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Russian bots, meme warfare, home-grown trolls and deep fakes. With all the fake news and misinformation out there you might feel there’s no way to trust what you’re hearing about the upcoming US election and its result. But that’s exactly what these hostile influences want you to think. The best chance they have at disrupting an election could be to undermine voter confidence.

When your goal is to create chaos and panic, the very fact of being caught doing electoral interference can actually be helpful.

What they’re hoping and what they’re trying to do is to use the fact that they’re getting caught to make us all think they’re everywhere.

By elevating trolls to this level we inject this paranoia into the political system where everybody believes everybody else is a Russian troll.

And it makes it so easy for people to demonise whoever is not them. And I think that’s why we see this rise of radical groups and extremist content.

This isn’t just an issue for US voters. We should all be on the lookout for online manipulation. But as the showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden reaches its climax here are some of the most worrying trends to look out for. Back in 2016 fake social media accounts were a favoured tool for hostile actors looking to infiltrate online communities and stir up political tension.

They would slowly talk about the most divisive issues of the
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