Russian Ads and American Madness

Photo by amira_a | CC by 2.0

So we’ve finally seen some of the social media ads which we are told skewed the entire election in 2016 and constituted a key part of the internet assault on America launched by Vladimir Putin’s “troll army.” Scary stuff blazoned across front pages and screen scrolls everywhere. But before going on, perhaps we should find out what makes a social media account part of Putin’s invasion force?

Well, according to Twitter, it is ANY account created in Russia. Or any account where the user has a Russian email address. Or if their name contains Cyrillic characters. Or if they ever tweet in Russian.  Or if they have ever logged in from any Russian IP address — even a single time. Twitter says: “We considered an account to be Russian-linked if it had even one of the relevant criteria.”

Not even Glenn Beck would draw so many far-fetched connections. One glance at the Twitter criteria tells you that it could enroll every single Russian dissident into Putin’s “troll army.” I personally know several people in Russia who are adamantly opposed to Putin and all he stands for — and have put their lives on the line for their beliefs. According to Twitter — and the US Congress, the mainstream media, the Democratic Party and innumerable liberal commentators — these people are also part of Putin’s “troll army.” Even a single log-in from any Russian IP address makes you part of the troll army. (What if you were visiting Russian…

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