Senior Fellow Samantha Bradshaw Examines the Hacking of Public Opinion
On May the 18th, the Canadian International Council National Office launched its inaugural Coffee Talks series with Senior Fellow Samantha Bradshaw on “Hacking Public Opinion”. In a preview of her upcoming Behind the Headlines paper, Bradshaw explained how social media technology is posing an unprecedented multi-dimensional challenge to democracy along five axis: the spread of junk news on social media; foreign influence operations; political bots, trolls and anonymity; personalized data-driven advertising and campaigning; journalism and media (il)literacy. While the 2016 American presidential election is the most prominent example in public consciousness of these challenges at play, French, British and German, and 20 other countries’ electoral processes have all been similarly threatened. Closing the presentation, Bradshaw examined the multi-dimensional government responses to social media manipulation, from formal inquiries, to regulation requiring advertising transparency on platforms to the criminalization of specific online actions.