Mitigating foreign social media influence campaigns in U.S. elections
Author(s)Provaznik, Daniel Wade,II.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society.
Technology and Policy Program.
Joel F. Brenner and Cagri K. Dagli.
MetadataShow full item record
The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign was rife with scandal, the greatest of which the Department of Justice exposed in detail in a 2018 indictment that charged a shadowy Russian organization known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) with organizing thousands of fictitious individuals and organizations across virtually every social media platform to manipulate the beliefs of real American voters. The goal of this manipulation was to elect then-candidate Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. This thesis performs a deep dive analysis into the IRA's influence campaign on one social media platform: Twitter, and identifies worrying trends in account creation, tweet volume, and tweet content that indicate growing investment into IRA operations. This marked expansion of Twitter activity likely signals growing Kremlin enthusiasm behind social media propaganda and confidence in its ability to affect the beliefs of American citizens. This data analysis and a full review of the public and private policy landscapes before and after the reveal of IRA operations aims to inform the next round of proposed election security legislation following the 2020 U.S elections. I conclude by calling upon the upcoming 117th Congress to take immediate action and fulfill its duty to protect the integrity of U.S. democratic institutions in light of Russia's past attempted interference and chilling reports that the Kremlin has learned from its past mistakes and continues to refine the art of laundering fabricated narratives to undermine democracies around the world.
Thesis: S.M. in Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, Technology and Policy Program, September, 2020Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 105-117).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institute for Data, Systems, and Society., Technology and Policy Program.