Cyber - Publications Page
The Virus and the Vote: Administering the 2020 Election in a Pandemic
The final report of the findings of the Healthy Elections Project, a joint effort between Stanford and MIT and led by Nathaniel Persily and Charles Stewart III.
Election 2020: Foreign Interference and Domestic Manipulations Aimed at Voters and Electoral Outcomes
VOTERS ARE BEING INUNDATED WITH POLITICAL ADVERTISING on social media and online platforms during the 2020 election season. Campaigns, PACs and third parties have added new tools and tactics for gathering data on voters and targeting them with advertising, and now they can pinpoint niches of potential voters on social media in ways unknown in prior election cycles.
AS WE APPROACH THE 2020 ELECTION IN THE UNITED STATES, content moderation on social media platforms is taking center stage. From speech issues on Facebook and Twitter to YouTube videos and TikTok brigands, the current election season is being reshaped by curation concerns about what’s allowed online, what’s not, upranking and downranking, and who’s deciding.
THE EMERGENCE OF A DIGITAL SPHERE where public debate takes place raises profound questions about the connection between online information and polarization, echo chambers, and filter bubbles. Does the information ecosystem created by social media companies support the conditions necessary for a healthy democracy? Is it different from other media? These are particularly urgent questions as the United States approaches a contentious 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reply-Guys Go Hunting: An Investigation into a U.S. Astroturfing Operation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (TAKEDOWN)
#ZakzakyLifeMatters: An Investigation into a Facebook Operation Linked to the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (TAKEDOWN)
Royal Sockpuppets and Handle Switching: How a Saudi Arabia-Linked Twitter Network Stoked Rumors of a Coup in Qatar (TAKEDOWN)
THE 2020 ELECTION IN THE UNITED STATES will take place on November 3 in the midst of a global pandemic, economic downturn, social unrest, political polarization, and a sudden shift in the balance of power in the U.S Supreme Court. On top of these issues, the technological layer impacting the public debate, as well as the electoral process itself, may well determine the election outcome.
Political partisanship influences behavioral responses to governors’ recommendations for COVID-19 prevention in the United States
Voluntary physical distancing is essential for preventing the spread of COVID-19. We assessed the role of political partisanship in individuals’ compliance with physical distancing recommendations of political leaders using data on mobility from a sample of mobile phones in 3,100 counties in the United States during March 2020, county-level partisan preferences, information about the political affiliation of state governors, and the timing of their communications about COVID-19 prevention.
Reporting for Duty: How A Network of Pakistan-Based Accounts Leveraged Mass Reporting to Silence Critics (TAKEDOWN)
Over the past two decades, U.S. and Chinese technological trajectories have been closely linked. Internet protocols, hardware design and manufacturing, software development and deployment, and services and standards have to varying degrees been crossborder phenomena, with China and the United States two of the world’s most consequential and integrated countries. The last few years, however, have seen a rise in mutual suspicion and moves—both direct and indirect—to unwind this extraordinary level of technological interdependence.
The Ministry of Made-Up Pages: Yemen-Based Actors Impersonate Government Agencies to Spread Anti-Houthi Content (TAKEDOWN)
Concluding Chapter of Social Media and Democracy: The State of the Field and Prospects for Reform (Cambridge Press, forthcoming September 2020)
Cheburashka, Soros, Hillary’s Fly: Dispatches from the June 2020 Twitter Inauthentic Activity Takedown (TAKEDOWN)
Political Retweet Rings and Compromised Accounts: A Twitter Influence Operation Linked to the Youth Wing of Turkey’s Ruling Party (TAKEDOWN)
To gain insight into how Chinese state media is communicating about the coronavirus pandemic to the outside world, we analyzed a collection of posts from their English-language presence on Facebook. We observed three recurring behaviors: sharing positive stories and promoting the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) pandemic response, rewriting recent history in a manner favorable to the CCP as the coronavirus pandemic evolved, and using targeted ads to spread preferred messages.