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    Ben Werdmüller | Ben Werdmüller | 7/20/20 | 3 min
    22 reads10 comments
    8.2
    Ben Werdmüller
    22 reads
    8.2
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    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      2 weeks ago

      Smart words, clearly written, from @benwerd. Let's not panic, but let's be ready for anything... and keep reading!

      The crazy part about Russian "interference" is that all they need to do is make lots of people (dem, repubs, and the other 60% of the country that won't even vote) really confused about the results of the election. If it happens, it'll be so weird and horrifying. Given how constantly confused we are about everything right now, none of this seems far-fetched to me.

      Facebook, Twitter, and a small handful of BUMMER companies (I'm borrowing Jaron Lanier's acronym - Bummer: "Behaviors of Users Modified and Made into an Empire for Rent.”) are putting democracy in the USA at risk. Russia doesn't even have to break any laws or rules to use these platforms to spread confusion. It's quite easy. I would imagine that it's also a fun project to be working on, but that requires a huge leap of my imagination, a la:

      I am born and raised in Russia // I grew up with cold winters and food shortages // I'm an excellent coder and I worked my way up to an intelligence position with the government where I'm paid to kick it with an extremely smart group of hackers, drink vodka, and figure out ways to use social media to fuck up the US election.

      Beyond thrilling. I'd probably want to be put on the Twitter-infiltrating team, because that's where the media hangs out and where the biggest, most influential narratives are shaped.

      The craziest part of this, to me, is the way that Facebook and Twitter make people nuts (specifically: angry, confused) even without Russian interference. (I'm stifling an "lol" because man this is all so crazy!) Like, the entire Russian strategy might literally just be: enhance the effect that Twitter is having on society. And global order really does hang in the balance, but it's hard to see on a day to day basis. Once you see it, you can't unsee it. At least that's been my experience. Anyway: The best way to counter Russian interference is to get everyone on Readup!

      I watched some of the Chris Wallace interview. I think Trump's brain is actually quite easily hackable and being hacked, by one real echo-chamber (his human surroundings) and a bunch of virtual ones, some of which are owned by Russia. His addiction to Twitter, so prominently on display, is going to be a fascination to future generations. It will only make sense given the context: The media industry itself is also addicted to Twitter.

      As trust in literally everything (institutions, science, data, journalism, social media) continues to plummet, society will increasingly recognize and reward the value that readers create for the world. Readers are the best bet there is right now.

      • thorgalle
        Reading streakScout
        2 weeks ago

        Please do write your next book involving that Russian hacker. They could have a genuinely interesting backstory.

        Seriously now: good luck with the elections overseas. I hope it doesn't get crazier than it already is!

      • chronotope
        ScoutScribe
        2 weeks ago

        A good read. I liked the Jaron Lanier acronym, where is that from?

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          2 weeks ago

          One of these two books, I forget which:

          • Ten Arguments to Delete your Social Media Accounts Right Now
          • You Are Not A Gadget
    • jeff
      Reading streakScribe
      2 weeks ago

      I agree the situation is dire, but I also think there's a version of the third possible future that doesn't lead to the end of America. The 2000 presidential election was a total shit show but didn't destroy the country. I know people will say Trump is a different character, but I think there's been some seriously disturbing whitewashing of Bush recently. Given Trumps history of litigiousness I wouldn't be surprised in the least if lawsuits are flying left and right after November 3rd and it would really suck but I don't think it would necessarily amount to the end of democracy.

      • Pegeen
        Scribe
        2 weeks ago

        I’m so glad to read your comment. I read this article this morning and I saw a lot of merit in the alarm also. However, reactionary actions never seem like an intelligent or effective answer to me. I think we are way more powerful than we think and getting much stronger. I see a momentum of more positive engagement with individuals within a collective. And collective is where we, as a country and world, are heading. I just feel we have to see the ugliness of it all, on repeat, till it sinks in that the current state of government is INSANE. Most times it gets worse before the actual change. We have to hang in, embody what we wish this new world to be (live it) and actively participate in this much needed change. I’m very hopeful.

    • Plum2 weeks ago

      Stay awake everyone and keep speaking to other Americans off social media. We are in for trouble.

    • Florian
      Reading streak
      2 weeks ago

      2020 is far from over. That’s all I’m saying...

    • joanne2 weeks ago

      PANIC PEOPLE....The world is on fire!!! And vote as if your life depends on it!

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        2 weeks ago

        lol. This is me every other day: "The world is on fire!!!" "We gotta stop saying that." "The world is on fire!!!" "We gotta stop saying that." "The world is on fire!!!"