2024 elections are ripe targets for foes of democracy

The 2024 global elections, attracting billions of voters, are vulnerable targets for disruptive entities aiming to undermine democracy.

Bogus bot activity: Facebook’s parent company Meta discovered thousands of fake accounts, operated from China, reusing posts from Twitter on hot-button American topics.
* The accounts mimicked posts from a range of U.S. politicians including Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Gretchen Whitmer, and Republicans Jim Jordan and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
* Although the operation was unsuccessful as Meta dismantled nearly 5,000 fake accounts claiming their posts didn’t reach real users, this could be indicative of threats in the forthcoming 2024 elections.

State-backed campaigns: Several countries — notably Russia, Iran, and China — have been attempting to influence global elections, with the goal of promoting their interests and exacerbating divisions.
* Participating in this divisive effort are foreign adversaries as well as fringe political movements from various international regions.
* These groups are further empowered by lax surveillance on social media platforms, tech layoffs leading to shrunken safety teams, and geopolitical tensions stemming from situations such as the Yemen and Gaza conflicts.

Widening threats: Beyond state-backed initiatives, researchers note that misleading information tactics are going global, including anti-immigration rhetoric, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and AI-generated deepfakes.
* Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims of stolen elections have seen repeats in other nations including Brazil, Argentina, and Spain.

Consequences of mistrust: Doubt in election integrity can destabilize democracies; heightened caution is urged to prevent degradation of public trust in election processes.
* Experts stress the urgency of maintaining trust in what should be a free and fair democratic process. Without this, democratic societies face serious challenges.
View original article on NPR
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