over.
In fact, there are entire groups with even five or ten thousand members, deeply devoted to all sorts of deranged theories.
Incidentally, I repeatedly wrote to Facebook Executives, and I do mean the very top brass there, that there was no end to fraudulent "news" posts, both Russian and some desperate Clintonistas, but these communications, like almost all others to Facebook executives, were all routinely ignored. I think the Senate Committee hearings a few months ago finally got Facebook's executives' attention.
for example: Facebook will hire 1,000 and make ads visible to fight election interference
Maybe the growing pains and the ensuing challenge of coordinating communications between 2 billion Facebook users is really too much to do effectively for any corporate structure, let alone to do carefully.