Zealot-bots and other ways disinformation disrupts democracy

It’s well understood by now that Russian hackers interfered extensively with the US 2016 presidential election, to include manipulating social media platforms with disinformation. In any case, there’s little doubt that we’re already in an era where social media platforms have become a battleground for ‘information gerrymandering’ via zealot-bots, disinformation memes and deepfake videos. But in terms of volume, much more disinformation in the 2020 US election is likely to come from domestic players, with the overall goal of digital voter suppression. Social media platforms especially have to watch out for companies, consultants and PR forms who essentially offer disinformation-as-a-service at scale. The above reports may be focused on the US election process, but social media disinformation is a global problem, especially in relatively younger and more fragile democracies.

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