Connect to Divide: Social Media in 21st Century Warfare

In 21st Century warfare, social media fuels influence through “likes,” “shares,” and “tweets” driving narratives that blur the lines of politics, law, war, peace, elections, and freedom of speech and press, creating an information crisis. The current lack of an adequate United States (US) response to this crisis threatens its democratic institutions and national security. Bolstering this emerging threat are social media platforms rewarding users for engaging as fast thinkers without regard for bias or manipulation that is being exploited by hostile state and non-state actors to create narratives resulting in the decay of truth. Compounding this problem is social media’s ability to transition influence from institutions and governments to the individual. Though social media-enabled information warfare alone may not be decisive in current and future conflicts, nations must prepare to counter its effects across all instruments of national power: diplomatic, information, military, and economic.

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The Future of Fake News

Today, we have a new name to an old face: fake news. It seduces us for a variety of reasons: authority bias (considering information to be correct if given by an authoritative figure or organization), the third-person effect (perceiving ourselves as less likely to be swayed by the mass media or our own biases), confirmation bias (tending to look for information confirming our own preconceptions), etc. However, two recent developments, enabled by failing academic standards and artificial intelligence, are making it even easier to succumb to . . . while fake news continues its literal warpath, it is critical to look out for research misconduct and deepfakes.

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Information War is the Continuation of Politics by Other Memes: Information, Disinformation, and Social Media as Weapons

The article will analyze how Russia is using social media to generate and spread disinformation to distort facts and divide the US government and society.

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