After the 2016 presidential election, reports began to emerge that there had potentially been foreign meddling in our democratic process. Specifically, accusations were made that Russian hackers, trolls, and perhaps even members of the Kremlin had developed a number of social media accounts designed to spread “fake news” in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. U.S. intelligence agencies would later prove that this hacking had in fact occurred and that agencies acting on behalf of the Russian government were responsible.
In February 2018, the U.S. Justice Department charged that the Internet Research Agency, a Russian organization located in St. Petersburg, had “worked in various capacities to carry out interference operations targeting the United States.” With the midterm elections coming soon, U.S. citizens have been encouraged to be aware of these “fake news” social media accounts that attempt to spread misinformation.
While social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have developed large campaigns to remove these fake accounts, some believe that the federal government ought to get involved. This camp fears that unless significant regulations are implemented, our democratic values will be threatened by foreign meddling in our elections. Others believe that government management of social media will pose a threat to the First Amendment and be detrimental to liberty. What do you think? Should the government regulate social media in order to prevent election meddling?
Should candidates for public office or elected officials be held accountable for their actions when they were students?