Sputnik discussed the issue with David Glance, Director of the UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia.
Sputnik: What do you make of Facebook’s announcement about the removal of the accounts considering that according to Facebook ‘the investigation is still in its early stages’?
So the fact that it’s being built up as a major attempt to disrupt and sew or foment discord in the US public seems very extreme. Plus, there’s the fact that they’re commenting on attribution to various internet research agencies without presenting any evidence whatsoever.
I think this is really just Facebook trying to recover from all of the bad publicity that it has received with Senate inquiries and the UK with its investigations, and trying to redeem itself by showing that it’s actually proactively searching problems out.
Sputnik: In your opinion, are posts on social networks able to sway people’s opinion and make them vote for this or that politician?
They’re just one group, for example, suggesting that fascism should be fought. There are the anti-fascist movements in the US, there’re plenty of groups that do this on a daily basis.
The fact that they using VPNs and hide their tracks, these could be just ordinary people in the US or any other country for that matter just covering their tracks, but they’re not extreme and they’re not necessarily aimed at changing the ordinary citizens’ points of view, they’re aimed at specific groups.
So it’s very curious that you could make that leap from Facebook or somebody, even the Russians doing this and having some objective in mind. It’s just not possible to understand how this would work.
Sputnik: The US media and top officials have already pointed their finger in Russia’s direction even though Facebook never confirmed that the accounts were linked to Russia. What do you make of these allegations?
And then the Republicans have a slightly more precarious situation because on the one hand they’re supporting Trump who is actually reasonably pro-Putin, but at the same time believing that there potentially is this interference and that they should be voicing their objections to that. So on the Republicans’ side it’s a bit confused, the Democrats are still trying to build up a story that there has been all of this interference.
And the problem is that we really haven’t seen a huge amount of evidence and the fact that they’re willing to leap to these conclusions on no evidence really and start attributing is premature at best.
Sputnik: How likely is this development to heighten tensions between Washington and Moscow in view of the upcoming mid-term elections in the United States?
They’re not aimed at the general public, the general center-right or center-left, so their effect and impact would be absolutely minimal at the moment, with tiny budgets.
So, I would imagine that this is really just the press continue a narrative along with various political parties trying to back political knowledge out of it.
The views and opinions expressed by David Glance do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.