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Wed Jun 19, 2019, 11:18 AM

WaPo Ed. Board: Russia's election interference is no longer a surprise. It should still infuriate.

Source: Washington Post

Russia’s election interference is no longer a surprise. It should still infuriate.

By Editorial Board June 18 at 7:10 PM

RUSSIA’S MEDDLING with democracy no longer comes as a surprise. It should, nevertheless, continue to provoke anger, outrage and a determination to respond.

Observers predicted that last month’s elections for European Parliament would offer a window on a new era of disinformation. Now, European Union officials have rendered a verdict that suggests the Kremlin kept itself busy — engaging not in any grand cross-border campaign but in sustained interference on a smaller scale that may be even harder to root out. Worse, others followed its lead.

The E.U. report and concurrent outside research show that the enemy is evolving. Gone are the days when vast networks of false-identity accounts and their automated counterparts worked en masse to spread tales of events that never occurred or malicious lies about public figures. Now, operations are more localized and harder to detect. They feature what experts call narrative warfare, pushing polarizing and distorted variations of otherwise true stories, stripped of context, rather than outright fabrications. The tactic is tougher both for platforms to detect and for governments to legislate against.

That gray zone poses particular difficulties when the perpetrators are domestic actors and transnational far-right groups that strategically blur the line between information operations and political campaigning. Those groups have seized on Russia’s successful methods to stymie platforms in their enforcement efforts, and, though sites have made progress, keeping up is not easy. Platforms’ internal systems to limit misleading political advertisements also often fall short, and researchers complain about insufficient access to data that would help them find and analyze disinformation operations going forward.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/russias-election-interference-is-no-longer-a-surprise-it-should-still-infuriate/2019/06/18/76fa6cd6-9142-11e9-aadb-74e6b2b46f6a_story.html

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