Monday, May 13, 2019

Russia Today said to be trying to turn Americans against the safety of 5G with social media campaigns, for foreign strategic purposes



I’ve sometimes linked to Russia Today ("RT") articles, especially YouTube videos.

Now the New York Times, in a large story by William Broad, says that RT has been spreading disinformation, or at least misleading and leading stories, trying to turn the US public against 5G technology, as dangerous and likely to cause cancer. 

The intention is to discourage the US from keeping up while Russia (and China) get ahead with this.
The “propaganda” campaign may remind us somewhat of the anti-vaxxer movement.

If it really affected policy, it could have serious economic and national security consequences.
   
Yet it would seem simple enough for telecom to counter the propaganda with normal lobbying and advertising.  But industry credibility has been ransacked by the network neutrality issue.
5G will use shorter wavelengths but this is not harmful to humans with normal use.


But the story certainly shows the “danger” of massive injection of amateur speech, funneled by algorithms and clickbait on social media, when less educated Americans don’t learn to question what they hear.  This helps one understand why authoritarian leaders do care about propaganda and clamp down on resistance speech.

Venture Beat has a similar story by Jeremy Horowitz. 

J.D. Tuccille has an important piece in Reason, "Fake News Is Really a Dangerous Excuse for Censorship", and links at the bottom to another story on Section 230 and the moderator's paradox (and conservatives). 

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