1. Exposure to the Russian Internet Research Agency foreign influence campaign on Twitter in the 2016 US election and its relationship to attitudes and voting behavior (Article by Gregry Eady, Tom Paskhalis, Jan Zilinsky, Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler & Joshua A. Tucker)

There is widespread concern that foreign actors are using social media to interfere in elections worldwide. Yet data have been unavailable to investigate links between exposure to foreign influence campaigns and political behavior. Using longitudinal survey data from US respondents linked to their Twitter feeds, we quantify the relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and attitudes and voting behavior in the 2016 US election.

2. Will the metaverse be your new workplace? (BBC News)

When we look back in 50 years’ time, it is likely that the 2D internet we now all use will seem laughably archaic. Not only will the internet likely no longer exist behind a screen, but it is probable that we will interact with it differently. We’ll manipulate objects using augmented reality (AR), explore virtual-reality (VR) worlds, and meld the real and the digital in ways we can currently not imagine.

3. Is It Human or AI? New Tools Help You Spot the Bots (The Wall Street Journal)

There are software and tips that can help you recognize content from ChatGPT and others

4. Global Foresight 2023 (Atlantic Council)

Prepare for Russia’s coming crack-up. Plan for a Chinese military assault on Taiwan. Temper the optimism about peak carbon emissions. Brace for the further spread of nuclear weapons. Buckle in for even greater global volatility ahead.

These are just some of the forecasts that emerged this past fall when the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security surveyed the future, asking leading global strategists and foresight practitioners around the world to answer our most burning questions about the biggest drivers of change over the next ten years.

5. Visualizing Public Diplomacy (USC CPD)

Digital diplomacy is here to stay, and it is now an embedded practice for Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) across the globe. As diplomats create and disseminate visuals on a daily basis to obtain offline policy goals, MFAs have institutionalized the process of visual narration. Visuals serve as ideological devices to promote a certain worldview and enable the delivery of elaborate messages despite social media platforms’ character limits.

6. Digital Diplomacy And The International Criminal Court (The Hague Diplomacy Podcast)

In the first episode of 2023, our host Simran Kataria sits down with David Eichert to discuss his paper titled “Hashtagging Justice: Digital Diplomacy and the International Criminal Court on Twitter,” which was published in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy. They go a bit beyond the state-centric understanding of digital diplomacy to understand how the International Criminal Court (ICC) uses Twitter and its overall diplomatic messaging. They dig deeper into the different types of tweets on the ICC’s Twitter and discuss the guests’ categorization of these tweets into eleven distinct categories. They touch briefly upon three key narratives that emerge from the tweets as well as the key audiences among other topics.

7. A Capability Definition and Assessment Framework for Countering Disinformation, Information Influence, and Foreign Interference (NATO StratCom)

This report proposes a capability assessment framework for countering disinformation, information influence, and foreign interference. At present, much emphasis is placed on the capability to counter disinformation and other associated phenomena. However, few have attempted to systematically define what those countermeasures are, and how they could be placed within a single, coherent capability assessment framework.

This lack is not least because countries do not, and should not, approach these challenges in the same way. Geography, history, political systems, areas of expertise, and relative power explain to some extent why countries use different terminologies, organisational structures, and policies for dealing with foreign interference. Furthermore, friendly actors at times share capabilities–such as tech platforms, researchers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and private-sector intelligence companies.

8. Mega – Event Sports Diplomacy: A Strategic Communications Perspective (NATO StratCom)

Sport is increasingly featured in national strategic documents pertaining to public diplomacy. Different in size, form, and vision, the documents nonetheless demonstrate that there is a certain strategic communications approach to sport, which might point to high soft power value. Using both the strategies and the communication surrounding mega sports events, this report aims to analyse and compare the national strategic communications messaging—what stories nations tell, and how they position themselves externally.

9. Forecasting Potential Misuses of Language Models for Disinformation Campaigns—and How to Reduce Risk (OpenAI)

OpenAI researchers collaborated with Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology and the Stanford Internet Observatory to investigate how large language models might be misused for disinformation purposes. The collaboration included an October 2021 workshop bringing together 30 disinformation researchers, machine learning experts, and policy analysts, and culminated in a co-authored report building on more than a year of research. This report outlines the threats that language models pose to the information environment if used to augment disinformation campaigns and introduces a framework for analyzing potential mitigations. Read the full report here.

10. How China funds foreign influence campaigns (DFRLab)

A review of financial records for Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organizations with foreign influence capabilities reveals that funding for propaganda activities in China is largely project based, with most of the financing comes from public funds. CCP organizations release public financial reports that can be analyzed to understand China’s priorities when it comes to information operations. The DFRLab dissected the financials of two Chinese media organizations and two municipal-level CCP departments to reveal insights into the funding of foreign influence campaigns. Our examination included the financial records for Xinhua News Agency, China Media Group (CMG), the Beijing United Front Work Department (UFWD), and the Beijing Propaganda Department.

11. Putin’s faltering Ukraine invasion exposes limits of Russian propaganda (Atlantic Council)

As the Russian attack on Ukraine approaches the one-year mark, it is increasingly clear that Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade was one of the biggest geopolitical blunders of the modern era. The Russian dictator initially expected a short and victorious war. Instead, Putin’s faltering invasion has transformed him into an international pariah and shattered Russia’s reputation as a military superpower. How could he have got it so wrong?

12. Should ChatGPT Be Used to Write Wikipedia Articles? (Slate)

Wikipedians are engaged in a heated debate about whether ChatGPT should be allowed for drafting articles. Ready or not, Wikipedians must answer the question of whether to allow generative artificial intelligence to cross the great encyclopedic threshold.

13. How ‘radioactive data’ could help reveal malicious AIs (The Verge)

Artificial intelligence is about to create some serious propaganda problems, a new paper argues. One solution: to nuke the web.

14. What’s the Future of Twitter? (National Digital Roundtable)

National Digital Roundtable and British Embassy Washington co-hosted a roundtable discussion on the future of the platform and what these changes will mean for us. We gathered some of the top minds from government, non-profits, the private sector and beyond for a fruitful, honest conversation and we wanted to share some of our key takeaways.