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Social Media Manipulation by Political Actors an industrial Scale Problem

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Oxford researchers receiving instructions.

A multinational survey by Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute found evidence of social media manipulation of political communications in each of the 81 countries investigated.

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A 2020 survey of 81 countries by the U.K.'s Oxford Internet Institute (OII) uncovered evidence of social media manipulation of political communications in each country, a 15% increase from 2019.

Disinformation was a common tactic in 76 countries; OII’s Philip Howard said such misinformation is "now produced on an industrial scale."

The OII team warned of skyrocketing levels of social media manipulation, with governments and political parties spending millions on private-sector "cyber troops" who suppress other voices, and using citizen influencers to spread doctored messages.

The study also found evidence in 62 countries of government agencies using computational propaganda to steer public discourse. Howard said, "Social media companies need to raise their game by increasing their efforts to flag misinformation and close fake accounts without the need for government intervention."

From University of Oxford (U.K.)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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