Australia will hold hearings to investigate foreign use of social media to interfere with democracy

In response to foreign malicious manipulators using social media to spread false information, interfere with and undermine Australian democracy and values, the Australian Select Committee will hold its first hearing on August 8 to review social media’s intervention and threats to Australian democracy.



This photo illustration taken on March 22, 2018 shows apps for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks on a smartphone in New Delhi. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Senior Analyst of Australia Think Tank: Totalitarian StateManipulate the information environment Control public opinion

In response to the use of social media by foreign malicious manipulators to carry out foreign intervention, the senior analysts of the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy (ASPI), Dr. Jake Wallis and Thomas Uren, submitted their proposals to the Select Committee of the Australian Senate in their own name , Claimed that totalitarian countries have regarded the operation of social media as a cheap and effective mechanism to influence and weaken a free and democratic society, and have provided specific countermeasures against the threats posed by social media intervention.

Two senior analysts said that malicious manipulators manipulate the information environment in an organized and methodical manner to achieve their strategic goals.

They cited, for example, that in response to various political dissidents and protests against Hong Kong’s anti-transmission regulations, ASPI's research found that the CCP participated in related interventions. As far as the Hong Kong protests are concerned, they have taken various actions on social media: some launched brutal attacks on Twitter, some targeted harassment of the main protest organizers, including posting details of the organizers on the Internet. Intimidation and deterrence.

Two senior analysts believe that social media has replaced traditional journalism governance models and ethics. Without binding, the malicious manipulator has the opportunity to exert his influence in the social media ecosystem.

Dr. Wallis and Ulun suggested that the Australian government consider the following countermeasures:

1. Transparency: Social media companies are required to transparently formulate their content review policies and enforcement measures;

2. Supervision: establish an independent statutory body, authorize it to observe and evaluate the operation of social media platforms, with the ultimate goal of minimizing harm to society and citizens;

3. Public awareness: The government and society should pay attention to those groups that try to harm free democracies and their citizens.