Russian Trolls Underneath America's Bridge
Welcome back is Barada a podcast takes ten minutes to get you smarter on the collision of tech business and politics. I'm Denver MAC, today's show a tech unicorn might be putting its name on an NFL stadium and Georgia is on Disney's mind the first Russian trolls under America's bridge yesterday's news cycle was dominated by Robert Muller who's ten minute public statement emboldened, several democratic presidential candidates to call for impeachment proceedings against President Trump. But Muller also want to leave an important warning to all Americans regardless of whether they believe in impeachment or the white houses case closed message, and I will close by reiterating, the central ellegation of are indictments that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American. Thank you. Thank you for being here today. Yeah. Every time Trump says he doesn't know why there was an investigation in the first place. It's worth remembering. This is why there was an investigation hacked. Email servers social media manipulation and the like by a foreign adversary, and perhaps most insidious. Russia's ongoing attempts after the two thousand sixteen election disprove information and misinformation in many aspects of America's life. Not purely political in order to breed citizen distrust in the media elected officials and in each other, it's a harder thing to address the issue of whether to impeach or not, which is probably why so few of our leaders are talking seriously about it. Fifteen seconds will go deeper with axios media reporter, Sara Fisher, but first, this access chief technology correspondent, a free shares. Breaking news and analysis on the most consequential companies players in intact from the valley to DC subscribe to get smarter faster and sign up dot axios dot com. And now back to the program podcast. We're joined now by accidents media reporter, Sara Fisher so Sarah, this morning, you write about how Russian internet trolls are promoting the vaccination or rather anti vaccination debate. Explain. How is that happening? Yes. So researchers found at the Washington University that an unusual amount of internet bought activity, mostly on Twitter coming from trolls linked back to the internet research agency, you'll remember them. Their estate backed internet sort of propaganda. Arm of Russia have been fueling anti vaccine bait not necessarily by posting overtly anti vaccine is only but probably promoting both sides, sort of hyper partisan arguments around it. And what that does is it gives fuel to the fire of an already contentious debate within our political discourse? Is that the idea just to so division because tell me I'm wrong about this? I can't imagine the Russian government cares too much. If some Merican voluntarily let themselves get measles. They don't they just want. So discord and division. And the way you do that is you seize conversations are issues that are. Already starting to take shape because if you do that they're more likely to be believable, and that's why we wrote about this a few days ago. The issues that you're going to see the Russians meddle with in two thousand twenty aren't going to be the same issues that you saw in twenty sixteen these botnets, as well as Russia propaganda arms like RT are sophisticated enough that they're going to go after things were already talking about. Because they're more believable go back actually when you talk about that sixteen it's interesting because I think the perception is that this was, you know, some pro-trump Facebook ads, but there was a lot of stuff, for example that got posted relating. For example, something like black lives matter. It actually was more of those issues than anything pro-trump, and they also had some things that were pro Hillary to the point again was too so division by sowing division. You undermine institutions and you undermine trust. Donald Trump is a candidate was somebody that was in some ways trying to undermine institutions, and trust in this institutions, for example, the mainstream media, for example, in some cases, big business going after. Big old arby's so from that perspective, the Trump campaign was not necessarily benefited by rushing, trolls directly, but they were both going after the same goal, which is undermining institutions. And undermining trust art. So let's talk about some of these things that are happening now kind of very much head of the two thousand twenty elections, although very head were whatever sixteen months away. One of them. You talk about is this fear of five G, which is kind of the super fast networking, which is slowly being rolled out and health concerns around this reminds me a little bit about the worries about microwave ovens in the nineteen eighties. Totally look, it's completely impound that five G is linked to any sort of healthcare concern, whether it be autism or cancer. But what you find is that, you know, I mentioned earlier Russia today, the television network, that's state sponsored by Russia, but airs here in the US anchors have been sort of peddling, these anti five g messages, that the little small boxes that are going to transmit five G cause cancer could cause Alzheimer's disease. The problem is in the near. Times at a great job reporting about this a few weeks ago