Misinformation can easily take hold online, and spread quickly in the echo chambers of social media. There is certainly no shortage of false information circulating about Clinton online. It’s not hard to see why sinking money into an effort to seek out online attacks and “correct them” might appeal to Clinton allies. The effort to play social media defense could inspire similar initiatives, and might even set precedent. Yet while it may seem satisfying on a visceral level for supporters to counter attacks against their favorite candidate online that doesn’t mean the effort will be effective. “A lot of digital campaign strategy is experimental and run for fear of losing,” Phil Howard, a professor at the Oxford Internet Institute said. “No one wants to be the team who lost because they didn’t try a particular strategy, but that alone is no guarantee any of it will work.”
Professor Philip Howard
Professor of Internet Studies
Philip N. Howard is a professor of sociology, information and international affairs, and the author of Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives.