Instagram a prime target for disinformation in 2020 U.S. elections

Victor Barreiro Jr.
The report presents a number of predictions related to social media-enhanced disinformation running up to the 2020 US elections

MANILA, Philippines – A recent report by New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights pointed towards Instagram – rather than parent company Facebook – as a prime target of disinformation for the coming 2020 US elections. 

The report titled, Disinformation and the 2020 election: How the social media industry should prepare, presents a number of predictions related to social media-enhanced disinformation running up to the 2020 US elections.

One of the predictions pointed towards Instagram seeing major action as a “key battleground” for “meme-based disinformation” even though it hasn’t seen as much attention as social media entities like Twitter and Facebook. To get ahead of this, Facebook has deployed fact-checkers to Instagram.

The report said one potential way disinformation may be spread would be through WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service.

The report also said for-profit firms in the US and abroad may be used to generate disinformation, but domestic disinformation content may be more prevalent, leading unwitting Americans to share false information and even deepfakes – videos or images of politicians supposedly saying or doing things they never actually did. 

Additionally, Iran and China may even join Russia in spreading disinformation to affect the US elections. (READ: Blocked Chinese Twitter accounts spread disinformation for years – think tank)

Lastly, the report predicts one way partisan disinformation will work is through voter suppression – the process of using disinformation rather than threats or violence to dissuade people from voting. 

The full report is available here for free. – Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.