The Internet


  • Commentary

    The Threat of Deepfakes

    Various AI technologies are ripe for use in disinformation campaigns. Deepfake videos represent an obvious threat, but voice cloning, deepfake images, and generative text also merit concern. And websites now offer access to deepfake services.

    Jul 6, 2022

  • Essay

    How to Avoid Extremism on Social Media

    Extremist groups have been trolling the internet for decades, and they have learned to temper their words and disguise their intentions. A new scorecard can help users—or parents, or advertisers, or the social media companies themselves—understand when they might be interacting with extremist content.

    May 3, 2022

Explore The Internet

  • Person takes a photo of lit candles for Israeli hostages taken by Hamas at a rally for their release in New York City, November 1, 2023, photo by Lev Radin/Reuters


    Terror and the Secondary Trauma of Social Media

    As graphic images from Israel and Gaza proliferate on social media, it is likely that these images are having significant negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of many. Mitigating their impact on global mental health might require making hard choices and doing the work to forge community bonds that prioritize everyone's well-being.

    Nov 4, 2023

  • Dissertation


    Moving Enough People Enough: Assessing the Effectiveness of Disinformation Through the Adoption of Disinformation Rhetoric

    Assesses the effects of COVID-19 disinformation narratives on behavioral outcomes, particularly vaccine uptake and ivermectin consumption.

    Oct 31, 2023

  • American and Chinese flags with a digital overlay, images by Anson_iStock and Norcoon/Getty Images


    U.S.-China Competition for Digital Infrastructure

    Digital infrastructure (DI) appears significant for future military operations and long-term strategic competition. How might global DI evolve by 2050? And what could the military implications be for the United States and China?

    Oct 30, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    Israel-Hamas War, AI and Gene Editing, Social Media Regulation: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the Israel-Hamas war, the convergence of machine learning and gene editing, regulating social media while protecting free speech, and more.

    Oct 27, 2023

  • Social media applications on a smartphone screen, photo by P. Kijsanayothin/Getty Images


    Protecting Free Speech Compels Some Form of Social Media Regulation

    Given the profound challenges posed by social media, corrective measures need to go beyond “deplatforming” bad apples. But how can the United States make such a structural change without compromising the democratic tradition of free speech?

    Oct 20, 2023

  • Highlighted map showing China's influence beyond its borders, image by filo/Getty Images


    Dismantling the Disinformation Business of Chinese Influence Operations

    Some commercial actors benefit from involvement in Chinese influence operations. What steps could the U.S. government take to address this?

    Oct 17, 2023

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Mental Health Outcomes Among Patients Living in US Counties Lacking Broadband Access and Psychiatrists

    This analysis identifies the prevalence of counties without psychiatrists and broadband coverage, describes their sociodemographic characteristics, and quantifies their mental health outcomes.

    Sep 20, 2023

  • Dissertation


    Young Adult Relationship Dynamics on Instagram: An Emerging Identity Perspective

    Investigates the effects of Instagram on its users, specifically focusing on potential dynamics leading to negative mental health impacts.

    Sep 19, 2023

  • An Atom Computing's Phoenix quantum computer is seen in Berkeley, California, July 21, 2022, photo by Jane Lanhee Lee/Reuters


    When a Quantum Computer Is Able to Break Our Encryption, It Won't Be a Secret

    Policymakers and cybersecurity analysts should avoid messaging that emphasizes the risk that cryptanalytically relevant quantum computers developed in secret could be imminent or already operational. There is already more than enough reason to upgrade our communications systems to resist attacks from quantum computers as soon as possible.

    Sep 13, 2023

  • RAND Weekly Recap


    The Four-Day School Week, AI and Social Media Manipulation, School Safety: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the costs and benefits of a four-day school week, how artificial intelligence is bringing a new era of social media manipulation, the effects of placing police officers in schools, and more.

