From the Document: "The global spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) created fertile ground for attempts to influence and destabilize different populations and countries. In response to this, RAND Corporation researchers conducted a proof-of-concept study for detecting these efforts at scale. Marrying a large-scale collection pipeline for global news with machine-learning and data analysis workflows, the RAND team found that both Russia and China appear to have employed information manipulation during the COVID-19 pandemic in service to their respective global agendas. This report is the second in a series of two reports; the first (Matthews, Migacheva, and Brown, 2021) focused on qualitative and descriptive analysis of the same data referred to in this report. Here, we describe our analytic workflows for detecting and documenting state-sponsored malign and subversive information efforts, and we report quantitative results that support the qualitative findings from the first report. [...] As part of our analysis, we searched for both differences and similarities in the topics discussed by Russian, Chinese, and Western news media, and we found that conspiracy theories and geopolitical posturing were relatively common in Russian and Chinese news articles compared with Western (U.S. and UK) articles. The work we describe here lays the foundation for a robust protective capability that detects and sheds light on state-actor information manipulation and misconduct in the global arena."
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