Congressional Briefing: March 15, 2019

Approaches to Counter Russian Social Media Influence

Chat bot in the form of binary code

Illustration by profit_image/Adobe Stock


Friday, March 15, 2019


12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Limited lunches will be provided.


2043 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

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About the Briefing

In testimony before Congress, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats predicted that Russia’s social media campaigns “will continue to focus on aggravating social and racial tensions, undermining trust in authorities, and criticizing perceived anti-Russian politicians” and may seek to influence U.S. policy and elections. The Russian “disinformation chain” starts from the very top—from Russian leadership, to Russian actors and proxies, through channels of amplification such as social media platforms, and finally to U.S. media consumers. So how can policymakers combat this threat in the United States?

RAND researchers categorized and analyzed different approaches and policy options to respond to the specific threat of Russian influence via disinformation spread on social media in the United States. In this briefing, Elizabeth Bodine-Baron will discuss:

  • The challenges facing current measures underway by Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to combat this threat
  • Proposed approaches, as well as unintended consequences and drawbacks
  • Recommendations for policymakers

About the Speaker

Elizabeth Bodine-Baron is an information scientist specializing in complex networks and systems at the RAND Corporation. She is the associate director of the Force Modernization and Employment Program in Project Air Force and co-directs the RAND Center for Applied Network Analysis and System Science. Her research interests include network analysis and modeling for both domestic and national security issues. She has used network analysis of social media data to study countering violent extremism (CVE) messaging, Russian propaganda, ISIS support and opposition networks, CENTCOM information operations, and U.S. Army recruiting efforts. Bodine-Baron received a B.S. in electrical engineering and a B.A. in liberal arts (Plan II Honors) from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology in 2012.

How to Attend

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