    Sep 8, 2023

  • Illustration of a puppet master controlling social media symbols, image by rudall30/Getty Images


    U.S. Adversaries Can Use Generative AI for Social Media Manipulation

    Using generative artificial intelligence technology, U.S. adversaries can manufacture fake social media accounts that seem real. These accounts can be used to advance narratives that serve the interests of those governments and pose a direct challenge to democracies. U.S. government, technology, and policy communities should act fast to counter this threat.

    Sep 7, 2023

  • Report


    Proposals to Address Political Interference: Outcomes of a Trilateral Dialogue

    These proceedings reflect discussions among U.S., Russian, and European Union nongovernmental experts who were convened in 2020–2021 to discuss mutual concerns regarding political interference and to find common ground on measures to address them.

    Sep 5, 2023

  • Delivery workers congregate outside of a row of restaurants in the Union Square neighborhood of New York, August 16, 2022, photo by Richard B. Levine/Reuters


    A Potential Alternative for Regulating Internet-Based Platform Services

    The use of internet-based platform services like Amazon, DoorDash, and Uber Eats is increasing and can be helpful. But the companies that offer these services may be engaging in predatory practices that can harm users and local businesses. Some form of centralized policy action may help; local governments could play a more active role.

    Aug 29, 2023

  • illustration of virus spreading out in a network, photo by Images


    Embracing the Messiness of Public-Private Collaboration in the Fight Against Botnets

    Botnets are networks of computers infected with malware that an attacker controls and uses to fulfill malicious cyber activities. Decisionmakers could incorporate a complex adaptive systems perspective to assess if their organization and immediate network, as well as the overall ecosystem, are adaptable and resilient enough to respond to botnet activities.

    Aug 16, 2023

  • Man seen from behind sitting in a chair and looking at a wall with a line drawing of an entertainment center with a TV showing two people with their noses growing long signifying that they're lying, photo by SIphotography/Getty Images


    Truth Decay and National Security

    Even if the U.S. national security apparatus can operate entirely outside of politics, it remains exposed to the effects of Truth Decay—the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. Little work is being done to understand how severe the impact of Truth Decay is on national security and, more importantly, how to mitigate it.

    Aug 1, 2023

  • People using their cell phones, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images


    Misperceptions Online About the Security Clearance Process

    The security clearance process may seem confusing and opaque to the public. When people search the internet for answers they might encounter misinformation that could lead to misperceptions about the process. But there are opportunities for the government to clarify areas of confusion.

    Jul 20, 2023

  • Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram apps are seen on a smartphone, July 13, 2021, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters


    The Promise—and Pitfalls—of Researching Extremism Online

    How big of a problem is extremism in the United States and around the world? Is it getting worse? Are social media platforms responsible, or did the internet simply reveal existing trends? We have few answers because this research is easy to do poorly and hard to do well.

    Jul 17, 2023

  • Tributes outside Al Noor mosque where a suspected white supremacist killed more than 40 people on March 15, in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 27, 2019, photo by Edgar Su/Reuters


    When Mass Shooters Are Seeking Fame

    What motivates mass shooters? And what might break the cycle of violence? Developing an effective policy response first requires better understanding of the factors that drive would-be attackers to kill.

    Jul 13, 2023

  • Computer hacker with hoodie and obscured face, photo by Dony/Getty Images


    Cyberstalking: A Growing Challenge for the U.S. Legal System

    As online platforms have multiplied, cyberstalking has become more prevalent. What are the most common or contrasting characteristics of federal cyberstalking cases? And what are the main challenges to prosecuting such cases?

    Jun 29, 2023

  • A hacker in a dark room with several laptops and a map of Australia, composite image from South_agency and inkoly/Getty Images


    How Violent Extremists Behave Online

    Exploitation of the internet by violent extremists is as old as the technology itself. But ideologically motivated violent extremism (IMVE) actors generally, and especially in online spaces, have been adapting to and adopting the evolving technological landscape in more sophisticated ways.

    Jun 28, 2023