Election Coverage / Government Watch / Politics

Social Media and the Disruption of the American Electoral Process

Electoral process

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov 16 — Elections: a growing number of concerned Americans don’t trust them.  There are those who suggest our international foes are to blame. But the reality is that “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us,” as a 1970 Earth Day poster declared.

The sad fact is that survey after survey shows that U.S. citizens are losing trust in our electoral process. One poll, conducted by SSRS researchers earlier this year for CNN, shows that only 16% of us are “very confident” and just 26% are “somewhat confident” in our election process but the vast majority — 58% — are “not at all” confident or “just a little” confident.

The Brookings Institution says it’s because “one of the drivers of decreased confidence in the political system has been the explosion of misinformation deliberately aimed at disrupting the democratic process. This confuses and overwhelms voters.” Driving “the explosion of misinformation” is the surge of fake news on social media — Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, etc. 

The power of these computer-based services “hold the potential to alter civic engagement, thus essentially hijacking democracy, by influencing individuals toward a particular way of thinking.” That’s not me coming to that conclusion; it’s how the National Institutes of Health [NIH] sees it. “Perceived as an equalizing force for disenfranchised individuals without a voice, the importance of social networks as agents of change cannot be ignored. However, in some societies, social networks have evolved into a platform for fake news and propaganda, empowering disruptive voices, ideologies, and messages. Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google hold the potential to alter civic engagement, thus essentially hijacking democracy, by influencing individuals toward a particular way of thinking.”

A few days prior to last week’s midterm elections, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, Robert Epstein, cautioned that social media could have an important impact on the election outcomes.  In an article, he penned for the Daily Caller, in his words, “Google and other [social media] companies are able to use to shift opinions and voting preferences, and we expect to have captured more than 2.5 million by Election Day…In several swing states, 92 percent of the auto-play videos being fed to YouTube users are coming from liberal news sources [YouTube is owned by Google]. Unless Google backs down, it will shift hundreds of thousands of votes.” 

Samuel Woolley is the program director of the Propaganda Research Lab at the University of Texas. “It’s [disinformation] becoming endemic. It’s becoming something that we’re just accepting in our society. It’s becoming part of day-to-day life,” he told USA Today a few days before the midterm elections. The article focused on the use of misinformation and reporters Candy Woodall Ken Tran noted that “Sometimes the lies are designed to prevent people from voting by confusing them on how, when and where to vote. Sometimes the lies play on fears to try to make them vote a certain way.” 

In addition to fomenting confusion and lying the bad guys are also instilling distrust of the process.  Insikt Group, the threat research division of the intelligence company, Recorded Future, published a report prior to the November elections that focused on the use of misinformation to simply keep voters from casting their ballots. They gathered “substantial evidence of misinformation and disinformation targeting voting systems manufacturers (VSMs) across both mainstream and alternative internet platforms ahead of the 2022 US midterm elections. Disinformation involving voting technologies intends to instill doubt in electoral results and distrust of the US electoral system broadly.”


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Michael Lewis
17 days ago

 Below was posted as comment to: Dirty Tricks Are Only More Sophisticated 50 Years after Watergate
https://amac.us/dirty-tricks-are-only-more-sophisticated-50-years-after-watergate/?campaign=daily-news-email&dderh=abb6c386e0fe67ec93648dea7bd38bbc

We all know that, as things actually are, many of the most influential and most highly remunerated members of the Bar in every center of wealth, make it their special task to work out bold and ingenious schemes by which their wealthy clients, individual or corporate, can evade the laws which were made to regulate, in the interests of the public, the uses of great wealth. – T. Roosevelt, 1905

In the words of E.W. Scripps: A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper’s income… The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few…that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they vote…in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes – E.W. Scripps – American Newspaper Publisher 1854-1926

The American people don’t believe anything until they see it on television. – Richard M. Nixon

After Watergate, to protect the public from the appearance of corruption, The Federal Election Campaign Act abridged the freedoms of speech press and assembly of the regulated class: candidates for Federal Office, political parties, PACs and individual citizens.

