1. The surprising origins of the modern conspiracy theory (BBC)

From ‘Pizzagate’ to QAnon, conspiracy theories feel like a product of the modern world, spread through the ubiquitous nature of social media, however there are patterns in the make up of these myths that can be traced back centuries. The medieval period proved the perfect breeding ground for what we have come to know as conspiracy theories, and one particular king, Philip IV of France, could be seen as perhaps the greatest conspiracy theorist of that time.

2. Ukraine’s use of digital diplomacy (Podcast by ABC)

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky will make a virtual address at this week’s G7 and NATO summits. He made a surprise appearance last week at several of Europe’s major technology conferences as a hologram, arguing that technology can help breakdown bureaucracy between governments and citizens. Professor in Diplomatic Studies at Oxford University Corneliu Bjola says this is an example of how diplomacy has entered a new phase of digital transformation. Professor Bjola describes it as hybrid diplomacy and he says President Zelensky’s digital approach is changing the rules of diplomatic engagement.

3. How Ukraine Can Leverage its Digital Achievements (Ilan Manor Blog)

t is often said that practice makes perfect. While Ukraine’s digital diplomacy is not perfect, the Ukrainian government has gained valuable expertise in using digital technologies. Indeed, since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War, Ukraine has employed a host of innovative digital tactics. These include the creation of a hacker army; crowdfunding aid for its military; national crowdfunding campaigns to purchase new weapons; the dissemination of memes meant to bolster the image of President Zelenskyy and the use of social media to pressure Big Tech companies into exiting the Russian market.

4. Russia’s narratives about its invasion of Ukraine are lingering in Africa (Brookings)

The information spaces in Africa and other regions of the Global South like India and China have been heavily targeted by Russian disinformation and propaganda campaigns in recent months and years. In the case of Africa at this moment, Russia’s objectives are not only to justify its invasion of Ukraine, but to sway African countries to support Russia’s actions and secure Russia’s influence over the region, especially as the country becomes increasingly isolated from the United States and Europe. 

5. Transforming Online Conflict (Blog by Lauren Hug)

The problem, of course, is that every one of those issues is conflict-laden and difficult to comment on in neat and simple sound bites. It takes time to write a thoughtful response, especially when, for me, the kind of thorough and responsible commentary I want to put into the world requires careful legal analysis coupled with vulnerable personal reflection.

6. CoTweets (Twitter)

We’re experimenting with CoTweet as a way for two authors to share the spotlight, showcase their contributions, and engage with more people. This limited-time experiment allows select accounts in Canada, Korea, and the US to send invites to CoTweet with another account.

7. Nicholas Burns: Influencer? The Twitter Diplomacy of Biden’s New China Ambassador (US CPD)

Diplomats and politicians are reluctant to engage China without incorporating lists of regional grievances or human rights concerns. Even person-to-person, public diplomacy campaigns, so configured for social media projection, rarely deviate from predetermined talking points—or hashtags. Such is the digital landscape inherited by the latest U.S. ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns. After presenting his credentials to China’s Foreign Ministry in early April, Burns launched an active Twitter presence, gaining more than 30,500 followers in a few months.

8. The Nazification of Ukraine in the Chinese Information Space (EU vs DiSiNFO)

Analysis from Doublethink Lab, a Taiwan-based civil society organisation devoted to researching malign Chinese influence and information operations, as well as disinformation campaigns, shows how such false narratives have been picked up and amplified in the Chinese-language information space.

9. Russia is well-prepared for cyber war – interview (Cybernews)

For the first time ever, we are witnessing a real cyber war, Denys Tsvaig, the president of Ukraine’s national cybersecurity association, told Cybernews. The war in Ukraine caused turmoil in the cyber realm, with many pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian citizens worldwide joining various efforts to fight. Hacktivism gained momentum soon after the invasion, causing collateral damage. Recently, the pro-Russian Killnet group made headlines after attacking Ukraine ally Lithuania’s websites in response to the Baltic country following EU sanctions.

10. The Sit Down: Zviad Adzinbaia and the Information War against the Kremlin (Georgia Today)

The Kremlin and its information campaign across the region is a well-known, and well-funded, propaganda machine. They have crafted a “product” with decades of experience in how to manipulate popular opinion in favor of their agenda. This product has been exported with varying success around the world. Despite this, many have taken to combatting their efforts, particularly with Russia’s attempt to garner support for their vicious invasion of Ukraine. Combined with their brutal repression of dissent domestically and in occupied territories, the fight against this disinformation is a difficult one. One organization has started a unique approach to this proverbial crusade.

Zviad Adzinbaia is the founder of the Digital Diplomacy Task Force. He leads a team of experienced cyber, media, and digital diplomacy aimed at helping Ukraine resist their portrayal by Russian media. GEORGIA TODAY sat down with Zviad to explore the man, the mission, and the challenges he faces now and in the future.

11. Reuters launches fact-checking initiatives on Facebook and WhatsApp in Brazil ahead of 2022 election (Reuters)

Reuters factcheckers will now review content from Facebook in Brazilian Portuguese, flagging false or misleading content to Meta and publishing explanatory fact-checking articles on Reuters.com. Reuters has also launched a WhatsApp channel in Brazil that will allow users to submit content for verification.

12Neither External nor Multilateral: States’ Digital Diplomacy During Covid-19 (Article by Di Wu and Efe Sevin)

This paper explores state public diplomacy in the context of a public health crisis. It develops a theoretical framework of public diplomacy on social media through how and what states communicated during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

13. Public Diplomacy and Social Capital: Bridging Theory and Activities (Article by Rachel Naddeo and Lucas Matsunaga)

In response to the ack of conceptual frameworks for understanding public diplomacy activities within social capital theory, we conducted a narrative literature review that intends to identify the means through which international actors, such as governments, engage with foreign publics through the dynamics of social networks and the resources embedded in them. In addition, we explored the multidimensional characteristics of social capital to enhance the comprehension of the manner in which actors access, share, and maintain resources in target communities, institutions, or organizations through public diplomacy activities. In summary, we highlight the importance of new theoretical explorations on the application of social capital theory to public diplomacy and the need for a research agenda in the field.

14. How To Use TikTok For Your Government Or Public Sector Agency (Public Sector Marketing Pros)

In this article, I’m going to give you some starting tips on how to use TikTok for your Government or Public Sector agency, and why TikTok presents a real marketing and communications opportunity.

15. Cyber Attacks in Times of Conflict (CyberPeace Institute)

Monitoring the harm to civilians from cyberattacks, in the quest for cyberpeace:

Analyzing attacks & attribution to reach legal accountability;

Tracing harm to civilians to protect civilians;

Documenting legal instruments to drive regulatory change.