Social Media’s Influence on Elections with Russian-linked Ads

Last week, social media sites were questioned in regards to the use of Russian-linked ads and groups and their influence on the 2016 US elections. Most of the attention was focused on Twitter. It was discovered that they offered Russian TV Networks 15% of their share of voice (SOV) for $3 million.

Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s link to Russian-linked ads

Twitter is not the only platformed linked to these Russian-linked ads however, with both Facebook and Google also being questioned regarding this matter. This brings up a lot of questions about these social media sites. People are questioning the regulations enforced on these sites regarding content. Since this was brought up, social media sites are being looked at more closely. Changes have already been made, so that these sites are more on top of their content and prepared. 

Even though it was not the only one targeted, Twitter received most of the attention. Since then, they announced new policies and actions to avoid this from happening again. Twitter is also enforcing more transparency laws in their contract starting up a new ‘Transparency Center’ for the future. For now, this issue is only about the influence on elections. People use social media sites to talk about everything, and this is something that could easily effect any other areas of content. We can only wait for the next batch of elections in 2018 and 2020 to see if these new policies are effective.

The main concern that this brings up is how much influence these Russian-linked ads had, and will it happen again. Even with these new policies, nothing is set in stone. Something like this could easily happen again and not just with advertisements. Advertisements are just part of what people see and read, but is not the only thing that effects users. The next question is will this be enough?