But the corporate media were exempted because government could not infringe their 1st Amendment rights

52 U.S. Code § 30101 – Definitions (9)(B) The term “expenditure” does not include— (i) any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate; – law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/52/30101

This created a “Royal”, “State Approved” press!

But if candidates and political parties have to pay for time/space in the media, then why are favorable editorials considered to have no value if they are published by corporate media, unless the media is controlled by a political party, political committee, or candidate?

“The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.” -Alex Carey, Australian social scientist who pioneered the investigation of corporate propaganda

The people will believe what the media tells them they believe. – George Orwell

It is normal for all large businesses to make serious efforts to influence the news, to avoid embarrassing publicity, and to maximize sympathetic public opinion and government policies. Now they own most of the news media that they wish to influence. – Excerpt from Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian – 1920-2016

In 1983, 90% of American media was owned by 50 companies. In 2011, that same 90% is controlled by 6 companies.

Campaign laws are responsible for the corporate voice having more influence in our elections than the voice of natural persons!

Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreicate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. – Frederick Douglass

To restore equal rights to citizens, federal candidates, political parties and PACs “We the People” should ask our representatives in the Senate and House to revisit “S. 2416 — 113th Congress: Free All Speech Act of 2014.” GovTrack.us. 2014. June 15, 2022 <govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s2416

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2416

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 3, 2014

Mr. Cruz introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

A BILL

To apply laws that restrict the political speech of American citizens to media corporations.

1. Short title
This Act may be cited as the Free All Speech Act of 2014 .

2. Application of laws that restrict the political speech of American citizens to media corporations
(a) In general
Any law that restricts the political speech of American citizens shall apply with equal force to media corporations, such as the New York Times, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and the CBS Television Network.

(b) No application to American citizens if application to media corporations found unconstitutional
To the extent that the application of a law to a media corporation under subsection (a) is found unconstitutional, such law shall have no force or effect with respect to American citizens.

Sean Rickman
17 days ago

The liberal,socialist democRATS claim that there is no election cheating and that they don’t cheat.Buying votes is just another form of cheating and administration that is now in power and ruining AMERICA is very,very good at buying votes.

Eric
17 days ago

John, you are insinuating that lame stream news is valid information. I disagree. MSM is a big part of the disinformation propaganda. Why didn’t you include the lying msm?

Rich
17 days ago

The tyrants are being caught and will have no where to turn. The truth will win out. In due time we willl see victory in our nation. Anyone with a functioning brain can see the “irregularities” in this election and what many states are trying to do. The future will be bright. Don’t give up!

Tplorable
17 days ago

I say go back to the way it was when I was a kid and my parents would go vote. It was in person from 7am to 7pm with a picture ID. By the 10 o’clock news we pretty much knew who won. The only problem would be who’s counting the votes!

Timothy
17 days ago

I don’t trust voting machines or mail in ballots or drop boxes.And I certainly don’t trust who’s counting the votes. All cheaters for the dems.

Stephen Russell
17 days ago

Social Media does this for elections:

Censor information
Block TV ads
create division
Divide
Mislead voters see PA vote
& Harms OUR Freedoms

Carol
17 days ago

Doesn’t help when the president of the US gets up on a stage and tells folks that the other side is going to destroy democracy and allow fascism to reign in America! Calling Republicans terrorists and evil while all the time, driving our country into the ground with his policies!!!

Rich
17 days ago
Reply to  Carol

The resident of America does what he does. He is a disgrace along with his entire party.

legally present
18 days ago

It’s not so much Facebook, et all, it’s the month long, week long, weeks AFTER the election, and still counting votes that makes us feel that it’s not secure, accurate, or true. When you send ballots to everyone in your state, people that had NEVER voted before, how are we to know WHO filled in those ballots?? Were they sold, harvested??? What, I will NEVER believe how some of the elections turned out.

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