Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information. Authorities and volunteers must develop a healthy skepticism about information derived from these systems and new research and tools are needed to facilitate the self-policing of social media.
Author: Rebecca Goolsby
Editors: Lea Shanley and Aaron Lovell. On behalf of the Commons Lab within Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson Center, with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.