Combating Foreign Disinformation on Social Media

U.S. cyber warfare operators lit from below by computer screens

Cyber operators at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Middle River, Md

Photo by J.M. Eddins Jr./U.S. Air Force

How are countries using social media—particularly disinformation campaigns—to influence the competitive space? How have governments, the private sector, and civil society responded to this threat? What more can be done? And what do all these conditions mean for future U.S. Air Force and joint force training and operations? An effort from RAND Project AIR FORCE attempts to answer some of these questions as part of a broader study of disinformation campaigns on social media, and the implications of those campaigns in great-power competition and conflict.

The project's findings are presented on this site. In the first report, authors examine the state of disinformation techniques and countermeasures, and focus on ways the U.S. can respond. Another report focuses on China's use of disinformation campaigns. A future report will look at Russian disinformation practices.

Reports in This Series

  • Capt. Sarah Miller and Tech. Sgt. Carrol Brewster discuss options in response to a staged cyber attack during filming of a scene for an AFRC mission video at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, June 1, 2019, photo by Maj. Christopher Vasquez/U.S. Air Force

    Combating Foreign Disinformation on Social Media

    Jul 19, 2021

    Disinformation campaigns on social media pose a nuanced threat. But much of the U.S. response remains ad hoc and uncoordinated. It's unclear who has the edge moving forward, because disinformation techniques and countermeasures are evolving simultaneously.

  • Marines with Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command pose for photos in the cyber operations center at Lasswell Hall

    Chinese Disinformation Efforts on Social Media

    Jul 19, 2021

    Given rising tensions between the United States and China, understanding how the People's Liberation Army thinks about the use of disinformation campaigns on social media has emerged as an important question. The authors of this report identify key Chinese practices and the supporting infrastructure and conditions that such campaigns require to be successful, concluding that China is using Taiwan as a test bed for developing attack vectors.