Russian Internet Trolls and the U.S. Election

Control through docility is a terrifying concept. The idea that the people in power can break us down using the institutions we engage with and then rebuild us to match their ideas and agendas is not something we’d like to think about. This theory of a docile body can be applied to the news coverage of the election last year, specifically, Russia’s involvement in spreading fake information through social media sites. Samantha Bee did a segment on her show, Full Frontalwhere she interviewed a few Russian people whose job was to create and spread fake news stories. She interviewed them about their jobs as “internet trolls” and their feelings about their jobs. Their work consists of commenting on internet forums and spreading pro-Trump propaganda.

Through the spread of biased, and often false news and propaganda, the people consuming this information have become docile. The people who work in these jobs are creating an atmosphere that allows for the powerful to keep control of the less powerful. They are able to manipulate people into believing what they are producing. Russia stood to benefit from a Trump presidency and many Russians liked Trump as a candidate. I am not saying that the Russian government was involved in hiring these “internet trolls.” However, the people who are paying them clearly were in a position to gain something from spreading false information. Using social media, they were able to condition people into believing what they were producing. Sam Bee mentions that a lot of the propaganda reaffirmed people’s already held beliefs, and I think that she is right. They took it a step further, though. The propaganda expanded on their beliefs and exaggerated them.

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