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  1. Democrats had their own troll army called Correct the Record or CTR, managed by David Brock. They paid actual people to harass, and censor Trump supporters, and spread their own propaganda. They thought this approach would be effective, but in my opinion it backfired and actually alienated people and pushed them to become Trump supporters who originally had no intention of voting for him. Alternatively there were many people who thought paid CTR trolls were normal people and bought into their false identity and politics. This trapped many on the left in echo chambers controlled by CTR. Arguably, if Trump did use Cambridge Analytica in the way suggested in my article he used much more precise and effective persuasion techniques that CTR lacked.
  2. Money. Silicon Valley uses money as validation and the gateway to access their user bases. Trump spent tens of millions of dollars on ads on these platforms, and these companies all profited from the revenue. Had they rejected the money, and not allowed Trump to advertise they would have been publicly called out and possibly even sued. The social networks needed the revenue. While they couldn’t censor Trump from their ad platforms, many of them, such as Twitter and Facebook did censor conservative users and news. Meanwhile Google potentially fixed search results to benefit Hillary Clinton. So the tech companies did fight back against Trump and his supporters and attempted to influence the election in Hillary’s favor, but were greedy and sold access to their data and users to Trump anyway. They also likely didn’t understand the full capabilities of Cambridge Analytica and never had someone use machine learning before to game their systems and algorithms with such precision and accuracy. What Trump and Bannon potentially accomplished costs tens of millions in data and analytics in the first place.
  3. Don’t know about this. It’s hard to say what ethical lines were crossed if any. I would argue CTR was equally as unethical or even more unethical than anything Trump’s campaign did. There’s simply no evidence Trump used his potential social media influence as speculated in this article to necessarily spread fake news. It’s possible because of Wikileaks they were merely amplifying true information that was ignored by the mainstream media. I would still classify it as a form of propaganda, but not all propaganda is created equally.
  4. There’s factions within all these groups that pick sides. It happens. I don’t buy the Russian hacking narrative, the publicly available evidence is inconclusive at best. It’s far more likely Trump’s team bought or leased social media botnets that happened to originate from hacking groups in Russia and the Ukraine to amplify certain messages which would explain the evidence found by cyber security firms. This scenario is much more plausible than the Russian hacking narrative presented by the media.
  5. I consider all possibilities, evidence, and probabilities.