Will 'RussiaGate' Result In Social Media Regulation?

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

Whether preplanned or inadvertent, one of the most likely and far-reaching consequences of the fake news RussiaGate scandal is that Facebook and other social media giants might soon come under strict regulation by the state.

The artificially contrived and “deep state”-driven RussiaGate scandal has been inflated to epic proportions and has already resulted in the unexpected suicide of the US’ soft power, but this never-ending conspiracy theory is now poised to affect the rest of the world in a completely different way due to the likely “regulation” that Washington might soon impose on social media giants like Facebook. “Traditional” media has long been clamoring for the American government to do something about the astronomical rise of social media, which has poached millions upon millions of people away from newspapers and TV stations and redirected them to their smartphones instead. From the perspective of social media and many of its users, however, these people weren’t “poached”, but liberated from their prior status as a captive audience to conventional influence techniques and allowed to roam freely in cyberspace as they searched for alternative non-mainstream interpretations of current and past events.

The rise of social media coincided with that of Russia’s publicly funded RT and Sputnik media outlets, whose reporting and analyses soon went viral all over the internet because they satisfied the crucial information desire that so many people were craving for years. Their explosive popularity led to them gaining a sizeable following among Western audiences, who voluntarily shared their content online and contributed to what Facebook describes as “organic growth”, or the natural trending of non-advertised posts. While posing a challenge to Establishment narratives all across the world, neither RT nor Sputnik were seriously viewed as  “threat” by the US and its allies because they had yet to be blamed for affecting any real-life change outside of the internet “matrix” of clicks, likes, and shares.

That all changed during the 2016 US election, however, since the Mainstream Media’s monopoly on information was wielded in such a blatantly and obviously biased nature against Trump that countless Americans began countenancing what would have previously been unthinkable to many of them just a year prior, and that’s trawling foreign-based media outlets in order to get a more accurate sense of the truth that their own country’s media barons were suppressing. This certainly says a lot about the deep distrust that was already prevalent among many Americans towards their own government, but it hit its climax the more that the Mainstream Media began concocting openly fraudulent “news” stories about Trump in a bid to derail his candidacy, with this effort becoming unquestionably clear when compared with the flowery coverage given to anything that Clinton said or did. As is now known, Americans rebelled against the Establishment by voting Trump into office, and the “deep state” was left scratching its head about how this could happen.

The author explained the domestic dynamics at play in his November 2016 article right after the election titled “Dear Foreign Friends, Here’s Why Trump Won (From A Clevelander)”, but the general idea is that the Democrats’ weaponization of identity politics miserably backfired as Americans sought out a radical solution to bring balance to their “deep state”-destabilized country. Nevertheless, the Establishment couldn’t bring itself to recognize the obvious, take the loss, and move on to fight another battle later on, hence why they decided to continue pressing the cringe-inducingly ridiculous narrative that “Russian trolls” somehow swayed the election due to their social media activity, and hinting that there might even be a whiff of outright collusion between Presidents Trump and Putin in organizing this movie-like conspiracy.

This narrative is convenient for many geopolitical reasons that are outside the scope of this analysis, but the domestic benefit that was expected to be derived from this storyline is that “traditional” media and the Establishment finally had the pretext that they were looking for to “regulate” social media. Bringing Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and others into compliance with already existing American laws about revealing the source of election-related advertisements is one thing, but pressing these platforms to restrict the activity of Russian publicly financed media outlets like RT and Sputnik, as well as speculatively “shadow banning” some of their staff and supporters, is a bridge too far into dystopia, as is doing so on the US governments’ double-standard FARA witch hunt which alleges that the two are “foreign agents”. As a result, it appears as though the “good ‘ole days” of “freewheeling” across Facebook and sharing whatever content one finds enjoyable is soon coming to an end as Washington begins to “regulate” social media on the basis of “safeguarding democracy”.

Of course, the real reason is that some vested power interests also have a stake in supporting their decades-long allies in the “traditional” media against their new social media rivals, to say nothing of the self-evident imperative in suppressing non-mainstream news and analyses through the US’ War on Russian Media. The forthcoming “regulation” might even go further than what’s presently being observed, as there’s a chance that Washington could seek to label social media platform like Facebook as being “media companies” in their own right, which would then instantly force them to comply with the existing legislation that their “traditional” media counterparts have had to contend with for years. In a sense, this would “level the playing field” between “traditional” and social media, but it could also destroy the very essence of social media itself. Not only that, but if the US comes to consider Facebook and Google as “monopolies”, then they could be broken up and “regulated” even further.

What’s terribly ironic about all of this is that the US government’s international stance has always been in favor of “internet freedoms”, routinely attacking Russia, China, and Iran for implementing national security-based legislation aimed at thwarting the risk that Color Revolutions and Hybrid Wars could dangerously recruit across social media, but now all of a sudden “the land of the free” is doing the same thing as the countries that it regularly smears as “dictatorships”, though without any convincing reason and depending solely on a trumped-up fake news conspiracy theory. As is typical, the ruling Establishment and their “deep state” supporters condescendingly believe that their true intentions are invisible to the naked eye because of their presumption that the populace is stupid and politically unaware, though the very fact that their “perfect candidate” was defeated by a “dark horse” like Trump totally disproves this notion.

The reality is that most Americans, and the rest of the world at large, see the US government’s “regulation” of social media for what it actually is, and that’s a dictatorial power grab which crushes any remaining doubt that “the land of the free” is anything but, and that the “freedom of speech” is only allowed if one is either supporting the Establishment or behaving as its “controlled opposition”. The number one thing that “American Democracy” can’t accept is the free flow of information and interpretations that challenge the prevailing state-supported narrative, which in and of itself negates the very basis of what the world always thought that “American Democracy” was supposed to be about, and this powerful revelation proves that the US government’s accusations that its geopolitical rivals are “authoritarian” was never anything more than a psychological projection of its own self.


