First, let’s celebrate that Canadians vote today and the right to vote is a hard earned and cherished freedom worth defending. At the polls today will be generations of descendants of Canadians who fought for:
- democracy against the onslaught of authoritarianism,
- justice in the face of oppression,
- peace in the crucible of war, and
- love in the face of hatred, bigotry, and other resentments.
As a proud Canadian citizen, I wrote nine blog posts over a period of two weeks to alert readers, journalists, and voters to the creep of all those historical trends in Twitter networks (primarily the #MAGA, #KAG, and related Trump-supporting splinter groups) that are obsessed with influencing elections in other countries and thereby seeking to “Make Authoritarians Great Again” (MAGA 2.0).
It is our sincere hope that election commissions and regulators going forward will build better rules of the road. We need to ensure dangerously deceptive practices do not undermine the confidence voters have that democratic systems can peacefully and effectively navigate these challenging issues. When free expression meets up with state sponsored election interference using trolls and bots to amplify negative messaging, we have a grand historical challenge.
Readers should look to the work of scholar Marc Owen Jones who is regularly using data to illustrate the depth and scope of Twitter-based information operations.