Social media misinformation and the prevention of political instability and mass atrocities

1 September 2022
The Stimson Center published an issue brief highlighting the profound challenges atrocity prevention stakeholders face from the quantity, speed, and increasing sophistication of online misinformation.

Social media’s enormous impact is unmistakable. Facebook sees approximately 300 million new photos uploaded daily, while six thousand Tweets are sent every second. (…) Such platforms have also been used to promote instability, provide platforms for the spread of political conflict, and call for violence.

Researchers believe that organized social media misinformation campaigns have operated in at least 81 countries, a trend that continues to grow yearly, with a sizable number of state-backed and private corporation manipulation efforts.

A policy paper by the Stimson Center draws on various sources to survey contemporary social media misinformation patterns and provide recommendations for multiple stakeholders. It argues that the instability and atrocity prevention community must incorporate emerging issues linked to social media misinformation, and we provide recommendations for doing so.

A simple but disturbing truth confronts the prevention community: misinformation can rapidly shapeshift across topics, but only a few narratives need to take hold for trust in facts and evidentiary standards to erode.

This article was first published On the Stimson Center’s website. Read the full article here.

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