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Other countries copy Russian disinformation tactics, says expert: “It’s easy for everyone to do”

Russia is not the only country trying to spread misinformation to influence Americans ahead of the 2020 presidential election, author Nina Jankowicz told CBSN. Jankowicz, author of the book “How to Lose the Information War,” said the United States needed a “composite government response” to disinformation, which she defined as “false or misleading information used with malicious intent.”

There were “not enough” consequences for Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, Jankowicz said. This has in part made it possible for Russia and other countries to continue participating in disinformation campaigns, she said.

“China has really been engaged in similar tactics, even if they are a little less, I would say, practiced taking advantage of our social gaps,”

; as Russia said, “she said. “Iran has done it again to support Iranian policy. We have also seen Venezuela and North Korea. I mean, it’s easy for everyone to do, unfortunately.”

Jankowicz was critical of President Donald Trump’s statements against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“You know, we’ve heard very recently about Chinese disinformation and COVID-19. I just wish the Trump administration had been so upbeat about Russian disinformation,” she said.

While there are units in the federal government that handle disinformation and cyber security“There is no joint effort,” Jankowicz said.

Nina Jankowicz

CBS News

“As for a composite government response, we do not have it because we have not seen President Trump from the highest levels of government say: ‘This is a threat, and I want us to stretch all our resources to ensure that our domestic, democratic processes are not affected, she said.

Jankowicz urged Americans to be aware of disinformation tactics, such as taking advantage of private Facebook groups advertised as trusted spaces.

“These audiences are already largely segmented by vulnerabilities,” she said, adding that Facebook should not allow groups to be private if they reach a certain membership threshold.

“When you have hundreds of thousands of members, or even tens of thousands of members in a group, it is no longer a private space, and it only serves as an ideal vector for bad actors to sow disinformation and see it spread,” she explained.

Jankowicz also advises Americans to practice “information distribution.”

“When you feel upset about something you see online, or are overly emotional, there is a good chance you are being manipulated. Disinformation runs on that feeling,” she said. “And so, when you feel it, just shut down your device, shut down your laptop, go away for a bit, and if it still bothers you, just do some basic fact checking.”

Jankowicz’s fact checking tips include looking for information in multiple locations, checking if the source is credible by searching for email address and phone number, and doing reverse image searches to find the original source of an image.

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