Social Media: A Propagandist’s Playground

Social media platforms have made the transmission of information smoother than ever, even for those with poor intentions. (Photo: Pixabay)

From Bangladesh to Venezuela, Iran to China, countries that stand to gain something from political turmoil within the United States, have weaponized social media. By flooding American social media channels with false information, a glut of misleading and contentious material is circulated by unwitting users. 

While Russian intelligence has most notably deployed effective campaigns in the United States, Twitter reports that as of the mid-term elections in 2019, the majority of fake content targeting Americans was from their fellow Americans. In other words, the seeds of distrust were effectively sown by disinformation campaigns and they’re beginning to sprout.

More recently, however, Facebook and Twitter investigated over 2,500 Iranian-linked profiles espousing perspectives “in line with [the] Iranian government’s international stances.” Both companies took action against these profiles.

Social media has been shown to be an immensely useful tool in marketing and communication. Many nations recognize this and use it to market viewpoints that favor their governments. This requires that social media companies stay on top of the integrity of their platforms. Facebook, Twitter and the Atlantic Council’s disinformation studies lab, have uncovered and shutdown a variety of state-organized disinformation campaigns on social media that target Americans. But, this issue has effects that extend beyond the United States.

To read more, check out this New York Times article below.

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