The warnings are out there: The Russians are already hacking into American media -- all to change this year’s elections. But how? And where?
Everyone is already on high alert concerning Facebook/Twitter/YouTube advertising, as well as looking for fake accounts where all this content comes from. We need to broaden our horizons.
A couple of weeks ago, in this column, we mulled the concept of how this faux stuff couldn’t make its way into traditional TV advertising. Much of current TV “human monitoring” -- standards and practices personnel -- oversees a lot of this inventory.
But increasingly in this interconnected world, one wonders how growing connected TV video inventory, if not growing video-on-demand ad inventory, will be monitored.
Technical-hacking aside, TV commercials -- especially big brand, highly produced TV spots -- have a specific style, quality and length. How could any hacker get around that?
Social media opportunities still seem the most porous, especially when it comes to iffy-looking, mostly print-like content -- advertising or otherwise. YouTube video content? Well, we know the quality level can be all over the place -- ready to claim unwitting voters.
We come back to actual hacking of state election systems. It's been reported that several states had their voting infrastructure infiltrated in 2016. But none, it's assumed, were successful. Officials continue to be on high alert.
There will be continued offline efforts to sway voters. In the recent indictments of 13 Russian individuals, there was one faux staged effort arranged by Russian participants posing as U.S. citizens, in which an actor played Hillary Clinton in jail. Americans have been duped numerous times — on the left and the right.
This isn’t to say current attempts will dramatically shift a number of key elections. In national elections in Germany and France, Russian troll farms tried the media disruption but failed.
We’ve already seen specious and false stories about students and families pushed around by social media regarding the Parkland, Fla.-school massacre. Traditional media weeded out the false reports. But what about the damage done — casting a little doubt can have long-term consequences.
So if you think something foul is happening the next time you are watching any TV content, know this: Someone far away may be grinning.