“After the US, now Russia may target polls in India”

“After the US, now Russia may target polls in India”

Oxford expert deposed before US lawmakers that besides India, Brazil also a target of Russia

The Hush Post: After allegedly meddling in the United States (US) Presidential elections in 2016, Russia can now interfere in the elections of India and Brazil.

An expert of social media from the Oxford University has said while deposing before the US lawmakers, a report said.

The social media expert, Philip N Howard, who is associated with the University of Oxford as a statutory Professor of Internet Studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and Balliol College of the University, said this during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Foreign Influence on Social Media platforms. The expert, however, did not give further details to substantiate his allegations.

The expert said that the situation may be more dangerous in those countries where the media is not as professional as that of the US. Howard’s mention of likely Russian interference in the Indian and Brazilian elections through their media, without any further explanation, came in response to a question from Senator Susan Collins after he gave some examples of such interference in the Hungarian media, the report said.

“The United States actually has the most professionalised media in the world. It’s learned certainly to evaluate their sources and no longer report tweets as is given,” Howard reportedly said.

“I would say that the greater concern would be amongst the media institutions in our democratic allies. I believe that the Russians have moved from targeting us, in particular, to Brazil and India; other enormous democracies that will be running elections in the next few years,” Howard was quoted as having said.

“While we still see significant Russian activity, those countries have the media institutions that need learn, need to develop,” he said. There were no follow up questions from lawmakers about these countries.

The powerful Senate committee had conducted the hearing on the foreign influence on social media platforms with the focus on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, it was reported.

In January 2017, top US intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election.

In the hearing, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Vice Chairman Senator Mark Warner alleged that Russia’s active measures have revealed a dark underbelly of the social media ecosystem.

“These same tools that spread misinformation can negatively affect other aspects of our lives,” Warner reportedly said.

Warner, who is also co-chair of the Senate India Caucus said that the United States government is not well-positioned to detect, track or counter these types of influence operations on social media, the report said.

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