In the wake of the riots and violent storming of the U.S. capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, foreign state-sponsored media outlets from Russia, Iran and China took the opportunity to criticize the U.S. in coverage and, in the case of Russia and China, vilify Big Tech’s response to the day’s events.
Ultimately, disinformation narratives are like Mad Libs–conspiratorial templates where the bogus claims stay the same but the characters and issues change. We know who the most prolific disinformation peddlers are and what they are going to say, let’s prepare to counter them now before they even say it.
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.