Election 2016

FBI Director Calls Out Fake News and “Trolls” a Year Too Late

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

FBI Director James Comey spoke at the Newseum in Washington D.C. on Wednesday night where he warned Americans about the influence of fake news propagated by foreign governments.

Comey says the things you're reading may have been "shaped by troll farms."

U.S. adversaries, including Russia last year, have "used all kinds of vectors to try and influence and undermine our own faith in our democratic processes" and have relied on increasingly sophisticated tactics, the FBI director warned. [...]

"The most important thing to be done is people need to be aware of the possibility that what they're reading has been shaped by troll farms looking to push a message on Twitter to undermine our confidence" about the electoral process, Comey said.

Being right doesn't always necessarily feel like a victory.

Some of us have been warning about paid trolls and sockpuppets since long before the 2016 election, dating back to the Koch-funded astroturf campaigns of 2009 and 2010, but the disaster of the 2016 election and the involvement of foreign governments is what it took for authorities and members of Congress to finally take the matter seriously.

I suppose it's significant that the urban dictionary definition of "troll" is now included in the FBI director's lexicon, but it certainly should be. Paid trolls are a fact of life in 2017 and America doesn't hold the patent on them.

  • I will never forgive or forget Comey for foisting Trump on us. All the death, misery and hardship we’re starting to see, in America and around the world, is his doing.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Sure, the guy was extremely partisan and helped cover up for Trump. But don’t’cha think placing ALL the blame for EVERYTHING worldwide on Comey is overstating things just a bit?

      And letting a lot of far more deserving criminals off the hook?

  • muselet

    This is, let us never forget, the same James Comey who didn’t say boo about Russian influence on the 2016 election at the time but wouldn’t shut up about Hillary Clinton’s email server. And now he wants us to be concerned about meddlesome foreigners?

    Color me unimpressed.

    –alopecia

    • David Greenberg

      Cleverly not mentioning his own role in his hugely misleading announcement about HRC emails which probably played the major role in tanking her run for the presidency. Injecting himself and the FBI into politics was inexcusable and worthy of a resignation. Ruining any integrity the FBI may have had. Hope he enjoys living with trump.

      • muselet

        I’d say James Comey is following in the footsteps of J Edgar Hoover, but Hoover was an equal-opportunity abuser of his office.

        –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    “used all kinds of vectors to try and influence and undermine our own faith in our democratic processes”

    Conservative media has been undermining people’s faith in Democracy and our democratic institutions for decades. Frankly, if it weren’t for the GOP and right wing media sewing cynicism into American politics for so long, the host body wouldn’t have been weak enough to succumb to this particular virus.

  • Badgerite

    So the fire department finally noticed there was a fire. Congratulations.
    Better late than never.