Is Russia targeting India and Brazil’s elections? An Oxford professor believes so

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AUGUST 3, 2018

Russian President Vladmir Putin – Getty Images

While the United States is still trying to comprehend the scale of Russia’s election meddling, an Oxford University professor has said that the country could look to target other nations, naming India and Brazil as key countries, where elections are due next year. 

Philip N Howard, a statutory Professor of Internet Studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford is a social media expert who made the remarks while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Foreign Influence on Social Media platforms.

He did not elaborate on his allegations but warned that the “situation could be more dangerous in those countries where the media is not as professional as that of the US.”

His statements came after Senator Susan Collins asked him to cite some examples of Russian interference in the Hungarian media, prompting the professor to mention India and Brazil’s media as equally vulnerable.

“The United States actually has the most professionalised media in the world. It’s learned certainly to evaluate their sources and no longer report tweets as is given,” Howard said.”I would say that the greater concern would be amongst the media institutions in our democratic allies. I believe that the Russians have moved from targeting us, in particular, to Brazil and India; other enormous democracies that will be running elections in the next few years,” he added.

He said that India and Brazil’s media institutions needed to learn and develop to avoid being targeted, but did not elaborate further. The lawmakers during the hearing also chose not to ask follow-up questions.

Vice Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner said that the ‘active measures’ by Russia to interfere in elections “revealed a dark underbelly of the social media ecosystem.” He added: “These same tools that spread misinformation can negatively affect other aspects of our lives.”

He went on to add that the United States government is not well-positioned to detect, track or counter such social media operations.


Courtesy/Source: International Business Times

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