Scholars in the News

Fox Fellow Clint Watts Cited by the New York Times on Russian Election Meddling

New York Times

Clinton Watts, a former F.B.I. agent who has closely tracked Russian activity online, said that Facebook and Twitter suffered from a “bot cancer eroding trust on their platforms.” But he added that while Facebook “has begun cutting out the tumors by deleting false accounts and fighting fake news,” Twitter has done little and as a result, “bots have only spread since the election.”

Asked to comment, Twitter referred to a blog post in June in which it said it was “doubling down” on efforts to prevent manipulation but could not reveal details for fear of tipping off those trying to evade the company’s measures. But it declared that Twitter’s “open and real-time nature is a powerful antidote” to falsehoods.

“This is important because we cannot distinguish whether every single Tweet from every person is truthful or not,” the statement said. “We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth.”

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