Recent Trends in Online Foreign Influence Efforts

Abstract:

Foreign governments have used social media to infuence politics in a range of countries by promoting propaganda, advocating controversial viewpoints, and spreading disinformation. We analyze 53 distinct foreign influence efforts (FIEs) targeting 24 different countries from 2013 through 2018. FIEs are defined as (i) coordinated campaigns by one state to impact one or more specific aspects of politics in another state (ii) through media channels, including social media,  (iii) by producing content designed to appear indigenous to the target state. The objective of such campaigns can be quite broad and to date have included influencing political decisions by shaping election outcomes at various levels, shifting  the  political  agenda  on  topics  ranging from  health  to  security,  and  encouraging  political  polarization.  We draw on more than 460 media reports to identify FIEs, track their progress, and classify their features.


AUTHORS

Photo of Diego Martin

Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton, NJ, 
U.S.A

Diego Martin is a Ph.D. student in economics at Purdue University. Before coming to Purdue, he was a Research Specialist with the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. His prior professional experience included three years of research assistance at the Development Bank of Latin American – CAF and two years at Universidad del Rosario. 

Photo of Jacob N. Shapiro

Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton, NJ, 
U.S.A

Jacob N. Shapiro is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, a multi-university consortium that compiles and analyzes micro-level data on politically motivated violence in countries around the world. His research covers conflict, economic development, and security policy. 

Photo of Michelle Nedashkovskaya

Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton, NJ, 
U.S.A

Michelle Nedashkovskaya is a Master in Public Affairs (MPA) student at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.  Previously, she served as an adviser to the US Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and as an adviser at the US Mission to the United Nations. Michelle holds a BA in international relations from Princeton University.  

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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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