If you build the most powerful propaganda platform in the history of communication and make it available for free to a global audience, don’t be surprise when anyone and everyone shows up to use (and abuse) your platform. That’s what social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are discovering as yet another attempt to manipulate users has been revealed.
According to recent reports, Twitter said it will no longer accept advertising from from “state-controlled news media entities” after it was discovered that China was attempting to use Twitter and Facebook to engage in orchestrated misinformation around the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. This comes on the heels of repeated reports of Russian use of social media to influence political campaigns and elections in the USA and elsewhere.
The question now is whether these huge tech companies can put the genie back in the bottle. Or will regulation, new AI technology, or some other solution have to appear before we can feel confident that freedom and democracy are safe from the actions of nefarious state actors?