You have to admire the Russians. They are the ultimate internet trolls…

Seems Theresa May is getting annoyed at Russian meddling in Western politics. From the BBC:

Senior Russian politicians have dismissed accusations by Theresa May that Moscow has meddled in elections and carried out cyber-espionage.
On Monday night, Mrs May accused Moscow of “planting fake stories” to “sow discord in the West”.
She said Vladimir Putin’s government was trying to “undermine free societies”.

The Russians hit back with:

The Russians have been accused of helping to put Trump into power, as well as interfering in the French, German and Brexit elections. How much is true? Who knows, but you get the feeling Vladimir is having a good old chuckle to himself at the chaos he is creating.

My favourite Russian story is this gem from Business Insider:

Russian actors organized both anti-Islam and pro-Islam protests in the same location at the same time on May 21, 2016, using separate Facebook pages operated from a so-called troll farm in St. Petersburg, the Senate Intelligence Committee disclosed on Wednesday.

A Facebook page named Heart of Texas, whose link to Russia was first reported by Business Insider, organized a rally at noon on May 21 at the Islamic Da’wah Center in Houston to “Stop Islamization of Texas.” The account paid to promote the event, which was viewed by about 12,000 people, said the committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr.

Another Russia-linked account, United Muslims of America, organized a counterprotest — a “Save Islamic Knowledge” rally.

“What neither side could have known was that Russian trolls were encouraging both sides to battle in the streets and create division between real Americans,” Burr said on Wednesday during an open hearing with the general counsels of Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

“Ironically, one person who attended stated, ‘The Heart of Texas promoted this event, but we didn’t see one of them,'” Burr said. “We now know why. It’s hard to attend an event in Houston, Texas, when you’re trolling from a site in St. Petersburg, Russia.”

And the cost of causing all this chaos?

Burr said that organizing and promoting these protests cost Russia “about $200.”

There are several interesting things about this situation. The power of social media, how fragile our democracies and systems are, and most importantly how easy it is to mess with the minds of a large section of the population. Who needs armies when you can take down a government with Facebook?

I wonder could we take down a government with Slugger? Oh wait, we don’t need too…

Imagine festival 202

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