Combating Foreign Disinformation on Social Media
Jul 19, 2021
How are state adversaries using disinformation on social media to advance their interests? What does the joint force—and the U.S. Air Force in particular—need to be prepared to do in response? Disinformation campaigns on social media pose a nuanced threat to the United States, but the response remains ad hoc and uncoordinated. This overview of a five-volume series presents recommendations to better prepare for this new age of information warfare.
Study Overview and Conclusions
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How are state adversaries using disinformation on social media to advance their interests? What does the Joint Force—and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in particular—need to be prepared to do in response? Drawing on a host of different primary and secondary sources and more than 150 original interviews from across the U.S. government, the joint force, industry, civil society, and subject-matter experts from nine countries around the world, researchers examined how China, Russia, and North Korea have used disinformation on social media and what the United States and its allies and partners are doing in response. The authors found that disinformation campaigns on social media may be more nuanced than they are commonly portrayed. Still, much of the response to disinformation remains ad hoc and uncoordinated. Disinformation campaigns on social media will likely increase over the coming decade, but it remains unclear who has the competitive edge in this race; disinformation techniques and countermeasures are evolving at the same time. This overview of a multi-volume series presents recommendations to better prepare for this new age of communications warfare.
Combating Foreign Influence Efforts on Social Media
Understanding the Threat
A Divided and Uncertain Response
Conclusions and Recommendations
This research was commissioned by the Air Force Special Operations Command and conducted within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.
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