Blog October 23, 2020

The Threat of Foreign Influence Operations

A new SIO-Lawfare debate series argues the questions: What is the impact of foreign influence operations targeting the United States? Is public conversation commensurate with the threat level?
Lawfare Debate

What is the impact of foreign influence operations targeting the United States? Is public conversation commensurate with the threat level?

As part of a collaboration between the Stanford Internet Observatory and Lawfare, SIO predoctoral fellow Josh A. Goldstein and technical research manager Renee DiResta reached out to leading researchers of online manipulation and influence operations to ask just that. Each contributor was asked to write a short piece answering the question: “Is the threat of interstate influence operations overblown?” 

  • Yochai Benkler, Josh Tucker and Claire Wardle argue that the threat is overblown. 
  • Lindsay Gorman and Laura Rosenberger, and Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren contend that the threat is not overblown.

Together, the debate series showcases a range of views on the threat of foreign influence operations and touches on topics including the relative effect of domestic versus foreign disinformation, how to think about the impact of an influence operation, and Russia’s social media efforts in 2016. For more information, see the Lawfare series