America The Current Situation

What I’m watching: “Agents of Chaos”, the documentary about Russian interference in U.S. elections

It’s a two-part, four-hour watch, but it’s a good (and gripping!) one: Agents of Chaos, the HBO documentary about Russian interference in U.S. elections.

It’s directed by Alex Gibney, the same director who made Totally Under Control, the documentary about the Trump administration’s early, disastrous non-response to COVID-19. I wrote about it a couple of days ago.

I’ve started watching it, and I’m finding it hard to tear myself away. As with Totally Under Control, I’ll write more about it later.

Here’s the trailer:

Want to know more about Agents of Chaos?

Here’s a Washington Post video interview featuring Agents of Chaos director Alex Gibney and cyber conflict researcher Camille François.  François is the CIO of Graphika, who make an internet/social media analysis system that detects disinformation, media manipulation, and harassment campaigns. It’s hosted by Jonathan Capeheart, opinion writer for the Washington Post:

François is also featured in the first hour of the documentary, where she explains the power of organized trolling and how it was used to create plausible social media accounts, webpages for seemingly real groups, and fake online organizations, all with the purpose of manipulating the American public — and how their technique has only improved since 2016.

The Guardian did a good job summarizing the documentary in their review with this paragraph:

Agents of Chaos finds no single story, operation, locus of blame, or clear measure of impact by the Russian government. Instead, it explores a common purpose employed by both Russia and pro-Trump players in the US, sometimes in tandem and sometimes covertly. “Using chaos to amass power,” said Gibney.

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