Russian Strategy in the Social Media Battlefield

What strategies do states and nonstate actors use when engaging in disinformation and malign manipulation of the information environment? What do they do and why, and how successful is it? And what can be done to combat it? Malign manipulation of the information environment is an urgent security threat facing western democracies. This talk examines why and how state and nonstate actors have harnessed emerging technologies – social media platforms in particular – to shape the information environment for strategic ends. Weaponization of disinformation is neither new nor warfare in the traditional sense, but digital aspects in particular have confounded western efforts to manage it. This talk is based on interdisciplinary British Academy project that applies intelligence history, strategic studies, and technological perspectives to evaluate and counter influence operations that seek to advance strategic aims in an asymmetric manner short of war. Dr. David V. Gioe is a British Academy Global Professor and Visiting Professor of Intelligence and International Security in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London (KCL). Prior to joining KCL David was Associate Professor of History at the US Military Academy at West Point and History Fellow for the Army Cyber Institute. David is Director of Studies for the Cambridge Security Initiative and is co-convener of its International Security and Intelligence program. He is a former CIA analyst and operations officer; he remains a senior officer in the US Navy Reserve.

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