“While many people are just now hearing about misinformation campaigns, ‘fake news’, and #social media bots, psychological warfare is as old as war itself,” she said.
“The internet started as this open, free, fun space where you get to meet people across the world in real time and it was fun and exciting. However, we live in an era where our favorite applications, to which we devote hours each day, are being weaponized against us by governments that wish to influence how we think and behave,” Wright said.
Charity Wright, a former NSA operative and now a researcher with cybersecurity firm IntSights, detailed the situation in her new report PSYOPS: How States Weaponize Social Media to Disrupt Global Politics.
Despite their efforts to focus on security, experts say these kinds of digital psychological operations by governments are evolving in ways that will require sophisticated, multi-pronged security efforts.
Since the 2016 US Presidential Election, social media platforms have been more proactive about addressing security gaps and stopping the kind of state-run psychological operations that were endemic over the last decade.