Number 9 beemasters Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:41 Permalink

you know what i really believe.. i think the bush/clinton cabal ushered trump into the position of opposition b.c they thought he was the easiest to beat.i think they figured a landslide for hillary was a slam dunk and it became no amount of machine manipulation could stop the total landslide the other way for trump.

In reply to by beemasters

Didymos Number 9 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 10:46 Permalink

They said as much publicly during the election.And personally, I'm not worried about social media regulation since I stopped getting my news from my facebook feed.  Once I left the echo chamber, I could see clearly for the first time since my curiousity driven formative years.

In reply to by Number 9

Crazy Or Not Crazy Or Not Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:38 Permalink

I think I put this up here recently (its a good read) ...but essentially:- At least China is being honest about it.We're doing very similar covertly ...and not so covertly.For now, technically, participating in China's Citizen Scores is voluntary. But by 2020 it will be mandatory. The behaviour of every single citizen and legal person (which includes every company or other entity)in China will be rated and ranked, whether they like it or not. ...people with low ratings will have slower internet speeds; restricted access to restaurants, nightclubs or golf courses; and the removal of the right to travel freely abroad with, I quote, "restrictive control on consumption within holiday areas or travel businesses". Scores will influence a person's rental applications, their ability to get insurance or a loan and even social-security benefits. Citizens with low scores will not be hired by certain employershttp://www.wired.co.uk/article/chinese-government-social-credit-score-p…

In reply to by Crazy Or Not

Crazy Or Not AtATrESICI Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:49 Permalink

Yeah I've noticed, they've steered Agent Smith AKA The Economist in that direction:https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21730871-facebook-google-and-twi… closes with:-The social-media companies should adjust their sites to make clearer if a post comes from a friend or a trusted source. They could accompany the sharing of posts with reminders of the harm from misinformation. Bots are often used to amplify political messages. Twitter could disallow the worst—or mark them as such. Most powerfully, they could adapt their algorithms to put clickbait lower down the feed. Because these changes cut against a business-model designed to monopolise attention, they may well have to be imposed by law or by a regulator. Social media are being abused. But, with a will, society can harness them and revive that early dream of enlightenment

In reply to by AtATrESICI

Consuelo Crazy Or Not Sat, 11/04/2017 - 20:47 Permalink

+1 It won't be that long before an ISO standard of some kind is developed to 'audit' the average citizen.   When you think about the amount of regulations today, along with this rather bizarre (IMO), trend towards 'certification' of nearly any pursuit - business or even leisure, then you come to the conclusion that China's policy isn't that far from implementation here.    It's all about control over every aspect of one's life.   And you cannot have absolute control without some kind of 'scorecard' mechanism for everyone, so as to ensure compliance and 'unity'... 

In reply to by Crazy Or Not

RopeADope Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:27 Permalink

Russiagate never should have had the legs it has had. It told us that there were ulterior motives in play, likely a further implementation of the Stasi police state.

The North Korea story also is getting more play than it should, I expect there to be a bill sneaked past the public in the halls of power under cover of NK that just happen to also allow Netanyahoo to put all sorts of BS over on America.

Hugh Mann Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:31 Permalink

Screw anti-social media. I don't use Facebook or any social media because there are a lot of criminals, sickos, creeps and nosey people online. Not to mention the government and corporate spying. I prefer to keep my private life private. 

falak pema Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:37 Permalink

Russia-gate is gonna bring down the Brexit cabal; as follow on to the article I posted here, by this same journalist about Loose Cannon Bannon and the Mercer gangbang of Facebook's data mining games involving the linkup of the Duck's election to the Brexit push-in using Farage; an unbelievable game of money and spooky maneuvering that got two game changing shockers that brought down the Dems and spiked the EU with the Brexit Shard.Now this : https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/04/brexit-ministers-spy-r…

pigpen Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:49 Permalink

Paging Steve Bannon or any conservative mouthpiece. If the digital advertising monopolies are going to censor free speech then you need to lead political movement to encourage every internet user to install brave browser to block all advertising, tracking and malware by DEFAULT and render the digital advertising model useless.Run all your social media apps out of brave browser to block all advertising even in YouTube.Thank me later. Once you surf internet with brave browser you will wonder how you survived without it.Cheers,Pigpen

coast1 Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:51 Permalink

so many things going on besides russiagate bs...here is salem oregon..is..Amazon's new, roughly 1 million-square-foot packing and shipping center at the Mill Creek Corporate Center is set to benefit from more than $3.7 million in such tax breaks.The right companies in the PacTrust buildings could take advantage of similar breaks. Freeman says if a company with a qualifying use comes to the development, there would be a chance for the company to "enjoy some incentives."

Thoresen Sat, 11/04/2017 - 19:59 Permalink

Unfortunately the rest of the world, like the BBC in the UK, still pumps out the Sympathy for Hillary and Trump's an idiot lines. And from what I can see most people accept that position and cannot think for themselves. Similarly, the evil Assad/Putin line is continually pumped out and accepted.

uhland62 Thoresen Sat, 11/04/2017 - 20:06 Permalink

People will learn to read and write between the lines just as we did in Germany for corresponding with East German relatives. They cannot suppress the truth. The question only ever is whether the truth comes out in time to address wrongdoing. Hillary Clinton did not win her candidacy on merit - she purchased it. Hillarious democracy, and why is that worth supporting? 

In reply to by Thoresen

VWAndy Sat, 11/04/2017 - 20:01 Permalink

 As hard as we worked to gain control of the narrative we will need to keep working just as hard to keep it. A toast to free speech!