Organised Social Media Manipulation

Propaganda has always been part of political discourse going back through publishing history and was one of the main reasons why governments allowed newspapers to operate in their country. But now, with the expansion and subtle manipulation of information, fake-news and propaganda, this data misuse has significantly increased and is raising public concern. 

A new Report written by the Oxford University’s Internet Institute called The Global Disinformation Order has recently been published. 

This excellent Report goes into depth about the increasing global data and information propaganda that is taking place but governments across the globe.The use of computational propaganda to shape public attitudes via social media has become mainstream, extending far beyond the actions of a few bad actors. 

In an information environment characterised by high volumes of information and limited levels of user attention and trust, the tools and techniques of computational propaganda are becoming a common and arguably an essential part of digital campaigning and public diplomacy. 

While many countries have seen an increase in computational propaganda on social media, attribution back to a particular actor remains difficult. 

One important feature of the organisation of manipulation campaigns is that cyber troops often work in conjunction with private industry, civil society organisations, Internet sub-cultures, youth groups, hacker collectives, fringe movements, social media influencers, and volunteers who ideologically support their cause. 

The distinction between these groups can often be difficult to draw, especially since activities can be implicitly and explicitly sanctioned by the state. Evidence of organised social media manipulation campaigns which have taken place in 70 countries, up from 48 countries in 2018 and 28 countries in 2017.

In each country, there is at least one political party or government agency using social media to shape public attitudes domestically.

Social media has become co-opted by many authoritarian regimes. In 26 countries, computational propaganda is being used as a tool of information control in three distinct ways: to suppress fundamental human rights, discredit political opponents, and drown out dissenting opinions. 

A handful of sophisticated state actors use computational propaganda for foreign influence operations. Facebook and Twitter attributed foreign influence operations to seven countries (China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela) who have used these platforms to influence global audiences.

Facebook remains the platform of choice for social media manipulation. In 56 countries, the Oxford researchers found evidence of formally organised computational propaganda campaigns on Facebook

China has become a major player in the global disinformation order. Until the 2019 protests in Hong Kong, most evidence of Chinese computational propaganda occurred on domestic platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, and QQ. But China’s new-found interest in aggressively using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube should raise concerns for democracies.
Computational propaganda has become a normal part of the digital public sphere. These techniques will also continue to evolve as new technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, or the Internet of Things, are poised to fundamentally reshape society and politics. 

But since computational propaganda is a symptom of long-standing challenges to democracy, it is important that solutions take into consideration these systemic challenges. 

It must also consider the role social media platforms have played in shaping the current information environment. A strong democracy requires access to high-quality information and an ability for citizens to come together to debate, discuss, deliberate, empathise, and make concessions. 

Oxford Internet Institute:

You Might Also Read:

Social Media Is The New Gutenberg:

 

« Huawei Will Sell Its 5G Know-How
Rogue States Are Funding Stateless Hackers »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

ManageEngine

ManageEngine

As the IT management division of Zoho Corporation, ManageEngine prioritizes flexible solutions that work for all businesses, regardless of size or budget.

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: 2024 and beyond: Top six cloud security trends

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: 2024 and beyond: Top six cloud security trends

Learn about the top cloud security trends in 2024 and beyond, along with solutions and controls you can implement as part of your security strategy.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

CYRIN

CYRIN

CYRIN® Cyber Range. Real Tools, Real Attacks, Real Scenarios. See why leading educational institutions and companies in the U.S. have begun to adopt the CYRIN® system.

Hex Security

Hex Security

Hex Security Limited is a specialist Information Assurance (IA) consultancy working with associates and partners to deliver security certification and accreditation support.

ZDL Group

ZDL Group

At ZDL (formerly ZeroDayLab) we take a comprehensive view of our clients cyber security risks and provide quality services to address those risk

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

CFR is dedicated to better understanding the world and the foreign policy choices facing the USA and other countries. Cyber security is covered within the CFR topic areas.

APrivacy

APrivacy

APrivacy provides information and communication security products for the financial services industry.

Consult Hyperion

Consult Hyperion

Consult Hyperion is an independent strategic and technical consultancy specialising in digital identity and secure electronic transactions.

Atomicorp

Atomicorp

Atomicorp, the leader in Secure Linux, is a developer of solutions for the protection and support of cloud, virtual, shared, and dedicated web hosting environments.

Sentropi

Sentropi

Sentropi is an online protection solution against charge backs, account takeovers, identity thefts and online scams.

New Zealand Internet Task Force (NZITF)

New Zealand Internet Task Force (NZITF)

The New Zealand Internet Task Force (NZITF) is a non-profit with the mission of improving the cyber security posture of New Zealand.

Office of the National Security Council (UVNS) - Croatia

Office of the National Security Council (UVNS) - Croatia

UVNS coordinates, harmonizes the adoption and controls the implementation of information security measures and standards in the Republic of Croatia.

ValidSoft

ValidSoft

ValidSoft is a security software company, providing telecommunications-based multi-factor authentication, identity and transaction verification technology.

Quantum Xchange

Quantum Xchange

As the provider of unbreakable quantum-safe encryption, Quantum Xchange gives commercial enterprises and government agencies the ultimate defense to keep high-value data safe.

Valid Network

Valid Network

Valid Network DSP is blending traditional cyber security methodologies with blockchain transactions to achieve trust, internal and federated between organizations and stake holders.

Greenberg Traurig (GT)

Greenberg Traurig (GT)

Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) is a global law firm with offices in 40 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Informatics International

Informatics International

Informatics is a leading ICT provider in Sri Lanka, providing cutting-edge software & infrastructure solutions and services including cyber security.

Sev1Tech

Sev1Tech

Sev1Tech is a leading provider of IT modernization, cloud, cybersecurity, engineering, fielding, training, and program support services.

Cyberlocke

Cyberlocke

Cyberlocke is dedicated to finding inventive solutions to meet the distinct IT obstacles of each organization we support.