Information Warfare and Democratic Decay
Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Chinese and Russian Information Warfare (Stanford University Press, Forthcoming)
18 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2021
Date Written: December 7, 2020
This paper is the first chapter of a book entitled Tyrants on Twitter: Protecting Democracies from Chinese and Russian Information Warfare (forthcoming, Stanford University Press). The book analyzes the threat presented by Chinese and Russian cyber troops, who exploit U.S. social media platforms to conduct information warfare. The book also presents a detailed proposal for transnational regulation of social media to protect democracies from information warfare.
The first chapter analyzes the relationship between information warfare and democratic decay: the recent decline in the number of democratic states and the corresponding increase in the number of authoritarian states. The chapter defines “information warfare” as the exploitation of social media to conduct foreign influence operations (FIOs) or, alternatively, as “organized social media manipulation” (OSM) that is directed towards a foreign audience or foreign policy objective. Thus, information warfare lies at the intersection between OSM and FIOs. I argue that the combination of OSM, FIOs and information warfare—viewed in the aggregate—is a major factor contributing to the phenomenon of democratic decay. This chapter also presents a brief summary of the proposal for transnational regulation, which is developed in greater detail in later chapters.
Keywords: information warfare, social media, democracy, Russia, China, transnational regulation
JEL Classification: K19, K29, K33, Y80, Z18
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