Russian bots are on the march, taking over democracy. Take cover, quick! | Thomas Frank

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Pundits and Democrats ascribe to a handful of bargain-basement Russian trolls all manner of ability – including orchestrating a coup d’etat

The grand total for all political ad spending in the 2016 election cycle, according to Advertising Age, was $9.8bn. The ads allegedly produced by inmates of a Russian troll farm, which have made up this week’s ration of horror and panic in the halls of the American punditburo, cost about $100,000 to place on Facebook.

A few months ago, when I first described those Russian ads in this space, I invited readers to laugh at them. They were “low-budget stuff, ugly, loud and stupid”, I wrote. They interested me because they cast the paranoid right, instead of the left, as dupes of a foreign power. And yet, I wrote, the American commentariat had largely overlooked them.

Related: Democrats beware: the Trump-Russia inquiry isn’t the path to power | Cas Mudde

Every American plutocrat will soon be fielding his or her own perfectly legal troll army

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Link : Russian bots are on the march, taking over democracy. Take cover, quick! | Thomas Frank

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