The lead-up to Election Day in 2020 has had many twists and turns. Throughout the past year, however, we’ve seen a steady drumbeat of disinformation from foreign actors who continue to try and interfere in U.S. elections, their goals evident through the themes and narratives they promote on their state-backed media outlets.
Four years ago, Russian state-sponsored disinformation operations weaponized “Big Tech” platforms as tools to attempt to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In 2020, however, Kremlin-backed media outlets have turned against “Big Tech” itself.
Preferences for one candidate or the other in 2020 have been critical to understanding any foreign interference efforts in the lead-up to November—and for understanding potential influence efforts post-Election Day.
Coverage of the protests across the U.S. in RT and Sputnik indicate an attempt by Kremlin media to amplify instances of protest-related violence to portray America as chaotic and politically unstable with out-of-control elected leaders.
The first U.S. 2020 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was filled with shouting, interruption and general on-stage chaos. RT and Sputnik News took the opportunity to highlight it as such.
Sputnik News’s “Viral” vertical focuses on social media reaction and discussion. Drawing eyeballs to eye-catching content, the “Viral” section may help Sputnik bolster its American readership on topics of greater consequence.
Amid the 2020 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Russian state-sponsored news outlets RT and Sputnik News published a number of stories and opinion pieces covering both conventions. RT portrayed the DNC and former Vice President Biden especially negatively, while Sputnik News coverage was more mixed.
In the past decade, Twitter has transformed from simply a social media platform to a key access point for news for millions of people in the U.S. and around the world. State-sponsored media outlets have also used the platform to speak with American audiences. FIE 2020 discusses RT, Sputnik, PressTV and Global Times Twitter activity surrounding U.S. election integrity.
Foreign state-sponsored media outlets published a number of stories mentioning Senator Kamala Harris in light of former Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement on August 11 that the senator would be his running mate in the 2020 election, many of them painting Harris negatively.
As election season heats up this summer and into the fall, the peddlers of disinformation—foreign and domestic—have never had so much conspiracy to use in pitting the American electorate against itself.
Russian state-sponsored media outlets RT and Sputnik News have ramped up their criticisms of American tech and social media giants for alleged censorship on their platforms, portraying efforts aimed at combating misinformation as a means to pursue a political agenda.
While China’s state-sponsored media outlet the Global Times appears to have little interest in supporting one candidate versus another in the 2020 election, its coverage instead seeks to criticize American democracy as a whole.
Which Chinese, Iranian and Russian state-sponsored news stories and narratives spread the most across social media? FIE 2020 discusses the most popular stories from each country’s media outlets out of more than 15,500 catalogued state-sponsored articles about the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
In February and early March, while Iran and Russia pushed out conspiracies about the virus, Chinese state-sponsored media outlets appeared less inclined to do so. Since March 12, however, the Chinese state media has changed its tune on conspiracy theories.
As the coronavirus has spread throughout the world, so too has the disinformation and misinformation surrounding the epidemic. FIE 2020 examines distinct narratives highlighted on Russian, Iranian and Chinese state-sponsored media outlets.
The global COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak portended a coming tsunami of coronavirus conspiracy theories from all corners of the earth. How should we think about coronavirus disinformation and respond to it?
FIE 2020 discusses mentions, themes and narratives throughout state-sponsored Russian and Iranian coverage of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
To date, the team has analyzed 2,572 stories and 4,591 mentions published by RT and Sputnik. Here are some of the highlights since our previous analyses of Russian state-sponsored media on November 10 and November 25.
Russia’s strategic calculus for hacking Election 2020 involves several factors. FPRI’s Foreign Influence Election 2020 Project discusses the considerations Russia will face in deciding whether to hack or not to hack during the 2020 election cycle.
Last week, FPRI’s Foreign Influence Election 2020 (FIE 2020) Project published its first analysis of Russia’s media mentions of the 2020 Democratic candidates. The FIE 2020 database now includes updates since its first analysis, bringing the total number of articles analyzed to 1,887 since January 1, 2019. This week, FIE 2020 presents an analysis of the Russian media mentions of the GOP candidates for the 2020 election.
The 1,203 mentions of Democratic candidates quickly illustrated the Kremlin’s preferences amongst the Democratic field and, in particular, who they likely don’t want to see inaugurated in January 2021. Here are some highlights from this first round of analysis regarding the Democratic candidates:
The project seeks to protect the 2020 U.S. presidential election from foreign interference by filling gaps in data, knowledge and understanding of how foreign powers seek to degrade American institutions, elected officials, and presidential candidates.