Russia's Influence in the United States

by Jacob Nelson

Overview

In recent times, Russia has used American social media and other online forums to spread
various things. Through spreading falsehoods and propoganda, they are able to turn Americans
against each other and create unnecessary controversy and conflict. Instead of focusing on
important topics, these conflicts take control and appear to become the most pressing matter
of the time, even if they would otherwise seem to be a simple and trivial matter.



Example One: Anti-Vaccination

One example of something that should be common sense (but for whatever reason, isn't) is that
vaccines are miracles of modern technology. However, in recent times, opinions towards vaccines
have worsened. This is due to a number of reasons, one being the fact that vaccines have worked
so well that most people don't realize how many terrible diseases have been wiped out, hence there
being "no more evidence" that they had ever worked at all. One major thing that links these rumors
is that a number of them have been traced back to a number of Russian social media accounts run by
bots. The purpose of this false information is likely similar to what I said about trying to turn
Americans against each other.



Example Two: The 2016 U.S. Election

Another example of Russia manipulating the United States was during the 2016 Presidential Election.
Though there is very little evidence that vote numbers were tampered with directly, there is plenty
of evidence that suggests that social media was used to influence the minds of Americans. Using
the advertising systems that websites had at the time, Russian "trolls" were able to target specific
demographics with what was about as close to the perfect material for creating as much controversy
as you could get. This issue persists today, across several different countries.