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Lawrence McDonnell

McDonnell & Partners, Former BBC Moscow Correspondent

On November 7, 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States after a bitterly-fought campaign against Hillary Clinton. The election was very closely-run, with Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, but losing the presidency based on the U.S. electoral college structure. However, months after Donald Trump was declared President of the United States, questions remain about the legitimacy of the U.S. elections. The central issues are the emergence and use of so-called ‘Fake News’ and the accusation that Russia, through espionage and online hacking operations, sought to influence the presidential elections to promote Donald Trump and denigrate the reputation of Hillary Clinton.

The issues thrown up in the wake of the U.S. presidential election have fundamentally undermined trust in the workings of the international media and further damaged U.S.–Russia relations. A report by the U.S. intelligence services accusing Russia of attempting to influence the outcome of the election, prepared for President Obama and published in the election’s immediate aftermath, led to the expulsion1 of 35 Russian diplomats from Washington just days after the results were announced. President Putin, on the other hand, opted not to expel any U.S. diplomats from Russia. The investigation into Russia’s involvement and influence on the U.S. elections continues today.

This policy brief provides an overview of how the gathering and dissemination of news has changed in a globalized digital environment, how consumers digest and share news at an ever-increasing pace, and how the management of big data can influence electorates across borders. It will also define ‘fake news’ and the extent to which it might have influenced the results of the U.S. elections.

On November 7, 2016, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States after a bitterly-fought campaign against Hillary Clinton. The election was very closely-run, with Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, but losing the presidency based on the U.S. electoral college structure. However, months after Donald Trump was declared President of the United States, questions remain about the legitimacy of the U.S. elections. The central issues are the emergence and use of so-called ‘Fake News’ and the accusation that Russia, through espionage and online hacking operations, sought to influence the presidential elections to promote Donald Trump and denigrate the reputation of Hillary Clinton.

The issues thrown up in the wake of the U.S. presidential election have fundamentally undermined trust in the workings of the international media and further damaged U.S.–Russia relations. A report by the U.S. intelligence services accusing Russia of attempting to influence the outcome of the election, prepared for President Obama and published in the election’s immediate aftermath, led to the expulsion1 of 35 Russian diplomats from Washington just days after the results were announced. President Putin, on the other hand, opted not to expel any U.S. diplomats from Russia. The investigation into Russia’s involvement and influence on the U.S. elections continues today.

This policy brief provides an overview of how the gathering and dissemination of news has changed in a globalized digital environment, how consumers digest and share news at an ever-increasing pace, and how the management of big data can influence electorates across borders. It will also define ‘fake news’ and the extent to which it might have influenced the results of the U.S. elections.

Lies, Spies and Big Data: How Fake News Is Rewriting Political Landscapes, 830 Kb

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Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
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