when you do that blogs, and websites, sometimes they're on the fringe, right, sometimes they're labeled as such and sometimes they're not are going to pick up those unfounded allegations, and they're going to spread them even further. So from this perspective, what you're finding is that Russia is taking an issue today, that didn't exist in twenty-six team, the issue of five G, and they're going to weaponize, it to scare people around this new technology, the perception, always is, is that it's older folks who get scammed easier by things on the internet. And I'm not just talking about information, but, you know, literal take your money sorts of scams, but younger, digital native tight millennials are wise to it. Do we know it all when it comes to things like this, if there is a demographic divide, or if what these Russia, trolls are doing is affecting whether you're twenty five year old voter and eighty five year old voter? Great question. Let's go narrow if you take a look at the issue at hand, yes, there is data and research that shows that older people are more susceptible to some of these fake new schemes online. But if you go really wide, if you look at the impact of what this is doing it trickles down to everyone in society. And why is that? Because regardless of whether or not you believe in me, or your mom believes him over all the political discourse is becoming more polarized, and that impacts every single voter every single person that's involved in political discussion in the United States. Whether you're sixty five and on Facebook, or your twenty two and you're on Instagram final question for as I said, in the open, the kind of after Muller speech yesterday in which he kind of ended with this. Right. This issue of Russian interference Russian digital interference. Everybody for you know, in the twenty four hours after that's talking just impeachment or not impeachment impeachment. Not impeachment. You're in DC. Is there any movement DC? And maybe there's nothing can even be done legislatively to actually deal with this beyond just some basic Facebook, demonization. Yes. There is some movement. I think the biggest thing you're seeing is that the big tech platforms are working, much more closely with government cybersecurity and national security arms than they didn't twenty sixteen. And why does that matter? If you're a big tech platform, there's plenty of things you can do to reduce the harm from boss. You can reduce the amount of accounts that someone can follow in a day or the amount of accounts that someone could retreat in a day, you can use a I to make your platform more effective in weeding some of that stuff out. But at the end of the day, the most effective thing you can do is go after the people who are behind these schemes understand what their motivations are. And then try to deter them from there, and that's not something that the tech platforms are capable of doing. That's something that our intelligence community has been tasked with doing. And so the biggest conversation in the United States right now is how can big tack work with the government to minimize some of these threats, sir. Fisher. Thank you so much for joining us thinking in my final two right after this. There's more news out there than ever before, but these days, it's harder than ever to find it and to know what to trust axios AM takes effort out of getting smart by synthesizing the ten stories that will drive the day and telling you, I they matter subscribe at sign up dot axios dot com. And now back to the. Podcast, now it's time for my final two, and I are reports that personal finance company. So fi is in talks for naming rights to the new stadium in Los Angeles, that will house, the NFL's chargers, and Rams no confirmation yet from the company leaguer teams. But I'm told the reports are directionally correct at twenty million dollars per year, over twenty years, so things here, I this would be the only major US sports facility to be branded by a privately held tech startup second as these deals go. It's not too bad from a cost perspective, again, twenty million dollars over twenty years. The best compass MetLife stadium in New Jersey since it's also in a major media market and hosts two different NFL teams that deal struck in two thousand eleven was for twenty five years between seventeen and twenty million per year, and finally Hollywood's love affair with filming in Georgia may be coming to an end due to the states, so called fetal heartbeat Bill recently signed by governor, Brian Kemp, which would ban abortions as early as six weeks into women's pregnancy. Most notable here is Walt Disney. Company, whose marvel studios recently, filmed portions of both Black Panther and avengers endgame in the peach state. Here's Disney CEO, Bob idir speaking yesterday. I think if it becomes law, it'll be very difficult to produce or rather doubt we will many people were for us will not want to work there and we'll have to their wishes in that regard. So Netflix has given similar indications with both companies waiting to see if court step in before the law is set to take affect on January first two thousand twenty and we're done. Big thanks for listening to my producer Tim show. Vers today. Great national mint julep day, and we'll be back on Monday with another pro rata podcast.