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A nation must think before it acts.
Making such dangers even more worrisome is the difficulty Western governments, and the U.S. in particular, have had when it comes to combating such social media-based influence campaigns
“We have failed in this for a decade now, whether it’s been terrorists or the Russian disinformation, in our counter influence,” said Clint Watts, a former FBI special agent and now a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.
“You cannot counter back, whether it’s online or on the ground — a counter-influence campaign — unless you know what your nation’s policies are, what your belief systems are, and what you’re going to push back with,” said Watts.
Instead, Watts sees a sure but steady creep, with the Russian tactics being adopted by other countries, friends and adversaries alike.
“I’m not talking about a foreign influence operation. I’m talking about every country in the world saying, you know what I want to happen in America? The following: boom, bots, ads, doing it on scale,” he said.