Russian hackers didn’t stop when the presidential election ended ― they’re still working to spread fake news and conspiracy theories across the U.S., an intelligence expert warns. And they’re building on President Donald Trump’s wiretapping tweets, former FBI agent Clint Watts told National Public Radio.
“If you went online today, you could see these accounts — either bots or actual personas somewhere — that are trying to connect with the administration,” Watts said in the NPR interview Monday. “They might broadcast stories and then follow up with another tweet that tries to gain the president’s attention — or they’ll try and answer the tweets that the president puts out.”
Watts, a cyber security expert who has been tracking Russian activity for three years, called it a “circular system.” Sometimes the “propaganda outlets themselves will put out false or manipulated stories. Other times, the president will go with a conspiracy,” he told NPR.
An example is Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped at Trump Tower, Watts said. Hackers and bots “respond to the wiretapping claim with further conspiracy theories about that claim, and that just amplifies the message in the [internet] ecosystem.”
“Every time a conspiracy is floated from the administration, it provides every outlet around the world an opportunity to amplify that conspiracy and to add more manipulated truths or falsehoods onto it,” he added.
It’s a loop, said Watts, of spiraling misinformation.
This is what the mainstream media is up against.
These sophisticated tools for disinformation can drown out legitimate news stories causing the poorly educated American to believe just about anything that shows up on their Facebook feed over and over again.
And the fact that they are targeting the president is perhaps the most frightening prospect of all.
We have already witnessed how easy it is to manipulate Orange Hitler, and now that we know that there is an ongoing campaign to convince him to buy into conspiracy theories and fake news it means we can literally not trust a single thing that comes out of his mouth.