International Relations

The Art of “iWar”: Disinformation Campaign as a Strategy of Informational Autocracy Promotion

Ming-Chiao Chang National Taiwan University
,
Chun-Chih Chang Author ORCID home | opens in new tab Xiamen University
,
Thung-Hong Lin Academia Sinica

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the global pattern of social media disinformation dissemination among regimes. We assume that autocracies adopting Internet censorship and spreading disinformation online to domestic population are more probable to apply Internet disinformation to attack their neighboring democracies than neighboring autocracies for their geopolitical interests. The autocracy promotion hypothesis is confirmed by the database integrated from the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Digital Society Project (DSP) dataset (2000~2018) released in 2019. We also integrated socio-economic variables from different data sources from 137 countries to test the other hypotheses of domestic conditions facilitating the spread of Internet disinformation. Our empirical evidences show that democracies with a neighboring autocracy that adopted higher degree of Internet capacity would expose to higher risk suffering from foreign disinformation than other countries. In addition, the lower educational level of population, and the greater Internet coverage increase the possibility of disinformation campaign from abroad.

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