What can an "Internet For Good" learn from Troll Farms?

The recent exposure of the Russian cyber attack has me thinking what's possible if we reverse troll tactics and use them for good?

Photo of Molly McMahon
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Here is an article on the tactics of a Russian troll farm. 

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43093390

What can we learn about what works online? How does it translate  offline?  And, how to stop a troll in their tracks?  From this real work example, students could create a campaign for good or a campaign to identify a troll or fake news. The critical analysis would help them navigate the complexities and unknowns in a digital world.

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Photo of Greg Lau
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With an ever-expanding internet and technological advancement, it seems counter measures and teaching kids how to identify and not be fooled is extremely important. Misinformation and the muddling of truth undermines democracy, social progress, and takes power and control away from the people (confusion and divisiveness). What should be no-brainers or common sense, in 2018, deliberate trolling to sow doubt and confusion has caused society to be divided where they shouldn't. I'm so glad this topic on troll farms exists.

This reminds me of a book that Al Gore recommended: "Merchants of Doubt," a book exposing the tactics and strategies of the tobacco industry and big business in order to muddle truth and sow confusion into society. I think that book (even just the early chapters) may help you develop the framework for your idea or at least provide some additional perspective.

May I ask what your approach might focus more on? Counter measures or empowering kids to never be fooled by a troll? I guess what I'm interested to know is, what the primary aim will be?

Photo of Molly McMahon
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oh man greg... I don't know yet. I haven't tried it, but think the spirit of being able to use tactics for good is really interesting. It's like turning turning challenges into design opportunities. Thank you so much for these questions and guidance! More soon!

Photo of Greg Lau
Team

no worries, we're in it together. :) I'm going to think on this a little more...

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