After allegedly ‘meddling’ with the 2016 US Presidential Election, Russian hackers may soon make their way to the upcoming general elections in India, an Oxford University internet studies professor says. Philip N. Howard, a professor of Internet studies at the Oxford Internet institute, made the statement during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on foreign Influence on Social media platforms. Howard believes that media in countries like India and Brazil will be targeted to interfere in the election process. “I would say that the greater concern would be amongst the media institutions in our democratic allies. I believe that the Russians have moved from targeting us, in particular, to Brazil and India; other enormous democracies that will be running elections in the next few years,” Howard said. “The United States actually has the most professionalised media in the world. It’s learned certainly to evaluate their sources and no longer report tweets as is given,” Howard said.
Howard said that the media institutions in India and Brazil have a lot to learn. “While we still see significant Russian activity, those countries have the media institutions that need to learn and develop,” Howard said.
In a January 2017 assessment, top US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
During the hearing, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Vice Chairman Senator Mark Warner alleged that Russia’s active measures have revealed a dark underbelly of the social media ecosystem.
“These same tools that spread misinformation can negatively affect other aspects of our lives,” Warner said.