Social Media Plays a Huge Role in Disinformation Campaigns, with 70 Countries on the List

Organized and targeted social media campaigns are at the top of the list.

Social Media Plays a Huge Role in Disinformation Campaigns, with 70 Countries on the List
Social media apps alexsl/iStock

A report by the University of Oxford has gone into the nitty-gritty details of which countries use organized disinformation campaigns, in which ways and how they've managed it. 

It's not pretty. Seventy countries around the world are known for using this method of co-ordinated social media manipulation to sway their populations' beliefs. 

RELATED: U.S. TO MONITOR PEOPLE ENTERING THE COUNTRY THROUGH FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS

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What does this mean?

This year, 70 nations have been known to manipulate their people through the use of social media campaigns. Last year the number was 48, and in 2017 it was 28

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It's a worryingly increasing number. 

Who are the main culprits that use these tactics? Government agencies or political parties mostly. 

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Social Media Plays a Huge Role in Disinformation Campaigns, with 70 Countries on the List
Authoritarian countries deploying computational propaganda. Source: Cyber Troops Report

What are they doing? They are trying to sway and shape their people's attitudes. 

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Included in this are authoritarian regimes who are using these tools to suppress human rights and to scare off and mute opposition voices. 

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The clear message the report states is that countries using these methods of disinformation through campaigns — campaigns that spread false information — are here to stay and are in fact increasing in number. 

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A chilling reality. 

Social media

Social media has been the go-to tool for these campaigns, with Facebook used the most. This may be due to the fact that two billion people are signed onto the social media platform. The company has been stepping up with its moderation efforts.

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Hopefully, this means there will be a change in the use of Facebook for disinformation campaigns.

Social Media Plays a Huge Role in Disinformation Campaigns, with 70 Countries on the List
Prominent platform Facebook for social media campaigns. Source: Cyber Troops Report

Moreover, seven states have been using disinformation to influence other nations. The list is quite predictable: China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. 

Social Media Plays a Huge Role in Disinformation Campaigns, with 70 Countries on the List
Prominent platforms for social media campaigns. Source: Cyber Troops Report

From that list, China is known for being a 'leader' in the disinformation world. 

Where the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, the nation has been aggressively using its domestic platforms such as WeChat and Weibo to target the nation. 

Social Media Plays a Huge Role in Disinformation Campaigns, with 70 Countries on the List
Statistics about the disinformation campaigns. Source: Cyber Troops Report

Focusing outwardly now, China has been tackling the issue regarding the protests in Hong Kong, and are now using the international social media platforms to target anti-Hong Kong sentiment.

A notion that threatens democracy, as per the report. 

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