Disinformation had already played an enormous role in the 2016 Brexit vote and in the U.S. presidential election held the same year. Canadian authorities were issuing warnings, but no one knew how the federal vote would play out.
Arrest of former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Mathews by the FBI and his reported plans to engage in an armed standoff in Virginia reflects a startling trend among far-right extremists of using social media to coordinate activities and training,
Currently, nearly three billion people — 89 per cent of internet users — are under surveillance by advanced social media monitoring systems used by governments and law enforcement agencies, according to Freedom House. This number has grown rapidly in recent years, with many countries justifying these efforts “in the name of enhancing security, limiting disinformation, and ensuring public order.”
“This could be ineffective and still ultimately not be in the spirit of free and fair elections," said Fenwick McKelvey, an associate professor at Concordia University who studied political memes during the federal vote.