“Big Data Will Save Politics” was the headline of the MIT Technology Review’s 2013 January issue.43 The highlighted sub-topics on the cover included “Data Makes Elections Smarter,” and “Data puts the soul back into Politics.” Fast-forwarding five years, we have learned how harnessing online information, especially social media data, for political gains may provide contradicting results with the optimistic predictions of 2013. In the past couple of years, state-orchestrated information operations (IO), which had disinformation campaigns at their centre, demonstrated that the politics is far from being saved and elections can be outsmarted by, among others, targeted disinformation campaigns. The Cambridge Analytica debacle, and Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 American elections, not only disclosed an old problem that has been swelling under the radar in a more sophisticated form but also exposed states’ and societies’ vulnerability to comprehensive information operations, including disinformation campaigns. Hence, states’ and societies’ capacity to stay resilient to disinformation campaigns emerged as a concern.
Social Media, as a tool that fundamentally altered the way in which people process information, sits at the epicentre of this saga. Once praised as the “liberating” tool of the Arab Spring, The Occupy movement and citizen mobilisations that followed, social media is now under scrutiny for the disruptions it brought along with the developments. This article maintains this inquiry by exploring the disruptions facilitated by social media in relation to disinformation campaigns. It proposes a multipronged approach that is updated in pace with the contextual, socio-political and technological changes to build a society resilient to disinformation. Herewith, a section discussing information credibility and disinformation in social media will follow this introduction. Then, the following sections will appear respectively: the impact of disinformation on states and society, measures against disinformation campaigns, building resilience against disinformation operations with a multipronged approach and resilience as a long-term objective.
Chapters in Edited Books
Last updated on 16/07/2019