Fighting Bears and Trolls: An Analysis of Social Media Companies and U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Russian Influence Campaigns During the 2020 U.S. Elections   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Thesis Abstract: "This thesis seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the Russian disinformation campaigns targeting the 2020 U.S. elections and the efforts taken by the U.S. government and social media companies to thwart them. To develop countermeasures for Russian interference activities targeting future American elections, this thesis asks the question: What impact did the countermeasures taken by the American social media companies and the U.S. government have on Russian social media influence campaigns targeting the 2020 U.S. elections? This thesis uses a framework developed by Thomas Wilhelm, a U.S. Army researcher, to evaluate Russian hybrid warfare, based on the principles of Andrei Kartapolov, a prominent Russian general. Accordingly, it is used to measure the qualitative impact of the Russian measures and American countermeasures during the 2020 U.S. elections. This thesis finds that the Russians shifted their tactics from 2016 to 2020. Still, the U.S. government and social media companies effectively impeded their influence campaigns primarily through information sharing and account takedowns, respectively. Because the Russians will continue their influence campaigns to undermine the United States, this thesis provides recommendations to include standardized information sharing and the establishment of a national coordination center."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: https://calhoun.nps.edu/
Media Type:
Cohort CA2001/2002
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