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At Least 70 Countries Have Had Disinformation Campaigns, Study Finds

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They found that the number of countries with political disinformation campaigns more than doubled to 70 in the last two years.

A report by researchers at Oxford University found that governments around the world are spreading disinformation to discredit political opponents, bury opposing views, and interfere in foreign affairs.


Researchers at Oxford University in the U.K. have found that governments worldwide are stepping up their online disinformation campaigns despite more aggressive regulatory efforts by Internet platforms and governments.

The number of countries with political disinformation campaigns increased to 70 in the last two years, with evidence of social media manipulation by at least one political party or government entity in each nation.

Facebook remains the most popular social network for disinformation, hosting organized propaganda campaigns in 56 countries.

The researchers cited China's emergence as a major disinformation source, with this year's Hong Kong protests a signal of its expansion agenda; Oxford's Philip N. Howard said such initiatives can no longer be attributed to "lone hackers, or individual activists, or teenagers in the basement doing things for clickbait."

Oxford's Samantha Bradshaw added that campaigns intend to produce memes, videos, or other content that exploit social networks' algorithms and their amplifying effects.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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