“A Growing Threat: Foreign And Domestic Sources Of Disinformation”
The final report of the Virality Project.
Researchers Shelby Grossman, Renee DiResta and Josh A. Goldstein examine Middle East influence operations across social media, including how regimes incorporated social media activities into their own domestic and foreign policy toolkits. The full paper can be found at the Project on Middle East Political Science website.
The Project on Middle East Political Science partnered with Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and its Global Digital Policy Incubator for an innovative two week online seminar to explore the issues surrounding digital activism and authoritarianism. This workshop was built upon more than a decade of our collaboration on issues related to the internet and politics in the Middle East, beginning in 2011 with a series of workshops in the “Blogs and Bullets” project supported by the United States Institute for Peace and the PeaceTech Lab. This new collaboration brought together more than a dozen scholars and practitioners with deep experience in digital policy and activism, some focused on the Middle East and others offering a global and comparative perspective. POMEPS STUDIES 43 collects essays from that workshop, shaped by two weeks of public and private discussion.
On January 6, 2021, an armed mob stormed the US Capitol to prevent the certification of what they claimed was a “fraudulent election.” Many Americans were shocked, but they needn’t have been. The January 6 insurrection was the culmination of months of online mis- and disinformation directed toward eroding American faith in the 2020 election.
To gain insight into how Chinese state media is communicating about the coronavirus pandemic to the outside world, we analyzed a collection of posts from their English-language presence on Facebook. We observed three recurring behaviors: sharing positive stories and promoting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) pandemic response, rewriting recent history in a manner favorable to the CCP as the coronavirus pandemic evolved, and using targeted ads to spread preferred messages.
On April 2, 2020 Twitter announced the takedown of a collection of data sets attributed to state influence operations in several countries. One of those datasets was attributed to actors within Egypt – specifically, accounts linked to the El Fagr newspaper. El Fagr has previously been named in coordinated inauthentic activity takedowns on Facebook and Instagram, which took down a network related to their pro-Egyptian government activity in October 2019.